The Chargers filled their head coaching position about a week ago. Brandon Staley stated that it might take a while before he filled out his coordinators during his press conference last week. Well, it only took him three days since then to hire his coordinators.
The Bolts officially announced the hiring of Joe Lombardi as their offensive coordinator, Renaldo Hill as their defensive coordinator, and Derius Swinton as their special teams coach.
Lombardi was the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach for the last five seasons. He coached Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Teddy Bridgewater, and Jameis Winston, to name a few. He helped Brees play at a high level, helped Bridgewater get paid by Carolina, helped Hill get paid by the Saints, and potentially Winston might take over if Brees announces his retirement.
He has been an offensive coordinator once before with the Detroit Lions from 2014-2015. He had Matthew Stafford at quarterback, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate at receivers. The offense was middle of the pack stats-wise, but all three players made the pro bowl under Lombardi.
Lombardi is regarded as a “quarterback whisperer,” so he is here to continue helping quarterback Justin Herbert develop. He will be entrusted with Herbert’s development, make sure the offense is a well-oiled machine, and fixing the offensive line.
“The wealth of knowledge and experience he possesses, having operated within one of the premier offensive systems in the NFL for over a decade,” said Staley about his new offensive coordinator. “You think about the relationship he has with Drew Brees — one of the all-time great quarterbacks to ever play the game — and having a front-row seat to that relationship. It’s huge. And then obviously partnering up with Sean Payton — one of the best offensive coaches in the NFL, really one of the best coaches period — that experience is invaluable.”
The Chargers brought in Renaldo Hill from the Denver Broncos as their new defensive coordinator. Hill was the secondaries coach in Denver and coached together with Staley in 2019. Both are from the Vic Fangio coaching tree, so there is a connection.
He played in the NFL for ten seasons as a cornerback and even played two seasons for the Broncos. As a coach, his last two seasons have been tremendous, and he will see a familiar face in the locker room in cornerback Chris Harris Jr., whom he coached in Denver in 2019.
The Broncos play the Bolts twice a year, and the only position that always seemed to give them trouble was the secondary led by All-Pro Justin Simmons, cornerback AJ Bouye, and even the emerging Bryce Callahan.
Hill will have a lot of talent with the Chargers led by safety Derwin James, defensive end Joey Bosa, linebacker Kenneth Murray, Harris, and numerous others. The defense has some holes, but both Staley and Hill will try to fix it together.
“The wealth of experience Renaldo owns, both as a player and a coach in this league, operating at the highest level as a player, playing for some tremendous franchises — and then as a coach, being in our system with [Broncos Head Coach] Vic Fangio and the type of work that he did with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson,” Staley explained about the defensive coordinator. “It’s a rare combination. He was instrumental in making Justin [Simmons] an All-Pro and one of the best in the game — operating in one of the top systems in professional football.”
The Chargers Achilles heel for a while has been special teams performance. Staley decided to hire Arizona Cardinals assistant special teams coach Derius Swinton as his special teams coach. They both spent time together in Chicago, so they are familiar with one another.
During the offseason press conference, general manager Tom Telesco admitted that he needed to do a better job putting together a special teams unit. Now, does he mean kicker, punter, coverage unit? Frankly, everything should be on the table. Last season, kicker Michael Badgley missed 13 kicks while Ty Long didn’t have the best statistical season. The special teams unit can be summed up by saying their only positive is they never gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Swinton is coming from a Cardinals program that had a top ten special teams unit, and they are hoping he does the same thing for the Chargers.
“I can’t emphasize enough what a great teacher he is, fundamentally, from both offensive and defensive perspectives,” said Staley about his special teams coach. “We’ve worked together before in Chicago, which I obviously value immensely, and even more importantly, he’s had the benefit of having been with one of the premier special teams coaches in the league in Jeff Rodgers.”