Is Chargers head coach Brandon Staley too aggressive on fourth down?


Brandon Staley

Brandon Staley
Picture: Getty Photos

Typically soccer coaches can turn out to be so set in how “they do issues” that their philosophy can negatively have an effect on the group’s total manufacturing. That may very well be mentioned about Los Angeles Chargers second-year head coach Brandon Staley. He believes in rolling the cube and going for it on fourth down. And isn’t shy about it.

“If we lose, we’re going to do it on our phrases, not another person’s phrases.” Staley advised The Athletic.

You’ve acquired to like the younger coach’s confidence, although his offensive aggressiveness is a bit stunning contemplating protection is his specialty. Staley was the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020 earlier than taking the Chargers job final season. He additionally spent three seasons as the surface linebackers coach for the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. Brandon’s school teaching stops had been on the defensive facet as nicely.

We hardly ever see a head coach within the NFL that got here up by the defensive ranks be this aggressive in his offensive scheme and mindset. Historically, defensive coaches have primarily gambled on fourth down after they wanted to. Solely in particular conditions would going for a fourth down conversion even be dreamt of years in the past.

Two teams attempted more fourth downs last year than the Chargers, but Los Angeles transformed probably the most, going 22 for 34. LA additionally completed the season tied in fourth down conversion share with the New England Patriots, one other group with a defensive-minded head coach. Whereas this contradicts all the pieces of what the NFL has been on the sphere for many years, it’s not out of the strange anymore to see defensive coaches be much less conservative on offense.

Staley appears to be main that cost and isn’t apologetic about utilizing analytics. Even in confidence, Staley is humble sufficient to confess that it isn’t about himself however the group. If going for a fourth-down conversion provides the Chargers a better win likelihood, then Staley might be taking that probability.

However at what level does it turn out to be predictable? Opposing defenses are additionally utilizing analytics and searching for an edge in opposition to these trendy offensive assaults. Staley’s Chargers went seven for seven on fourth downs to start out the ‘21 season. They closed the yr by changing eight of their final 9 fourth downs.

Positive, it labored, however so did the wildcat offense for Miami — for a season— till the remainder of the NFL figured it out. And that’s the place sticking to your plan can come off as cussed. Some coaches fail to regulate when groups determine them out or just received’t. Groups didn’t know what to anticipate from Staley on offense his first yr. This season will certainly be completely different.

Having a younger star at quarterback like Justin Herbert helps loads, however even the perfect QBs have a group or two that determine them out sooner or later. Each protection they play this yr will likely be ready for quite a few fourth-down makes an attempt in opposition to the Chargers.

Like many, I nonetheless imagine in taking factors after they’re obtainable. I don’t thoughts going for fourth down, however Staley generally selected to go on subject objective makes an attempt in shut video games. Typically it looks like coaches outthink themselves with these selections. It’s okay to solely get three factors out of a drive.

With Staley’s gambler disposition, he may very well be on the recent seat after solely two seasons if these Chargers can’t make the postseason. No coach ever needs to be on the recent seat however particularly not when a reputation like Sean Payton is on the market lurking.

LA received 9 video games final season, and their division solely acquired more durable this offseason with the addition of Russell Wilson in Denver. All 4 groups within the AFC West have an above-average to nice QB state of affairs. Herbert, Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Derek Carr. The AFC West is the perfect QB division in soccer.

No less than Chargers followers know what they’re getting with Staley. He’s agency in his perception in going for it on fourth down. This implies you’ll miss out on some factors right here and there, though Staley takes duty and is prepared to reside with these selections. Staley says the Chargers will lose on their phrases. He may very well be searching for employment elsewhere if these phrases don’t land the Chargers within the playoffs this yr.



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