A lot has happened to the LA Chargers over the last five days that the franchise certainly was not expecting. It started with a blown 27-0 lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round that resulted in multiple coaches (including Joe Lombardi) getting fired.
Brandon Staley's job security was initially a topic of hot conversation after the game but it became clear shortly after that he would be sticking around in Los Angeles for another season.
On Wednesday, Staley talked to the media for nearly an hour about the team's season, the playoff collapse, and the decision to move on from Lombardi as offensive coordinator.
Biggest takeaways from Brandon Staley's Chargers presser:
1. The no. 1 goal for the offense is maximizing Justin Herbert and that starts with improving the run game
Brandon Staley mentioned multiple times throughout the press conference that the Chargers needed to marry the run game to the pass game. He mentioned it when initially asked about Lombardi being let go and closed his press conference mentioning it once more when asked about the lack of speed at wide receiver this season.
Staley was also asked about the Sean McVay/Kyle Shanahan coaching tree and if the team would explore getting an offensive mind from one of its branches. Staley confirmed that it is the offensive style that he believes in, but made sure to follow up by saying they will hire the best coach for the job.
Based on the emphasis on the run game, Chargers fans should expect the team to not only hire someone from that McVay/Shanahan tree but also potentially make a move at the running back position as well. The Chargers ranked 30th in total rushing yards and yards per carry in 2022.
2. Chargers fans shouldn't worry about Justin Herbert
Some Chargers fans have pondered if Justin Herbert is going to get fed up with this franchise and not sign an extension with the team. Herbert and the rest of the 2020 class is eligible to sign extensions this offseason and all signs are pointing to Herbert staying in Los Angeles for a long time.
3. Brandon Staley (and ownership) likely still view this season as a win in the grand scheme
Most Chargers fans would call this season a disappointment considering the fact that the team let up the third-largest blown lead in postseason history. However, Staley and ownership seem to view the season as a net positive that can provide tweaks to improve for next year.
Staley confirmed that he never felt like his job was in jeopardy because he is confident in what he has done over the last two years. The second-year head coach also said that he believes the organization improved as a whole this season and that he believes they overperformed considering the circumstances (all of the injuries).
It appears that the Spanos family is in agreement with Staley about his assessment of the season.
4. Brandon Staley defended the decision to play Mike Williams (and others) in Week 18
Staley did say that there is nobody that feels worse about Mike Williams not playing in the Wild Card Round than he does. However, Staley did not say that he regretted the decision to play Williams and other starters, and instead defended the decision.
Staley cited establishing the standard for the team and not having enough time to know the outcome of the Cincinnati-Baltimore game to make a line change with the inactives. He then cited Tom Brady not missing a game with the Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants playing their starters in a meaningless Week 17 game as examples of setting the standard. He did confirm that the plan was to phase the starters out in the second half.