It’s hard to overstate the impact Jim Bob Cooter had on the Lions offense, as his midseason promotion to coordinator coincided with an offensive resurgence.
And now that he’s had a full offseason to get comfortable with them, players think there’s even more they can do with Cooter in charge.
“We started from scratch,” wide receiver Golden Tate said, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Some of the same plays we had last year have different names. The terminology is really completely different. So, it’s almost like forget what we’ve learned the last two years under Joe Lombardi and even the end of last year and we’ve started over.
“There’s a wide variety of plays, a lot of things we can do, which is the exciting part. I don’t see us being predictable this year. I think Jim Bob, what he has lined up and the personnel we have, we’re going to be exciting to watch.”
Tate said there were times last year when teams were calling out their plays at the line of scrimmage, and Denver practically admitted it. But Cooter’s putting the onus on the Lions players, by teaching them more stuff now in hopes of not being so predictable in the fall. Of course, that job’s even harder because they’re trying to plan without retired wideout Calvin Johnson.
“It’s good,” Tate said. “It’s a lot of material for sure. It’s a little different from last year. I think in a classroom we all get it. But it’s one thing to be out on the line of scrimmage in a matter of seconds understanding the calls and what’s required of you.”
The Lions looked like a competent NFL offense last year after Cooter replaced Joe Lombardi, and that work might have saved some jobs in Detroit this offseason. But in the absence of Johnson, Cooter’s going to have to work even harder to keep the offense moving, and his players seem to understand that’s why he’s loading them down now.