The Athletic's Robert Mays joined Monday's episode of Chargers Weekly to discuss the team's hiring of Brandon Staley as their new head coach.
Mays wrote an in-depth piece last month detailing Staley's defensive philosophy, his success with the Rams and how he learned under Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Listen to the full interview here. Highlights are below.
Mays on Why He Would Bet on Staley (1:03 mark)
"It is hard for me to justify hiring a defensive-minded head coach. I just think it's a higher bar to clear to be a good team every single year, year in and year out. But after talking to him and thinking about him -- and him as a teacher, a communicator, as a football thinker, all of these things -- he's the guy that I would bet on as a defensive coach. Just because of the conceptual ways that he built that Rams defense and how that defense was almost an expression of his value system around football and the way that he thinks about the sport.
"... This isn't just a defensive coordinator who has a ton of good talent, who's using guys in familiar ways and riding that talent to success. Obviously, the Rams had Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald, but some of the stuff that they were doing schematically was on the edges; was really pushing further into some of these things than any other defensive coordinator in the NFL.
"So, I think a guy that is thinking on the cutting edge and as progressive as Brandon Staley is, is the one area where I'd be like, 'You know what? I'd be willing to take a swing on a defensive coordinator or a defensive coach here just because I think sees this stuff a little bit differently.'"
On How Justin Herbert Benefits From Having a Defensive-Minded Coach (8:13 mark)
"Bill Belichick still needed really good offenses to win consistently every single year. But I also think that the Belichick comparison -- while I'm not trying to say that Brandon Staley is Bill Belichick -- one of the strengths that the Patriots had every single season is that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would sit down every single week, multiple times, and go over the ways that defenses were going to try to attack Tom Brady. And they had the best guy in the world there to explain the ins and outs and the intricacies of defense to him.
"I would have to assume that Brandon Staley would be able to do something similiar with Justin Herbert over the course of his career. If they could have a dialogue or communication where Staley's overlooking the defense, obviously and that's his purview, but at the same time is able to say, 'Alright, this is what they're trying to do to you. When they do this, this is what they're trying to do.' And I think that understanding defensive rules is one of the most important parts of offensive coaching. And Brandon Staley absolutely understands defensive rules, and he also understands the offensive side, cause he's a former quarterback who spent a lot of time on that side of the ball.
"I just think that, again, it's hard to thread a needle where I would want to hire a defensive-minded head coach in 2021. That's my own personal kind of way that I see it. But I do think that if you wanted one, he checks every single box that you would want someone to check."
Watch Head Coach Brandon Staley's Introductory Press Conference Exclusively on the Chargers App
Download the Official Chargers App to watch Head Coach Brandon Staley's introductory press conference on Thursday, January 21. Click here to download for iOS and here for Android.
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