What’s Next for Staley and the Chargers?
WHAT’S NEXT FOR STALEY AND THE CHARGERS — The Los Angeles Chargers went into halftime in the Wildcard round with a 27-0 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trevor Lawrence had thrown four interceptions – three of those to Asante Samuel Jr. – and all signs pointed to LA facing Kansas City for the third time this season.
Then, chaos ensued. The Jaguars came roaring back, the Chargers’ offense went stale, the defense collapsed, and a missed field goal by LA down the stretch just showed the snowball effect of the game.
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It Was Always the Jags
The Jaguars scored 11 points in the final six minutes of the game, and Doug Pederson rolled the dice with a clutch 4th-and-1 run with Travis Etienne. Then, Riley Patterson kicked a game-winning 36-yard field goal in one of the most epic comebacks of all time.
For the Chargers, it was a massive collapse, and fans immediately called for the firing of Brandon Staley and OC Joe Lombardi after the game.
Tuesday morning came, and the news came out that Lombardi and QB coach Shane Day were fired, signaling that Staley was given one more year – at least – to right the ship.
So, the Question Is: What’s next for Staley and the Chargers?
On one hand, Staley is a couple of plays away from two playoff trips and a couple of plays away from a playoff road victory. Has he made costly decisions? Yes, but that’s the nature of the game.
The bottom line is this: Staley is owed $4 million in 2023, and firing him and making a run at Sean Payton is an expensive decision to make and would give superstar QB Justin Herbert his third head coach in four years in the NFL.
Lombardi is out the door, and offensive coordinators and assistants everywhere should be lining up outside of SoFi Stadium to work with Herbert and this loaded offense.
Rashawn Slater is one of the best young linemen in the game. Austin Ekeler showed he is still one of the top running backs, and the WR core of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer is one of the better ones in the NFL.
The defense has issues, but that’s a story for a different day.
This time around, Staley and GM Tom Telesco (assuming he stays), need to find the ideal OC that can cater to Herbert’s needs. When you have one of the best QBs in the game, let him use his tools.
Could Frank Reich or Shane Steichen return? Could Pep Hamilton, who was Herbert’s QB coach during his rookie year, come back to LA? Or could somebody like Mike LaFleur, the former New York Jets OC, work his magic with Herbert?
The Chargers have options, and this is the most crucial off-season since the organization made the short move to LA. Herbert’s rookie contract is running out, and a boatload of money is tied to players such as Allen, Williams, Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and JC Jackson.
The core and the foundation are in place, but what needs to change is the scheme. Former Denver Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired in his first year, is also a popular name. Yes, he didn’t do well in Denver, but he was terrific with the Green Bay Packers and knew how to utilize Aaron Rodgers.
The Chargers offensive rankings show just how lethal this group can be:
- Points scored: 13th
- Yards per game: 9th
- Passing yards per game: 3rd
- Time of possession: 8th
- 3rd down efficiency: 8th
That’s good, although being 30th in rushing yards is not a good sign, and the defense finished 21st in points allowed (22.6). However, we saw the conservative demeanor of Joe Lombardi over and over again, and it’s about time for a change.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport joined The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday and admitted that Lombardi’s firing was “coming for a while.”
Where to Go From Here
The Chargers needed to make some changes after an inexcusable loss, and while Staley was the main culprit, the ownership is giving him one more chance to get revenge. The next few weeks will be imperative for the team and Herbert, and if they nail this hire, the Chargers should enter 2023 as one of the favorites in the AFC – especially if they add some pieces on both sides of the ball.
On the other hand, if 2023 isn’t a successful season, the Chargers will once again be searching for a new head coach and be trying to negotiate a Justin Herbert mega-extension at the same time.
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Fire his sorry dumb ass