Perhaps the biggest voice in Justin Herbert's ear moving forward has been decided.
Joe Lombardi, who's spent the past five seasons coaching quarterbacks for the Saints, has agreed to terms with the Chargers to be their offensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Consider it one of the more critical hires for new head coach Brandon Staley. It's also an opportunity Lombardi has been working toward for some time.
Lombardi's hiring was made official by the team on Monday afternoon, as the Chargers also announced the hiring of Renaldo Hill as defensive coordinator and Derius Swinton as special teams coordinator.
The 49-year-old Lombardi's resume includes more than a decade as an assistant under Sean Payton. He was briefly the OC for the Lions, joining Jim Caldwell in Detroit in 2014. That season produced a playoff appearance and Matthew Stafford's lone Pro Bowl selection. But after the Lions struggled to a 1-6 start to begin the following campaign, Lombardi was sent packing. He would return to New Orleans, where he'd already served as Drew Brees' QBs coach from 2009-13 and contributed to a Super Bowl title.
The defensive-minded Staley and the Chargers will be looking for similar results in pairing Lombardi with Herbert, who's fresh off a record-breaking rookie season. While the 2020 first-round pick's supporting cast figures to be about the same on the field, he'll be working with a markedly different crew on the sidelines. Former HC Anthony Lynn is headed to Detroit and OC Shane Steichen left L.A. to be the OC for the Eagles, while QBs coach Pep Hamilton has also generated outside interest as an OC.
The relationship and results between Lombardi and Herbert will be pivotal for the Chargers' immediate and, possibly, long-term future.