clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Chargers will never be the Rams no matter how hard they try

You can poach coaches and make splash trades, but ultimately you have to blaze your own path

Los Angeles Rams v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Impossible burgers don’t taste remotely close to wagyu beef, Sweet and Low is a bad imitation of sugar, and the Chargers will never be the Los Angeles Rams no matter how hard they try.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible for the Chargers to emerge as a true contender and win a Super Bowl, but history has proven emulation is almost the surest way to fail.

Many have hired branches off the Bill Belichick coaching tree and attempted to copy the cold, calculated ways of the New England Patriots. Each year draft prospects are labeled as “the next Aaron Donald”, but ultimately special talent cannot be replicated.

The path to success is one that can be blazed only by staying true to yourself. Every championship roster in the history of the NFL faced their own set of challenges, and how they navigated that adversity is what makes them unique.

Perhaps no team needs to hear that advice more than the Chargers.

You can continue to poach Sean McVay’s assistants, such as they did in 2021 when they hired Brandon Staley after a single season of defensive coordinator experience. You can call the unparalleled SoFi Stadium home when Stan Kroenke’s Rams are out on the road. You can copy the Rams’ hallmark approach of trading draft capital for proven veterans, but McVay’s team derived far greater value from a half season of Von Miller than the Chargers did with Khalil Mack in all of 2022.

And the Chargers continue to double down on their attempt to copy the Rams - Staley plans to interview both Zac Robinson, Greg Olson, and Thomas Brown for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position.

It’s an appealing opportunity. Justin Herbert is immensely talented though he’s yet to clear the high bar that his special traits have set - and it’s cost two coordinators their jobs already. Now Staley is in a position where it’s either a deep playoff run or bust in his third year, and if he doesn’t live up to the billing his newest offensive coordinator will be collateral damage. We could be a stone’s throw from Herbert working with his fourth OC in just five seasons in 2024, and that’s the quickest way to ruin the prospects of a promising, young quarterback.

Taking the Chargers job would come with high stakes for either of Robinson, Olson, or Brown, but you have to strike while you’re a hot name on the market: see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers firing Byron Leftwich within the last week after he was a finalist for the Jacksonville Jaguars just one year ago. Unfortunately for LA’s other team, Cooper Kupp and those aforementioned assistants are not a package deal.

It’s important to remember that the Rams didn’t become Super Bowl champions by imitating those that came before them. Les Snead and McVay exploited the inefficiencies of other teams to undertake one of the most unique and complicated team builds in recent memory. It was a series of bold moves that sprung out of a bold and daring organizational culture, and this set the table for the rise of the “F them picks” movement. The next time the Rams win a championship it won’t be through the same approach, and no other team can get the job done in exactly the same way the 2021 roster did.

“Be yourself” is perhaps the most common advice you’ll receive over your lifetime, but Brandon Staley and the Chargers need to take it to heart - they will never be the Rams no matter how hard they try.

NFL: AUG 29 Rams Scrimmage Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images