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Lions

Holda’s Update on Lions’ Offense: Part 1

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by Brad Holda

Who is Jim-Bob Cooter and What Will His Offense Look Like?

 

Jim Bob Cooter, born “James Robert,” is the NFL’s 2nd youngest offensive coordinator. Jim Caldwell said in a not so subtle way that changes are coming, schematically of course, you will get a sneak preview during this weeks game in London. But the Lions coming off their bye week will start to establish their new identity. And you can get a pretty clear picture of the future by digging into someone’s past. This is precisely what I have done, to give you a preview of the type of offense Cooter will eventually run. But before we delve into that let us start at the beginning.

 

Cooter’s Career, or lack thereof! And Lombardi’s Sealed Fate.

 

After being dismissed from the program at the University of Tennessee as a back-up quarterback from being arrested twice for DWI, he then started his career as a graduate assistant at the same university from 07-08. He then rocketed through the ranks at the NFL level first landing a job working with Peyton Manning for the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Caldwell. He followed Peyton to Denver where he eventually became his quarterback coach from 2012-2013. Much to Manning’s dismay, Cooter was lured away to work again with Jim Caldwell on the likes of the Detroit Lions’ franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Cooter has been noted to have been hard on Matthew Stafford, relentlessly harassing him on lazy footwork and his mechanics, believing he sees in him the raw talent Peyton Manning possesses, albeit much less refined. Stafford’s accuracy while working with Cooter has improved from 60 to 65.3%, although having waned in other categories, most likely due to the horrible offensive scheming presented by the late Joe Lombardi.  Stafford has been quoted saying that Cooter has a great mind for the game and is extremely detail oriented, wanting to know at all times what is going through Matt’s head. Biggest thing expected by an offensive coordinator for Detroit, as reported by Jim Caldwell, is to make week to week adjustments to give different looks at different teams, unlike Lombardi’s offense that was extremely predictable and predicated on failed “rapid fire” substitutions intended for positional advantages that rarely worked. Lombardi was also charged with the proverbial “neutering” of Stafford’s big arm and play making abilities. Speculation up to this point is that Cooter is going to run an offensive hybrid of the schemes he learned coaching Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and in Denver. It has also been postulated by some that a transition to these types of schemes shouldn’t be as hard as many think because pass blocking has been more of a communication, assignment and scheme issue. Not lack of talent.

 

Hypothesized Offensive Attack

 

I am willing to bet that Cooter will go back to what has worked for him and his quarterback in years past. I expect a hybrid fusion of the offensive schemes used in both Indy and Denver.

 

I expect a scheme similar in nature to the Air Caryell Scheme and Manning offense:

 

  1. Air Caryell Scheme Attributes Explained Below:

 

This is the name given to the offensive scheme and philosophy developed by former San Diego Chargers coach Dan Caryell. Caryell hybrid opens up the passing game. It also requires the defense to defend the whole field. The Caryell offense is a combination of deep and mid range passing and power running. The offense relies on all 5 receivers into the patterns that, combined, stretch the field, setting up the defensive backs with route technique and the quarterback throwing to a spot on time where the receiver can catch the ball and turn upfield with it. Pass protection is critical for success because at least 2 of the 5 receivers will run a deep in, skinny post, comeback, speedout or shallow cross route.

The overall goal of the Coryell offense is to have at least two wide outs down-field, wide receivers who can adjust to the deep ball (Johnson)(Tate) very well, coupled with a sturdy pocket passer with a strong arm. (Stafford) Using 3 Key Weapons.

 

  1. The first is a strong inside running game.
  2. Next is the ability to strike deep with 2 or more receivers on any play.
  3. Lastly is to not only use the aforementioned tactics but use two tactics in cooperation with each other, andto include a great deal of mid-range passing to a Tight-End, Wide Receiver or a back.

 

 

  1. Manning Hybrid Offense:

 

The offensive system is comprised of only a few well designed route concepts repeated knowing that generally no defensive play call can account for every receiver in the patter. The key lies in the quarterback’s cognitive ability to spot a weakness in the defense and quickly attack it. Variations of the level’s concept are deployed, where the in-cut from the slot receiver comes at 8 yards, and the in-cut comes from outside receiver at 6 yards. And there’s a different complexity all together when the in-cut comes together both at 6 or 8 yards respectively.

 

Levels fundamentally make defenders play from side to side but when you vary the depths you mess with the defense vertically too.  And staple running plays from both offenses Cooter worked with are stretch run-plays with zone blocking.  The new offense will also have a great ability to really make some big plays with an out and in route from the slot on the backside, when you use play action off the outside stretch.  I can see Riddick or Abdullah being on the receiving end of some passes in space off that action.

