The Detroit Lions' talented offense has not lived up to expectations in 2015. Monday marked the end of play-caller Joe Lombardi's tenure as the Lions seek a spark on that side of the ball.
Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News reported the offensive coordinator's firing and indicated the Lions also fired offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the news.
ESPN's Field Yates reported quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter will take over for Lombardi as offensive coordinator. Lions official website reporter Tim Twentyman outlined all the alterations the team made to its coaching staff:
"We don’t have a lot of time. We’re running out of time," said head coach Jim Caldwell when asked why he didn't wait until after this week's upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs in London, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Caldwell confirmed Lions ownership had "no say" in the decision, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive Media.
The moves came after a proclamation to the contrary by Caldwell, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN pointed out:
Lombardi served as an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints before being placed in charge of Detroit's offense to start the 2014 campaign. Although the Lions made the playoffs last year, they were 19th in total offense and in the bottom five of the NFL in running the ball.
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo noted how Detroit has fallen short in the latter area even more so in 2015:
This year has been an unmitigated disaster for Lombardi, as the team ranks 30th in points per game. With a talented quarterback like Matthew Stafford and the weapons around him in Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron, there's little excuse for such poor production.
Detroit's defense isn't what it was a year ago either. All that has added up to a 1-6 record, and Lombardi is the first high-profile member of the coaching staff to take a fall.
Greater changes could be coming in the offseason if the Lions continue struggling the way they have. Cooter was an offensive assistant for the Denver Broncos in 2013 but doesn't have experience as a play-caller at the NFL level.
Absent a drastic turnaround in the second half of the season, Caldwell and everyone else he brought with him to Detroit figure to be on the way out once the 2015 campaign concludes.