Can The Detroit Lions Be An Offensive Juggernaut Under Jim Bob Cooter?

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Is There Reason To Believe That Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter Can Take This Offense To The Next Level? 

After a pretty satisfying game against the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions are sitting at 2-3 at the bye week and play a struggling Miami Dolphins team right out of the bye. This is the perfect time for the Lions to gain some momentum and show the rest of the league that they are a team to be reckoned with. Even after beating the Packers, the national media did not seem to focus on how well the Lions played and rather focused on how the Packers struggled in this game. No matter how much national media doesn’t touch on it, the Lions coaches had a good game plan set in place and devised plays that propelled them to victory.

Lions Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has gotten his fair share of criticism from Lions fans ever since he took over as the Offensive Coordinator, but against the Packers, he called a fairly aggressive game plan and took advantage of matchup issues that presented itself. Let’s look at this certain play that Jim Bob Cooter took advantage of the matchup issue between Kenny Golladay and the Packers secondary. The Lions lined up in the shotgun formation with Golladay lined up in the slot (Figure 1.1).

This possesses a problem for any Packer defensive back as Golladay has the speed to match any receiver in the slot plus the physicality to overpower a typical slot defensive back. Golladay gets a clean break off the line of scrimmage as nobody disrupted his route (Figure 1.2).

In addition, the offensive line for the Lions gave quarterback Matt Stafford several seconds to throw the ball as there was no pressure from the Packers defensive line (Figure 1.3).

This extra time that the OL gave Stafford to throw plus the clean break off the line of scrimmage allowed Golladay to use his speed and his route running skills to cut back towards the middle of the field and gain a step on the safety (Figure 1.4).

Golladay was able to haul in the catch for a first down, and a diving safety brought Golladay down (Figure 1.5).

If not for the diving effort of the DB, this play would have went for much more yards, making this play both well called and well executed.

Over the past few weeks (years to be completely honest), the Lions have struggled in the red zone and were never able to finish drives that started off strong. Against the Packers, the Lions never had that problem. Let’s look at a crucial touchdown play in the red zone that put the game just out of reach for the Packers. Lined up at the five yard line, the Lions are facing a second and goal. A touchdown here would have stopped some of the momentum that Green Bay and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were generating as they scored 14 unanswered points in this part of the game. JBC and the Lions line up in a bunch formation with Golden Tate, Golladay, and Luke Wilson as the targets that were in the bunch formation (Figure 2.1).

Once the snap is off, Golladay and Tate both start their route towards the sideline, while tight end Wilson cuts back towards the center of the field, causing a little bit of confusion as each of the receivers cross each others routes (Figure 2.2).

As the DBs follow these three receivers, there is a small gap that opens up in the middle of the field in the endzone, but at the same, time all the Packers DB are in solid coverage with their respective man coverage (Figure 2.3).

Here, Golladay then uses his left hand to overpower the DB and gain leverage over the DB (Figure 2.4).

Golladay both changes direction of his route while simultaneously gaining half a step on the DB. On this play, Stafford knew the timing of the route and is perfectly in sync with his WRs and is able to make a perfect throw for an easy catch (Figure 2.5).

Since there is no safety help, Golladay is open and able to make a catch for the game clinching touchdown (Figure 2.6).

During this whole season, the Lions offense has always shown spurts of greatness. Against the 49ers, the Lions almost pulled off a comeback victory. Against the Patriots, the Lions were in control for the whole game. Against Dallas, this Lions offense gained the lead within the last few minutes with the defense letting the team down by allowing the Cowboys to drive down the field and kick the game winning field goal. Against the Packers, Jim Bob Cooter called a great game, taking advantage of the weak Packers defense. If JBC can build off of this performance during the bye week, this Lions offense can be even better than it already is and potentially even compete come playoffs.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow Saurav Kolli on Twitter @SauravKolliand leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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