“Chargers Coach–Under Fire”
The shiny object doesn’t look so good right now.
Brandon Staley, who had such an astounding start last year, with his hot young quarterback Justin Herbert, is getting a real dose of NFL adversity.
The Bolts missed the playoffs last season, losing 3-of-4 games at the end of the season. They have started this season (1-2), meaning Staley has gone home on Sunday nights with 5-losses in his last 7-games.
It’s one thing to lose a tough game-close game to an elite Kansas City Chiefs team. But it’s something different when you lose to the have-nots like the Houston Texans, the Raiders and now Jacksonville.
It’s pretty appalling to have all this firepower and yet his team has given uip 31-35 and 41-points to those substandard teams.
And now Staley is getting a dose of reality. You make mistakes coaching, you will be criticized, and that is happening.
And the Bolts coach is now dealing with the other piece of reality, players get hurt, and some seasons, some teams get wiped out by injuries.
So as the sun comes up on a Tuesday morning, Staley is getting roasted for risking a further injury to QB-Justin Herbert. He has lost his elite pass rusher Joey Bosa. Gone for the year is Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater.
He now has a hole at left tackle, an ailing center, his top receiver Keenan Allen is still hobbling. His big money DB-JC Jackson had late camp ankle surgery, practiced one day, played a full game, and hasn’t been on the field since with ankle inflammation.
Staley’s team hasn’t been able to run the football at all. His gambling 4th down calls have disappeared because people defend him differently.
So there’s alot on his plate as his team gets ready for bak to back road games, at Houston-and at Cleveland.
It was a long-pointed Monday press briefing with the media. If you read closely, it looks like Staley’s honeymoon is over in LA. And it looks as if he is second guessing the risks he took in Sunday’s game too.
Comments worth reading as his team is now (2-5) dating back to last December.
On OLB Joey Bosa’s injury status:
“Joey [Bosa] has a significant groin injury. It’s of the nature of not day-to-day; it’ll probably be week-to-week. We’ll keep giving you more information as it becomes available in terms of the actual recovery time.”
On T Rashawn Slater’s injury status:
“Rashawn [Slater] is an All-Pro player. He is one of the best tackles in the game. It’s going to be a tough loss for us, but we’re going to make sure, over the next couple of days, that we put good contingencies in place, that we put a group out there that can really play together, give us a chance to be the offense that we’re capable of being. We’re going to have to get to work over the next couple of days in order to get that done.”
On the ‘amount of significant injuries’ to ‘high-profile players’:
“It’s part of the NFL. It’s an attrition league and you have to be ready for it. For it to happen to high-profile players like we have, it’s not uncommon in the NFL. What you have to do is weather that storm and stay together. Then, make sure the guys are coming back as quickly as they can. I think that’s where we’re at right now, just putting those plans in place and trying to get those other guys back because we know that when we get some of these guys back, it’s going to really impact our team.”
On ‘if he can confirm’ that WR Jalen Guyton has a torn ACL and if the team ‘will look outside of the building’ for ‘help’ at wide receiver:
“Jalen [Guyton] did tear his ACL. It’s a tough one. He was playing a good game. I think a lot in this player. It’s one of those really tough losses. We’re going to work through that over the next couple of days. We certainly feel good about the receivers that are on our team. We’ll just keep you guys posted over the next couple of days if anything happens.”
On ‘if there is any regret on how everything played out yesterday’ involving WR Jalen Guyton ‘playing late in the game’:
“In the NFL, you only have so many players, so you have to finish the game somehow. In a game like that, I know that it’s never easy deciding who is in there at the end of the game. With J.G., that was just an unfortunate deal. It’s part of the game, unfortunately. We hate it, but it’s part of the game. As it relates to [QB] Justin [Herbert], having the morning to process it, what I said after the game, I mean wholeheartedly. In looking at the situation, I think Justin, and knowing him and knowing how he felt, is just in that moment, knowing that our team already knows how much you care about them. You playing in this ballgame, alone, shows how much you care about them, and they know the type of fight that you have. They’ve seen enough evidence here over your first three seasons. That’s hard. That’s hard for a player. It’s hard for a player, and it’s hard to get a player to understand that because, hopefully, if you saw Justin, you know how sincere he is and how much it means to him. Hopefully, I can do a better job, moving forward, in a situation like that, of getting through to him that our team respects his game and respects his competitive spirit as much, or more than, anyone.”
