In July of 2016, it is easy for things to get lost in the shuffle for San Diego Chargers fans. Currently, the team is battling local politicians to try and get support on a ballot measure for a new downtown stadium and battling their 1st round draft pick (Joey Bosa) to try and not change the way that NFL contracts are done for rookies. Both are important fights, which is why they're overshadowing some of the smaller and more "normal" questions we would normally have heading into Training Camp. Such as.....
Is Mike McCoy on the "hot seat"?
First, if you're unaware of this, I feel the need to explain how coach contracts work.
Rarely, if ever, are Head Coaches asked to coach into the final year of their contract. There are a multitude of reasons why not, but the simplest one is that the players won't listen to a guy that won't be around next year.
For this reason, Mike McCoy was given a 1-year contract extension at the end of last season's 4-12 campaign. It's not that the team was pleased with 4-12 or the job that McCoy had done, but they weren't ready to move on just yet and 2016 was the final year of his original contract with the team.
So, even though McCoy's contract "goes through 2017", just know that there's a much greater chance of him getting fired or getting a long-term extension at the end of the 2016 season than there is of him coaching into the final year of his deal.
The Chargers have gone 22-26 in McCoy's first three seasons, and went 1-1 in the NFL Playoffs in his first season with the team.
Compare that to a 24-24 record in Norv Turner's last three seasons with the Chargers (and a 32-16 record in Norv's first three seasons), and it's easy to start convincing people that the team hasn't exactly done anything to upgrade their Head Coach position since 2002.
A Lose-Lose Situation (for Winning)
I'm not trying to bury McCoy here. In fact, I think he has been an upgrade over Norv Turner, and we saw that in 2013. However, I think McCoy has been riding the coattails of Ken Whisenhunt a little bit, and I think the front office has noticed the same thing.
The good news, for McCoy, is that those coattails are back! Ken Whisenhunt has returned to the Chargers after a two-year vacation in Tennessee. This likely means a greatly-improved offense, environment, and team performance for San Diego in the 2016 season. That type of season will get McCoy a contract extension for sure.
The bad news, for McCoy, is that any success the team has from here on out will be attributed to Whisenhunt. And, heaven forbid, if the team puts out another 4-12 season, the stories will be more about how McCoy has ruined the prime years of Philip Rivers' career than they will be about Ken Whisenhunt. Reputation is everything in the coaching ranks and McCoy doesn't have a lot of options here to improve his this season.
In fact, halfway through another 4-12 season, the stories will probably be about how Whisenhunt should take over as the Head Coach because that's what happens when you bring in a former NFC Championship Head Coach to try and save the team as a coordinator.
Does any of it matter?
Not really. Mike McCoy is starting the season as the Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers. I think that he needs to have a good season, with lots of wins and very little drama (*cough* Weddle *cough*), if he hopes to get another contract extension at the end of the year.
If things go sour, I could see McCoy being one of the first Head Coaches fired this season, mostly because it would be a great way to test out Whisenhunt in the spot to decide if he should get the job next.
But that's just what I think. What do you think?