On Friday, Jim Caldwell made official what everyone had already known for weeks: Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin would be joining the Detroit Lions as his offensive and defensive coordinators. The announcements were made at a press conference Friday morning.
Both Lombardi and Austin had the chance to speak during their press conference, mostly about their vision and ideas toward reshaping Detroit's offensive and defensive identity. Since it had originally been questioned if Lombardi or Caldwell would call the plays, the new offensive coordinator said he would likely be the one dialing them up.
"I believe so," Lombardi said. "It's always a collaborative effort, though. I think a lot of the play calls get done during the week in game planning. No matter who's calling plays, certainly a lot of suggestions are being made on game days. But yes, I think I'll be the one that will."
Additionally, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote, Lombardi commented that much of his philosophy would be reminiscent of the New Orleans Saints' offense, which he has spent his entire NFL career learning.
Lombardi said he expects the Lions' offense to look a lot like the teams he was a part of in New Orleans in recent seasons, using many different formations and personnel groupings.
Another critical talking point for the offense is what to do with Matthew Stafford. For his part, Lombardi doesn't seem to be fazed by the prospect of working with the quarterback who has limped own the stretch the past two seasons with noted accuracy issues. Lombardi said he didn't think Stafford was an "interception machine" after watching tape of all his intercepted passes, but rather, a quarterback who could clean up some mechanical and footwork issues.
Austin, meanwhile, also took time to touch on a key player from his group that's been maligned recently in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. After meeting with Suh, Austin said in a story penned by Mike O'Hara of DetroitLions.com that he came away impressed with his personality and drive to win.
"The one thing I can tell talking to the guy is, he really wants to win. That's really the most important thing. It's not so much if he goes to the Pro Bowl, I think he really and truly wants to be a part of a winner."
As for expectations regarding his own defensive scheme, Austin said he expected to utilize the blitz package a bit more, but reminded that teams can't blitz all of the time, nor play conservative all of the time, either.
"You can't pressure all day," Austin said. "You can't just play four-man all day. Obviously if you're going to pressure, you have to be able to cover in the back and give our guys some time to get home."
It's another new beginning for Lions' fans with both Lombardi and Austin taking over. Now that the announcement window dressing is finally out of the way, soon, it will be time to get down to the key personnel moves which will help each new coordinator build the roster they need to be successful.
- Report: Detroit Lions Add Baltimore Ravens’ Teryl Austin as Defensive Coordinator
- Detroit Lions Hire New Orleans Saints’ Joe Lombardi as Offensive Coordinator
- Detroit Lions’ Links: Joe Lombardi Praised by Drew Brees; Brett Keisel in Free Agency Fold?
- Detroit Lions Officially Introduce Jim Caldwell as Franchise’s 26th Head Coach
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