Brandon Staley to return as Chargers head coach; Lombardi fired as OC


Brandon Staley will return for a third season as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The same cannot be said for some of their offensive teams.

The team announced Tuesday that offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Shane Day have been fired after two years.

Staley is 19-16, including the playoffs, in his two seasons. He led the Chargers to their first playoff appearance since 2018 with a 10-7 regular season record.

The Chargers fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-30 in Saturday’s AFC wild-card round game after blowing the third-largest lead in postseason history.

Los Angeles went on a 27-0 run late in the second quarter before the Jaguars rallied.

Criticism of Lombardi’s play increased throughout the season. The Chargers ranked ninth in total offense but 20th in rushing yards per play along with the league’s third-worst rushing attack.

Los Angeles also had the NFL’s second-highest pass-to-run discrepancy (65% pass to 35% run).

Lombardi and the offensive staff also couldn’t respond to halftime adjustments. The Chargers were outscored 103-52 in the third quarter, including the playoffs. They also scored just one third-quarter touchdown in the last 13 games.

Staley praised Lombardi at the end of the regular season for his ability to adapt to changes due to injuries. DeAndre Carter was the only wide receiver to play in all 18 games, while there were two games in which both Mike Williams and Keenan Allen did not play.

Allen missed seven of the first nine games with a hamstring injury. Williams was sidelined for five, including four with an ankle injury.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater suffered a season-ending biceps injury in Week 3 and center Corey Linsley was out for three games with multiple injuries.

Justin Herbert was second in the league in completions (477) and passing yards (4,739) this season, but sat out most of the first half of the season after suffering a torn rib cartilage after receiving once during a Week 2 game at Kansas City.

Staley also noted that he was looking for the unit to turn the corner for the postseason as the team was mostly healthy.

“Now that we’re almost at our best, we have to make the improvements to be playing our best at the end. I think what we’re looking for right now is to find a rhythm where we can score the ball at a higher level and be more explosive as to football team,” Staley said on Dec. 28.

It’s the second time Lombardi has missed a third season as an offensive coordinator. He was fired by Detroit midway through his second year in 2015.

Herbert, who will enter his fourth season in 2023, will have his third offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the NFL. Shane Steichen ran the Bolts offense in addition to being the QBs coach under Anthony Lynn in 2020 before Lynn was fired at the end of the season.

Justin Herbert: ‘Everyone would be lucky to have a coach like Staley’

Justin Herbert: "Anyone would be lucky to have a coach like Staley"

The First Things First crew discusses Brandon Staley’s future as Chargers head coach after blowing a 27-point lead against the Jaguars.

The Chargers, however, stumbled down the stretch for the second straight season.

Staley entered the playoffs under fire after Williams suffered a season-ending back injury in the meaningless regular-season finale in Denver.

Last season, the Chargers lost three of their last four games to miss the postseason. In a 35-32 overtime loss at Las Vegas in Week 18, Staley called a late timeout when the Raiders settled for playing for a tie, which would have put the Chargers in the playoffs.

The players, however, defended their coach after the loss to the Jaguars, saying Staley is still learning as a head coach.

“He’s a new head coach in this league. To expect him to know everything right away is kind of silly,” linebacker Joey Bosa said. “I think we just have to keep building. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Owner Dean Spanos is also expected to keep Tom Telesco as general manager.

The Chargers have yet to win a division title in Telesco’s 10 seasons as general manager and have only been to the playoffs three times in his tenure. Telesco, who said before the season started that the real measuring stick for a GM is wins and losses, has an 81-86 record. The Bolts’ .485 winning percentage since 2013 is 19th.

“I think we have to be able to finish at the end of the season,” safety Derwin James said. “The teams that can do it in December and January, that’s when it really matters.”

Report from The Associated Press.

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