The LA Chargers offense has not been nearly as explosive as fans thought it would be this season. The 5-4 Bolts and rank 12th in points per game with 24.7 points per game. That might not seem terrible, but there has been concern about the team scoring when it needs to.
Take the four losses this season as the perfect example. The Chargers scored 17 against Dallas, six against Baltimore, 24 against the Patriots (seven garbage-time points) and 20 against the Vikings. If the Chargers scored just one more touchdown in three of those four games then they would be 8-1/7-2 right now.
Many people are blaming offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, who has become an easy target. When you just look at the surface of the offense it is easy to say that Lombardi is not taking enough deep shots with his big-armed quarterback. Justin Herbert has the sixth-lowest average intended air yards, averaging just 7.2 yards per attempt.
Then you see things like Justin Herbert's passing chart from Week 10 and that seems to confirm the point that Lombardi is not calling enough deep shots, that he is a bad offensive coordinator and that he is the reason why the offense is struggling.
Joe Lombardi is not the reason why the LA Chargers are struggling on offense
Look, I am far from a Joe Lombardi apologist and I can admit that his playcalling is flawed... but is there such a thing as a perfect play-caller? I think it is fair to expect there to be some learning curves along the way on a team that has a brand-new coaching staff and a second-year quarterback.
There are definitely things to nitpick about Lombardi's playcalling but the lack of deep shots is not one of them. Daniel Popper of The Athletic made an excellent point on his post-game live stream about the "not enough deep shots" narrative that every Charger fan should take the time to listen to.
There is no reason to completely repeat what Popper is saying. Everything he said about the deep-shot narrative is spot on. But that raises the question...
Why is the offense struggling so much?
It is easy to blame the offensive coordinator because he is an easy target. And in reality, there is much more wrong with this offense than simply not having a good play-caller. There are multiple issues that need to be addressed and some fans might simply overlook these issues because they are overrating how good this team actually is.
While it is complex and it could change as early as next week, as it stands right now, I think you can boil down the offense's struggles into three main reasons.
Let's dive into them.