Staley believes stars aligned for ‘reset' in new 49ers role

Staley believes stars aligned for ‘reset' in new 49ers role originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA – Brandon Staley hasn’t closed the door on trying his hands at being a head coach in the NFL again, but for now, the former top man with the Los Angeles Chargers is very content with his role as an assistant with the 49ers.

Staley had interviewed to be San Francisco’s defensive coordinator after Steve Wilks was let go before the team brass opted to go with Nick Sorensen. Staley, however, made a strong enough impression on coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch that the pair decided to keep him around as an associate head coach who will work closely with the 49ers' defense.

Taking a break from OTAs on Wednesday, Staley seemed at ease with his new role after spending the past three seasons as the top man with the Chargers.

“I don’t think looking at it as a reset is a bad thing,” Staley said. “I was really excited about the role. Talking to Kyle and John, there’s just a lot in common in how to lead a football team. That’s what I was looking for more than anything, an opportunity where you feel like you’re going to be aligned with the right people who do things the right way.

“All those stars kind of aligned. It’s been energizing.”

Unlike his time with the Chargers, when he spent time overseeing every aspect of the team, Staley’s duties in San Francisco will be limited to the defense. He plans on working closely with the team’s defensive backs and likely will be involved in weekly game-planning.

In many ways, it’s a fresh start for Staley after he essentially was run out of town in Los Angeles despite elevating the franchise to winning seasons in each of his first two years with the team. He was fired late last season after the Chargers got throttled 63-21 by the Las Vegas Raiders on national television.

Some pondered whether Staley would find work again the NFL so quickly, but that question was answered when the 49ers plucked him off the unemployment line.

“This is a first-class organization in every way,” Staley said. “It really starts with Kyle and John, what great teammates they are to one another. Kyle and I have gotten to know each other a lot better over the last 3-4 years. We’ve gained so much respect for each other having to face each other. I’ve seen this program grow.”

Staley and Shanahan have been friends over the years, as have Staley and Sorensen. Staley said that Sorensen, at one point, interviewed for the Chargers' special teams job.

“Our backgrounds are more similar than different but they’re also complementary,” Staley said. “It’s been fun to work with Nick and all the group of coaches on defense.”

San Francisco already has a solid defense in place, so Staley isn’t coming into town needing to make major changes. The 49ers were third-best in the NFL last season in terms of yards allowed and tied for seventh with 48 sacks.

Staley’s job will be to help shore up some of the weaknesses while also serving as a kind of sounding board for Shanahan.

“That’s been the aspect of the job that I’ve enjoy the most, just teaming up with Kyle and John and doing what’s going to be best for the 49ers,” Staley said. “I’m going to be here for Kyle and John, what they need me to do. It’ll be kind of a combination of all my roles in the NFL.

“The role is really about the people, the place. That’s where most good decisions happen. Just a lot of respect for Kyle from afar. There’s just a common ground in how to coach and lead a football team.”

Joining the 49ers allows Staley to maintain his relationship with the Bosa family. He coached four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa with the Chargers and will work with younger brother Nick in San Francisco. Nick also is a four-time Pro Bowl pick who was the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“They’re both special players,” Staley said. “Having to face Nick, you know what a challenge he is. I’ve coached Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Leonard Floyd. Nick’s always a guy that we would watch. When I’ve been other places and we had to face him you just know the type of respect that he has in the game plan. I’ve gained a deeper appreciation of his game being here up close.”

While he still envisions himself being a head coach in the NFL again at some point, being with the 49ers has re-energized Staley and has him eager to get back on the sidelines.

“I’m looking forward to all aspects of the job, all aspects of this role,” Staley said. “Teaming up with Kyle, teaming up with our defensive staff, getting to know our personnel department, I’m just energized by what this organization has to offer. I’m just going to try to do the best that I can with what they ask me to do.

“The longer you coach, you realize it’s one day at a time. That’s something that every competitor knows, but the longer you do it the more you’re focused on today. The longer I do it the more I’m focused on being as good as I can for these guys. If we pour into the players good things will happen.”

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