The Chargers announced their coaching staff on Thursday afternoon before new head coach Brandon Staley spoke to the media. Staley said that he would go to different areas to find the best coaching staff before the process, and he really did search high and low.
He added coaches from the college ranks, some from other coaching staffs in the NFL, and he even retained two of Anthony Lynn's staff. Numerous times during his press conference, he mentioned how he wanted a high character and diverse background staff.
By diverse background, Staley meant that the individual had coached numerous positions and had experience in other areas of the game.
"As a first-time head coach, you're always trying to find out the best way for the Chargers and certainly lean in on people with a diversity of experiences," explained Staley. "That's what we've tried to do with this staff is kind of compliment yourself with people that you respect organizations that you respect, whether it's college or the NFL, but it'll be a team effort for sure."
So out of the 16 coaches named today by the Bolts, ten are from the NFL, and six are from college football. He also hired offensive staff that had worked under Rams Sean McVay, 49ers Kyle Shanahan, Packers Matt LaFleur, and Saints Sean Payton. All of those systems have worked in the NFL, and being a defensive-minded head coach, Staley wanted to bring coaches from successful systems.
All of his coaches arrived in Costa Mesa on Wednesday afternoon.
"So, it kind of felt a little bit like freshmen orientation first day of school, a lot of energy," said Staley with a big smile.
During the process, it was believed that the Chargers could retain offensive coordinator Shane Steichen or quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, but Staley decided to bring in his own coaches. He brought in Shane Day from the 49ers to be Justin Herbert's quarterback coach.
"He's been around one of the premium systems in the NFL with Kyle (Shanahan) the last several years," said Staley. "So just felt like he had a really well-rounded background."
Staley also hired his former offensive coordinator/quarterback's coach from his quarterback days at Dayton, Joe Lombardi. He will be the Chargers' offensive coordinator after spending the last few years as the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks' coach with Drew Brees.
"I felt like Joe was an outstanding teacher," explained Staley. "I felt like he was really progressive at that time, I've never been around an offense like that, that really challenged the quarterback from a mental standpoint, from a preparation standpoint."
During his presser on Tuesday, Herbert mentioned that Lombardi had told him that they would have a "mix and match" offense. So that means they will carry over some of the things Herbert did well in Lynn/Steichen's offense mixed in with some of the things Lombardi wants to do.
"I think you're just trying to establish a comfort zone with Justin, and certainly there's a lot of conceptual carryover within a lot of the offenses in the NFL," said Staley. "So, our offensive staff being able to kind of translate some of the things maybe from the old staff that this guy was really successful."
The Chargers looked in the college ranks for their receivers' coach, who was at Pittsburgh last season in Chris Beatty. This is his first NFL job. He will get to work with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams next season.
"Hopefully, with his coaching, it can become even stronger because we've got a great foundation, and I know that this guy can teach and lead and can bring a lot to our offense as a wideout coach and then helping our offense evolve schematically, too," said Staley.
He also brought in a new offensive line coach in Frank Smith, who was previously the Las Vegas Raiders' tight ends coach. He wants Smith and assistant line coach Shaun Sarrett to build the offensive line.
"Getting a Frank Smith here on offense working closely with Sean Sarrett," said Staley. "I mean, we're really excited about those two guys because you have to be a line of scrimmage team in this league, and we certainly are hoping to be able to live that, and those guys will be leading the way."
Speaking of the other line, Staley decided to retain defensive line coach Giff Smith. He mentioned how Eric Henderson and Chris Shula of the LA Rams spoke highly of Smith, so Staley wanted him to stay. That is good news for defensive end Joey Bosa, who has stated in the past that he leans on Smith for advice.
Everyone is wondering how Staley plans to use Bosa in his 3-4 scheme, which the Chargers have been in a 4-3 the last four seasons. Bosa hasn't been in a 3-4 since his rookie year under John Pagano.
"He's going to be on the edge of our defense in a playmaking role," said Staley. "I think that the fact that he has a unique physical skill set allows you to have that versatility that we like to play with."
Is there a comparison for the way he wants Bosa to play?
"He probably comps more like a Khalil Mack/Aldon Smith type body type and playmaking role for us," explained Staley. "I think that that's kind of his style of play."
Rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray will be another name that fans want to know how he will fit in the Staley defense. He is coming off a mixed rookie season in which he finished off strong.
"He's going to be in the middle of our defense, and he can do so many things whether that's in the run game, in pass coverage, or as a pass rusher from the linebacker position," Staley explained.
Another big piece of the defense "switching" to a 3-4 is Staley naming Jay Rodgers his outside linebackers' coach and run game coordinator. Staley was with Rodgers in Chicago, so he thinks highly of him.
"This guy's a future defensive coordinator," said Staley about Jay Rodgers. "I mean, he's one of the most highly sought-after guys in the NFL, one of the best coaches I know, so he's going to be spearheading that on our defensive side with Giff Smith."
Staley and his staff now will get to work on the next stage of the offseason. Free agency is set to begin in about a month while college athletes will start having their pro-days. When it comes to free agency, the team has many key free agents with Hunter Henry, Michael Davis, Melvin Ingram, and Rayshawn Jenkins set to test it out.
"It makes you excited because there's a lot of work to be done when you're building something," said Staley about building his team-up. "At the beginning, there's so much work to be done. So, that's what we're trying to get out to get after right away and certainly looking forward to it."