John Pagano was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator last January. San Diego allowed 3.8 yards per rushing attempt in 2012, which ranked fifth, allowed 6.9 yards per pass attempt, which ranked 12th, and allowed 5.2 yards per play, which ranked ninth in the NFL.
According to Tom Krasovic of utsandiego.com, Pagano will return as San Diego’s defensive coordinator for the 2013 NFL season.
Pagano’s future was in question because San Diego’s front office brought in Mike McCoy to be their head coach. Head coaches have the power to bring in their own coaching staff, but retaining Pagano was a no-brainer.
One of the areas that San Diego could have improved on was their third down defense. The Washington Redskins, the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants were the only teams to allow a higher third down conversion percentage.
Pagano had to be brought back because San Diego was horrific on defense in 2011. San Diego was tied for last with seven forced fumbles in 2011, but then bounced up to a tie for fifth with 18 forced fumbles in 2012. The Chargers had 32 sacks in 2011, which ranked 23rd, while they had 38 sacks in 2012, which was tied for 11th in the league.
The Lighting Bolts allowed 23.6 points per game in 2011, which decreased to allowing 21.9 points per game in 2012. San Diego’s defense was the weak link in 2011, but it was the team’s rock in 2012.
I expect San Diego’s defense to keep improving under Pagano in his second season as defensive coordinator. This will be important for San Diego if they are going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.