According to reports, the Detroit Lions will keep Jim Bob Cooter as their offensive coordinator in 2018. But is retaining Cooter the right move?
Defensively, the Detroit Lions figure to have an entirely new look and mentality when the 2018 NFL regular season kicks off later this year. Under presumed new head coach Matt Patricia, the New England Patroits’ defensive coordinator that just lost the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Lions’ defensive scheme is expected to undergo some major changes this offseason.
Those changes include the hiring of a slew of new assistance coaches and players who can help make this Motor City defense into a “Patricia-style” defense. But many wonder what kind of offensive changes are likely to come this upcoming season as well. Apparently, not that many.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Lions intend on keeping Jim Bob Cooter as the team’s offensive coordinator through 2018. In recent weeks, Cooter has received public support from quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr.
Cooter first joined the Lions’ as Stafford’s quarterback coach in 2014. And he was been the team’s offensive coordinator for the past two and a half seasons. In the last two years, Detroit’s passing offense has finished ranked 11th (2016) and 6th (2017). And Stafford has posted completion percentages of 65.3% and 65.7% respectfully – among the best of his nine-year career.
But with Cooter at the helm of the offense, the concern has never been about the passing game. While Stafford and his wide receiver corps has flourished, Detroit’s rushing attack has become non-existent. In 2016, the Lions had the 30th ranked rushing offense in the NFL. And last season, they were dead last.
General manager Bob Quinn and the Lions’ front office poured major resources into solidifying their offensive line last season, adding quality free agents in Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Ricky Wagner. This offseason, Quinn and company are expected to do the same for the running back position.
By keeping Jim Bob Cooter as their offensive coordinator, the Detroit Lions clearly believe the issues in their running game are personnel-based and not due to a lack of coaching. With a new group of running backs installed, the Lions are hoping to bring balance to this one-sided offense. But if they can not do so in 2018, Cooter might be the one they blame.