5 things learned from Packers' assistant coaches

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Clements reunited for a common goal

Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements & QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – The Packers' new coaches and those who received offseason promotions addressed the media on Tuesday. Here are five things we learned:

1. Tom Clements reconsidered retirement after talks with Aaron Rodgers.

Clements was sitting back, drinking a few choice beverages and enjoying retired life in Los Angeles when his former pupil reached out to gauge the longtime NFL assistant's interest in a potential return to Green Bay.

The Packers had an opening at quarterbacks coach after Luke Getsy left to become the Chicago Bears' new offensive coordinator. Clements previously held the QB post from 2006-11 before receiving a promotion to offensive coordinator.

One conversation with Rodgers led to another, and Clements eventually was offered the position after meeting with Head Coach Matt LaFleur during the week of the Super Bowl. While Rodgers didn't officially announce his return for an 18th season until March 9, Clements felt good enough about things to accept.

"That was my first question to him, what are you thinking?" said Clements of his conversations with Rodgers. "We just talked about it and I felt good, fairly confident that he was coming back.

"The team and he have had some great years and still has a good chance to contend for the Super Bowl. I know that's what he wants. He wants another Super Bowl and that was one of the things that intrigued me also."

Clements most recently served as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals. In two seasons on Kliff Kingsbury's staff, Clements oversaw the development of former No. 1 pick Kyler Murray.

Clements opted to retire after the 2020 season due to his family being in California and the travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clements wasn't actively looking to get back into the coaching ranks until Rodgers reached out, correspondence that stoked the fire inside the 68-year-old coach.

Watching from afar, Clements has been impressed by what Rodgers, LaFleur and the Packers have accomplished. He sees the current offense as a "hybrid" of things Rodgers has done well throughout his career and new concepts LaFleur has emphasized, such as more under-center calls and play-action.

"I've only been here with the coaches so far but he's obviously done very well," said Clements of LaFleur. "To win as many games as the team has in the three years, it's pretty impressive. I think he's got a good bunch of guys on the staff who've worked together. They have a lot of fun together. He's directing what he wants and he does it in a good way."

In addition to coaching Rodgers, Clements also will be tasked with developing 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, who could have another busy spring ahead of him depending on Rodgers' participation in the offseason program, which begins next week.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know him a little better," Clements said. "He has a strong arm. He's athletic. Those are good qualities to have. We'll just try to develop him as best we can."

2. While it was "tough" losing Davante Adams, Jason Vrable is still excited about his receivers room.

Green Bay's receivers coach/passing game coordinator admitted it was a "hard day" when he was informed last month the Packers had traded their five-time Pro Bowl receiver to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Understanding the business of football, however, Vrable is excited about the receivers the Packers are returning in addition to those that'll be added in a few weeks' time during the NFL Draft.

"I'm actually really excited about it, I really am," Vrable said. "Getting new guys in here, we have a great roster already here – guys who've played – but fresh guys. It's exciting. It's a test for me and Matt along with our offensive staff to get these guys up to par, whoever it might be."

Vrable praised veterans Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard for the standard they've set with the wideouts, while pointing towards the upside he sees in 2021 third-round pick Amari Rodgers.

Rodgers played sparingly on offense as a rookie, catching four passes for 45 yards. Vrable said he spoke with him recently and the 5-foot-9, 212-pound receiver plans on returning in the "best shape of his life" to offseason workouts.

"He really feels like after last year, he was kind of on the world tour of the circuits," Vrable said. "He came off the ACL. Just everything was like a whirlwind, and he really feels comfortable in his own skin. I think he's going to take a big step but he's going to have to put in the work. I'm really excited about him."

3. Elgton Jenkins' future on the O-line will depend on where he's needed.

The Packers know they may have to bide their time until the former Pro Bowl offensive lineman is cleared from the torn anterior cruciate ligament Jenkins suffered last November against Minnesota.

Whenever Jenkins does return, how the offensive line performs in his absence likely will determine which position he plays on Green Bay's O-line this season.

The Packers have an opening at right tackle that could be filled by third-year veteran Yosh Nijman, while Jon Runyan and Royce Newman return at the two guard spots after leading Green Bay's O-line in playing time last season.

Jenkins has played everywhere on the O-line during his three seasons with the Packers, starting 26 regular-season games at left guard, eight at left tackle, three at center and one at right tackle.

"That's the one advantage we have having a player like him because I feel like he can be an excellent tackle. He can be an excellent guard. He can be an excellent center," said offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich, who served as Green Bay's offensive line coach the past three seasons. "So, it really depends on what the other guys are doing because we're always going to put our best five out there that we feel are going to help us win the game."

4. Darnell Savage has the potential to be an 'elite' safety.

This is a big year for the Packers' former first-round pick, who has started all 46 regular-season games that he's played for Green Bay over the past three seasons.

Working alongside veteran Adrian Amos, Savage has amassed 193 tackles, eight interceptions and two forced fumbles. While there's been some questions about whether Savage could slide down to the nickel cornerback spot, the Packers remain committed to him playing centerfield in the secondary.

"Darnell is a special talent. I think Darnell Savage has the ability to be an elite player in this league," said safeties coach Ryan Downard, promoted from assistant DB coach. "He's incredibly intelligent. He is probably among the best that I've been around with the ability to retain information, so he carries that.

"The second thing, he cares so much that he takes great pride in not making mistakes twice. So, I think with that approach, he's going to continue to build and build and build."

5. Green Bay needs to fill out its edge-rushing rotation after Za'Darius Smith's departure, Whitney Mercilus' retirement.

The top of the depth chart at outside linebacker is pretty much locked in with returning veterans Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, who combined for 45 quarterback hits and 18½ sacks in 2021.

Behind Smith and Gary, Green Bay is banking on the incoming draft and returning veterans Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, La'Darius Hamilton and Randy Ramsey to fill out the rotation.

"I love four guys," said new outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich when asked about the optimal rotation for outside linebackers.

"Four legit guys that you can sub them in, sub them out, whether it's situational, red-zone, two-minute, third-down packages. I'm not opposed to having two on and two off. If you get four guys and that's how we gotta rotate them, then that's how we gotta rotate them."

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