Clements, Campen Share Thoughts On Favre

Brett Favre’s final position coach, quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, may have provided the best explanation yet for how Favre was able to put together one of his best seasons in his 17th, and what turned out to be final, year in the NFL. - More Audio | Video


QB coach Tom Clements and Brett Favre study defensive formations on the sideline at the Metrodome in Minneapolis this past season.

Brett Favre's final position coach, quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, may have provided the best explanation yet for how Favre was able to put together one of his best seasons in his 17th, and what turned out to be final, year in the NFL.

"He had a steel-trap mind as far as football is concerned," Clements said Wednesday, speaking to a small group of reporters in the Lambeau Field Atrium. "He could look at something on film during the week and it could happen just like that in the game and he'd have instant recall of that."

Clements saw that mind at work over his two seasons as Favre's position coach, and it was a mind that combined a wealth of experience with a dedication to preparation each and every week.

That combination helped produce one of Favre's best years in 2007, when he completed a career-high 66.5 percent of his throws, surpassed 4,000 yards for the fifth time and posted a 95.7 passer rating that ranks third-best in his career.

Clements not only saw Favre's mental acuity in the film room, but also during games when (as is often shown on television) they'd be looking at snapshots of defensive formations the offense just encountered.

"We would look at pictures and he would really study those pictures to see what he would do if that exact same situation came up again in the game," Clements said. "And if it did, he had exact recall of that situation based on his viewing of the pictures."

Favre wasn't quite the same student of the game in his younger days, and it's only natural for that approach to develop over time. But the traits he did display from the outset were his desire and his leadership, according to offensive line coach James Campen, who was Favre's center when his record consecutive games streak began on Sept. 27, 1992.

"When he first came here, people called him a gunslinger, a free spirit, and he certainly was that," said Campen, who also spoke with reporters on Wednesday. "But the minute he stepped into the huddle, you knew that you believed in him and (when) you looked at him, no matter the situation, you had an opportunity to win. He gave you that opportunity and he instilled that in a lot of us, because we didn't win a lot until he got here."


Campen described the younger Favre as a teammate who "always had your back," and players, even veteran ones like him, respected that in a young leader.

"He gave his best effort every Sunday, and if you gave it back to him, whether you won or lost, you could feel good about yourself coming off the field," Campen said. "I think (he was) just a very, very loyal teammate and someone you could always count on.

"He understood what the chemistry in the locker room meant to the football club."

The coaches believe Favre's pending replacement, Aaron Rodgers, understands that, too, and it will serve him well no matter how difficult the first post-Favre year may be for the franchise.

{sportsad300}"I don't think the job is too big for him," Clements said. "This will be his fourth year. I think he's gotten better every year that he's been here. I think he's very relaxed and comfortable with the system."

The confidence the coaches have in Rodgers is evident. In working with him the past two years, Clements is impressed with Rodgers' talent, smarts, accuracy, and strong arm, just to name a few qualities.

And Rodgers' response when he was thrown into the fire this past season in Dallas - when Favre got hurt with the team trailing 27-10 in the biggest game of the season to that point - carries the most weight in that evaluation. Rodgers brought the Packers within a field goal early in the fourth quarter, completing 18 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, for a 104.8 rating.

"When he got his opportunity against a quality team in a big game this past year, he didn't flinch," Clements said. "He played well. There's going to be bumps along the road, he knows that. He's replacing a legend, but I think he's up to the challenge."

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