Chargers: The key to fixing Brandon Staley's defense

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Brandon Staley is currently a controversial figure. After being lauded as a Coach of the Year candidate after a first few weeks of impressive football, his agressiveness ended up turning some of his supporters into detractors.

Staley came to the Chargers after leading the #1 defense in yardage and scoring as a Defensive Coordinator for the LA Rams, but largely struggled to replicate his defensive success with the Chargers, finishing with the 23rd defense in yardage allowed, as well as 29th in points per game allowed.

How much that is Staley's fault is up for debate, but what cannot be questioned is that GM Tom Telesco didn't set him up for success at all. The Chargers had been running a 4-3 defense since Gus Bradley took over John Pagano in 2017, and the personnel fits that scheme, not Staley's 3-4.

The defense lost many players from 2020, most of whom didn't get properly replaced. The most notable players lost to either free agency or cut were Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, Denzel Perryman, Isaac Rochell, Rayshawn Jenkins, Damion Square, Brandon Facyson and Jahleel Addae. The relevant players to be resigned were Michael Davis, Breiden Fehoko and Tevaughn Campbell.

Other than that, the defense was rounded out with depth free agents Kyler Fackrell and Christian Covington, as well as Asante Samuel Jr. and a few day 3 rookies. It's hard to blame Staley after this gross negligence of the defense by Telesco. Staley had to do with scraps from a defense that got it's coordinator fired, and those scraps were mostly acquired to play in Bradley's 4-3 defense.

Telesco has a chance to correct his mistakes, as the Chargers enter the offseason with 11 draft picks and a ton of cap space. There are important free agents like Kyzir White, Uchenna Nwosu and Justin Jones, but this time Staley will have a chance to fill his defense with better-suited players to carry out his ideology.

As atrocious as the run defense was in 2021, the key to unlocking the true potential of the Chargers defense lies elsewhere.