3 Best Coaching Options to Maximize Chargers' Justin Herbert in 2023

Jake RillJanuary 23, 2023

3 Best Coaching Options to Maximize Chargers' Justin Herbert in 2023

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 14: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass during the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 14, 2023 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    There are 13 NFL teams with openings at offensive coordinator this offseason, and quite a few of them are appealing jobs. Especially the one on Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley's staff.

    The next Chargers OC will get to come in and work with Justin Herbert, one of the league's best young quarterbacks. The 24-year-old, who was selected by Los Angeles with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, has quickly become a top-tier NFL QB over his first three seasons. That's why plenty of coaches should be excited about the potential to come to L.A.

    But the Chargers need to make sure they choose the right person to be their next offensive coordinator. The unit underperformed with Joe Lombardi in that role in 2022, especially considering the talent Los Angeles has on that side of the ball, including Herbert.

    Here's a look at the three best candidates to become the Chargers' offensive coordinator in order to maximize Herbert's impressive skill set and elite talent.

Former Colts Head Coach Frank Reich

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    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    During his fifth season as the Indianapolis Colts' head coach, Frank Reich was fired following the team's 3-5-1 start. Now, the 61-year-old is looking for a new job. And it's possible he could return to being an offensive coordinator, perhaps even for one of his former teams.

    Reich was the Chargers' OC from 2014-15, after previously serving as their quarterbacks coach in 2013. But he went on to have success as the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator from 2016-17, and he demonstrated exactly how he can upgrade a unit.

    It's possible Reich will get hired to be a head coach by one of the five teams in need of one. He's already interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals (according to ESPN's Dan Graziano) and the Carolina Panthers (per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport). His name has been featured in plenty of rumors, too.

    But if Reich misses out on those opportunities, it would be wise for the Chargers to capitalize. He's gotten the most out of quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz in his coaching career, and he could potentially work well with Herbert.

Rams pass game coordinator/QBs coach Zac Robinson

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    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: Quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson of the Los Angeles Rams looks on prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
    Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    It's never a bad idea to target an assistant who has worked for Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Several Chargers OC candidates fit that bill, but Zac Robinson may be the most intriguing potential hire among that group.

    Robinson has never been an offensive coordinator, but the 36-year-old is an assistant on the rise. He's spent the past four seasons on the Rams' staff under McVay and was promoted to pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the 2022 season.

    A former QB himself, Robinson had a brief playing career in the NFL after having success at Oklahoma State. He won the Super Bowl with the Rams in the 2021 campaign, when he was the assistant quarterbacks coach and working with Matthew Stafford.

    With the Rams' recent offensive success, it's only a matter of time before Robinson lands an OC job in the NFL. His QB knowledge would likely help take Herbert's game to another level in 2023 and beyond.

Bengals QBs Coach Dan Pitcher

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    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 18: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs warmup drills with quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Joe Burrow is having a tremendous start to his NFL career, a main reason why the Cincinnati Bengals reached the Super Bowl in the 2021 season and are heading back to the AFC Championship Game this year. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the team's quarterbacks coach is a top candidate to land an OC job this offseason.

    Dan Pitcher has been an offensive assistant on the Bengals' staff for the past seven seasons, but he didn't become the QBs coach until 2020, which was Burrow's rookie year. The 36-year-old Pitcher has clearly worked well with Burrow, considering Cincinnati's recent success.

    It could be an exciting possibility for the Chargers to hire Pitcher as their offensive coordinator so that he can maximize Herbert's potential by letting him air it out, much like Burrow has been doing the past few seasons.

    Pitcher appears ready to take the next step in his coaching career. Perhaps that will happen with him coming to Los Angeles in 2023.