Tuesday, February 13, 2007

State of the Chargers [J. Mark English]

How would you like to be the head coach of the San Diego Chargers? You'd inherit quite a team. Your team would features All Pros such as Marcus McNeil, Nick Hardwick, Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lorenzo Neal, Jamal Williams, Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding, Kassim Osgood, and David Binn. And if you could some how pull together a qualified resume over the next few days, you may as well have a shot at being their head coach.

Essentially this team that is an odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl next year, is in a state of chaos. Peter Kings writes:

Regarding the Marty Schottenheimer debacle in San Diego: I blame president Dean Spanos and general manager A.J. Smith for two enormous mistakes they made along the road to kicking the coach out the door:

1. The idiotic "contract extension'' offer that was made to Schottenheimer when the Chargers announced he would not be fired. How do you offer the sixth-winningest coach of all time -- or some losing schmoe, for that matter -- an extension with only $1 million of the $4.5-million guaranteed? What Spanos was doing with that extension was saying: "Marty, we beg you, don't take this slap-in-the-face offer. And let's all go our separate ways after this season, when we can promote Wade Phillips or Cam Cameron to the head job.'' Oooops.

2. To me, the job of a team president and general manager, when your team is in full crisis mode (as the Chargers were in the last few days, seeing four of their top five or six assistant coaches walk out the door to coordinator or head-coaching jobs) is to be an olive-branch-toting guy. One of them needed to walk into the head coach's office and say: "For the sake of the franchise, we can't let this season go down the drain. We've got to repair this relationship for the next few months and go forward with the best interests of the team in mind.'' Neither did.

King is right on target here. Looking back maybe Eli Manning was in the right mindset he refused to play for the Chargers. This is a really sad state of affairs for a team with so much talent.

Whoever becomes the new head coach of this team will be at least three weeks behind schedule. They will have to assemble a full staff in rapid time. Finding good assistants and position coaches will not be easy since most of those spots have already been filled by the rest of the league.

If I was them I'd go for broke and try to bring in Pete Carroll from USC. What else does Carroll have to prove in USC? His teams have dominated college football over the last five years. He has unfinished business to complete in the NFL. He did alright in first and only year with the Jets, and was let go before he had a chance to prove what he could do. With the Patriots he was disappointing, but has showed at USC that he has plenty of ability as a coach.

Also, becoming the coach of San Diego will not exactly uproot his life style. He can still live in his current home, and it would make for an easier transition.

Otherwise, who else is out there, that has the experience it takes, and has the ability to lead this team to a Super Bowl? They need a dominating presence, whose talents as a coach match the talents of the team itself.

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