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LA Chargers: 4 questions surrounding the defense in 2021

Jun 7, 2021; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2021; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers

The LA Chargers hired a defensive-minded head coach for the first time since Marty Schottenheimer when they hired first-year head coach Brandon Staley to run the ship. Thus far, Staley has said all the correct things in his press conferences and he truly does seem to have vast football knowledge. The track record in the NFL speaks for itself.

While Renaldo Hill was hired to be the defensive coordinator, Staley will be calling plays on the defensive side of the ball as that is his bread and butter. He replaces Gus Bradley, who is now with the Las Vegas Raiders.

While the offensive side of the football is more important in 2021 and sells more tickets, the defense has to step up from last season if the Chargers are truly going to be a Super Bowl dark horse.

Here are the four biggest questions surrounding the LA Chargers’ defense in 2021:

1. How much of a schematic impact will Brandon Staley have? 

Let’s just get this question out of the way since we were already talking about Staley. Brandon Staley has his hands all over this defense and it is going to be a much different looking defense in 2021 than it was in 2020.

The team is likely moving to a 3-4 defense, or a hybrid scheme that more resembles a 3-4 defense, and will change things such as playing more man coverage than zone and playing split-zone safety instead of single high.

Staley has earned the benefit of the doubt to expect him to have a positive impact on the Chargers with the question being just how positive. Can he turn a league-average defense into one of the best in the league in year one like he did the Rams? The Chargers have the starpower the Rams have with Joey Bosa and Aaron Donald.

Whether or not he can elevate the defensive side of the ball to that level is going to depend on the three other questions heading into the season.

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