I like to look at things in context. Often, in this 24/7 newscycle and immediate-response world of the internet, we forget about context. When a guy makes a bad play, he's the worst in the world. When he makes a great play, sign him forever!
A few days ago, I reevaluated how I viewed San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy. I added context. I went back to before he was hired, and what we (as fans) were hoping to get as a replacement for Norv Turner.
If you want to look back at what I was thinking about the possible head coaching candidates, you'll notice a pattern. Skip over the fact that I voted against McCoy, with my reasoning being that we really had no idea if he was any good because Peyton Manning had been running the ship, and you'll see that I was looking for a young coach that the team could hire and be patient with.
I wasn't looking for someone to come in and win a championship right away. I was looking for someone to come in and add stability, making the team a contender most seasons over the next 10-20 years.
Every single one of my "final candidates" were either under the age of 50 or Bill Cowher. Most of them were under the age of 40!
I was actually looking at Cowher, or Mike Tomlin, and using the Steelers as my guide. I'd much rather have a guy that could spend his entire head coaching career with the Chargers, never getting fired or replaced, than one like Jon Gruden that might offer a temporary bump but offers nothing long-term.
Mike McCoy is the guy that I wanted, I just didn't realize it at the time. I didn't have the benefit of seeing him during his job interview, nor did the I have the benefit of talking to his peers to see what kind of a coach or man he really is. Had I done those things, I likely would've made him my leading candidate.
Let's take it a step further, and use the thoughts of someone smarter than myself. Namely, our stadium expert Jeff Siniard. Here's how Jeff boiled down his favorite coaching options, and here's a summary of his qualifications when looking through them:
This is what the Chargers should be looking for: a coach in his early to mid 40’s, who has a diverse offensive background, and who has not yet coached a team to the Super Bowl.
Jeff's second option for possible replacements for Norv Turner was Mike McCoy. That was the #2 coach he wanted, out of everyone who was available at the time!
Now, did Jeff eventually grow tired of McCoy's conservative game-management? Absolutely. That being said, McCoy did a better job at being aggressive this last season (although his hand was forced a bit by the situation), and he's still only 43 years old!
There is a really good chance that 5-6 years from now, McCoy is one of the league's best coaches, with a solid team under his direction. He would be right around the average age for Super Bowl-winning coaches, with a good amount of experience and enough of a name around the league to win some free agents of his choosing.
So, let us not get bogged down with the occasional misstep or missed opportunity by McCoy. He's young, he's learning, and the Chargers front office hired him with an understanding of patience. This is what good teams do, and it's how they operate. Mike McCoy is learning on the job, and that can only be good for the future of this franchise. (As for the present, I may still occasionally want to scream at him.)