McAdoo brings fresh perspective to Packers QB position
By Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Press-Gazette
~Former tight ends coach knows he has something to prove
~GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers didn’t get the experienced quarterback coach he thought might benefit him at this point in his career, but he may have gained some things in exchange.
The reigning NFL MVP got perhaps an even greater say in the quarterback meeting room, plus his old coach hasn’t been far away.
With new Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, the team’s tight ends coach from 2006-11, Rodgers already has developed an open line of communication that could be beneficial during key phases such as game planning and play calling. With his old position coach Tom Clements, who was promoted to offensive coordinator after Joe Philbin became the Miami Dolphins head coach in January, Rodgers still has the coach who drilled him on the fundamentals early in his career.
So far during coach Mike McCarthy’s noted quarterback school this offseason both McAdoo and Clements have been involved. Though Clements has been careful to let McAdoo run the meetings, the offensive coordinator will remain involved with the quarterbacks. That’s a change from Philbin, who spent more time with the offensive line, running backs and tight ends during his tenure as coordinator.
“Having Tom in the room as well is going to help (McAdoo) in his development,” Rodgers said Tuesday after the first practice of this spring’s organized team activities. “But what it comes down to is just him and I being on the same game and him giving me an opportunity to speak up in our meetings, too. Going into my eighth season, my fifth as a starter, I think we can both help each other out. And he’s allowed me to have a voice in that room, as Tom did, and I think that helps the young guys.”
Before McCarthy promoted McAdoo, who had never played or coached quarterbacks, Rodgers suggested that he might be better served at this point of his career if the Packers brought in someone with NFL quarterback playing and/or experience.
“I understood where Aaron was coming from,” McAdoo said. “I’m not defensive about that. I didn’t play the position. I’ve never coached the position. I have something to prove.”
So what can a 34-year-old with little or no quarterback playing or coaching experience teach the NFL’s most valuable player, who last season threw for franchise records in yards (4,643) and touchdown passes (45) with just six interceptions?
In at least one way, McAdoo has been preparing for this job for years. In 2010, the last time the NFL had an uninterrupted offseason, McAdoo sat in on the quarterback school sessions. He said he also did the same thing during quarterback meetings when he worked for other teams. He was a quality control assistant, which is an entry-level position, with the New Orleans Saints in 2004 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.
“(McAdoo has been) preparing for this eventuality,” Clements said. “Thus far, I’ve been in the meetings — Ben’s running the meetings; I’m just sitting in there and offering things I see — he’s in total control of the meetings. I’m sure as the season gets going a little bit more, especially in the regular season, I might not be able to be in there as much. But I’m going to try to be in there and be as helpful as I can without butting in.”
When McAdoo made the job switch, one of the first things he did was watch the film cuts — from the quarterback perspective — of every play last season. Then, he and Rodgers went through the film and the self-scouting report that coaches do each offseason.
“There’s certain things that different guys need at different stages in their career,” McAdoo said. “He obviously doesn’t need a lot of the fluff. He knows the offense. He’s been here since 2006, when we put it in, and he’s had an opportunity to work through with the wrinkles, and he knows the offense as well as anybody.”
Together, McAdoo and Rodgers made some adjustments to the offense that they put to the test during the quarterback school drills, which began last month. On Tuesday, they put those in play in an 11-on-11 setting — albeit in shorts and helmets — for the first time.
“I think Ben’s done a real good job,” Rodgers said. “He was actually with us in 2010 for a lot of the offseason in our quarterback school, so he knows the drills. He’s a good young coach. He spent a lot of time becoming an expert of the playbook and that helps.”
Though McAdoo doesn’t have the same working knowledge of all the quarterback fundamentals that Clements has, he has something that Clements didn’t when he was the quarterbacks coach.
“He has taught (the offense) from a totally different perspective,” backup quarterback Graham Harrell said. “With the tight ends in this offense, you’ve got to know run schemes, blocking schemes, passing schemes, all of it. He really brings that to the quarterbacks, really learning the blocking schemes and not just knowing the cheats at how to get to protection adjustments but knowing why you need that. That’s something Ben’s real knowledgeable on, and he’s been good for us. It gives us a different perspective that we had never seen.”