Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has never been held in high regard for his creativeness, so it was no surprise when he stated his desire to hire an innovative offensive coordinator. His decision to hire former New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi has always looked like a great one, and Lombardi looks poised to help take both Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense to the next level. Another top receiver on the outside is needed to aid in that endeavor, but the Lions also have other pieces for Lombardi to work with.
One of those pieces is second-year tight end Joseph Fauria, who asserted himself as a dangerous red zone weapon this past season. An imposing, physical specimen, Fauria has plenty of upside, but he also need plenty of work. However, if there’s anyone who can turn him into the next big breakout TE, then it’s Lombardi, who worked with one of the best in the game in Jimmy Graham.
Fauria sounds incredibly excited to work with Lombardi, and he certainly has his eyes on putting up Graham-like numbers in the Lions offense, which will be based off of the Saints offense. He told Lions official site beat writer Tim Twentyman, “I have a similar background to (Graham) with basketball and similar height and the way we play. I’m not calling myself Jimmy Graham, but I strive to have the kind of production he has. I think I can contribute very similarly to how he has with the Saints.”
It certainly isn’t going to be easy to put up numbers similar to arguably the best pure pass-catching TE in the NFL, but why would Fauria try to settle for anything less? It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s used in the Lions offense, and it’s possible that he could emerge as their No. 3 target next season, assuming they draft/add a No. 2 WR opposite of Calvin Johnson.