The Athletic's Jeff Duncan was a guest on the latest episode of "Chargers Weekly" to discuss the team's new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who spent 12 seasons under Saints head coach Sean Payton and alongside quarterback Drew Brees.
Duncan "has covered the New Orleans Saints longer than any journalist in the nation," according to The Athletic. He's also the author of "Payton & Brees: The Men Who Built the Greatest Offense in NFL History."
Highlights from the conversation are below.
Lombardi's Involvement in Saints' Record-Setting Offense (3:25 mark)
"Well, he's heavily involved in the offensive game planning. I know he had the title 'quarterbacks coach' here, but he was basically another offensive coordinator. He and Pete Carmichael, who has the title of offensive coordinator here, they're basically two peas in a pod. I mean, some of the other staff members were telling me this week that Pete's running around the office these days all mopey because his best friend is now gone, because he and Joe Lombardi were heavily involved in every facet of the offensive game plan and Joe was really a key reason why Drew Brees flourished out here and proved so much over his career as a quarterback. Drew Brees will tell you that.
"I mean, all those meetings that they would have, those game plan meetings, Chris – Joe Lombardi, Pete Carmichael and Sean Payton were involved as a threesome. So, it was very much a collaborative effort in putting together this offensive game plan, which as you know has broken almost every offensive record in the NFL in passing numbers over the last decade and a half."
On Lombardi's Ability to Develop Quarterbacks (4:58 mark)
"I've talked to Joe numerous times about Taysom Hill and how high he is on him as a quarterback in the NFL – not just a gadget guy. And I think what that shows you, Chris, is that he can morph his offense and his system around the strengths of whatever quarterback they have come through here. They did that this past year with Taysom Hill. They went 3-1 with Taysom Hill as the starting quarterback. You alluded to Teddy Bridgewater, who was similar in some ways skillset wise to Drew Brees – kind of a game manager, very much a high-percentage passer.
"So, I think what you'll see in Los Angeles with Justin Herbert and that great arm he's got, the great mobility he has, you'll see Joe Lombardi marry his offense to highlight those great strengths of Justin Herbert and he got a first-hand look at him here in the Superdome this year. And everyone that I know that left that game came away impressed with Justin Herbert. He's going to be a star. He already is a star in this league and I think learning under Sean Payton, how you adapt your offense to highlight the skillset of your quarterback, I think [is] something that he's going to apply out there in Los Angeles."
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