NFL readers Q&A: Chargers’ Staley, Rams’ McVay feeling heat?

Readers had a lot on their minds after the Rams and Chargers’ recent games. Rams beat writer Gary Klein and Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller answered a few questions:

How hot is Brandon Staley’s seat?

Anne Wile, Marina del Rey

Jeff Miller: Not hot at all at the moment. Staley has been the head coach for 21 games and his teams are 11-10. Bill Belichick started his career 8-13 in 21 games. Under their current management, the Chargers have not been a team making midseason managerial changes, which is something to keep in mind if things quickly go wrong here. More so than Staley, I’d say general manager Tom Telesco’s seat will heat up first when it comes down to it.

When will Sean McVay realize it’s time to hire an offensive coordinator? He seems lost trying to be the man and keep a handle on the rest of the river. The first down run for two yards is a staple.

Beev Boever, Coarsegold, California.

Gary Small: McVay had several offensive coordinators during his more than five seasons with the Rams, including Matt LaFleur, Kevin O’Connell and now Liam Coen. But McVay is the de facto offensive coordinator and play-caller. I wouldn’t expect McVay to give up play-calling any time soon — or ever.

When does offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi make changes in the second half? He showed NO creativity at all. If they don’t make the playoffs, part of the blame must fall on Lombardi.

Harvey Smith, Dayton, Nev.

Miller: The second half — and the third quarter in particular — has been a problem for the Chargers on both sides of the ball in four games. They have been topped 75-31 after halftime so far. I think it’s more than the coaching, it’s the execution and maybe even the mindset when it comes to the players. I don’t think it’s due to a lack of customization.

It seems the Rams are unable to throw the ball down. Is Stafford injured or is the problem a bad O line (no time) and/or not enough receivers?

Lance Ödekerk, Fontana

Small: Matthew Stafford has been dealing with tendonitis in his right elbow since last season. He received an injection in the offseason, failed to throw passes during organized team training, and was restricted in training camp. But Stafford says he’s fine. And I haven’t seen any discernible evidence that it affects his ability to throw the ball down the field. The offensive line is a mess due to injuries. On Sunday he plays in five games behind the fifth different starting offensive. The absence of injured receiver Van Jefferson, who had shown last season that he could be a major threat, has also affected passing attack. Tutu Atwell, a second-round pick in 2021, should pose a major threat, but he has yet to prove himself in games and has been inactive against the 49ers.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford stands behind center against the San Francisco 49ers.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford had a different starting offense protecting him every game.

(Jeff Lewis/Associated Press)

We know McVay will say it’s himself and mark for the players. What’s the real reason the Rams are such a bad version of themselves? There’s no point in saying “I need to do better…” He doesn’t throw at other receivers except Kupp. Why? He doesn’t do much with running.

Greg Corbin, Santa Cruz

Small: McVay will always take the sword for his players. Kupp has more goals than any receiver in the league, while Allen Robinson, who was supposed to be an upgrade from Robert Woods, has been virtually ignored. The mentioned absence of the injured Van Jefferson has also had an impact on the pass attack. McVay and offensive coordinator Liam Coen said ahead of the season that the rushing attack needed improvement. But so far it hasn’t worked. The Rams rank 29th out of the league’s 32 teams in Rushing.

Why is no one talking about the Rams defense? Any defense featuring Aaron Donald, Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey must be able to take out teams like the 49ers instead of making Garoppolo look like Tom Brady. The Rams secondary plays 10 yards from the line of scrimmage on EVERY play, regardless of down or distance. Receivers come off the line untouched and defenders don’t intervene until 10 yards down the field. That’s crazy.

Joe Pomparelli, La Quinta

Small: The Rams defense — as it always seems — had a rough night against 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers coach, relies on a fast passing game that mostly takes away from the Rams passing rush. That puts pressure on the secondary level, forcing those players to make more offensive tackles. And we’ve seen how that turned out. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle are hard to take down under any circumstances, let alone in the open field.

Will the Rams re-sign Odell Beckham Jr.? It’s obvious they need him.

Ricardo Castillo, San Diego

Small: The Rams are one of many teams set to court Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams haven’t shied away from courting him since the offseason, as I wrote in this story last week. Given his history with them last season and the fact that OBJ appears to love LA, the Rams appear to be a front runner. But rest assured that every team that competes in November will be looking to sign him.

Is it known when David Edwards suffered the concussion? Game of the Cardinals? Work out?

Dean Thompson, Madison, Wis.

Small: The Rams did not disclose when Edwards suffered the concussion. McVay said Edwards reported symptoms in the days leading up to the game against the 49ers.

Why isn’t Tutu Atwell getting game time? He was taken in the second round for his speed and potential, but he’s been practically an invisible man since the start of the season. Perhaps with all his speed, he could successfully perform a jet sweep. Just a thought.

Jim Voge, Cambria, California.

Small: A jet sweep could be the answer. And you can be sure the Rams would love to find one. Because up to this point, it’s not unfair to say that Atwell hasn’t filled his draft slot. He returned kicks last season before suffering a shoulder injury, then shadowed Cooper Kupp in the offseason to boost his performance. Atwell performed well during training camp and appeared ready to step in as part of the plan to replace the injured Van Jefferson. But Atwell dropped a pass in the first set against the Buffalo Bills. He got behind cover on a deep route against the Arizona Cardinals, but Matthew Stafford either brought him down or Atwell drifted from where Stafford expected him to be. Atwell was inactive against the 49ers, but McVay said that wouldn’t necessarily be the case this week.

The whole problem is the offensive line. Not only the abundance of injuries, but also the fact that the Rams started this year with a provisional orienteering. When the OL is bad, everything goes bad: no running game at all, QB is constantly rushed and sacked, no more options than short passes. It’s all about the offensive line.

Jonathan Crumiller, Princeton, NJ

Small: The Rams certainly had trouble with the line. But I’m not sure if it’s correct to say that it was provisional in the beginning. The Rams newly signed left tackle Joe Noteboom and center Brian Allen during the offseason, and right tackle Rob Havenstein ahead of the opener. They were hired almost everywhere except right guard, and asking rookie Logan Bruss to start from the start was probably asking too much. The plan was most likely for Coleman Shelton to start at right until Bruss was ready to step in, and then Shelton could once again be the versatile replacement for all three inside lines. Then Bruss suffered a season-ending knee injury, the first of several injuries that have affected his passing and haste attacks.

The Rams wouldn’t have come close to the Super Bowl without Beckham on offense and Miller on defense. They lacked that vital glue of team unity. I don’t see them getting it back any time soon

Will D, Sedona, Arizona.

Small: Not since the New England Patriots in the 2004 season has they emerged as Super Bowl champions. There’s a reason – it’s hard to repeat. The Rams certainly miss Miller and Beckham and what they brought onto the field and into the locker room. But we’re only about a quarter through the season. A lot can change – for better or for worse. The Rams have made moves around the trade deadline in the past like those that got them Miller and Beckham. Let’s see how it develops. NFL readers Q&A: Chargers’ Staley, Rams’ McVay feeling heat?

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