Blaming coaching for a team's failures is the easy way out. Head coaches are often the ones who have to fall on the sword when in reality, there may be other issues that are holding a team back. That is not the case for the LA Chargers, who fell to 0-2 on Sunday and showcased bad coaching yet again.
It has almost been the opposite for the Chargers. The results haven't been there for Brandon Staley despite all of the talent on the roster and excuses were made. In year one it was that he didn't have "his guys" on defense. In year two, injuries and a bad offensive coordinator were to blame for a blown 27-0 lead in the playoffs.
There are no excuses to start the third season. Staley has "his guys" and the team is relatively healthy. Joe Lombardi was replaced with Kellen Moore. The Chargers have a franchise quarterback who has kept the team close in both games. Yet in both Week 1 and Week 2, the Chargers fell by a field goal or less and will start the season 0-2.
The Chargers showed all the signs of being a poorly-coached football team against the Titans
The defense wasn't all bad as the pass rush was legitimately good on third down and Kenneth Murray had some bright moments. The problem was twofold, and both can be traced back to coaching. The first was the secondary's struggles for the second week in a row. It isn't like guys are making contested catches. The Chargers' secondary is just leaving guys wide open.
The other issue with the defense was penalties. Tennessee was able to take the lead and score a touchdown to start the second half because the Chargers gave the team two free first downs on third down with needless penalties. Yes, Derwin James' unnecessary roughness and Sebastian Joseph-Day's roughing the passer were ticky-tacky. They would not have been called 10 years ago. But every player in the NFL knows what these referees are calling yet the Chargers, time and time again, commit these needless mistakes. Remember J.C. Jackson from Week 1?
In Tennessee's next touchdown drive to take the lead in the fourth, Murray committed a very obvious roughing the passer on third down for 15 free yards. The pass was completed for a first down anyway. Both issues on defense came back to bite on the same play, giving Tennesee 29 yards on third and four.
Let's fast-forward to overtime. The Chargers turned in one of the worst offensive drives in recent memory in a three-and-out. Some of that falls on Kellen Moore and some of it indeed falls on Justin Herbert. Herbert snapped the ball on third down and nobody was ready. Mike Williams literally stood there.
Yes, the players deserve some of the blame. But well-coached teams don't make mistakes like this in the biggest drive of the game! If it was a one-off issue it would be one thing but for a team that already has a head coach on the hot seat? The common denominator is obvious.
Then, when the Titans got the ball, Staley decided to call timeout ahead of a third and one run that essentially decided the game. This timeout allowed the Titans to sub Derrick Henry back in the game! And of course, the first down was barely picked up by Henry!
This team is way too talented to be constantly losing games like this. Again, if it wasn't a trend we could chalk it up as an ugly loss. But it is a trend, and that is the problem.