Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has been in his new job for about a day, and already he has made one proclamation:
Matthew Stafford is not broken.
“The good news is that he’s not broken, that much is clear,” Lombardi told Yahoo! Sports. “There’s an awful amount of talent there. His arm is something to behold. We used to sit in the Saints’ quarterback room and just marvel at his passes — all the depths, the whole field in play. He can really sling it. That’s a great thing to have.
“I am not worried about Matthew. I am excited to be working with him, and we’ll get started soon. I can’t wait.”
Lombardi, who was hired Tuesday by new coach Jim Caldwell, had been the quarterbacks coach in New Orleans and worked with Drew Brees the past five seasons.
Stafford and Detroit struggled in the second half of the 2013 season, going 2-6 over the final eight games. Stafford threw for 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions over that eight-game stretch, completing more than 60 percent of his passes only twice. He also completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in two of those games.
Lombardi is not the only person who believes in Stafford, who signed a lucrative long-term extension prior to the 2013 season.
Caldwell praised Stafford at his introductory news conference last week, as did Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.
“[Stafford] wants to get better,” Caldwell said last week. “And not only that, I think you’re going to see he’ll do whatever it takes to try and get himself in the best position to win. That’s without question.”
- Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
- Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette