The San Francisco 49ers will likely finalize their hiring of Kyle Shanahan this weekend, and the next step would be to get a staff hired around him. Given the timing of this process, it is all but assured that Shanahan has been in touch with some potential assistants. And now there is one name freed up that might be worth at least having on our radar.
Green Bay Packers assistant head coach Tom Clements will not be returning in 2017. his contract expired this year, and Mike McCarthy announced that Clements will, “move on to some other interests.” Clements served as assistant head coach with an “offense” designation. He served as Packers quarterbacks coach from 2006 to 2011, and then was offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014. The team made a change, promoting him to assistant head coach early in 2015, and promoting Edgar Bennett to offensive coordinator.
Given his experience and work on the offensive side of the ball, my first thought was that maybe an outside interest is potentially joining another coaching staff. Kyle Shanahan has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator, but Clements is a guy who has been around the league for some time now.
I decided to check in with our folks at Acme Packing Company to discuss Clements. Jason Hirschorn had this to say about Clements’ departure:
My strong suspicion is Clements' deal tolled after the 2016 season (Packers assistants usually work under two-year contracts and he had his redone when he got promoted two offseasons ago) and the fallout from having the play sheet stripped from him during the 2015 season probably made this inevitable. I can't speak for Tex, but I was surprised when he returned for this past season.
Jason also offered this in discussion a potential fit with the 49ers. His work with Aaron Rodgers is particularly intriguing:
As for the 49ers, Clements could make a lot of sense. Rodgers has credited him as much as McCarthy for his development into an MVP quarterback. Given that San Francisco is likely to draft a quarterback in the not-too-distant future, having a guy with Clements' track record makes sense. He probably makes less sense as an OC though. Clements has had play-calling duties twice in his career (first in Buffalo), and both times the head coach took them away.
There have been some rumblings about the 49ers interest in Gus Bradley and Vic Fangio on the defensive side of the ball. Shanahan will be in charge of the offense, but a solid offensive assistant will be needed, particularly with Shanahan having so much responsibility with the overall roster. Someone who has gotten extensive praise for his work with Aaron Rodgers is probably worth at least a look.