The Los Angeles Chargers have a new head coach, and he is going to travel across town from his former team, the Rams.
Brandon Staley was named the new starter for the Chargers.
According to sources, he was the guy that John Spanos and Tom Telesco wanted the whole time. The news came as a surprise for sports media after it was reported earlier in the weekend that Bill offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was the favorite to land the job, but the Bills advancing to the AFC Championship would prolong him from accepting a deal. However, the Chargers brass had another idea and had a second interview planned with Staley that eventually led to offering him the job after the Rams lost to the Packers in the divisional round that weekend. Staley is relatively new to the NFL and has made a rapid ascent from his former ranks of Division III defensive coordinator.
In fact, the Chargers have been in Los Angeles longer than Staley has been coaching in the NFL.
Staley is one of the bright young minds in the defensive community in the NFL and has even been considered the “Sean McVay of Defense.” He got his first NFL defensive coordinator job from Sean McVay and the Rams last offseason after moving on from Wade Phillips. In his first year as defensive coordinator, the Rams had the number one defense in the NFL, helping lead the Rams to the divisional round of the playoffs with their stellar defense.
What does the hire of Staley mean for the Chargers defense?
The Chargers defense will change to a new formation next season, while they ran a 4-3 defense with more Cover 3 under Gus Bradley, Staley plans to implement a 3-4 defense with multiple adjustments in coverage after the snap. This change in defense will move around some of the defense and likely mean the departure of a could of Free Agents such as Ingram and Rochell. The defense that Staley plans to use a few key players on the defense and build off them. With the Rams, he built off from Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and John Johnson. All those players had career years, and Donald and Ramsey have All-Pro seasons.
The more impressive feat of the Rams defense this year was the performance of lesser-known players and rookies; this is something that the Chargers have struggled with it for several years. Looking at the current roster of the Chargers, the key players that Staley will likely build around are Joey Bosa and Derwin James, and possibly use star rookie Kenneth Murray.
The defense will likely look like the following:
Vigil/Murray, OLB // Bosa, DE // Joseph/Jones, NT // Tillery, DE // Nwosu, OLB
Tranquill, MLB // Murray, MLB
Hayward, CB // Harris Jr., CB
James, SS // Jenkins, FS
This is based on the current roster; looking at it, Staley fills a few positions via Free Agency or the Draft. The second outside linebacker position in the 3-4 formation is usually a pass rusher role with some coverage; that role might not fit Vigil and could work for Kenneth Murray; however, he will likely be one of the middle linebackers next to Tranquill. Uchenna Nwosu should excel in this Staley defense as an outside linebacker. The Chargers could target someone like Leonard Floyd in Free Agency who played under Staley and had 10.5 sacks and a career season in Staley’s defense this season.
The other position of need is the cornerback, both Harris Jr. and Hayward are now over 30 years old, and after the departure of Desmond King to the Titans, the secondary is lacking. There is a possibility that one of the pair of again corners is cut this offseason to open more cap, and Michael Davis is promoted to the second cornerback slot. The Chargers could also target someone like Caleb Farley, a standout cornerback from Virginia Tech in the Draft this spring.
The introduction press conference for Brandon Staley is this Thursday, he is currently planning his coaching staff, and we will know more from him after the press conference for his plans for the team. From reports, he has a clear and concise plan for the development of Justin Herbert, which was one of the big questions that the Chargers brass asked people while interviewing for the Chargers head coaching position.
There are reports that Shane Steichen is being considered to stay the offensive coordinator. However, nothing is confirmed, and it is worth noting that Shane is also being looked at for the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator position. Along with Chargers QB coach Pep Hamilton, who is also in the running for the Seahawks and the Dolphins offensive coordinator positions.
The Chargers now have the third-youngest head coach in the NFL and are turning a new page in the franchise starting Thursday.
Featured Image: Brevin Townsell/LA Rams