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Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley Makes It Simple

The Los Angeles Chargers have made moves over the last couple of years that have fans excited. Drafting Derwin James, Justin Herbert, and Rashawn Slater, or signing players like Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler, have the team in a position to be a top contender in the AFC. However, the acquisition of Head Coach Brandon Staley might be the move that goes down as the best the team has made in a long time. Through coaches like Anthony Lynn, Norv Turner, and Mike McCoy, the thing that stands out the most with Staley, is his ability to make it simple.

Coaches in the NFL can often trick themselves in big moments, whether it is on the field, or speaking to the media. In the end, it comes down to the goal you have in mind. Brandon Staley has made it abundantly clear that he wants to win football games for the Chargers. Going for it on 4th down inside your own 30-yard line, under any circumstance that isn’t do or die, is generally unheard of. To Staley, it seems to be an easy decision. Going for it on 4th and 9 is bold, but doing it after a false start penalty that occurred on 4th and 4 is perhaps stubborn. When that stubborn mindset is driven by ensuring your team forces its way into a position to win the football game, you’re doing it right. He makes it simple. The goal is to win games for the Chargers.

If you want to see what Staley is all about, look no further than his quote on the Chargers’ series “All In” where he says, “3rd down isn’t 3rd down. 3rd down is 2nd down, and then we will be ready for it on 4th down.” This is Staley’s direct response to playing in the same division as Chiefs’ Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. It’s just more of the same with Staley, who makes something so rarely done in the NFL into something simple. If 4th down will win the Chargers the game, then Staley will use 4th down. However, what goes under the radar here is that 4th down isn’t Staley’s ace. It’s the mindset.

On the phone with Jim Rome, Staley spoke for a moment on his 4th down decisions, and what stuck out was a brief quote in the middle of the conversation, where Staley says, “The worst thing you can do when it’s loud and when you’re in the heat of the moment is wait… we’ve been very decisive.” This quote translates to the field, where there seems to be no conversation or hesitation in big moments. It’s always the Chargers moving forward with the goal of doing whatever it takes to win the game.

Another example of Staley’s mindset is his thoughts on running the football. “What you need the running game for is the physical element of the game. There’s a physicality to the game that is real… it forces the defense to play blocks, and to tackle.” Now, some might say this is an obvious thing, right? Well, you can look to the Philadelphia Eagles running it only one time on Thursday against the Buccaneers and realize that not every coach gets it. Not every coach makes it simple. Staley does, because he understands the game of football, and is open-minded as a leader of his team. This brings up the next bit.

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Staley doesn’t just understand the simplicity of the game on the field, but off the field as well. When asked about the NFL pushing the issue on the taunting penalties around the league, Staley had this to say. “I understand the emphasis… I also think it’s really tough to legislate emotion in a game that’s full of it… It’s a game that’s based off the energy and motion of competition… My side is with the players, always.” At this point, it’s very apparent that Staley gets it. That last bit is something to remember because in a later interview he will talk briefly about what it means to be a leader.

When asked about Jon Gruden in a recent presser, which is a must-listen for anyone, football fan or not, Staley has a quote that stands out immediately. “It’s a sacred mantle for someone to call you coach, or someone to call you a leader.” That isn’t just a football quote. It really is simple. In a leadership position, or in a position where you develop others as human beings, sports players, whatever the case may be, you are held to a standard. That standard is, be a good person.

Staley wins football games, and he makes the game of football simple, but I already know I am going to remember Staley for far more than simply being a Chargers’ Head Coach. He is easy to believe in, and you learn a lot about any topic he speaks on. That’s a leader, and someone you want to listen to and root for. For a team that is trying to find its way in a new home, that is the kind of leader you want on the front page.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley celebrates after beating the Browns.

Jason Bolyard

Author Jason Bolyard

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