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Mike Spofford

Mike Spofford has worked as a sportswriter in Wisconsin since 1995 and has been a packers.com staff writer since 2006. He has covered the Packers' last two Super Bowl appearances, XXXII and XLV.


McAdoo groomed for quarterbacks job

Posted Feb 13, 2012

In less than a decade, Ben McAdoo has risen from a quality control position – the lowest rung on the NFL coaching ladder – to now being personally responsible for the league’s reigning most valuable player.

McAdoo isn’t buying the idea, however, that as the Packers’ new quarterbacks coach his job is simply to get Aaron Rodgers to maintain his current high level of play.

“I’m not going to come out and say that he’s peaked,” McAdoo said of Rodgers, who was named the NFL’s MVP a little over a week ago. “I won’t say that. I think he’s a guy that can still get better and is looking forward to getting better.

“He’s probably at the peak of his career when you look at his age, but I think he’s a guy that wants to put more rings on his finger, just like the rest of us.”

McAdoo’s latest promotion was made in conjunction with the previous quarterbacks coach, Tom Clements, moving up to offensive coordinator.

He hasn’t played or coached the position before, but McAdoo is Mike McCarthy’s choice to tutor his quarterbacks because of his extensive experience in McCarthy’s offensive system.

While McCarthy was the offensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2004, McAdoo joined the staff as an offensive assistant and quality control coach. He held a similar position the following year in San Francisco under McCarthy and then came with him to Green Bay in 2006 to coach the Packers’ tight ends.

“Not only am I comfortable with what we’re doing on offense now and feel good about it, I’ve seen the offense evolve,” McAdoo said. “I’ve seen it evolve not only here but in two other places. I feel that’s a huge advantage.”

Believing he’s been “groomed for the position,” McAdoo also has been more than a casual observer over the years of McCarthy’s offseason quarterback school. He’ll be running that this spring with the goal of developing a top backup to Rodgers, assuming free agent Matt Flynn leaves for a starting opportunity elsewhere.

“This is a promotion we were anticipating for probably the last two years with Ben McAdoo,” McCarthy said. “He knows this offense as well as anybody. He’s been preparing for this opportunity and he’ll do a great job.”

McCarthy expressed similar confidence in Clements, whom he called an “obvious” and “natural” choice to become offensive coordinator following Joe Philbin’s hiring in Miami.

Clements was a candidate along with Philbin back in 2007 to become offensive coordinator, but he patiently waited his turn. He said as a quarterbacks coach he’s had to see the offense through the eyes of the linemen, backs and receivers, so as far as the big picture goes, he expects a smooth transition to his new post.

He’s taking over an offense that set a boatload of records in 2011 but, like McAdoo, he’s embracing the challenge ahead.

“I wouldn’t look at it as pressure,” Clements said. “You have pressure each year to succeed. We’ve had success over the last several years and we want to continue to do it, so everyone’s going to work toward that goal.”

McCarthy will continue to call the plays, and Clements said the two are still discussing whether during games he’ll move from the sidelines to the coaches’ box in the press box area, where Philbin was.

Either way, the added responsibilities won’t phase Clements, who previously served as the offensive coordinator in Buffalo (2004-05), though admittedly without the plethora of talent the Packers possess.

For both McAdoo and Clements, these promotions come on the heels of media reports that other teams had expressed interest in hiring them away, but McCarthy has managed to maintain a level of staff stability while moving deserving men up the ranks from within.

So far, it has worked out nicely for the coaches, and for the offense as a whole.

“We’ve had great continuity on the coaching staff since Mike’s been here, which is obviously helpful,” Clements said. “We have a set way of doing things, and we look at it and try to improve on it each year. We have a system in place, a plan in place, all the coaches are familiar with it, and that helps us implement it.”

Additional coverage - Feb. 13
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