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Lions OC Lombardi To Play-Call From Press Box Again On Sunday

By Ashley Scoby

Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will be back in the press box this weekend against the Vikings, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Lombardi made the move upstairs last week against Chicago, and (coincidentally or not), the Lions exploded for 37 points.

Plenty of factors exist for why the Lions' offense found success this weekend. And whether or not Lombardi's location had much to do with it, he's staying put for now.

"He'll be up there this week again and it just kind of depends on how things go," Caldwell said.

The Lions totaled 546 yards, 391 of them through the air.

When asked if there was an advantage to calling plays from up high, rather than on the field, Caldwell said one didn't exist.

"There really is none," he said. "It's preference. I mean there are a lot of guys – Tom Moore (former Colts offensive coordinator) never went in the press box, detested the press box, and had one of the most productive offenses maybe in the history of the league for a period of time. … Guys have their own areas in which they like to operate, so Joe actually wanted to go up in the press box earlier, and we just thought timing was right now."

Although Caldwell denied that there was an advantage to making play calls from upstairs, he clearly saw advantages when he was in the situation as a play-caller years ago.

"I like the press box because I can see the game better," Caldwell said. "Nobody had to tell me what happened; I knew what happened. Oftentimes you can't see the far side of the field from the sidelines unless you have a very strategic vantage point. Upstairs you can see it all. You can see what's coming. You can adjust, from my vantage point. Some guys don't like it."

Those favorable conditions certainly don't exist only for Caldwell, but for any other human as well (whether Caldwell will say so or not).

According to Caldwell, Lombardi had wanted to move upstairs during games for a while, but that the timing against the Bears was just "right."

Caldwell often talks about putting his players in positions to succeed. But putting his offensive coordinator in a position to succeed could be just as important, especially on Sunday against Minnesota. The last time these teams met, the Vikings came after quarterback Matthew Stafford with vigor, and beat the Lions 26-16.

"Number one, obviously, you've got to pass protect, because they're gonna give you some problems and passing is certainly an integral part of what we do with the personnel that we have," Caldwell said. "We have to be able to run the ball well enough to make our run game respectable. We've got to make them honor it and if you can do those two things, you got a chance."

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