MOBILE, ALA. -- Former Michigan offensive coordinator and current New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Terry Malone spent the last seven years working alongside new Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi in New Orleans and Malone says Lombardi is ready for his chance to be a coordinator.
"Joe is going to do a great job," Malone said. "He’s a very smart football coach. His training over the last five or six years is with Sean Payton and it really is sound football and an attacking style that I’m sure the Lions fans will really enjoy."
Since Lombardi joined the Saints staff in 2007, New Orleans ranks first in net passing yards (33,349; 297.8 per game), completions (3,022) and passing touchdowns (257).
Quarterback Drew Brees was already a pretty good player before Lombardi got to New Orleans, but there’s no denying his game has reached new heights, in part, with the help of Lombardi.
From 2009-13, Brees set the NFL record for most passing yards in a five-year span (24,823). He is currently atop the NFL in passing yards (24,823), completions (2,147), passing touchdowns (195), and his passer rating of 102.1 ranks third during that span behind only the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (108.2) and Broncos’ Peyton Manning (103.1).
The Lions are hoping he can take an already pretty good quarterback in Matthew Stafford and take his game to another level.
"It will be a real plus for Matthew to have Joe," Malone said. "What’s important is the relationship between the two of them and there has to be trust and has to be confidence on both sides. That’s really a case by case basis, but it seems to me Matthew is an exceptional person and what I know about him, he's very much a competitor. He’ll see that Joe is going to give him a lot of things that will help him be successful."
This isn’t the first time Lombardi has been up for an offensive coordinator job. He interviewed for the Jets' offensive coordinator position last year.
The grandson of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi – for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named – graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1994, where he earned three letters as a tight end and one in lacrosse.
He’s known around the NFL for having a high football IQ and quick wit.