Brandon Staley’s true impact on the 2020 LA Rams defense, which ranked first in the league in many notable categories, will only ever have a theoretical answer. Even if the Rams defense somehow tanked next season, we wouldn’t know how much of that had to do with the defensive coordinator. And even if Staley orchestrated a dramatic improvement over Wade Phillips’ best season at the helm, Phillips barely got to work with Jalen Ramsey.
But Staley’s ascent from a defensive coordinator at John Carroll in 2016 to the head coach of the LA Chargers in 2021 didn’t happen by accident. Even Sean McVay had eight NFL seasons prior to being hired by the Rams.
Staley got a head coaching gig in half as many pro seasons.
How did he do it? In his latest breakdown, Alex Rollins details some of what Staley did during his one season as the Rams defensive coordinator and says that Staley’s “innovations revealed the next evolution of defense.”
Rollins notes that Staley’s use of two high safeties was a key to LA’s success against the pass, and they were in that formation a league-high 45% of the time.
Staley was one of the most popular head coaching candidates of the 2021 interview cycle and it made the most sense for him to stay in LA and take the highly desirable job with the Chargers. That means that McVay will be sharing a space with a coach who might turn out to be the most talented assistant that he’s ever had, and that’s turning out to be a relatively strong list.