The LA Chargers are the most injured team in the entire NFL but they have been able to keep things afloat with a 5-4 record. While it is easy to simply blame the injuries for the games that the team has lost, that has not always been the case. On Sunday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Lombardi's offensive play-calling mistakes certainly hampered the team's production.
Lombardi has received a lot of criticism as the Chargers' offensive coordinator since he took the job over last season. His reputation from his Detroit Lions days already wasn't great and a lot of the same concerns that Lions fans had are carrying over to the Chargers.
It is one thing for frustrated fans to blame the offensive coordinator for the play-calling, it is another thing for players on the other defense to expose Lombardi's offense. That is exactly what 49ers linebacker Fred Warner did after Sunday night, explaining how the 49ers defense was able to essentially stay in the same exact defense the entire second half.
For those that may have forgotten, the Chargers scored zero points in the second half and picked up less than 60 yards of total offense. San Francisco has a great defense and the Chargers were banged-up, but those are horrible results when you have an elite quarterback and the other defense didn't even have to think about what they were doing.
It is impossible for Chargers fans to not be outraged with Joe Lombardi.
To be fair to Lombardi, the team was dealing with big injuries and could not run the ball in this matchup. It is really hard to call a good offensive game when the other team doesn't have to respect the run and doesn't have a single weapon they have to worry about defending on the offense.
But that is no excuse for Lombardi's inability to change things up and not run the same offense that he has run all season. This was a problem in Detroit with Golden Tate even saying that opposing defensive players were able to all out the Lions' offensive plays when Lombardi was OC.
That was a horrible look then and this is a horrible look now for Lombardi. Just because he called one ill-advised jet sweep at Nick Bosa does not mean he was trying to "switch it up". This is an offense that has become predictable, and quite frankly, easier to game plan against.
The complaints from last season about Justin Herbert not throwing it deep enough were not warranted. In fact, the offense was actually quite effective last season and a lot of the criticism that Lombardi was receiving was not warranted.
This season is a different story. Yes, the team has dealt with injuries, but Lombardi and the offensive staff have not done enough. He has shown an inability to switch up from the one style of game that he knows how to call. A great offensive mind not only gets a lot out of his elite quarterback but gets the absolute most out of the worst players on the roster.
Lombardi has not done that at all. The sad reality is that the Chargers have scored 25 or more points just twice this season against the 28th and 31st-ranked defenses in terms of DVOA.