Indulge me on a conspiracy theory.
Before the 2013 season, everyone from Norv Turner to the BFTB Staff (http://www.boltsfromtheblue.com/2013/9/9/4702180/bftb-staff-season-predictions-for-the-2013-san-diego-chargers) was on record that the Chargers would not make the playoffs this year.
Fast forward to Week 13, and the Charger’s have maddeningly flirted with being a good team, only to end up 5-7. McCoy’s conservative style has clearly cost the Chargers some games. All season I’ve wondered if he would change/evolve his strategy. But the question is why? Could more aggressive play calling and game management have snagged a game or two and a wild card berth? I believe so. But this team is not a few 4th downs and creative play calls from being a true super bowl contender.
When you are a contender, you want to get into the playoffs as often as possible to maximize your chances of catching fire and making it all the way. Look at the Colts a few years back, or the Ravens over the last 5 years. The chargers are not a contender, so what good does it do to sneak into the playoffs and get bounced in the first round? It costs us draft position, making it harder to get back next year.
So my conspiracy theory is this, the mandate to McCoy was "Let your players win, if they can."
2 more details to back up my point/theory/wild-conjecture:
1) Tom Telesco was part of a Colts organization that very obviously tanked a season, and immediately returned to relevancy. So the knows the value in a season or two at the top of the draft order. He also doesn’t mind suffering now for the long-term gain.
2) McCoy was part of a Broncos team that scratched and clawed to 8-8 with Tim Tebow, and even beat a bad Steelers team, only to lose against a superior opponent. Were they going to win the Super Bowl with Tebow? no. Would higher draft picks be helping them more now than that 1 playoff victory? yes.
Why not go 0-16 then? One reason is that Spanos still needs to keep people interested and sell tickets. You know one way to keep people interested? Keep things close. The chargers are close in every game, and (amazingly enough) are not eliminated from playoff contention.
I believe that if the Chargers talent had shown they were truly ready to win big this year, we would have seen some changes in games. However it was evident early on that this was not going to be their year, so I believe McCoy will continue to 'do his team no favors’ and let the season play out as it will. If we end up 5-11, then Telesco will gleefully skip to the top of the draft and get ready for 2014, as was the plan from the beginning.