Coaches

Joe Lombardi

Biography

Joe Lombardi brings 19 years of coaching experience to the Lions offensive coaching staff, including nine in the NFL and seven with the New Orleans Saints (2007-13). After holding various positions in the college ranks, Lombardi made the leap to the NFL as a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 before joining the Saints in 2007. He spent his first two years in New Orleans as an offensive assistant before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2009, where he worked exclusively with nine-time Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees for five seasons.

LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS

  • For the fifth-consecutive year, the Lions offense finished among the Top-10 in Lions single-season history for total offense, ranking eighth with 5,452 total net yards (340.8 yards per game).
  • WR Golden Tate was one of the Lions’ top targets in free agency last offseason, and his impact on Detroit’s offense was evident in his ability to create in open space and move the chains. Tate finished seventh in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,331 and sixth in receptions with 99. It marked the first time in his career he eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards.
  • With WR Calvin Johnson reaching 1,077 yards in 2014, he joined Tate (1,331) in the surpassing of 1,000 yards as they became the first pair of Lions receivers to both reach 1,000 in the same season since 2006 (WR Roy Williams, 1,310; WR Mike Furrey, 1,086). This marks only the sixth time in Lions history that two Lions receivers have each reached 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
  • Thus far, Stafford has led the Lions to 17 victories when trailing or tied in the fourth quarter or overtime, five of which came in 2014 under Lombardi. He has six career game-winning touchdown passes with less than one minute to play in fourth quarter (franchise record) and six after the two-minute warning.
  • Stafford also displayed a knack for leading the offense on third down as he tied for fifth in the NFL in third-down completions with 100. He also threw 10 touchdown passes on third down last season.
  • The Lions totaled 33 offensive touchdowns in 2014 (11 rushing; 22 passing) as 12 different players accounted for at least one score through the air or on the ground. Johnson led all receivers with eight receiving touchdowns, while RB Joique Bell led the ground attack with seven rushing touchdowns.

ADDITIONAL COACHING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Has spent the last eight seasons coaching in the NFL with stops in Atlanta as a defensive assistant in 2006 and New Orleans from 2007-2013. Began his tenure with the Saints as an offensive assistant before earning the job as quarterbacks coach in 2009.
  • Mentored eight-time Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees to a record-breaking season in 2011 as the quarterback passed for 5,476 yards to break the NFL-record for single-season passing yards (5,084) set by Dan Marino in 1984.
  • Helped the Saints to the team’s first-ever Super Bowl victory in his first year as quarterbacks coach in 2009 as they defeated Indianapolis, 31-17, in Super Bowl XLIV.
  • Previous college coaching experience includes Dayton (1996-98), Virginia Military Institute (1999), Bucknell (2000) and Mercyhurst College (2002-05). Also coached with the former XFL’s New York/New Jersey Hitmen in 2001.
  • Grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.

While with the Saints, Lombardi helped guide the New Orleans offense to League-leading numbers. Since Lombardi joined the Saints staff in 2007, New Orleans ranks first in net passing yards (33,349), completions (3,022), passing touchdowns (257). In his first season as quarterbacks coach in 2009, the Saints finished 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, in Super Bowl XLIV, securing the team’s first NFL championship in franchise history.

Lombardi’s molding of Brees into one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks is well-documented. From 2009-2013, Brees set the NFL individual record for most passing yards in a five-year span with 24,823. Under Lombardi’s coaching over the last five seasons, Brees is atop the League 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 Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (108.2) and Broncos QB Peyton Manning (103.1). During his 2009-2012 stretch, Brees also carried an NFL-record 54 game streak with at least one passing touchdown, shattering the previous mark of 47 set by Hall of Fame QB Johnny Unitas in 1960.

In 2011, Brees threw for 5,476 yards and 43 touchdowns to break Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino’s NFL single-season passing yardage record that stood for 27 seasons. Only Broncos QB Peyton Manning has thrown for more yards in a single season (5,477, 2013) since then. On the NFL’s all-time single-season passing yards list, Brees holds four of the Top-10 spots (2008, 7th; 2011, 2nd; 2012, 4th; 2013, 5th). With 5,162 yards in 2013, he also became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in three-consecutive seasons. He is only the fifth player to reach 50,000 career passing yards (51,081) and did so faster than any other player in NFL history (183 games).

Lombardi earned his first stint in the NFL as a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. An experienced coach on both sides of the ball, he worked with a Falcons defensive line that recorded 25.5 sacks that season. Prior to his time in Atlanta, Lombardi was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Mercyhurst (Pa.) College from 2002-05, where he also served as recruiting coordinator.

The grandson of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, Lombardi graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1994, where he earned three letters as a tight end and one in lacrosse. He began his coaching career at the University of Dayton (1996-98) and has held previous assistant coach positions with the Virginia Military Institute (1999), Bucknell (2000) and New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the former XFL (2001). 

A native of Seattle, Wash., Lombardi and his wife, Molly, have six children – sons Joseph, Thomas and Dominic and daughters Maria, Bernadette and Clare.

LOMBARDI'S COACHING BACKGROUND

Detroit Lions 2014-

  • Offensive Coordinator 2014-

New Orleans Saints 2007-2013

  • Quarterbacks 2009-2013
  • Offensive Assistant 2007-2009

Atlanta Falcons 2006

  • Defensive Assistant 2006

Mercyhurst 2002-2005

  • Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 2002-2005

New York/New Jersey Hitmen (XFL) 2001

  • Tight Ends/Running Backs 2001

Bucknell 2000

  • Defensive Line/Strength & Conditioning Coordinator 2000

Virginia Military Institute 1999

  • Tight Ends/Tackles 1999

Dayton 1996-1998

  • Defensive Line 1996-1998

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