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Bolts Have Belief in Themselves After Not Making Deadline Deal 


The 2022 NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday afternoon, with the Chargers standing pat and not making a move.

But that doesn't mean the Bolts weren't engaged in conversations, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Wednesday.

"I think you are aware of all of the activity in the league. We were certainly a part of it," Staley said. "Nothing materialized, but I thought that we were active, to an extent, and nothing really happened for us that was going to make sense for this season or next.

"It's not just this season, it's the years to come," Staley added. "There were some moves made yesterday, for sure."

There were 10 deals swung yesterday across the league, plus five more in the week leading up to the trade deadline.

And while there was certainly some outside chatter and speculation that the Bolts needed to make a move, Staley reminded many of the Chargers springtime acquisitions.

Players such as Khalil Mack, Bryce Callahan, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Kyle Van Noy, Morgan Fox, Troy Reeder, Josh Harris, JK Scott, Gerald Everett and DeAndre Carter didn't just appear on the roster out of thin air.

No, the Chargers bolstered their roster in March, spending some dollars to do so in the process.

"We made a lot of moves in the offseason. We made a lot of moves. We made aggressive moves," Staley said. "I felt like we made a lot of smart moves that I think are paying for us right now, in terms of establishing the type of depth that you need, based on what's happened to us and many others around the league.

"The trade deadline is something that is overblown in the league. No. 1, not that many trades happen. There is a lot of hype towards it, but then there are not as many as people think," Staley added. "What you have to do is you have to make moves that make sense for this year, but then, it's not just this year, it's future years, too."

So, instead of taking a risk in adding an unknown player at the deadline, the Chargers will move forward with who they have on their current roster, while expecting a handful of players to return in the coming weeks and months.

Joey Bosa? He's back in the building after groin surgery and could return in the next month or so. The same goes for Mike Williams, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Keenan Allen has been frustrated by a nagging hamstring but the hope is that he comes back, too.

Dustin Hopkins, Joshua Kelley and others could also provide reinforcements for the Chargers down the stretch.

"They are coming back for us," Staley said of that above group. "These guys aren't out for the season where, 'Hey, that would really put us in a tough spot.' Where, like, 'They're not coming back, so, hey, we need to replace them.'

"That was our mindset. We were in discussions, like the rest of the league. It just didn't make sense for us at the time," Staley added. "We feel confident in the guys that we're going to get back and that we have a lot of time to create the identity for the rest of the season."

Staley looked into the future in both the short and long term on Wednesday.

Long term, he noted it was important the Chargers kept their draft picks and did take on any additional money. (For what it's worth, the Bolts have a little less than $5 million in cap space right now).

"I just think draft capital, and then the implications financially, are the reasons why we did or didn't do that," Staley said. "That's one thing that, I think, is a strength of our team, is that we have all of our assets. We have draft picks in every round next year.

"We have a very healthy cap situation and we want to make sure we keep it that way because when you keep it that way, you can have the type of offseason that we had last year, where you can make moves that can really help your future," Staley added.

In the shorter term, Staley expressed confidence in his team that they can play more consistently and be a playoff threat in the final 10 games of the regular season.

Staley was asked hwo good of a read he had on the Bolts through seven games.

"A strong sense of how good we can be because I've seen it. I've seen us play. What we've experienced is a lot of the tougher side of things, through seven games. I've seen us at full strength," Staley said. "I've seen us have to absorb some tough stuff and be able to overcome it to go on a three-game winning streak. I think you know where you need to go.

"We've experienced a lot of the disruption that some teams haven't gone through so far. We've experienced all of that, so we have a lot of contingencies," Staley later added. "We've had to operate already in a lot of other spaces that some people haven't. I think that has been healthy for us, to get our nose bloody, to have to go play some tough, rugged games, to have some attrition and to have to be able to figure it out. I think that's healthy for the rest of the season because you have already had to make a lot of those adjustments."

Put another way, the Chargers have had to grind their way to a 4-3 record through myriad injuries and tough games.

And with 10 games left, the Bolts currently find themselves in a playoff spot in the AFC.

The Bolts have belief they will be there at the end, and that belief was backed by the fact they did not make a move Tuesday afternoon.

"A lot of people look at the game, it's just the approach during the week that matters the most to create a consistently winning culture, consistently winning organization. It's every day," Staley said. "I think, looking back on what I told the guys is, 'You don't know it or not, but we have a really good thing here, fellas. Because if we didn't, we wouldn't be 4-3. We wouldn't. We would be a lot worse if we didn't have a good culture. We would be worse, based on what's happened because you can look at the league and you can see.'

"Although we haven't performed to our capacity yet, that's an exciting thing because we know what is in front of us and we know what we have had to absorb and now we know where we need to go and how to get there," Staley added. "That's important that you have that perspective. Like I said, to create the consistency, it starts with how you do things every single day. That's where our focus is going to be."

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