Below are three takeaways from Chargers head coach Brandon Staley's media availability at the 2022 NFL Annual League Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.
Staley and Herbert's connection
One of the key topics Staley discussed was the development of quarterback Justin Herbert as they head into their second season together. Staley explained why Herbert has the 'right stuff' and how they were able to grow as the season progressed during year one.
"He got better from week one to the last game and he's still at the beginning," Staley said of Herbert. "I think when you have someone like him that works as hard as he does and has all the right stuff as a competitor, you can really get that going quickly and I think that he's showing everybody how special he is."
Staley also talked about how important their relationship is and added how he valued the time spent on Fridays during the season when they are the last ones in the building preparing for Sunday or as Staley called it, 'the calm before the storm.'
"I've loved teaming up with our offensive staff, I've loved teaming up with [Herbert]," he said. "His relationship means a lot to me…when it's personal with your quarterback, when you really know each other, you trust each other, you're just able to take it farther. I think we got off to a good start last year, but there's still a lot of work to do."
Looking at the draft for potential RB2
Throughout the 2021 season, Staley looked to find consistency at the second running back spot to complement Austin Ekeler. When asked about where he and general manager Tom Telesco will look to fill that role, Staley gave insight into his philosophy on solidifying the one-two punch in the Bolts running back room.
"We looked in free agency and it wasn't that deep of a group," Staley said on acquiring a running back these last few weeks. "Again, just really assessing value just felt like working through the draft would be a better option for us and we're still going to explore that post-draft because I think what you're seeing now is that you can onboard these guys in a lot of different stages. It's definitely a position that we're going to be looking for and we will see if it materializes."
Staley talked about the young running back duo of Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree III on the Bolts and why the team is looking for a player who not only will complement Ekeler, but provide value for the future as well.
"We want to give Austin that complementary style and the young guys that we have on our team we expect them to improve, we still believe in those guys," he said of the younger backs on the roster. "We are trying to onboard guys for that position for the future … I think it's a young man's position for the most part and I think we are just going to continue to look that way to build our team."
Looking to surround players with "a complete team"
The AFC West has caused quite the buzz during NFL free agency with all four teams being active in the division. Staley explained why in his eyes, all the free agency moves are exactly what the NFL represents.
"I think what you're seeing right now is competition in the NFL," he said. "I think it's amazing for the NFL. You're seeing all these teams make these types of moves and I think that's what the NFL represents is 'Hey, you better be working to make your team as good as you can be or you're going to get left behind.'"
Last season, Telesco and Staley put emphasis on building the Bolts' offensive line through the draft and free agency and this year, the focus has shifted to revamping the defense with the additions of Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson. Staley talked about the importance of not only surrounding Herbert with talented players, but the entire team, in order to find success in the NFL.
"It's not just enough to outscore people in this league….you've got to win in a lot of different ways in this league," he said. "It's not just surrounding him with offensive weapons, it's surrounding him with a complete team where the pressure isn't on him every single game to score 35, to throw for 350 [yards] you know to bring you back, and I think that's what we're trying to do is surround Justin and all of our players with a complete team."
Bolt Up for 2022!
Secure your 2022 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.