Aug 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano (right) pats linebacker Antwan Barnes (98) on the back during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Telesco Confident That John Pagano Will Be Back Next Season


There have been a lot of arrows pointing toward defensive coordinator John Pagano for his struggles during the season, but he deserves some praise for what he has done of late. Has he done enough to stay on as the defensive coordinator for the Chargers next season? It sounds like the general manager Tom Telesco is confident that he will be back for another year based off of his interview with Darren Smith today.

I will give Pagano some praise with what he has done. There still are question marks on some of his decisions, but it has been nice to see the team make some stops of late. Making the switch at nose tackle and corner took some time, but those moves have paid off. I hated his use of Eric Weddle early in the year also, but it looks like Eric is getting settled back into a better role also.

Pagano has been able to find some players that will be useful next season though. Sean Lissemore will be a nice player to use on defense next year. Reggie Walker has been used at every linebacker spot. Thomas Keiser can be a situational pass rusher. Shareece Wright is developing. There are some pieces for us next season.

Once we add a few more pieces onto this defense, we could be sitting pretty on that side of the football again. Would I still want Rex Ryan to coach the defense? Of course, but my hatred for Pagano has dropped a bit.

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  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    Who are 10 dudes you would cut the day the season is over?

    • Michael

      Cox, cox, cox, cox, cox, cox, cox, cox, cox, cox

    • davacho

      great idea for an article!

      • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

        I would cut: Mcclain, Clarey, Crez, Butler, Bryd, Gatchkar, Vincent Brown, Cox, Marshall, (is Hawkins still on the team, if so him), J. Phillips and bonus #11 Sorenson

        • davacho

          butler, huh? who are their replacements? we saw how cutting cason and jammer turned out…

          • arnie

            Yup, they found good value in Marshall, and Sharece is actually getting better than Cason.

          • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

            Meant Crezdon butler, The other Butler is a FA so we can’t cut him.

          • davacho

            gotcha! lol – commas are a biatch!

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          “Crez, Butler”… so cut Crezdon Butler AND Donald Butler?

          • Stefanie Smith

            Fans can be thankful that none of the cutters are the GM.

          • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

            If you don’t think there is going to be Alot of roster turnover again your dreaming, Just the addition of your 7 Draft picks is 7 guys current spots, getting rid of 10 is not a big deal at all it will be more then that.

        • Dom

          really… gachkar? no you’re on something. great backup. and why j. phillips? he is a great blocking TE. the only good blocking TE. gates is a die hard awesome TE but ant block on the run. green is developing. and why sorenson? he can be a great qb to take over whenever rivers goes.

    • PakMaN

      Cox, CBJ, Cam Thomas, Ronnie Brown, Eddie Royal, Kenny Wiggens, McClain, Addae, Bulter (Crezdon), and Schilling.

      • Tazzster

        Eddie Royal… Seriously?

        • Dark

          why addae he is a developing safety who showed potential

          johnny patrick should be cut hes a liability in coverage

        • PakMaN

          Injury prone, and we could draft a small slot receiver who would have the same success with this team.

          • Tazzster

            draft where? in what round? We have defensive needs. I don’t see many 6 and 7 round guys replacing what Eddie Royal does.

          • boltingindiego

            the only reciever i see replacing royal as a slot wr is brown. He is a slot wr but is forced to play on the outside because of injuries.

          • arnie

            You are right Royal has value. However 6 or 7 round player will not keep the trainers as busy as Eddie has.

          • Derek

            Like tavon austin! What’s his rookie stats again as a wr

          • PakMaN

            I take back Addae, I forgot he was a rookie. I thought this was his second year.

      • shayaaa

        CBJ, Cam, and Ronnie are all FA anyways. You can cut three more peeps

      • boltingindiego

        why would you cut addae.

        • Tazzster

          Remember the Titans game? Addae was the safety who was 15 yards out of the play… I’m not sure how that happens when the quarterback was looking that way the whole time.

          Remember the Bengals game when Green was left alone in the middle of the field. I think it was Addae who dropped down to cover the out route….

