Los Angeles Chargers appear headed for a complete leadership reset

The L.A. Chargers look like a franchise ready for a complete change of leadership from top to bottom.
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Michael Owens/GettyImages

On Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs have a very real chance to seize complete control of the AFC West for the eighth year in a row. Amazingly, they can do it as soon as Week 7 of the regular season.

This year, the Chiefs are already running away with their division with a 5-1 record overall. The Denver Broncos are already four games behind at 1-5 and the Las Vegas Raiders are two games back at 3-3, but the Raiders have beaten up on the worst teams in the NFL and look pitiful themselves. The primary competition for K.C. this year, as in most recent seasons, is the L.A. Chargers.

This year, the Chargers are 2-3, which has them in third place, but coming into Week 7, the Bolts must win at Arrowhead to draw even. If they lose, they fall to 2-4 and will be 3.5 games behind the Chiefs. While it's technically not out of the race, it's more breathing room than the Chiefs will need to claim the title.

All of this is important because it would be yet another season in which the Chargers would have failed to capitalize on the amount of impact talent they have on both sides of the ball. From Austin Ekeler to Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen to Khalil Mack to Joey Bosa to Rashawn Slater, the Chargers have several elite-level players. Yet every year, they're unable to join the ranks of true contender.

Leadership has long been identified as the primary issue here, and Brandon Staley has taken his share of criticism since his first season in L.A. after signing a four-year deal before the 2021 season. This year feels like it could be Staley's last, but we wanted to hear more about the leadership concerns for the Chargers on the verge of their visit to Kansas City.

We asked Jason Reed of Bolt Beat to tell us more about the state of the organization and what's likely happening in the weeks to come.

There's a lot of hot seat talk surrounding Brandon Staley. How much of this is true and how much of this is warranted?

The talk is definitely warranted. Brandon Staley needed to come out hot to wipe away the stench of the AFC Wild Card Round last season and the Chargers have done the opposite. It was very obvious in the offseason that both Staley and GM Tom Telesco knew that this season was make-or-break and that both parties would likely lose their job if things went south.

All that being said, the Chargers historically do not fire coaches midseason so it would be very surprising to see the team actually give Staley the boot anytime soon. But if the Chargers cannot win a playoff game then he is as good as gone.

The Chargers have had the worst injury luck in some seasons. Does that give Staley any credit at all?

The Chargers have certainly been injury-prone, but every single team in the league deals with injuries. The Chargers have had plenty of chances to succeed regardless of the injuries. Heck, Staley himself was the reason for one key injury in the AFC Wild Card Game as he played Mike Williams in a meaningless Week 18 game only for him to get hurt. When so many losses have been directly coaching based, it is hard to use the injuries as a fallback excuse.

What is your feeling about this year's roster with a replacement coach. Do you think they'd fare much better without Staley?

I don't think an in-season head coach change would make much of a difference, if any. If Staley were to get the boot then offensive coordinator Kellen Moore would likely take over as the head coach. Defensive play-calling duties would go to defensive coordinator Derek Ansley, who is a Staley guy. There wouldn't be a wholesale change to the defensive scheme or philosophy, so we would likely see more of the same production-wise.

If the Chargers start over in terms of their leadership, what percent of the roster do you think that will feature?

And one more: How certain do you feel this is Staley's last season? Would you say 100 percent? 75 percent?