Lions’ Stafford hopes to stay hot in Cooter’s offense

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Matthew Stafford

Allen Park — Matthew Stafford had an excellent finish to the 2015 season, but he knows he’ll have to prove himself again in 2016.

“It’s going to be a long break,” the Lions quarterback said Tuesday. “Hopefully I still got the hot hand.”

Something boosting Stafford’s confidence, though, is having the chance to work all offseason with Jim Bob Cooter as the offensive coordinator. In nine games with Cooter calling plays last year — following the firing of Joe Lombardi — Stafford had 20 touchdowns with four interceptions and a 105.1 passer rating.

“We just see (football) the same way, talk about it the same way and that’s not to say we like the same stuff all the time,” Stafford said of Cooter. “He likes some stuff that I’m not comfortable with, and I’m comfortable with some stuff that he doesn’t like, and that’s the way it goes. You pick your battles and go from there.”

For Stafford, being comfortable in the offense could help offset the loss of wide receiver Calvin Johnson in 2016.

Stafford lauded Cooter and the other offensive coaches for how they implemented the new offense last year, avoiding a massive overhaul in one week. The quarterback also said his teammates did well to learn the new plays, which was clear as the team went 6-2 in the second half of the season after a 1-7 start.

And even though what the Lions did under Cooter was successful last year, Stafford said it’ll change again this season.

“We’re going to get it exactly the way we like it,” he said.

Stafford sensed Bears game would be Calvin’s finale