Take a look at top quotes from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley at the 2023 Annual League Meeting in Phoenix:
Head Coach Brandon Staley
On the Chargers first wave of free agency:
"This year was a lot different, this free agency period. I thought what we did last season was really make some key acquisitions to really solidify the way we want to play on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. Because I think people really forget about the investment we made in our kicking game last year, which really paid dividends. I think that investment, what you saw this year is just us being able to re-sign our core guys. We were able to get Trey Pipkins back at right tackle, we thought that was a really significant move for us. We were able to re-sign Morgan Fox, we were able to re-sign our punter JK Scott, who we feel like is a weapon for us. And then you're able to add a key acquisition, a big-time acquisition in Eric Kendricks. We feel really good about our football team. Obviously, there's still process from now until the draft and after the draft, as you guys saw what we did last year after the draft. There's still that window too, so we'll see where it goes, but we feel really good about our football team."
On his relationship with Kellen Moore:
"I think teaming up with him has been a highlight for me, so much respect for him from afar. I think my first game as a defensive coordinator was against Kellen when I was with the Rams. Being a former quarterback, I really paid attention to his career at Boise [State]. I think 50-3 as a starter, I remember we were joking about him just lighting up Georgia, I just remember that game so vividly. He has all the quarterbacking stuff, and I think he's exemplified all of that as a coach. Getting into coaching right away, becoming an offensive coordinator and leading one of the most prolific offenses in the league. No one knows that better than me because I had to go against the guy. I think for us to spend a lot of time up close this year in the practices, I was able to get probably a better friendship with him, stay in touch through the season and then for us to be able to onboard someone like him has been huge for me and our staff. He's fit right in, he's been great with our players, reaching out to our players already. That relationship part is very core to how we do things at our place, and he really fits that and he just has a really great way about him. I'm really excited to team up with him."
On what new Chargers LB Eric Kendricks will bring to the defense:
"I think Eric's pedigree, he's been in the NFL seven or right years, and they've been a top five defense in Minnesota the entire time. I was in the division in 2017, 2018, played against them 2019 when I was in Denver, played against them my first year as a head coach here. He's one of the most complete linebackers in the last decade. You're talking about five to seven players that are as complete as a linebacker as he is. His instincts, his key diagnose, his ability to communicate, that energy in the middle, a true commander. Tackling machine sideline to sideline, in the box, physicality. He's one of the best passing game linebackers in the last decade, he comes from a pattern-match scheme in Mike Zimmer, which is how we play so the scheme transition is seamless. And we know a lot about him, we got Ryan Ficken here, we got Jeff Howard here who coached him intimately, my best friend's Jonathan Gannon, who was with him. We just feel like this guy has a lot of the stuff that championship defenses are made of. I'm really, really excited to team up with him."
Browse through photos of the Chargers newest linebacker, Eric Kendricks
On the TE group:
"I like where we're at. We were able to get Donald Parham back, which I know that he didn't get to show what he could do last year but I think that you guys that have been with the team know that we feel like he's a weapon. We were able to get Gerald [Everett] back and I thought that Gerald, he has his best season for us last season. We need to get more from Tre [McKitty] next season for sure. Stone Smartt is an up-and-coming player for sure, that we think has potential, but that position is, when you can find it, it changes the way people have to play you. Kellen's had a lot of success that way, we've had a lot of success in the past playing that way at other places I've been. I believe as a head coach, gaps and vertical threats is how you really stress defenses. I think we have a good room right now, but we're always looking to add."
On whether G/T Jamaree Salyer will move inside and assessment of the offensive line:
"I think that's his natural position, but as he proved last year, we know that Jamaree [Salyer] can play outside, but we kind of feel like he's best suited to play inside. A lot of strengths as a player fit better inside. To have him, Zion [Johnson] and Corey [Linsley] in the middle of your pocket, that's certainly what you want to design from an offensive line standpoint. When you have that type of anchor in the middle, athleticism and then when your tackles are athletic like Trey and Rashawn [Slater] are, they have the range and the athleticism to kick to these rushers. We like where we're at right now, I feel like the investment in our drafts my first two years, Tom and JoJo [Wooden] their belief system in investing in our offensive line is really paying off and I'm really proud of where we're at right now."
On plan for depth on the interior offensive line:
"I think there's some guys that you don't know about too, that are on our team. Zack Bailey has done a heck of a job for us, Foster Sarell. Those guys are developing players too that got some action last year, that proved to us that they're developmental, that they can be a factor in the NFL. Then, there's that process that you're talking about after the draft and obviously at the draft, we'll always be looking for lineman."
Take a look back at the best photos of the Chargers 2022 draft class in their inaugural NFL campaign
On the depth of the interior defensive line:
"I feel a lot better about where we are now than where we were a year ago. I feel like with Sebastian [Joseph-Day], Austin [Johnson], Otito [Ogbonnia] and [Morgan Fox], that's the right group to be starting out with. I thought Tito, it was unfortunate because Tito was really coming on. That San [Francisco] game was such a big game for him playing againt [49ers tackle] Trent [Williams] and the way he played gave us so much confidence. We were so disappointed because as a rookie, you know when they're coming on. You can see it, when you know that it's happening for them or it's happening. That's what happened to Tito and then he got hurt, but we know that he can do it. And then Sebastian and Austin have been fantastic. To get Foxy back rushing the passer for us was big and now what we got to do is keep getting the depth of that group more solid. Chris Hinton came in last year and did a really nice job for us, he was a pleasant surprise for us. [Run game coordinator/Defensive Line coach] Jay [Rodgers] has done a great job developing him. Chris was a big factor in our playoff game and down the stretch for us. He's a young guy. But keep building in the style we want to build up front, confident in where we're going."
On the WR room and weapons on offense:
"You know the way we feel about our three guys. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Josh Palmer, that's the right group to be starting with for sure. We've proven that we can throw the football, I mean we threw for over 5,000 yards our first year, 4,700 [last year]. But you're trying to be a group that's hard to defend every snap, make them defend the entire football field vertically, horizontally. I think weapons come from a lot of different places, it can be a receiver, it can be a tight end, it can be a runner. What you're looking for is weapons, that's what makes you tough to defend, not just receivers. So, I think what we're trying to become is a complete offense where you have to defend everybody, and I think those are the ones that are the most challenging. I know that speaking for Kellen and where he's been, what made him so challenging to defend in Dallas was you had to defend everybody. You had three really good receivers, you had two really good tight ends and you had two really good backs, so you had to defend everybody on every snap, and they had a good o-line. That's what we want to be."
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