          He may be a talented kid… but hes made mistakes

          • arnie

            LOL he’s a rookie.

          • Dark

            exactly

          • boltingindiego

            hes an undrafted rookie and you don’t think hes gonna make mistakes in his rookie year you have some high expectations. Hes made more plays than mistakes and you would still cut him. Also if you do cut him now you have to find another piece to replace.

      • Dom

        really? Addae? think about that again.

    • Stefanie Smith

      Ten is too many.

  • Stefanie Smith

    I think Telesco would like to stabilize the team. I agree. Don’t need to be cutting a ton, except for maybe Cox. A continual barrage of new faces is not good. There is a learning curve and time needed to adjust. I truly believe that is what got the Chargers this year. They are now adapting. Let’s not go screwing with what is not really broken.

  • Stefanie Smith

    They are all doing their part–we need fine tuning, maybe, but not dropping a bomb on it.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Ummmm…. sorry…. no way… HEEEECK TO THA NO!!!!!

    I don’t want Pagano back. Sure he is doing good now. The D got hot at the end of last season too. Yet, as soon as 2013 started, it was soft again. His ability to regognize weaknesses in his players… design schemes that play to their strengths…. AND THEN STICK WITH THOSE SCHEMES is extremely poor. It takes him FOREVER to realize that something isn’t working… then he flirts with the idea of adjusting it a little by trying it out one or two times….. then after he sees that the adjustments are working, he will “sprinkle” the adjustments in, rather than immediately stop doing what doesn’t work, and permanently make the adjustment!

    It’s like when he changes something that doesn’t work, and his new solution works… he inexplicably deviates from it, and you don’t see it again for two weeks. Then he finally incorporates it in permanently, after we have lost another two games in between. How many games did it take him to realize that having his receivers play 10 yards off of the receiver was a horrible idea? We have only just FINALLY seen press coverage in the last 3rd of the season, and it works!!! GO FIGURE!

    Plus, he makes rookie coaching mistakes routinely, that cost us games. To name one example (of many inept decisions), the Titans loss…. How can you put Crezdon “I just got signed off the street yesterday” Butler alone in coverage on the most important play of the game with no safety help over the top, and give up a 35 yard TD to JAKE FRIGGIN’ LOCKER in the final minute of the game? Poor decision after poor decision is what we have seen all season. I will give him credit for a few games (especially this last one, and perhaps Indy), but the majority of his scheming this season was total garbage.

    NEXT, PLEASE!!!!!

    • Stefanie Smith

      Pete: You could be right, but I think Coach McCoy is a Pagano fan.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        I know THEY will probably bring him back… but, I’m not going to sit here and pat him on the back. He is the main reason we are on the “outside looking in” at the playoffs. Personally, I think both coordinators waited until it was MUCH too late to make simple changes.. like playing more press coverages… trying to disguise your blitz packages, and get creative… running Ryan Mathews more often… Especially in the redzone, at the one foot line. I refuse to call that “a learning curve” or give them credit for “fixing it”… it never should have been broken, or need fixing in the first place! That was just plain stupid, and stubborn.
        Those ridiculous decisions let me know that no matter how well they may do in “game A”, they will cost you “game B”. And “game B” could be a Superbowl or an AFC Championship game one day. Let’s get some REAL coordinators in here who don’t repeatedly screw up simple things. You would NEVER catch Bill Belichick’s crew, or the Steelers Dick Lebeau pulling that kind of crap… which is why they are elite coordinators… unless of course the Patriots are playing Miami, and we need them to win.. in which case, they suddenly become “The Chargers for a day”.

