The Los Angeles Chargers have a lot to be excited about this coming season.
They boast one of the game’s elite quarterbacks in Justin Herbert, who is just 24 years of age and about to enter his third season in the NFL.
Even better, the Chargers have a greatly revamped defense that will showcase the talents of pass-rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive linemen Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day.
Head coach Brandon Staley is in an enviable position, but he is also under plenty of pressure.
The Chargers have made the playoffs only twice in the last dozen years, and their long-suffering fans are starving for a legitimate run at the Super Bowl or at least a trip deep into the playoffs.
Could missing the playoffs again cost Staley his job?
Staley Has The Tools To Get It Done
Staley was hired about a year ago to replace Anthony Lynn, whose tenure with the Bolts was lackluster.
He got the team as close as possible to the playoffs without actually making it there in 2021, losing an epic contest in Week 18 to the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime.
This season, the Chargers have a roster that looks good enough to possibly contend for the world championship.
In addition to Herbert and all the aforementioned additions on the defensive side of the football, they will continue to enjoy the services of Pro Bowl pass rusher Joey Bosa and Pro Bowl safety Derwin James.
Just as Brandon Staley invested in putting the right pieces around Justin Herbert in 2021. He has done the same for Derwin James this year. https://t.co/k7f6hfUZPn
— Jake Hefner (@JakeTHefner) May 17, 2022
In 2021, Ekeler had 1,558 total yards from scrimmage and 20 rushing/receiving touchdowns, which tied him for first place in the NFL in the latter category.
The Chargers ranked towards the top of the league in several offensive categories, but its ground game, which ranked just 21st in yards, could stand to improve.
Other Than Potential Injuries, There Are No Excuses
Yes, the AFC, especially the AFC West, will be a bloodbath this coming season.
But the Chargers have plenty of weapons on both sides of the football, including perhaps a nuclear weapon in Herbert.
They have a very realistic chance of winning the division, and even if they don’t, every team in the AFC West could very well make the playoffs.
The measure of a good or great coach is how much he manages to get out of the talent and players he is given to coach.
Staley will have many potential Pro Bowlers to coach in 2022, and it is up to him to put them all together and make sure the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
One positive is that some of his new players have previously played for him.
#Chargers additions this offseason that previously played for Brandon Staley:
• EDGE Khalil Mack (Bears)
• DL Sebastian Joseph-Day (Rams)
• CB Bryce Callahan (Bears, Broncos)
• LB Troy Reeder (Rams)
• DL Morgan Fox (Rams)
Scheme familiarity at all three levels of D.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) May 18, 2022
Unless the Chargers have key injuries, there is no excuse for them to miss the playoffs yet again.
If they do so, Staley has a good chance of being on the hot seat.
On the other hand, who would be available in that scenario who would be an improvement over him?