The Los Angeles Chargers barely, barely missed the playoffs this season, getting eliminated as time expired in their final game of the year against the Las Vegas Raiders. While there was tangible progress made in Brandon Staley's first year at the helm, it was a frustrating and inconsistent year for the Bolts. Some weeks, they looked like they could beat anybody in the league. In others, they looked like they should be picking in the top five of the draft. This kind of week-to-week variance is a hallmark of young teams learning how to win, but with the talent the Chargers boast on their roster, missing the postseason is undoubtedly a disappointment no matter how close it was.
Rex Ryan appeared on Get Up this morning particularly frustrated with Staley and absolutely blasted him. He accused the rookie head coach of robbing us all of a Herbert playoff appearance, coaching like a D-III coach that nobody cares about, and slammed him for the infamous timeout call that may have cost the Chargers the game when it seemed like the Raiders were going for a tie. Among other things.
"It's hard not to make the playoffs with a franchise QB, but congratulations, you did it." Dang, Rex.
Whether or not Staley cost his team their season by calling that timeout will be debated forever. The end result remains the same: the Chargers have some soul-searching to do. But not all is lost. Staley's problem of being far too aggressive on fourth down is far more fixable than not being aggressive enough. Herbert hasn't reached his ceiling, and he's not even close, really. Los Angeles' defense was extremely flawed from Week 1 and still came within two seconds of a playoff berth.
Staley deserves some of the heat coming his way, but the future is bright.