On if Herbert received an injection prior to the game:
“I think that Justin [Herbert] talked to you guys after the game about keeping that personal to him. I will tell you that he made it out of the game healthy. We have to continue to rest and recover as we go, but no setbacks at the game.”
On ‘confirming’ that Slater is ‘definitely out for the season’:
“We believe that is going to be the case.”
On if Bosa will be placed on Reserve/Injured:
“We don’t know that yet.”
On if T Storm Norton will ‘fill in’ at left tackle or if the team will ‘move pieces around’ along the offensive line and if G/T Jamaree Salyer ‘could slide in’ at one of the spots:
“We’re going to look through that over the next couple of days. We do have those options that you mentioned. That’s what we’re going to try and determine, moving forward, is not trying to make too many moves where there is going to be a lot of moving pieces, where guys could potentially be doing a lot of new things. We’re going to try and keep things as consistent as we can. What you can bank on is us putting the five guys out there that we feel like give us the best offensive line to be successful. That’s going to be our approach over the next couple of days, finding that right combination of five.”
On an update on C Corey Linsley’s injury status:
“Corey [Linsley] is improving. He improved, really, over the last three or four days. Really hopeful that he’s back in practice this week.”
On an update on CB J.C. Jackson’s injury status:
“More from the inflammation side of things. Nothing structural. The wound is feeling fine. Making sure that he doesn’t go out there and have something else happen. There was just some inflammation that we were taking a look at, and being cautious, looking at the long term. That’s why I said that there wasn’t a setback, per se, just had to do more with inflammation than anything inside of the ankle.”
On if he ‘pushed’ Jackson ‘too far’ in returning to action in Week 2:
“No. He was cleared to play and all that. He was cleared to play in that game, and played well in that game, but I think afterward we just wanted to make sure, moving forward, that nothing serious happened long-term. Just being on the safe side for this past game.”
On ‘striking a rhythm’ with the run game ‘toward developing a balanced approach offensively’:
“That was a big story yesterday. We weren’t able to get many runs off in that game, even when it was close through the first two-and-a-half, three quarters. We just have to allow our linemen to set their pads and come off the ball and really get into a rhythm. I think that’s a big part of playing offensive line, and especially against a good front, the more drop-back that you have, the tougher sledding it’s going to be. That’s going to be a big emphasis going into this next ballgame, just trying to get that back on track. Trying to fit the run game through who’s out there. As you guys know, we’re going to have to make some adjustments with our front and making sure that we fit it to those new guys.”
On an update on TE Donald Parham Jr.’s injury status:
“He’s been out at practice. He’s been in the closer rehabilitation range to getting out there in 11-on-11. He’s improving. We’re hopeful to get him out there at practice this week.”
On the performance of C Will Clapp and T Storm Norton yesterday:
“I thought that, as a group, we didn’t play well enough up front. I think that was clear. I don’t look at the individual operation up front, I just don’t think that we performed well enough as a group. That’s really all over our football team, but on offense, we just need to play together at a lot higher level, play with more physicality, get into a rhythm. I didn’t think that we did that yesterday. I thought, at the line of scrimmage, that that team definitely had the upper hand. We have to do a lot better at the point of attack.”
On RB Austin Ekeler developing ‘rhythm’ with the run game and if RB Sony Michel ‘will see more carries moving forward’:
“We’re going to try and get Austin [Ekeler] as many touches as we can. I think Austin was active in the passing game. We didn’t get enough runs off in this game, and we need to do better in striking that balance and getting off to a good start that way. The plan is definitely for Austin to touch the football.”
On Jaguars RB James Robinson’s touchdown on fourth-and-one and the defensive personnel in the game on that play:
“Number one, I have to get a better personnel grouping in for that. We have a grouping that we normally play against, a little bit lighter personnel grouping, but we definitely have the people. We just got pinned on our right side. Then, that puller ended up getting on the corner and we were one [defender] short. I just need to do a better job, as a coach, of putting our guys in a position to be successful. I didn’t do a good enough job there.”
On his response to Herbert remaining in the game in the fourth quarter:
“It was my decision to put him on the field, but you’re talking to your players throughout the game. It definitely was my decision to keep them out there. What I was communicating is the dialogue that took place before that decision was made. When you’re in the fire like that, you’re always doing things together. All of the decisions that are made out there on that football field go directly through me, and that’s why I’m ultimately responsible. I take full responsibility for it. I’ve tried to communicate that the best way I can.”
On an update on WR Keenan Allen’s injury status:
“I think that you should see him back in practice this week.”
