Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What hiring Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator means to the Lions' offense

Joe Lombardi has an excellent NFL pedigree, and that isn't because his grandfather is Vince Lombardi, who died before he was born. He comes from the Saints. Head coach Sean Peyton is one of the NFL's top offensive minds. Pete Carmichael Jr., the Saints' offensive coordinator, has been on the radar as a possible head coaching candidate. It was thought if he did land a head coaching position, Lombardi would replace him as the offensive coordinator.
Lombardi is an experienced assistant, who has worked successfully with one of the league's top QBs of all time, Drew Brees. He should be ready for this position.
Joe Lombardi: Experience fits position
Lombardi's experience comes from the Air Coryell offense. It is one of the standard sets in the NFL, very similar to the West Coast Offense, except with more emphasis on stretching the field vertically. It's the same system the Lions had under Scott Linehan, except the Saints have made use out of the fullback position. It's a system, certainly, with which Reggie Bush, a former Saint, has familiarity.
The Lions will often flood one side of the field with receivers. Tight end is a premium position in this offense. Jimmy Graham has been the biggest threat in New Orleans for years. Before he arrived, they had a productive duo in Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas. The running backs get a ton receptions, too. The idea is to stretch the field vertically, and set up the passing game underneath.
It's not much different scheme-wise than what the Lions were doing under Scott Linehan, but successful offensives aren't just based on overall game plans, but play calling and execution. Certainly Lombardi's hiring continues the emphasis on rehabilitating QB Matthew Stafford after last season's late-season collapse. Head coach Jim Caldwell was Peyton Manning's quarterback coach. Joe Lombardi was Drew Brees' quarterbacks coach. There are plenty of QB gurus to go around on the Lions' coaching staff to help Stafford.
Defense of Richard Sherman's bizarre conduct indefensible: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140121/caputo-defense-of-richard-shermans-bizarre-conduct-baseless My column


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