Calling ex Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter a top 10 OC is premature

Former Jacksonville Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter made an appearance in Pro Football's list of top coordinators in the NFL but his inclusion might be a bit too premature.

Dec 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.
Dec 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Bob Cooter first got notoriety in the NFL because of his peculiar name. He then got Peyton Manning's seal of approval, which helped him move up the coaching rankings. Last season, he was the passing game coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars and is currently the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator. Even though Cooter hasn't called a single play in Indy, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus believes he's one of the 10 best coordinators in the league right now.

Monson recently ranked the top offensive coordinators ahead of the 2023 season and placed Bob Cooter at No. 9, noting that he was able to get the most out of Matthew Stafford and later played a role in Trevor Lawrence's development. Bob Cooter will now be tasked with unlocking Anthony Richardson's potential and Monson believes that's a great opportunity for him to solidify his reputation as a quarterback whisperer.

"One of a number of offensive coaches to temporarily unlock the best of Matthew Stafford when he was in Detroit, Jim Bob Cooter was also part of the huge growth shown by Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville last season as the team's passing game coordinator. That may have helped rebuild his reputation, and in Anthony Richardson, the Colts have a very focused goal on offense for him to turn his attention to. This is a big chance for Cooter to show that he can consistently get the best out of his quarterback and build an offense around one."

Bob Cooter was an offensive assistant from 2009-2011 and joined the Kansas City Chiefs' staff in 2012. He then spent the 20213 season with the Denver Broncos, where he had the chance to work with Manning. He became the quarterbacks coach for Detroit the following year and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2017.

During Bob Cooter's stint as the offensive coordinator, the Lions ranked in the top 10 of points scored once, in 2017 when they had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. Conversely, they were 20th and 27th in points scored in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Bob Cooter then spent time with the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles before joining the Jags in 2022.

Working against Bob Cooter in Indianapolis is that besides running back Jonathan Taylor, who was hampered by injuries last year, there isn't much talent at wide receiver and tight end. Michael Pittman Jr. is a solid No. 2 but he's currently dealing with a hip injury and there's no timeline for his return. On the other hand, sophomore Alec Pierce will need to make a huge leap in 2023. Last but not least, someone in their tight end room will need to step up in training camp but right now, the group doesn't look particularly enticing.

There were other coaches that had a bigger role in Trevor Lawrence's development

Bob Cooter helped Trevor Lawrence develop but the Jaguars made no effort to retain him. Instead, they brought in Nick Holz to take his place. Then again, they probably didn't need to fill their vacancy at passing game coordinator.

Going back to Lawrence, there were other coaches that played a bigger role in his improvement in 2023 than Bob Cooter. Doug Pederson deserves the most credit. Not only does he have an outstanding resume of working with quarterbacks but he's consistently surrounded himself with capable assistants.

In this case, Pederson picked Press Taylor to be his offensive coordinator and Mike McCoy as his quarterbacks coach. Both had a bigger role in Lawrence's growth than Bob Cooter.

The point isn't to undermine Bob Cooter's work with the Jaguars last year but to put it in context. Now with the Colts, he'll have the chance to show he can build a quarterback from scratch, and if Anthony Richardson succeeds, he will certainly deserve lots of credit for it.

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