ALLEN PARK The Detroit Lions promoted quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator Monday, which has a whole lot of folks asking themselves two questions.
What can we expect out of the Lions offense under Jim Bob Cooter?
As for the former, not a whole lot is known at this point because Cooter like the now dismissed Joe Lombardi before him is a first time playcaller.
But he will be calling the plays, and the scheme will change Cheap Seattle Seahawks Jerseys under his guidance, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Subtly at first, especially heading into Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs in London. But then more substantially over time, especially coming out of next week's bye.
To understand where Detroit could be headed offensively, it is instructive to look at Cooter's past.
His expertise is the quarterback position. He was one himself during his college days at the University of Tennessee, where he appeared in three games as a career backup, and parlayed the gig into a graduate assistant role with the Vols in 2007 08.
He's rocketed through the coaching ranks ever since, including landing his first NFL gig with the Colts in 2009 at age 25.
He worked with Peyton Manning there, then became Manning's quarterback coach in Denver before he was lured to Wholesale Jerseys - Cheap Jerseys Online From China Detroit by Caldwell last year. Now after the firing of Lombardi, Cooter has become the second youngest offensive coordinator in the game at just 31 years old.
Only wholesale nhl jerseys Washington's Sean McVay, 29, is younger.
"He comes from a certain mold," Stafford said of Cooter. "He believes in a certain kind of offense, and as far as coaching me, he's very detail oriented. Nothing gets by him. He's a guy that wants to know what I'm thinking all the time, and trying to coach me as hard as he can."
Cooter was especially hard on Stafford because he had worked with Manning both in Indianapolis and Denver, and saw the same kind of raw talent in Stafford, just less refined. So he's drilled Stafford relentlessly, especially with his footwork.
It seems to have paid some dividends. Though Stafford's production has waned the past couple years, that seems to be more a function of the scheme than anything else. His accuracy is actually up, checking in at 60.3 last year and 65.0 this year two of the three most accurate seasons of his career.
"(Cooter) has a really good reference point from being around Peyton Manning and guys like that," general manager Martin Mayhew said this offseason. "He knows what he's looking for, and what fits. He's got a very bright future."
The Lions believe Cooter's future is so bright, they blocked the Bears' attempt to interview him for a position last offseason. Though that's legal when it comes to lateral moves, most clubs will still allow the coach to interview anyway. Blocking career advancements can be bad for future business.
The Lions did it anyway, a signal they like Cooter a lot.
The thinking by some club officials has been Cooter was maybe the fastest rising star on their staff outside of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and it was only a matter of time before he would be offered a coordinator position.
Now, he'll get one with them.
"I think he's very capable, and certainly with Curtis (Modkins) as the running game coordinator as well," Caldwell said. "Those two guys will be able to work things out. Jim Bob's very bright and smart and he adjusts well."
Seismic changes are not expected under Cooter, especially against the Chiefs in five days. But it's clear Lombardi's way of doing things wasn't working, and Detroit has no issues moving away from him.
Lombardi's system was predicated on rapid fire substitutions that were intended to put players in matchup advantages. But it rarely worked out like that, as Detroit's offense plummeted to 20.1 points per game last year, then 19.9 this year.
Lombardi was specifically criticized for his oft puzzling usage of receiver Golden Tate, taking him off the field at peculiar times, including to start some drives.
Tate had a 1,000 yard season last year, but Lombardi preferred Corey Fuller on the field sometimes. Those plays, often, were run plays.
There were other predictabilities baked into the scheme, such as passing more than 90 percent of the snaps when Theo Riddick came on the field. Over time, Lombardi's scheme drew increasing scrutiny for its predictability, whether it was tipped plays or just old fashioned tendencies.
He also drew criticism for neutering the big armed Stafford. The 27 year old made a name for himself with the long ball, including becoming the fastest QB in history to 20,000 yards. But under Lombardi they went away from the long ball and turned Calvin Johnson into a possession receiver.
Part of the problem was pass blocking. That was sometimes a talent issue, but mostly a communication, assignment and scheme issue. It was not uncommon to see unblocked pass rushers cracking down on Stafford, such as the case last Sunday against Minnesota.
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