Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) smiles before the game with the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Lions are wisely doing everything possible to hire coaches who can help take talented quarterback Matthew Stafford to the next level, because better technique, footwork, and more consistent decision-making would help Stafford become one of the best quarterbacks in the game. There is no questioning Stafford’s elite arm talent, as he has excellent arm strength and can make all the throws; he’s also touted for his leadership. However, Stafford is also an inconsistent quarterback due to technique issues that need cleaning-up and post-snap reads that include too many poor judgement calls (he forces the ball a bit too much).
New head coach Jim Caldwell will greatly help him become a better quarterback, and Caldwell has a nice endorsement in his back pocket from Peyton Manning, who was coached by Caldwell back in Indy. Although the Lions top candidate was Ken Whisenhunt, I’m quietly confident that Caldwell will do a good job for the Lions organization. He stressed the importance of hiring a creative offensive coordinator, and I think that shows Caldwell knows his limitations- he’s definitely not creative himself- and is willing to hire people who are.
Caldwell hired former New Orleans Saints QBs coach Joe Lombardi as his new offensive coordinator, and I’m a huge fan of the hire. Not only is Joe Lombardi Vince’s grandson, but he has an excellent track record as Drew Brees’s coach in New Orleans. Lombardi is undoubtedly both great at working with QBs and creative, and he makes great sense as a hire for the Lions.
You can count one of Lombardi’s former colleagues as a big believer that Matthew Stafford will benefit from working with Lombardi. Saints tight ends coach Terry Malone said, via Lions official site beat writer Tim Twentyman, “It will be a real plus for Matthew to have Joe. 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.”
Lombardi is as bright as they come, and he learned from one of the best and most innovative coaches in the business in Sean Payton.