5 great coaches the Chargers let slip between their fingers

What could have been...
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Sean Payton

The Sean Payton era in Denver has not gotten off to a great start as the Broncos have also started 0-2 on the season. That does not mean that Payton is an awful head coach, as there are some real talent deficiencies (especially at quarterback) that are holding that team back.

Was Payton a guarantee to work in LA? No. Just because he is a big-name coach does not mean that he would have come to the Chargers and suddenly solved all the issues. An offensive mind like him probably would not have fully fixed Staley's awful defense.

However, the Chargers would at least have someone who knows what it takes to win and has been there before. It would have ushered in a new era and even if the Chargers struggled at times in 2023, it would have been a building year. Instead, it looks like 2023 could be a bitter ending that will cause the team to hit the reset button yet again.

It was no secret that the Chargers' job was Payton's preferred job and if the Chargers were willing to actually make it happen it would have happened. We all knew that the Spanos family would never actually do it but the opportunity was definitely there.

Would trading for Payton really have been that debilitating of a move? Quentin Johnston has been underwhelming thus far and some fans are already panicking about his future compared to Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison. The Chargers would have had to trade that pick as well as a 2024 second-round pick. That might have been worth it in hindsight.