Chargers’ Brandon Staley talks about Year 2 as head coach Justin Herbert
Brandon Staley enters his second year at the helm of the Chargers confident his team is well-equipped to take on the NFL’s best in 2022.
Last season, Los Angeles heartbreakingly missed the playoffs in a rivalry Week 18 showdown against the Raiders. The Wild Card spot was within reach. Instead, they’ve had a long offseason to ruminate on any shortcomings.
Still, Staley and his team refused to pout and grabbed headlines with their aggressiveness through the winter and spring months.
They locked wide receiver Mike Williams for the future, snared cornerback JC Jackson with a lights out deal and gave rusher Joey Bosa an equally scary quarterback fighter in Khalil Mack .
Their draft class includes several players ready to make an immediate impact, and a handful will continue to develop the creativity of Staley’s brilliant defensive prospect. Positive news spread throughout rookie minicamp regarding the acclimatization of Zion Johnson, Isaiah Spiller, JT Woods, Ja’Sir Taylor and Deane Leonard.
Yes, there are new parts. But Staley is now comfortably settled into a routine after his first run as chief manager. The chemistry between him, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and star quarterback Justin Herbert is growing day by day. The abundance of talent on the roster also relieves the pressure.
“I think confidence comes to the practice field,” Staley told NFL Network on Saturday when asked about the differences from his freshman year. “Having confidence in the rhythm of your schedule and knowing who you are with on a daily basis. I think that’s what gives me full confidence, having been through this for a full season, and you know how good everyone around you is.
Staley thinks the combination of these factors has dramatically improved his instruction.
“I think it just lets you be yourself,” Staley said. “Now I’m able to coach as well as ever.”
On the heels of a 9-8 record, fans will demand improvement in the form of a playoff run. Competing for a Super Bowl is now an expectation, not a wish. And while that might seem like a heavy load for a head coach with just one season under his belt, it speaks to the talent of this Chargers roster.
It begins and ends with Herbert, whose 5,014 passing yards and 38 touchdowns last season both ranked in the top three among NFL flaggers. Herbert was nothing short of magical in his rookie and sophomore campaigns. Its continuous improvement will ensure that the magic elevates the team to the highest degree.
So ahead of his third campaign, Herbert will focus on developing faster and more accurate pre-snapshot reads to slice through open defenses before his center hands him the credentials of his golden arm.
“Justin is so good after the snap, but I think the masters of the quarterback position beat you before the ball was even broken,” Staley explained. “With him and Corey Linsley, I thought they were exceptional last year. But right before the snap, really controlling the game, and I think you can do that when you know your offense, you know the ins and the outcomes of your scheme, your staff.
“Now you can really focus on defending, and focus on time and scoring and really control the game, and I think he’s gotten off to a good start with that.”