4 dark horse candidates to replace Brandon Staley as Chargers head coach

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Many believed that if the LA Chargers lost to the Chicago Bears in Week 8 that Brandon Staley would have been fired. The Chargers would have been 3-5 on the season and it would have been reasonable for ownership to clean house ahead of the trade deadline that passed during the week.

Instead, the Chargers comfortably beat the Bears and Staley probably saved his job for the rest of the season. Even if it gets really ugly, the Chargers historically do not fire head coaches midseason (not having done so since 1998) and there would be no real point to tear it down with the deadline passing.

All that being said, many expect Staley to get the boot after this season and with that in mind, we broke down our five leading candidates to be hired to replace him. But just like Staley himself was, the team might instead go the dark horse route and not hire any of the potential favorites.

If so, here are some names to keep an eye on as potential surprises.

Brian Johnson could be a dark horse Chargers head coach candidate

Brian Johnson was a name that circled around while the Chargers were searching for a new offensive coordinator in the 2023 offseason. The Bolts ultimately hired Kellen Moore as Johnson was promoted to Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator with Shane Steichen becoming the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Eagles' offense has taken a slight step back under Johnson so his stock has definitely cooled in the league. That being said, he is still coaching for one of the best organizations in the league and has all the makings of being someone who wins over the Spanos family in an interview.

Another thing to keep in mind is that GM Tom Telesco may also get canned. If so, the Chargers would be wise to hire someone from the Eagles' front office to try and bring the Howie Roseman effect to Los Angeles. If the Chargers do that then Johnson becomes more of a leading candidate, not a dark horse like he currently is.