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The Chargers coach focuses on improving after a game breakdown

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Brandon Staley was aware of the constant speculation regarding his status as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, especially as he grew vocal after the team’s historic collapse to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But when asked during the season-closing press conference Wednesday if he felt his job was in danger, Staley bluntly answered, “No.”

“I have a lot of confidence in how we’ve done things here and what we’ve been able to achieve and that’s the truth,” said Staley, who is 15-19 in two seasons with the Chargers. “Everyone who’s been around me on a daily basis knows that. I’m aware of the speculation…but I wasn’t worried about it because I know what goes on here on a daily basis. I know what we have in our locker room. I know what’s on the field and I Excited to keep working.”

The Chargers (10-7) earned their first playoff berth since 2018, with wins going double-digit for only the second time in 13 seasons.

But Staley, who turned 40 last month, was criticized after he chose to play as the starter at the end of the regular season despite grabbing the No. 5 seed moments before kickoff. In that loss to the Broncos, the future stars Mike Williams He suffered a back injury that would cause him to miss two to three weeks, ending his season with only one Super Bowl run.

Then, this past Saturday in Jacksonville, the Jaguars mounted the third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history to erase a 27-point deficit and defeat the Chargers 31-30 on a 36-yard field goal as time expired.

“I wouldn’t say that’s the case for half an hour,” Staley said when asked if he had been outperformed by Jaguar’s Doug Pederson. “This team we were playing showed a lot of fighting, a lot of resilience. I thought it was a high quality game against two young and hungry teams. I thought it was just a high level game all around.”

The Bolts forced five turnovers on their way to a 27-7 halftime lead, but Jacksonville Trevor Lawrence They threw four touchdown passes in the second half as the Chargers’ offense and defense disappeared, including an edge rusher Joey Bosamelted.

Bosa collected three penalties for 21 receiving yards, a career high in a seventh year pro. In perhaps the most damaging move, Bosa threw his helmet to the ground in frustration as the Jaguars scored a touchdown, catching a personal foul that helped Jacksonville come closer for a two-point conversion. That allowed the Jaguars to take a two-point lead, setting the stage for a final game-winning field goal.

Staley picked up Bossa’s helmet and handed it back to the 27-year-old, only to watch him slam the helmet to the ground again.

When asked on Tuesday why he wore a Bossa helmet, Staley said, “Because it was on the ground in front of me.”

For his part, Bosa expressed remorse for his actions and Staley defended his team’s culture when asked if Bossa’s actions indicated a failed programme.

Staley said, “I saw a player who was going through a difficult moment … and he hit the ball again, and I got the ball back again and gave it to him.” “Our team culture is as strong as it has been since I’ve been here.”

Several players, including Bossa, are quarterbacks Justin Herbert and safety Derwin James Jr. They expressed their support for Staley as they cleaned out their closets for the holiday season on Sunday.

“Everyone will be lucky to have a coach like Staley,” said Herbert. “He was amazing and respected by everyone on our team.”

“I do,” said Bossa, when asked if he believed in the coaching staff.

Staley said he met with the ownership, including Dean Spanos, and the front office after the loss to Jacksonville, planning how to move forward in the offseason.

That process has so far included firing offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, quarterbacks coach Shane Day and linebackers coach Michael Wilhoit, all of whom were part of the squad Staley put together when he was hired in 2021.

“I felt we needed to make changes to attack and vision to the way I play this side of the football,” Staley said. “I think there is different equipment that we can have as a football team.”

Leadership would be among the key attributes Staley would look for in an offensive coordinator, he said, adding that experience in the position would not be a requirement and that it would be a “fair assessment” to assume he would be looking for a candidate who could run a system similar to that used by 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan or Rams coach Sean McVay.

“That’s the insult I believe in,” Staley said. “When I came here, it kind of got us shooting this on the ground. In terms of the passing game, that’s what we’ve been able to do at a high level over the last couple of years: throw the football. But to be more powerful, you have to be able to manage football more consistently to put pressure on people.”

The Chargers averaged just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt and 89.6 rushing yards per game per game this season – both of which ranked 30th in the NFL.

Herbert ranked 11th in explosive plays (10-plus-yard rushes and 20-yard completions) and averaged just 6.3 volley yards per attempt, which ranked third among 33 eligible quarterbacks.

Staley said the decision to move from Lombardi and Day was about maximizing the talent of Herbert, who is now eligible to sign a contract extension and expected to order a deal worth more than $50 million annually.

Those conversations [with Herbert] “We have a really good relationship with his team and I’m confident Justin Herbert will be a Charger for a long time,” said Staley.

For his part, Staley was confident that he had laid the foundation that would enable him to survive for the long haul as well.

“I know the kind of improvements we’ve been able to make, as a football team, since I’ve been here,” Staley said. “I know the quality of the product in the field and I also know the capacity that we have to grow. We have all of those things in place where we made tremendous improvement from year one to year two. Now, from year two to year three, we expect to make the same kinds of improvements.”

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