By firing Joe Lombardi, Chargers apparently will stay the course with Brandon Staley

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

The grandson of Vince Lombardi won’t be pursuing a Lombardi Trophy in 2023 with the Chargers.

The Chargers have announced that they have “parted ways” with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Also out is quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Shane Day.

The move implies that coach Brandon Staley will return for a third season, 27-point playoff collapse notwithstanding. If that’s what ownership has decided, that’s ownership’s business.

But there’s a bigger business consideration for ownership to ponder. They surely want to compete with, if not overtake, the Rams in the L.A. market. With quarterback Justin Herbert nudging toward the front end of his prime, do they want an offensive-minded head coach who can get the most out of his unique skills and abilities?

Apparently, they’re content to let their defensive-minded coach try again, when it comes to hiring coaches tasked with getting the most out of Herbert. (If, of course, they do, they’ll become head-coaching candidates elsewhere — and may have to be replaced for very different reasons.)

It makes sense to make changes to the offensive approach. Throughout 2022, it seemed as if their offense wasn’t what it could have been, not with Herbert as the straw stirring what had become a lukewarm glass of pulp-filled orange juice.

Would it have been expensive to buy out Staley and go all in for someone like Sean Payton? Yes. Would that expense potentially have to untold profits? Quite possibly.

Here’s the other thing to consider. Saturday night’s game will leave a mark that could be hard to overcome, even with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. And even though multiple players have spoken out in favor of Staley, they’re like the rest of us. They don’t like change. They want to try it again with the apparatus in place. They believe that a reset to 0-0 will lead to different results.

For the Chargers, different hasn’t happened. It’s been nearly 30 years since their lone Super Bowl appearance, a blowout loss to the 49ers that capped the 1994 season. Do they go all in to alter the status quo, or do they keep treading water?

The Chargers have chosen a half-measure. And half measures don’t work, more than half the time.

Consider prior teams that have had a season end with a devastating and historic playoff loss. It doesn’t evaporate quickly. The 2014 Seahawks, with the fateful decision to pass when they should have run, loomed over the team until the day Russell Wilson was traded. The 2016 Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI, are still trying to chart a new course.

Do the Chargers believe that Saturday night’s loss will, or won’t, linger? History tells us that it will. And, if it does, 2023 could be Staley’s last season on the job, swinging the door open for someone like Jim Harbaugh or whoever else is at the top of the “A” list in 2024.

88 responses to “By firing Joe Lombardi, Chargers apparently will stay the course with Brandon Staley

  1. Brandon Staley is one of the good, smart, young coaches taking over the NFL.

    Minus the good or smart part.

  2. How do you keep a head coach after his team blows a 27 point lead in a playoff game (and when the head coach controls the defense), while in the previous year he made a decision that caused his team to lose and doomed their chance to make the playoffs?

  3. Or the Chargers could be like my Bears that do a complete reboot every 3-4 years.

  4. They fired the wrong guy and the QB ain’t all that. They actually overachieved this year in my opinion, defense pretty good though.

  5. If you know the Chargers you know this was the most likely course of action. Payton was never really happening, neither was Harbough or any other big name coach.

  6. Chargers ownership just told their players that they are too cheap to care about winning. Next year will not go well.

  7. Bad call that side of the ball was not the problem really. Yeah they still ran an uptempo offense with a huge point advantage and didn’t run enough. But man that is the head coaches job to make in game changes.

    That loss is not on Lombardi.

  8. Seems like you’d fire the DC after a defensive melt down like that. That said, Lombardi was a train wreck when he was originally hired/fired by the Lions and he hasn’t gotten any better. Stop hiring this guy as an OC. Also, forget the Rams. They will be years recovering from the all in Super Bowl win. No one is going to want to watch them.

  9. Staley won’t complete the 23 season, this playoff loss will haunt the franchise until he is fired.

  10. I’m a Bills fan so the other coast and certainly don’t see that much of the Chargers outside of the prime time games. With that said though…

    Staley has to GO!! He has single handed made three or four of the “dumbest” coaches decisions I have ever seen in the past few years. You know, the kind where he literally cost the Chargers the game. For whatever reason, he continues to be “smarter” than everyone else and doing the “wrong” thing when it matters most and his decisions keep not working or as he says “just didn’t work out.”

