The Detroit Lions are searching for a new offensive coordinator after deciding not to renew the contract of Jim Bob Cooter.
Speaking to the media Friday in his annual end of the season press conference, Lions general manager Bob Quinn gave a little insight into what the Lions will be looking for as head coach Matt Patricia searches for a new man to lead his offense.
“We’re looking for someone who improves the offense,” Quinn said. “We want a balanced attack that we’ve talked about before. We want to be able to run the ball and want to be able to use our quarterback, because he has a ton of talent, so we want to be diverse.”
The last word there is key. Diversity.
There was a mandate heading into this season that Detroit would improve their ability to run the football. For too many years this was a pass only offense. They did that, and it’s going to be a staple of this team moving forward, which means it has to be a staple of any potential offensive coordinator.
The Lions averaged more than 100 yards rushing per game (103.8) for the first time since the 2013 season. Their 4.1 yards per attempt were the highest since 2012. The key is to continue that upward trend on the ground, but also improve a passing attack that regressed (ranked 20th in NFL) this past season.
This isn’t a Detroit offense that wants to go shotgun four wide and throw the ball 45 times a game. They also don’t want to predominantly line up with three tight ends and run the ball 40 times a game either.
Balance. The ability to do either one, if that’s what it takes to beat a team from week to week, is what Quinn said the team wants from their new coordinator.
“We need to do a better job of going to each week looking at the opponent and say, ‘How are we going to beat this team? Okay, they have a great run defense and a poor pass defense, maybe we throw it 40 times, and vice versa.’
“We want someone that thinks that way. That thinks that, ‘hey, I have an offense, but my offense is adaptable. I can change week to week or I can change from, ‘hey, this week I have this set of receivers and two weeks later I don’t. We just need to figure it out.’”
The NFL is all about adapting and adjusting. Injuries, roster changes and even weather affect teams on a weekly basis. The Lions are looking for a coach with the ability to have a playbook look like one thing one week and maybe something completely different the next, if that’s what it takes to win.
Adaptability and balance will likely be key buzzwords as the Lions look to fill their open offensive coordinator job in the coming weeks.