Good Morning, Bolts From the Blue.
After every loss, head coaches have another challenging matchup before they’re able to close the chapter on the week. There’s a game within the game that must be played as they stand behind their team’s podium and face off against the local media and beat reporters.
Victory for the coach is measured by his success in hiding behind “coach speak:” his generic statements about practice, work ethic, preparation, and how the season is still in front of them, all while maintaining composure at the podium.
The media considers the day a win if they are able to break through the coach’s defenses and get him to spill out some truths or statements he may not have intended. Fans want to hear a coach take personal accountability, and make changes in areas of weakness, but it’s rare for the media to pull this out of a coach.
Daniel Popper has been on fire in press conferences lately. He is widely considered one of the - if not the sole - best beat reporters covering the Chargers. He has been supportive and complimentary in the past, but throughout the season he’s been the media member willing to push back against Brandon Staley’s generic statements. The responses he’s gotten have shown some insights into Staley’s perception, and it’s extremely concerning hearing where Staley feels the problems lie with his defense.
Brandon Staley is getting feisty towards Daniel Popper again pic.twitter.com/VsiREGvwp0— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) November 13, 2023
This has been going on throughout the whole season. This is a clip from the Dolphins loss, where Popper asked why the healthy pass rush tandem of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack weren’t able to get to the quarterback in Week One.
It's very odd to be that Brandon Staley continues to claim "The ball was out" as a reasoning for his pass rush not getting home, but doesn't attribute any of his defense's struggles to his schemes that have his DBs playing 7 yards off the line.https://t.co/Vhs4rykze6 https://t.co/uqEdTiuCct— Kyle DeDiminicantanio (@TheKyleDe) November 17, 2023
Staley continued this rhetoric in Week 10, deflecting responsibility for his scheme enabling quick passes and claiming the offense is just designed to get the ball out quick.
That offensive design still allowed five sacks against Baltimore, three against Tampa Bay, two against the Panthers, Green Bay, and Seattle, and one against Kansas City and Las Vegas. The only other team to be held sackless against the Lions all season is the Atlanta Falcons.
When Popper asked if the Lions’ offensive onslaught had anything to do with his scheme and play calling, Staley’s once again deflected:
“It’s the execution of the technique and the fundamentals. Those are within our control, and we just need to do a better job of executing our assignment and our technique. If it was a scheme-related error, you would see us make adjustments that way.”
Popper does a great job in his article below breaking down how schematically, Staley was flat out beaten by Ben Johnson.
And now, for today’s daily links:
Daniel Popper believes Ben Johnson stayed a step ahead of Brandon Staley throughout the whole Week 10 matchup (The Athletic)
Keenan Allen reveals his shoulder injury suffered against the Lions is an AC joint sprain (Charger Report from SI)
NFL Media predictions are a clean sweep, with all pundits predicting a Chargers victory. Yikes. (Charger Report from SI)
The Ravens may have lost Mark Andrews for the rest of the season with an ankle injury (NFL.com)
Joe Burrow left the Thursday night game with a sprained wrist and did not return (NFL.com)
Injury-report compliance continues to be a hot topic has Joe Burrow gets off team bus with wrist brace, but no injury designation, and leaves game with injury (Sporting News)
Stefon Diggs drama continues in Buffalo; Diggs attempts to distance himself from brother’s inflammatory comments (ESPN)
is under fire for podcast appearance where she admits to completely making up her sideline reports (Awful Announcing)