The Los Angeles Chargers have decided on their next head coach -- and they didn't even have to leave their home stadium to find him.
The Chargers are hiring Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as their head coach, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. The team later announced both sides have agreed to terms on a deal.
"It's not just that Brandon possesses a tremendous football mind that makes him the ideal head coach to lead our team forward," general manager Tom Telesco said in a statement. "It's that he excels in the ability to effectively tailor, apply and communicate his concepts to players. It's clear that Brandon will not be out-worked, he's the football equivalent of a gym rat, and that has earned him the universal respect of the players he has coached throughout his journey."
The 38-year-old Staley ascends to the head of the Chargers' staff after just one season with the Rams, a campaign in which he coordinated the league's No. 1 defense (in terms of scoring, total defense and pass defense) in the 2020 regular season.
"It's hard to put into words just how excited I am for the opportunity to be the Los Angeles Chargers' head coach," Staley said. "While this is certainly a dream come true, it's also a dream that's just beginning. There's a reason this was probably the most sought after job out there — from ownership, to the fans, to the city, to the men in that locker room — it's the total package. I can't thank the Spanos family and Tom Telesco enough for placing their faith in us, and by the time everyone is reading this quote in a press release, we'll already be hard at work developing a program Chargers fans everywhere can be proud of."
Under Staley's guidance, multiple Rams defenders had career seasons in sacks -- Leonard Floyd (10.5), Morgan Fox (6.0) and Troy Reeder (3.0) -- while defensive lineman Michael Brockers recorded his second-most sacks of his career. Floyd's jump in production was especially impressive after he'd left Chicago -- where he'd been considered to be a first-round bust, or at the very least, a very underwhelming player added via high draft pick -- for Los Angeles, where the change in scenery, scheme and coach did him wonders.
It was Los Angeles' best defensive season since 1975, when the Rams allowed just 9.6 points per game and 237.3 total yards per game, and it opened the eyes of the rest of the league of the ability and candidacy of the young assistant.
His defensive group stifled the Seattle Seahawks in their wild-card meeting, leading to the Rams' upset win over the Seahawks, before falling to the Packers on Saturday in the Divisional Round. It took the Chargers just 24 hours following the Rams' loss to determine Staley was their guy going forward.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Staley spent a combined three seasons as linebackers coach with the Denver Broncos (2019) and Chicago Bears (2017-2018). He comes from a background in which he spent time working under prominent defensive head coaches (John Fox and Vic Fangio), but also gained equal experience under forward-thinking offensive minds (Matt Nagy and Sean McVay), making for a well-rounded foundation that the Chargers deemed ready for the head job.
A fellow Rams coordinator could follow Staley to the Chargers: Kevin O'Connell. The Rams offensive coordinator is considered a possibility to join Staley's staff as Chargers offensive coordinator, Pelissero reported. However, Rams coach Sean McVay would have to let him out of his contract to make a lateral move across town. If O'Connell stays put, current Chargers OC Shane Steichen is a strong internal option.
Staley will take over a Chargers team looking to live up to expectations after running into a multi-season stretch of injury issues, close losses and a lack of attention to detail that has left them on the losing end of the scoreboard more often than not.