Chargers hire Rams DC Brandon Staley as head coach
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) - Brandon Staley doesn't have to go that far for his first opportunity as head coach.
Staley agreed to coach the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night after a season as defensive coordinator for the Crosstown Rams.
The Chargers decided to discontinue Staley after their second interview with him. The interview took place the day after the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs with a 32:18 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
"It's not just that Brandon has an enormous footballing mind that makes him the ideal head coach to lead our team forward," said general manager Tom Telesco in a statement. '' It is so that he is characterized by the ability to adapt his concepts effectively, to apply them and to convey them to the players.
It is clear that Brandon is not going to be overworked. He's the soccer equivalent of a gym rat, and that has earned him the universal respect of the players he coached during his travels. ''
The 38-year-old Staley was asked with interviews that were also scheduled with the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles. He also had an interview with the New York Jets before they hired Robert Saleh last Thursday.
Staley, who will be officially unveiled on Thursday, replaces Anthony Lynn, who was sacked on January 4 after playing 7-9 last season. Lynn had a 33-31 mark in four seasons and led the Chargers into the divisional playoffs in 2018.
The Los Angeles opening was widely considered the most attractive of the seven this off-season, with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Justin Herbert is considered a favorite for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"It is difficult to put into words how excited I am for the opportunity," Staley said in a statement. '' While this is certainly a dream come true, it is also a dream that is just beginning. There's a reason this was probably the most sought-after job out there - from the ownership, to the fans, the city, to the men in that locker room - it's the whole package. ''
The distance between the Chargers and Rams training facilities is 83 miles, but Staley's journey to an NFL head coach has taken him from quarterback at the University of Dayton to 11 years as a college assistant.
He's been an NFL assistant for just four years. He joined the Rams last season after serving as linebacker coach for the Chicago Bears (2017) and Denver Broncos (2018-19).
His influence on the Rams was immediate when he coached a unit that led the league in allowed points and yards.
He is the third assistant to Rams coach Sean McVay to get a job as NFL head coach, alongside Matt LaFleur of Green Bay and Zac Taylor of Cincinnati.
"I think every time you have these situations it's one of the most enjoyable things," McVay said during his season-end press conference on Sunday. "It's also really unique to see him and do such a great job. Then being a prime candidate for many of these openings right away and you realize how valuable these opportunities are."
Broncos offensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who worked with Staley for three years, called him the Sean McVay of defense to Denver reporters last season and said he was ready to head coach despite limited experience as a coordinator.
"I've been in coaching for three decades and every now and then a young, smart man who sees the game around the world comes by," said Donatell. '' He sees offensive, defense and special teams and knows how they work. He is a young, clever spirit who sees everything and can communicate with people. ''
Staley was one of six candidates for an interview with Los Angeles. Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, whose team will play in the AFC championship game in Kansas City next Sunday, was considered the front runner until Staley's second interview.
The Chargers also interviewed offensive coordinators Eric Bieniemy (Kansas City), Jason Garrett (New York Giants) and Joe Brady (Carolina), as well as Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
"It doesn't matter if you've known Brandon for five minutes or five years," said John Spanos, president of the football division, in a statement. '' What quickly becomes noticeable is the amount of energy and passion with which he approaches each moment. The persistence of this enthusiasm is unique, and most importantly, its ability to connect with people.
'' His coaching journey to this special moment is inspiring; if not for the sheer perseverance and determination of it all, then certainly for the dramatic results it has produced for the teams and players he has coached. ''
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