Back in June, Robert Mays of The Athletic interviewed Chargers head coach Brandon Staley on “The Athletic Football Show” where the pair talked about the bond between a head coach and quarterback as well as Staley's influence of being a former QB turned defensive coach.
Well this week, Mays has seen that all first-hand as he attended the team's last couple training camp practices.
"It seems like the vibe is very good," Mays said. "I'm really interested in the brains in this room and in the building. I've gotten to chat with Brandon over the last couple years, and even chatting with [defensive coordinator] Renaldo [Hill] just a little bit, the ways that they see things and where they want to go, it just feels like such a cool environment for people who are interested in football. I think that's really good for young players."
According to Mays, the overarching theme with both sides of the ball on this Chargers team concerns nuance. For the defense, we've heard all camp long about it being multiple with certain players being deployed in a number of ways.
Mays, saw it, too.
"The defensive system is complex, but not in a way that's complex for complexity's sake," he reflected. "I think the way that that's gonna translate to some of these younger guys [is good.] Even watching on Sunday, the pick that Derwin James made down the sideline when he was running with Austin Ekeler, seeing where Derwin was lining up, you saw how varied his role is going to be."
Offensively, Mays saw similar things and likened it to the New Orleans Saints offenses, where now Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, was part of.
But getting back to those "brains." Back in June, Staley discussed having a collaborative approach with quarterback Justin Herbert and how Staley's background under center would play a role in that.
While that's continued, Mays said he's looking forward to watching it evolve and noted it could set the standard for future head coach-QB partnerships.
"I think it's gonna be really cool to watch. Brandon has been open about wanting to have a dialog with Justin and keep that going. When you historically look at teams that have had really good success with defensive-minded head coaches, there is that dialog. Bill Belichick met with Tom Brady; it was a part of how they were going to learn together, grow together, and stick together. It speaks to Brandon's background. He's a quarterback who coaches defense and I think that gives you such an advantage.
"I think those two [Staley & Herbert] and the partnership they could have, could be unlike what we typically see in the modern defensive-minded head coach and a young quarterback. That's why it's easy to get excited about what that partnership could be like."
Take a look at some of the best photos from the eleventh day of Chargers Training Camp 2021.
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