Brandon Staley became the topic of immense criticism after the LA Chargers blew a historic lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round. That is the nature of the beast for NFL head coaches, especially ones who were already being questioned before the playoffs began.
Staley instantly became a notorious head coach in the league for his aggressive nature on fourth downs in his rookie season. Staley went for it in situations where other coaches would never even consider it, and for the most part, that was part of the reason why the Chargers were in a spot to make the playoffs in 2021.
Staley dialed down the aggressiveness in his second season as a head coach but there is still a narrative out there that he is some reckless head coach. Rex Ryan is the latest talking head to publicly bash Staley, going as far as to say that he is "disrespectful to the game".
Look, there are several things that you can criticize Staley for as it pertains to this season and losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. To try and say that he thinks he is the smartest person in the room and is disrespecting the game? That is a stretch if I have ever seen one.
Rex Ryan's comments on Chargers' Brandon Staley reeks of bitterness.
Why would Rex Ryan be bitter towards Brandon Staley (and the Chargers) you may ask. Simple. Anthony Lynn is a Rex Ryan guy and Staley is the guy who replaced him as the head coach of the Chargers. Ryan has audibly been against Staley from the very moment he got that job and it is not hard to connect the dots.
What is funniest about this quote from Ryan is that Staley's passiveness was a contributing factor to the Chargers losing against Jacksonville. There were two spots in the fourth quarter — on Cameron Dicker's missed field goal and in the Chargers' last drive — where a fourth-down conversion could have iced the game away for the Bolts. Instead, they took the more passive route.
Heck, the Chargers didn't go for it on fourth down once in the game! Jacksonville went for it three times and even went for two instead of taking the extra point to go down three points. Those were all smart moves but to blame Staley's "recklessness" for losing that Jaguars game? That is ridiculous.
The Chargers did not really go for it on fourth down as much as the national media tends to believe. Los Angeles went for it on fourth down 29 times in 2022. That ranked sixth in the NFL with the median being 24 total attempts. The Chargers were not that far off from the rest of the league.
In a perfect case of irony, the day after Ryan's tirade about Staley was the 13-year anniversary of Ryan's New York Jets defeating the Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round. New York went for it on fourth and short late in the fourth quarter to secure the game. If Staley did that, Ryan would probably ostracize him.
Defending Brandon Staley may not be a popular thing right now after the Chargers' historic playoff loss but spewing incorrect narratives about him is completely unfair.