Joe Lombardi expects to call plays

Updated: February 7, 2014, 4:40 PM ET
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Joe Lombardi has never called a play in the NFL, but when the Detroit Lions play their first preseason game in August, that should change.

Lombardi, the Lions' new offensive coordinator, said he believes he will be the one calling the plays this fall.

"I believe so," Lombardi said. "That's always a collaborative effort, though. I think a lot of the play calls get done during the week in game planning.

"No matter who is calling plays, a lot of suggestions are being made on game day. But yes, I think I'll be the one that will."

Lombardi said over the past few years in New Orleans, he tried to envision what plays he would call in certain situations. He said he did something similar during the week as the Saints put together their game plans.

Expect the Lions' playbook to look similar to what Lombardi worked with in New Orleans. That will be the baseline, and adjustments will be made to fit personnel. He also anticipates collaborating with his assistants.

"You're going to see some differences," Lombardi said. "But the playbook that we're starting from is the Saints' playbook," said Lombardi, who was New Orleans' quarterbacks coach from 2009 to 2013 and an offensive assistant in 2007 and 2008. His prior coordinating experience was at Mercyhurst from 2002 to 2005.

[+] EnlargeJoe Lombardi
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsJoe Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, expects to call plays for the Lions.

Lombardi doesn't yet know where he'll be during games, on the sideline or in the coaches' box. A lot of that will depend on who Detroit hires as quarterbacks coach. He deferred to coach Jim Caldwell for whom the Lions might hire and what the timeline is.

Caldwell did not take questions Friday, but he did express confidence that anyone who has coached quarterbacks will be fine calling plays.

"When you coach the quarterbacks, the entire offense runs through you," Caldwell said. "Every single phase of it runs right through you, and often times you have as much say-so as anybody because you know what [the quarterback] likes and what he doesn't like.

"Those things are all part of that position and I think he's certainly on the verge of having a great, great career."

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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