There is a new era beginning for the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers let go of Brandon Staley mid-season after the devastating loss to the Las Vegas Raiders 63-21. The Chargers fan base and the Spanos family gave Staley more than a fair shot in succeeding with the roster given and timeline provided longevity wise. I for one was calling for Staley to be fired after the end of season loss to the Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs. Really one of the final straws was during a press conference after a game Staley was asked what he owed the fans an explanation for bottom of the barrel defensive play and schemes that were being run and costing them the games. His response was that he didn’t owe the fanbase anything and that they were playing good defense even though we were ranked near dead last in overall defense. Staley’s ultimate demise was his inability to make in game adjustments.
Immediately after the end of the Chargers season, the Spanos family saw they’re target and went after their offseason big fish not wasting any time. Only waiting for the finish of the college football playoffs and going through the standard hiring process to adhere to the NFL’s Rooney rule, the Spanos family made it very clear that money was no option and that they wanted to get a proven head coach. In an unprecedented offseason where the NFL saw an availability of proven coaches become available, some of which no one saw coming such as Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel, and Pete Carroll, there was going to be plenty to choose from. In this writer’s opinion Harbaugh had the most success and best resume to fit perfectly with the Chargers starting quarterback Justin Herbert.
Harbaugh started coaching professionally in 2002 as the Raiders quarterbacks coach, the year they’re QB got a pro bowl nod and the last time the organization went to the Superbowl. In 2004 Jim went to the college ranks and coached at San Diego State. Took a bad team and led them to two bowl game and two consecutive pioneer league championships. He moved to Stanford in 2007 coaching another generational talent Andrew Luck, where he took a Stanford program that had one win the season prior to him taking over and was able to bring them to a bowl game and even beat the likes of USC powerhouse at the time Pete Carroll. He led them to two bowls games in four seasons including a win in the 2011 Orange bowl. Right after that he signed a five-year contract with the San Fransisco 49ers, where his first year he won coach of the year. During his tenure there he led the niners to three straight NFC championship games in his first three years after the Niners having not reached the playoffs the previous eight seasons, as well as taking them to a Superbowl where he played his brother and the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. After leaving the Niners because of butting heads with their General Manager, he went to his Alma Mater with the Michigan Wolverines. in his time there he brought them to the College Football Playoffs three consecutive years which then culminated in a national championship this past season.
Everywhere Jim has gone he has been able to connect with players, and he’s been able to convince and motivate them to win. He has had the ability to take weak programs and find the winning formula. This Chargers team, even with the upcoming cap space issues, is the strongest team he’s had to work with and quite possibly the strongest Quarterback as well. One of the toughest first decisions for Jim is going to be figuring out what the first casualties will be to help with the cap. Out of the four top paid players one for sure will have to be cut and possibly two. Those top earners are Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joey Bosa, and Khalil Mack. I personally believe Joey Bosa will be traded and at the very least Keenan Allen extended as to stretch the cap hit of his contract. I’m being told Harbaugh has reached out to most of the players and if he hasn’t it’s a big red flag on their longevity status with the team. There is plenty of talent to fill the roles and holes that these cuts and losing players to free agency will bring, in this upcoming NFL draft that is going be deep with talent. With Harbaugh having just spent a lot of time in the college football world he will have just as good of an insight as anyone when it comes to knowing some diamonds in the rough and don’t be surprised if you see some Michigan Wolverines pop up onto the Chargers draft board.
The Chargers got their man and paid the money to get the right guy for the job to get Herbert into the right position. This is a franchise shifting move and the future for this franchise is as bright as a lightning strike in the night sky, and the Harbaugh era has started in Los Angeles