Joined: 20 Jan 2009
|Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:56 pm Post subject: San Diego Chargers Coaching Outlook
|Since we haven't had a post in a week i'll post this here...I did this in part of a series for Reddit (LBC/BS go ahead and remove that if necessary), basically trying to take a look at what the coaching situation and what we're projected to do schematically next year. Here's what i wrote...
Just for a note, the first record is with the chargers in this position, second is at their position in the rest of the NFL (Whisenhunt will only have the record as the Pitt OC as he was the head coach, not the same position as he was in the NFL)
Mike McCoy (0-0-0) ; (0-0-0)
Mike McCoy is starting his first season as an NFL head coach this season with the Chargers. We’ve learned a few things up until now since when he got hired. Despite being an offensive HC, he will NOT be the playcaller, but more of the overall leader. After a bad experience with an offensive HC/Playcaller combo the last few years, we decided that we would leave the OC to call plays (and boy we got a good one there). Mike McCoy from all accounts in Denver is well respected and is a guy who doesn’t have to be a fiery guy to get a team to listen to him; he’s a coach that players respect and is more of a “players coach” His scheme is very diverse as well. He’s a coach that as the offensive coordinator had to handle having success with Kyle Orton, then was able to successfully switch over to Tim Tebow, mid-season, completely switching schemes. And then to add on top of that, this past year, he again, successfully switched from Tebow to Peyton Manning. So he has a history of switching schemes to best fit the players he had, which is again, the complete opposite of what the Chargers had in 2012, with a HC and playcaller that refused to change his deep passing game with plenty of 5/7 step drop with an OL that couldn’t protect Phillip Rivers. So far he’s done everything right, he’s handled the team incredibly well, and has handled the media better than any rookie HC I’ve seen in quite a while. He has preached doing this “the right way” and creating a team that runs seamlessly and has a family atmosphere around it. He’s gotten rid of some older guys with some problems (Jammer, Phillips, Gaither) and him and the new GM Tom Telesco brought in guys who were leaders and hard workers (Fluker/Te’o). We’ll have to see more about what the results on the field say, but so far, the future of this team is looking promising with McCoy at the helm.
Ken Whisenhunt (34-14-0) ; (0-0-0)
As I mentioned before, the playcalling duties, despite having a former Offensive Coordinator as our Head Coach, will rest in the hand of this man. He was a very good offensive Coordinator in Pittsburgh, helping the ’04 Steelers to a 15-1 record, and helping the Steelers win the Super Bowl in ’05. An interesting note that I found, was in the ’04 draft, where the Steelers drafted Roethlisberger after the Chargers acquired Rivers from the Giants for Eli. After that draft, Bill Cower was quoted saying that they would have loved to get Rivers, I’m curious if Whisenhunt was agreeing with him about Rivers, who he will now have under his command. After the ’06 season in Pittsburgh, he was offered the Head Coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals and took it. There he acted as the playcaller as well as head coach and was successful up until recently when he really just lacked a QB. In ’07 he took the Cards to the super bowl against his old team, mostly due to a high powered offense featuring Fitzgerald, Boldin and Kurt Warner. He’s widely known as one of the better play-callers I the NFL and has been able to have success with many different kinds of offenses and personal. Hopefully he will be able to bring that same high powered offense to the Chargers that he helped bring to the Cardinals and Steelers and help revive Phillip Rivers career which has hit a bit of a slump in the last few years.
John Pagano (7-9-0) ; (7-9-0)
Previous to last year, John Pagano had spent 7 years as the Chargers LB coach, joining the league in that position in ’05. Despite being passed up for the job in 2011, when we hired Greg Manusky, former DC for the 9ers, he stayed on the team as the LB coach. After Manusky failed miserably in ’11, with one of the worst defenses in the league, Pagano jumped in and lead the Chargers to one of the best run defenses in the league last year, and an improved pass defense. He comes from a background of football in that his family, with brother Chuck, who was diagnosed, and beat, cancer during last season, being the former Baltimore Ravens DC and the current Colts Head Coach. Since he’s got here, he’s really helped Donald Butler grow as a player and a leader, who is one of the biggest rising stars at LB right now, and will continue that this year trying to develop Manti Te’o into a great LB in his own right.
