Five years ago, Brandon Staley served as defensive coordinator at John Carroll University, a Division III institution in Ohio. Five years later, he’s the new coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
How surprised would Brandon Staley of 2016 be about the developments of the past five years?
“I don’t think he would be as surprised as everybody else,” Staley said in a Friday appearance on PFT PM. “[I]t doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but I think the people that were with me in 2016, my players, my coaches, I think they would’ve bet on it. Maybe not this quickly, but I bet you they’d bet that I could do it. I’ve always had that belief in myself because I’ve always known what I’ve invested in my game. And that 2016 defense that I was a part of at John Carroll, that’s as good of a defense I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve been a part of two No. 1 defenses in the NFL. That was a special group of guys.
“I had a strong sense that I could do it at this level. And I think that when I got to Chicago in 2017 it kind of solidified my belief system. And then I think what you do is over the course of the next four years, then you’re just getting ready. I mean you’re ready, but when you get that opportunity, you’re ready to go with it. I’m fortunate to be around a lot of great people; coaches, players. So thankful for all of them to make it happen. That’s why I’m here.”
His break came when landing with the Bears in 2017, and he realized that his methods would work at the NFL level.
“[T]here’s that transition that’s real,” Staley said. “Like there’s that transition of, ‘Okay, I’m coaching a pro player.’ And that relationship is different, but it’s still a relationship which I feel like is a strength of mine. I think once I got to see it for myself and be with the great coaches like a Vic Fangio meant so much to me. A guy that’s seen so much. And Ed Donatell, John Fox, all these people that mean a lot to me. I think once I got there with those guys and saw what the NFL really was like, that was a big confidence builder.”
It built enough confidence to result in Staley getting, frankly, the best job available in the current hiring cycle. And it sounds like Brandon Staley is ready to continue to climb, to improve, and to show that his methods translate very well to the modern NFL.