Saturday, April 6, 2024

Brandon Staley, Tom Telesco fired by Los Angeles Chargers

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The Brandon Staley Era in Los Angeles is over.

As is the tenure of general manager Tom Telesco

After the Los Angeles Chargers lost in embarrassing fashion on Thursday Night Football, going down 42-0 in the first half to the Las Vegas Raiders before ultimately losing 63-21, owner Dean Spanos had seen enough.

Both Staley and Telesco have been fired:

The language at the end of that statement from Spanos — “our fans have stood strong through so many ups and downs and close games. They deserve more. Frankly, they’ve earned more” — certainly stands out.

Later in the day Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the organization was naming outside linebackers coach Giff Smith as their interim head coach. In addition, Schefter reported that JoJo Wooden, the team’s Director of Player Personnel, would handle GM duties on an interim basis.

Staley’s tenure in Los Angeles can probably best be described as a string of missed opportunities. Despite inheriting a roster led by quarterback Justin Herbert — on a rookie deal — the Chargers made the playoffs just once during his time in Los Angeles. Los Angeles missed the postseason during Staley’s first year, when the Chargers lost in a “win, tie, or home” Week 18 game to the Raiders.

Staley was heavily criticized for his handling of that game, including an early fourth-down decision which failed, as well as a timeout he took during overtime which ultimately helped the Raiders set up a game-winning field goal.

Again, if the Chargers simply tied that game, they were in the playoffs.

However, they did reach the postseason in Staley’s second season, only to suffer an embarrassing loss on the road to the Jacksonville Jaguars. After going up 27-0 in the first half, the Chargers blew that lead, ultimately losing by a final score of 31-30.

While the Chargers did battle injuries this season, and were without Herbert for Thursday night’s game, this season was another string of missed opportunities. The team lost four games by one score, including a brutal loss to the Green Bay Packers where Herbert could have delivered the game-winning throw to Quentin Johnston, but the rookie dropped a potential touchdown. That was one of many missed chances in that game, another coming when running back Austin Ekeler dropped a throw between the 3 and the 0 on his jersey that would have been a touchdown.

As for Telesco, while he did bring Herbert to the organization, the Chargers have made the playoffs just three times in the last ten years, and their last AFC West title was before his tenure.

During a season where the Kansas City Chiefs failed to run away with the division, the Chargers’ failures this season — a year they could have caught the Chiefs — are even more painful.

With Thursday night’s loss, Staley finishes his time in Los Angeles with a 24-24 record.

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