Chargers’ Brandon Staley to keep calling plays for defense

COSTA MESA, Calif — Two days after one of the worst defensive performances of Brandon Staley’s three-year tenure, the Los Angeles Chargers coach said he will continue to call plays and hasn’t considered any significant changes.

“We believe in how we played, and we believe in the guys that we’re playing with,” Staley said Wednesday. “You’re going to make adjustments throughout the year, but nothing significant.

“… I think if you feel like it gives you the best chance to win or you think they spark your team or something, people do that. But we don’t feel like that’s the direction we’re gonna take.”

The Chargers allowed 533 yards and five touchdowns in Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, including 177 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the first half. They also gave up 536 yards in a Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Despite the defensive struggles, both losses were decided by three points or fewer.

Before this season, the Chargers only once had allowed more than 500 yards during Staley’s tenure — a 2021 win against the Cleveland Browns.

But high-scoring, close games have been a theme under Staley. His defenses have ranked among the worst in the league, while the offenses have been among the NFL’s best.

Against the Lions, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 323 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. It was one of his best games of the season and he threw for his most passing yards since Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings.

In Week 4, Herbert fractured the middle finger on his non-throwing hand trying to tackle a defender after an interception, and he hadn’t looked like the same player in the weeks that followed.

He wore a splint on the injured finger and had games with career lows in passing yards (136 yards vs. the New York Jets) and completions (13 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders), but Herbert appeared back to his old self on Sunday.

Herbert took another step in his recovery on Wednesday, practicing without the splint for the first time since the injury. Still, he said he wasn’t sure if he would play without the splint against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

“I think, maybe, the first couple of weeks, there might have been a difference,” Herbert said about playing through the injury. “But having it get better, it’s kind of going back to normal.”

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