Anthony Lynn was a great leader for the Los Angeles Chargers. His players loved playing for him, and he was highly skilled at rallying the squad to play to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, he was not exactly a great coach. Though he had a respectable record of 33-31, it can be argued that the immense amount of talent that the Chargers had played into his success. Questionable schemes from his coordinators and baffling crunchtime decisions on Lynn’s part became a blemish on his legacy. Lynn is a likeable coach, and shouldn’t have trouble finding a job elsewhere (though maybe not as a head coach). To replace him, the Chargers brought in former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Staley, a 38-year-old defensive mastermind, is a new member to the wave of young genius head coaches. Though unproven, Chargers fans will be hopeful that he will take this talented team to greater heights. Here is the Chargers coaching staff preview.
Chargers Coaching Staff Preview
Brandon Staley: The Young Prodigy
Staley has had a meteoric rise in his coaching career. Starting as the outside linebackers’ coach for the Chicago Bears in 2017, Staley has only coached in the NFL for seasons seasons. In 2020, Staley was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. In one season, Staley turned a talented defense that placed above-average into the absolute best in football, bar none. Staley was able to recognize how to effectively utilize the pieces he was working with. Former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was notorious for his inability to do this.
Staley also marks the introduction of young, defensive genius coaches. The NFL has recently seen a wave of young, unproven coaches getting head coaching gigs. Sean McVay, the first of his kind, was only 30 years old when the Rams hired him to take the reins of the team in 2017. The Arizona Cardinals then hired Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech, who is only 41. Matt LeFleur, the head coach for the Green Bay Packers, is only 41 as well. The old guard of NFL head coaching is drastically changing, and new blood is breathing life into teams once stuck in their old ways.
What sets Staley apart from others of his kind, though, is his mindset. The coaches listed above are all offensive minds. Kingsbury was the coach who was crucial in the development of current NFL superstar Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech. Staley, on the other hand, is a defensive genius that can instantly improve any defense he oversees. The Bears in 2017 and 2018, as well as the Denver Broncos in 2019, both drastically improved their defensive production during Staley’s time. The Rams, as mentioned earlier, became the best in the league under Staley. It’s uncertain whether he can do the same for the Chargers defense, but there is enough talent for fans to be hopeful that he can.
Joe Lombardi: The Quarterback Guru
Joe Lombardi is the new offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers. With 15 seasons as an NFL coach under his belt, Lombardi brings to the table what Staley is lacking: experience. Lombardi spent all of his coaching career in the NFL as a quarterbacks’ coach. He coached for the New Orleans Saints (2007-2013; 2016-2020) and the Detroit Lions (2014-2016). Deemed by many to be a “quarterback guru”, he was instrumental in turning Drew Brees into the all-time great he is known as today. Then, when Brees went down with a hand injury in 2019, Lombardi oversaw his replacement, Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, under Lombardi’s guidance, won all five games he started in, and put up a passer rating of 99.1/158.3. Bridgewater saved the Saints’ playoff hopes, and when Brees returned from injury, it was back to business for the old pair.
Lombardi joining Staley’s staff as the offensive coordinator is a great accomplishment on Staley’s part. With a hotshot budding star in Justin Herbert, Lombardi has a perfect player to build into an all-time great. With Herbert, along with a lethal and versatile arsenal of weapons for him to use and a coach that knows how to help him improve on his shortcomings, The Chargers offense proves to be a legitimate counterpart to the behemoths in Kansas City: the Chiefs.
Renaldo Hill: The Secondary Extraordinnaire
Renaldo Hill is the new defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers. Hill, a former defensive back in the NFL, brings the mindset of a player to the coaching staff. Since Staley and Lombardi never played in the NFL, Hill will be crucial for bridging the gap between player and coach.
As a coach, Hill has worked with elite-level talent. He started his NFL coaching career in 2018 with the Miami Dolphins, where he served as the assistant defensive backs coach. In Miami, he worked with Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and Pro Bowl safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Howard and Fitzpatrick have gone on to be 2 of the best at their positions thanks to Hill’s guidance. In 2019, he left Miami to go to Denver, where he was hired as the defensive backs coach. In Denver, Hill worked with and mentored safety Justin Simmons, who earned second-team All-Pro honors under his guidance. It would not be a stretch to say that Hill is a defensive backs guru, like Lombardi is to quarterbacks.
Staley landing Hill as a defensive coordinator may be a gamble, as he has no experience at the position. However, the potential upside of his hire should not be ignored. If it works out as planned, Hill could elevate Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, and rookie Asante Samuel Jr. to become perennial Pro Bowlers. His guidance could lead to the recreation of the JackBoys from 2018. Fans should hope that he fulfills that potential.
Staley and his new crew complement each other well. Anywhere one of them is lacking, someone else picks up the slack. Staley and Hill being underexperienced is complemented by Lombardi. Staley and Lombardi being non-players is complemented by Hill’s player experience. Staley’s genius complements Lombardi and HIill’s lack of absolute genius. These three coaches serve each other well, and if they can avoid any petty beef, they will take this talented team to heights the Chargers have never been before
Check out our NFL page for more updates!