The Lass Word: Love Needs Clements To Stick Around

Young QB will need help handling the hype.

As important as it is for the Packers to find a new defensive coordinator, it is equally important that another member of the coaching staff return. The unsung hero in the meteoric development of Jordan Love is quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.  

Now 70 years old, no one could blame Clements if he decided to retire to his comfortable California home and live the good life. He actually already retired once, after the 2020 season, but was coaxed back into the game by Matt LaFleur, with considerable help from Aaron Rodgers, prior to the 2022 campaign. 

The former Notre Dame product has an incredible history of transforming quarterbacks from mediocre to reaching the height of their potential. He has mentored signal callers for the Saints, Chiefs, Steelers and Bills prior to coming to Green Bay. He developed average guys like Elvis Grbac, Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox into Pro Bowlers. 

Mike McCarthy brought him to the Packers in 2006. Brett Favre, who had shown signs of fading, had one of his best statistical seasons in 2007, taking the team to the NFC championship game. Beginning in 2008 Clements focused on developing new starter Rodgers, and within three seasons Rodgers led the team to a Super Bowl title, going on to win four MVPs. Rodgers himself has frequently heaped praise on Clements, crediting him for much of his own success. 

Of all his students, Jordan Love may have been the fastest learner. We watched him improve almost exponentially each week. Love’s ability to read a defense pre-snap, audible to a better play, navigate within and outside of the pocket, and make good decisions got measurably better nearly every game. There’s no question the tutelage of Clements played a pivotal role in Love’s ascension. 

But here’s the thing. There’s more out there for Green Bay’s young quarterback. There’s another step to take. He hasn’t yet reached the elite level of a Patrick Mahomes or a Josh Allen or a Lamar Jackson or a Joe Burrow. If he had, the Packers would be getting ready to go to Detroit to play for the NFC title this week. In the fourth quarter of the divisional playoff game against the 49ers, especially that final drive, the moment proved to be a little too big for him. He panicked and made a season-ending mistake on the interception. He owned it after the game. 

This is why it is vital for Love to benefit from another year under Clements’ wing. Imagine what he could be if he improves as much next season as he did this year. Asked if he was hopeful Clements was of a mind to return in 2024, head coach Matt Lafleur said “Absolutely. We’d be crazy not to, right?” 

But after 30 years of coaching, does he want to come back for one more? “That’s something that we’re going to work through” LaFleur told the beat writers. “He’s been doing this for a long time. I think he’s earned the right to make whatever decision is best for him and his family. Certainly it was a big sacrifice for him and his family to give up living in California, coming to Green Bay, but man, I can’t speak enough for the man, the coach, what he’s meant to us.” 

LaFleur went on to say that Jordan Love is not the only person to have shined under Clements’ influence. As the senior member of the coaching staff, he has taught everyone in the locker room a thing or two. “We’re all better for having Tom around” LaFleur gushed. “I think I’m a better coach for having Tom around. I think our players certainly benefitted from having Tom around. He’s a great man, great coach, great friend.” 

The expectation level for Jordan Love going into next season is going to be through the roof. Perhaps too high for anyone to meet. He’s going to spend the next six months listening to everyone talk about what a great player he has become. How he may be the next superstar NFL quarterback. In all likelihood, he’s going to be extended to a very rich contract. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Packers are going to make him one of the highest paid signal callers in the league. 

Such accolades can go to a 25 year old’s head. He wouldn’t be the first quarterback to regress and flame out after having a great season. Remember Sam Bradford? Vince Young? Robert Griffin III? Blake Bortles? Carson Wentz? They all had one brilliant season and were heralded as future mega stars. Only Wentz is still playing in the league, and he’s a journeyman back-up. 

By all accounts Jordan Love seems to be a level-headed young man who is mature enough to handle the tidal wave of attention and hype that will wash over him this offseason. But he is going to need the stability and wisdom of a position coach who has seen so many of his players go through this experience before. He’s going to need another year of Tom Clements. 

 

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHEESEHEAD NATION WEEKLY NEWSLETTER HERE.

