So, the Chargers have made their selection: Mike McCoy is the new head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
As I mentioned in my previous article, McCoy really impressed in his first days at Chargers Park; not only us fans and Dean Spanos, but Philip Rivers is excited to work with the new leader on the sidelines. Even before the Chargers clinched the deal, Rivers said: “Of all the names floating around, this is who I was pulling for.”
Well, Rivers might have another reason to be thrilled: Mike McCoy hired Ken Whisenhunt, 50, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, as his offensive coordinator!
So if you doubted McCoy is the right guy for San Diego up until now, I´d say with this move he gave you a tremendous reason to get in line of his excited “McCoyaniacs.”
What makes it even more special is the fact, that Whisenhunt was interviewed for the Chargers head coach position last Saturday. And according to sources, the Chargers rated him the top alternative to McCoy.
Much respect for Whisenhunt for keeping his ego in check and accepting the play-caller role in San Diego after being bypassed for the top job.
Let’s take a quick look at some NFL coaching career highlights of the new offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.
From 2004 to 2006, Ken Whisenhunt was calling plays under head coach Bill Cowher for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Driven by a strong rushing offense and 23-year old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he was able to win the Super Bowl XL with the team. The trick play he called in that championship game is one of Whisenhunt´s most famous moments as a play-caller. The wide receiver reverse pass from Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward is the only touchdown pass thrown by wide receiver in Super Bowl history. This touchdown, by the way, sealed the deal for the Pittsburgh Steelers in that game.
In 2006, Whisenhunt was hired as head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. In his second year with the Cards, the 50-year old was able to get the team into the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. In the last 28 years, the franchise could only record three winning seasons; two of them came with Whisenhunt as head coach. The quarterback situation has been their biggest issue in the last three years. After Kurt Warner retired early in 2010, they couldn´t find the right guy to fill that spot. That of course was the biggest factor in the lack of Arizona´s success and for Whisenhunt´s firing.
There were also rumors that he “lost the Cards´ locker room.” Considering Darnell Dockett´s reaction when asked about his confidence in head coach Ken Whisenhunt a month ago, this circumstance might transition from status “rumor” to “fact.” Asked specifically if he still believed in Whisenhunt, the defensive end replied, “No comment.” The three-time Pro-Bowler was drafted by the Cardinals in 2004 and stayed with the team ever since. To be fair, Dockett’s apparent disenchantment with Whisenhunt more than likely stemmed from the fact he was fined at least $100,000 for allegedly disobeying a coaching directive near the end of the Cardinals’ game against the New York Jets on Dec. 2, 2012.
Maybe it´s true that he lost the locker room in Arizona. But as he isn´t in charge of the Bolts´ locker room, this can´t happen to him here in San Diego.
What´s also very interesting to know about Whisenhunt, is that he ran a Steeler´s offense ranked first in rushing attempts and 32nd in passing tries. Three years later, as the Cards´ head coach, he flipped the script and went to the Super Bowl with an offense that was last in rushing attempts and first in passes.
So, just like coach McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt showed great versatility in his style of calling plays. They both accentuate what their players do best. “We’ll figure that out and do it here,” Whisenhunt said. “I think with the way this game changes, the way you see some of the read-option that guys are doing – and some of the components that people are doing through the years, like the wildcat, you’ve got to be able to adapt and do those things.”
Hearing these words, reinforces my belief that the hiring of Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers was an excellent move by our new head man Mike McCoy.
I wanna close my article with wise words by coach McCoy about surrounding himself with a competent coaching staff:
“There’s going to be something I’m going learn every day – but that’s why you surround yourself with good people. When you have people that know more than you in certain areas, you lean on them and that’s what we’re going to do.”