With linebackers coach Joe Barry being hired as the new D.C in D.C., what will the Chargers do to fill the coaching void? Most people would say the loss of Barry is not crucial, but I’d argue that it will be a significant hit if not filled properly. Barry is a former D.C. for the Lions and is known for his high energy coaching approach. His work with Manti Te’o has been visible both in his leadership and game play. The easiest transition would be to promote from within. Chargers assistant linebackers coach Bobby King would appear the most likely candidate.
King has been serving as the assistant linebackers coach under Barry for just one season. Prior to his hiring in San Diego, he was the an assistant linebackers coach for the Houston Texans. In his first season with the Texans, he and new D.C Wade Phillips helped put together the strongest defensive bounce-back season in the NFL era. The team went from allowing 376 yards per game in 2010 (30th ranked) to just 285 in 2011 (2nd ranked). If you look back further, you will see even more success dating back to his college coaching days. In 2009, he helped lead West Texas A&M to their first bowl game in over forty years. Serving as their defensive line coach, the team compiled 99 tackles for loss, 34 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles.
Bottom Line: Defensive Coordinator John Pagano is undeniably the biggest factor in the success of the Chargers defense, but with young players like Jerry Attaochu, Melvin Ingram, and Manti Te’o on roster it would make sense to allow the change in position coach to be as seamless as possible. If past success predicts the future, then King could be a real candidate. Don’t expect a decision to be made immediately, as the staff will likely evaluate candidates throughout the NCAA and NFL as teams shake up their staffs.