    Given how good Herbert is, it’s almost hard for them to not make the playoffs. But don’t worry, Staley will make sure they don’t move forward in the playoffs.

  11. Conspiracy theory: Lombardi worked a year for Sean Payton with the Saints. Maybe Staley thought Lombardi was undermining him to Dean Spanos, and said ‘it’s either him or me…”

  12. Chargers need to chart a different course for sure, but comparing two all time gaffes/collapses in a SB to one in a WC game is kind of apples/oranges. But for those collapses/gaffes, those teams would have won the SB. That’s why they stick in memory. The 5th biggest comeback in a WC game isn’t something similar. No history being made and hardly anyone thinks chargers would have won SB even if they win that game.

  13. At this point, I see Herbert playing out his “sentence” in LA, then getting a massive contract from a contender who values generational talent over appearances.

  14. Wow… also says they gave up on Sean Payton.
    What a shame – Sean Payton + Justin Herbert = next gen Elite QB.

  15. They’re going to totally waste the best year’s of Herbert’s career with a coach who will never be able to get them over the top.

  16. Herbert will now be on his 3rd offensive coordinator in 4 years in the NFL. How much better would he already be if he wasnn’t having to learn an entirely new offense basically every year? This is coaching malpractice.

  17. “They surely want to compete with, if not overtake, the Rams in the L.A. market.”

    I wouldn’t count on that. As long as the Spanos family owns the team it’ll remain a poverty franchise making moves like this rather than upgrading the coaching position while Herbert is still on a rookie contract and they have any SB window. Shoulda just stayed in San Diego.

  18. Looking back, defensive-minded coach Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls when he had Tom Brady, and he accomplished that with several different offensive coordinators. Going back even further, when defensive-minded George Seifert took over for offensive-minded Bill Walsh in San Francisco, the team actually won at a higher percentage, and continued winning Super Bowls. Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson, and Tom Landry were all defensive-minded coaches. Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin were also defensive-minded. The key component was all these great coaches had HOF QBs. Sean Payton is offensive-minded, and just like Brandon Staley is doing, Payton always fell short of expectations in the playoffs, with the exception of one year, and he had Drew Brees his entire career. You would really have to ignore NFL history and thumb your nose at reality to think the Chargers would do better with an offensive-minded coach. Hey, maybe they would, but NFL history certainly suggests the opposite is true.

  19. Bad move by the Chargers to keep Staley. He’s a lousy head coach. That team has a lot of really good players, and a strong head coach could get a lot more out of the team than Staley has managed to do. Also, that total meltdown against Jax should have been the nail in his coffin. The Chargers had a shot at Payton, but now it looks like they’ll keep Staley instead. Bad move. Really bad move. LA is going to be a pro football wasteland for a few years, because the Rams are going to suck for awhile, too.

  20. Chargers just gotta Charger.

    Herbert fought through injuries. Otherwise, that was a top 10 offense.

  21. This is the Chargers folks, why is anyone surprised? It’s their classic strategy for sustainable failure over the decades.

  22. Los Angeles Chargers job posting:
    Offensive Coordinator.
    Candidates must be extremely proficient at picking up 4th downs.
    Only experts need apply.

  23. The only reason Staley is sticking around is because ownership is too cheap to pay him and his replacement. What a horribly run franchise.

  24. Herbert’s talent is off the charts. He routinely makes some of the best-looking throws of anyone in the league. But he and the team are bumping their heads on a ceiling that seems too low for the talent involved. Both players and coaches need to find another gear, because on paper there’s not much reason for them to not be competing better than they are.

  25. Zach Taylor went to Super Bowl in year 3. They should sell franchise to someone who has the cash to build a stadium in San Diego.

  26. Glad to see the same, brilliant ownership decisions have followed the Chargers from San Diego to Los Angeles. There truly are some things that are absolute constants in this universe…….

