According to WDUZ The Fan 107.5 FM in Green Bay, the Green Bay Packers are reportedly promoting wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett to offensive coordinator. Current offensive coordinator Tom Clements will promote to assistant head coach and take over the offensive play-calling duties as well. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweeted that he has multiple sources saying the Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is still pondering staffing changes and play-calling duty changes, but that nothing has been finalized.
While this is sorted out, there has not been any speculation as to who might replace Bennett as wide receivers coach. The move would come on the heels of a devastating loss for the Packers in the NFC championship game against the Seattle Seahawks, after which McCarthy was heavily criticized for his play calling throughout the game. Second-guessing play calls is all too common today with the increased access that media and fans have to information about the teams and the inner workings during the actual game. Just a week ago, Super Bowl XLIX saw the Seahawks elect not to give the ball to running back Marshawn Lynch on a second down play inside the five-yard line and instead attempted a pass that was intercepted. The turnover sealed the win and championship for the New England Patriots and everyone is still debating and contriving conspiracy theories about why Seattle chose to throw.
One thing that stood out, however, that makes this apparent move by the Packers a bit less surprising is a comment that McCarthy made during his season-ending press conference. When asked why linebacker Clay Matthews wasn’t on the field at the end of the last game in Seattle, here was his answer:
“I talked to Clay and he just said he needed a minute. Looking him in the eye and everything, I didn’t see any reason for concern there. But as far as, the doctors, especially being a play-caller, I don’t get every play by play of what every guy was looked at during the course of the game.”
Additionally, when asked why the Packers didn’t try to challenge Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman when he was obviously hampered by an arm injury, McCarthy again indicated that he wasn’t aware of the injury.
These two incidents bring to light something that the Packers seemed to be pondering as well: should the head coach be more aware of what is going on in all phases during games? According to this report about staffing and responsibility changes and if true, the answer is yes.
Since taking over as head coach of the Packers in 2006, McCarthy has called the offense. He’s an offensive mind and so the removal of calling each play will lead to some interesting questions about how McCarthy will handle the transition as well as what this means for the Packers offense. McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have said many times that Rodgers has total autonomy at the line of scrimmage to change a play based on the defensive alignment across from them. Judging by the Packers’ track record over the seven seasons that Rodgers has been the starter, he seems to have a good handle on that added responsibility. Looking at what Peyton Manning has made a Hall of Fame career out of in both Indianapolis and in Denver, Rodgers is also one of a rare breed that almost takes on the role of coordinator while playing.
While these potential moves signal change, it would keep the continuity of the offense and the staff together. Clements has not always been very forthright and available to the media so it’s hard to gauge what exactly we can expect with his calling the offense on Sundays. The other question is what happens, if anything, to current assistant head coach and linebackers coach Winston Moss? There doesn’t appear to be anything keeping the Packers from having two coaches carry the title of “assistant head coach”. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that it could affect both Clements and Moss in terms of future interview opportunities. There were reports that the Cleveland Browns were interested in Clements for their offensive coordinator position, however the Packers have long held onto the policy of not allowing other NFL teams to speak to their coaches about lateral job openings. As far as Moss, he hasn’t drawn much interest around the league the past few years and one has to think that the play of the Packers linebackers, specifically on the inside, isn’t doing him any favors.
We will continue to monitor this for confirmation from the team, but this is the first shake up in Green Bay heading into the 2015 offseason and with the start of free agency just a month away, there will be more to come.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: