It is a day that ends in Y which means the Los Angeles Chargers are coming off a crushing defeat thanks to the shortcomings of head coach Brandon Staley. In this edition the Chargers lost to the Detroit Lions, 41-38. Losing to this year's Lions isn't the mark of shame it has been in years past but it was still a bad loss for Los Angeles because the offense scored touchdowns on its final five possessions and caught the L anyway. Usually when a team is that successful offensively it wins. But Staley, hired for his defensive acumen, has put together a unit so porous it could not muster a single stop when it counted and now the team sits at 4-5.
A head coach is never safe when his team is performing well below expectations but Staley's seat is the hottest in the NFL for two reasons. One, his defense has been the primary reason for the team's losses this year and as a defense-first guy that falls on him. Two, he is coming off one of the worst blown leads in NFL playoff history -- in case you somehow forgot, earlier this calendar year the Chargers blew a 27-point lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round. Between the team being bad at the thing he is supposed to be good at and ending last season in spectacularly disastrous fashion, there is a very good chance Staley doesn't make it through the year.
But his dismissal has yet to come, which affords the talking heads time to make it a big discussion. Colin Cowherd broke down his reasons for calling for Staley's firing on The Herd on Monday and made a few salient points.
I mean, there's really no angle to support Staley at this point. It's more obvious this year than ever that his squad would be one of the worst in the league if not for Justin Herbert making magic happen every other game. Saying a team would be bad without their superstar quarterback isn't exactly hard-hitting analysis but one does not need to be a seasoned football viewer to know when the coaching staff isn't doing the players any favors. That's the case with Staley's Chargers team. The Chargers are fighting against his current, winning in spite of him rather than because of him.
For all that they're still only a game below .500 and on paper that is more or less fine. All a team that employs a quarterback of Herbert's skill level needs to do is get to the playoffs. Then anything can happen. But it is a clear and obvious waste of potential thanks to Staley's continued employment and that is a bummer for anyone who likes watching good football. Because the Chargers should be capable of playing some very good football. Instead they are playing chaotic and mostly bad football. Which certainly can be fun but is not conducive to winning regularly.
It feels unlikely Staley will get canned soon because the Chargers have a history of doing the obvious thing months, and sometimes years, after it became obvious to everybody else. But things are pretty bad right now and might get worse if the Herbert magic wears off at any point.