INGLEWOOD — Linebacker Kyle Van Noy took to Twitter after the Chargers’ playoff-clinching victory Dec. 26 over the Indianapolis Colts to praise coach Brandon Staley for the work he did to keep the team together when it was decimated by injuries at midseason and the doubters began to criticize him.
“Y’all was hate hate hate and he kept us together,” Van Noy tweeted, in part.
It was an unusual step, one that went unnoticed by Staley until a reporter advised him of it during a post-practice session Friday. Staley said he appreciated it and liked the idea that one of his players thought highly enough of him to voice his support on a social media platform.
“What your players think of you matters the most,” Staley said. “The fact that he did say that, that means a lot to me. I’m more excited about what we’re able to do for him, him coming here and us earning a playoff appearance and people discovering how special of a player he really is.
“That was a big goal of mine for him, was for him to come here and be able to finish his career the right way and be able to help me create a culture. That’s exactly what he’s done. He’s performing at a high level. For me, it’s about living up to your end of the bargain with these players.
“Being everything that you want them to be, that’s my goal as a coach. We certainly wouldn’t be in this position without Kyle.”
After the Chargers’ victory Sunday over the Rams, Van Noy explained why he felt he needed to offer support for Staley. Van Noy joined the Chargers as a free agent from the New England Patriots during the offseason. He was a Super Bowl champion with the Patriots in 2016 and ’18.
Van Noy also has played with the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins.
“He’s been steady,” Van Noy said of Staley. “He’s just been a steady piece for everybody. He hasn’t switched up who he is. He’s kept a good level-head the whole year, and that’s what you want in a head coach. I’m not blind to what the media is and what everybody wants. You can point out the negatives, but you also have to give credit when credit is due. I felt like he deserved credit.”
Van Noy had one of the Chargers’ three sacks of Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield during their 31-10 victory Sunday. His strip of Mayfield and recovery of a fumble halted a promising third-quarter Rams drive, one of several critical defensive plays by the Chargers in their fourth straight victory.
Morgan Fox and Sebastian Joseph-Day had the other sacks.
ODDS AND ENDS
Austin Ekeler had four catches for 39 yards, breaking LaDainian Tomlinson’s Chargers single-season record of 100 receptions by a running back, set in 2003. Ekeler’s total of 103 receptions through the season’s first 16 games is second only to Christian McCaffrey’s NFL record of 116 in 2019. … Ekeler’s 72-yard touchdown run, one of his two scores, was the longest of his career. … Edge rusher Joey Bosa had two tackles in his first game since suffering a groin injury during the Chargers’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 25. Said Staley of Bosa: “I was glad to see him out there. He improves our chances significantly.”