Chargers announce their new head coach for the 2021-2022 season:
Early Saturday night, the Chargers confirmed that they would be hiring the Defensive Coordinator of their cross town rivals, Brandon Staley. The former Rams DC was a first year Coordinator for the dominant Rams defensive unit which ranked at the top of the league. Even though Staley was not one of my personal top choices that I laid out in my previous article to take this head coaching job, I think the Chargers made a great pick in hiring Staley.
The Rams Defense was dominant in the 2020-21 season, and Staley will inherit a similar defense with the Chargers:
Despite getting lit up by Aaron Rodgers in the NFC divisional round, the Rams Defense was dominant all season long. Loaded with talent, the Rams defense gave up an average of just 18 points per game in one of the most competitive divisions in all of football. Playing in the NFC West, they had to go up against Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and the Seahawks, while also having to match up with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins and the Cardinals twice a year. They gave up an average of 281 yards per game and forced 22 turnovers throughout the year.
There are many similarities between the Chargers defense and the Rams defense. The Chargers have many playmakers on defense, as the Rams do. Defensive end Joey Bosa had a monster of a year with 7.5 sacks despite missing a couple of games due to his multiple injuries. Staley will also get a healthy Derwin James, who has proven that he is one of the best safeties in the league. James is truly a do-it-all player. He is a tough, physical safety who can stop the run and also take on the challenge of covering a receiver. Let’s also not forget about rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray, who notched 108 tackles this past season as a rookie and seemed to get better every game. The Chargers have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
One of the biggest talking points surrounding the Chargers this past year were the blown leads and losses within one possession. One of the reasons the Chargers blew so many games was because of conservative play calling and the defense falling apart during crunch time. The Chargers offense this year was outstanding, believe it or not. The Chargers ranked as the 6th best passing offense and were in the top 10 of total offense. But, the same old problem kept on happening this past year. The Chargers would be leading by two possessions going into halftime, and in the second half they would surrender big plays and the defense would let whoever they were playing back into the game. Staley will offer a new point of view to this Chargers team and an especially refreshing perspective for the Chargers defense.
What does this mean for Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense?
Let me be very clear here, the Chargers offense last year was great. Like I said, the unit ranked top 10 in total offense and ranked 6th in the passing game. The Chargers and Staley will need an Offensive Coordinator who can help Justin Herbert develop into the superstar he is capable of becoming. My top choice for this job is Pep Hamilton. Hamilton was the Chargers quarterbacks coach this past year and helped Herbert develop into a rookie quarterback who threw for 4,300 yards and 31 Touchdowns breaking 8 rookie records. He also helped with the development of former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. I think Hamilton is the perfect hire for the Chargers Offensive Coordinator job and he will help Herbert’s development better than most other possible candidates.
Not long ago, I wrote an article on my Top 3 candidates for this hire, and Brandon Staley was not on my list. Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll was my favorite for this job and I think he would have been the perfect choice, but this hire is honestly a great one. The Chargers needed to fix their defense. With so much talent on that side of the ball, they should be a top 5 defense in the NFL. They will be taking care of what they need to take core of with this hire, and we will see what the Chargers and Staley do for the Offensive and Defensive Coordinator jobs respectively, in the future.
My overall grade for this hire: A-