On his message to the team surrounding ‘keeping themselves together’ through ‘multiple significant injuries’:
“It’s part of the NFL. We lost the third game in September. We have 14 games ahead of us, for sure. The Houston Texans are right in front of us. What we have to do over the next 48 hours is put a really good gameplan together. We have some work to do, as you guys said, in terms of adjustments from a personnel standpoint, which is going to affect our plan of attack. We have to get to those adjustments. Then, we have to stay together. We have to make sure that we communicate through this, really learn from what happened yesterday, tell the truth about what happened the best way we know how, and then come back on Wednesday a different football team, a better football team that’s headed towards Houston.”
On G Matt Feiler ‘not being quite as consistent as he was last year’:
“I fall back on my comments that I said earlier about the other two guys. I feel like we just haven’t established that chemistry up front yet. I think that that’s a big part of what’s preventing us from being as good as we can be, just creating that continuity across the board. I think that we need to continue to emphasize and improve that. I think that the more the guys play together, the better. Hopefully. we can get Corey [Linsley] back in action. Then, we have to figure out, obviously, the tackle situation. We have a lot of confidence in Matt Feiler. We know what type of player that he is. We have to make sure that we don’t overreact to the beginning of the season, that all of us need to improve. Matt has certainly proven himself for us and with us. I look forward to him and his guys up front to improve a lot.”
On Herbert playing the duration of the game and ‘if he would have made the same decision if he had to do it over again’:
“In that moment, I stand by what I said at the game, in terms of going through that for the first time with Justin [Herbert]. Like I said earlier, in looking back at it, if I have to do it again, I need to make sure that I communicate to Justin — in a tough circumstance like that, when you’re behind — that you have already done enough, and I look forward to that next time. In that moment, I don’t regret how we went through that together, but I think the lesson, moving forward, is making sure that he knows, moving forward, that he’s already done enough.”
On the relationship between the ‘team leaders’ and the coaching staff:
“We’re really tight with all of these guys. The guys who were elected captain are guys that we consider leaders on our team. The relationships that we have with all of these guys is why we are here, why we all do it. That’s how we make decisions here, with those guys. I think that’s the way you have to do it in the NFL, you have to go with your group, especially after a tough loss like this. That’s what we have done since I’ve been here. I think that we’ve onboarded a lot of the right guys. Some of the guys that you asked about, guys like [DL] Sebastian [Joseph-Day] and [OLB] Khalil [Mack], who have been with the team a short time, being elected captain, you don’t have to be with a team very long to be a leader. For someone to respect your game, to respect who you are, I think that that actually says a lot about our team, that we’ve have brought in guys like that that were worthy of being elected captain who have been captains on other teams. That is a big part of being a football team, making sure that you have that full communication with your leadership group. You need it now more than ever after going through a tough loss.”
On Joseph-Day addressing the team following the game:
“There are going to be moments where you have said all that you can say, as a coach, and that they don’t need to hear from you, they need to hear from one of their teammates. That’s how it is in sports. It’s definitely not uncommon, nor is it the first time that it has ever happened. That’s a good thing that that is happening around here, especially coming from someone like Sebastian [Joseph-Day].”
On outside evaluation of the entirety of the season due to current injuries on the team:
“I would say that we are three games into an NFL season. If they are saying that after 17 or 20 games, then that is something different. We have not played enough games for anybody to feel that way or to think like that. We lost a tough game, that’s what happened. We lost a tough game. We also played in two games before that where, I think, we proved what type of football team we have or who we can be. We’re still at the beginning. No team has defined itself, one way or the other, through three games. We have to get to work. We have to stay together. We have a lot of good men in that locker room and I’m going to be excited to get on the practice field with them on Wednesday.”
On if a team meeting is scheduled this week:
“We had meetings this morning — a team meeting, unit meetings, position meetings — like we always do, to go over what happened. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
On ‘if there is a players-only meeting happening at this point’:
On OLB Khalil Mack’s performance yesterday:
“Like he always does; hard, physical at the point of attack. He did a really good job in the run game for us. I felt like he was close in the pass rush. The ball was out quickly yesterday, but he played how he always does.”
On his discussions with Herbert since yesterday’s game:
“We talked about the game and what happened about that specific instance. He and I are on the same page. We were on the same page on the field, and we are on the same page now. Going through something tough like that, a game like that, I know it that brings you a lot closer. I’m looking forward to getting back to work with him.”