From the moment the Detroit Lions hired Jim Caldwell to be their new head coach, multiple moves have been made to the coaching staff. They recently hired Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin to be their new defensive coordinator and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to be their new linebacker coach. They even retained seven members of Jim Shcwartz’s staff from last season including Jeremiah Washburn, Terry Heffernan, Bonamego, Curtis Modkins, Jim Washburn, Kris Kocurek and Bobby Johnson.
Now it has been reported that the Lions have hired New Orleans Saints quarterback coach Joe Lombardi to be their new offensive coordinator. Just in case you were wondering, Lombardi is the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.
It was first reported by Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen of ESPN:
Then it was later confirmed by Lions senior writer and insider Tim Twentyman:
Now he may not be the most fanciest hire but he is a solid hire for the Lions, mainly because he has the potential to mold and work with quarterback Matthew Stafford and most importantly make him into a franchise quarterback.
During his time with the Saints, Lombardi worked as an offensive assistant (2007-08) and quarterback coach (2009-2013), which led to him being heavily involved in the preparation of the quarterbacks and passing attack and the Saints benefited from him being on the staff.
Lombardi also helped Saints quarterback Drew Brees take a step forward in his production. In his first year as a quarterback coach, Brees had his most efficient season, completing 70 percent of his passes while throwing 34 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Keep in mind, that’s also the same year that the Saints went on to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Then later on in 2011, Brees won his second Offensive Player of the Year award, throwing for a then-NFL record 5, 476 passing yards.
Overall, Brees has thrown for more than 5,000 yards in each of the past three seasons with Lombardi as his quarterback coach and has completed 63 percent of his passes or better in each of the five seasons Lombardi has worked with him that includes two seasons over 70 percent.
The point being that Brees became a true franchise quarterback under Lombardi (along with Sean Payton) and that’s what the Lions needed for Stafford and now they have that in Lombardi.
The only thing as of right now that is left unclear is whether Caldwell or Lombardi will call the plays. This is Lomabardi’s first NFL offensive coordinator job, so he lacks experience in that area. As where Caldwell, spent parts of the last two seasons as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator, so there is no doubt that he has the experience to do the play-calling if he does indeed chose to do it.
As of right now, I assume Caldwell will do most of the play-calling, since he hired Lombardi who has little play calling experience but you never know.
So, overall I say again this is a solid hire. The next step is filling the other positional coaching positions that they still have open and getting ready for the 2014 NFL Draft because the 2014 NFL season will be here before we know it.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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