By Michael Donovan

So, the Eagles were supposed to meet today with Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley in their catch-me-up plan to hire a new coach to replace Doug Pederson, who was fired a week ago.

Well, Staley, whose Rams were bounced out of the playoffs Saturday by the Packers, took the Chargers job late last night and won’t have to fly east.

The 38-year old Staley was in demand with interviews also scheduled with the Houston Texans and Eagles. He also had an interview with the New York Jets before they hired Robert Saleh last Thursday.

Staley, who will be formally introduced Thursday, replaces Anthony Lynn, who was fired on Jan. 4 after going 7-9 this past season. Lynn had a 33-31 mark in four seasons and led the Chargers to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2018.

The Los Angeles opening was widely considered the most attractive of the seven this offseason with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Justin Herbert is considered the favorite for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

He has been an NFL assistant for only four years. He joined the Rams this past season after being a linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears (2017) and Denver Broncos (2018-19).

His impact on the Rams was immediate as he coached a unit that led the league in points and yards allowed.

He is the third assistant under Rams coach Sean McVay to get an NFL head coaching job, joining Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor.

”I think any time that you have those situations arise, that’s one of the most gratifying things,” McVay said Sunday during his season-ending news conference. ”That’s also really a unique thing to see him come in and do such a great job, then immediately be a prime candidate for a lot of these openings and you realize how precious these opportunities are.”

Broncos offensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who worked with Staley for three years, called him ”the Sean McVay of defense” this past season to Denver reporters and said he is ready to be a head coach despite limited coordinator experience.

”I’ve been around for three decades coaching and every once in a while, a young, bright guy who sees the game globally comes around,” Donatell said. ”He sees offense, defense and special teams and he knows how they work. He is a young, bright mind that sees it all and can communicate with people.”

Staley was one of six candidates to interview with Los Angeles. Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, whose team will play at Kansas City in the AFC championship game next Sunday, was considered the front-runner until Staley’s second interview.

The Chargers also interviewed offensive coordinators Eric Bieniemy (Kansas City), Jason Garrett (New York Giants) and Joe Brady (Carolina) as well as Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

”It doesn’t matter if you’ve known Brandon for five minutes or five years,” president of football operations John Spanos said in a statement. ”What quickly becomes apparent is the amount of energy and passion he approaches each and every moment with. The consistency of that enthusiasm is unique and, most importantly, it drives his ability to connect with people.

”His coaching journey to this particular moment is inspiring; if not for the sheer perseverance and determination of it all, then certainly for the dramatic results it has produced for the teams and players he has coached.”

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