The Chargers have done a great job so far on rebuilding their coaching staff and front-office personnel.
After the hiring of Tom Telesco (General Manager), Mike McCoy (Head Coach) and Ken Whisenhunt (Offensive Coordinator), we fans got another reason to be hyped about: John Pagano will continue his job as Defensive Coordinator for the Lightning Bolts. Joe Barry (linebackers), Greg Williams (assistant linebackers) and Don Johnson (defensive line) will be retained as well.
With keeping Pagano in San Diego, Mike McCoy made the decision most Chargers fans have been waiting for.
Pagano has done a fine job in his first season as head of the Bolts´ defense. They scored seven touchdowns, second only to the Chicago Bears with 12. Their strength was stopping the run early; they allowed the fifth-lowest average of yards per rush (3.8). Against the pass, the Chargers ranked 18th in yards allowed.
These stats (of the run defense) sound good, but there´s also room for growth. “I’m fired up to keep building what we started,” Pagano said. “It’s about getting the guys to work every day: fundamentals, technique and effort. It’s about being accountable, communication and trust. That’s going to keep us growing as a defense.”
Seems Pagano did not switch to off-season mode yet.
Another interesting move by coach Mike McCoy was the hiring of quarterback coach Frank Reich. He will reunite with Chargers´ offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt (last year he served as wide receivers coach in Arizona under head coach Whisenhunt).
Reich, 51, also brings valuable knowledge about Broncos´ star quarterback Peyton Manning, as he was Manning’s position coach with the Colts in 2009-10. The new Chargers´ quarterbacks coach is best known for leading the Buffalo Bills to the largest NFL comeback in history. In 1993´s playoff game against the Houston Oilers, the Bills trailed 35-3 in the third quarter – but the team, with quality backup quarterback Reich, managed to win the game in overtime with 41-38.
All that change in the coaching staff indicates that the Chargers see their key to success in getting Philip Rivers back on track. McCoy, Whisenhunt and of course Reich all have strong backgrounds working with quarterbacks. With a quality OLine to protect Rivers, the chances we´re gonna see that happening increase.
Kevin Spencer is the third former Arizona coach named to McCoy´s staff.
Spencer, 59, was the special teams coach for the Cardinals under head coach Whisenhunt. He´s been hired to do the same job here San Diego, as his predecessor Rich Bisaccia left the Chargers earlier this month to become Auburn’s assistant coach.
He also worked with Whisenhunt under Bill Cowher´s coaching staff in Pittsburgh, where they won the Super Bowl in 2006. Under Spencer, the Cardinals ranked 11th in special teams in 2011 and 12th last year (source: footballoutsiders.com). The rankings of the Chargers´ special teams over the last two years: 23rd in 2011 and sixth in 2012.
So it seems, except for the secondary on the defensive side of the ball and for the strength and conditioning team (coach Jeff Hurd and his assistant Vernon Stephens were both fired on Monday), the Chargers found their coaching staff for the 2013 season.
Step one of mission “New Bolt Era” (almost) completed. Ready for next chapter: Free Agency!