After the Chargers failed to make the playoffs despite having as much top-end talent as anybody in the NFL, it wasn’t going to come as a surprise to see some heads potentially roll in the aftermath.
Well, the first domino has fallen in the team’s journey to improving ahead of 2022.
On Friday morning, NFL insider Tom Pelissero reported the news that the Chargers have fired special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II after just one season in Los Angeles.
The #Chargers fired special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II, source said.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 14, 2022
From the very beginning, Swinton was one of the most-energetic and relatable coaches on the staff for the Chargers. He was young and brought a mindset to the third phase of the game that was felt to have been missing from the unit for some time. He made it “fun” to play special teams, which isn’t very easy when everyone else is wanting to play just offense or defense.
While things started out slow to begin the year, the signings of Andre Roberts and Dustin Hopkins helped push the unit into a place of consistency that certainly helped down the stretch. Apart from that, the blocking on returns also improved. In fact, the Chargers finished the regular season 18th in weighted special teams DVOA. The simple fact that’s essentially middle of the league instead of rock bottom is insane.
#Chargers were 18th in weighted special teams DVOA at the end of the season. That unit showed steady improvement all year. Genuinely surprised by this move.— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) January 14, 2022
Swinton turned around one of the league’s worst units into a respectable one this year and it can’t be understated just how little he had to work with. The majority of the players he was forced to work with were rookies with little to no experience so he deserved every bit of credit possible for the strides they made as a team.
At the end of the day, there’s a reason for this move and I hope we get an explanation sooner rather than later.