Brandon Staley was the first-year Chargers head coach in 2021, but that has not stopped him from being one of the NFL’s most aggressive play-callers on fourth down. The Chargers converted an NFL-high 22 fourth-down conversions last season, and coach Brandon Staley has developed a reputation for using analytics in his decision-making on fourth down. Brandon Staley’s aggressiveness is especially noteworthy, as the Chargers were the only winning team with a winning record that attempted to convert at least 30 fourth downs last season. The Chargers failed to convert on four of those 12 decisions, including Ekeler running it against the Raiders.
The L.A. Chargers were blanked in three trips into the red zone, with two being on fourth-down go-for-it decisions and were 2 for 5 on fourth down overall. Chargers fans saw firsthand how this grade would play out as the team failed to convert on two fourth-down conversions inside their territory in a 34-6 blowout loss against the Ravens in Week 6. The Chargers converted 64.7% of their attempts, fourth-best in the NFL and second-best among teams that attempted 20-plus fourth-down conversions. The Chargers were not new to going for it on fourth down last season.
The only issue with this is there is either going to be one of those fourth downs that they go for that ends up being one of the more memorable moments in NFL history, or else that is going to cost Chargers HC Brandon Staley his job. Vince Lombardi could then call plays on first, second, and third down, knowing if he gets down to fourth-and-4 or worse, the Chargers are going for it – unless Brandon Staley says otherwise. For Staley, this process began the winter of 2021, before he was going for it on fourth-down at a higher rate than any head coach in football before his in-game decisions helped push the Chargers to the brink of the playoffs. Before the vicious wrath of the NFL, the world came down hard on the then-rookie head coach as the Chargers came within a victory (or tie) at the end of a game.
Jason Staley did not list him as a teacher only because, to Brandon, the distinction between teaching and coaching is slight; he became much more than Linda’s son once the diagnosis was made. He saw the woman whose influence was so deep with the new Chargers head coach that he resonates with him even today, almost 17 years after his death affected him. Jason Staley considered sitting out the last season of eligibility, but he talked him out of it.