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Stafford goes gaga over Jim Bob Cooter's play-calling

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Matthew Stafford enjoyed his best game in years during the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving offensive explosion, carving up the Philadelphia Eagles in a 45-14 win.

It's clear after four games, new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is a better match for the quarterback. In the past three weeks, Stafford played his best three games of the season and looks better than any stretch under Joe Lombardi.

"Jim Bob and I have a good relationship," Stafford said, via the Detroit Free Press. "He's a smart guy. He communicates well with the guys on our offense. He's young in this job, but he's not afraid. He's aggressive and that's fun. That rubs off on guys when a guy's aggressive and trusts us as players to go out and make those decisions.

"Hey, you call that play at the end of the half, I throw a pick, everybody's not happy. You call that play and you score a touchdown, then his trust in us builds and vice versa."

The Lions were in attack-mode from the jump Thursday and didn't let up. The most aggressive move came at the end of the first half. Detroit was up 10 and getting the ball to start the second half. On third-and-17 with 17 seconds remaining, most teams call a safe play to secure the field goal.

Not Jim Bob Cooter.

"He said, 'Ah, screw that, let's go be aggressive,'" Stafford said of the OC, who changed the original play-call. "And he gave me four verticals and I was fired up for it, I loved it."

Stafford whipped a dime to Calvin Johnson. The score buried the Eagles.

One thing we know about Stafford's seven seasons into his pro career: He thrives on aggression. A gunslinger by nature, ask Stafford to fling the pigskin around the park and he'll find a groove. Ask him to merely manage the game, he'll toil.

Under Jim Bob Cooter's more aggressive play-calling, Stafford's confidence is renewed.

"I think the more important thing is that our quarterback is comfortable," coach Jim Caldwell said. "I think it's given our playmakers a chance to do something with the ball. Theo (Riddick) and Ameer (Abdullah) is coming along and developing. And then the guys on the flanks that catch it and run with it for us, Calvin and those guys, are getting it with regularity."

Credit Cooter with being creative and ensuring his playmakers get the ball in space -- something we never saw under Lombardi. After falling to 1-7 on the season, the Lions' offense finally looks something like what we expected entering the season.

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