__________________________

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

__________________________

NFL Categories: 
15 points
 

Comments (36)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Spock's picture

January 25, 2024 at 04:07 pm

I hope Clements is amenable to staying around for at least one more season. However, I don't think Jordan has the kind of personality to become a 'Diva' (I hope I'm right). The only good thing about his throwing that last pass is that it might cause the Packers FO to pump the brakes on too fast a "Highest paid signal caller" just yet. He's under contract, let's make sure he's going to be a consistently (MLF likes that, lol) better QB going into next season. I would hope the FO would have learned from the last 'highest paid' contract for Rodgers to not hamstring (too soon?) the salary cap just after getting out from under 12's cap hit. Just my "two cents" lol.

12 points
14
2
Renllaw's picture

January 25, 2024 at 04:45 pm

Liberal use of incentives and escalators in his contract. If he continues to play like a top tier QB, then he hits em, gets top dollar, and everyone is happy. He can get those huge guaranteed dollars after he has proven he isn't a flash in the pan.

4 points
5
1
Packerpasty's picture

January 25, 2024 at 05:49 pm

next season will be the real test...second year as a starter, seen all the different defenses by then, Packers must make sure he is the "real deal" and doesnt become just another mediocre qb, win a few lose a few guy...doesnt look like thats the case but one never knows....nothing is guaranteed in the NFL..the Lions are going to have to pay a bunch to keep slow flat footed Goff, so prove yourself in the coming season you'll get yours...last season was too much up and down to break the bank just yet....

4 points
6
2
GregC's picture

January 25, 2024 at 07:14 pm

I haven't heard anyone suggest that Love should be the highest paid QB in the league. He might be in the top five though, or at least the top ten. There's a world of difference between Jordan Love right now vs. Aaron Rodgers a couple years ago. Love is an ascending player. Rodgers was on the verge of a possible steep decline. Love has earned a big contract, and it would be a bad sign if the Packers were not willing to give him one. I have little doubt that Love will be rewarded, as he should be. His performance this year did not look the least bit flukey. He has elite skills and does everything right.

4 points
4
0
Swisch's picture

January 25, 2024 at 09:33 pm

Good stuff, GregC.
I'm wary of making any of our Packers highest paid at their position; although I'm good with putting them in the top ten.
I want to treat our players right, but don't want them playing for the Packers mostly for the money. I want them to have a real appreciation for playing for a franchise that not only has a distinguished, even legendary history -- but also in the last three decades has been a class act and perennial winner in the NFL.
Also, we need guys who realize their teammates have to get paid a generous amount, as well; and that if we don't spread the wealth, then the Packers will likely be limited as far as overall talent to not being a serious contender for a title.
If certain guys have a thing about being highest paid at their position, it seems they're better suited to another team.
I'm a huge fan of Jordan Love, as well as a consistent supporter of him all along, but no player deserves to be paid to the detriment of his teammates, and no one is irreplaceable.
Please, Jordan, look at the total picture going forward, take something like $40 million per year on average for an extension of six years, and have a great life leading us to championships as part of a new legendary era for the Packers.
Your example of restraint and looking out for your teammates will set the tone for a renewed Titletown.

0 points
2
2
calabasa's picture

January 25, 2024 at 05:48 pm

Elvis Grbac, Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart made the Pro Bowl?

4 points
4
0
GregC's picture

January 25, 2024 at 07:07 pm

That surprised me too. I looked it up, and it's definitely true for Grbac and Stewart. I couldn't find any record of Maddox making the Pro Bowl.

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

January 25, 2024 at 06:03 pm

From what I understand, Clements never needed to come back to football. He just wanted to and then to work with Love. I hope this season excites him enough to want to see his new protege blossom even more.

10 points
10
0
T7Steve's picture

January 26, 2024 at 06:57 am

If he's hesitant maybe they can work out a deal where he spends the spring and summer in Green Bay when it's nice weather and work with these young QBs, then helps them remotely during the season by just watching their reps and games on video from his home in CA.

0 points
0
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

January 25, 2024 at 06:32 pm

I have followed Tom Clement's career ever since he became a professional QB in 1975 with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL (as we are the same age). Clements quickly established himself as a premiere QB who could both run and throw. Moreover he had the reputation as being a very smart QB.