  27. The Chargers have been losing in big games by dumb penalties, poor clock management, and bone-headed turnovers long before Staley, Lombardi, and Herbert were around. The stench starts with Spanos

  28. kjdoyle58 says:
    January 17, 2023 at 11:06 am
    offensively it would probably help if Williams and Allen could stay healthy.
    Offensively, it would help if the coach didn’t play a fragile Williams and all his other starters in a meaningless last game of the season.

  29. Players play and coaches need to coach and not be friends or buddies of the players. Staley has proven to be another dud whom Telesco and their front office would grow in to the position but by doing so you had an injured front line player not be able to play in the gift of all gifts playoff games. You not only blew it, it was a historic loss. Telesco and Staley should both be gone and all efforts put in to getting Payton. Period. But they won’t which is why this franchise is where it’s at. Losers. Good but not good enough. Staley got outcoached in both games against Jacksonville and proved he didn’t learn. It’s on you Chargers to sort this out and try to keep a fan base

  30. Herbert is mediocre under Staley, replace him with Payton while the Rams are in their 3 year decline and San Diego’s team will rule LA for a decade.

  31. Justin Herbert was hurt all season long. The strained rib cartilage never had a chance to heal. Hard to throw the ball with hurt ribs. The Chargers should have sat Justin for three or four weeks after the injury. Combine that with all of the games missed by Keenon Allen and Mike Williams and it is understandable why some games were lost.

  32. I would`ve probably cleaned house myself but i still wonder how none of the Chargers failures are ever Herbert`s fault? Don`t get me wrong. I like him and he`s a great talent, would love to have him and would definitely be better with Payton but he has never been his best in the biggest moments in college or the pro`s.
    He had several chances to make a play and put Jacksonville away and didn`t make them. It`s not all about decisions and play calls, execution is the most important thing and he deserves some blame for not executing when needed most. He`s 3 years in now. Zac Taylor isn`t exactly Andy Reid but Burrow makes his decisions and play calls look better because of his poise when plays don`t go as scripted.

  33. A defensive minded head coach and he allowed a 27-0 collapse to get away from him. I think they’re getting rid of the wrong guy!

  34. These things don’t necessarily have to linger. Does anyone remember back in 2014 the chiefs with Andy Reid were ahead of the Colts 38-10 in the 2nd half of a playoff game and ended up losing the football game. Why didn’t Andy Reid get run outta town?

    Lombardi did a lot of good things but I believe he had to go because there’s just no excuse to be so so poor running the football. The Oline is a lot more talented than what the rushing numbers indicate.

  35. legionofzoom says:
    January 17, 2023 at 11:13 am
    We think sticking with Brandon Staley is an excellent idea.


    Chiefs fans

    We think the New Patriots (Chiefs) getting screwed out of a home game for the AFC title, is also an excellent idea.


    The fans of everyone else

  36. Somebody needs to explain the difference between frugal and cheap to Spanos. Firing Staley and getting a better HC gives them a better shot at winning a SB with this roster. Unless Spanos doesn’t want a ring, then carry on sir.

  37. Saints need to get him back and send current o.c. Pete Carmichael packing. He is a total dud without Peyton guiding him.

  38. Why is anyone surprised at this? The Spanos have been horrible owners for years, I feel for Chargers fans.

  39. Ladies and gentleman, for the 7 consecutive year, your offseason AFCW Champion Los Angeles Chargers!

  40. Any Chargers fans that thought the Spanos Family was going to hire Sean Payton, must be new fans of the team, it was never going to happen

  41. Lombardi stacked this roster on both sides of the ball, it is Staley has been called out on TWITTER by his own players for his decision making (see the browns chargers game this year tweets by a certain WR – then deleted)

    ownership is insane to continue down the same road next year (and we all know the def of insanity).

    I would take Lombardi as the GM of the Packers in a heartbeat – at least he would not TRADE UP for a QB that never plays haaaaaaa

  42. As a patriots fan, I have no dog in this fight. I said it last year, when staley used “analytics” basically every possession at home against KC.

    He screwed his team by constantly going on 4th down. Had he just taken those two field goal attempts, they would’ve beaten KC and locked up a playoff spot.

