The offense looks broken for the LA Chargers. After scoring 64 combined points against the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns, the team has completely fallen flat. This proves that those high-scoring games may have been more of an indication of how bad those defenses are, not how good this offense is.
While the team is dealing with a slew of injuries on offense and Justin Herbert's weapons are severely depleted, a lot of the attention has gone toward Joe Lombardi. Chargers fans have wanted Lombardi fired since midseason in 2021 and this cold stretch has done nothing but ignite those flames.
Making it look even worse for the team is the fact that Lions fans had very similar complaints as Chargers fans when Lombardi was their offensive coordinator. A lot of this might feel familiar after watching the Chargers play this season.
Those that follow Bolt Beat on Twitter know that we have been prone to push back on some of the criticism of the play-calling. That is not to say the play-calling has been perfect because it definitely hasn't been, but there have been bigger issues that have hurt this team, arguably even more. That being said, these complaints definitely mean something, especially with how much they ring true to Chargers fans.
History repeats itself and it may be doing so again with Joe Lombardi and the LA Chargers.
In theory, Lombardi's offensive scheme and philosophy make sense. It is predicated on taking fewer risks, playing smart football, and letting Justin Herbert go through his progressions and make a decision. The main problem I had with the play-calling criticism was when everyone was complaining about the lack of deep passes.
That argument was a myth, especially last season. That being said, the problems with the offense have become bigger than that. This isn't just a perceived lack of deep shots. As we saw in Detroit, the second season of this offensive scheme is worse and might be hindering the quarterback.
Now that the tape is out there, teams know what the Chargers are doing and are prepared for it. The quick-snap game that worked so well last season as not worked as well as defenses are timing it up and know that when the Chargers run it, they often run stick routes. Again, this is not new, as Golden Tate said that other players told him back in the day they knew what the Lions were running on offense.
Not taking risks is a great philosophy on offense, but it might have made Justin Herbert too cautious. Part of that is his rib injury, there is no doubt about it, but we are seeing Herbert go through his progressions very quickly and perhaps give up on them too soon.
This is not a case of there being a lack of deep routes. Because there is and once again, that complaint never had warrant. The problem seems to be that Lombardi is hammering home to Herbert that he needs to make his reads quickly and if the play isn't there, he should go to his check down.
The problem with this is that Herbert is making the read perhaps a bit too soon. Think about it: when he is throwing to slower receivers it is going to take more time for them to get open downfield. With the idea that he has to make these progressions quickly, and with the thought of his ribs in the back of his mind, he hasn't been giving these routes enough time to get open and has been going to the check down far too often.
That feels like it is a product of Lombardi's offensive scheme and philosophy on top of Herbert's ribs. It happened in Detroit and it seems to be happening here.
The clock is ticking for Brandon Staley, Joe Lombardi and this offense. Asking for the entire coaching staff to be fired after every loss is a bit dramatic. But if this offense doesn't turn it around in the next 2-3 games, Lombardi absolutely deserves the ax.