LA Chargers: 3 players who were misused by the coaching staff in 2020
By Jason Reed
The LA Chargers coaching staff was not fantastic in 2020.
The LA Chargers had a disappointing 7-9 record for one main reason: bad coaching. Anthony Lynn was a terrible in-game manager and nothing was more indicative of poor coaching than the team’s awful special teams unit.
That is why Lynn was let go and the Chargers will likely bring in an entirely new coaching staff in 2021 — a coaching staff that will (hopefully) utilize the talent on the roster better than the previous coaching staff did.
A big component of coaching in the NFL is maximizing your roster’s strengths and putting your players in a position to succeed. The previous coaching staff failed to do that with certain players last season, and it was obvious.
Here are the three players that suffered the most.
1. Kenneth Murray
Kenneth Murray is great and this is not a knock on the rookie linebacker in the slightest. I was really impressed with what I saw out of Murray in his rookie season and he did get better as the year went on. Charger fans can be hopeful that Murray will one day be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
However, there was one big hole in Murray’s game coming into the league: pass coverage. And what did the Chargers do? Put him in zone coverage as if he was a coverage linebacker instead of utilizing his strengths.
Now, there are multiple reasons for this. First, it is a passing league and you cannot shield Murray from playing in coverage. He also was likely asked to do more in coverage because of Drue Tranquill’s Week 1 injury.
However, I still would have liked to see Gus Bradley utilize Murray’s athleticism more often in blitzes and disguised looks. Put him as a QB spy, man him up with the running back, do more than simply putting him in zone coverage as part of Bradley’s Cover 3 scheme.
It might have helped Murray as it forced him to learn on the job, but it did hurt the Chargers at times this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Murray allowed 45 receptions on 52 targets for 415 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterbacks had a 112.7 passer rating when targeting him.