Adjusting to coach Brandon Staley will be nothing new for Chargers' Justin Herbert

Adjusting to coach Brandon Staley will be nothing new for Chargers' Justin Herbert

COSTA MESA, Calif. — It’s not as if Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert hasn’t been through this before — new head coach, likely new offensive coordinator (or not) and likely new offensive system (or not).

He had three different head coaches (Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal) at Oregon before adjusting to a new staff as a rookie in the NFL last year. Herbert did all right, finishing his junior season in 2018 with 3,151 passing yards, then throwing three touchdowns in winning the Rose Bowl to cap off a senior year in which he threw for 3,471 yards.

He then was the No. 6 pick in the 2020 draft, set an NFL rookie record with 31 touchdown passes and is a favorite to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But Herbert says that while change is part of the game, he’s hoping whoever becomes offensive coordinator under Brandon Staley, the new Chargers head coach, doesn’t change things up too much. Herbert is smart and says he “learned so much” from quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen that he figures he can get through another change. But who’s to say there will be one?

Brandon Staley will be Justin Herbert’s fifth different head coach dating to his college career at Oregon. Charlie Riedel/AP

“You’re just exposed to things most 12- and 13-year-olds aren’t,” he told the Willoughby (Ohio) News-Herald in 2016.

Staley’s winding path went from Northern Illinois — where he spent two years — to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, Tennessee, James Madison and finally to defensive coordinator at John Carroll, a Division III school in University Heights, Ohio, where he was OAC co-assistant coach of the year. From there he coached linebackers for the Chicago Bears and then spent a season with the Denver Broncos’ linebackers before getting the defensive coordinator’s job with the Rams in 2020.

Staley helped turn the Rams into the league’s best defense, giving up only 281.9 yards and 18.5 points per game, redeeming the praise Sean McVay had for his fellow Dayton native. There is some talk Staley could go after Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, but McVay would have to sign off on that deal and again, why would he?

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