Some decades later...he still remains in the game - which I believe speaks to his love of it. Yes, he did retire after his mentorship with Rodgers - because what was there left for him to accomplish - especially at his age and stage in life? Then came Love and he unretired. I believe that he could not resist the opportunity to coach/mentor back-to-back great QBs.

My prediction is that he will coach at least one more year in order to help establish Love as an undisputed top 10 NFL QB. Then he may conclude that his work is done. Also, let us not forget that he is likewise coaching young Clifford in being a capable back-up QB. So he is fully connected to young, talented and eager-to-learn players - which helps keep a coach young - at any age.

13 points
13
0
calabasa's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:36 pm

Ooh yeah. Then we trade Clifford in ‘25 for a 2nd. Mwahahahah…

-1 points
1
2
lou's picture

January 25, 2024 at 06:35 pm

What a resume, lead Notre Dame to a National Championship (Ara Parsegian) and is in the CFL Hall Of Fame, winning 2 Grey Cups. In addition he has a law degree, love to see him come back.

10 points
10
0
MainePackFan's picture

January 25, 2024 at 06:46 pm

This was an excellent article. Kudos Ken, you hit it right on the nose.

4 points
4
0
stockholder's picture

January 25, 2024 at 06:50 pm

I remember writing this when the season started=
”First test= Love; measuring the skill, knowledge, intelligence,
capacities, or aptitudes of an individual.
Obviously “Clutch” .

If you keep Clements around.-
Should Love get that big contract?
(Equal to the greats you mentioned.)

2 points
3
1
Oppy's picture

January 25, 2024 at 07:47 pm

1. Can you clarify what you mean by "If you keep Clements around should Love get that big contract?" I am confused by how Clements' being retained or not has anything to do with Love's contract.

2. I don't remember you writing anything like that when the season started. Anyone here remember that? I remember you writing a whole bunch of variations of 'Love isn't a starter, he's a horrible pick and Green Bay will never have a future as long as he's the starting QB'

7 points
9
2
LambeauPlain's picture

January 26, 2024 at 09:44 am

I don't understand his comment myself, nor do I recall the earlier statement...probably because I did not understand that one either.

2 points
2
0
stockholder's picture

January 26, 2024 at 09:58 am

I think you do.
If the work isn't done yet.
The pay scale changes.
The article suggests Love needs
more coaching.

0 points
3
3
Oppy's picture

January 27, 2024 at 12:37 am

THat's a ridiculous viewpoint.

Does that mean Rodgers should have been docked pay because he lobbied for Tom Clements to be brought back as his QB coach?

You are such a disingenuous commenter. Everything you throw out there is crafted with intent to down play success of others you were wrong about.

-1 points
0
1
ChrisD's picture

January 26, 2024 at 11:15 am

So wait, Burrow, Herbert, Jackson, Hurts and Wilson don’t have QBcoaches? Pretty sure they all do. So your argument is dumb.

0 points
1
1
Oppy's picture

January 27, 2024 at 12:37 am

ChrisD, meet Stockholder.
He's not dumb, per se, he's just a twat.

-1 points
0
1
NFLfan's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:04 pm

My guess is Clements will return. He only has to work 6-7 months a year and his wife is still involved in her high-powered design career. She's a very in-demand interior designer who works with celebrity clients in the LA area.

-1 points
1
2
Bitternotsour's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:09 pm

Want a long term successful marriage - live in different zip codes...

2 points
2
0
Tundraboy's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:59 pm

Maybe I should have tried that a few marriages ago! Lmao.

3 points
3
0
Johnblood27's picture

January 26, 2024 at 12:43 am

Remember...

It's NOT ... Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

It is...

Absence makes the heart go wander...

1 points
2
1
SwedeBayPacker's picture

January 25, 2024 at 11:26 pm

But... the second half of your statement would speak for him retiring so they can move to California for his wife's career?

0 points
0
0
ChrisD's picture

January 26, 2024 at 11:20 am

Pay attention, dude! They already live in California! He’s in GB during the season.

