In his first season as the Rams' defensive coordinator, former Broncos outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley has done well for himself.
The Rams enter the final week of the regular season ranked first in yards allowed, second in sacks, fourth in third-down percentage and third in points allowed.
Staley's success in his strategy has come in no small part from what he learned from his former head coach, Vic Fangio, when he worked on his staffs in Chicago from 2017-18 and in Denver in 2019. But Staley had been learning from Fangio for years even before he coached for him, he told The Athletic's Robert Mays.
"I'd studied Vic since I first became a coordinator at Hutchinson Junior College, when he was at Stanford," Staley told Mays. "I felt like I'd been coaching for Vic since 2010. I joke with people about that, but I'm actually quite serious, because that's how far back I went studying his stuff. And then I was able to be with him on an intimate level for three years, and then I could kind of pick up more context and learn all the ways that he had been shaping that defense."
Mays tells the story of Staley's path to the NFL and, most importantly, how Staley worked with Fangio to get a greater grasp on his defensive strategy and how much flexibility is required.
"We worked so closely together," Staley said. "I was able to say, 'Hey, going into this opportunity, this is the way I would do it.' I think that's something that's been a hallmark of Vic's success, is that he was able to evolve and be who he needs to be based on the players that he has. Going from San Francisco to Chicago to Denver, we were different teams. And certainly just when I was with him, our 3 defenses, we were different every year."
Below the Fold
It won't be long until the offseason is here, and teams will face decisions for their rosters. One of the decisions that will have to be made is whether to exercise the fifth-year option on 2018 first-round draft picks. For the Broncos, it seems like that decision for Bradley Chubb will be easy, as Gil Brandt writes for NFL.com.