A True Leader in Mike McCoy


May 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy talks with members of the media during a press conference following Chargers rookie minicamp at Chargers park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We have casted away from the Norv Turner island and set ashore the Mike McCoy era. There’s a different feel in the interviews with McCoy in how he addresses his players and his expectations for the team.

Mike McCoy expects to see Philip Rivers with a 70% pass completion rating for the upcoming season. He sees Manti Te’o as a three-down linebacker. Jeromey Clary and Marcus Gilchrist are taking over their new roles at right guard and strong safety, respectively. Donald Butler has become a voice of leadership on defense and D.J. Fluker wants to become the next great leader on the offensive line.

The players are excited and embracing roles and opportunities. What is Mike McCoy doing differently that’s beginning to spark the Chargers?

During Norv Turner’s coaching regime in San Diego I heard the same things over and over, “he’s a heck of a player” or “we missed a few cues, but we’ll get better.” Nothing got better, it only got worse and the players started giving up.

Turner used to continue to praise his players and coaches regardless of the mistakes they made. Ryan Matthews’ recent rant about the players becoming complacent, going through the same routine, doing the same things over and over again, is this the type of player that deserved praise?

What McCoy has done is come in and taken away the kindergarten approach of patting everyone on the back regardless of how well or how poorly they did and instead set goals and standards to follow.

Last season, Peyton Manning’s QB rating of 105.8 is Manning’s second best of his 15 years as a starter. Manning’s completion of 68.6% is also his second best, missing his top by 0.2%, not bad for an old man!

Manning is an astounding player but it equally takes an astounding coach to push even the great ones for more. Now with Melvin Ingram out for the season regardless of whether it’s Larry English, McCoy’s mentality is “now is the time for someone to step up”.

English’s 8.5 sacks in four seasons don’t come close to being an efficient pass rusher. Is the potential there? Yes, English registered 31.5 sacks in college at Northern Illinois. What was McCoy saying when he said that? He was setting his expectations for the team (whether it’s English or not) to cover their wounded teammate and man up!

Now we have Dwight Freeney, an aging pass rusher who struggled in the 34 defense. McCoy was not shy is determining Freeney was suited as a passing downs type of player.

I wonder what Turner would have said if he were still head coach? “Larry is a heck of a player, we’ll keep practicing and get better,” I suppose. How does everyone else feel about our head coach’s approach thus far?