Drew Brees visits Chargers camp, endorses Joe Lombardi-Justin Herbert partnership

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) dives over the goal line for a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees dives over the goal line for a touchdown against the Chargers in October. The Saints won the game in overtime. (Butch Dill / Associated Press)

In an unexpected development Wednesday, Justin Herbert was not the most notable quarterback at the second day of Chargers minicamp.

Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and a former Charger, also was in attendance as part of his transition into broadcasting. A crew from NBC Sports was in Costa Mesa for a mock production meeting.

The two quarterbacks faced each other in a game last year in New Orleans and also were together for a golf event earlier this offseason. They met again Wednesday before the Chargers practiced.

“There’s no doubt his physical tools are as good as anybody I’ve ever seen,” Brees said. “By all accounts, he’s a great worker, he’s got great leadership qualities, he’s got a lot of intangibles.”

Brees, who retired in March after 20 seasons, also chatted on the field with Joe Lombardi, the Saints’ longtime quarterbacks coach and now the Chargers’ offensive coordinator.

Under their new coaching regime, the 2021 Chargers will be employing an offense that features much of what New Orleans did during Brees’ surefire Hall of Fame career.

He predicted that Lombardi and the scheme will bolster Herbert’s development as the young quarterback enters his second NFL season.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert gestures during minicamp in Costa Mesa.
Drew Brees believes Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who previously coached with the New Orleans Saints, will help advance the career of quarterback Justin Herbert, above. (Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

“I think he brings a ton of knowledge and experience, not only coaching quarterbacks but also within the system that we ran,” Brees said. “I think he’ll be able to tailor make that for Justin’s skills and the tools he has around him.”

Brees explained that the offense allows for an abundance of flexibility and likened it to “the greatest restaurant menu that you’ve ever seen.” He suggested Lombardi will focus on what Herbert does well and make those traits the basis of the offense.

“It’s taking that vast menu of items and just locking on the things that are going to be what you do best,” Brees said. “I think you have to create the foundation by which you’re going to be able to build this offense. But you build it around a guy like Justin Herbert.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.