Brandon Staley: We have to improve to play the level of defense that I expect

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After losing last Sunday’s thriller to the Raiders, the Chargers missed the playoffs with a 9-8 record in head coach Brandon Staley’s first season.

While Staley’s offensive staff led by coordinator Joe Lombardi accomplished its goal to continue quarterback Justin Herbert‘s development, Los Angeles’ defense struggled throughout the season.

The Chargers finished the year 23rd in yards allowed, 29th in points allowed, 30th in run defense, and last in third-down conversions allowed.

On Wednesday, Staley — who calls the team’s defensive plays — told reporters that injuries prevented that unit from finding a consistent rhythm. But he also implied that the team may have to find personnel that better fits his system.

“I think that this year, we did the best that we could,” Staley said, via Gilbert Manzano of the Southern California News Group. “We tried to fit how we played to who we had. The challenge for us this year was that there was a lot of inconsistency in who was out there, upfront at the point of attack, and then in the secondary. It made it challenging for our guys and I thought our guys hung in there, they hung tough. We gave ourselves a chance in these games, but certainly, to play the level of defense that I expect to play, we’re going to have to continue to improve.”

Still, Staley said he was able to successfully navigate and balance the duties of being a head coach and defensive play-caller.

“I coordinated as well as I ever have in terms of planning and preparation and game day,” Staley said. “And I feel like you have to look at that process over results. And you’re always improving, and that’s what’s going to happen here in all phases.”

In 2020, Staley was the coordinator of the league’s top defense in yards and scoring, so there’s plenty of reason to think his scheme should work. But the Chargers need the right pieces around stars like edge rusher Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James to get it done.

13 responses to “Brandon Staley: We have to improve to play the level of defense that I expect

  1. I think it’s safe to say Staley won’t be winning Coach of the Year after his penchant for going for multiple fourth down conversions throughout the year at the most inopportune times.

  2. “And I feel like you have to look at that process over results. And you’re always improving, and that’s what’s going to happen here in all phases.”

    Ooph that already looks like a red flag.

  3. What’s interesting to me is that in a moment when the Chargers were fighting for their playoff lives, and Raiders had virtually nothing on the line (as they were assured a playoff spot just by kneeling,) that the Raiders somehow made the better plays and prevailed.

  4. “But he also implied that the team may have to find personnel that better fits his system.”
    That’s a legitimate concern in the offseason. But in-season, if you’re trying to force your ‘system’ onto players who are a bad fit for it, that’s a mistake on your part. Instead of trying to adapt to actual conditions, he’d rather than work with his idealized desires, which is just another example of Staley’s failings as a coach.
    His defence wasn’t good, but his coaching was worse, and the primary reason why his team didn’t make the playoffs.

  5. Analytics or not, it helps your defense to run the ball more effectively and eat more time off the clock.

  6. HIS defense isn’t the only thing that needs to get better. If your defense isn’t in the top 10 why are you going for it on 4th down so much? HIS decision making cost the Chargers the playoffs.

  7. A defensive scheme and schemer look pretty dang good when he has a DT named Donald and a CB named Ramsey.

  8. If the Chargers just had an average defense this year they would’ve been +3 wins minimum with how the offense performed. It’s a shame. Hopefully they invest in the depth and run defense.

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