 

As far as the levels concepts are concerned, there are two route concepts that stand out in Cooter’s previous associated offenses.  Those are “levels” and the “semi:series”(Seam-Curl)(Seam-out)(Seam-comeback)(Seam-Hitch)

 

Examples

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles (2×2)

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles Slot (3×1)

 

 

 

bradfile1

 

Both contain two inside breaking smash routes, (think hi-lo here) to the side open, a top of the numbers split from the Tight End with a release inside to run the curl. Quarterback will read the subsequent drop of the Inside Line-Backer and target the 2nd TE as the #2 receiver is removed on the closed side of the formation.

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Zone Pressure

Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles slot (3×1)

 

bradfile2

 

Same exact concept as above, but the formation has been flipped and are using a posse personnel to throw in some window dressing. The D then brings zone pressure (rush 5, drop 6) to create a 3×3 deep under zone shell in the back end. This time the QB recognizes pressure and looks to the open side of the formation to target an inside release top of the numbers splits to the WR on a curl route.

And finally another pass to the Tight End. Tight ends will be utilized heavily under Cooter.

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles (2×2)

 

bradfile3

 

The defense rolls the safety down to the closed side of the formation to play the “curl flat” drop. However, the quarterback gets the ball out quick to the Tight End to pick up positive yards.

 

Against the revamped Lions’ offense, Defenses will be forced to execute across the whole field and defend short to intermediate concepts that break back inside of the numbers.  But the big wrench in the wheel is Stafford’s cannon of an arm that will make the Lions and Stafford even more lethal when it comes to intermediate to long balls against cover 3 and zone coverage schemes.

 

With this hypothetical new look Lions’ offense, their fantasy players would again be relevant. By crunching the numbers, I’ve come up with the fact that the Lions can increase productivity on offense by 32.5% And not only would the passing game would improve, but the run game would too. So all of you guys who have awaited all season to take Abdullah off your bench, the time is neigh.

 

31 year old Jim-Bob Cooter, known as a collaborator as opposed to an authoritarian, will definitely rely heavily on 45 year old, freshly promoted, running backs coordinator Curtis Madkins to formulate a hopefully punishing offensive attack.  Madkins can offer his tutelage from his 8 years in the league and experience as running backs coach and offensive coordinator for multiple teams that can prove invaluable.  Madkins is known for running with a duo of strong capable backs. He is especially known for developing players. He helped developed an unknown in the likes of Fred Jackson and an under performer in C.J. Spiller and turned them into one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches in the league while coaching in Buffalo.  The blocking scheme Madkins is known for utilizing is the stretch zone which is what Cooter is familiar with having worked solely with Manning.

 

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Lions

Holda’s Update on Lions’ Offense: Part 1

lio-ltyp-2-rgb

by Brad Holda

Who is Jim-Bob Cooter and What Will His Offense Look Like?

 

Jim Bob Cooter, born “James Robert,” is the NFL’s 2nd youngest offensive coordinator. Jim Caldwell said in a not so subtle way that changes are coming, schematically of course, you will get a sneak preview during this weeks game in London. But the Lions coming off their bye week will start to establish their new identity. And you can get a pretty clear picture of the future by digging into someone’s past. This is precisely what I have done, to give you a preview of the type of offense Cooter will eventually run. But before we delve into that let us start at the beginning.

 

Cooter’s Career, or lack thereof! And Lombardi’s Sealed Fate.

 

After being dismissed from the program at the University of Tennessee as a back-up quarterback from being arrested twice for DWI, he then started his career as a graduate assistant at the same university from 07-08. He then rocketed through the ranks at the NFL level first landing a job working with Peyton Manning for the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Caldwell. He followed Peyton to Denver where he eventually became his quarterback coach from 2012-2013. Much to Manning’s dismay, Cooter was lured away to work again with Jim Caldwell on the likes of the Detroit Lions’ franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Cooter has been noted to have been hard on Matthew Stafford, relentlessly harassing him on lazy footwork and his mechanics, believing he sees in him the raw talent Peyton Manning possesses, albeit much less refined. Stafford’s accuracy while working with Cooter has improved from 60 to 65.3%, although having waned in other categories, most likely due to the horrible offensive scheming presented by the late Joe Lombardi.  Stafford has been quoted saying that Cooter has a great mind for the game and is extremely detail oriented, wanting to know at all times what is going through Matt’s head. Biggest thing expected by an offensive coordinator for Detroit, as reported by Jim Caldwell, is to make week to week adjustments to give different looks at different teams, unlike Lombardi’s offense that was extremely predictable and predicated on failed “rapid fire” substitutions intended for positional advantages that rarely worked. Lombardi was also charged with the proverbial “neutering” of Stafford’s big arm and play making abilities. Speculation up to this point is that Cooter is going to run an offensive hybrid of the schemes he learned coaching Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and in Denver. It has also been postulated by some that a transition to these types of schemes shouldn’t be as hard as many think because pass blocking has been more of a communication, assignment and scheme issue. Not lack of talent.

 

Hypothesized Offensive Attack

 

I am willing to bet that Cooter will go back to what has worked for him and his quarterback in years past. I expect a hybrid fusion of the offensive schemes used in both Indy and Denver.

