Brandon Staley was a defensive coordinator for only one year before landing as the head coach of the Chargers. Part of the reason for his quick ascent was how he successfully implemented his scheme last season.
The Rams finished No. 1 in both yards allowed and points allowed in 2020, creatively utilizing personnel with sub packages to stifle offenses. Now Staley will continue to fit his scheme with the personnel he has as a head coach.
That excites cornerback Chris Harris, who said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that the return of safety Derwin James will allow Los Angeles to create matchup issues. Plus, Harris feels like Staley’s sub packages can make the Chargers elite defenders.
“To bring back Derwin, it’s going to be an issue because now you have me and him that are position-less players, that you never know where we’re going to line up,” Harris said. “I can line up in his position, he can line in my position. So you never know what we’re going to do. And just having his blitzing ability along with [Kenneth] Murray — this a totally different scheme than last year. He’s going to be more downhill. I’m excited to see those boys.
“It’s going to be tough. Our dime and nickel package should be the best in the league when you’ve got me, Derwin, and K Murray, or [Drue] Tranquill inside — or Kyzir White because he’s a guy who can cover, too. So we have a lot of packages that coach Staley is going to use and it’s going to be hard for teams to identify us.”
The Chargers finished 10th in yards allowed but 23rd in points allowed and 22nd in third-down defense last season. If the club’s sub packages are as good as Harris thinks they’ll be, those rankings should significantly improve in 2021.