ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions introduced they won’t renew the contract of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter after the offense sputtered all through head coach Matt Patricia’s first season with the franchise.
Cooter, 34, had been the Lions’ offensive coordinator for three-and-a-half seasons, remaining with the crew through the transition from former head coach Jim Caldwell to Patricia after final season. The offense by no means actually materialized regardless of three first-round picks and two extremely touted free brokers on the offensive line.
|Yards per play||5.1||2010|
|— ESPN Stats & Info|
The Lions ranked within the bottom-third of the league in most classes all through the season. Matthew Stafford appeared to regress after two of the higher years of his profession beneath Cooter in 2016 and 2017. He threw for fewer than four,000 yards (three,777) for the primary time in a season during which he performed all 16 video games.
The offense additionally had an air of conservativeness to it, one thing Patricia took some duty for in the previous few weeks of the season.
“Jim Bob’s answerable for the offense and he places the packages collectively, however I am answerable for all of it,” Patricia stated in mid-December, a day after the Lions have been eradicated from playoff competition. “So, all three phases are going to have what I really feel goes to assist us win that sport particularly one of the best, positive, little question.”
The offense Cooter began the season with was far more highly effective than the one he completed the 12 months with. The Lions misplaced beginning receiver Marvin Jones Jr. and beginning operating again Kerryon Johnson to knee accidents through the season. Proper guard T.J. Lang suffered a number of accidents earlier than touchdown on injured reserve. The Lions traded receiver Golden Tate, one of many extra productive pass-catchers in crew historical past, at midseason. So among the conservative nature of Cooter’s sport plans was due to the personnel.
“Within the offseason we’ve numerous philosophical talks about what sort of offense we would like to be to assist our crew win — what sort of this, what sort of that,” Cooter stated in mid-December. “However when you get to this level within the season, you higher simply alter. You higher simply play one of the best guys and rotate the fellows as wanted and possibly make sure that sure guys are [getting] a specific amount of reps and form of keep watch over that entire factor.
“When you get to this level within the 12 months, it isn’t about philosophy. It is about actuality. It is about going on the market and making an attempt to win the sport with the fellows we’ve, and our guys are on the market preventing actually, actually onerous to get that executed.”
Cooter’s sport plans appeared to turn into extra artistic because the season went on regardless of the shortage of personnel, together with a landing move to offensive sort out Taylor Decker and the usage of offensive guard Joe Dahl as a fullback. However the manufacturing by no means matched Cooter’s final makes an attempt at creativity.
Jim Bob Cooter did not have his finest 12 months and misplaced his job, however he most likely was hamstrung by Matt Patricia and his conservative strategy.
Proper guard T.J. Lang has a big cap quantity in 2019 however indicated he may take a pay reduce so as to stick with the Lions.
Cooter stated he believes he was put ready to succeed this season regardless of all of the motion and shuffling due to trades and accidents. In Week 17, his main rusher, Zach Zenner, had been positioned on injured reserve after which launched. His main receiver, Brandon Powell, had been inactive most weeks this season. And the receiving corps typically had not one of the playmakers Cooter as soon as thought he would have.
“Gosh, the chance to run an NFL offense, go on the market, name performs, draw up totally different performs for various guys, strive to adapt because the season goes, that is the job of an NFL offensive coordinator,” Cooter stated final week. “So, I sort of say it going into every year, I most likely say it within the spring yearly, yearly is a special 12 months. Be that totally different gamers, totally different coaches, an damage right here or there, the schedule’s just a little bit totally different every year, no matter.
“That is the league. I plan on being on this league for a very long time. I plan on form of going by way of a bunch of those seasons, no matter method they take, they usually’re going to take numerous totally different manners. So, we’re going to do every thing in our energy, I am going to do every thing in my energy to flip that right into a constructive scenario. So, like I stated, it is sort of the identical reply I provide you with within the spring.”
Cooter’s offense completed nicely in opposition to a depleted Inexperienced Bay crew, with 402 yards of offense, the Lions’ finest output since Week 7, when Detroit was nonetheless within the playoff race.
He initially acquired the job after the franchise fired Joe Lombardi in the course of the 2015 season after a 1-6 begin. Caldwell stored Cooter as his offensive coordinator following the season, and he rebuilt the offense together with Stafford. Prior to being the Lions’ offensive coordinator, he was Stafford’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 and half of 2015.
He got here to Detroit after stints as an offensive assistant in Denver in 2013, an offensive high quality management coach in 2012 and an offensive assistant in Indianapolis from 2009 to 2011. He was a backup quarterback at Tennessee, the place he then was a graduate assistant in 2007 and 2008.
Cooter’s dismissal means Stafford will begin the 2019 season with the fourth totally different offensive coordinator — and doubtlessly fourth drastically totally different offense — of his profession. Scott Linehan was his offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2013, adopted by Lombardi after which Cooter.