At his introductory press conference, new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia talks about his goals for the Lions and their fan base. Daniel Mears, The Detroit News
Allen Park — If it wasn’t clear before Matt Patricia’s introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon, the new Detroit Lions coach definitively stated offensive Jim Bob Cooter would remain on staff.
“Jim Bob is on staff and he will be here,” Patricia said. “Obviously, he’s done a great job here with what he’s been able to accomplish with (quarterback Matthew) Stafford and the offense.
“He’s someone that’s worked with a lot of guys that I’ve worked with in the past and someone everyone speaks very highly of, and I have a lot of respect for because I’ve been on the other side of the ball going against him,” Patricia continued. “I’m looking forward to working together and continuing that success, building on the things that have been done on that side of the ball.”
The Lions’ offense was a bright spot last season, finishing seventh in the league in scoring. Stafford also continued to thrive under Cooter’s direction, ranking third in passing yards, fourth in touchdowns and sixth in passer rating.
The downside was the ground game. The Lions finished last in the league in rushing.
After Jim Caldwell was fired, Stafford expressed a desire to continue working with Cooter, while general manager Bob Quinn acknowledged that the new coach would have full autonomy over his coaching staff.
Team president Rod Wood, who conducted the coaching interviews along Quinn, reiterated that none of the assistants were forced on the hire.
“We also asked them about our coaching staff and they had opinions,” Wood said. “Matt addressed his research he had done on our staff. No one forced him to consider anybody, but we wanted to hear their views on our coaching staff, we wanted to hear their views on our players, and ultimately he made the decision on the coaching staff he wanted to build, which included Jim Bob and a few of the other guys on the offensive side.”
In addition to Cooter, other offensive assistants remained on staff, including wide receivers coach Robert Prince, running backs coach David Walker and quality control coach Michael McCarthy. Walker worked with Patricia for three seasons at Syracuse from 2001-2003.
But Patricia did indicate more changes could be coming.
“A lot of the staffing is still kind of a work in progress,” he said. “Again, I just got to town.”