LA Chargers News

Play Under Review: Chargers coaches under scrutiny

By Dennis J. Hassell
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shakes hands with head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers after a game at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shakes hands with head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers after a game at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Coach, GM wants to see you.  And bring your playbook.

Is it silly, after a 12-4 regular season and a playoff win, to look hard at the Los Angeles Chargers’ coaching staff? It seems like head coach Anthony Lynn has earned everyone’s respect – and another season – but what about his and Tom Telesco’s picks for coaches? Consider this:

Every player is re-evaluated annually (sadly, not owners), but why wouldn’t the coaches be under scrutiny?

The Chargers hugely improved their record this season, but the playoff loss to the Patriots was decimating.  Humiliating. Excruciating. Some of that emphatic loss was due to Bill Belichick’s brilliance, some to Chargers injuries (like the depleted linebacker corps), and maybe even the Bolt’s game plan was hacked, but no one can say that the coaches were not de-pantsed — in 4K HD.

Offensive behavior

As effective as offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was against 12 good and bad teams in the regular season,  it was the defense that engineered many of those wins.

Only 4 times in 18 games did the Chargers amass 30 or more points. Let that sink in before you rave about the run game and the wide receiver corps. Playoffs aside, the Bolts averaged 26.8 points per game. That ranked them SIXTH in the league.  In the playoffs, the Chargers finished tied for sixth.

.Did you expect a better playoff result? Why?

Getting defensive

As great as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s countermeasures were against Baltimore, the Chargers defense was defenseless against the Patriots.

Only 4 times in 18 games did the Chargers hold opponents to less than 18 points. Playoffs aside, the Bolts averaged 20.6 points per game. That ranked their defense EIGHTH in the league.

In a nutshell

Combining offensive and defensive rankings to a single average, the Chargers rank SEVENTH in the league, about fourth in the AFC, which is where they finished. Former head coach Herm Edwards famously observed: “You are what your record says you are”.

For the Bolts, their 2018 regular season 12-4 record says they are a  serious playoff contender. Their 2018 playoff record shows (literally) they are not at the Super Bowl. Yet.

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My take:

Anthony Lynn is the boss, the capo di tutti capos until he isn’t. If Lynn is still pushing Whisenhunt to emphasize the run, I’d say, back off, boss.

Although my admiration has waned some on Whisenhunt, “The Whiz”  has earned another year on the yellow brick road. And Bradley is good and still getting better. That Baltimore playoff defensive plan was more than creative, it was freaking historic. Betcha Baltimore goes 8-8 next year.

What’s your judgment on the Chargers’ coaches for 2019?

Is there a position coach that deserves close attention? Is there a coach available who is clearly superior to someone the Chargers have now?

Please give your take in comments, below.

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