After two straight weeks of beating up on back-up quality quarterbacks, the LA Chargers were handed a reality check defensively in Week 10 when the Detroit Lions came to town and dropped 41 points on the Bolts.
Yet again, a nearly perfect day from Justin Herbert and the offense simply was not enough as Brandon Staley's defense could not do its job. This has unfortunately been a trend that Chargers fans have grown accustomed to as the Bolts have had one of the worst defenses in the sport since Staley took over.
It would be one thing if Staley was an offensive mastermind that was running that side of the ball but he isn't. He was touted as a defensive genius that would fix that side of the ball and allow Herbert to dominant on offense. That obviously has not been the case and is why many Chargers fans want to see the team move on and find a new head coach.
One of the fan-favorite head coaching candidates is Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who only increased his popularity with his offense's showing on Sunday. It didn't stop there, though, as Johnson said the quiet part out loud about Staley's defense that Chargers fans have been echoing for weeks on social media.
Ben Johnson says the quiet part out loud about Brandon Staley's Chargers defense
Of course, Johnson didn't come out and outright bash Staley and his defensive game plan. Instead, Johnson gave credit to his offensive players for their ability to do whatever they wanted. But it does not take a rocket scientist to read between the lines here.
The Lions feeling as if "anything in the playbook" was going to work is incredibly damning for Staley and his defensive philosophy. It is one thing for fans and reporters to push back on Staley's defense and to critique him. For another NFL coach to openly admit that his unit could do anything? That is as bad as it comes.
This is not the first time another coach has taken a stray shot at Staley's defense in this manner, either. Before the season, Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel outwardly laughed at the idea of there being a "Brandon Staley defense" that could slow the Dolphins down.
At the time, Chargers fans thought McDaniel was simply being sour since his Dolphins were shut down offensively in the 2022 season by Staley's squad. Instead, it should have been deciphered as a warning sign of what was to come in the 2023 season with this defense.
Nobody expected Staley to make the Chargers defense the best in the league as that is not even what this team needs. With Justin Herbert, the Chargers defense just needs to be average. Unfortunately, Staley has been incapable of producing that as a head coach.