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Five Names To Watch In Lions' Search For Offensive Coordinator

It will mark the fourth OC of the Stafford era.

January 02, 2019 - 4:39 pm
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In a move many saw coming, the Lions parted ways with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter on Wednesday. The decision came after Detroit finished 24th in the NFL in total offense and 25th in scoring. 

Attention now shifts to Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia as they begin the search for Cooter's replacement. It will mark the fourth offensive coordinator of the Matthew Stafford era. Here are five candidates to keep an eye on. 

1. Zac Taylor -- Rams quarterbacks coach 

If you're an offensive coach with the Rams not named Sean McVay, chances are you'll be hearing from other teams this offseason. And the list may well begin with Taylor. He's been one of the main forces behind Jared Goff's development the past two seasons after the first overall pick struggled mightily as a rookie.

The Lions won't be the only team after Taylor. Nor will they have the most glamorous position to potentially offer. The Bengals have already requested to interview Taylor for their head coaching vacancy, and he's been linked to the Cardinals and Browns in the same capacity. 

That could make for a short-lived stint as OC if that's indeed his next step, but it'd be quite the coup for the Lions either way. 

2. Shane Waldron -- Rams passing game coordinator 

Might as well continue with the Rams. Waldron will be another hot name on the coaching market this offseason after overseeing a passing attack that ranked fifth in the NFL. Like Taylor, the Bengals have already requested him for a head coaching interview. More teams will surely come calling. 

Unlike Taylor, Waldron has some ties to Quinn and Patricia. He was a Patriots staffer from 2002-04, and after leaving with Charlie Weis for a job as an offensive assistant at Notre Dame, he returned to New England in 2008 as an offensive quality control coach, then tight ends coach in 2009. 

If Quinn and Patricia are intent on importing Patriots-groomed minds, Waldron could be their next target.

3. George Godsey -- Lions quarterbacks coach 

In general, holdovers from the Jim Caldwell regime don't appear safe under Patricia. But in the case of Godsey, who was shifted from defensive assistant to quarterbacks coach this year, things might be different. He's yet another former Patriots staffer, having coached on the offensive side of the ball from 2011-2013.

Godsey also has experience as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. He called plays for the Texans from 2015-16. Of course, his first season as quarterbacks coach in Detroit didn't exactly go swimmingly, with Stafford having his worst campaign in years. 

Still, if Quinn and Patricia prefer to hire from within, Godsey looks like the best bet. 

4. Adam Gase -- Ex-Dolphins head coach

When a head coach loses his job in the NFL, it's natural for him to resurface as a coordinator. Gase, who was fired Monday by the Dolphins after three seasons at the helm, will have plenty of options given his track record on offense -- particularly in Denver, where he oversaw one of the NFL's most explosive units from 2013-14. He may even land another head coaching gig. 

But could the Lions lure him to Detroit to coach under Patricia? The two are said to have a strong relationship. What's more, Gase broke into the NFL coaching ranks with the Lions from 2003 to 2007 and grew up in Ypsilanti. Maybe a return home is in the cards. 

5. Nathaniel Hackett -- Ex-Jaguars offensive coordinator

Another coach recently out of work after being let go by the Jags midway through this season, Hackett could be the right guy to revive the Lions' fallen passing attack. It was just a year ago that he oversaw the sixth best offense in the NFL -- with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Stafford, even after a down season, is a much different weapon. 

Prior to his first OC job in the NFL with the Bills from 2013-2014, where he coached frequently against Patricia, Hackett spent three seasons at Syracuse. Patricia, of course, has ties to Syracuse himself, ties that led him to hire Paul Pasqualoni as his defensive coordinator last offseason. Could Hackett be next in line?