Clemens Provides Guidance in New Offense

Posted Aug 6, 2012

With Rams’ training camp in full swing and the regular season quickly approaching, players are looking for as much help as they can get.

Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has brought a new system that is foreign to his players. Except one, Kellen Clemens.

Clemens, who returns for his second season in St. Louis behind Sam Bradford, is no stranger to this offense. He worked with Schottenheimer for five years in New York while playing for the Jets.

“It’s a very unique situation where I spent five years with Schottenheimer in New York,” Clemens said. “I had a chance to get to know him both professionally as a coordinator, but also personally, so we have a little more of a relationship there.”

With a new offense at hand and players working hard to make the cut, Clemens has made himself available to teammates in need of help.

“He’s basically an extra coach and he’s been in the system so long, he does such a great job with the details; the Xs and Os and all of the small things that make you a great quarterback,” rookie quarterback Austin Davis said. “It’s been nice to be under him and learn from him…when I look at him, that’s where I’m trying to get to.”

Clemens notes how he is able to relate and explain in further detail how certain plays have evolved. Not only can he answer questions for young players about the game, but he can offer instruction on the practice field as well.

Whether it’s during free time, in meetings, on the practice field or in the locker room, Clemens is always helping out.

Occasionally, receivers or tight ends will take extra reps with Clemens after practice. Rookie receiver Nick Johnson as well as veteran wideout Danny Amendola, stayed late after Monday’s practice to further perfect their routes and work on timing.

“We were just getting a little extra work,” Johnson said. “Kellen has been a great help for me being a rookie, almost like a coach out there really…he’s helped with giving us extra help on the concepts so that we’re not only just memorizing word (terminology), but we’re understanding why we do what we do specifically.”

Not only do the players notice how available Clemens is for assistance. Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti does too. Cignetti considers Clemens a resource for everyone.

“I think you can see that a lot of our younger guys go to Kellen. One, I think they see that he’s a professional. He’s played in the system and he understands the system,” Cignetti said. “He’s a great resource for everybody out there to go to. When you look at Kellen in practice you can see that he has a great command of the offense, and he does a really nice job running the offense.”

It’s fair to say Clemens plays a significant role for this team.

“I’m not making, I don’t think, a major difference, but if I can make a lot of little contributions then hopefully that’ll add up,” Clemens said. “I look at is as more of a privilege being an old guy, being able to help young guys along because I had guys when I was young that did that for me.”

With seven years of experience under his belt, Clemens understands the capabilities and complexities throughout camps, preseason, and the regular season. Although the Rams are a young team, as a veteran, Clemens is able to stay consistent and handle the ups and downs. He also embraces the opportunity to keep everything in perspective for the young rookies both physically and mentally.

“There are difficulties; there are trials throughout every single team. Every NFL team is going to have that, and a big part of that is the veteran leadership to be able to do it,” Clemens said.

Clemens credits the positive energy and enlightened atmosphere to Coach Fisher and the staff he has brought in.

“Coach Fisher sets the tone, his assistant coaches buy into it and the players buy into it. I think everybody in the cafeteria at this point has bought into what he’s preaching and there’s a different atmosphere around this building,” Clemens said.

It’s no secret that the Rams have an experienced staff. Clemens noted that many of the coaches have been through it all, either previously coaching with Fisher or with other organizations, and that’s what helps both veteran and rookie players automatically respect and trust the leadership involved.

“Now, we just have to have some success and start building for the future,” Clemens said.