The Chargers aren’t having the season they expected, and the 2-4 start has coach Brandon Staley on the hot seat.
Star running back Austin Ekeler had a succinct answer recently when asked if the locker room still has faith in Staley.
“We have no choice, right?” Ekeler said.
Ekeler clarified this week, saying his comment was not meant as criticism.
“I think the clip got taken out of context,” Ekeler said, via Bridget Condon of NFL Media. “It doesn’t matter how I feel, like, what matters is I have to go out and do my job. It’s my job to go play well, and then that will [in turn] make Staley look even better.
“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. I don’t give a damn about how I feel. I’m not spending one ounce of my energy thinking about how I feel because it doesn’t matter. What matters is I have to go execute. And if I don’t feel like I did that at a high level, I can’t think about anything besides that. And so that’s where I’m coming from, where it’s like, how do you feel about Staley? I don’t have an opinion about that. Because I’ve got to make sure I do my job first.”
Ekeler sought a trade during the offseason, while seeking a better contract. He eventually got a revised deal with added incentives.
An ankle injury has limited him to three games this season, and he has only 53 touches for 272 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers rank eighth in total offense but only 16th in rushing.
It’s not a good start in a contract year.
“The emotions don’t really matter,” Ekeler said. “Whether I’m feeling happy or sad, it doesn’t matter at all. I have a job to do. I have to show up and have to make sure I’m going through my plays. That’s really what you look at like OK, what’s the day? What are we going over? How do I execute it? What’s my energy level, and what are my fundamentals? If you just focus on those, which is pretty much all I focus [on], and I’m yelling every day, like, I have a little message with my fiancee this morning, like for the last week, she’ll be like, ‘Hey, go win the day.’ I’ll be like, yep, no one cares about your feelings. Let’s go crush this. It’s the same thing, same mindset that I bring into here.”