Now Hiring: Chargers’ Coaching Candidates for the 2017 Season

Credit: AP Photo

 

Tom Coughlin (Unemployed)

The 70-year old has been linked to a handful of open positions already (especially in Jacksonville) despite being out of coaching since 2015. If he did return to the sidelines, he’d bring a .531 lifetime winning percentage and two Super Bowl rings with him, as well as a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian with a stubborn focus on the little things, a personality that would fit well on a Chargers roster plagued by fourth quarter failures. Given his age, he’d likely be a short-term addition for a team looking for a quick fix. With Rivers nearing the end of his career, however, I see little wrong with grabbing a coach that can help him get to the promised land while helping groom his own eventual sideline successor. Besides, is there a better place to plan your impending retirement than the sunny shores of Southern California? I think not.

Teryl Austin (Defensive Coordinator, Detroit Lions)

Austin, 51, projects to be another of the more prominent names linked to open coaching positions this offseason. His teams in Detroit have ranked in the upper half of the NFL defensively in each of his three seasons with the Lions, and his emphasis on passing prevention could meld well with John Pagano’s more run-centric approach. Austin also brings a history with current Chargers offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, who he worked under from 2007-2009 in Arizona. No coach had more interviews last year without getting a job, and Austin has a reputation as a people person whose affability could fit well in a head coaching role where he has to sync offensive and defensive approaches seamlessly.

Sean McDermott (Defensive Coordinator, Carolina Panthers)

In six years with Carolina, McDermott has transformed the Panthers into one of the most dominant and opportunistic defenses in the league. Given Carolina’s struggles as a team this year, there’s certainly an argument to be made for McDermott to be more easily pried away from the Panthers, and his role in helping rebuild a formerly-struggling franchise could serve the Chargers well in righting the ship sooner rather than later. If nothing else, his intelligence on the defensive side of the ball could turn Bosa, Verrett, Perryman, Brown, and Co. into a true nightmare for opposing offenses.

Credit: Getty Images

Todd Haley (Offensive Coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers)

Haley is another candidate with prior experience as an NFL head coach, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 19-26 record between 2009-2011. His work in turning Antonio Brown and an aging Ben Roethlisberger into one of the top aerial duos in the league could translate well to similar personnel in San Diego with Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ own highly-skilled possession receiver, Keenan Allen, allowing the Bolts to take another shot or two at the playoffs behind the arm of their Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback.

David Shaw (Head Coach, Stanford University)

This list would be incomplete without at least one college name joining the ranks, and Shaw fits the bill in many ways. His focus on conservative, smash-mouth football on The Farm would fit well with the Chargers’ recent shift away from an aerial attack, and his no-nonsense approach would do wonders in terms of keeping a young Bolts roster disciplined late in games. That being said, Shaw is coming off his first true down year at Stanford after playing a major role in rebuilding the program. A Cardinal alum, he may prove too tough to pry away from the college ranks to be worth pursuing.

If the Chargers needed to make a decision this week, I could count Patricia, Coughlin, and McDermott among the frontrunners for the position. Ultimately, though, there is no shortage of worthy candidates for the Chargers to consider in the coming months. With question marks still surrounding the team’s home for the 2017 season, it is likely a decision will not be made anytime soon. Once a verdict is reached regarding the team’s possible relocation, however, there is little doubt that the eyes of Bolts backers across the country will remain steadfastly focused on the team’s search for a head coach that can help turn around what has become a frustrating downward spiral for football in America’s Finest City.

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Noah Hilton
I am a current undergraduate at the University of San Diego and lifelong San Diegan. A pitcher and outfielder on the nationally-ranked USD club baseball team, I have aspirations of one day being the GM that finally leads the Padres to a World Series title. I'll write more once I graduate. You can follow me on Twitter @thebackseatlamp

This article has 8 Comments

    1. A fair point. Chargers tied for fourth in the NFL in takeaways in 2016, but finished 26th in turnover differential. Not a winning formula, for sure. Five of top six in that category now playoff-bound (KC, OAK, NE, ATL, GB).

  1. Im just curious why the East Village Times is even writing about the Bolts…we all know how you folks feel over there so why do you even care?

    1. Here at EVT, our job is to translate our passion for sports in America’s Finest City into quality and consistent coverage of the city’s athletic endeavors. Until the Chargers officially announce that they will be moving (if that ever even happens), the organization is still a part of the San Diego sports scene and therefore will be covered as such. We may have some disagreements with how the team has handled front office and public relations decisions in the past, but I guarantee that no one on this staff has turned their back on the Bolts. Here’s hoping they stay 🙂

      1. I don’t make the same guarantee as Noah. Sadly, some have turned their back to the team. As have some in the fan base as well. The only one to blame is the team for how they have handled the situation. There have been, and there will be, brighter days for this franchise.

    2. The San Diego Chargers are just that… The San Diego Chargers… We will cover them until further notice. Spanos has everyone waiting on him. I’m sure he is pleased with himself for the drama he has created. Now, will his bluff pay off? That is the question. Stay tuned and thanks for the support.

  2. It sure has been interesting to be a Chargers fan during the Philip Rivers’ era. The first few years that Marty was the coach the team played out of their minds. Sadly, we let him go and the Chargers have never been the same. What makes the McCoy hire even tougher to swallow is Ron Rivera took the Panthers to the Super Bowl. I am not saying Rivera was the best defensive coordinator but I think the Chargers need a defensive guy as the coach.

    1. I agree. Defense will definitely be this team’s strength in years to come, especially as Rivers starts to fade. Think it’s smart to cast a wide net initially and not limit organization to candidates based on experience on a certain side of the ball, but ultimately think that, given amount of young talent on Chargers’ D (Bosa, Verrett, Brown, etc.), it’d be smart to look to maximize that talent with a defensive-minded brain trust.

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