    Then the raiders OT game debacle.

    Now this?! and he’s STILL EMPLOYED?!

    Another money saving decision by the cheapest owners in the league. Enjoy mediocrity 🙄

  43. Staley does not draft the players he only coaches them. The defense was horrible last year and nothing changed. Defense lot this game plain and simple. Telesco picks the players with the help of John Spanos who has no clue. You can’t fire the owner and that is why the Chargers will always lose as long as the Spanos’ own the team.

  44. I think that somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic there’s a deck chair that should belong to Joe Lombardi.

  45. What a joke. Its was the god awful defense that Staley called and not the offense that sucked and yet they blame it on the offensive coaches. Hope they lose every game next year. good thing they have no fans anymore who care

  46. Ponto60 says:
    January 17, 2023 at 12:44 pm
    Staley does not draft the players he only coaches them. The defense was horrible last year and nothing changed. Defense lot this game plain and simple. Telesco picks the players with the help of John Spanos who has no clue. You can’t fire the owner and that is why the Chargers will always lose as long as the Spanos’ own the team.
    But Sately calls the defense. He is the one that should be shown the door

  47. I lost respect for Staley when he carried water for Derwin James’s incredibly dangerous full-speed helmet-to-helmet hit on Ashton Dulin. Incredibly dirty move and Staley just blew it off.

    I’m struggling to come up with any way he’s an improvement on Anthony Lynn. And now they’re putting their incredible QB through yet another change of coach and scheme. This is how bad teams stay bad.

  48. Think Gus was a good DC because he was a successful coordinator under a defensive head coach in Pete Carroll. Which doesn’t necessarily make him a great DC. Think they should move on, on that side of the ball as well.

  49. Atlanta never recovered from their Super Bowl collapse. Neither will the Chargers. This would have been a perfect team for Payton.

  50. How do you run the ball 5 times in the second half with a 20 + point lead!?! Even a High School Coach knows you run the ball and eat the clock with a lead that big! How Staley “Used Car Salesmanned” his way out of danger and tossing the blame to Lombardi is beyond me. That’s HIS job to make sure the clock is running as long as he can control it.

  51. The #1 reason this is such a dumb move is because Staley will end up getting fired after going 0-5 in October anyway, and then the entire season is scrapped. Fire him NOW so you can find your real coach. Because by the time you do, Herbert’s rookie deal will be done, Derwin James will be gone, Keenan Allen will be useless, etc, etc. #window

  52. They keep Staley..they stay mired in mediocrity…Lombardi nothing but a scapegoat..Staley calls the defense… He blew a 27 pt lead..

  53. I love how Matt Ryan gets all the blame for the Falcons Super Bowl collapse and here we are with another historic meltdown and somehow the QB escapes scrutiny. How does that work? I realize Herbert is a darling of the media but come on, the guy choked too, just like Matt Ryan.

  54. They literally cant afford to fire him and replace him with another cheap first time HC from the coordinator pool. Sorry chargers fans, you are gonna be wasting an elite QB for a few a couple more years…hopefully he doesnt get disgruntled and want out. You have a trash owner, you get a trash product.

  55. Staley is awful. Glad I’m not a Chargers Fan…but then again, NOBODY is an LA Charger Fan.

  56. I haven’t seen a lot of Chargers games, but I’ve seen enough to know that Staley has been a disaster. I remember thinking at halftime, with the Chargers up 27-0, that they were just the type of team under Staley to blow that type of lead. I figured first off they’d stop playing that press coverage that was giving Lawrence fits because with that kind of lead you don’t want to give up a big play, and so of course, the inevitable would ensue. So I wasn’t surprised at all to see it happen. Further, I was relieved, because the last thing I want to do next week is watch the Chargers blow another fourth quarter lead against the Chiefs, which thankfully, I now no longer have to do. The Chiefs probably stomp the Jags pretty good, but hey, at least that’s something I haven’t seen 4 times already over the last two years.

