The Detroit Lions are giving Joe Lombardi his first opportunity as an offensive coordinator. After previously serving as the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach, the hire was widely lauded as a good get of a guy ready to take the next step in his coaching career.
Coordinator jobs with the Lions have hardly been stepping-stones for coaches headed to bigger and better things but that could change with Lombardi. The step beyond the Lions’ offensive coordinator job may not be too far off in the future.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora labeled Lombardi one of six offensive coordinators on the rise:
There are some very special tools in place in Detroit, but few teams fall prey to self-destructive mistakes more than the Lions, either. Those season-crushing turnovers and the ruts of penalties and the inability to get out of their own way have been calling cards of this group as well. Lombardi, who learned under Sean Payton in New Orleans (about the best apprenticeship one could serve), won’t tolerate that stuff, and he has a strong sounding board in former quarterback coach and coordinator Jim Caldwell as his head coach. Stafford has all the tools you could possibly want, and if 2015 was the season he put it all together, no one would be shocked. Given his lineage — yes, that Lombardi was his grandfather — it’s not going to be hard for owners to fall for him, and he’s been groomed very well. He struts his stuff as a play caller and his stint as Lions coordinator might end up being pretty short.
The positive in a short stay would be that it meant Lombardi got the Lions offense to finally live up to its potential and click on a consistent basis like it hasn’t before. It would be classic “Lions luck” for that to happen then have to go through a transition and hope the next offensive coordinator (Jim Bob Cooter?) can keep it going.
Of course, this is putting the cart way before the horse. For now, just rest easy in the fact the Lions made a hire worthy of national respect.