After one of the most aggressive offseasons in franchise history there was palpable excitement around the LA Chargers this season. The Bolts became a popular Super Bowl dark horse pick and most fans were sure that this team was going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
While the team is not eliminated quite yet, the Week 13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders officially ended many of those hopes for fans that were holding on. This has been an ugly season for the Chargers and is one that most fans likely want to forget.
The team has dealt with more injuries than any other team in the league and that has certainly had a big impact on the disappointing nature of the 6-6 season. That being said, the team's coaching staff has not done enough to offset these injuries and has certainly left more to be desired.
Brandon Staley, Joe Lombardi and Renaldo Hill are firmly in the spotlight with the coordinators likely losing their jobs this season if the Bolts miss the playoffs. All of this frustration with the fans because of the coaching staff has also been made worse by the success of the New York Giants under Brian Daboll. NFL analysts have been quick to point it out and it has been nothing but pain for Chargers fans.
The Chargers hiring Brandon Staley over Brian Daboll is a massive missed opportunity.
All signs were pointing to Brian Daboll being the head coach. Daboll went to high school with general manager Tom Telesco, received multiple interviews with the team and was reported as the frontrunner by prominent NFL insiders.
It seemed like it was just a matter of time before the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator would come to sunny Los Angeles to be the head coach of the Chargers. Instead, the Chargers made the shocking decision out of left field to hire Staley, a defensive-minded head coach that was meant to properly develop a young quarterback.
Let's not pretend like we all didn't fall in love with Staley as the head coach from his preseason press conferences and his aggressiveness early in his first season. To sit here now and say that fans didn't love Staley after five weeks of the 2021 season would be downright lying. Most fans were convinced the Chargers had their guy.
Daboll continued to be the offensive coordinator for the Bills and eventually got his shot with the Giants this season. The Giants have also dealt with injuries and are significantly less talented than the Chargers, yet have a 7-4-1 record. They have blown past expectations while the Chargers have fallen extremely short.
While we all fell in love with Staley, it does not change the fact that at the time, Daboll seemed to make the most sense for the job. On top of having a connection with the Chargers, he was also credited with Josh Allen's progression. Allen went from being a very mistake-prone pro early on in his career to an MVP candidate under Daboll.
Getting that kind of offensive mind onto Justin Herbert would have been phenomenal. The ceiling of the defense with the partnership would have been extremely high.
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But instead, the Chargers have a defensive head coach who is coaching one of the worst defenses in the sport while also having one of the most despised offensive coordinators in team history. What could have been.