Defensive-minded Chargers HC Brandon Staley hopes to give Justin Herbert a 'dual education'

His defensive reputation precedes him, but Brandon Staley wants the world to know he’s excited to showcase his offensive acumen.

The new L.A. Chargers head coach spoke numerous times on the topic during his lengthy introductory press conference Thursday. With a hotshot QB like Justin Herbert at his disposal, it’s not hard to understand his enthusiasm.

“That was what I was so excited about to convey in this process, was my offensive vision because I do consider myself an offensive coach,” Staley said. “I think what has helped me so much on the defensive side of the ball is my offensive background. I’ve been fortunate to have some great teachers that have taught me a lot on offensive football. My defensive thinking has been shaped by a lot of those people. I think, when it comes to Justin, just observing and watching him from afar, I think you guys are probably all aware of the excitement about this guy and what he earned in his first year.”

“… I think that my vision for the offense really fit Justin, what he can do well, where we want to take it and how we want to play and feature his style of play. Not being able to impose a system on him is creating the system for Justin and uniquely shaping it to his skillset because he is unlike anybody in the NFL. He’s his own person. I think my background as a player, my background as a defensive coach, we’ll be able to shape that in a really special way.”

Staley’s influence over the defense will be evident right away but how he contributes to the offensive side of the ball will be crucial to Herbert’s development. Thanks to a well-rounded background that includes stints working under the likes of Vic Fangio and Sean McVay, the 38-year-old has a great chance to be the right influence for the young signal-caller.

While the former Rams defensive coordinator was leading the NFL’s top-ranked defense this season, Herbert was down the hall putting the league on notice, setting numerous records including the rookie record for most TD passes in a season (31).

The 2020 season provided both Staley and Herbert a launching pad to make their presence known. Now, the pair will come together in 2021 with the intention of turning the Chargers around after a rough couple of seasons.

If Staley is able to figure out a way to mesh his defensive experience with Herbert’s already high IQ, as he envisions, there’s no telling what Year 2 could bring for the Rookie of the Year candidate and his team.

“l think that is probably the thing that I’m most excited about. Now I get to be an offensive coach for the first time since maybe calling some plays with my brothers in the backyard. I get to be an offensive coach now, too,” he said. “What I mean by that is that I just want to share all of the knowledge that I have to help Justin hopefully have a dual education. He is going to be getting this amazing education from our offensive coaching staff, but then there’s this other education that hopefully I can give him to sort of shape and complete his game as a player.”

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