After introducing almost a completely brand-new coaching staff in the 2021 offseason, the LA Chargers are making more coaching changes after the 2021 season. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on Friday that the Chargers were firing special teams coordinator Derius Swinton.
This was a somewhat surprising move as the Chargers did make some progress on the special teams side of the ball. There is no denying that the Chargers were a better special teams unit in 2021 than they were in 2020. However, that was not very hard to do considering that the Chargers had one of the worst special teams units of all time in 2021.
Swinton took over a unit that was not very experienced nor set up for success. Some would view him elevating the team to where it is as a success. However, there are still a few key mistakes that were made that probably hurt Swinton's case for a job. He picked K.J. Hill as the kick returner and was only saved by Andre Roberts being released, he picked Tristan Vizcaino as the kicker and we all know how that winded up and while the overall special teams were better, it was carried by Roberts and Dustin Hopkins.
The Chargers are showing that they are holding coaches accountable if expectations do not meet results and that is a good thing. Plus, firing him now instead of potentially doing during the season next year allows the Chargers to pursue a former special teams head coach that was just fired himself.
The LA Chargers should pursue Joe Judge to be the special teams coordinator
After a ton of fan backlash, the New York Giants recently fired Joe Judge, who had a memorable stint with the Giants for the wrong reasons. While Judge was an awful head coach, that does not change the fact that he was a really good special teams coordinator and can still be that next season.
Judge's first big job was as a special teams assistant with Alabama from 2009 to 2011. After that, Bill Belichick hired Judge to be a special teams assistant for three years before becoming the special teams coordinator in 2015. Judge held that job until he was hired by the New York Giants prior to the 2020 season.
The New England Patriots have consistently been one of the best teams in football because they play the game the right way. The Patriots are a team that makes very few special teams mistakes and while most will credit Bill Belichick for setting that example, piloting the special teams unit for five years is no small feat.
Judge has seen that Patriot way and he can translate it to the LA Chargers. Special teams, more than any other side of the ball, is about buying in and finding the right players that are going to buy in and execute. You do not have to be the most talented team on special teams as long as you have a cohesive unit that can minimize the mistakes and work together to execute a vision.
There is not a single coach on the market that knows that more than Judge. Sure, he may not have been head coach material, but we have seen so many coordinators fail at head coach only to return to being really good coordinators.
Brandon Staley and the LA Chargers should absolutely reach out to Joe Judge and bring him on to try and change the culture of the special teams. 2020 was a step in the right direction but the Chargers still have so much work to do.