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BFTB Staff Decides: Who Should the Chargers Hire to be Head Coach?

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Our staff decides who they think should be the next head coach of the Chargers

Over the last few days, the Chargers have been scheduling a ton of really good coaches to come in for interviews. These guys have included Patriots Defensive Coordinator, Matt Patricia, Chiefs Special Teams Coordinator, Dave Toub, Panthers Defensive Coordinator, Sean McDermott, Buccaneer’s Defensive Coordinator, Mike Smith, Bills Interim Head Coach, Anthony Lynn, Lions Defensive Coordinator, Teryl Austin, and Dolphins Defensive Coordinator, Vance Joseph. Many of these guys are taking multiple coaching interviews this year with the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, and the San Francisco 49ers. The staff of BFTB has been tasked with coming up with who they think the Chargers will hire, and who they would hire if they were in charge.

Ryan Doyle: Who I think will be the coach: Mike Smith. Because... Chargers.

Who I want: Matt Patricia. It may be one of the more uncharacteristic moves the Chargers could make, but Matt Patricia makes a lot of sense in San Diego. Patricia brings a defensive minded scheme to the table. With a defense as young and talented as the Chargers, Patricia could create something special. Patricia is also someone that most fans are going to get behind with his look and past history with Bill Belichick. Plus, he's a rocket scientist.

Roger Hinojosa: I think they will hire Mike Smith because it's the most predictable "Chargers" move. Hopefully, they see through his "experience" and see all the other qualified and experienced HC candidates.

I'm good with either Anthony Lynn or Matt Patricia because both bring their own specialty to the team. Lynn has turned the Bills offense around and has had plenty of experience, as a coach and a player. With the emergence of Melvin Gordon on offense, Lynn can bring back the running game that San Diego has missed since the "Marty ball" days. Lynn could help eliminate "hero ball" and limit the turnovers that have haunted the Chargers over the past few seasons. However, Patricia would offer the same experience, creativity, and ability to turn the young, talented Chargers defense into a top 5 squad. Patricia also has a very respectable beard. The Chargers will finally have a rocket scientist to save them, at least on the coaching front. Not sure a rocket scientist can figure out what is happening with ownership and their handling of the stadium situation.

Louis Gorini: Who I think the Chargers will select for head coach: Mike Smith. Because the Chargers will covet his head coaching "experience" granted, he is basically the defensive version of Mike McCoy.

Who I want the Chargers to select for head coach: I find myself conflicted between 2 candidates. The first one, Matt Patricia is the popular choice. He is more well rounded that the public gives him credit for. He started off in New England as an offensive assistant and assistant o-line coach before he became the defensive coordinator. So he can provide some value to the o-line and the defense. His background is as versatile as his defensive schemes. In true Belichick fashion, Patricia changes his defensive approach depending on his opponent. Then there is Dave Toub, the special teams coordinator for Kansas City. He also has a versatile background as he was once a strength and conditioning coach, defensive line coach, and special teams coordinator. These are the areas of weaknesses for the Chargers he can provide value to. He does a great job coaching up players as can be seen with the players that played for him (Devin Hester, Robbie Gould, and Tyreek Hil). Also, he had some great mentors throughout his career (Lovie Smith and Andy Reid). The Chargers can't go wrong with either but give me Toub because he has more experience.

Cody Young: Who do I think they'll hire? I'm going to play optimist here and say Patricia is their guy. It really seems like the Chargers are trying to do things differently than they have before, they're trying to do it right. In the past, you would expect them to hire Mike Smith or, gosh, Jeff Fisher. But not this time. I have faith the Chargers have seen the error in their ways and are actually going to make a move that is in the teams best interest.

I'm a big fan of both Sean McDermott and Matt Patricia and I would be more than happy with either as the Chargers next head coach. While I've long been more on the side of McDermott, I've recently been feeling like Matt Patricia is the way to go. I'm aware that coaches coming out of New England haven't had the most successful careers away from Bill Belichick, but I think Patricia is different and is worth the risk. His attention to detail is remarkable and he always has his players in the best position to succeed. He can command the respect and attention of a locker room and his players are willing to leave everything on the field him. He just seems to me like a guy who has what it takes to rally his team to victory, and for these reasons he would be my choice for the San Diego Chargers.

