By Peter Andrisani (The Mock Draft Guy)
After doing the most Los Angeles Chargers thing ever, blowing a 27-point lead in the Wildcard Round to the Jacksonville Jaguars, I was expecting Brandon Staley to be fired the next day. Almost miraculously, Staley lasted an additional ELEVEN MONTHS at the helm, somehow. After wasting a few seasons of Justin Herbert's prime, and parading out an embarrassingly disappointing “most expensive defense in NFL History,” The Chargers fired Brandon Staley. I guess giving up 63 points to a Raiders team that lost 3-0 just four days prior was the final nail in the coffin. Enough dilly-dallying, let’s look at 5 candidates for The Los Angeles Chargers Head Coaching gig in 2024.
Bobby Slowik (Houston Texans OC)
Let’s start with a “Lesser Known” Option. Slowik comes from Kyle Shanahan's coaching tree and spent time working with Shanahan and Mike McDaniel, creating a remarkable offensive attack in San Francisco. He spent his final seasons there as a passing game specialist and coordinator. With the Texan's offense, and CJ Stroud's performance, it’s evident that downfield offense is his specialty. Perhaps an Offensive-mined head coach can spark this offense, and squeeze the most out of Justin Herbert’s potential.
Brian Flores (Minnesota Vikings DC)
It seems like an Offensive-minded head coaching hire would make a little bit more sense, but what Flores has done in Minnesota this season is remarkable. The Viking's defense was one of the worst units in the NFL last season. Under Flores, the Viking's defense ranks in the top 10 in many categories, including Yards Allowed, and Points Allowed. Flores has Head Coaching experience, which is already a plus. Flores has a knack for elevating the players who play for him, and if there’s a unit out there that needs to improve, It’s the Chargers defense. (Especially for the price tag).
Bill Belichick (New England Patriots HC)
Here's The Swing for the Fences. It seems like the long marriage between BB & NE is destined for a mutual separation. After a disastrous season, Los Angeles could be an appealing landing spot for the veteran head coach. The Chargers have an established quarterback with limitless talent and a defense that, while underwhelming, boasts some of the most exciting players in the NFL.
Belichick could help iron out those defensive issues. He has long been one of the best defensive minds in the NFL and should be able to get more of a defense that features talented players like Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Derwin James than Staley has to date. After all, the Patriots rank ninth in yards allowed in 2023 despite being both undermanned and consistently put behind the 8-ball by Mac Jones and their lifeless offense.
Ben Johnson (Detroit Lions OC)
Johnson has worked on Dan Campbell's staff with the Lions and has Detroit on pace to be a top-five offense for a second consecutive season. They are one of the most prolific, well-rounded attacks in the NFL, which should be attractive for The Chargers and many NFL Teams. Jared Goff has played some of the best ball of his career under Johnson's watch.
He has posted a 97.3 passer rating since Johnson took over as the team's offensive coordinator and is averaging 4,469 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per 17 games played in that span. Justin Herbert is one of the most talented Quarterbacks in the NFL. No disrespect to Jared Goff, but Herbert has more physical talent. What Johnson has done for Goff’s career resurgence is great, can you imagine what he could do with Justin Herbert?
Matt Campbell (Iowa State HC)
Easily the most unlikely on the list, I’ve been a fan of Matt Campbell’s for quite some time now. Iowa State doesn’t attract a lot of five-star recruits, but Campbell managed to turn around a program that had made just eight bowl appearances in the previous 38 years before he arrived. The Cyclones have had five winning seasons in seven years under Campbell and went to five straight bowl games.
In 2020, they won the Big 12 regular-season title. It was their first first-place finish in 119 years. Campbell became the youngest head coach in the FBS in 2012 when Toledo hired him at 32. He took the school to three bowl games in four years and finished 10-2 in 2015. While Campbell doesn’t call offensive or defensive plays, he’s a great delegator and always has his squad ready to play week in, and week out. If there’s something this Chargers organization desperately needs, it’s delegation & organization.