Detroit Lions: 7 options to replace Jim Bob Cooter as offensive coordinator

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Here are seven candidates to replace Jim Bob Cooter as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator after the team announced Tuesday he would not be retained:

Shane Waldron

Los Angeles Rams pass game coordinator

Waldron is a bright, young offensive mind who has played a hand in shaping one of the NFL’s best offenses. One drawback: Waldron doesn’t have experience calling plays beyond the high school level. Quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor is the hot Rams assistant, but Waldron has ties to Patricia, having served two stints with the Patriots as quality control coach and tight ends coach.

Lions quarterbacks coach George Godsey at their practice facility in Allen Park on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

George Godsey

Lions quarterbacks coach

Godsey is one of two Lions assistants with NFL offensive coordinator experience (offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is the other). He served as Bill O’Brien’s coordinator with the Houston Texans in 2015-16 – the Texans finished in the bottom half of the league in total and scoring offense both years – and joined the Lions as a defensive assistant in 2017 before taking over as quarterbacks coach last year. He also has prior ties to Patricia, working in New England from 2011-13.

Adam Gase

Ex-Miami Dolphins coach

Gase was fired Monday after three seasons as Dolphins coach and a 23-25 record, but he’s widely regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the NFL. He broke into the league with the Lions, cut his teeth working under Mike Martz and with Peyton Manning, and would be a home-run hire. Of course, he could wind up a head coach again with the Cleveland Browns one reported suitor.

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FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talks to coach Adam Gase during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins have been awful on the road, and that must change if they’re to make the playoffs. Two of their final three games are away from Miami, including Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 at Minnesota, and they likely need a sweep to earn an AFC wild card berth.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Nathaniel Hackett

Ex-Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator

Hackett became the fall guy for the Jaguars’ disappointing season when he was fired in November after seven straight losses. A former Syracuse assistant – Patricia has close ties to the school and Hackett’s former boss, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone – Hackett also has coached quarterbacks and tight ends. Remarkably, he made Jacksonville’s offense serviceable with Blake Bortles at quarterback in 2017.

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2018, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars Nathaniel Hackett offensive coordinator speaks with reporters after NFL football practice in Jacksonville, Fla. Jaguars have fired Hackett on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, the day after the team's seventh consecutive loss. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

Freddie Kitchens

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator

Kitchens still has a job for now, but he could end up on the street depending on who the Browns hire as head coach. If he’s available, the ex-Alabama quarterback is worth a call based on the work did with rookie Baker Mayfield this year. He does not have direct ties to Patricia, but he did work for Bill Parcells (who worked with Bill Belichick) and on the same staff with Paul Pasqualoni in Dallas.


Charlie Weis

Ex-Notre Dame coach

If you’re sensing a theme here of candidates with ties to Patricia, you’re right. Weis was on the Patriots staff when Patricia first got hired into New England, and he tried to take Patricia with him when he left for Notre Dame in 2005. Weis hasn’t coached since 2014, but he reportedly wants back in the game and would be a trusted face for Patricia.

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis motions to a player during the fourth quarter against Michigan State, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2005, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame lost 44-41 in overtime.

Nick Caley

New England Patriots tight ends coach

A dark horse candidate, Caley probably isn’t seasoned enough to be an NFL coordinator yet, but he’s a fast-rising Patriots assistant. He coached two years of tight ends and was an offensive assistant for two seasons in New England, but he’s never called plays at any level.

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