0 points
0
0
SinceLombardi's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:12 pm

I doubt Clements would leave when Love is so close to being a complete star qb. I think if he does 2024 to make sure there’s no regression, he will retire after that.

5 points
5
0
Tundraboy's picture

January 25, 2024 at 08:58 pm

This and MLF are really the only areas where continuity is critical, maybe WR and OL as well. Hope Tom stays at least one more year, and as long as he wants.

2 points
2
0
Swisch's picture

January 25, 2024 at 09:07 pm

As a youthful sports fanatic and idealistic Catholic lad of about age 10 in perhaps 1972, I seem to have a vague memory of empathy with a battle-worn Tom Clements as the quarterback of Notre Dame on the sideline near the end of a game struggling with a loss to rival USC.
Looking at little at the totality of his distinguished college career, and then playing professionally at a high level in Canada, I'm wondering why the Packers didn't see him as better than the QBs who were on the roster until at least the emergence of Lynn Dickey.
The good news is his subsequent stellar record as a coach for quarterbacks with the Packers, and I hope he may stick around for at least another season to mentor Jordan Love if that is a good thing for him and his family. (I prefer Wisconsin to California, anyway, but then again, I'm eccentric.)
We all need as many good voices as possible aiding us throughout our lives.

-1 points
0
1
Johnblood27's picture

January 26, 2024 at 12:44 am

did you say voices or vices?

3 points
3
0
Cheeseheadinseattle's picture

January 25, 2024 at 09:11 pm

You hit the nail on the head on this one. Tom Clements is the Oz behind the curtain with QBs. Imagine Favre, Rodgers, and now Love. Give Clements a hefty raise and let him continue the fine-tuning with Love. With Clements back and a decent DC running the defense, the sky is the limit (barring injury) for the 2024 Pack. It would be nice to snag some help in the draft at safety, linebacker and the OL. GO PACK!

4 points
4
0
canadapacker's picture

January 25, 2024 at 11:41 pm

WE need Clements around and Love needs Clements around. Now I hope a couple of things will happen. Love will learn from AR that you cant negotiate a contract that cuts all of the ancillary players while trying to establish your legacy. AR taught him that. Now there are ways to earn extra cash and success needs to be based upon more than your first big contract. First you prove that you are the next franchise QB and then you go after the big payday or you might find out that your second contract is your last as has happened so far. Now from the early indication Love has a good head on his shoulders. Also hoping that he has offseason "practices" with his receivers as so many others have had with their recievers. Finally hope that Lafleur lives up to this Offensive Genius label and comes into the season with a whole new unique bunch of calls that maximizes these new weapons that are on the offense.

2 points
2
0
Packers0808's picture

January 26, 2024 at 07:21 am

What seems to missed is Clements is almost non-existant. Just goes about his business with no fan fare and created some monster quarterbacks!

1 points
2
1
LambeauPlain's picture

January 26, 2024 at 09:50 am

How many QB Coaches have been instrumental in the development of 2 All Pro, HOF material QBs...and possibly has a 3rd in the making? For the same NFL team?

That must be a strong motivator for Tom to stay another year...or more.

2 points
2
0
jont's picture

January 26, 2024 at 11:28 am

I was greatly encouraged by the contract Love signed last summer. A two-year deal with a good raise and significant guaranteed money, it seemed perfectly reasonable. That suggested to me that Love and the FO were perfectly reasonable.

The idea was to give Love a year to play and improve without thinking about a contract. That could wait a year.

The team got its wait-and-see, and Love bet on himself. We all agree it worked out pretty well.

Everything we've seen tells us the reasonableness will continue. Love will get a respectable base, a big guaranteed amount, and achievable escalators which should put right up there where we all hope he will be for years to come.

Next year is next year, but right now the Love situation looks pretty good.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

January 26, 2024 at 08:35 pm

To me Clements is key to preventing Love from any regression in his second season as a starting QB. 2024 is a critical season in Love’s career. If he continues to evolve as a starting NFL QB he is probably going to go on to at least a very good but likely a great career.

However if he regresses, especially with a new QB coach, who knows where his career could go. I’m hoping that Clements returns for this critical second season for Jordan Love.
Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
1
0