Now that the Chargers have hired Brandon Staley as their head coach, the next step is crucial. Staley is a 38-year-old first-time NFL head coach. Four years ago, he was a defensive coordinator at John Carroll University, a division three program.
The 17th head coach in franchise history now has a tall task ahead of him, filling out his staff. Staley has a plan because the Chargers brass wouldn't have hired him if he didn't.
General manager Tom Telesco told the media that if they hired a non-offensive minded head coach, they would need to have a plan for quarterback Justin Herbert.
Whomever the head coach decides to hire as the offensive coordinator will be critical to the team's success. There have been some reports that Staley is interested in hiring his former co-worker and current Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell.
The 35-year-old offensive coordinator has ties to the Chargers. He played football at San Diego State University when the Chargers were located in San Diego, and he was a practice squad member in 2012 before retiring.
He has made his way up the ranks, starting as the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach to the Rams offensive coordinator. Here is the challenging part. Because it would be the same job, so Rams head coach Sean McVay would have to let him leave. Would McVay do it? Well, he already has a defensive coordinator job to fill. Does he want to fill the offensive side as well? It will be interesting.
The only other way they could hire O'Connell is if Staley hires him as the offensive coordinator and the assistant head coach. Both former Rams coordinators have a close relationship, so it will be interesting to see if Staley brings him or maybe running backs coach Thomas Brown as his offensive coordinator.
Staley could also go with the in-house approach that the Chargers have done in the past. When Anthony Lynn was hired in 2017, he retained offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. It is not known whether that was Lynn's decision or Chargers brass, but Telesco said the head coach would decide his staff.
He may decide to stay with current offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who has familiarity with quarterback Justin Herbert and the offense. He could also thank Steichen and decide to go with Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton as the offensive coordinator. Herbert is familiar with both and has had success. Maybe they're able to retain both in their same role.
It will be essential to have a very good offensive staff around Staley.
He is a young head coach, so the way this staff potentially looks or may look, Staley should think about hiring a defensive coordinator. As a young coach, you don't want to throw too much on your plate, and because of how young this coaching staff could be, maybe he should hire a veteran defensive coordinator.
A certain former Chargers defensive coordinator recently tweeted out, "I am ready to retire from retirement! I am ready and available. Let's win." That was good old Wade Phillips. The same Wade Phillips who helped Sean McVay his first three seasons as a head coach. Phillips could bring experience and help Staley figure things out as he gets used to being a head coach.
The 73-year-old defensive coordinator took last season off and is ready to come back.
Staley will have a lot on his plate, but many experts feel like he is ready for this responsibility. Clearly, the Chargers feel like he is prepared for this. He has to help himself and make sure he can oversee every area of the game.