Monday, February 10, 2014

Why it's difficult not to raise your eyebrows at the notion of Jim Bob Cooter as Lions QB coach

Normally, when an NFL team hires a QB coach, it is down the pecking order of importance among staff hires. The coordinator positions get the bulk of attention - as they should.
But there was such a big deal made about the need for the Lions to "fix" QB Matthew Stafford after the 2013 season fell part on him, QB coach became a much bigger issue
The answer: Jim Bob Cooter. Upon deeper examination...Oh boy.
Joe Lombardi was hired as offensive coordinator from the New Orleans. OK. He worked with Drew Brees at New Orleans as QB coach, and was on the right upward ascent for the O-coordinator spot after working for Sean Peyton and Pete Carmichael with the Saints.
Cooter did work on a good Denver staff and with head coach Jim Caldwell at Indianapolis, but it wasn't like Peyton Manning wasn't developed. The thought you move people up after they do good work is a noble and right and just concept, except the Cotter has two well-documented arrests, one for a DUI while he Tennessee's backup QB in 2006, and for allegedly crawling through a window of women's apartment and lying in her bed a couple years later.
Given the embarrassment the Lions suffered not long ago when Rod Marinelli's defensive line coach Joe Cullen reportedly drove through the drive-in window line at Wendy's without any clothes, and the alarming number of off-the-field conduct incidents the Lions endured between the promising 2011 season and the start of the disastrous 2012 season, it's impossible not to wonder why Jim Bob Cooter is a necessary element for Caldwell's coaching staff.
A preferred option, I would think, would be somebody who actually played QB extensively in the NFL and would therefore be able to relate in a reasonable way some of the issues Stafford is going through. I know in baseball, major league experience is considered a major plus for pitching coaches. It's considered a no-no to hire a major league pitching coach from another organization if he hasn't pitched in the major leagues, and doesn't have previous MLB experience as a pitching coach. This proved to be a major factor, it seemed, when Rick Knapp was the Tigers' pitching coach and did not succeed.
The pitchers aren't nearly as respectful and willing to listen to somebody who hasn't been in their shoes before.
It considered OK if the pitching coach has been with the organization and worked his way up with the same pitchers, earning their respect along the way, or been successful in another organization at the MLB level as a coach.
You'd think the same principal would be in effect with a QB coach, especially if neither the offensive coordinator nor head coach played QB in the league, which is the case with Lombardi and Caldwell.
Then, when you throw in Cooter's off-the-field issues...
It just doesn't look good.

Hopefully there will be another epic USA, Canada hockey encounter at the Sochi Olympics. (My column)


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