Chargers fire coach Brandon Staley, general manager Tom Telesco after embarrassing 63-21 loss

It is the first time since 1998 that the Chargers have made an in-season coaching move.

ByKris Rhim ESPN logo
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Chargers fire head coach, GM after embarrassing 63-21 loss
Coach Brandon Staley is the second Chargers head coach to be fired midseason since 1970, joining Kevin Gilbride, who was fired in 1998.

LAS VEGAS -- After 2 seasons highlighted by lofty expectations and routine letdowns, the Los Angeles Chargers have fired coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco, the team announced Friday.

Giff Smith, the team's outside linebackers coach, has been named interim head coach. JoJo Wooden, the Chargers' director of player personnel, will step into the general manager role on an interim basis.

The Chargers were 24-24 under Staley, with one playoff berth in 2022 that ended with a 27-point blown lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- the third-largest comeback in playoff history. He is the second Chargers head coach to be fired midseason since 1970, joining Kevin Gilbride, who was fired in 1998.

Owner Dean Spanos said in a statement that Chargers fans "deserve more."

"These decisions are never easy, nor are they something I take lightly -- especially when you consider the number of people they impact," Spanos said. "We are clearly not where we expect to be, however, and we need new vision. Doing nothing in the name of continuity was not a risk I was willing to take. Our fans have stood strong through so many ups and downs and close games. They deserve more. Frankly, they've earned more."

The Chargers hired Staley because of his success as a defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2020, when they were the NFL's best defense in points and yards allowed per game. But Staley never had that impact with the Chargers, despite having star talent and many of his former players.

Staley's defensive frustrations came to a head after Thursday's 63-21 drubbing by the Las Vegas Raiders, who were starting backup Aidan O'Connell and were without running back Josh Jacobs.

Quarterback Easton Stick made his first start for Los Angeles in place of Justin Herbert, who suffered a fracture to his right index finger in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos and is done for the season.

This is the second coach the Chargers have fired since drafting Herbert in 2020. Herbert's first coach, Anthony Lynn, was 33-31 from 2017 to 2020, including 7-9 in his final season.

The team also fired Jay Rodgers, the defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach.