Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley has had a quick ascent in the last two years. In 2019, Staley was working with Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio as an outside linebacker coach. In 2020, Head Coach Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams hired him as their defensive coordinator. Now, Staley is the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, quick ascents for up-and-coming coaches can also turn into quick descents (teams can effectively move on from coach contracts much easier than players). That said, Staley should rest assured that he has more time guaranteed than most other rookie head coaches. In fact, the Staley job is starting with a leash that likely runs into 2023 without any accomplishments. Here is why.
Brandon Staley Job Projected To Be Safe Into 2023
Expectations are optimistic but realistic for the first year. Most head coaches get the first year to work through the honeymoon period, change the culture, and perfect a winning strategy. On the other hand, many coaches have to show flash in their first year or they could be looking for a new job in January.
Imagine it is January of next year. The Kansas City Chiefs just made the playoffs as a one-seed on the back of Head Coach Andy Reid and Superstar Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and are on a bye. The Chargers won five or six games and haven’t been in the playoff conversation for a month. In this worst-case scenario, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco starts to take a look around the roster and coaching staff to solidify some changes. Some of these changes will have been decided during the season, en route to missing the post-season. One of the first looks will be at Brandon Staley but it will be a brief glance. This is why.
Rams With And Without Staley
Narratives get jobs and lose jobs. The winning narrative wins the job and the losing narrative loses it. In 2022, Staley’s narrative will be built on what he did with the Rams.
Before Staley was the coordinator for the Rams, Wade Phillips had the job in 2019. Phillips was widely regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. He helped orchestrate the Denver Broncos to a win in Super Bowl 50 behind one of the best defenses of the Super Bowl Era. After that, he coached in a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams and locked down Tom Brady. In five years, Phillips coached in two defensive Super Bowls and won one. In his last season with the team, Phillips’ defense was ranked a respectable 13th overall.
In 2020, Brandon Staley came and led the defense to be the best-ranked in the league and on par with Phillips’ work in Denver during the run at Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos.
Now, in 2021, the Rams have a new defensive coordinator in Raheem Morris. After being the best in the league in 2020, the Rams can only rank worse. Therefore, the odds of the Rams looking worse with Morris than with Staley are extremely high.
Putting it together, the narrative in 2022 will be that Staley was the core reason for the Rams’ defensive zenith because he outperformed Wade Phillips’ last season and he outperformed his successor in Raheem Morris. The only chance that this projected narrative could falter would be if Morris were to put together the best defense in history. Otherwise, Morris will be seen as a downgrade.
Winning Narrative Gets The Staley Job
In 2022 and 2023, Brandon Staley’s accomplishments with the Rams will still be paying dividends for his career. The accomplishments are expected to stoke the fear of giving up too early on a coach that noticeably showed up one of the best defensive coaches of the last decade in Wade Phillips and who will have outperformed his successor in Raheem Morris. This feeling is expected to keep Staley in the building well into the 2023 football season, barring a legendary train wreck in the vein of the Cleveland Browns with Head Coach Hue Jackson or Freddie Kitchens. In other words, Chargers fans should settle in because Staley’s not going anywhere anytime soon, for better or worse.