Shane Steichen unintentionally explains why Joe Lombardi failed the Chargers

The Joe Lombardi offensive coordinator era was not a great one for the Chargers and the team's former OC unintentionally explained what went wrong.
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

The LA Chargers underwent a house cleaning after the 2020 season. With an elite young quarterback to build around and a disappointing two seasons in the rear-view mirror, the team parted ways with Anthony Lynn and hired Brandon Staley to build out a new staff.

Part of that new staff was offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who spent many years with the New Orleans Saints and had a previous stint as offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions. Lombardi replaced Shane Steichen, who would join Nick Sirianni's staff in Philadelphia. Now, just two years later, Steichen is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Lombardi, meanwhile, grew out of favor with Chargers fans over the last two seasons and it culminated with him being let go after the disastrous AFC Wild Card Game. Thankfully, the Chargers have replaced him with one of the most-respected offensive coordinators in the league, Kellen Moore.

While the current situation is better, many fans have looked back on the last two years and have wondered what would have happened if Steichen simply stuck around. Those fans are going to be even more disheartened by Steichen's latest quote about Anthony Richardson and the Colts, as it single-handedly undermined Lombardi's entire offensive scheme in LA.

Shane Steichen unintentionally undermines Joe Lombardi's offense with the Chargers

If Justin Herbert wasn't a computing robot that could memorize play designs and read defenses then this could have gotten even worse for the Bolts. Lombardi seemed to take advantage of the fact that Herbert was under center, and in some regard, it short-circuited his robot QB.

While Herbert still put up great numbers, far too many times we saw him take the safest route possible and throw check-down after check-down. A check-down completion is better than an interception but Herbert and the Chargers looked more like the 2019 New Orleans Saints with a 40-year-old Drew Brees under center.

Steichen's point is a great one. Don't overcomplicate things and go out and play ball. At this point, Herbert is more equipped to run an advanced playbook but not everything has to be meticulously thought out. Go out and let the elite quarterback play football. Trust in him to make the right reads and decisions without overcomplicating everything.

Hopefully, Moore has the same feelings as Steichen and does not try to overcomplicate things while also still scheming up great play designs that can surprise opposing defenses. Either way, it is going to be really hard for Moore to not improve on Lombardi's offensive game plan.