The run of former Lions coaches in the news continues, as former offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is a candidate for the offensive coordinator post in Tampa Bay.
Former Detroit Lions coaches have been in the news cycle for the last couple weeks, from former head coach Jim Caldwell getting looks for head coaching jobs to former head coach Jim Schwartz becoming the Cleveland Browns new defensive coordinator.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers requested permission to interview former Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter for their offensive coordinator opening. The Buccaneers are searching for their replacement for Byron Leftwich.
Subsequent reporting said the Buccaneers will interview Cooter on Thursday. They interviewed Broncos passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak on Wednesday.
Cooter spent this past season as passing game coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After being gone from the Lions after the 2018 season, he spent two seasons as the New York Jets running backs coach (2019-2020) and one year (2021) as a consultant with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cooter has also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts (2009-2011), Kansas City Chiefs (2012) and Denver Broncos (2013).
Jim Bob Cooter not the most inspiring offensive coordinator candidate
Cooter came to the Lions as quarterbacks coach in 2014. He took over as offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season, when the now-fired again elsewhere Joe Lombardi was relieved of his duties.
In Cooter’s three full seasons as offensive coordinator, here’s how the Lions offense did.
2016: Scoring offense-20th, Total yardage-21st, Passing offense-11th, Rushing offense-30th
2017: Scoring offense-7th, Total yardage-13th, Passing offense-6th, Rushing offense-32nd
2018: Scoring offense-25th, Total yardage-24th, Passing offense-20th, Rushing offense-23rd
As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo pointed to during an appearance on “NFL Now” Wednesday, the possibility Tom Brady comes back lingers over the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator search. Per Garafolo, candidates will have to outline a plan for getting Brady back on track, on the hope and possibility he re-signs. Said plan might become moot, if/when Brady retires or goes elsewhere, but the Buccaneers are going to cling to the chance he’s back until they don’t have to.
Cooter is not the most exciting offensive coordinator candidate, and he hasn’t run an offense since his Lions’ exit. But his work with the Jaguars and quarterback Trevor Lawrence this season has him back in the conversation to be a coordinator.