Behind the scenes, the Detroit Lions have been shuffling nearly their entire coaching staff on both sides of the ball. The defensive staff has been completely decimated, while Detroit will reportedly have a new quarterbacks and offensive line coach.
The one name that has escaped all of the rumors and reported firing is Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Most have expected Cooter to hang around next season, seeing as soon-to-be head coach Matt Patricia deals with the defensive side of the ball, but this week another player publicly announced their support for keeping Cooter around another year.
Lions receiver Golden Tate joined NFL Network on Thursday and told the folks at “Super Bowl Live” that he’d like to see Cooter keep his job.
“Yeah, I like Jim Bob. I mean, I’ve gotten 90+ catches the last four years and 1,000 yards, so yeah,” Tate said, with a laugh.
Host Andrew Siciliano then asked Tate if he has heard whether Cooter will keep his job. Tate was inconclusive. “Yeah. They cleaned house early on, and he survived the wave. So unless Patricia comes in and prefers someone else, it seems that way.”
Cooter is coming off a season of mixed reviews. While the Lions finished seventh in total points in 2017, many criticized Cooter for his play-calling—especially in the red zone. Detroit finished the season ranked 11th in touchdown percentage in red zone opportunities (56.6 percent).
The Lions also really struggled in running the football, a problem some put at Cooter’s feet. However, the Lions fired offensive line coach Ron Prince, and based on some media reports, it seems like he may have been responsible for some of Detroit’s struggles.
Man have I heard some, shall we say, unkind words about ex-Lions OL coach Ron Prince this week.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) February 1, 2018
Prince wasn't good at his job, that much is clear. There is surprise Caldwell stuck with him so long in that role. https://t.co/PEQIj84DF0— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) February 1, 2018
We know that one person will be very happy to hear Cooter will be back in 2018: Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ franchise quarterback said during his exit interviews with the media last month that he wanted to see Cooter return, and considering Stafford just lost Brian Callahan, his quarterbacks coach, it’ll be beneficial for him to still have Cooter around.
Tate was sure to point out that fact, too. “I think Matt (Stafford) and Jim Bob Cooter—great name, by the way—they work well together,” Tate said.
So while we still don’t know for sure whether Cooter will be back, all signs seem to point that way, and the players certainly would support that decision.