    It’s worth pointing out how badly Staley misuses analytics. Statistics may say you’re better off in the long run if you do certain things consistently, but you still have to run a cost benefit analysis in a given situation. You don’t gamble $100 to win $5 if its a 55% chance of success. You don’t go for it on fourth down if it only marginally helps you and the downside drastically improves the other team’s chances of winning, even if you’re successful 55% of the time. It’s just dumb. If you think you’ve got the better team, you shouldn’t be introducing that kind of variance at all. Play conservative, if you have the better team, in the long run, you’ll win by not taking chances. It’s only when you feel you have an inferior team, that you should be rolling the dice, and looking for lucky bounces, because it makes no difference if you lose by 3 or 33, but maybe just maybe, if you make some smart gambles and things go your way, you can pull off the upset. It’s slightly more complicated than that based on how good your offense and defense are relatively speaking, but you can’t use analytics unless you really understand how good your team is and the cost-benefit nuances of your specific situation.

  57. And there you have it! The Bolts have just created 2 more EXCUSES for 2023 (as if they need any more)! New excuse 1) Herbert is on his X th OC in Y years! and 2) The should have fired Staley last year. We will ADD these to the All-Pro Injury List excuse and the “Refs” excuse. The Bolts are now properly stocked for 2023.

  58. I didn’t know a O.C. could lose a 27 point lead, always thought that was the Head Coach and D.C.’s job not to lose the lead

  59. lowlyfinfan88 says:
    January 17, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    I love how Matt Ryan gets all the blame for the Falcons Super Bowl collapse and here we are with another historic meltdown and somehow the QB escapes scrutiny. How does that work? I realize Herbert is a darling of the media but come on, the guy choked too, just like Matt Ryan.


    First off, Shanahan got more grief and blame for that than did Ryan.

    Second, Ryan was a seasoned veteran by that point who had been to the playoffs 5 separate seasons and played in 7 playoff games to that point. This is literally Herbert’s first-ever playoff appearance.

    Third, while Herbert went cold at the worst time, the most crucial mistakes in the second half were elsewhere, with coaching and players alike.

  60. Again the offense, didn’t lose the lead, it’s not like Herbert came out and throw 5 pick 6’s in the second half. This was just smoke and mirrors to hide the real problem on this team.

  61. Well one thing for sure, I could never be a coach because after loosing a 27 point lead I would have fired the defensive coordinator.

  62. This team once fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season.

    But they won’t fire the guy who cost them the playoffs a year ago, cost them Mike Williams by playing him and getting him hurt in week 18, and then oversaw that playoff collapse.

  63. lutie1992 says:
    January 17, 2023 at 2:21 pm
    I didn’t know a O.C. could lose a 27 point lead, always thought that was the Head Coach and D.C.’s job not to lose the lead
    Let me help you my friend:
    You can’t only score 3 points the entire second half of games and expect your defense to hold an entire second half.

  64. Dumb move to not fire Staley and get Payton, but Lombardi HAD to go! They could replace both with Payton, but if not, now they need a real OC. PLEASE do not do the same stupid thing too many others do and get another terrible rehash that never works like Shurmer, McAdoo, McCoy, Hackett, or Marrone. And certainly don’t go the failure Steeler way and just promote the guy behind the guy who just left! Better go find a great offensive mind. Not many out there to my knowledge, which is why Payton IS the answer to a Super Bowl. But Chargers will be Chargers.

  65. The Chargers are like the LA Clippers. Even when they are winning more than the Lakers, playing in playoff games, they’re not the Lakers. It’s going to take more than scoring a lot of points to win the hearts of LA fans.

    There’s a lot of is who think they should have stayed in San Diego. That’s not out of anger or spite. That was their Identity.

  66. This is horrible news for those people who think that the single most important thing the Chargers can accomplish is one-upping the Rams in LA.

  67. Not surprised. He was run out of Detroit after 1 1/2 seasons as OC. As soon as they cut ties with him, Jim Bob Cooter somehow turned the offense around IMMEDIATELY, and the team finished 6-2. So, he’s clearly a problem. Players not inspired by his leadership in two place.

    Now, what to do about the defense and the GM???

  68. The collapse against the Jags was the DEFENSE, not the offense. They ought to be firing defensive “guru” Staley.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.