Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi

Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi

On areas in which the red zone offense can improve.

“A number of things. Running the ball is always a premium in the red zone, so doing better there. Overall, execution, obviously. We had a couple mental errors that I think would have made a difference this last week. We had some injuries late in the week. In-game we had guys playing positions, maybe, that they weren’t practicing. Just had some execution errors that I think would have made a difference. Overall, running the ball better, calling better plays and executing better.”

On C Corey Linsley’s illegal snap penalty:

“You are trying to get up and snap the ball before the defense has a chance to really see what is going on. You just have to pause a heartbeat before. A little bit of it is a judgement call by the refs. It is not always 100 percent consistent. We just have to coach him up a little bit better. Just take a breath before you snap it. I think we would have been all right there.”

On ‘if the end of the field is like a 12th defender’:

“Yeah, there is not as much space. You look at the NFL, and I don’t know what the completion rate is, overall, but it is well north of 60 percent. When you look every week, all of the passes inside the five-yard line, it’s less than 50 percent, and same thing inside the 10-yard line. It’s just harder, which is why running is a premium down there. Probably have to be more patient and just get better at that.”

On the level of impact injuries have had in passing in the red zone:

“I think it’s all a factor. With the guys that we had, we definitely should be performing better there than we have been. It is certainly something we are working on and it wouldn’t shock me if we go on a run and all of a sudden do really well in the red zone moving forward. We have to do it.”

On his reaction to WR Mike Williams making difficult catches:

“They are very positive. He has been doing it all year, even at a higher percentage making those catches than he has even in the past. He is a premium jump-ball guy, a premium contested catch guy. The quarterback really trusts him. It certainly makes a difference.”

On ‘if he jumps out of his seat’ when Williams makes a difficult catch:

“No [laughter]. I think if it is a touchdown, then maybe, but otherwise you are like, ‘All right, where are we? What hash are we on?’ You are moving on to the next play. Every now and then, as I am calling the play to [QB] Justin [Herbert], I’ll be like, ‘Wow, that was a great catch,’ or, ‘Great throw,’ or something. Moving on to the next play, for sure.”

On ‘what went wrong’ with the fourth down play in the red zone in the first quarter:

“There was an option. We were reading a defender on that play. If he ran with DeAndre [Carter] — which is what he had done every play up to that point in the season, that motion was pulling a defender out — the quarterback was going to do something. Then, if he had stayed, which he did, then we were hoping to outflank the defender. He had a little step on him, but I think we probably didn’t rep that throw enough to get it as efficient. If we had hit him and he hadn’t stumbled, I think we would have been able to get into the end zone there.”

On if Linsley’s snap to QB Justin Herbert on the fourth down red zone play affected the play at all:

“Could have been. Could have been. Justin [Herbert] does such a great job of catching those and finding the laces. That could have affected it.”

On WR DeAndre Carter:

“He is just a fix-it guy. You have four different positions you can be at as a receiver — you can be the X, the Z, the Y, the F — and he is one of those smart guys that can play all of those positions. If someone gets tired or someone is out of the game, ‘Hey, you have the X this snap. You have the F this snap.’ He knows it all. Obviously, we have had receivers down and he has been in a starting role. He has been fantastic for us. Just one of those guys that, I think, as you look back at all of the players you have coached, he will be one of the favorites. Tough, competitive and just a guy you can trust to go out there and get the job done. He is not a big guy, but he blocks and he gets open and he runs hard. Just everything you want in a player.”

On the third-and-short play where WR Keenan Allen ‘was stopped short on a screen pass’:

“That was a check. Justin [Herbert] checked out of the play. Thought we could get there. I think if we blocked that better, we could have gotten it.”

On ‘if he feels like the offense had numbers’ in the play:

“Yeah. They were getting low. I think Justin [Herbert] thought it was going to be cover zero, and so he was just trying to get the ball out. Felt that we had a three-on-two situation out there and the defender played it real well.”

On Herbert attempting 51 passes against the Dolphins and ‘it there should be more balance between the run and pass game’:

“I would rather not throw it 50 times, but sometimes the game script, the way things are going, how they are defending the run, what you think is going to work, you end up leaning on the pass, maybe, a little bit. He is so good and our receivers were playing well. Sometimes you get a little more confidence in that part of the game, but no. I would much rather be balanced.”

On Herbert saying that ‘he wants to throw the ball every play’:

“He doesn’t mind [laughter]. He doesn’t mind. I think you could take stress off the offensive line and keep the defense more honest. I think it just helps everything when you run the ball better.”

On ‘finding the plays and blocking schemes that he wants for the running game’:

“I think we kind of are honed in more than a little bit of what we want to do, but we still have to go out and execute it. It’s a work-in-progress.”

On G Zion Johnson’s abilities as a pulling guard:

“Offensively, I think that is always what you are trying to do; maximize the strengths of your players and minimizing, maybe, what they do as well. As guys get hurt, sometimes that shifts, what it is you think you can do well and what you can’t. He is a strong, athletic player. When he is in space, it’s a good thing. It’s something that he does well.”

On what he ‘expects to see’ from the offense over the final four games of the regular season:

“We have gotten a little healthier. Getting Mike [Williams] back and Keenan [Allen] getting healthier, we’re hoping maybe [TE] Donald Parham [Jr/] comes back this week. We’re hoping [T] Trey [Pipkins III] is able to play. I feel like we’re getting as healthy as we have been since game one or two. Getting all of those pieces incorporated back in, getting them in game shape, all of those things are going to be huge as we get down the stretch.”


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