Chargers team reporter Hayley Elwood caught up with ESPN analyst/NFL insider Field Yates at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine to talk all things Chargers.
Yates evaluated the Bolts' season and talked about his impressions of the team, Brandon Staley in 2021, and more.
On his overall impressions of the Chargers' 2021 season
"First of all, probably one of the most entertaining teams to watch, you never knew what you were going to get. The aggressiveness that I know was something that was discussed pretty much every Sunday with Brandon Staley as their head coach was something as an observer and fan of watching the game, was really fun to see. I understand that sometimes we judge the results, but I was a fan of someone who was convicted by his process. I think Brandon Staley knew exactly what he was doing behind every decision, understood the risk and understood the benefits.
"You can see the foundation. I know that we have this recency bias where we start to think a little bit too much about the end and not as much as what's going to happen going forward, but this team has the makings of a team that is going to be a real problem in the AFC for a lot of other teams for a long time."
On Brandon Staley's first season as the Chargers head coach
"I thought the defensive impression that he made was good, I think there's probably even more for them to build off defensively this year … I think the mark that Brandon will be able to leave this year and going forward will be even more significant on the defensive side of the ball, but [it's] fun to watch him coach. I'm not saying there's one way to go about it, but it was fun to watch his mindset … I enjoyed watching him during his press conferences, he had a lot of memorable quotes. I think he thinks about the game in both a very unique and different way, but also he keeps things simple."
On what the Chargers need to do in order to contend in 2022
"I think it's a defensive offseason if I had to imagine. There are some priorities in-house that I think are always worth examining those. I like to start with the in-house stuff because these are the players you know best and you have the best reference points. Am I investing or am I not investing? What kind of part of the future are they going forward or are they not part of the future going forward?
"I would imagine that people would discuss the run defense a lot because physically, it was not one of the strengths of this roster. How do you find a couple more big bodies in the middle of that defense that can do some of the dirty work and help create some space for some of those linebackers … Those will be some of the areas as we go through mock draft season at pick number 17, there will be a lot of defensive tackles, guys who are about probably twice my size projected to go to the Chargers. So, I would imagine that a defensive-focused offseason would make a lot of sense."
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