Brandon Staley: We have to improve to play the level of defense that I expect

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  • Brandon Staley
    American football coach
  • Joe Lombardi
    American football coach

After losing last Sunday’s thriller to the Raiders, the Chargers missed the playoffs with a 9-8 record in head coach Brandon Staley’s first season.

While Staley’s offensive staff led by coordinator Joe Lombardi accomplished its goal to continue quarterback Justin Herbert‘s development, Los Angeles’ defense struggled throughout the season.

The Chargers finished the year 23rd in yards allowed, 29th in points allowed, 30th in run defense, and last in third-down conversions allowed.

On Wednesday, Staley — who calls the team’s defensive plays — told reporters that injuries prevented that unit from finding a consistent rhythm. But he also implied that the team may have to find personnel that better fits his system.

“I think that this year, we did the best that we could,” Staley said, via Gilbert Manzano of the Southern California News Group. “We tried to fit how we played to who we had. The challenge for us this year was that there was a lot of inconsistency in who was out there, upfront at the point of attack, and then in the secondary. It made it challenging for our guys and I thought our guys hung in there, they hung tough. We gave ourselves a chance in these games, but certainly, to play the level of defense that I expect to play, we’re going to have to continue to improve.”

Still, Staley said he was able to successfully navigate and balance the duties of being a head coach and defensive play-caller.

“I coordinated as well as I ever have in terms of planning and preparation and game day,” Staley said. “And I feel like you have to look at that process over results. And you’re always improving, and that’s what’s going to happen here in all phases.”

In 2020, Staley was the coordinator of the league’s top defense in yards and scoring, so there’s plenty of reason to think his scheme should work. But the Chargers need the right pieces around stars like edge rusher Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James to get it done.

Brandon Staley: We have to improve to play the level of defense that I expect originally appeared on Pro Football Talk