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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How Chargers Brandon Staley Impressed Broncos’ Vic Fangio in Memorable Interview

Costa Mesa – Broncos coach Vic Fangio gave Brandon Staley his debut in the NFL, but he didn’t want the credit for Staley to head coach of the Chargers this year.

“He made his debut with us, it’s just over the cake,” Fangio told Chargers reporters on a conference call this week. “Brandon is good people and we are friends. I am extremely happy for him, and I am happy to help him in whatever small part I have played, which is probably very little.”

Chargers cornerback Chris Harris Jr played for Fangio in 2019 and referred to him as a serious and closed man. Staley must have done something right as Fangio’s assistant coach to take 10 minutes out of his busy work schedule to talk to Chargers reporters.

It was also a good sign for Staley to receive silent and undivided attention from Fangio during his interview presentation for the Edge Rushers coach position with the Chicago Bears in 2017.

“It was a really tough deal because I can’t seem to get any feedback on what’s going on in this interview,” Staley recalled Wednesday. “Peace. Nothing. He’s the kind of guy who has no expression, nothing. I don’t know how I’m doing. I’m trying my best. I feel like killing it.” But I get nothing from this guy. We take a break, they ask me out and I tell them, ‘I don’t know what’s going on with this guy.’ They’re like, ‘That’s a good thing.'”

Staley has not looked back since being hired by Fangio and will now coach against him for the first time when the Chargers face the Denver Broncos in a road matchup on Sunday.

“Vic means a lot to me as much as anyone in the NFL I’ve been able to work with,” Staley said. “The way I look at the game, the way I coach, has made a huge impact. He has certainly stood the test of time in the NFL. I really admire his path.”

Fangio told his Bears coaching staff in 2017 that he was looking for a youth coach who was familiar with his defensive plan to guide the Edge Rushers. Assistant coaches referred Fangio to Staley, who was then-defensive coordinator for the Division III program John Carroll University.

Staley was well aware of Fangio’s plan as it caught his attention when Fangio was the defensive coordinator at Stanford in 2010. At the time, Staley was coaching at Hutchinson Community College.

Staley studied extensively how Fangio’s two-high safety plan evolved during Fangio’s successful four years as a defensive play-collar for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014. Fangio continued his success as the Bears’ defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2018, and Staley contributed to it in the following two years.

But Fangio, 63, replaced Staley, 38, in his Chicago coaching staff during a memorable interview.

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