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“Old Clem” Fires Up the QB Forge

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Would you like to see how clutch the Cardinals’ new QB coach and passing game coordinator was at Notre Dame? Check this vintage ending to the 1973 NCAA Championship Game: (and the call by Chris Schenkel and Howard Cosell!)

Tom Clements’ Playing Career:

Say hello to QB Tom Clements, MVP of the 1973 Sugar Bowl, who led his undefeated #3 ranked Fighting irish over Paul “Bear” Bryant’s undefeated #1 Crimson Tide.

Talk about gutsy calls late in games—-how about legendary coach Are Parseghian electing to have Clements throw out of his own end zone on a 3rd and 13, up 24-23, with 2 minutes left in the game—-and Clements, off play-action, throws a perfect 37 yard strike to TE Robin Weber on a corner route.

Then—-over a minute later—-Clements seals the epic win, as he runs 8 yards one inch ahead of the yard marker before getting blasted out of bounds.

Clements was a nifty all-purpose QB at Notre Dame who, as a three year starter, threw for 3,594 yards and 24 TDs and ran for 1,070 yards and 12 TDs.

As a professional, Clements starred in the Canadian Football League, winning two Grey Cups, 7 CFL All-Star awards and 1 CFL MVP. Clements ended his CFL career with 39,000 passing yards, 252 passing touchdowns, and a 60.35 completion percentage.

Clements also played briefly for one year (1980) with the Kansas City Chiefs.

But today, Tom Clements is more widely known for the job he did as a QB coach and OC with the Green Bay Packers. During his 11 year tenure with the Packers, Clements made a name for himself for grooming QBs Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

In TC’s last 3 years as the Packers’ OC (2012-2014), here are QB Aaron Rodgers’ numbers:

2012—-16 G—-11-5 record—-371/552/67.2%/4,295/39-8 td-int/108.0 QBR

2013—-9 G—-6-3 record—-190/293/66.6%/2.536/17-6 td-int/104.6 QBR

2014—-16 G—-12-4 record—-341/520/65.5%/4,331/38-5 td-int/112.2 QBR

Clements’ Offensive Rankings in those 3 years:

Total Yards: 13, 3, 6

Total Points: 5, 8, 1

Rush Yards: 20, 7, 11

Pass Yards: 7, 6, 8

Interception Rate (fewest): 1, 17, 1

So what does Tom Clements bring to the Cardinals?

  • An ability to groom NFL QBs
  • A wide-ranging understanding of the evolution of the NFL passing game.
  • A belief that QBs should use their legs to extend plays and to move the chains, when necessary, via scrambles.

The Legend of “Old Clem”:

St. Clement’s Day occurs every year on November 23rd—-named for Pope Clement I who was dubbed the patron saint of metalworkers and blacksmiths—-referred to as ”Old Clem” by Charles Dickens in the novel Great Expectations whenever Pip’s amiable brother-in-law Joe fired up the forge and started hammering away.

“Old Clem” was credited for inventing the horseshoe.

So what will happen when the Cardinals’ “Old Clem” forges the shoes and fits them on Josh Rosen, Mike Glennon and Chad Kanoff?

With “Old Clem” on board as Kliff Kingsbury’s right hand man on offense, can the Cardinals make a Cinderella type run for the roses?

This has the classic feel of venerable owner Charles Howard (Bill Bidwill), jockey George Wolfe (Kliff Kingsbury), jockey Red Pollard (Vance Joseph), trainer Tom Smith (Tom Clements) and, of course, our beloved long shot Seabiscuit (the Arizona Cardinals).