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Packers finalize coaching staff

Two coaches added, five get new titles

The Green Bay Packers have named Tom Clements associate head coach/offense, Edgar Bennett offensive coordinator, Alex Van Pelt quarterbacks/wide receivers coach, Mike Solari assistant offensive line coach, Jerry Montgomery defensive front assistant, Ron Zook special teams coordinator and Jason Simmonsassistant special teams coach. Head Coach Mike McCarthy made the announcement Thursday.

Clements possesses 22 years of coaching experience, including five seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator. He was the Packers' offensive coordinator for the past three seasons after serving

as quarterbacks coach in his first six years with Green Bay. In his nine seasons with the team, the Packers have finished in the top 10 in the NFL in total offense eight times and in the top 10 in scoring eight times. Clements has helped the Green Bay offense record the three highest single-season point totals in franchise history: 560 in 2011, 486 in 2014 and 461 in 2009. In 2014, the Packers set single-season franchise records with 356 first downs and just 13 turnovers. Clements has been instrumental in the development of QB Aaron Rodgers, whose 106.0 career passer rating ranks No. 1 in NFL history (min. 1,500 attempts). Rodgers is the only quarterback in league history to record a 100-plus passer rating in six consecutive seasons (2009-14). Prior to joining Green Bay, Clements was the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (2004-05) and the quarterbacks coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03), Kansas City Chiefs (2000) and New Orleans Saints (1997-99). His coaching career began at the University of Notre Dame, where he served as quarterbacks coach (1992-94) and wide receivers/assistant head coach (1995). Clements was an All-American quarterback for the Fighting Irish and went on to have a 12-year playing career in the Canadian Football League that earned him enshrinement into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1994.

Bennett begins his 23rd NFL season in 2015, including his 21st in Green Bay. He spent the past four seasons as the Packers' wide receivers coach after six seasons as the running backs coach. Bennett helped Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb become one of the best wide-receiver combinations in the NFL. This past season, they became the first duo in NFL history to both record 90-plus receptions, 1,200-plus yards and 12-plus touchdown receptions in the same season. Both Cobb and Nelson set numerous career highs and were selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2014. As running backs coach, Bennett helped develop several key ball carriers for the Packers, including James Starks and Ryan Grant. Starks started Green Bay's Super Bowl run with 123 rushing yards in the NFC Wild Card game at Philadelphia, the most ever by a rookie in team postseason history. In just six seasons (2007-12), Grant registered the fifth-most rushing yards (4,143) in franchise history. Bennett originally joined Green Bay as a fourth-round draft pick in 1992 and holds the club single-season record for receptions by a running back with 78 (1994). He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2005.

Van Pelt will be entering his fourth season with the Packers and his 10th as an NFL coach in 2015. This past season he was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach, helping Aaron Rodgers earn his fourth career selection to the Pro Bowl and second MVP award from The Associated Press. Rodgers ranked No. 1 in the NFL in 2014 in TD/INT ratio (7.60, 38/5), No. 2 in passer rating (112.2) and yards/attempt (8.43), and No. 3 in TD passes (38). He was the only QB in the NFL to finish in the top three in all four of those categories. In his first two seasons with the Packers, Van Pelt served as Green Bay's running backs coach. In 2013, he helped the Packers rank No. 7 in the league in rushing offense (133.5 ypg), highlighted by RB Eddie Lacy's 1,178 rushing yards, the most by a rookie in franchise history. Prior to joining Green Bay, Van Pelt served as the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons (2010-11). He spent the previous four seasons (2006-09) with the Buffalo Bills, serving as offensive quality control coach from 2006-07, quarterbacks coach in '08 and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in '09.

Solari (so-LARR-ee), who will be entering his 27th season as an assistant coach in the NFL in 2015, joins the Packers after spending the past five seasons as the offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers. From 2010-14, the 49ers averaged 132.1 rushing yards per game, the fifth most in the NFL over that span. In 2012, he guided an offensive line that featured the same five starters every game and had each member selected to the Pro Bowl as a participant or an alternate. Prior to joining the 49ers, Solari spent two years (2008-09) coaching the offensive line for the Seattle Seahawks. From 1997-2007, he coached for the Kansas City Chiefs, spending the first eight seasons as offensive line coach and the final two as offensive coordinator. The Daly City, California, native served as the tight ends/assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers from 1992-96. His NFL coaching career started with two seasons (1987-88) as assistant offensive line/special teams coach for the Dallas Cowboys and one season (1989) as offensive line coach for the Phoenix Cardinals. While most of his career has been at the professional level, Solari has also coached in the college ranks at Alabama (1990-91), Pittsburgh (1986), Kansas (1983-85), Cincinnati (1981-82), Boise State (1980) and U.S. International (1979), as well as Mira Costa Junior College (1978) and Mission Bay (Calif.) High School (1976-77).

Montgomery joins the Packers after serving as the defensive line coach for the University of Oklahoma for the past two seasons. In 2013, he helped the Sooners lead the Big 12 in total defense (350.2 ypg) and pass defense (212.5 ypg). Prior to Oklahoma, Montgomery was the defensive line coach for the University of Michigan (2011-12), the University of Wyoming (2009-10) and the University of Northern Iowa (2007-08). He was a graduate assistant for Northern Iowa in 2006 and was the defensive coordinator for North Iowa Community College in 2005. Montgomery's coaching career began as a student coach for the University of Iowa in 2002. He was a four-year starter at defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes and spent the 2002 training camp with the New Orleans Saints. He also played in the Arena Football League (2003-05) and served as an assistant coach for Iowa City West High School (2002-04).

Zook is in his second season with Green Bay, having served as assistant special teams coach in 2014. The 2015 season will mark his eighth season as an NFL assistant and his fourth as a special teams coordinator. He has 35 years of coaching experience on the professional and collegiate levels, including 10 seasons as a head coach. Prior to joining the Packers, Zook served as the head coach at the University of Illinois from 2005-11, earning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2007 after he led the Fighting Illini to a 9-4 record and the program's first Rose Bowl berth since 1983. Prior to Illinois, Zook spent three seasons (2002-04) as head coach at the University of Florida after six seasons in the NFL. Zook's time in the NFL included serving as special teams coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-98), defensive backs coach with the Kansas City Chiefs (1999) and defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints (2000-01). His New Orleans defense led the NFL with 119 sacks during his two-year stint and ranked No. 10 in the league in scoring defense in 2000. Zook's assistant coaching experience on the collegiate level includes stops at Murray State (1978-80), Cincinnati (1981-82), Kansas (1983), Tennessee (1984-86), Virginia Tech (1987), Ohio State (1988-90) and Florida (1991-1995).

Simmons will be entering his fifth season with Green Bay in 2015, having served as a defensive/special teams assistant last season and as a coaching administrator from 2011-13. In 2014, he assisted with special teams and the defensive backs and worked in quality control. He joined the Packers after playing safety for 10 seasons in the NFL, appearing in 121 games with 12 starts during his career. Simmons played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2001) and six with the Houston Texans (2002-07). He was selected by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Arizona State, where he was a four-year letterman and earned second-team All-Pacific-10 honors as a senior in 1997.

The Green Bay Packers announced changes to the coaching staff Thursday. Photos by Tyler Gajewski,

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