The Detroit Lions offensive woes continued versus the Chicago Bears, but overall this slump is eerily familiar to previous seasons.
Another year has started with a plethora of hope for the Detroit Lions. Is this finally the year they win a playoff game? With a new head coach, the odds weren’t in the team’s favor. Then on Monday Night Football in Week 1, the team laid an egg of a performance for the entire nation to see against the New York Jets.
The Lions bounced back rather nicely. They defeated the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers. They were in the middle of the race for winning the NFC North. Then it hit. The offensive slump. Yes, both sides of the ball need to play well for a team to win, but the offense hasn’t helped the defense recently.
Could you blame it on the trade of star receiver Golden Tate? Of course. Not having the Lions most targeted receiver surely doesn’t help. But even with Tate in the fold, there were no guarantees this slump doesn’t take place.
Could you blame it on injuries? Sure. But every team has injuries to play through every season. Missing players up front definitely hasn’t helped the pass protection. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 16 times in the past two weeks.
What else is the common theme across the offense and it stalling for stretches throughout the past couple of seasons? Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was retained following head coach Jim Caldwell’s departure. And for two consecutive seasons, there have been rumblings of offensive predictability.
The Jets openly told the world they knew what the Lions were going to throw at them. That’s not a good sign for the first game of the regular season. It means this is something that has clearly carried over from previous years.
Looking back to 2017, predictability in the offense was a big enough issue that Cooter had to defend himself after the bye week. Others dissected the playcalling and offensive woes during that time as well. The issue appears to be lingering despite the red flags flapping in the wind from last year.
Speaking about the 2016 season, ESPN’s Mike Clay seemed to see something that everyone else was missing when he posted his ranking of the team based on offensive statistics. It was summed up in one sentence reported by PrideofDetroit.com :
"“Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has generated a lot of buzz, but his offense ranked 29th in plays (60.6) and 23rd in touchdowns per game (1.9) last season.”"
What does this tell us? The Detroit Lions offense has been hot and cold for the past couple seasons, never quite putting it all together for a long enough stretch to succeed.
With other teams starting to make moves based on productivity, one can’t help but wonder if Cooter might be on the hot seat. He’s a holdover from a previous coaching regime, which doesn’t bode well for the coordinator who once held so much hope for this team.