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Brandon Staley wants Chargers offense to use variety of personnel groupings

While he’s spent his time in the NFL on defense, one of Chargers head coach Brandon Staley’s most important jobs is to further develop young quarterback Justin Herbert.

To that end, the club signed center Corey Linsley, who Staley said should help give Los Angeles a “winning edge.” But the team’s larger offensive philosophy will also be a significant factor in determining success.

Staley hired former Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi to be the team’s offensive coordinator, and New Orleans has employed a variety of personnel groupings to keep defenses off-balance. While many teams stick with using three wide receiver, one tight end sets the vast majority of the time, the Saints mix up what they do more than many.

Per Sharp Football Stats, the Chargers used 11 personnel on 71 percent of their offensive snaps in 2020. The Saints used it on just 54 percent of their offensive snaps.

During his Thursday press conference, Staley signaled that he’d like Los Angeles to look more like New Orleans in 2021.

“What I think is paramount on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game is that you use personnel groupings as a weapon, because you want to put people in conflict every single snap,” Staley said, via Daniel Popper of “And part of the way you do that is with a variety of groupings that they have to prepare for, where they can’t just say, ‘Man, hey, this is all 11.’ I’ve got a lot of defenses to defend 11 personnel, guys. It’s a lengthy, lengthy call sheet. But when you have to defend 11, 12, 21, 22, 10 ... it puts a lot of pressure on you defensively.

“We certainly want to be a matchup-driven team, because week to week, that opponent that you’re playing is going to be really different. So we want to be really specific and use our matchups each week to our advantage, and the only way you can do that is if you can use a lot of different groupings. That’s certainly why we do it the way we do it on defense. … I want to have an offensive philosophy that mirrored it.”

With weapons like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at wide receiver, Austin Ekeler at running back, and free agent signee Jared Cook at tight end, the Chargers should have several different ways to attack defenses in the upcoming season.