Below are three takeaways from Brandon Staley's press conference at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday.
Year two working with Justin Herbert
With the NFL Scouting Combine canceled last year due to the pandemic, this year gave Brandon Staley the opportunity to represent the Chargers in Indianapolis for the first time as a head coach.
"Good to be back here with the rest of the NFL," Staley said. "I think that's what makes the NFL special are the people in it. To see all the different teams and all the people that make the NFL what it is, coaches, the future players, staff, media. For everyone to be back in one space, I think that's a really, really good thing."
Last offseason, Staley and general manager Tom Telesco onboarded a new coaching staff and and revamped the Bolts' offensive line. Staley discussed how he's going to approach his second year working with quarterback Justin Herbert and how he now has a better idea of how No. 10 plays and what he's comfortable with.
"He's got now double the inventory of experiences," Staley said of Herbert. "He has inventory on all these coordinators like hey, 'I've faced this style of defense and I've been in these situations, you know it's not a big deal for me and I'm just going to keep building.' Now what we have to keep doing is just keep expanding that knowledge, really emphasize the thing he does well and then onboard a bunch of personnel that can bring out the best in him."
Building a complete and deep team for 2022
During his end-of-season press conference in January, Staley talked about building a complete team for the 2022 season. On Wednesday, he reiterated that point and shared a couple of positions the team will focus on.
"I think on defense up front and then in the secondary are going to be some areas that we look at," Staley said. "I know that Tom [Telesco] spoke to you guys yesterday, it's really about us building a complete football team. I think that's the goal of this offseason for us is to become a complete team and a deep team. I think that those two words you're going to hear me say a lot because I know that that will allow us to be as good as we can be."
Staley said his strategy when it comes to evaluating players is to connect the scouting department with the coaches to find players to potentially add to the team. Staley maintained his goal of playing "our way" in 2022 and beyond.
"I think on defense we really value versatility," Staley said. "But I think that what we've undertaken here and what's ongoing is just establishing our way of playing from a personnel standpoint and I think that this offseason will allow us to look the way that we want to look."
New members of the coaching staff
Since the start of the offseason, the Chargers have added five new coaches. The first coach was new special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken from the Minnesota Vikings. Staley shared why Ficken was a good fit for the Bolts.
"I'm really excited about Ryan Ficken as our special teams coordinator," he said. "It was an opportunity that I was really excited about, he comes from a really good pedigree in Minnesota with [former Vikings special teams coordinator] Mike Priefer. He's been there under a lot of really good head coaches and he's coached a lot of players that I am really familiar with…I felt like his vision really fit where we're trying to go as a football team."
Next up was new pass game specialist Tom Arth. Arth's move to LA reunited him with Staley as the two Ohio natives coached together at John Carroll.
"Tom and I go a long ways back," Staley said. "Just his background as a player in the NFL and in other leagues and just us being together at Carroll. We had to compete really hard for his services, he was in demand. It's awesome to partner up again and have him team up with our offensive staff and I think he was really excited to learn from Joe [Lombardi] and Shane [Day] and Chris [Beatty]."
Finally, the Bolts added Brendan Nugent as the team's new offensive line coach, Chris Gould as an assistant special teams coach and Mike Hiestand as an offensive assistant.
Staley talked about how those moves allow the coaches to "grow from within" on the Chargers and help build the team both Staley and Telesco have in mind.
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