Dan Campbell, Aaron Glenn, and Joe Lombardi leave significant voids in the New Orleans Saints coaching staff for 2021.
The Saints lost a combined 43 years of coaching experience and 61 seasons of NFL knowledge after their departure to other organizations. Today, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis are left with an unenviable task to locate and recruit their replacements to New Orleans.
Dan Campbell is the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Aaron Glenn decided to join Campbell as the Lions' defensive coordinator. New Orleans former quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi signed a contract to become the Los Angeles Chargers' offensive coordinator.
In the past five seasons, Campbell, Glenn, and Lombardi played a meaningful role in the Saints' success, which led to 4 straight NFC South championships and visits to the NFC playoffs.
Campbell served as assistant head and tight ends coach for the Saints. The tight end group had a noticeable improvement in their blocking without a big name like Jimmy Graham in the lineup. Instead, Campbell transformed tight ends named Josh Hill, Ben Watson, Adam Trautman, and Jared Cook into solid performers. The one intangible that left with him to Detroit was his passion and leadership.
Aaron Glenn wasn't a slouch at his position of secondary coach for New Orleans. He taught a rookie from Ohio State in Marshon Lattimore and led him to become the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Since then, Glenn mentored and molded a cohesive New Orleans Saints defensive backfield with other names like Janoris Jenkins, Marcus Williams, P.J. Williams, Vonn Bell, Ken Crawley, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and veteran Malcolm Jenkins. The intangibles Glenn had was his knowledge of the game when he was a top-tier cornerback in the NFL. The Saints' secondary personnel will miss his toughness and comprehension of situational football. Most of all, his ability to understand young players and "get through to them" will be gone from the Saints' defense.
Lombardi's departure after serving his second stint with New Orleans is not a shock. Lombardi, 49, spent those 12 seasons with the NFL's all-time passing leader in quarterback Drew Brees. The Chargers offensive coordinator has the chance to groom a highly talented quarterback in Justin Herbert. Under Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael, he will take their offensive lessons and high-level approach to Los Angeles. His goal is to transform Herbert to become one of the NFL's elite passers. The intangible loss is Lombardi's patience and ability to dissect defenses for quarterbacks. While Drew Brees was on the mend for 11 games in the last two seasons, Lombardi's quarterbacks, Bridgewater and Hill, won 10 out of 11 contests.
These coaches were highly regarded and trusted by Sean Payton, Pete Carmichael, Dennis Allen, and the players. Also, Campbell, Glenn, and Lombardi are really fine coaches and were members an extremely talented coaching staff in New Orleans.
Replacing them physically is the easy part for Payton. However, replacing their wealth of football expertise is something entirely different.
We shall see.