May 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's comments following Lions' workout

Offensive coach Joe Lombardi works with the offense during drills Wednesday. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

A selection of quotes from Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi after Wednesday’s team workout in Allen Park:

On what WR Calvin Johnson brings to Lombardi’s new offense: “I think he dictates a lot of coverages, meaning there are certain things that defenses are going to be a little more hesitant to do with a guy like Calvin out there. It allows you, the quarterback, to pre-snap some things, and if they are leaving him singled up, it allows you to get the plays that take advantage of that. He’s, obviously, a very valuable weapon.”

On if the defense is ahead of the offense at this point: “I think always at this point you can have that appearance. You know, the big thing to me is I don’t even necessarily concern myself as much as whether we won the play or not. Listen, I know that these plays work. I know that the offense that we’re developing will work. It’s more whether guys are lining up correctly. You know, the drops start to bother you after a while, but as long as we’re getting our snaps, not fumbling, lining up correctly and running the plays correctly, I know when we get in a game-planning situation that these things are going to be just fine.”

On if the offense is developing at a normal pace so far: “Yes. I mean, today was a little sloppy. I’m not going to lie to you. I was getting a little angry today because I thought that mostly the drops and some of the alignments weren’t what you want. So, it was really a concentration issue more than anything, but I’m pretty excited about these players we have and the way this thing is going to develop.”

On if drops from the wide receivers are an early concern for him: “I think it’s always a concern, but I do think that there are good hands here, so it’s really a matter of concentration and just getting these guys the reps. A lot of it is just getting their comfort level down. You know, they’re still learning the offense, so they’re thinking, ‘Where do I line up? What’s the depth of my route?’ I think when they get more comfortable, their concentration will come up a little bit and we’ll catch the ball better, because they do have good hands.”

On seeing Johnson on the field in person: “It’s really — you’ve got to be careful not to be a fan when you’re watching him because it’s really unbelievable when you see him in person. Just how big, strong and fast he is, it’s even more so than you thought. It’s pretty impressive.”

On how QB Matthew Stafford is progressing under the new coaching staff: “He’s really remarkably bright. I’ve heard that he was a smart player, but the speed and ease with which he picks things up has even surprised me, and I had pretty high expectations coming in. So, I think he’s doing really well.”

On if players picking up the new offensive system quickly means he can accelerate the rate at which he teaches new information: “I think it’s dependent on all the players on offense. You know, we kind of started off with a pretty high volume of information that we gave them, probably a little too much. So, we’re drawing back a little bit, but certainly Matt (Stafford) can handle as much as you can give him.”

On how he has worked with Stafford on his mechanics: “Jim Bob (Cooter) is working with him a lot, doing a lot of footwork drills and progression drills. Like most quarterbacks, when his feet are right, the passes are usually right. Again, as he gets comfortable with the progressions and the timing, so much of it is dependent on the timing of the routes and where my feet should be. He’s still learning a little bit of that, but he’s grasping it pretty quickly.”

On players that have surprised him so far: “Some of these other receivers are pretty impressive that I really hadn’t heard of. You could really see a role with some of these guys that I wasn’t as familiar with. You know, I knew what Calvin Johnson was, obviously, or certainly had an idea. I had a lot of respect for Golden Tate. I kind of knew that was a good player, but there are some other guys, you know, at other skill positions that I’m pretty impressed with and excited to work with. Jeremy (Ross), Kevin Ogletree are doing some good things. Theo Riddick is a player that has some ability. Obviously, I knew Reggie (Bush). I’m pretty excited about where he is physically. You haven’t been around a guy for a few years and he seems like the same kind of burst and quickness that I remember. So, all those things have been really good to see.”

On the learning gap that comes with memorizing a new system’s terminology: “Listen, each guy’s going to be a little bit different. The terminology’s a lot different, even from what I’m used to in New Orleans. You know, there’s a time where I’m calling a play and I’m like, ‘Dang it, that’s not what we call it anymore.’ We’re all dealing with that a little bit, but that just comes with reps and time. By the time we hit August next year it’s going to be second nature to everybody. It’s a bigger issue in May than it’s going to be in July, August and certainly September.”