Joe Lombardi, Shane Day Fired by Chargers After Justin Herbert, LA's Playoff Collapse

Adam WellsJanuary 17, 2023

COSTA MESA, CA - JULY 27: Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex on July 27, 2022 in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

After blowing a 27-point lead in the AFC Wild Card Game, the Los Angeles Chargers are making significant changes to their offensive coaching staff.

The Chargers announced Tuesday they have parted ways with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Shane Day.

Lombardi's offense was heavily criticized over the course of this season, with Saturday's 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field being the most prominent example of the problems.

Per Football Outsiders' DVOA, the Chargers went from having the fourth-best offense in the NFL last season to 19th in 2022. They were held to 20 points or fewer in seven of 17 games this season.

The Ringer's Benjamin Solak noted last month how Lombardi's offense was failing Justin Herbert and the Chargers by too often relying on plays that only amount to "six-yard gains" when they work.

Benjamin Solak @BenjaminSolak

🚨🚨NEW PLAY SHEET: SAVE JUSTIN HERBERT🚨🚨<br><br>📽️: how often defenses know what Joe Lombardi's calling<br>#⃣: Justin Herbert's ADOT on early downs<br>📔: the value of a perfect play<br>🎙️: Justin Reid does not know who Hayden Hurst is<br><br>Full ep: <a href="https://t.co/GUHX4SEGZb">https://t.co/GUHX4SEGZb</a> <a href="https://t.co/TblIQOiKm6">pic.twitter.com/TblIQOiKm6</a>

L.A. gained 155 yards in the first half, but it opened up a 27-0 lead largely facilitated by the defense getting four interceptions from Trevor Lawrence.

When the Jaguars were mounting their comeback in the second half, the Chargers' inability to sustain a drive that would run time off the clock immediately stood out. They only had four possessions in the second half, with one drive of more than seven plays.

These problems aren't entirely on Lombardi, as the Chargers had to navigate a number of injuries to key players throughout the season. Left tackle Rashawn Slater only played three games before suffering a ruptured biceps.

Wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen combined to miss 10 games. Williams was unavailable Saturday because of a back injury he suffered in Los Angeles' Week 18 loss to the Denver Broncos.

But if the Chargers are deciding to bring back Brandon Staley as head coach, Saturday's playoff collapse strongly suggested some changes were needed.

Lombardi and Day both joined Staley's staff when he was hired by the Chargers after the 2020 season.