The Chargers have one of, if not the most, important head coaching search in their team's history. It is up there with the search they conducted when they fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season. They interviewed Rex Ryan, Mike Singletary, and Ron Rivera, to name a few.
They ended up hiring Norv Turner. The offensive coordinator was one of the best offensive minds in football but was not very good as a head coach. Turner record-wise 56-40 looked like a good coach, but he could never get over the hump with a loaded Chargers roster.
This can't happen now.
Owner Dean Spanos wants a championship for his team. They are the only team in the AFC West that hasn't won a championship. They would be the second division, NFC East, to have all four teams win a championship if Spanos were to pick the right head coach.
According to NFL Network's Jim Trotter, Spanos will be a lot more involved in this coaching selection. He was more involved in moving to LA and let his son, John, and general manager Tom Telesco handle the coaching search. Spanos wants to interview 10-12 candidates.
Here are four candidates and what they could bring.
1. Arthur Smith- Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator
Smith slowly worked his way up the coaching totem pole, starting as a defensive quality control coach in 2011 with the Titans and eight years later is the team's offensive coordinator. Smith brings a lot of knowledge to the game.
In the last two seasons, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been reborn. Last season, he completed 70 percent of his pass threw for 2,742 yards and 22 touchdowns in only ten starts. Tannehill's play, along with running back Derrick Henry, led them to the AFC Championship in 2019, and they had a 17-7 lead, but Kansas City's offense turns it on.
Tannehill's numbers climbed in 2020. He scored 40 total touchdowns (33 passing and seven rushing), and the offense was fourth in the league scoring 30.7 points a game, now going back to Henry, who has been an indestructible force. He has rushed for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019. This season, he took it up a level, rushing for 2,207 yards and 17 touchdowns.
They have now made the playoffs two years in a row.
Smith has helped Tannehill take his game to the next level, and the Titans are now an offensive power in the NFL. He might want to bring a bigger running back to compliment Austin Ekeler because of the change in pace. He could change the offense and help put guys in a better position, so the team succeeds, and the offense fulfills its potential.
Fun fact: Arthur Smith's father, Frederick W. Smith, is the founder of FedEx.
2. Joe Brady- Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator
Joe Brady is a very interesting candidate. He is 31 years old and was the offensive coordinator for a short time to an NFL team. Sound like anyone? If you voted for Sean McVay, you are correct. Brady has only been in the NFL for one season.
He was LSU's pass game coordinator when they won the National Championship in 2019. He was brought in as an offensive coordinator by Matt Rhule. The numbers aren't there for Brady, but one of his main arguments could be that superstar running back Christian McCaffrey didn't play for most of the season.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a decent season in his first year with the Panthers.
Brady's offense was the middle of the pack for scoring, yards, and everything else. What could work against him is that he has only been an offensive coordinator this year while McVay, when the Rams hired him, had been the OC of Washington for three seasons.
A young offensive mind with a young quarterback could mean big success if given a chance. Justin Herbert is one of the brightest minds in the NFL.
Brady has numerous interviews, but it will be interesting to see if a team hires him with only one year of offensive coordinator experience.
3. Brandon Staley- Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator
Staley's defense was the best in the NFL in the 2020 season. They were number one in every category except rushing yards, which they were third. They allowed 18.5 points a game and took it to the opposing offense.
Like Brady, Staley has only been on the job for one season. He was an outside linebackers coach in Chicago for two seasons with Vic Fangio, then went to Denver with him for one season before being hired by McVay.
Staley will most likely be the next wave of young defensive coordinators who will take over the league. If offered the Chargers job, he would be going from Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald to Derwin James and Joey Bosa. Not bad.
He could change the defense around and add more pieces to a defense with holes in different areas. This could mean offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and quarterback's coach Pep Hamilton stay to keep molding quarterback Justin Herbert.
4. Urban Meyer- Fox Sports Analyst
Meyer has been out of coaching for a while now. He has been working with Fox Sports as their college gameday analyst. Rumor is he is trying to get a job in the NFL.
This is probably the most interesting storyline of the 2021 coaching cycle. There is said to be interested from both parties, so this is very interesting right off the bat.
Meyer is a winner. He won at Utah, he won at Florida, and he won at Ohio State. Now, does that translate to the NFL? Who knows, but it is very interesting. Meyer would bring very talented assistants, who will probably be some of the best in the league. He can then focus on coaching the team as a whole.
According to NFL Network's Jim Trotter, that is something Spanos is looking for, someone who can oversee the team as a whole, not just one side. Who better than Meyer? Truly this is going to be an interesting few weeks.