Jeff Siniard: I'm hesitant to participate because I had Mike McCoy and Chip Kelly high on my list 4 years ago. That unfortunate history acknowledged, here are my choices... I think the Chargers will hire Dave Toub. GM Tom Telesco has gone through FA money & 2 coaches trying to fix the Chargers' annually terrible Special Teams, to no avail. Toub likely fixes that problem instantly, as well as provide a teacher who can maximize the bottom end of the roster. Taking him from KC hurts a divisional opponent. Most importantly, getting quality Special Teams play is one of the best ways this team can improve its record in close games. Lastly (and importantly for the organization), hiring Toub makes it more likely that the Chargers retain a significant portion of the existing coaching staff. I'm also good with Matt Patricia. Patricia is the kind of detail-oriented savant who could help the Chargers perform better in close games by maximizing the defense's ability and awareness, as well as making quick adjustments. Further, Patricia is scheme agnostic - he'll run a system which best suits his players. I'd also be fine with Sean McDermott. Learning under Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera is as good a defensive pedigree as a coach can have, and McDermott has consistently shown the ability to develop talent on the defensive side of the ball. Let's just go with Toub as HC, and let him hire Wade as DC. I won't even be mad if they keep Whiz under these circumstances.

Daniel Farias: The coach I think the Chargers will hire is Chiefs Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub. Toub immediately helps a special teams unit that ranked near the bottom of the league last year and also establishes a culture that keeps players accountable. He is detail oriented and is very familiar with the AFC west division. I think he would be a great hire for this roster. Toub is the coach I want the Chargers to hire and the one I think they will hire. Second on my list is Panthers Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott. Wherever McDermott goes he makes the defense better than before. He gets the most out of his talent. I like his history and think McDermott is hungry for the opportunity. Toub gets the slight edge based on familiarity with the division and his strength coaching the unit the Chargers have struggled the most with for the last four years.

Aaron Woolley: I believe that the Chargers will end up going for the guy with the most “experience,” being Mike Smith. I’m not going to say it would be a terrible move, but considering how unimpressive Mike McCoy’s tenure with the Chargers was, the brass will probably shy away from guys with little to no head coaching experience.

Who I would like is Matt Patricia. The Patriots are known to run a hybrid front and have been really good at tailoring their schemes to fit their players. Generally, it is widely believed that the Chargers have the players to run more of a 4-3, but have run more of a 3-4 for the majority of their recent history. He fits the youth movement the Chargers are taking part in (he’s 42), he has a kickass beard, which has been missing since Eric Weddle, and seems to have an outgoing personality. From the film he looks to be a players’ coach and will get the most of the players by approaching them as friends. I’m pretty tired of hearing the Chargers’ head coach call them “men.” While it’s meant to be inspiring, it’s just weird.

Jamie Hoyle: Who do I think the Chargers will hire? I have a strong feeling it will come down to Mike Smith and Dave Toub, with Toub ultimately getting the nod. Why? Because Smith's experience will make him more expensive and, this likely being his last chance, he will probably want to do things his way in terms of staff decisions and having more control over personnel. By contrast, Toub fits Telesco's single-minded quest to upgrade special teams. He would be getting his first chance and will probably be less expensive, more willing to retain most or all of the existing staff, and won't push for control over personnel. I think his familiarity with the division will also help him curry additional favor. Who do I want the Chargers to hire? Sean McDermott (although I wouldn't object to Taub as long as he doesn't retain John Pagano). Why? Because he is, by far, the best candidate. His scouting background should earn him some say in personnel (say which should evolve into a degree of control over time), he is known for developing young talent and getting the most from his vets, and the pieces are already in place for him to have success with his aggressive, opportunistic 4-3 defense.

Nathan Graber-Lipperman: for me, Toub is the clear #1. However, Patricia and McDermott are a very close #2 and #3, respectively. Similar to many, though, I have a very bad feeling that they end up getting Smith, who I think is not a good coach. There's just no way, to me, that the front office does not bum it, and if Smith is the guy, I think we can formally announce that Rivers will end his career without a ring.

Daniel Stebbins: Who do I want them to hire? Matt Patricia. Players don't like him, they love him. They know how much work he puts in and that he goes over and above to put players in the right position on game day. He has been able to maximize output from less than stellar guys year in and year out. He adjusts his schemes and game plan to fit his players, which anyone who has watched the Chargers defense for quite a while knows that just hasn't been the case. Putting your guys in a position to succeed is what a leader does, and he has shown this to be a specialty of his. He has had a large amount of success, especially for someone as young as he is. It's a major stray from the norm for the Chargers, which leads me to this...

