The Los Angeles Chargers had to overcome an ungodly number of injuries, which included Justin Herbert playing through a fractured rib cartilage, but there's no excuse for how they performed in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars.
While the Jaguars improved across the board this offseason and Trevor Lawrence finally looks like he's coming into his own as an NFL quarterback, it's an indictment on this current Chargers squad -- players, coaching staff and all -- that they were out-classed (at home) by a team that won six games over the previous three seasons.
All the variables are a terrible look for head coach Brandon Staley, who's slowly but surely falling out of favor with Chargers fans. The same fan base that swiftly fell in love with Staley's aggressive coaching style and analytical-flavored press conferences last season.
By all accounts, Staley is a player's coach. That was evident in his inexcusable decision to keep Herbert under center late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. Herbert wanted to finish the game with his teammates, but there's a difference between being a coach and a friend. The moment called for Staley to be a coach and he risked his franchise quarterback suffering further injury by leaving him in there.
At the very least, tough questions will need to be asked about Staley's job security if the Chargers keep stooping below expectations. Some fans, however, are already campaigning for former Saints head coach Sean Payton to replace Staley.
Chargers fans want Sean Payton to replace Brandon Staley after LA's ugly Week 3 loss to the Jaguars.
Look, you can still think Staley is the man for the job and be excited about the idea of Payton succeeding him on the Chargers sidelines if it doesn't work out. After all, it's not like Payton joining the Bolts is some nonsensical pipe dream, either.
During the offseason, the Miami Herald listed the Dolphins, Cowboys and Chargers as teams that could potentially persuade Payton to return to coaching. With Mike McDaniel doing incredible work with the undefeated Dolphins, that theoretically leaves the Chargers and Cowboys as Payton's preferred landing spots.
Of course, this is all hypothetical. Another job could potentially open up and pique Payton's interest. That's not really the point, though. The big takeaway is Chargers fans are already turning on a coach who was the darling of the NFL for much of 2021.
Has the locker room started turning on Staley, too? There's no way to know for sure, but only Herbert and Austin Ekeler addressed the media postgame and the locker room cleared out alarmingly quickly for a home team, per ESPN's Lindsey Thiry.
This is all speculation, but the fact fans are even envisioning a world where Payton replaces Staley as the Chargers head coach says it all.
Wherever you stand as Staley's future with Los Angeles, his back is officially against the wall after Week 3 and we'll know soon enough if he's cut out for the job. We better see a response in Weeks 3 and 4 against Houston and Cleveland.