LIONS INSIDER

Sean Payton says Joe Lombardi is "forward thinking"

Posted Mar 28, 2014

Joe Lombardi spent the last seven years in New Orleans and his former head coach, Sean Payton, says he's ready to lead his own offense

ORLANDO – When Matthew Stafford returns to work April 7 he’ll have plenty of changes to navigate his way through -- new head coach, different offensive coordinator, new quarterback coach, different offense and new teammates.

The first order of business, of course, will be learning Joe Lombardi’s new offense. Lombardi and head coach Jim Caldwell are going to stress fundamentals, timing and accuracy with their offense, some of those things Lombardi brought with him from New Orleans.

“I think he’s forward thinking,” New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said of Lombardi at the NFL Annual Meetings. “He’s been a big part of what we’ve done and I think he’s someone who will handle that transition well.

“He’s going to do a very good job. I think he’s been part of a good system here so there’s a confidence level he’ll bring with him. I’m sure as they sit down and begin to formulate what they want to do offensively… they’ll have a package that best suits their team.”

Lombardi is expected to spread the ball around to a lot of different weapons and play a pretty open style of football. Caldwell is an offensive-minded coach, and the addition of Jim Bob Cooter as quarterbacks coach coming over from Denver, will all help Lombardi make the adjustment as a first-time coordinator.

He spent the last seven years under Payton in New Orleans, the last five as his quarterback coach. They won Super Bowl XLIV together.

Lombardi has never called plays in the NFL, but Payton said he was an important part of what the Saints did on Sunday’s.

Drew Brees has thrived under Lombardi's guidance the past four seasons, completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 19,661 yards with 156 touchdowns and a 101.4 passer rating. He's been selected to the Pro Bowl each of those seasons.

The Lions are expecting Stafford to see some of that kind of success.

“I think when there’s change, you’re hoping with that change comes improvement,” Payton said. “In regards to Joe, I think he’s a real sharp coach and someone we valued a lot.”