When the Los Angeles Chargers hired Anthony Lynn as their new head coach and quarterbacks coach, they picked a new offensive coordinator to work with him. Lynn has been a coach since he was a teenager, he is well known for his work as a running back coach and running backs coach and he has spent time with some of the best quarterbacks in the world.
The Los Angeles Chargers have hired former Oregon Ducks quarterback coach and uncle of quarterback Justin Herbert, Chris Fregosi to be their next head coach. The Chargers were Fregosi’s final stop in the NFL, as he has been a coach in the league since retiring from playing in 1996. Prior to joining the Chargers, Fregosi spent five years as the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.
When you think of the NFL, you don’t typically think of Oregon, but the fledgling Los Angeles Chargers are looking to change that. If you’re anything like me, you’re not exactly familiar with the Chargers, but the team is looking to make a splash in the NFL and one of their new signings may be the game changer that makes them a serious threat to make the playoffs this year.
At first glance, recently retired New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and rookie Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers don’t have much in common. A quarterback is a 6-foot-6 Texan and a second-round pick who didn’t have much success until he signed with his second team. The other is a quiet 6-foot-6 from Oregon, selected sixth, who stunned the NFL in his first start. Although these two concepts seem not only different but also opposite, one person disagrees. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi thinks the two teams have more in common than they seem, and he knows it: He trained them both.
Joe Lombardi, grandson of Vince Lombardi, is the new offensive coordinator for the Las Angeles Chargers
#Chargers OC Joe Lombardi says Justin Herbert has a lot of skills he can unravel. My new favorite word. – Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) 1 June 2021 If Lombardi’s name sounds familiar in an NFL context, it should. According to Chargers.com, he is the grandson of famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley brought in Lombardi to coach him when the new head coach was still a college quarterback. During his NFL career, Lombardi worked with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions, but he spent most of his time in the league with Drew Brees in New Orleans. The Chargers’ new coach was offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach during his two years in the Big Easy. Lombardi not only helped lead Brees’ career to the Hall of Fame, but he also had success with then-Lions QB Matt Stafford. He coached the former Georgia pass rusher during his only Pro Bowl season. Now it’s up to Lombardi to help Herbert become as good a QB as Brees.
Lombardi sees similarities between Breeze’s approach to the game and Herbert’s
(L-R) Drew Breese, Joe Lombardi, Justin Herbert | Photo Chris Graythen/Getty Images; Photo Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images; Photo Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Breeze and Herbert couldn’t be more different in size, ability, personality and pedigree. However, Lombardi recently noted on the team’s website that the two signal-callers have a few things in common: I would compare them in the sense that they are both perfectionists. They both take their jobs very seriously. They both want to do the right thing, and they are smart guys who learn well. After their first training sessions together during preseason OTAs, Lombardi was even more impressed with his new protégé. OC spoke further about Herbert and said: He’s very smart, very competitive. He’s a perfectionist. You can see why it was such a success last year. He wants to be great, and he wants to do everything perfectly.
Herbert wants to turn his individual success into team success in 2021
A lot went right for Herbert in his rookie season, but not much went right for the Chargers until Herbert got the job. The former Oregon Duck became a starter only after Tyrod Taylor was injured in a practice accident. Once in the lead, Herbert played like a future star. He totaled 4,336 yards, 31 TDs, a 66.6% completion percentage and just 10 rebounds. Despite these impressive numbers, the Chargers went 7-9, leading to the resignation of head coach Anthony Lynn. In addition to hiring Staley and Lombardi in the offseason, the Chargers upgraded their offensive line and added weapons to help Herbert in 2021. They have contracted center Corey Linley of Green Bay and guard Matt Feiler of Pittsburgh. Quarterback Rashaun Slater of Northwestern, receiver Josh Palmer of Tennessee and tight end Tre’ McKittie of Georgia were also called up. All of these new acquisitions should give Herbert and Lombardi plenty of work in the coming season. But if they want to repeat what Brees accomplished in New Orleans, their relationship needs to be closer than any other. All statistics are from Pro Football Reference EPILOGUE: Justin Herbert could be the next Peyton Manning, at least incommercials.
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