Brandon Staley, Coach of the Year
Last but not least, the architect of what could be a cataclysmic season for the franchise should be taken into consideration. Mentioned many times before in this article for a reason, Staley has inspired confidence in what he can do, and has a brief but sterling track record that speaks for itself.
A young, defensive genius with an unusual trajectory, he has stood out everywhere he has coached, culminating with a defensive coordinator debut with the Los Angeles Rams in which he produced the #1 defense in terms of both points and yards allowed.
Three of the last four winners of the COTY award have been first-year head coaches, all of who joined talented squads at pivotal points to replace the coaching staffs that held these teams back.
These are Sean McVay who replaced Jeff Fisher for the Rams in 2017, Matt Nagy who replaced John Fox for the Chicago Bears in 2018, and Kevin Stefanski who replaced Freddie Kitchens for the Browns in 2020. You'll be hard-pressed to find another team that fills the same formula better than Staley replacing Anthony Lynn for the Chargers.
The Chargers have a solid squad, that with the right coaching and motivation, could outplay what they are on paper. They'll need cleverness and creativity, which are qualities Staley possesses, as well as a little bit of luck.
While not a very deep squad, Staley will be able to coach and maximize elite talents in Bosa, James, Herbert and Allen, who are surrounded by young, high-upside players like Kenneth Murray and Rayshawn Slater, as well as dependable veterans like Corey Lindsay and Brian Bulaga.
It will all depend on if he's able to help struggling young players find their footing and develop into quality options. These players include Jerry Tillery, Nasir Adderley and Mike Williams, all of which have failed to live up to expectations.
These five LA Chargers are in contention to win individual awards and put the Chargers' name where it belongs.