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Detroit Lions hire Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator

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Well, the pieces are in place. The Detroit Lions have their head coach. They have their defensive coordinator. And now they have their offensive coordinator. The Detroit Lions will reportedly hire Joe Lombardi for the position.

First, let's get the obvious trivial tidbit out of the way. Yes, he is related to Vince Lombardi. In fact, he is his grandson. Now announcers will have something to bring up over and over again, now that the "Jim Schwartz's team is so undisciplined" narrative is dead. Hey, they may even ponder whether or not Lombardi will bring toughness and discipline to the squad, what with him being related to Vince. Of course, the older Lombardi was just as obnoxious and full of macho nonsense as Schwartz, but he is beloved for it because he is successful, and because he is dead.

Anyway, back to Joe Lombardi. Since 2007, he has been with the New Orleans Saints, and since 2009 he has been their quarterback coach. He also has XFL experience, which is always a plus. He has some offensive coordinator experience, but that was at Mercyhurst College. That's something.

So, we have another new coordinator with no prior NFL experience in that position, but that's not an issue. The Saints have had a great offense the past few years, but that offense is also all Sean Payton and Drew Brees. By the time Lombardi became the quarterback coach, Brees was an established presence. Granted, Brees' play has been at its best since 2009, but you can't credit that to Lombardi. Maybe he played a part. We don't know. We can't really know.

It makes sense to hire a guy from New Orleans, because the Saints and Lions have similar offensive philosophies. Both teams are pass heavy, and use their running backs mostly as passing outlets. Both try and get the ball out fast to protect the quarterback. The Saints are also very aggressive, but that's not really on Lombardi, but on Jim Caldwell, and Caldwell is a horrendous in-game coach, which is why I was against the hiring in the first place.

I am intrigued by Caldwell's coordinator hires, however. He took Teryl Austin from a defense that has been well-respected, and his specialty, the secondary, is Detroit's biggest issue on that side of the ball. Now, he has hired Lombardi from a team with a well-respected offense, and his specialty, quarterback, is the crux of Detroit's future on that side of the ball. Can Lombardi get through to Matthew Stafford? If he does, that would be huge.

While I remain disappointed with the Caldwell hiring, both Austin and Lombardi are fairly blank canvases, with no experience at their new jobs at this level. We don't know what we will get, but that's not a bad thing. They could be great, they could be bad. The Lions have taken a risk, and I am fine with that.


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