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Justin Herbert, Chargers players support Brandon Staley despite epic playoff collapse

In the aftermath of Saturday's epic collapse from a 27-0 lead in Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers players defended coach Brandon Staley, whose future came under fire following the 31-30 loss to the Jaguars.

"Everyone would be lucky to have a coach like Staley. He's been an incredible leader and has the respect of everyone on our team," quarterback Justin Herbert said, via the Associated Press. "He's genuine, he's himself and has been the same person for the past two years."

Staley's seat seemed to cool following the Chargers' first postseason appearance since 2018. However, the coach's handling of a meaningless Week 18 game -- in which star receiver Mike Williams got hurt -- and the disastrous fashion in which L.A. lost to Jacksonville reignited calls for his job.

To a man, Chargers leaders stood behind the coach Sunday as they prepared for the offseason. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, who was called for two pivotal unsportsmanlike conduct penalties Saturday, noted that it's Staley's second season in charge of a club.

"I really do trust these coaches. He's a fresh head coach in this league. To expect he's going to know everything right away is kind of silly," Bosa said. "I think we need to just keep building. It doesn't happen overnight."

Staley is just six seasons removed from being a defensive coordinator at James Madison University before he leaped to the pros. After three seasons as an NFL outside linebackers coach, Staley spent a single season as the Rams' defensive coordinator before getting the Chargers' top job.

The tenderfoot nature of Staley's NFL career could play in his favor, with Chargers owner Dean Spanos electing to stay the course after back-to-back winning seasons.

"I feel like what we built here and what we've continued to build every day, it's something special," safety Derwin James said. "And that first half definitely showed that."

The first half showed the potential, but the second half was the burnt Two-Face side of the coin. L.A. was a disaster. The offense couldn't sustain drives. The defense wilted, allowing the Jags to score on each of their final five possessions. And Staley froze in a big spot.

It was the most Chargering moment in Chargers history.

"It seems like when things are going too well, and one bad play happens, you kind of get that collective sense, like, 'Oh gosh, what's happening?' I think I have it ingrained in my head a little bit because it's happened a million times," Bosa said.

If Staley survives, it must come with changes to his staff. Running back the same crew that coached in Saturday's historic collapse would be insanity.

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