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Brandon Staley on Wanting the Offense to "Run Through Justin Herbert"


Chargers head coach Brandon Staley recently joined “The Athletic Football Show” with Robert Mays and discussed a wide range of topics like his football philosophy and what he's implementing on the Bolts.

Staley, who calls himself a "quarterback coaching defense," has had great success on that side of the ball. Specifically, he took the Los Angeles Rams defense from being ranked 13th in total defense in 2019 to first in 2020.

As Mays puts it, Staley's defenses are "well-tuned for the modern NFL" and Staley discussed what that means to him.

"We want them to have to identify a lot of stuff in the back end, especially after the snap," Staley said. "We always want those guys having to work each and every snap in terms of an identification standpoint and I think that's where the modern NFL is headed."

But now that he's overseeing the whole operation, Staley admits he enjoys "being able to impact all three phases of the game" and wants "complementary systems in all three phases of the game."

And as good as he's coordinated defensively, he said, "the offense never left me."

We've gotten to learn a bit about how this unit will work with Joe Lombardi as the offensive coordinator, but Staley said the focal point will be on Justin Herbert.

"I wanted our offense to run through Justin Herbert … I wanted him to make it work and I think that's what's been fun to sort of get started."

Staley told Mays he's understands the head coach-quarterback relationship is an important one and referenced coaches he's admired and how they've each had success with the guy under center on their team. Staley said he and Herbert have already started having meetings with each other to get that bond rolling and while he knows building this offensive philosophy will be an "ongoing process" with Herbert only in his second season, it's quickly getting kicked into gear.

"I think that ultimately, those are the most dangerous quarterbacks you defend, where the quarterback becomes the system," he said. "Studying the great players that have played that position and guys I've looked up to from a coaching standpoint like Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Jim Harbaugh; Bill Parcells, is a guy that since I was a little kid I've always admired, their quarterbacks have all played really, really well.

"And they've had continuity with their head coach and they've had continuity with their systems. I think that that's something a defensive coach can provide, and hopefully I can provide it to our team. Not just to Justin Herbert, but to our team, (provide) that other side, that extra education that hopefully can sort of complete their thinking and help us be the team we're capable of being."

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