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“It’ll get figured out,” NFL Network analyst Heath Evans said at the Super Bowl last week. “Listen, it’s not a knock on Matthew. Matthew’s been a very streaky quarterback. But what (former offensive coordinator) Joe (Lombardi) was trying to implement there is what Matthew needed. To be an elite (QB) and to do what Matthew, I believe, is capable of doing physically, he need that mental challenge and that mental stimulation.”
“I know it’s a difficult offense,” said Evans, who played two seasons with the Saints when Lombardi was quarterbacks coach in 2009-10. “It’s a lot to swallow, but it was the right track. And I don’t know why it got bucked. But the short little, ‘OK, let’s do the quick fix’ ... . OK. We saw a quick fix with (Robert Griffin III) his rookie year. And it wasn’t the knee injury holding him back.
“The point-and-shoot offense of just ball in, ball out, you’re going to beat the bad teams. Chip Kelly beat the bad teams. What happened with the good teams? … The short passing game will beat the undisciplined, stupid defenses. And when you play the good ones, the playoff-caliber teams, you’re going to go home in tears.”
It is genuinely difficult deciding where to even begin addressing the sheer unabated foolishness of Evans' comments.
The simple idea that ANYBODY, let alone a paid NFL 'analyst' could think the Lions should have even retained Lombardi is mind-boggling. To take it a step further in saying it would have been the best long-term decision for the Lions is just lunacy.
This is the same Joe Lombardi that took over a Lions' offense with three straight top six finishes only to regress in every facet on the way to the bottom half of the league. Apparently a year and a half at the helm while showing absolutely no improvement meant the offense was on "the right track" according to Evans.
It's comical to hear Evans mock the short passing game that was the bread and butter of Lombardi's offense during his stay in Detroit. Even more laughable is his assured conviction that Jim Bob Cooter's offense will "get figured out" despite offering no analysis of what he does and why it will not succeed.
I'm not here to say Jim Bob Cooter is an offensive genius that will elevate the Lions to the promise land. I won't even say he is the best possible guy for the job. However, to insinuate that Cooter, who IMMEDIATELY turned the entire offense around while installing an entirely new system, is somehow less fit than Lombardi to lead the Lion offense... I apologize, I'm struggling to find my words.
Let's not forget that it was Cooter and not Lombardi who did a much better job taking shots down the field and getting more players involved than Lombardi ever could. It was Cooter who helped Matthew Stafford to an unbelievable second half despite a ravaged offensive line, by playing to his players strengths all while changing the entire offense on the fly.
But, what about that "ball in, ball out" offense that Evans insists can't be sustained against playoff-caliber teams? Apparently in addition to having never watched a single Lions game in his life, Heath Evans is also completely unfamiliar with the career of little known quarterback Tom Brady.
If anything Evans comes off as confused. He seems to be making generalizations about an ex-coach whom he obviously did not pay attention to while in Detroit. Evans doesn't come off as knowledgeable of the offense that either Lombardi or Cooter ran with the Lions, nor does he appear to have a firm grasp on what actually works in NFL despite having played in it.
Don't worry Lions' fans. This isn't the first time Heath Evans has attacked Stafford or the team. The last time he was so convinced about the Lions' shortcomings, Stafford had an all-time great season en route to leading the Lions to their first playoff berth in over a decade. This might be just the news Detroit needed to get their first playoff win this millennium.