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Tom Clements: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching candidate

Could Tom Clements turn Josh Freeman into this?
Could Tom Clements turn Josh Freeman into this?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly interviewed Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements for their open head coaching position. The Bucs interviewed the Packers' offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as well, but Clements might actually have a better track record than Philbin.

Clements played in the Canadian Football League as a quarterback for 12 years, making it into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1994. He translated that experience as a quarterback into an excellent record as a quarterbacks coach. Kordell Stewart, Elvis Grbac, Tommy Maddox, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers all reached the Pro Bowl under his guidance.

Clements also has a reputation as a quiet but very good and critical coach, an excellent teacher and a real competitor. I've heard his name circulated as a potential head coach for months now, but that doesn't mean he would be a good one. Can he translate his skills as a QBs coach into being a good head coach?

Previous Experience
Quarterback, Canadian Football League, 1975-1987 (ex 1980) - won 2 championships, one MVP award
Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs, 1980
Quarterbacks Coach, Notre Dame, 1992-1995
Quarterbacks Coach, New Orleans Saints, 1997-1999
Quarterbacks Coach, Kansas City Chiefs, 2000
Quarterbacks Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2001-2003
Offensive Coordinator, Buffalo Bills, 2004-2005
Quarterbacks Coach, Green Bay Packers, 2006-Present

Why Tom Clements should be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coach

  1. Will turn Josh Freeman into a star
    Tom Clements is one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the NFL. He has helped develop many star quarterbacks, and none more so than Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay quarterback is a very different player than he was when he was drafted, and a lot of those improvements can be attributed to Tom Clements.

    The coach helped Rodgers completely revamp his throwing motion and mechanics, helped him read defenses and taught him how to be a professional quarterback in the NFL. While Clements wouldn't be able to spend that kind of time with Freeman if he were a head coach, he would be able to help Freeman develop into a top notch NFL quarterback.
  2. Has the network to assemble a quality coaching staff
    Tom Clements has spent 15 years as a coach in the NFL and has been on five different coaching staffs. That should give him plenty of connections in the NFL and an extensive network to help him put together a quality coaching staff. As much as finding the right head coach is important, so is putting together a good coaching staff.
  3. Can bring the Packers' culture with him
    The culture in a building is important to a team's success. The right balance has to be struck between accountability, expectations of excellence and creating a fun environment to work in. The Green Bay Packers have done an excellent job creating that culture inside their team, and Clements could bring that kind of culture to Tampa Bay.
Why Tom Clements should not be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coach
  1. Has almost no experience at anything other than being a quarterbacks coach
    In his fifteen-year coaching career, he's only been anything other than a quarterbacks coach: during 2004 and 2005 he was the offensive coordinator of a lackluster Buffalo offense. Hardly the kind of success you can hang your hat on. Clements doesn't have a lot of experience being a leader of a large group of football players, so the question is whether he has the experience necessary to be a successful head coach. Can he preside over a group of coaches and players and get them to work on a team or is he just a very good position coach?
  2. Can he design an offense?
    The Green Bay Packers' offense is mostly a result of head coach Mike McCarthy. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is doubtlessly involved as well, and so is Tom Clements. But to what extent is Tom Clements involved? How responsible is he for that offense? And can he bring that offense to Tampa? This is all moot if he can find the right offensive coordinator, but the fact that he coached with the Packers doesn't mean he can bring their style of play to the Bucs.
  3. Can he lead a group of players with his quiet demeanor?
    In a profile of Tom Clements at, he is described as a "quiet man of integrity who values his privacy, has little use for political maneuvering and yet is fully capable of presenting himself in an impressive and articulate manner when the situation calls."

    Being a quiet leader is not a problem as a head coach. Tony Dungy among others made it work. The question is whether he is dominant enough to be a head coach. He's always stayed in the background and out of the spotlight. Can he handle being a head coach and all the publicity that comes with it?