Offensive Line Coach:
Joe D’Alessandris (16-32-0) ; (0-0-0)
If you can look at one aspect of the Chargers that needs to get better, the obvious answer is the Offensive Line. And if the fate of our offensive line; and therefore Chargers season, rests in the hand of one man, it is this man…Joe D. The offensive line was brutal last year, after failing to provide depth behind the very untrustworthy Jared Gaither, we ended up starting a UDFA rookie at LT, when said rookie didn’t even start at LT for his college team the previous year. Joe D has one hell of a track record in previous years turning around offensive lines…and in a hurry. He was vital in the season that really turned Jamal Charles into a superstar in 2009, then when that coaching staff was blown up, he joined Chan Gailey’s staff in Buffalo, and took an offensive line from one of the worst in the league, to one of the best, last year being top 5 in both rushing yards, and sacks allowed (lowest obviously). He previously was the coach at Georgia Tech and longtime OL coach for UAB. He’s known for running a Zone Blocking System (ZBS), but with a variation on it. It isn’t necessarily the cut blocking heavy ZBS that you see with the Texans, Redskins, but more of what you saw the Patriots run last year, which is similar to what Wisconsin runs in college, somewhat of a “Power Zone”. He’s shown a pattern through the teams that he’s coached in the players that he prefers. He’s usually gone after bigger, quick footed OT’s, and smarter, more technical, high IQ interior Offensive Linemen. This suits our set of OL well, with Max Starks, King Dunlap, and DJ Fluker at OT, and Chad Rinehart (who he coached in Buffalo), Johnnie Troutman, Jeremy Clary and many other high IQ interior OL on this team. Despite having such a bad OL last year, we really only made one big move at the OL position, adding DJ Fluker at RT, so this team will be highly dependent on how this unit is coached. This team may very well rest in the hands of Joe D.
This one is incredibly hard to figure out. With a unit that struggled very bad last year, and an entirely new coaching staff with only the RB coach returning, it’s going to be almost entirely speculation. At this point, looking at the coaches previous go-rounds, we have to look at the players before we can figure out what the coaches will do. One more thing that McCoy has preached since he has been here, is that the players will dictate the scheme that they run, and with the coaches that they added, that’s seems to hold true. All of the coaches we’ve run are very scheme diverse and can run many different offenses. So I’ll start with the QB, with Rivers, we’ll have to run a pocket passing offense. Despite him being very immobile, he’s actually got a very good pocket presence and has some ability to make rushers miss in the pocket as long as pressure isn’t allowed up the middle.
The OL will be vital, and this looks like the one spot that we will attempt to fit players to a scheme, as previously stated Joe D clearly has a preference to what his players are like. This is fine because we have a lot of OG’s that fit, and we had to completely rebuild our OL anyway, with 3 new OT’s, and our 2 starting OG’s leaving as well. The Power Zone fits the OT’s that we added well, and our C and OG’s will fit nicely into the mold that he prefers. The units he run are known for being very disciplined and very technical, which leads to very good results in pass protection usually. Fluker is one guy I would like to highlight, as he fits the mold very well, as an athletic BIG man with long arms that can protect the edge by utilizing his length. He’s more athletic than billed, since massive feet and some technical issues makes it seem as though his feet are worse than they actually are. This will not end up as a dominant unit right away, but having an average to above average OL is an incredibly huge upgrade from what we had last year. And the biggest thing is we now have great depth at all positions along the OL.
