Jun 18, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy at minicamp at Chargers Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Every year die hard fans of every team are at their optimistic best. Bill and Jaguar fans come up with highly illogical but impassioned arguments about how their teams are Super Bowl contenders. I still refer to the Chargers acquisition of Coy Bacon in 1973 as the final piece in our championship puzzle as an example of my ridiculous homerism and myopic shortsightedness that so often overwhelms the faith based fan. Coy Bacon was over-the-hill and the only puzzle piece he completed was the fan giveaway team picture jigsaw.
So I totally get that you would view what follows as an example of that homerism. I get it. I really do. But here’s the very notable exception. When you look at most team’s moves historically they always smack of desperation. A move that doesn’t necessarily make the team better but a move that excites fans. Let’s bring in player X who is on the downhill side of his career and hope that even though it has been several years since his peak year, we’ll cross our fingers and pray that he exceeds his career high in numbers and takes our team to the promised land. Or let’s draft the exciting player even though our lines on both sides of the ball couldn’t move a dirt clod if they were spotted a bulldozer.
Things are different Charger fans, Can you feel it? We’re making smart moves not flashy moves and we are being lead by LEADERS, not just people in leading positions.
Tom Telesco seems to be a shrewd evaluator of talent and has quickly built depth in just a year and a half. Of course time will tell with what Telesco is doing, but just two simple things that Mike McCoy has done show a gigantic gap between his leadership and that of Norv Turner. Now Norv is a brilliant offensive mind, but he is not a leader of men. Saying that is so obvious that using examples to support that statement seems like a colossal waste of time and space.
Instead of loving a move (and to be sure, there are a few to applaud), I absolutely love two things that McCoy has done. These are simple things but essential never-the-less.
First, McCoy publically expressed his dissatisfaction with a team effort after one of the practices in OTAs. He didn’t single out players, but called out his team. Why is this important? Because his players aren’t just going through the motions. I can’t help but saying that Turner’s teams always left me with the GENERAL feeling that they were going through the motions ALL THE TIME. This focus is very important in coaching 20-something-year-olds as although they have been elite athletes their whole lives, they are suddenly making insane money and it is very easy to fall back on the “Well, I’ve made it and now I can relax a bit.” It’s a natural reaction to a lifetime of hard work and hardly surprising from a 20-year-old who may not have supreme maturity. McCoy is in charge and seems to be able to communicate his expectations in a way that elicit attention from his players.
Second, he cut short OTAs by one day to tell his players if they gave the supreme effort and accomplished all of their goals then they would be done. This is subtle and perhaps seems like a minor thing, but McCoy is telling his players that they are good. Here is an example of how a day not practicing can have more value than a meaningless day practicing something again. Shot of confidence… “You guys have got it. You have mastered what I needed you to master, now enjoy a day off.” What a message. You don’t just build a winner physically, you need to build it mentally as well. Although these are two simple examples, they show that McCoy knows all of the pieces that it takes to build a championship jigsaw puzzle.