Who will be the hire? Mike Smith. Maybe this is the cynical Charger fan in me coming out, but this has the Spanos stink all over it. Experienced, award-winning coach that players tend to like. Winningest head coach in Falcons history (percentage) and multiple playoff births. They'll ignore that the defense actually got worse under him in TB this season because facts don't matter. He never cracked the top 5 in defense his entire tenure in Atlanta, in spite of that being where he made a name for himself in Jacksonville. I really hope I'm wrong here, as this just feels like the Mike McCoy of the defense.

Garret Sisti: Give me Sean McDermott, it's been two years in the waiting and he is the best candidate. Was the Scouting Coordinator in Philadelphia and in his first year on the job McDermott helped draft the Eagles best quarterback in franchise history, Donovan McNabb, He coached Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis to Pro Bowls the year he was the DBs coach. Meaning not only can he evaluate talent, he can develop talent too. McDermott learned his 4-3 defensive philosophy from one of the best to ever do it in Jim Johnson and as the DC in Carolina, he's had a Top 10 Defense in 4 of his 6 years that rely on being aggressive and getting turnovers. Also, throw in that players are willing to do anything for him and yet he keeps them accountable (like cutting your top corner Bene Benwikere for being out of shape) plus he's coached in multiple Super Bowls under Andy Reid and Ron Rivera. Sean McDermott would be a great hire, Vance Joseph, Matt Patricia and Dave Toub would be very good hires and Anthony Lynn would be a good choice. The coach I think the Chargers are going to hire is on the other side of my preferred coaches list, it's Mike Smith. They will say Smith's a proven winner without mentioning only one playoff win in his career, they will bring up his attitude but will not discuss how close of an attitude Smith has to former Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy. He is the "safe hire" so until this front office does anything to the contrary, I'll believe they'll follow the same pattern and hire a coach like Mike Smith.

Jamie Sewell: My top three candidates are Dave Toub, Matt Patricia, and Sean McDermott. Give me one of those three and I'll be delighted. McDermott has done some superb work lately with a Carolina defense that often plays above expectations, considering the pieces they have. The heart and soul of their defense is Luke Kuechly, one of the smartest players in the game - a defensive version of Philip Rivers. It's a big jump for Dave Toub, but I'm confident it's one he can make. Everywhere he's gone, his ST units have played up to an elite level. Mike McCoy liked to preach about next man up, but nowhere is that more true on Special Teams, where you start every season fresh with 22 bodies who have mostly never played STs before, training them up in a short space of time to play the way you need them to - and with so many injuries impacting STs, you need to have a well drilled regiment to keep everyone aware of their role and how to fill it. Toub has a great track record and is both liked and respected. I think it's worth taking the risk on him. Lastly, you have rocket scientist Matt Patricia. If you're going to work for BB, you're going to have to be smart, but Patricia is possibly one of the smartest coaches the league has ever seen. If there's the slightest of things that will give your team an edge, Patricia will find it and work it to perfection. The Patriots defense isn't made up of stars - and when they do get stars, they're often traded away - but Patricia works with what he has to put out a stellar unit year after year. People will question how much of the defense is down to Patricia rather than Belichick, but that's a disservice to Patricia. He's more than capable of being the top dog, and I hope that he gets that chance with the Chargers. But, I doubt he will. Because...

They're going to hire Mike Smith. It's too perfectly Chargers not to. I'm amazed by how competent the shortlist they've put together is - Dave Toub, Matt Patricia, Sean McDermott, Teryl Austin, Vance Joseph, Anthony Lynn - these are some of the top candidates in the entire league. Then there's Mike Smith. Smith isn't necessarily a bad coach, but he's not a particularly good one. If you watched 'Hard Knocks' when they covered the Atlanta Falcons, you'll know that Mike Smith is one of the least inspiring coaches in the entire NFL. He screams 'defensive version of Mike McCoy' to me. Conservative, boring, grey-haired, first name Mike, and both have just one win in the postseason - Mike Smith's record of 1-4 isn't exactly enticing. Smith might be an excellent DC, but he's not what the Chargers need right now at HC. I hope I'm wrong on this.

Let us know who YOU want the Chargers to hire, whether they are scheduled for an interview or not.