Is Patricia Putting Jim Bob Cooter On Warning?

The Lions' offense has taken a big step back this season.

Will Burchfield
November 06, 2018 - 1:32 pm

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Matt Patricia kept nine coaches on staff from the Jim Caldwell regime, and the first to fall was special teams coordinator Joe Marciano, who was fired by the Lions on Monday. With the Lions in last place in the NFC North midway through Patricia's first season, it's clear that no holdover from the Caldwell era is safe. 

The most prominent of that group is offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, whose unit has taken a step back this year, particularly of late and particularly in the red zone. Is Cooter the next member of Patricia's staff headed for the chopping block? 

"I think all of our coaches have really worked hard. They're doing everything they can to help us win each and every week and Jim Bob obviously falls in that category," Patricia said on Tuesday. "He's done a really good job for us this year.

"We're certainly looking to get better, which obviously when you come out of a week where we don't perform well enough on Sunday, it's easy to kind of look at all that. But we do a good job of all that, self-assessing, and moving forward, getting ready for Chicago. I think Jim Bob has done a great job with the offense here for a long time and continues to do that."

The Lions have fallen from 13th to 21st in yards per game and seventh to 20th in points per game compared to last year. They've also dropped from 10th to 29th in red zone efficiency, converting just 44.4 percent of their trips into touchdowns. They were at 56.5 percent last year.

They went 0-3 on Sunday in a 24-9 loss to the Vikings. It was the fewest points the Lions scored in a game since the 2016 season. 

Cooter pointed to the team's record to assess his own performance thus far. 

"About 3-5. A wise old coach once said, 'You kind of are what your record says you are.' Need to improve, need to keep getting better. That's part of our weekly process. Expecting our team to win at a higher level offensively," he said. 

Asked specifically if Marciano's firing serves as a warning, Cooter said, "In the NFL, I think you know it’s a results-oriented business. It’s kind of best to do my job and work as hard as I can to get our offense to be the best it can. It’s in my best interest and the Detroit Lions' best interest not to think about hypotheticals and sort of play those games. Those are better for you media guys to write your stories than they are for me to think about.

"My job is to focus on the Chicago Bears, see what I can do the help our offense score points on these guys and help our team win this game." 

It won't be an easy task. The Bears, who lead the NFC North, have allowed the fifth fewest yards and the fourth fewest points per game in the NFL. If Cooter and the offense doesn't rise to the occasion, his seat will only get hotter. 

Patricia has already fired one coordinator he retained from Caldwell's staff. He likely won't hesitate to fire another.