The LA Chargers will play their first playoff game in four years on Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have not played a playoff game since the 2017 season. While the Bolts head into the game as road favorites, anything can happen between these two up-and-down football teams.
The final outcome of the game very well could come down to which role players step up in key spots and which coaches make the best decisions. Brandon Staley is going to have to be on his A-game, especially coaching against an experienced, Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson.
Staley has shown that he is not messing around for this Wild Card Round game before it even begins. The second-year head coach is committing to playing who he thinks is best, regardless of which name is on the back of the jersey. And it appears that Staley favors Alohi Gilman over long-time starter, Nasir Adderley.
Brandon Staley benches Nasir Adderley in favor of Alohi Gilman in Chargers playoff game vs Jaguars
This is not the first time that Brandon Staley has decided to bench Nasir Adderley in favor of Alohi Gilman. Staley made the same decision in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. In that game, Gilman came away with what was the game-winning interception in the endzone late in the fourth quarter.
Gilman has played really well in every chance he has received this season while the same cannot be said for Adderley. Adderley has blown some coverages in key spots this season while also not being very good against the run.
With Jacksonville having the threat of Travis Etienne, Staley may be turning to Gilman to provide more of a sure tackling presence in the defense. This does not mean that Adderley won't play at all but it is clear that Staley is feeding snaps to who he thinks gives the team the best chance of winning.
Adderley started 15 games this season, 15 games last season and 14 games in 2020. He has only played in two games in which he did not start — Week 5 this year and Week 1 in 2020, which was his sophomore season after being hurt his rookie year.
Brandon Staley's decision-making has been under fire in the past (including this week with his decision to play Mike Williams). Chargers fans have to hope that this is a decision that partially redeems Staley.