Report: Saints' Joe Lombardi Joins Chargers as Brandon Staley's OC

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi, left, and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, right, walk on the field during NFL football practice in Metairie, La., Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi has reportedly agreed to terms to become the new offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Sunday that Lombardi was "tracking" to be the hire. Per that report, new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley played "quarterback at Dayton after Lombardi used to coach the defensive line there." 

Albert Breer of The MMQB added that Lombardi was also Staley's offensive coordinator at Mercyhurst for Staley's one season playing quarterback at the school and that "the two are close."

Lombardi, 49, started his NFL coaching career as a defensive assistant for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. He then spent the 2007-13 seasons with the Saints, serving in a number of roles including offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach. 

He joined the Detroit Lions in 2014 as an offensive coordinator before returning to New Orleans as the quarterbacks coach in 2016. His offenses in Detroit finished 19th in yards and 22nd in points in 2014 and 20th in yards and 18 in points in 2015. 

Lombardi will potentially go from coaching one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Drew Brees, to a star in the making in Justin Herbert, who threw for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions during his rookie season, completing 66.6 percent of his passes. 

Lombardi's job will be to keep Herbert on an upward trajectory. After years working with Brees, he's a logical man for that particular job. 

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Staley has a shorter resume, taking his first NFL coaching gig in 2017 as the outside linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears, a position he held for two years. He then held the same job in 2019 for the Denver Broncos, following Vic Fangio before being hired as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator in 2020. 

Under Staley, the Rams finished first in both points and yards allowed this past season. Given his defensive background at the NFL level and his limited overall experience, bringing in the experienced Lombardi to serve as the offensive coordinator and work with Herbert makes sense.