Over 14 Games Stafford Scores A 104 Passer Rating Under Cooter.
Coming off a playoff berth, the Detroit Lions went 1-6 last season before owner Martha Ford stepped in to clear out some of the team staff. Counted among those fired, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi who was thought to be responsible for the Lions slow start. Since Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator, quarterback Matthew Stafford has been efficient under center.
The Lions finished the season 7-9 with six wins with Cooter calling offensive snaps, missing the playoffs and coming back into the 2016 season for two wins in five weeks. Though head coach Jim Caldwell should get the boot some time this season, Cooter is showing his value in Stafford’s efficiency.
Stafford’s 2015 Turn Around
In March I wrote about Stafford’s improvement in “Stafford’s Passer Rating Shows Improvement Through Season” and how his passer rating was trending upward. Then Lions fans were thinking the improvement was based off the negative effects of Lombardi’s dismal offense being lifted, but after 14 games now with Cooter he is showing his place is deserved in the coaching staff.
This season the Lions offense has been about the most efficient we have seen in recent years, even after star receiver Calvin Johnson hung up his cleats for dancing shoes. Over the past 14 games that Matthew Stafford has played, he has a 104.01 passer rating and completed 69% of his passes.
How These Stats Compare To Elite QBs
In a vacum it is hard to know if the efficiency is really comparable to other quarterbacks in the league. Especially when this team has dropped a couple important games this season, specifically the Chicago game 2 weeks ago. A game where even Chicago fans thought it was a sure win for the Lions, but instead the defense couldn’t them off and the offense couldn’t finish the game.
In the above chart, player stats have been taken from the last 14 starts in either regular season or post season. Tom Brady’s stats use more of last season’s games (due to his four game suspension) and Cam Newton’s includes games played during last year’s playoffs.
Of these three elite quarterbacks, Stafford has the best average passer rating and completion percentage. Although these stats are impressive, the team hasn’t been performing to the level of the New England Patriots or Carolina Panthers. We can see that Stafford is showing up each week, a clear leader for the team, and Jim Bob Cooter is having a positive impact on this team.
What Has A Team Done With That Level Of Efficiency?
If the Lions could get their defense in shape, and have a run game, the level of efficiency we are currently seeing from Stafford should pay off. In 2013 Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers had a 104 passer rating, and they went 8-7 and had a playoff berth.
That year they were upset in the wildcard game, after finishing first in the NFC North. He went 366 for 570 (a completion percentage of 64%), with 4,268 passing yards and 25 TDs. These stats don’t seem far off from what the Lions are currently at in their passing offense.
If the 14 games under Cooter could be shifted to be in a single season, rather than straddling two seasons, their record would be 8-5. That is a record that could easily take this team into the playoffs.