Allen Park — Jim Bob Cooter isn't interested in your sports-talk radio or your newspaper articles, and don't get him started on those Internets.
The Detroit Lions offense coordinator has never shied away from folksy colloquialisms, but the opportunity for self-evaluation, delivered to the public through the media, is an area where he'll continue to pass.
"It is my goal to continuously improve, day after day, week after week, month after month," Cooter said. "It’s not my goal to stand up here and say look how much I have improved, haven’t improved or whatever. I am certainly trying to get better. There are a lot of different facets to this game where I’m looking to improve and looking to do a better job. I am working hard to get better each and every day. Whether that is happening, I’ll let you guys write the story."
In the simplest terms, offensive success is determined by yards and points. In his first full season at the helm, in 2016, Cooter led a below-average unit that ranked 21st and 20th in those categories. The team made significant strides in 2017, scoring the seventh most points in the NFL, but regression has hit hard this year, with the Lions ranking in the bottom half of the league in production, once again.
Looking at his personnel, Cooter was holding a winning hand entering the year, but the team has suffered a number of key losses through the season, from trading Golden Tate to injuries to T.J. Lang, and more recently, Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson.
But one thing Cooter won't do is use those bumps in the road as excuses for the offense's inconsistent and disappointing output.
"That’s the gig," Cooter said. "The NFL is built around a lot of things like this, somebody gets dinged one week, they’re out a week, can you adjust? If you can’t adjust, you’re not going to make it long in this league."
And how has he done adjusting this year? Again, he'll leave that for others to determine.
"You can judge me," Cooter said. "I’m not going to rate myself on my adjustments, but I look forward to getting asked about that article in a week."
The results continue to make their own case. While offenses surge around league, the Lions haven't averaged 16.2 points the past five games, a stretch where the team has gone 1-4.
Ultimately, the only judgement that matters will come from coach Matt Patricia, who willingly inherited Cooter this past offseason and has regularly praised the job the coordinator has done this season.
Patricia already fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano earlier this month, and if the Lions continue to struggle down the stretch, more coaching changes are expected at the end of the year.
"The reality of the situation in, this league is a week-by-week, year-by-year league," Cooter said. "You’re kind of judged on your results. We want better results. Our goal is to play better offensively to help our team win games. So, it’s probably not very wise for me to worry about all the outside talk or all the speculation. It’s pretty wise for me to get ready for the next opponent, evaluate our offense, what we can do better and what we should do better, and how we can improve as the year goes."