Jim Bob Cooter has an entire offseason to fiddle with the Detroit Lions offense, so expect it to look a bit different than it did in the 2015 season.
This shouldn’t be shocking, especially since Cooter was able to install minimally new things after taking over midway through last season following the firing of Joe Lombardi. Now that he has some time, the former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback is going to change some things.
"The scheme itself is fairly complex and it’s one that certainly tries to utilize the people that you have in the best possible way," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters at the league’s spring meetings Wednesday. "It’s also one that tries to apply and put stress on the opposition in a number of different ways. With pace, with scheme, with forcing you to get into certain looks and trying to take advantage of them.
"It all depends on the guys you have operating them. But overall, I think it’s going to be a fairly decent shift. The shift will depend on we have new guys, new players and how quickly they can adapt. But I think they are going to be able to adapt pretty well."
The biggest change will be at receiver, where the Lions will be replacing star Calvin Johnson, who retired in March. Detroit signed Marvin Jones to help fill that void, but it will be a collaborative effort from the entire offense to try to fill in Johnson’s production.
Cooter’s main influences have been Caldwell, Peyton Manning, Adam Gase and Phillip Fulmer, so there might be even more concepts from the Manning days in Indianapolis and Denver in the future for quarterback Matthew Stafford to run.
The Lions' offense performed much better in the second half of the 2015 season under Cooter, including Stafford, who ranked in the Top 10 in almost every major statistical category during the second half of last season.