Let’s take a bit stroll down reminiscence lane, to the primary week of December 2021. Brandon Staley was once using excessive in his first season as Los Angeles Chargers head trainer, coming off a win over the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals that put his staff’s file at 7-5.
Staley had drawn plaudits to that time for a couple of causes. In that recreation towards the Bengals, he’d saved megastar defensive finish Joey Bosa from going again at the discipline although he’d been cleared to go back through the clinical team of workers after being evaluated for a imaginable concussion, bringing up Bosa’s historical past of mind accidents as the explanation why he erred at the protected aspect. He’d additionally proven sympathy for doable sufferers of Jon Gruden’s now-infamous cache of bigoted emails reasonably than be offering pithy phrases about what a disgrace it was once. And he’d been greater than respectful with media, providing detailed explanations in circumstances the place a few of his friends would provide not anything.
However as he is proven this season, Staley’s goodness it seems that most effective comes thru when his seat is not sizzling. On Sunday he lashed out at a reporter who requested if he’s going to surrender defensive play-calling tasks, a query he is already confronted this season, with the Chargers having a look just like the worst protection within the league.
“You’ll prevent asking that query, OK? I’ll be calling the defenses, OK? So we are transparent. So that you wouldn’t have to invite that once more,” Staley snapped.
No longer precisely the instance of grace underneath force anticipated of gamers.
This week, Staley’s Chargers misplaced for the fourth time in six video games, this time to the Inexperienced Bay Packers after being up 20-16 with 5:24 to play. The protection gave up 24 yards on third-and-20 when Asante Samuel was once referred to as for defensive go interference, after which allowed a 35-yard pickup through rookie Dontayvion Wicks when neither of the defenders inside of inches of him when he made the catch simply 5 yards from the road of scrimmage may just convey him down. Wicks wove his approach during the protection for his lengthy achieve.
The Packers’ game-winning landing got here two performs later, a 24-yard go from Jordan Like to Romeo Doubs. Love had a career-high 322 yards on 27 of 40 makes an attempt (67.5 %), no longer a wonder for the reason that the Chargers are useless final within the league in passing yards allowed in keeping with recreation — over 20 yards worse than the next-closest staff, Tampa Bay.
The 23-20 loss marked Los Angeles’ 6th this season. 5 of them have come through 3 issues or fewer.
An NFL defensive coordinator for all of 1 yr sooner than getting a possibility to be a head trainer — Staley was once but any other beneficiary of the “shared a gathering room with Sean McVay” hiring craze amongst staff homeowners, a get advantages Raheem Morris come what may hasn’t gotten in spite of crafting a stellar defensive plan towards Cincinnati in Tremendous Bowl LVI (surprise why that could be) — he has been the Chargers’ defensive play-caller, and will get very, smartly, defensive when requested concerning the problems on that aspect of the ball.
“I do know that we give ourselves a possibility to win each and every unmarried week with the sport plans that we’ve got,” he stated. “Now we have achieved it right here. You guys act like we’ve got by no means performed excellent protection; that is not the reality. That is not the reality. You act like we’ve not made any enhancements; lately, within the run recreation, we performed exceptional. We are speeding the quarterback smartly.
“What we’ve got were given to do a greater process of is within the passing recreation, and that is the reason the place our complete consideration is, and the place it is going to proceed to be. There have been numerous different issues that brought about us to lose lately. It indubitably wasn’t our protection”
What Staley stated subsequent does not simply smack of ranting for his personal self-preservation, however most likely did not move over smartly within the locker room.
“It was once the way in which we performed as a staff. We did not play smartly sufficient within the crimson zone on offense, we dropped too many passes, we gave up a couple of killer sacks. We did this as a staff. Prevent making it about one unit, as a result of that is not what took place available in the market lately. Our staff misplaced, and I’m totally accountable for it.”
Seems like numerous deflection for somebody allegedly taking duty.
There have been some in reality dangerous dropped passes, and Austin Ekeler fumbled on the Inexperienced Bay 2 early within the fourth quarter, and in keeping with any other query Staley perceived to lay the loss at Ekeler’s toes. Once more, very a lot what one does when they are claiming “complete duty.”
Staley can act as although the protection locked down Inexperienced Bay if he’d like, however Love & Co. transformed part in their third-down tries and earned 23 first downs, proper on par with the Chargers’ 22.8 allowed in keeping with recreation.
Every week previous, Los Angeles misplaced to Detroit on a last-second discipline target. The 41-38 shootout noticed the Lions overall 533 yards of offense, together with 333 passing yards for Jared Goff and 116 yards speeding (together with a 75-yard landing) from David 1st viscount montgomery of alamein.
The Chargers’ protection has 4 video games giving up 475 yards or extra this season, towards the Lions, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas Town Chiefs. A complete of two,027 yards in 4 video games. The Cleveland Browns have most effective given up 2,433 yards in 10 video games.
And lest we omit, the Chargers had an epic meltdown final yr within the wild-card spherical towards the Jacksonville Jaguars, once they had been up 27-0 with 4:25 left within the first part and misplaced, 31-30, once more on a discipline target as time ran out. After maintaining the Jaguars to 108 yards on 0-for-7 on 0.33 down within the first part, Staley’s protection allowed 282 yards and 3 an important conversions on 0.33 and fourth down in the second one part. The worst of it? A 25-yard run through Travis Etienne on fourth-and-1 with slightly below 90 seconds to visit put the Jaguars in field-goal vary.
The way you act when issues get difficult exposes way more about you than the way you behave when issues are going smartly. After seeming like a breath of unpolluted air at the moment in his first season as head trainer, Staley’s “do not blame me” act now that he appears to be weeks from shedding his process is rising stale rapid.