        • Derek

          What do u mean it was not to long ago Brady had to play offense and defense by lighting up the scoreboard. And libeau is at a all time high with points allowed and yards, that’s actually what’s holding the steelers back. Been is still putting up the same numbers. Excuse my spelling. Don’t isolate the chargers I actually think we belong in the same catergory, the following draft is when he went defensive with chandler jones and don’t a Hightower and that cb early and progress ensued. I believe the steelers will do the same this draft

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            You are missing my point. Belichik Josh McDaniels don’t fuck around and get cute at the one inch line, with the game in the balance. Nor does it take Labeau 11 games to START to realize playing his cornerback 10 yards off the receiver on every play, or going vanilla on every blitz, or not letting your DE’s & probowl safety “do what they were born to do” is not working. Pittsburgh is FINALLY declining after years of fielding a top tier defense, because their players are old, green, or got swooped up in FA, because everyone wants a piece of what they had. That’s not Lebeau’s fault. Any team with a younger D would pay through the nose for his talent. . Including us. Samr thing if McDaniels came on the open market fir OC. Can you say that about Pagano?

          • Derek

            Josh changes his offenses to match his personal he loves unconventional plays, he loves moving Vereen all around creating mismatches with his skill set. That’s all he can do while his recievers are still acclimating. According to you dick should scheme around his personnel like you expect pagano to. I feel like you convict pagano like it’s his 3rd yr. he’s new wiz gets a lil less leeway wouldn’t mind swing him go and promoting our qb coach or snatching the lions oc, I think stafford won’t ever let him shine with his errant passing. Btw y is nobody talking about getting a new DBS coach??? I’ve seen no stars since cromartie left

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            We just got a new DB’S coach from Denver this year. His name is Ron Milus. .. fired for that ONE play that cost Denver the playoff game against the Ravens, after doing a bang up job all season. He has had Cox, Wright, Marshall, Patrick, and Crezdon Butler to work with, and Chargers fans are ALREADY calling for his head… lmfao! But, Pagano has a pass after our defense has not grown much in his second year. I am just not seeing the growth I wanted to see on D this season. If Philip didn’t have a short window, I would say “sure… roll with Pagano”. But, we don’t have that long. If we give him another year, we might as well go QB in the first right now, just to hedge our bet. We need to win now, unless we resign Philip, or replace him.

          • Derek

            Cox isn’t a rookie he was a number one cb….. In jax but still!! I heard he kept Andre Johnson in check. Wright is showing improvement. But I assume he had a part in putting gilcrist in the ss spot. Throughout this season I see the lbs playing to their strengths even moreso after cam was demoted. I’ll admit it took forever but I believe that was to be certian cam couldn’t grow. Same for cox. U made your point though maybe milus deserves more leeway with how he developed broncos DBS.

    • Derek

      Hey I think wining those games that nobody would pick us warrents him another shot. I saw a lot of turnikits and lemonade being made from our defense. Simmilar to rob Ryan. Weddle has been our joker because he has been by far our best player on defense. Often he is assigned 2 jobs. Sometimes it works sometimes it didn’t. Butler was our only choice at cb titans knew we were short which is y they worked that spread. I promise cox would have yielded the same result. All in all pagano at the end I believe is able to say he did the best with what he had. Who is to say how long u give players to shake off a bad game and step up (cam, cox) he does make a conscious decision on who he plays which is why addae is on the field instead of Taylor and leismore instead of our undrafted nt. all I can say is I’ve seen this defense improve from the begining of the season when it was the offenses job to score AND keep the opponents offense off the field.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        I have heard all the arguments for keeping him.. personally, I have seen enough. He might get better, but he’ll never be one of the best. And that is what we need to compete in this division, and the NFL. Lets stop holding up these low expectations for our team and get some proven winners for once. Break the wallet open Spanos, you tight, cheap bastard!

        • Derek

          The best all want head positions! Lovie has enough to sit out or go to college rather than step down to assistant. Rob won’t leave New Orleans unless head coach is offered. Wade might if he’s fired, zimmer of bengals is in robs catergory. The top defensive coordinators are head coaches trying to grow their offensive gurus while in the opposite predicament. The only hope at a better dc is pick up a recently failed head coach or a better offer to a dc on the up and up like the ravens dc

          • boltingindiego

            the best option to replace pagano would be rex ryan. If he wins out he probably won’t be fired at 8-8 but if he does drop either one or both games he will likely be fired.

