The Los Angeles Chargers have fired longtime offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt one day after the team's 17-16 win over the Chicago Bears. The team failed to exceed 20 points in six of its eight games this season.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn released a statement about the decision through the team:
"This is not an easy decision and definitely not one that I take lightly. You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It's never about just one person. At the end of the day, however, I simply felt a change was needed at this time. I want to thank Ken for his years of service to the Chargers organization and wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
Whisenhunt's offense struggled to put points on the board this season, especially since the start of October. The unit went scoreless during the first three quarters of a Week 5 loss to the Denver Broncos, ending a 55-game streak of scoring first-half points. The Chargers offense failed to produce points again during the first half of the team's next game, a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Running back Melvin Gordon's goal-line fumble cost Los Angeles a win a week later, and the offense scored just 17 points in a victory over the Chicago Bears this past Sunday, the team's only victory of the month.
The Chargers didn't announce a replacement for Whisenhunt, though they have several in-house options. Lynn called plays as the offensive coordinator and interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and could handle those responsibilities again in Los Angeles. Lynn could instead delegate the role to one of his offensive assistants. Steve Steichen, currently the team's quarterbacks coach, would make for an easy transition given his relationship with quarterback Philip Rivers. Running backs coach Alfredo Roberts and wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan could also garner consideration. The Chargers' next play-caller will make his debut Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Whisenhunt joined the Chargers in 2013 as the offensive coordinator and play-caller before leaving for a two-year stint as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. He returned in 2016 to call plays under then-head coach Mike McCoy and remained in that role after Lynn took over a year later.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH