Tom Clements’ return as Packers QB coach ‘exciting’ for Jordan Love
Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements played a key role in the early development of Aaron Rodgers. This is one reason why, with an opening on the coaching staff in 2022, Rodgers wanted Clements to come out of retirement to rejoin the Packers.
It’s also not a coincidence that with Clements in this role, the Packers saw Jordan Love take a big step forward in his third NFL season. So much so, in fact, that the Packers went from signing Rodgers to a contract extension 11 months ago to being ready to move on from him this offseason.
With Clements at the helm, this meant going back to the basics last summer and prioritizing Love’s footwork. For a quarterback, from a mechanics standpoint, good footwork is the foundation for success on any passing play. Balanced feet that move with a quarterback’s eyes as they go through their progressions leads to accurate passes. There is also incredible value in having Clement’s experience in the film room with Love as well.
Love’s confidence would grow and “snowballed” as the season progressed, according to Aaron Jones. We then caught a glimpse of this during his appearance against Philadelphia. With improved footwork, Love was more accurate, completing six-of-nine passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, but also more poised and decisive with his decision-making.
“It’s exciting,” said Love on Wednesday in regards to having Clements back for 2023. “I think Tom (Clements) brings the drills we do every day (and) translates into things and movements we do in a game. It all ties in. I think Tom’s a great coach. He’s been doing it a long time and knows what he’s talking about. So just being able to at the same time listening to him and trying to tune my game to any pointers he might have to elevate myself are all huge. I just try to keep adding, keep stacking, and keep evolving my own game.”
With uncertainty around Rodgers’ future with the Packers throughout the offseason, naturally, given the relationship that the two have, there were some questions around whether or not Clements would return as well. For Matt LaFleur and the Packers, having Clements back was an easy decision, but it was whether or not he wanted to return.
There was a calm confidence that Love had on Wednesday as he addressed reporters for the first time as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Undoubtedly, there will be challenges and ups and downs that come with being a first-time starting quarterback. As Brian Gutekunst has said on several occasions, at this stage of his development, Love just simply needs playing time. However, the good news is that Love will have Clements in his corner, helping him navigate through the season.
“Just watching him last year, I think Jordan’s made some huge strides,” LaFleur told reporters on Saturday. “I really do and I think a lot of it is a credit to Tom, and just, he knows how to train these guys. He knows how to drill them and he’s very, very consistent. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He just is matter of fact and I think there’s no doubt. I asked Jordan after the season how he felt about him, and he said he loved Tom and thought he did a hell of a job helping him develop over the course of the year. For me, it was a no-brainer, it was just whether or not Tom wanted to come back.”