Despite the calendar showing late November, things are heating up in Los Angeles this week.
That’s especially true with the chatter that the Los Angeles Chargers are sprinting in the wrong direction at alarming rate.
Sunday’s trip to Green Bay produced another loss, this one a 23-20 verdict, that puts the Chargers in an unenviable place: their 4-6 mark is better than just two AFC teams.
Coach Brandon Staley was full of poise and promise when the season started, confident that his third squad during his first role as a head coach at any level would aim for the Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC West title.
But after Sunday’s meltdown, the embattled Staley was filled to the brim with a cantankerous attitude in which in verbally wrestled with reporters and shrugged his shoulders about speaking to the Chargers’ faithful.
“I’m not here to talk for the fan base,’’ an agitated Staley said when briefing the media. “I’m here to talk to my players, the locker room.’’
But the reporters were here to talk to Staley as he bristled about inquiries of his pass defense which has been ranked dead last since, seemingly, the Bolts broke training camp.
Staley’s charges were out of position at key junctures, again, and once again Staley went stubborn when asked if he will continuing calling the defensive plays.
“You can stop asking that question,’’ a curt Staley said. “I’m going to be calling the defenses, OK? So we’re clear. So you don’t have to ask that again.’’
Staley seems to have a full plate as it is and now he wants to tell the reporters how to do their jobs?
That’s not quite how it works in the NFL, and especially in L.A., where under-performing coaches consistently have their feet put to the fire — hello, USC’s Lincoln Riley and UCLA’s Chip Kelly.
But with a defense unable to slow passing games with any regularity, L.A. continues to play just well enough to lose. They earned a hat trick on Sunday with three, two-game losing streaks, and Staley’s poise has melted away with each loss.
“You guys act like we’ve never played good defense,’’ Staley said. “You act like we haven’t made any improvements.’’
One would hope that would be the case as his defensive scheme enters its third year under Staley, furnished with top-shelf players making big-time money.
The Chargers have invested time and again in a unit to complement their wonderful quarterback Justin Herbert, and there have been some bright spots.
But those green chutes are eclipsed by the reality that the defense just isn’t very good. And it figures to be minus Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Bosa after he suffered what appeared to be a significant foot injury on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Jordan Love had his first 300-yard passing game, going for a career-high 322 and heaving two touchdowns. The second one, to Romeo Dobbs with 2:33 to go, was a microcosm of a Chargers season gone bad.
When the Packers employed a no-huddle on offense on the petulant drive, the Chargers went into reverse. Their communication went haywire as they scampered around like 11 guys that had just met.
Cornerback Michael Davis got beat by Dobbs for the go-ahead score, but only after Davis almost banged bodies with linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr, as the defenders looked amiss trying to line up correctly.
“You can’t be scrambling around and switching on the run,’’ said Davis, whose shoddy tackling presented the Packers with a 35-yard gain on an earlier pass to Dontayvion Wicks.
Love, who had been under 200 passing yards three times this season became the fifth quarterback to blow past 300 yards this year against the Chargers.
The Chargers passed on other solid candidates when it landed on Staley as their coach, thanks to his defensive bent.
Now, Staley gets bent-out-of-shape when asked to explain why his defense can’t get out of its way in a timely manner.
Welcome to fall in L.A. where coaches being on hot seats is in full swing. That includes one Brandon Staley.