 

I expect a scheme similar in nature to the Air Caryell Scheme and Manning offense:

 

  1. Air Caryell Scheme Attributes Explained Below:

 

This is the name given to the offensive scheme and philosophy developed by former San Diego Chargers coach Dan Caryell. Caryell hybrid opens up the passing game. It also requires the defense to defend the whole field. The Caryell offense is a combination of deep and mid range passing and power running. The offense relies on all 5 receivers into the patterns that, combined, stretch the field, setting up the defensive backs with route technique and the quarterback throwing to a spot on time where the receiver can catch the ball and turn upfield with it. Pass protection is critical for success because at least 2 of the 5 receivers will run a deep in, skinny post, comeback, speedout or shallow cross route.

The overall goal of the Coryell offense is to have at least two wide outs down-field, wide receivers who can adjust to the deep ball (Johnson)(Tate) very well, coupled with a sturdy pocket passer with a strong arm. (Stafford) Using 3 Key Weapons.

 

  1. The first is a strong inside running game.
  2. Next is the ability to strike deep with 2 or more receivers on any play.
  3. Lastly is to not only use the aforementioned tactics but use two tactics in cooperation with each other, andto include a great deal of mid-range passing to a Tight-End, Wide Receiver or a back.

 

 

  1. Manning Hybrid Offense:

 

The offensive system is comprised of only a few well designed route concepts repeated knowing that generally no defensive play call can account for every receiver in the patter. The key lies in the quarterback’s cognitive ability to spot a weakness in the defense and quickly attack it. Variations of the level’s concept are deployed, where the in-cut from the slot receiver comes at 8 yards, and the in-cut comes from outside receiver at 6 yards. And there’s a different complexity all together when the in-cut comes together both at 6 or 8 yards respectively.

 

Levels fundamentally make defenders play from side to side but when you vary the depths you mess with the defense vertically too.  And staple running plays from both offenses Cooter worked with are stretch run-plays with zone blocking.  The new offense will also have a great ability to really make some big plays with an out and in route from the slot on the backside, when you use play action off the outside stretch.  I can see Riddick or Abdullah being on the receiving end of some passes in space off that action.

 

As far as the levels concepts are concerned, there are two route concepts that stand out in Cooter’s previous associated offenses.  Those are “levels” and the “semi:series”(Seam-Curl)(Seam-out)(Seam-comeback)(Seam-Hitch)

 

Examples

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles (2×2)

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles Slot (3×1)

 

 

 

bradfile1

 

Both contain two inside breaking smash routes, (think hi-lo here) to the side open, a top of the numbers split from the Tight End with a release inside to run the curl. Quarterback will read the subsequent drop of the Inside Line-Backer and target the 2nd TE as the #2 receiver is removed on the closed side of the formation.

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Zone Pressure

Personnel: Posse (3WR-1TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles slot (3×1)

 

bradfile2

 

Same exact concept as above, but the formation has been flipped and are using a posse personnel to throw in some window dressing. The D then brings zone pressure (rush 5, drop 6) to create a 3×3 deep under zone shell in the back end. This time the QB recognizes pressure and looks to the open side of the formation to target an inside release top of the numbers splits to the WR on a curl route.

And finally another pass to the Tight End. Tight ends will be utilized heavily under Cooter.

 

Scheme: Levels vs. Cover 3

Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)

Alignment: Doubles (2×2)

 

bradfile3

 

The defense rolls the safety down to the closed side of the formation to play the “curl flat” drop. However, the quarterback gets the ball out quick to the Tight End to pick up positive yards.

 

Against the revamped Lions’ offense, Defenses will be forced to execute across the whole field and defend short to intermediate concepts that break back inside of the numbers.  But the big wrench in the wheel is Stafford’s cannon of an arm that will make the Lions and Stafford even more lethal when it comes to intermediate to long balls against cover 3 and zone coverage schemes.

 

With this hypothetical new look Lions’ offense, their fantasy players would again be relevant. By crunching the numbers, I’ve come up with the fact that the Lions can increase productivity on offense by 32.5% And not only would the passing game would improve, but the run game would too. So all of you guys who have awaited all season to take Abdullah off your bench, the time is neigh.

 

31 year old Jim-Bob Cooter, known as a collaborator as opposed to an authoritarian, will definitely rely heavily on 45 year old, freshly promoted, running backs coordinator Curtis Madkins to formulate a hopefully punishing offensive attack.  Madkins can offer his tutelage from his 8 years in the league and experience as running backs coach and offensive coordinator for multiple teams that can prove invaluable.  Madkins is known for running with a duo of strong capable backs. He is especially known for developing players. He helped developed an unknown in the likes of Fred Jackson and an under performer in C.J. Spiller and turned them into one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches in the league while coaching in Buffalo.  The blocking scheme Madkins is known for utilizing is the stretch zone which is what Cooter is familiar with having worked solely with Manning.

 

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