Chargers fans finally got what they wanted for the last 2 years; Mike McCoy was fired immediately after the Kansas City Chiefs game. It didn’t take long for John Spanos and Tom Telesco to start the process of finding McCoy’s successor.
The list of Chargers coaching candidates so far:— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) January 4, 2017
Fans should take notice, these candidates are drastically different from the last two San Diego Chargers’ hires. Norv Turner and Mike McCoy were hired because they were considered offensive “geniuses.” It is clear, that with the make up of the team changing, Spanos and Telesco are looking for an up and coming defensive guru to coach up their young and talented defense. With the exception of one candidate (Dave Toub), the Chargers are set to interview five assistant coaches with defensive backgrounds.
However, San Diego will have some major competition, as there are five other teams vying for these popular candidates. The Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Rams are all joining the Chargers on the journey to find the next hot head coach. So this begs the question, how attractive is the San Diego Chargers head coaching vacancy for these prospects?
New NFL coaches do not have the luxury of time anymore when they take over a team. Owners and general managers want immediate gratification from their coach and demand to see results from day 1. Don’t believe me? Over the last ten years, the average tenure for an NFL head coach is roughly three years. The aforementioned names are well aware of this information and are looking to join a franchise where they can succeed as soon as possible. The Chargers are one of the few teams that will give their incoming head coach both the ability to succeed immediately while building for the future.
San Diego is a perfect combination of productive vets (at the positions where it counts) and young talent. When compared to the other head coaching openings, the Chargers are the only team that does not have a question mark at the most important position on the field, the quarterback position. San Diego offers a coach 3 years of a franchise quarterback. Philip Rivers will provide immediate success while buying the new incoming coach time to find a quarterback of the future (most likely after the second year of the coaches’ contract).
Outside of Rivers, San Diego has some real nice building blocks, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With players like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Jatavis Brown, Denzel Perryman, Jason Verrett, and Casey Hayward it is easy to see that the Chargers’ defensive unit is loaded with youth and will attract any of the defensive candidates being considered for the opening. The incumbent head coach will be able to put his own twist on a talented defense that ranked 14th in the NFL this year while battling a slew of injuries. The idea that the future coach could have a franchise quarterback and realistically, a top 10 defense, should certainly be intriguing to any of the candidates San Diego is targeting.
Lastly, the new coach will also be able to put his mark on this team quickly, as the Chargers have a top 10 selection in this years NFL Draft. This will give the successor of Mike McCoy a chance to add some additional quality pieces to a roster that is very competitive.
This is not to say that this is a dream job. There are many questions that could scare away these candidates, such as which city will they be coaching in? Or, will they be forced to inherit the current offensive and defensive coordinators? But when you look at the other options ( San Francisco and their depleted talent, the quarterbacks issues with Buffalo, Denver, and Jacksonville, the lack of draft picks with Los Angeles); it is fair to say that the San Diego Chargers coach opening is as attractive if not more than most of the teams on this list. The Chargers opportunity is perhaps the only chance that guarantees these coaches a shot to coach past that 3-year hump and onto their second contract with the same team.