Ever since the Detroit Lions decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, all has been quiet on the coaching search front. Last week, general manager Bob Quinn said there was no timeline for getting the next offensive coordinator hired, but said the duty was all up to head coach Matt Patricia.
Well, according to MMQB’s Albert Breer, Patricia is getting a little help in the coaching search. Breer says that offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is sitting in on interviews for the job.
“OL coach Jeff Davidson has been in on the interviews,” Breer wrote on Monday. “That underscores the importance of the relationship between an offensive coordinator and line coach, of course. And it also is another example of the commitment that Matt Patricia and Co. have put into rehabbing the run game, which was rolling before Kerryon Johnson got hurt.”
Not only does this give us a slight indication of the kind of offensive coordinator they’re looking for, but it speaks to the confidence the team has in Jeff Davidson. While it appears he won’t be a candidate to take over for Cooter, it certainly seems likely he’ll stay on staff with whoever the team decides to hire.
In 2018, the Lions’ rushing attack improved dramatically from the previous year. After averaging just 76.3 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry in 2017, the Lions bumped both those numbers to 103.8 yards per game and 4.1 YPC.
However, some are concerned that the Lions’ newfound commitment to the running game is taking Detroit’s best weapon—the arm of Matthew Stafford—out of the game, and that the future in NFL football lies with innovated aerial attacks. In 2018, Stafford threw for just 3,777 yards and 6.8 yards per attempt, the lowest totals since 2012.
But last week, Quinn stressed that the team is not seeking a run-heavy system, but simply balance.
“We want to be able to run the ball, we want to be able to use our quarterback because he has a ton of talent,” Quinn said. “So, we want to be diverse.”
At this point, words are just words. Once we see the people the Lions are interviewing—and the person they eventually hire—we should get a better understanding of what direction the Lions want this offense to go in 2019. But for now, it looks like Davidson will remain a key piece to the coaching staff.