Add one more name to the list of those reported to be connected to the Seahawks’ vacant offensive coordinator position — New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi.
Jeff Duncan of The Athletic reported Friday that the Seahawks and the Chargers have asked the Saints for permission to talk to Lombardi.
And, yep, he’s related to the man whose name graces the Lombardi Trophy given out every year to the winner of the Super Bowl. Joe Lombardi is the grandson of famed coach Vince Lombardi.
He is also a native of Seattle and attended Seattle Prep High School, graduating in 1990. His father, Vince Lombardi Jr., was an assistant to the general manager of the Seahawks when the team began in the mid-1970s.
Joe Lombardi has been an offensive coordinator in the NFL for 23 games — all of the 2014 season with the Detroit Lions and the first seven games of 2015 before being fired after a 1-6 start.
Lombardi was with the Saints from 2007-13 before leaving for Detroit as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach and returned to New Orleans after he was fired. He again held the title of quarterbacks coach, working with Drew Brees and the other Saints QBs, including Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston.
The Seahawks fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer last week after three seasons, and coach Pete Carroll said the team wanted to run the ball more and better in 2021.
Lombardi’s profile doesn’t necessarily fit that request as the Lions were 28th and 32nd in rushing yards in his time as offensive coordinator.
But his work with a Saints offense that has typically been one of the best in the NFL during his time there would obviously appeal to Carroll and to QB Russell Wilson, who has said he will have input into the search.
“I think it’s vital, it’s critical, super significant, obviously, that I’m a part of that process,” Wilson said. “Coach and I have definitely been talking about that, (general manager John Schneider) too as well. We’ve had some … great dialogue about the thought process of who we want, the leader … the innovator, all that kind of different stuff that you want. I think that’s the super critical thing, obviously at this point in my career because you spend every day with that person. … The next person, whoever that is, it’s really critical that we’re on the same page at all times and always talking and vibing and really, really on the same page.”
Lombardi has been the position coach for almost all of Brees’ New Orleans career, which started in 2006.
Wilson has often pointed to Brees as a quarterback who was something of an idol due in part to his 6-foot height. (Wilson is 5-11.)
“Drew, he’s probably my favorite player to ever play the game,” Wilson said in 2018. “I’ve watched a lot of film on him. I’ve studied his game, got to know him over the years. We’ve become close and everything else. I ask him for a lot of advice just about life, about kids and schools and this and that. Obviously, the game too.”
Lombardi is the fifth person reported to be a target for the Seattle job, the others being former NFL head coaches Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Doug Pederson (Eagles) and Adam Gase (Jets) along with Raiders running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Pederson has been reported to be leaning toward taking the 2021 season off (he is under contract through 2022) and not working as an assistant. Kansas City quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka had also been rumored as a potential candidate, but it has since been reported he is expected to stay in KC and not leave for any OC jobs this year.
NFL reporter Josina Anderson reported Friday that Wilson — who was an assistant for Carroll with New England from 1999-97 and USC in 2001 — has already interviewed for the job.
The Lions were 19th in the NFL in yards during Lombardi’s one full season as OC in 2014, when the team went 11-5 before losing a wild-card playoff game to Dallas, 24-20.
The 1-6 start that helped get Lombardi fired as OC in 2015 included a 13-10 loss at Seattle on a Monday night, the game when Kam Chancellor famously punched the ball out of the hands of Calvin Johnson as Johnson was nearing the end zone for a potential go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes.
The week before that game, former Seahawk Golden Tate — then in his second year with the Lions — said on his radio show that opposing defenses knew what was coming when Detroit was on offense. Tate later said it wasn’t meant as a shot at Lombardi.
The Lions also struggled to run the ball that season and were held to 77 yards rushing or fewer in all but one of the seven games Lombardi coached.
Brian Schneider leaving Seahawks
Special-teams coordinator Brian Schneider, who has been with the Seahawks for all 11 years of Carroll’s tenure, is expected to take the same position with Jacksonville, according to a report from Tom Pelissero of NFL Media.
A source confirmed to the Times that Schneider would not be back and that he will be replaced by Larry Izzo, who has been the Seahawks’ assistant special-teams coordinator. Izzo spent much of the year as the Seahawks’ interim special-teams coach while Schneider took a leave of absence for personal reasons.
Schneider also was special-teams coordinator under Carroll at USC in 2009. He’ll join the staff of new Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer.
The Seahawks’ special teams were considered among the best in the NFL in 2020 with snapper Tyler Ott and Nick Bellore named to the Pro Bowl.