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Jim Bob Cooter: Protecting Matthew Stafford better starts with me

Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter takes the blame for not protecting Matthew Stafford more after the team's franchise quarterback was sacked 16 times over their last two games.

After giving up 13 sacks in the first seven games of the season, things have gone off the rails in pass protection for the Lions the last two weeks.

They’ve allowed 16 sacks in lopsided losses to the Vikings and Bears that leave the Lions at 3-6 and looking up at the rest of the NFC North. It’s also led to questions about whether the constant pressure has led to a drop in play for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Stafford is on pace for career worsts on a variety of fronts, but offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter initially said that a perspective on how Stafford’s played is “sort of Detroit Lions information.” Cooter opened up a bit more on the topic of whether pressure was changing the quarterback’s play later in his media session.

“No, Stafford’s a really tough guy,” Cooter said, via “Obviously offensively, I have to do a better job and we have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback through playcalling, scheme, execution, all those things. At the end of the day, we have to get that number down and do a better job with that. Stafford hangs in there. Stafford’s a tough guy. He’ll take a hit when needed. We just need to do a better job of protecting him. It starts with me, I have to improve the way we’re going about doing that and fix some of those errors.”

The Lions face the Panthers this week and Carolina’s defense has produced 22 sacks so far this season. If Detroit can’t stop them from padding that total, it’s hard to imagine a different result from the last couple of weeks.