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The Detroit Lions feature the lethal combination of wide receiver Calvin Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford. Johnson is unquestionably the most physically gifted wideout in the NFL, and Stafford’s rocket arm can deliver the ball from all over the field.
If you thought this group of guys was a joy to watch last year, this season promises to be even more fun. One of the big reasons for this excitement comes from new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Lombardi has the background and the bloodline to be a great coach—his grandfather is the legendary Vince Lombardi, the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named.
Per Kevin Patra of NFL.com, the former Saints quarterbacks coach told reporters back in February that Detroit's offense will offer a "lot of similarities" to what New Orleans has done under Sean Payton.
The first thing that come to mind is an uptempo vertical-style passing attack.
One of the strengths of the Saints offensive attack is the way it is able to spread the ball around and exploit favorable matchups. That happens to be the exact element the Lions offense has lacked the most over the past few years.
Even the Saints running backs were asked to split carries in a committee-style running game.
In 2013, the Saints saw three backs earn 50-plus carries. Pierre Thomas led the attack with 147 carries. Screens and checkdowns are critical in New Orleans.
A huge part of their participation in this offense will come as pass-catchers. But will the Lions players be able to adjust to the new system fast enough?
Learning the offense these last few months has not been easy. Just ask the starting quarterback.
Stafford is not ashamed to admit the offense is dense, with a heavy amount of new verbiage and an expansive playbook. Through the early stages of the offseason, the entire unit has been struggling, but Lombardi remains realistic with his expectations. A coach must have patience when he installs a new system.
Beyond learning the playbook, Stafford is also adjusting to the new coaching staff's approach to his fundamentals.
One thing is for sure: Lombardi has to be smiling from ear to ear when he looks at all the talent he has to work with. The sky is truly the limit for this Detroit offense.