Lions OC Cooter: Defenders covering Riddick 1-on-1 is a ‘rare thing’

Lions running back Theo Riddick has far more receiving yards than rushing yards this season.
Tim Fuller/Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has a secret weapon, and he’s very hard to stop for a team that’s not prepared to defend him. Simple man-to-man coverage, for example, doesn’t usually work.

Cooter’s weapon is running back Theo Riddick. Although he’s the third-leading rusher (28 carries, 84 yards) on the NFL’s worst rushing team (74.5 yards per game), that’s not the way he typically hurts opposing defenses. 

Riddick is far more lethal as a pass-catcher, as he’s the Lions’ third-leading receiver with 55 catches for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Because of the third-year running back’s elusive route-running, Cooter says it’s a "rare thing" to see defenders cover him one-on-one, according to Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman.

The Philadelphia Eagles found this out the hard way on Thanksgiving Day. He consistently escaped coverage from Philadelphia’s linebackers and caught five passes for 62 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown that opened the floodgates for Detroit’s 45-14 victory.

Riddick is one of the NFL’s most unique offensive playmakers, and Cooter is just learning how to best employ his skills. With him, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate in the lineup, the Lions are a tough team to match up against.

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