Who Is Brandon Staley? A Look at the Former Chargers Head Coach as Potential Dolphins DC

The Miami Dolphins have interviewed Brandon Staley for their defensive coordinator opening, and he's a strong candidate to replace Vic Fangio.

For the second straight season under HC Mike McDaniel, the Miami Dolphins will have a fresh voice calling plays for the defensive unit after the team and veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio mutually agreed to part ways Jan. 24.

Former Los Angeles Chargers HC Brandon Staley is now a key name to watch out for as a candidate to become Miami’s newest DC.

Brandon Staley Has Emerged as a Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Candidate

ESPN’s Adam Schefter initially reported that Staley was traveling to Miami to conduct a DC interview with the Dolphins.

In McDaniel’s first two seasons, the Dolphins, before Staley’s termination, ran into the Los Angeles Chargers twice, including a highly anticipated Sunday Night Football showdown a season ago in early December.

Staley shut down Tua Tagovailoa and the high-octane offense of the Dolphins in that first matchup, but Tagovailoa and Co. would get revenge on Staley’s Chargers in what was a back-and-forth 2023 season opener.

Why Did the Los Angeles Chargers Fire Staley?

If you were to ask a Chargers fan this question, they would not stutter when answering. Forget about the Las Vegas Raiders pouring on 63 points this past December in what wound up being Staley’s last straw in Los Angeles.

The week prior, the Chargers lost perennial team MVP Justin Herbert for the remainder of the 2023 season because of surgery to repair a broken index finger on his throwing hand suffered against the Broncos. The Bolts would have needed a ton of help from others to squeak into postseason play, which predictably didn’t come to fruition.

Walk back to last season on Super Wild Card Weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game that saw Staley’s Chargers cough up a 27-point lead en route to a 31-30 soul-snatching defeat.

In the first half, Herbert and the defense were dealing, forcing Trevor Lawrence into mistake after mistake after mistake.

Lawrence threw four first-half interceptions and saw his team trailing by 20 entering intermission.

MORE: 2024 NFL Coordinator Interview Tracker

In professional football, when a team loses a game after being ahead by more than 10 points, it takes a bit longer to face the reality that the game was taken right from you.

When you blow a 27-point lead in a win-or-go-home contest, it is very, very difficult to have full control over a locker room moving forward.

Exploring Staley’s Past as a Defensive Coordinator

If, in fact, Staley is named the Dolphins’ next defensive coordinator, it would not be his first DC gig.

During the 2020 season, Staley worked under Sean McVay as a member of the Los Angeles Rams’ coaching staff, replacing Wade Phillips at the position.

In his only year as coordinator, Staley guided the Rams’ defense to No. 1 rankings in points allowed (18.5) and total yards (281.9).

One notable player who was on that roster?

Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who called Staley “the best defensive coordinator that I’ve had for sure in the NFL.”

Ramsey explained how Staley is “smart” and “knows how to put players in position to make a positive impact on the football game.”

We shall wait and see if the Dolphins turn their defense over to him in 2024 and beyond.

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