Notes: Lombardi faces former team; Another defensive honor for Lions

Joe Lombardi spent the last seven years as an assistant coach for the Saints.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport/USA TODAY Sports

A couple weeks ago, former Lions coach Jim Schwartz returned to Detroit as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills and got carried onto the field by his players following a victory.

This week, Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will face his former team, New Orleans. Lombardi spent the last seven years as an assistant coach for the Saints.

"I know deep down that he wants to win this game a little more than other games," Lions receiver Golden Tate said. "Naturally, that’s just how you’re going to feel. But he’s still the same Joe Lombardi.

"He doesn’t want us to carry him off the field."

Tate was critical of Schwartz, calling him a "douche," after hearing that the coach had asked his players to carry him off if they won.


After going 16 years without anyone being selected as the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week, the Lions have now had two in the first six weeks of this week.

Defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah got the honor for his 2 1/2-sack performance against Minnesota.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy was similarly honored during the opening week of the season.

They are the first defensive players for the Lions to win the award since linebacker Stephen Boyd in 1997.

It’s a testament to the team’s greatly improved defense, which ranks No. 1 in the league in points allowed, total defense, passing defense and sacks, and No. 2 in rushing defense.

"He was an absolute force out there," Caldwell said of Ansah. "When you get that kind of size and speed, he’s going to challenge anybody he plays against. He was tremendous."


Running back Reggie Bush, who missed the last game with an ankle injury, returned to practice Wednesday.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy also was back practicing for the first time since undergoing surgery for a sports hernia back in August. Van Noy isn’t eligible to play in a game until November.

Besides Johnson, other players missing Wednesday’s practice included running back Theo Riddick (hamstring), Ansah and return specialist Jeremy Ross.