I knew when I had a dream a few nights ago about the Chargers that it was time to get myself in front of the keyboard. I don’t remember all the details of it, but I know it was opening day and Herbert was leading us down the field. Everything was clicking and Staley seemed to really have control of the team. Of course, it wasn’t at our actual opening game. That’s in Washington and I’ve actually bought my tickets for that one. Considering I’ve seen losses in 1998 and the awful 2013 game in DC, so I think I’m due for a win. So much has gone on since the last time I checked in. I turned 50, which I still can’t get over. Sammy got me the Carvel cake pictured below. She also me, Sarah, and Aaron matching Herbert shirts. As for the Ariana Grande photo, it just makes me smile.
At first, I admit that I wasn’t sold on Staley. I make it seem so often, FAITHFUL READER, that I don’t get caught up in the hype machine. I thought that was the case, but clearly I was just like everyone else who thought Daboll would get the job. I know no more about him than you do. I just assumed that since Buffalo’s offense had become so deadly under his tutelage and since he was linked to the Chargers on every channel and site that it had to be the hire. Then when they shocked everyone with Staley, I suddenly thought they had gone back to being “so Chargers.” You know exactly what I mean by that, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. I thought that The Organization had opted for the cheapest option or for a puppet that wouldn’t question Telesco or the Spanoses. It’s not entirely clear why Telesco has lasted this long. We have a 2-2 playoff record during his tenure. He certainly has had some hits with Allen, Bosa and Herbert. Verrett is only now able to stay healthy in San Francisco. Gordon sorta fucked himself over, but Telesco was the one who traded up to get him. I liked Hunter Henry, but it sounded like he would have cost too much to keep. Derwin James is amazing, but the reason we were able to pick him was because other teams passed on him due to his injury history at Florida State. It’s not like Telesco did anything to get him. He fell into our laps, just like Rayshawn Slater. You could say that the only reason we were able to draft Keenan Allen out of Cal was that he had an injury history. For a few years, it seemed like the teams who passed on him made the right call. Knock on wood, he’ll be able to stay healthy. Gordon seemed to beat the injury bug until his ego got too big.
I never try to play armchair GM, especially since I don’t watch any college football. We all remember how Sammy Davis and Larry English could have been Polamalu and Clay Matthews. I don’t think Telesco has had any misses on that level, but there aren’t a bunch of guys he drafted contributing to the team.
Does Telesco deserve credit for Herbert? He said he would have drafted Tua if he’d been there. We all thought that way. Herbert was amazing last season and seems to really be ready to become the fall of the franchise going forward. I know Bruce Arians sent a text response that a new OC is the worst thing in the world for Herbert, but does anyone really think that Steichen was the reason for Herbert’s success? There were some that said Lynn should stick around for Herbert to achieve continued stability. Stability only means something when you are winning.
The reality is that the Chargers clearly wanted Staley all along. You have to give them credit for being able to keep a secret. They seem to have really taken the search for a coach seriously. They appear to actually understand that Justin Herbert on his rookie contract represents the best window the Chagers are gonna get to finally win a Super Bowl.
This doesn’t mean Staley will be a good coach. Very few coaches find sustained success in the NFL beyond Foxboro and now that’s even come under scrutiny.
But it’s hard not to listen to Staley talk and see what the Chargers see in him. He seems to be insanely energetic, engaging, and willing to be flexible. I mean, I went and watched Rounders because of him. He said it was his favorite movie in his introductory press conference, in case you missed it.
All of the new assistants also seem like the right picks. They obviously subscribe to data-driven decision making and seem ready to hold people accountable. I’m looking at you, Money Bungler. Seriously, I don’t think keeping him because the last two kickers blossomed after leaving is smart. He’s a choker who can’t reach the end zone. That ain’t changing. I don’t think Staley is going to let one guy shank away games while Herbert, the coaches, the rest of the team, and the fans all pay the price.
I’ve seen the same pics you have of Herbert all bulked up. I hope it translates into his performance.
The decision to pay Mike Williams that huge bonus had to be a part of a plan, right? It’s not as if they just let the window to release him elapse. I haven’t seen any comment from The Organization other than asking Lombardi about Williams’ expected usage. Of course, this was when people were speculating about us trading for Julio Jones. I don’t know how to feel about his going to Tennessee. Again, I get the idea that we need to maximize Herbert’s rookie contract window. I do think the Chargers understand that. Obviously, when you look at what the Titans gave Atlanta, you think “why didn’t we do that?” I don’t know if we’ll ever find out if Telesco made an offer. I still haven’t heard a single comment on the offer to Brady last year. If he takes it, do we still draft Herbert? I don’t think for one second that signing Brady would have resulted in a Super Bowl, by the way. I guess I should once again just praise Telesco for keeping a lid on things?
Obviously, Williams’ numbers last season didn’t warrant the money he’s making this season. Nonetheless, we know how clutch he can be. He would have won the KC game in 2019 if not for Rivers’ end zone pick and the Money Bungler negated his amazing catch in New Orleans last year. I was amazed after looking at Williams’ numbers that he was targeted as much as he was last year. It felt like Herbert was never really looking for him. Maybe Telesco looks at the same numbers, I assume he does. I don’t know if the Chargers have long term plans for him, but he’s busted his ass and played through a ton of pain. With Keenan out, he obviously carried the team in Arrowhead in 2018. That seems like ages ago, I know, it is.
Watching Staley run the OTAs, it’s hard not to be positive. I know we felt that way last summer but I guess HBO just fooled us all. I can’t pin my hopes on Derwin James staying healthy, but once he went down everything changed. It didn’t explain why Lynn continued to kill our chances with conservative and stupid coaching, but I think that’s just who he was. The KC game is the outlier and his body of work the rest of his tenure. Staley really has that McVay level intensity. Gruden had it too when he was younger. I was a huge fan of getting him to coach us, but it seems (hopefully) that he’s become a caricature of his former self. Who knows how McVay will be going forward, for that matter. I thought his greatest accomplishment was getting Jared Goff to look as good as he did, but now I wonder since it seems like there was a lot more going on behind the scenes with that relationship. There is only so long you can push guys in pro football.