Surprising news out of Los Angeles, as the Chargers have hired Brandon Staley to be their new head coach, sources told Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll had previously been considered a heavy favorite to land the Chargers’ job, which is what makes this move so eyebrow raising. Staley, currently the Rams’ defensive coordinator, won’t have to travel far for his new gig. It’s a meteoric rise for the young defensive mind, as 2020 was Staley’s first season as an NFL coordinator. As recently as 2019, he was coaching outside linebackers in Denver.
Sean McVay then poached him away to be his DC, and he immediately earned a ton of praise for what he did with the Rams. Understandably so, as they led the NFL in total defense by a healthy margin. Having Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey certainly helped, but Staley was widely commended in league circles for his innovative schemes.
He’ll also have a lot of talent on defense to work with at his new job. Derwin James should be back at an All-Pro level after missing the whole 2020 season, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, and Linval Joseph along the defensive line, and Casey Hayward and Chris Harris Jr. in the secondary.
Of course, what made the Chargers job most attractive is the presence of Justin Herbert, who’s coming off a sensational rookie season. We’ve heard that Herbert “loves” his offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and it’s possible that the Chargers preferred to hire a defensive coach so they could keep Steichen in the fold.
Staley, 38, is walking into a prime situation with a talented team that could be poised for a bounce-back. He got his start at small schools James Madison and John Carroll, then broke into the NFL when Vic Fangio brought him onto his Chicago staff back in 2017. Fangio then brought him with him to Denver.
With Staley’s hiring, the Texans and Eagles are the only two teams left looking for coaches. The Lions are believed to be hiring Dan Campbell, and that move will likely become official soon now that the Saints have been eliminated.