Most San Diego Chargers fan assumed the first coach to get axed after the season would be Mike McCoy. Instead of firing McCoy they went ahead and cut ties with 6 other coaches including offensive coordinator Frank Reich, offensive line coach Joe D’ Alessandris, tight end coach Pete Metzelaars, wide receiver coach Fred Graves, defensive line coach Don Johnson, and assistant line coach Andrew Dees. Since then they have brought him some very successful assistant coaches starting with Ken Whisenhunt, who helped put together the best offense the Chargers have had in a very long time back in 2013.
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Obviously, bringing back “whiz” made too much sense. The former Titans and Cardinals head coach, as well as Philip Rivers’s former offensive coordinator put together one heck of a season together. They won a road playoff game in his lone season as offensive coordinator with McCoy. In 2013, Rivers had his best season throwing for a career high 69.5% completion percentage, 4,478 passing yards, 32 TD passes, and a QB rating of 105.5. Ryan Matthews also had his best season as an NFL RB rushing for 1,255 yards and played in all 16 games in 2013, so Melvin Gordon will benefit from Whiz coming back to San Diego, yes, we can say San Diego instead of LA, at least for one more season, hopefully for many more.
Another name not probably recognized as a big move but bringing in former NFL safety and 2nd team all-pro in 2010 Chris Harris, who was the quality coach for the Chicago Bears last season to come in and work with our young secondary as a defensive backs coach. Harris played a lot of football and can relate to a lot of our young defensive secondary. This will pay dividends in the long run with the loss of Eric Weddle.
Another huge pickup in the coaching staff is Offensive Line coach, Jeff Davidson, who was the line coach for the Minnesota Vikings for Adrian Peterson and that potent line for quite sometime. He will help second year RB Melvin Gordon in 2016 because he has great schemes and has 21 years of coaching experience. Gordon hardly had any holes to run through in his rookie season a large part due to injuries to the offensive line, but even Gordon will not make excuses for holding the football. Gordon is very critical of himself and won’t blame anyone but himself for his dismal rookie season. Our new line coach might be changing that going into 2016 because we have a talented enough line, when healthy to open up huge holes for Gordon. Davidson was the line coach of the Vikings when Peterson ran for 2,000 yards and nearly broke the all-time record in his MVP campaign. He will be a great pickup for a team that has failed to run the ball the last two seasons. Whisenhunt also believes in running the ball. In Whiz’s only season it was also Ryan Matthews best season as a pro and stayed healthy so Davidson and Whiz will work real well together.
Moving on to the defensive side of the ball we never really expected John Pagano to get fired. Players and the Chargers organization love Pagano and his aggressive game plans. He runs a very blitz happy defense and has had great defenses since he has been here and the players and ownership really trust him. We finally have very exciting young players he can build a pretty formidable defense around, like when we had Shawn Merriman, Jamal Williams, Stephen Cooper and Antonio Cromartie. With Denzel Perryman, Manti Te’o, Melvin Ingram, and Jerry Attaochu and not to mention a pro-bowler in Jason Verrettt who is becoming a lock down corner, and Jahleel Addae playing safety that is a nice young group of players. All we need to do is bring in a veteran to replace fan-favorite Eric Weddle and maybe some veteran leadership along the defensive line. Pagano and the Chargers can have a very scary defense. Towards the end of the season we saw a lot of great plays by our pass rushers and linebackers and Verrett has been shutting down the biggest names all year so that was no surprise, his Pro-Bowl nod was well-deserved. They will have a phrase for him soon “Verrett Island” is on its way.
Tom Telesco has done a great job of bringing in young play makers through the draft but some new veteran faces wouldn’t be a bad thing. Look at Steve Chime with the Cardinals he has brought in great older players for cheap and have rebuilt the culture in AZ. Telesco and Spanos are not too far from having a winning product just a few pieces can change everything. Oh, and not to mention we get to see them play another year in San Diego which is great news so they have more time to figure out a long-term deal to remain in the City that has loved them for 57 years.