          • Derek

            But do u really want that?? Look at Rex’s system. He puts 1 cb on an island and shades his coverage to the # 2 wr. His lbs and dends are hybrids that blitz and play coverage in a whim. My point is it would take 2 seasons atleast to see his true defense after getting his players and trimming the guys that don’t fit. That’s also with hoping our offense doesn’t need help or telsco continues to have an eye for offensive talent in the even latter rounds.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Good D coordinators can be found at a college level too.. not just the NFL level. Who said it has to be a big name? Pagano is a position coach, who was retained strictly for SOME continuity, as they were already blowing up half the ship. Now that the team has steadied it’s offense. . We can focus on getting the defense tightened up. He is the last piece of the old “complacent” regime.

            You know what really put it to bed for me? Do you watch the “Chargers Insider” show on Saturday’s? It’s on the website too. Every week, one of the coordinators is asked to break down a play. Last week it was Pagano’s turn. You know what play he picked? Not one from a game we won.. not one that displayed good scheme, or showcased perfect execution on our players part. He picked the first friggin play of the season.. the Cam Thomas INT off of a randomly tipped ball… in a game we had in the bag, but we lost, due to poor defensive play. He did an awful job of explaining the play, to make it worse.

            Pagano is the Norv Turner of defense, but without any of the “genius” labels from fading past success. The players LOVE him, but don’t consistently respond to his “easygoing”, mild mannered, constantly unshaven demeanor. He’s a 7-9 coordinator, on a team that is trying to get to 12-4 next season. If you are telling me that there are ZERO options out there that are better than Pagano… look a little deeper than some other team’s high profile coordinators. Besides, some of these guys looking for “head coaching” positions, might not get a call… look at Whisenhunt this year. They may not stick around, but they will install a system, and probably bring a guy like Reich to be his successor.

          • Derek

            Forgot scouting college ranks, good points. I saw that episode, maybe I’m a apologist I chalked that up to not wanting to do offensive coordinators job for them. Figured you’ll only get a real breakdown from a former coach or as their pupil. If we look to hard for a dc that’s unproven we’ll be picking up someone else’s burden. Think our best bet is to see who falls through the cracks of a regime change.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Great debate Derek. Fortunately, I have the utmost confidence in the coaching choices that have been made thus far. TT and the wolf did a bang up job getting Whisenhunt, Reich, D’Alesandris, and McCoy in here. I think we can expect more good changes across the board. I am not reading too deep into Telesco’s statement about keeping Pagano. If this defense folds to the Raiders again at home… everything would change on a dime.

    • Joel Ayala

      I’ll tell you what. I’m thinking that if Jokeland fires Dennis Allen this year MM will fire Pags and Hire him as DC. they’re close friends. and I think it might do us good to go in another direction from Pags. but wouldn’t mind if he’s giving one more shot next year to turn it around. but 1 more shot. that’s it.

  • Mark Viguri

    After having Telesco cut lose the majority of his players including 5-6 of his starters and after what the Chargers did to Peyton on Thursday don’t be surprised if he gets more offers than Wiz to be a HC. Pags leaving would have a bigger impact than losing Whisenhunt.

  • arnie

    Telesco’s confidence could be based on, ” if we fire him, who’s going to replace him?” And that’s a good way to approach Pags being retained. This however is a two edged sword, keeping Pags is good for stability, but we could end up with more of the same. I for one would like them to move on, Pags has shown the inability to run the 3-4. Even when he used 4 down linemen, his packages still couldn’t generate any pressure without a blitz. The simple truth could be TT is exercising patience, to give his young regime time to build the roster under a stable defensive staff.
    At the end of the day as the players build chemistry, they will play better, I’ve just seen enough from Pags.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I wonder if he would take a demotion. He is a decent position coach. He is just not “THE guy”. It’s not like teams will be rushing to scoop him up as a DC… but, then again. . I said that about Mabustsky.

      • arnie

        Somebody needed to call the plays at Indy, let’s be clear Chuck Pagano can handle those duties if necessary. As for Pags, that would be a humbling experience, more than likely, he would turn it down and go coach with his brother, probably taking Manusky job. Their defense isn’t stellar either.

  • 619chargers4life

    Add a few pieces to the puzzle and I think our D would be alriiiiiiiiiiight!!!