Chargers OC Joe Lombardi: Justin Herbert has an elite skillset

Joe Lombardi may have landed the top assistant coaching prize of the offseason when new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley hired him to be Los Angeles’ offensive coordinator.

Lombardi had been the Saints’ quarterbacks coach since 2009, with the exception of the 2014-2015 seasons when he was the Lions’ offensive coordinator. But now he’ll be one of the most important pieces for developing quarterback Justin Herbert.

Lombardi was impressed with Herbert’s rookie year.

“He’s got a skillset that is elite,” Lombardi said in his Tuesday press conference. “It appears there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s got an incredibly strong arm, good accuracy, he’s very athletic, and it sounds like he’s a real smart guy that’s a good leader. So he checks all the boxes and the sky is the limit with a player like that.”

Herbert set several rookie records in 2020, finishing the season with 4,336 yards passing, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 15 games.

As for his offensive philosophy, Lombardi said that generally he’d like to strike a balance between the run and pass. But of course, there are exceptions.

“When you have a quarterback as talented as Justin, you want to let him throw the ball when it’s appropriate — that’s for sure,” Lombardi said.