The offseason is rarely a wild time for the Green Bay Packers, but reportedly some major changes are afoot. According to Chris Havel of The Fan 107.5 and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team plans to promote assistant Tom Clements to associate head coach with play calling duties and Edgar Bennett to offensive coordinator.
It would be a remarkable turn of events for head coach Mike McCarthy to relinquish his play-calling duties. Under his guidance, the Packers finished first in scoring in 2014 and quarterback Aaron Rodgers won the MVP. Making voluntary wholesale changes in those types of situations is very rare. Given the stable nature of the organization, it seems unlikely that the catalyst for any change came from above. Additionally, while McCarthy severely hurt his team's chance to win the NFC title game, his biggest mistakes (settling for field goals at the 1-yard line) are still his to make under the new allocation of responsibilities.
As for Clements, the longtime assistant would receive the biggest promotion of his coaching career. He previously served as the Buffalo Bills' play caller from 2004-2005, but now he commands the league's most productive offense and its best quarterback. Perhaps no assistant offensive coach has had this much power under McCarthy since Joe Philbin. Clements' biggest challenge will be turning around a red zone offense that struggled late in the year.
Meanwhile, Bennett's promotion raises some questions about the future of the Packers' coaching staff. Though Bennett has risen through the ranks since joining the staff in 2005, it was quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, not him, that drew interview offers this offseason. By choosing Bennett to replace Clements as offensive coordinator, the team has essentially declared its preference between the two assistants, as Van Pelt can leave Green Bay when his contract expires after 2015 for any position. Had McCarthy promoted Van Pelt instead, he would have likely signed an extension that would give the Packers the power to block his departure for anything short of a head coaching opportunity.
However, all of this is predicated on the accuracy of the reports. It's also possible that no changes are made to the offensive staff and McCarthy retains play-calling duties. Regardless, this is the most interesting start to a Packers offseason since Brett Favre's retirement in 2008.