At WR you see a LOT of possession receivers, which makes you think that we will see a lot of shorter passes, with some guys being able to stretch the field (Alexander/Floyd). So you might see an offense similar to what Whisenhunt ran in Arizona, using a plethora of WR’s in different ways, probably a lot of jump balls and deep balls to Floyd/Alexander/Meachem and shorter throws to Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown. When healthy Alexander is a guy who you have to feed the ball…he’s going to be a feature of this offense if he can stay healthy.
We have very versatile TE’s, with Gates and LaDarius Green able to play TE or split out as a WR with their athleticism and John Phillips being a TE/FB/H Back type player and a great blocker, which, from the look of it, we will use quite often rather than a tradition fullback (see Heath Miller in Pitt w/ Whis). So we’ll see many different looks, some with an H Back in Phillips, some with a true FB in McClain and plenty with a TE split out wide.
The RB’s will be based almost entirely off of health and OL play. Mathews has potential as a feature back, but his receiving and blocking are bad, which is the Charger brought in Danny Woodhead, who should be a big part of this passing offense. We desperately needed a blocking back that can catch and make a few people miss.
Overall we should see a very balanced offense with a more prominent short passing game, with the ability to take shots downfield and the new power-zone run game.
This Defense is actually a very similar group to what we had last year, which in general was a very good group, but spotty. We used a 3-4, but had quite a few different looks, featuring a large amount of the 4-3 Under, and obviously a nickel package quite heavily, which is more than common this day in age. There are 3 big turnovers from last year to this year. This year we have added Derek Cox from the and Dwight Freeny from the as big additions, but have lost Melvin Ingram (ACL), and Phillips, Jammer, Cason and Aubrayo Franklin. Ingram didn’t start a game last year, but was a solid pass rusher. In order to minimalize his loss, we signed Dwight Freeney, who is best fit playing with his hand in the dirt, and he will maily just rush the passer in nickel and dime packages as well as our 4-3 under looks, when you add it up, that’s probably a majority of our snaps. If he’s healthy, we should see a solid pass rusher that can generate pressure. The new scheme should see a lot of off man from our corners as that’s what our new CB’s fit best in, and we ran a good bit of that last year. The last big turnover is from Aubrayo Franklin giving the job to big Cam Thomas. He’s got to really show what he can do this year as Aubrayo was excellent last year and a big part of why we were so good against the run.
We look to have 2 every down LB’s in Butler and Te’o, both very instinctual LB’s who are great in zone coverage. While Te’o may not be a playmaker, I expect a solid LB for quite a while (see James Lauranitis) We should see quite a mix of defenses this year and with the personal, I would expect quite a few different kinds of 4-3 looks, we really should have a true hybrid defense as we lost a good portion of our 3-4 OLBs and the players we have dictate that diverse defense.
With a new ST Coordinator it’s really hard as to what we can expect in terms of schemes. But Punter Mike Scifres has been a great punter for years and I fully expect him to continue being a great punter for quite a few more years. The Chargers haven’t been historically risky and neither OC nor HC have been known to be risky going for it on 4th down, so we can expect to see us punt or kick the FG most 4th downs. Nick Novak took over for now-retired and one of the most accurate regular season kickers of all time Nate Keading, and has done well, but nothing exceptional in the last few years, but is reliable and good within 40 yards. Our Return men are Richard Goodman, and Eddie Royal, who are once again solid but not spectacular, and it’s not likely that we see many big kick returns this year.
While I don’t expect a playoff year from the Chargers, I don’t expect regression either. Last year we went 7-9, and easily could have won another 2 or 3. With a talented, young defense, and an offense that can only get better from last year, I expect a year where we stick right around .500, best case at around 10-6, worse case, if Rivers shows that he’s clearly done and keeps regressing, we could go all the way down to a 4-12 season, but In my opinion that’s on the rather extreme side.
Bolt Up Comrades!
|MrDrew wrote: |
|Everything about Rivers is Awkward, reminiscent of a Giraffe with Down's Syndrome |