Chargers' Derrick Ansley has new role, but same objectives
Derrick Ansley says he doesn't see much of a change in his role on the Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff despite being promoted to defensive coordinator.
“Nothing will change in the identification factor of the players, coaching them and developing them like we’ve been for the first two years,” Ansley said on Tuesday during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
“The first thing is to be an extension of coach (Brandon) Staley, be a support staff for him to make sure that he can do his job at a high level and be another set of eyes to support him and his vision of the defense through the way that we see it, just be an extra set of hands."
Ansley was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator on Monday. There was an opening after Renaldo Hill left to join Miami’s staff as pass-game coordinator.
Staley is expected to remain the defensive play-caller though.
“I don’t think words can describe how I feel about this opportunity," Ansley said. “Like you guys know, things happen fast in this NFL. When things happen, you have to be ready to adjust on the fly. Coach Staley believed in me after we interviewed a couple of guys, and the rest is history.”
Ansley does have experience as a defensive coordinator. He spent two seasons leading the University of Tennessee’s defense (2019-20) before joining the Chargers.
Ansley's main focus will be trying to get a underachieving defense on par with the offense.
Los Angeles spent $218 million last offseason, most of it on defense that included six new starters. Yet, defense remained one of the team’s weaknesses.
The unit was ranked eighth against the pass last season, but was 20th in total defense, 21st in points allowed per game and the fifth worst against the run. They also had the fifth-worst average in scrimmage yards allowed per play.
The Chargers made the playoffs last season and have a strong core with linebackers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa as well as safety Derwin James. But they need to shore up a run defense prone to giving up big plays. Los Angeles had 11 opposing running backs go for at least 100 yards on it this past season, a franchise record.
“We’re not looking in the past, we’re going to keep our lens forward," Ansley said. "Obviously, the first two years, we had some growing pains. We also did some good things, as well. In 2023, we’re going to focus on all 11 guys playing as one, just as we had the first two years. We’re going to put guys into positions to make plays, coach guys hard, play to our standard, our way, and get the results that we need.”
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press