After starting out the season 1-7 and becoming the laughingstock of the league, the Lions fired offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, and promoted relatively unknown, thirty-one year old, quarterbacks coach, Jim Bob Cooter.
A 5.5 points per game increase for the offense, and a 6-2 finish for the Detroit Lions as a whole.
Matthew Stafford threw 19 of his 32 TDs and only 2 of his 13 interceptions in the second half of the season as he completed 70 percent of his passes for a 110 quarterback rating.
“I’m a big fan of Jim Bob Cooter!” Said Peyton Manning, who helped Caldwell recruit Cooter from the Tennessee Volunteers when the two were still together in Indianapolis. “Still one of the greatest names in the history of the SEC.”
It’s clear that Jim Bob Cooter, who has been coaching in the league since he was 25 years old, is one of the NFL’s best kept secrets.
Ironically, so is his past.
In 2006, Cooter, who’s birth name is , James Robert, was suspended by the Volunteers after being arrested and charged with DUI.
In 2009, he climbed into a woman’s window, stripped to his underwear, and got into her bed, which led to an aggravated burglary charge.
Magically, both of the records disappeared when Cooter was hired by the Lions.
“What I may have said with regard to an incident years ago does not mean that I can confirm that record again,” Knoxville police spokesman Darrel DeBusk said, when confronted about the arrests. “There’s no record. There’s nothing.”
Cooter’s blood alcohol content was a .19 on the breathalyzer, more than double the legal limit of .08 in the state of Tennessee, yet somehow any proof of guilt vanished.
No one seems to know exactly when or why, Cooter, had people start calling him Jim Bob, but it would seem he has plenty of reason for an identity change.
No matter who he is, or what you call him, his quarterbacks love him.
“Jim Bob and I have a good relationship,” Matthew Stafford said, about his new offensive coordinator. “He’s a smart guy. He communicates well with the guys on our offense. He’s young in this job, but he’s not afraid. He’s aggressive and that’s fun. That rubs off on guys when a guy’s aggressive and trusts us as players to go out and make those decisions.
Now that Jim Bob Cooter has a chance to put his talents on display for a full season, we will have a chance to find out what this team and it mysterious coach are all about.