Former Chargers thriving in 2022 puts Brandon Staley in the spotlight

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks
Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks / Jane Gershovich/GettyImages

The LA Chargers had an extremely busy offseason in which they brought in several new players to bolster the roster. In theory, the Bolts added the star power to make a Super Bowl run while also adding players that fit Brandon Staley's defensive scheme better.

While the team brought in some exciting players, they also had to say goodbye to two homegrown players that were finally starting to come into their own. Linebacker Kyzir White and edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu both left in free agency, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, respectively.

Nwosu leaving made sense as the Chargers brought in Khalil Mack and there was no reason to pay Nwosu what the Seahawks did for him to be a backup. White, however, signed a relatively cheap contract that the Chargers easily could have matched. It was painful at the time and still is painful now, even though Drue Tranquill is playing well.

Uchenna Nwosu and Kyzir White have thrived after leaving the Chargers, shining a spotlight on Brandon Staley.

Nwosu has blossomed into one of the best young edge rushers in the entire sport while White has continued his strong play from last season and has arguably even been better. Nwosu's name, specifically, is among the best in the entire sport when it comes to quarterback pressures this season.

Pressure numbers are slightly different across the different NFL outlets but it does not change the fact that the former Charger and USC Trojan has been really, really good this season. He certainly made an impact in Week 7 when squaring off against his former team.

White, meanwhile, has had a positive impact on the Eagles' defense and has been part of the reason why Philadelphia is playing so well this season. The former safety has been particularly good in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, White has allowed just a 71 passer rating when targeted. Among the 64 linebackers with at least 100 coverage snaps this season, White has allowed the third-lowest passer rating.

All of this shines a light on Brandon Staley, especially as the defense continues to struggle this season. While there undoubtedly were holes on last year's defense, there are players like White and Nwosu who are thriving just one year after leaving the Chargers.

Was last season really a case of the team having a horrible defense that does not fit Staley's scheme, or did it also have to do with Staley not maximizing the talent that he did have on the roster? If the defense was actually succeeding this season then we could give him the benefit of the doubt, but that is not the case at all.

The Chargers rank 17th in defensive DVOA and 30th in points against. To be fair, five of the team's seven opponents rank in the top 12 in offensive DVOA but that is still not good enough. Not with the talent that is on this roster.

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As White and Nwosu continue to thrive on their new teams and the Chargers continue to struggle defensively, Brandon Staley's seat is only going to get warmer and warmer. We hope that the former Chargers continue to play well but this team needs to kick it into gear.