The Chargers made things official when they announced that the team had agreed to terms with all three of their new coordinators, including new defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill.
Hill played 10 years in the NFL with four different teams. Two of those being AFC West teams in the Raiders and Broncos. Him and Staley spent a lone year together in 2019 when the former was still the team’s cornerbacks coach and the latter was coaching the outside linebackers.
With Staley having already stated he would be calling the defense, it’s up in the air exactly what the rest of Hill’s responsibilities will be if he’s not technically in charge of the team’s D. He’ll likely help build the unit alongside Staley and play a key role in developing some of their younger defensive backs in the same manner that he helped safety Justin Simmons become a Second-Team All-Pro in 2019.
To get some more information and help you all get a better sense of who the Chargers got in their new DC, I asked Joe Rowles of SB Nation’s Broncos site, Mile High Report, if he could help enlighten our readers.
He did an excellent job in here, so I hope you all enjoy.
1.) What do you think has been the biggest impact that Renaldo Hill has left on the Broncos secondary? How much credit does he get for developing Justin Simmons into an All-Pro player?
Rowles: I give more credit to Fangio, Donatell, and Simmons for the All-Pro play than anyone. Obviously Hill played a factor, but I think where his presence shows up most is in the fact that the Broncos had 10 starting cornerbacks last year and the defense didn’t completely fall apart. At one point Parnell Motley and Will Parks were signed from their former teams and thrown into the fire within a couple of weeks. A position coach is critically important for those types of situations and Hill did a fantastic job of it.
2.) Can you enlighten us with any known information regarding what kind of defense you expect the Chargers to run in 2021? Brandon Staley will be calling the plays, but based on his and Hill’s experience in Denver together, do you believe there will be any similarities to Denver’s system under Vic Fangio?
Rowles: Back when Fangio was first hired I looked through and tried to break down where his scheme was a clear departure from the Vance Joseph/Wade Phillips scheme. This last week on my podcast Cover2Broncos I spoke with Cody Alexander about the differences he saw with Staley and Fangio’s scheme. The big thing was Staley showed a preference for a 5 man front in L.A. Now a part of this may be due to the talent he had up front compared to his linebacker corps with the Rams. Denver has played what amounts to a 2-4-5 for the vast majority of Fangio’s time with Denver.
One area where Staley’s defense will surely be a big adjustment for the Chargers is that philosophically the scheme is built back to front. Sound coverage on the backend will be the priority. Staley and Fangio both have shown that they’ll build many of their concepts out of a two high safety structure. This is a big difference from what is common around the league where there tends to be a clear free and strong safety. Both coaches will spin the safeties after the snap here and there, but they’re far more likely to play light in the box in order to slow down passing attacks.
3.) Are there any Broncos free agents that you believe have a good chance at ending up with the Chargers?
Rowles: I could see players like DaVante Bausby or maybe even A.J. Bouye receiving some interest as the Chargers could use more boundary corners. A couple others to keep an eye out for are Joe Jones, Josh Watson, Jurrell Casey. As soon as the Broncos cut Justin Hollins last year I knew he’d end up with the Rams so that may be something to keep an eye on as we get into camp.
4.) In your opinion, do you think this was a good hire by the Chargers? Will the Broncos miss Hill?
Rowles: I was worried the Chargers would hire Brian Daboll because of what he’d potentially mean for Justin Herbert going forward. Staley’s hire means there could be some long term questions about stability on the offensive side of the ball, but he was my second least favorite target. LA has the pieces to turn into a very strong new age defense quickly and the system has given Pat Mahomes some issues in the redzone.
As for Hill? I’m happy for him even if it is a blow to the Broncos. Ed Donatell is a DB coach first and he clearly thought enough of Hill to entrust him with the room. It’s a smart hire for Staley.