The Packers’ offense hasn’t looked the same since Joe Philbin left. There are many reasons for that. Of course, Joe has had two hall-of-fame quarterbacks to build around in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, but that doesn’t mean that those two alone made Philbin at least look successful. That is because with Philbin in the house, the Packers offense was dynamic and talented.
From 2007, when he took over as offensive coordinator, to 2011 when he left for the Miami Dolphins, the Packers’ offense ranked 4th, 5th, 3rd, 10th, and 1st in offensive points scored which averages to 4.6 in points per season. Since Philbin left, the Packers rank an average of 9th in points per season.
So what has changed?
Tom Clements was promoted from quarterbacks coach to Offensive Coordinator in 2012. In his three years as offensive coordinator, the Packers went 2-3 in the playoffs, with one of those losses coming in the 2014 NFC Championship game. In that year, the Packers’ offense ranked first in the league in points scored. It was an electric season, with the Packers going 12-4.
After the loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Mike McCarthy decided to replace Clements with then wide-receivers coach Edgar Bennett. During Bennett’s time as the Packers’ offensive coordinator, they ranked 15th, 4th, and 21st in the league for points scored. Aside from making it to the 2016 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons, Bennett wasn’t an extremely successful offensive coordinator.
So two different offensive coordinators and two NFC Championship games. We all know the results of those. And yes, the defense played a large part in those two losses. Aaron Rodgers has paved the way for the Packers and has carried the team on his back.
Here is what separates Joe Philibin from Edgar Bennett and Tom Clements:
Experience with the Packers as offensive coordinator.
Philibin joined the Packers in 2003 and was with the team through 2011 which gives him 9 years of experience and 5 as offensive coordinator. Edgar Bennett, on the other hand, joined the Packers in 2001 and just recently joined the Oakland Raiders as wide receivers coach. Bennett spent 13 years with the Packers beginning as director of player development and continuing on to be the offensive coordinator for three years. Clements joined the Packers in 2006 and just recently separated from them in this past season. Clements also had three years under his belt as offensive coordinator.
With Philbin’s five years of offensive coordinator experience with the Packers, it puts him in a familiar position. Not only was Philbin successful as an offensive coordinator, but he also knows what it takes to build a game plan for Mike McCarthy. A point that a lot of people don’t make is that when Philbin first became the OC, not a lot of people knew what Aaron Rodgers was truly capable of. Philbin went from a hall-of-fame quarterback in Brett Favre to first-year starting quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. It was a dramatic change. The Packers went from a 13-3 regular season and NFC Championship game to a 6-10 regular season and missing the playoffs. Philbin had to take a brand new starting quarterback and form a game plan around him. Having not seen any quality game film of Aaron Rodgers in the regular season, Philbin formed an offense that was unstoppable and helped the Packers win their fourth Super Bowl in Aaron Rodgers’ third season as the starter. What he did to the Packers’ offense stood out so much that the Packers ended up losing Philbin to the Miami Dolphins in 2012 as he became the head coach.
With Philbin’s return to the Green Bay Packers, he brings back more experience and a better mindset. Having been the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for a little over three seasons and then the offensive line/associate head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, he absolutely brings more to the table. What this means for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers is something new and familiar. With all of the chaos that ensued after Ted Thompson stepped down as the Packers’ General Manager, Philbin brings back that familiar face. This year, the front office looks almost entirely different. He brings back good memories of success and clean cut game plans. Hopefully, one where Randall Cobb isn’t lining up in the backfield.