Chargers’ Staley rounds out staff by hiring 16 coaches

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Brandon Staley said when he was hired as coach of the Los Angeles Chargers last month that he wanted to craft an offense that played to quarterback Justin Herbert’s strengths.

The group he has assembled has experience with some of the more prolific offensive coaches in the league.

Los Angeles announced the 16 position and assistant coaches that round out Staley’s staff. They join offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill and special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II, who were announced earlier.

“We want to provide Justin and all the players on offense with a coaching staff that was at the cutting edge,” said Staley, who was hired on Jan. 17. “We have guys from a variety of backgrounds, both from the pro game and in the college game that we hope can really create something unique and really take this offense to something new.”

The offensive staff includes coaches that have worked under New Orleans’ Sean Payton (Lombardi), San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan (passing game/quarterbacks coach Shane Day), Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur (tight ends coach Shane Day) and Oakland’s Jon Gruden (offensive line coach Frank Smith). Staley came to the Chargers after one season on Sean McVay’s Rams staff as defensive coordinator.

Wide receivers coach Chris Beatty (Pitt) and running backs coach Derrick Foster (Iowa) are coming from the college ranks. Herbert, the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, has returned to Southern California and is hoping to get some parts of the playbook over the next month.

“I think we’re just trying to establish a comfort zone with Justin and establishing that foundation that’s so important,” Staley said. “Then, let him be able to take that ownership of where he’s comfortable.”

With Staley being the third-youngest coach in the NFL, it’s no surprise that his first coaching staff with the Chargers might come in as one of the youngest in the league.

Staley kept only two holdovers from Lynn’s staff — veteran defensive line coach Giff Smith and offensive assistant Dan Shamash. Smith is the only staff member over 50.

Jay Rodgers, who is seen as an up-and-coming assistant in league circles, will coach outside linebackers as well as serve as one of the run game coordinators. Rodgers and Staley previously worked together in Chicago.

The rest of Staley’s position coaches are Michael Wilhoite (linebackers) and Derrick Ansley (secondary).

Tom Donatell (secondary), Shaun Sarrett (offensive line), Mayur Chaudhari (special teams), Isaac Shewmaker (defensive quality control), Chandler Whitmer (offensive quality control) and John Timu (Alex G. Spanos coaching fellow) are coming aboard as assistants.

With offseason programs likely to be mainly virtual again due to COVID-19, Staley isn’t worried about installing new systems after having the same experience last year with the Rams defense. The entire staff met on Thursday for the first time with the next steps being meetings with general manager Tom Telesco and scouts about free agency and the draft.

Los Angeles went 7-9 this past season and will have the 13th overall pick in April’s draft. Even though the salary cap is expected to decrease due to COVID-19 related revenue losses, the Chargers should have some room to negotiate in free agency.

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