NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 13: Brandon Staley on the Brink

The Los Angeles Chargers' Brandon Staley is vaulting up the list of NFL coaches on the hot seat after losing for the third time in four weeks.

The Los Angeles Chargers are in deep trouble. And presumably, so is Brandon Staley, who has been a major disappointment in his two seasons as Chargers coach. If he doesn’t turn things around immediately, he probably will not get a third chance to get it right. We explain why in our Week 13 look at NFL coaches on the hot seat.

Brandon Staley Among NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat

Staley’s biggest threat to his job security isn’t his track record in Los Angeles. (Don’t get us wrong — it’s been unacceptable as he’s gone 15-14, including losses in 13 of his last 24 games.)

It isn’t even his loyalty to offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who hasn’t come close to maximizing quarterback Justin Herbert’s considerable gifts. Rather, Staley’s No. 1 concern should be the many great options that will be available to replace him should Chargers owner Dean Spanos decide to move on.

The list begins (and perhaps ends) with Sean Payton, the brilliant offensive mind whose retirement from coaching looks more and more like a one-year sabbatical. Payton helped turn Drew Brees into a Hall of Famer. Imagine what he could do with a far more physically gifted Herbert.

But even if the Chargers lose out on the Payton sweepstakes, Spanos would have several great potential Plan Bs. The top candidates of this cycle include Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, Cowboys offensive play caller Kellen Moore, and Eagles OC Shane Steichen — who has done wonderful things with Jalen Hurts and doing wonderful things with Herbert as L.A.’s OC in 2020.

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The Chargers in 2022 are, bluntly, very average on offense. They rank 17th in EPA per play (0.0), 20th in yards per play (5.2), and 14th in scoring (22.7). That’s unacceptable for a team that has the kind of quarterback that can make this type of touchdown pass, which came during the Chargers’ failed rally against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday.

Herbert sent a missile on the run down the right sideline that found a tiny window and Keenan Allen for a 35-yard scoring strike. But that highlight was the only offensive touchdown of the day against a Raiders offense that had allowed 126 points in their previous five games.

As a result, the Chargers have now lost four out of their last six to fall to 17th in PFN’s Week 14 power rankings and are three games out of first in the AFC West and one game back of the Jets for the final Wild Card spot.

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Per FiveThirtyEight, Los Angeles has just a three in 10 chance to make the playoffs — should be the absolute bare minimum for Staley to have any rationale to keep his job.

“We’re 6-6 and we’ve got five games left,” he said following Sunday’s game. “The AFC’s really tight. We’ve got to put this one behind us and get ready for Miami.

“… We’ve done it plenty of times this season. We’ve had plenty of tough losses. We’ve had plenty of adversity this season and our guys are made up of the right stuff.”

That might be true. But is Staley?

More NFL Hot Seat Updates

Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints (4-8)

Our nation turns its curious eyes to the NFC South on Monday night when Allen’s Saints could all be eliminated for postseason consideration with a loss to the Buccaneers.

Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos (3-9)

The Broncos have now lost nine out of 10, and we’re running out of ways to describe just how bad Hackett’s offense has been during this stretch. The latest embarrassment: A 10-9 loss to a Ravens team playing without Lamar Jackson.

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals (4-8)

Kingsbury survived the bye, but it’s fair to wonder if Michael Bidwill is just delaying the inevitable. The Cardinals do have some gettable games down the stretch, however. Just one of their last five opponents (San Francisco) currently has a winning record.

Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers (5-8)

There’s one guaranteed way for even the worst Green Bay Packers teams to get right: Face the Chicago Bears. Aaron Rodgers is now an insane 24-5 lifetime against Chicago, but the latest win probably doesn’t save Green Bay’s season.

Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

McDaniels was probably never going to get fired after one year, considering the Raiders’ financial constraints, but at this point, it’s more likely the Raiders get into the postseason (16%) than change coaches.

Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)

We still think that Pederson isn’t going anywhere even after one bad season in Duval, but Sunday’s 40-14 shellacking at the hands of the Detroit Lions is a reminder that things aren’t great there.

Lovie Smith, Houston Texans (1-10-1)

The Texans keep finding new, embarrassing ways to lose. On Sunday, they gave up touchdowns on a punt return, a fumble return, and an interception return. Houston needs a new coach.

Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns (5-7)

The beneficiaries of Houston’s unintentional largesse were the Browns, who won in Deshaun Watson’s 2022 debut — but not because Watson played particularly well. Far more will be revealed against the Bengals in Week 14.

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