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John Lynch explains why the 49ers hired Brandon Staley

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By: Kenneth Arthur

Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

From the Rams to the Chargers to the 49ers, Brandon Staley has had quite a ride

There have been countless head coaching stints that was far worse than Brandon Staley’s tenure with the L.A. Chargers, but he’s been the subject of ridicule since his team blew a 27-7 lead in the playoffs last season and then was fired after an embarrassing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in December. Were it not for those two losses and an injury to Justin Herbert, or maybe better work by former general manager Tom Telesco, we might still be talking about Staley as the head coach of the Chargers.

Now he’s neither a head coach nor a defensive coordinator.

John Lynch, the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, told SI’s Grant Cohn that the team hired Staley as assistant head coach after every team with an opening passed on him as a head coach or defensive coordinator.

“Really what we wanted to do was get back to who we are as a defense, our style of defense. Nick Sorensen had a great vision for how we can do that, but you also want to consistently evolve, much like we did early with the Wide 9. Kyle said the Wide 9 used to give him fits when he coached against it, so can we implement it and still keep the integrity of our defense? And we were able to do it. I think Brandon gives us an ability to continue to add layers to who we are and what we do without compromising the integrity of who we are. Brandon is a really intelligent guy, and Kyle and I spent a lot of time talking and appreciating his mind for the game. He’s well regarded throughout our league. Having a guy with a head-coach mindset, like even in the free agent meetings on the personnel side of it, he’s sharp there. Respectful, kind of being quiet until asked, and then he has some great takes and opinions. I think he’s a great add for us and that defensive staff is really meshing extremely well. Now we have to go put it all together, but I think Brandon was a nice add for our building.”

The 49ers interviewed Staley for a vacant defensive coordinator position but promoted Nick Sorensen from within instead. The Niners still wanted Staley to join the team and with no other known offers, he took it. It’s not the worst thing for Staley, as he’s still in a role that could get him back into the defensive coordinator and head coach hiring circuit in the future.

It’s still interesting that nobody was that interested in him as a defensive coordinator.

Staley’s resume now includes 11 years at the college level, including the highly-renowned coaching school John Carroll, then working for Vic Fangio, then working for Sean McVay, and now working for Kyle Shanahan.

The Rams opted to promote from within also after Raheem Morris was hired by the Falcons, choosing Chris Shula. Last time, Staley stayed within the same city. This time, he’s within the same division.