Jim Bob Cooter has been hyped by Lions' fans all offseason. If not for his unique name, it's for the amazing turnaround of the offense last year. Before being promoted to offensive coordinator following Joe Lombardi's firing, the Lions' offense sputtered to just 19.9 points per game. After Cooter took over, the Lions averaged a respectable 24.3 points per game. While the improvement seemed obvious, not many players went out and credited Cooter, perhaps out of respect for their former coordinator. But Eric Ebron broke that mold on Thursday after the Lions' final organized team activity.
"I'm excited about Jim Bob. I think we all are," Ebron said to a group of reporters following practice. "He keeps it real. He brings the best out in us."
Ebron specifically seemed to benefit from Cooter's promotion last October. Initially, it took some time for him to adjust to Cooter's offense. He had just seven catches in his first three games under the new coordinator. However, as the season progressed, Ebron's role increased. He ended up finishing the season by catching 13 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in the last three games.
Ebron is particularly excited about Cooter's offensive philosophy. When he was asked whether the Lions' offense was more risky under Jim Bob Cooter, Ebron's eyes lit up. "Yes, that's the best part about it," Ebron said. "He's going to take risks, and we're going to go out and make plays for him."
Despite a riskier offense, the Lions were actually much better at securing the ball under a Cooter-led offense. Matthew Stafford finished the last eight games with just two interceptions, despite throwing 11 in the first eight. However, Stafford also unleashed 19 touchdown passes in the last half of the season compared to just 13 in the first eight games.
Regardless of whatever changes Cooter ends up making, one thing is clear: Eric Ebron is excited.