There is only one word to explain the LA Chargers' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3: ugly. Yes, the Chargers were dealing with some significant injuries heading into the game but that is not an excuse for how the team was out-coached and simply out-played.
Brandon Staley had 10 days to get his guys ready for this home game against an East Coast opponent. While the Jaguars are better than people realized heading into this, even with the injuries, it should not have been this ugly. Losing a competitive game is one thing, getting outright blown out is another.
Chargers fans have started to question Staley's future with the Chargers after this loss, but that should not concern the head coach. As long as he has the support of the organization, and more importantly, the players, Staley will be just fine. That being said, that may no longer be the case.
It was eye-raising that after this game there were only two team captains that were available to speak to the media: Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler. None of the defensive captains talked to the media, and apparently, up and left the stadium relatively quickly.
Normally, this might be a nothing burger. However, former Chargers scout Brentley Weissman did tweet out (before this happened) that he was hearing some rumblings from inside the building that players were not buying into the coaching staff's messaging. While that is nothing but a rumor at this point, it is coming from a reputable source and ties in with the players not speaking to the media.
Chargers fans are starting to notice that Brandon Staley might be losing the locker room.
Whether or not Weissman's statement is true is unclear but one thing is clear: this is a bad look for the team dynamic. No matter how you spin it, defensive captains not sticking around and speaking to the media after a loss like this is bad optics.
Every NFL team is going to lose an ugly game or two during the season. Last year's AFC Champions lost to Mike White and the New York Jets and then dropped a 41-16 game to the Cleveland Browns the following week. Losing one ugly game is not a stake in the entire season. What is important is how the team responds.
The Chargers have another "easy" opponent in the Houston Texans next week. Regardless of all the injuries (which are very concerning), if the team comes out extremely flat once more it is going to be a very troubling sign.
Even if the Chargers win, if they come out and look flat and are not playing up to their ability then it is going to be indicative of this coaching staff. If that continues to bleed into the following weeks? Brandon Staley is going to feel his seat get real hot, real quick.
Hopefully, there is no merit to this and the team can come together and buy into one singular message. Because if this is true, this team is going nowhere, regardless of how talented it is.