NFL notebook: Lions shake up offensive coaching staff
Hours before leaving for their longest road trip of the season, the Lions shook up their offensive coaching staff.
Detroit fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan on Monday, a day after the team dropped another game in a listless performance against the Vikings. The Lions announced the moves shortly before they were supposed to depart for London, where they will play next weekend against the Chiefs.
“It’s not a good day. It’s a tough day,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “I’ve been in this position myself three times, and it’s happened to me, and it’s certainly not fun.”
Caldwell said the staff changes were his decision, and he had not spoken with ownership.
“I’m sure they’re supportive,” he said.
Quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter is taking over as offensive coordinator, and tight ends coach Ron Prince will now coach the offensive line. Assistant special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons will now work with tight ends.
The Lions are also giving running backs coach Curtis Modkins the added title of run game coordinator.
Detroit (1-6) lost 28-19 to Minnesota on Sunday, and Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times. Blocking problems have plagued the Lions all season, limiting Stafford’s effectiveness and the running game’s productivity.
Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, joined the Lions as Caldwell’s offensive coordinator in 2014.
Cowboys: Hardy no issue
The Cowboys are downplaying the heated exchange on the sideline between defensive end Greg Hardy and injured receiver Dez Bryant during Sunday’s loss to the Giants.
Hardy’s animated discussion with Bryant followed immediately after Hardy broke into the special-teams huddle to berate his teammates after they gave up Dwayne Harris’ 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Giants their winning margin, 27-20.
Hardy issued a half-dozen “no comments” to questions in the locker room, then turned his back to the reporters.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones said the Hardy incident was not an issue.
NFL: Bills-Jags numbers
The NFL said more than 460 million total minutes of video were consumed for Sunday’s game between the Bills and Jaguars.
The league experimented with distributing coverage primarily through streaming for the first time for the matchup from London through a partnership with Yahoo. More than 15.2 million unique viewers watched for any length of time, the NFL said. That works out to about a half-hour per viewer.
Approximately a third of the audience was international.
Because Sunday’s experiment was the first of its kind, there isn’t an easy comparison between the streaming numbers and any previous sports broadcasts.
NFL: Ruling was ‘unfathomable’
NFL lawyers told a federal appeals court in Manhattan that it was “unfathomable” that a judge could decide to lift New England quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in the “Deflategate” controversy.
The lawyers said in papers filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Judge Richard Berman reached an “inexplicable” conclusion when he determined that the league failed to adequately warn Brady of the potential suspension and made errors in its investigation that required him to nullify the penalty.
The league asked the appeals court to reverse the lower-court judge and reinstate the penalty that would have kept Brady out of the first four games of this season.
Around the league
Browns starting quarterback Josh McCown says he’s “sore but getting better” after he took a pounding in Sunday’s loss in St. Louis. … Vikings center John Sullivan has undergone a second surgery on his back, putting his return to the field this season in doubt. … Jets center Nick Mangold has a sore neck, but avoided a potentially serious injury when X-rays and other test results came back negative. … Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett said he expects to miss four to six weeks with a fractured left ankle. … Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul reported to the club to undergo a physical, the NFL Network reported.