After a disappointing season that saw the Lions finish 6-10, and their offense struggle with consistency throughout the year, the team announced Tuesday they are not renewing the contract of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.
While the offense did see some improvement running the football this year, scoring was down and the passing game regressed.
The Lions finished 25th in scoring (20.2), 24th in total offense (327.2) and 20th throwing the football (223.5).
Cooter told reporters last Friday before the team’s season finale in Green Bay that he took ownership of the way the offense had struggled this season, and that he didn’t do a good enough job putting players in the positions to succeed.
“I take ownership for everything we do,” Cooter said. “It’s my job as offensive coordinator to do everything in my power for our offense to go out there and help our team win. Ideally, that’s scoring more points every week, getting better as we go, improving and all that.
“Ownership and accountability is something I believe is really important for our offense, in this game, in this life. So, I’ll take that. It’s on me at the end of the day to put our guys in positions to make plays and do a little bit better, play a little bit better, and at the end of the day, help our team win.”
Cooter did lose starting running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. to injury the second half of the season, and the team also traded away wide receiver Golden Tate at the trade deadline in late October.
Hired to be the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2014, Cooter took over as Detroit’s OC when Joe Lombardi was fired midway through the 2015 season.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford enjoyed a couple of his best seasons under Cooter’s direction in 2016 and 2017, but both he and the offense took a step back this year.
Stafford passed for a career-low 3,777 yards when playing a full season. His 21 touchdowns were the fewest since 2012 (20), and his average yards per attempt (6.7) were the lowest of his career in a full slate of games.
Detroit failed to score more than 20 points in six of their last seven games.
The Lions have not indicated who Cooter's replacement will be at this time.