When the Los Angeles Chargers hired former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as their new head coach, they figured to target an experienced offensive mind to help facilitate the development of quarterback Justin Herbert. With previous offensive coordinator Shane Steichen reportedly headed to Philadelphia to serve the Eagles in the same role, the Chargers have done just that. According to NFL Network, Los Angeles has agreed to terms with longtime Saints assistant Joe Lombardi to be their next OC.
The 49-year-old Lombardi has spent 12 of his last 14 NFL seasons coaching with the Saints, initially as an offensive assistant (2007-2008), then as quarterbacks coach in two separate stints (2009-2013, 2016-2020). The grandson of Hall of Famer Vince Lombardi, he's served as offensive coordinator just once before, with the Lions from 2014-2015. Detroit finished 11-5 and made the playoffs in his first year as OC, but a 1-6 start the following season resulted in his dismissal and return to the Saints, where he's served under Sean Payton, helped oversee Drew Brees and been a part of eight postseason appearances, including 2009's Super Bowl run.
Lombardi's biggest task with the Chargers will be ensuring Herbert progresses as the team's franchise QB. The rookie flashed in big ways in 2020, finishing his debut season with 31 touchdown passes, but will be entering 2021 under an entirely new coaching staff.
Prior to beginning his Saints career, Lombardi mostly made a name for himself in the college ranks, spending time with four different schools, as well as the now-defunct New York Hitmen in the XFL.