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NFL San Diego Chargers

5 Reasons Why Mike McCoy Was a Good Hire For the San Diego Chargers

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5 Reasons Why Mike McCoy Was a Good Hire For the San Diego Chargers

san diego
Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

A new era has officially begun in San Diego. On Tuesday, the San Diego Chargers hired Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to help revitalize an underachieving football squad.

McCoy spent four seasons in Denver as their offensive coordinator. In 2012, the Broncos ranked fourth in total yards and second in scoring. He also spent many years with the Carolina Panthers as an offensive assistant, wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach.

McCoy is a well-respected coach in this league who would have gotten a head coaching job sooner or later. He was a finalist for the Miami Dolphins head coaching job last off-season. This off-season, McCoy interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, and Chicago Bears and had an interview lined up with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Chargers were very thorough in their head coaching search. The team interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The team also had an interview set up for Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, but the team liked McCoy enough to end the search before Arians could plead his case.

Among the list of candidates, the Chargers made the right decision. The team’s offense is in dire need of some help, as they ranked 31st in total yards during the 2012 season. The hire should also excite a fan base that has grown sick of the ineptitude of Norv Turner.

Here are five reasons why the Chargers made the right choice in hiring Mike McCoy.

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Ability To Fix Philip Rivers

Rivers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Rivers had a close bond with Norv Turner and even helped save his job following the 2011 season after speaking with San Diego’s front office.

Now, Rivers can start developing a close bond with another offensive mind in Mike McCoy.

McCoy has worked with and helped develop many quarterbacks in his years in Carolina and Denver. Rivers’ mechanics, decision-making and accuracy have been on the decline over the past two seasons. McCoy, who made Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow serviceable as the Broncos’ starters from 2009 to 2011, should be able to fix Rivers’ problems and return him to Pro Bowl form.

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Adaptable Offense Based On Personnel

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

To me, a good coach needs to understand the strengths of his players and install an offense that showcases those strengths and puts his players in the best position to succeed. Bill Belichick is known for this as he’s switched between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense to adapt to the strengths of his players.

In 2009 and 2010, McCoy worked with Josh McDaniels to run a spread offense for Kyle Orton. In 2011, McCoy installed a run-heavy, read-option offense specifically designed for Tim Tebow. When Peyton Manning signed with the team in 2012, McCoy scrapped that offense and worked with Manning to install his preferred one-back, spread offense.

Early on in San Diego, McCoy may need to build an offense that covers up the Chargers’ weaknesses. Unless significant money is spent on improving the team’s offensive line this off-season, McCoy will need to develop an offense with a lot of quick three- and five-step drops to not expose Philip Rivers to the pressure.

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Stability On Defense

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The hiring of Mike McCoy increases the chance that defensive coordinator John Pagano remains with the team. The Kansas City Chiefs were interested in luring Pagano out of San Diego before they settled on Bob Sutton as their defensive coordinator. The Cleveland Browns are also reportedly interested in reuniting Pagano with former San Diego coaches Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski.

Had the Chargers taken longer to choose their head coach, the uncertainty may have driven Pagano to bolt San Diego for Cleveland.

Had the Chargers hired a defensive coach like Lovie Smith or Mike Zimmer, they would have wanted to switch to a 4-3 defense and bring in their own guys to help run it.

Being a young offensive mind, McCoy probably knows fewer defensive coaches who he can be bring in to run the defense and is likely willing to work with Pagano.

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Knowledge of the AFC West

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The hire not only gives the Chargers a bright offensive mind, but also steals it from their biggest rivals. The Denver Broncos are clearly the best team in the AFC West right now, but the gap can be closed in a hurry if McCoy helps the Chargers beat the Broncos.

McCoy’s knowledge of Peyton Manning and the entire Broncos team should definitely come in handy when the Chargers play the Broncos twice a year. If the Chargers can sweep the Broncos in 2013, the division crown should definitely be within reach.

McCoy’s knowledge of all the AFC West teams gives him a head start when preparing for divisional games. The Broncos were 6-0 within the division in 2012.

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Shift In Philosophy

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The last two coaches the Spanos family hired were Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner, both of whom were head coaches for multiple NFL teams before joining the Chargers. The hiring of 40-year-old, first-time head coach Mike McCoy, along with 40-year-old, first-time general manager Tom Telesco, shows that the Spanos family is willing to put the organization in the hands of young, bright minds.

If all goes as planned, McCoy and Telesco will be able to learn the ropes of the NFL together and work alongside each other for a long time.

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