Following a historic loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Los Angeles Chargers have fired head coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I want to thank Tom and Brandon for their hard work, dedication and professionalism, and wish both them and their wonderful families nothing but the best,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy, nor are they something I take lightly – especially when you consider the number of people they affect.
“However, we are clearly not where we expect to be, and we need new vision. Doing nothing in the name of continuity was not a risk I was willing to take. Our fans have stood strong through so many ups and downs and close matches. They deserve more. To be honest, they deserved more. Building and maintaining a championship caliber program remains our ultimate goal. And the reimagining of how we achieve that goal begins today.”
Thursday night’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders is one of the most embarrassing defeats in recent memory. The Chargers’ 63 points allowed were the the most in franchise history, and their 42-point deficit was the franchise’s third-largest margin of defeat. To add insult to injury, the loss dropped Los Angeles’ playoff chances to less than one percent, According to the New York Times.
The game capped off a horrible stretch for the Chargers’ defense. In Staley’s three years as head coach, the Chargers defense never finished higher than 19th defensive EPA/Play and 21st in defensive DVOA. In 2023, Staley’s defense finished with the fifth worst allowed explosive passing rate despite running a two-high scheme designed specifically to eliminate explosive passing.
Nor was it for lack of talent acquisition. Staley had two All-Pro defensive talents in edge rusher Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James. Telesco then tried his best to add to his defensive talent each season, bringing in linebacker Khalil Mack via trade and cornerback JC Jackson on a five-year, $82 million contract. Jackson played in all seven games before being traded back to New England, while serviceable 32-year-old edge rusher Mack is expected to give the Chargers a cap hit of $38.5 million in 2024.
In Staley’s first season, the Chargers missed out on a playoff berth due to Staley’s clock mismanagement in a Week 18 game against the Raiders. In 2022, Los Angeles blew the third-largest lead in NFL playoff history. The Chargers are now unlikely to make the playoffs again.
The rookie contract window for Justin Herbert ends this season, with his market determination contract kicking in in 2024. According to OvertheCap currently puts the Los Angeles Chargers $42.2 million over the 2024 cap threshold, the third-least projected cap space in the league.