LA Chargers: Pros and cons of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi
Cons of the LA Chargers hiring Joe Lombardi:
The cons of hiring Lombardi all have to do with his stint in Detroit. To be fair, that stint was six years ago and Detroit is not a team that ever operates as it should. There has been plenty of time for Lombardi to grow and he was not dealt the best hand with the Lions.
However, the fact of the matter is that he was bad as the offensive coordinator of the Lions. That does not mean he will be a bad offensive coordinator in LA, but it is still worth mentioning.
The Lions’ 11-5 record did not indicate a great offense. Detriot scored 20.1 points per game, good for the 22nd-most in the league that season. They also ranked 19th in total yardage. To be fair, Calvin Johnson did miss three games but Matthew Stafford still had him for 13 games and had Golden Tate as well. He had weapons.
In Lombardi’s seven games in 2015, the Lions were averaging 19.9 points per game and scored fewer than 20 points in five of the seven games. The team was not much better without Lombardi, averaging 23.2 points, but Stafford did play better.
In 23 games under Lombardi, Stafford averaged 266.2 yards per game, threw 34 picks and 21 interceptions and completed 61.73% of his passes. In the 23 games directly after Lombardi was fired, Stafford averaged 265.9 yards per game, threw 42 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and completed 67.34% of his passes.
Lombardi tried to implement the Saints’ offense in Detroit and it just did not fit Stafford’s style nor the weapons that Detroit had. The hope is that he does not blindly copy the Saints’ schemes in LA as Justin Herbert is more like Matthew Stafford than he is Drew Brees.
Plus, it is never a good thing when reports come out that the quarterback never bought into an offensive coordinator’s ideology. The relationship between Herbert and Lombardi is crucial and they need to be crafting an offense around Herbert, not crafting Herbert around a style of offense.
Again, that was six years ago and this is an entirely new situation with a completely different head coach. But it is worth mentioning for the sake of the LA Chargers.