The Chargers have a vacant head coaching position. They have already conducted some interviews and will do some more in the next few weeks. General manager Tom Telesco said they could interview anywhere from eight to twelve candidates.
The Chargers brass knows what they are looking for in a candidate they want to lead their team.
"It all starts with leadership," Telesco explained. "I mean, that's where it's got to start, you know, presence, communication skills, high character. They really believe that the culture of your organization is a direct reflection of the character of your head coach."
The Bolts have already put in requests to interview eight candidates. Some are offensive coordinators, and some are defensive coordinators. It is clear what they want, but the real question is, what do the players want from their new head coach?
"I'll just tell him a guy that's going to lead us and a guy that is going to challenge us every day and just going to expect us to do our job at a high level, and that's all you can ask for," said safety Derwin James.
A player like James doesn't need to be reminded or encouraged to play at a high level. He already does that.
A coach like Robert Saleh would challenge the young safety every day. His 49ers defense loved him. When they made their run to Super Bowl 54, whenever the defense got a turnover, the players would run and celebrate with their defensive coordinator. James would love a high energy guy like Saleh.
"A guy with some experience," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. "A lot of times when you have a team that has a lot of talent, you just kind of want that guy that can kind of get you over to that next hump, get you to that next level."
Harris has been through this before. In an even more challenging situation. In 2014, his Denver Broncos were 12-4 and in the divisional game lost to the Indianapolis Colts 24-13. It was yet another disappointing playoff exit for the Broncos.
They fired head coach John Fox, who was a player favorite. They hired Gary Kubiak, who ultimately took them to a Super Bowl victory.
"He just brought tons of experience with them," said Harris. "He was a guy he's coached in and played in multiple Super Bowls, so he had a lot of football experience. So, in the staff, they brought in just fit perfect with the team."
The Chargers have a lot of talent on the roster on both sides of the football. Two years ago, they were a playoff team. They need a coach who can come in and put it together, as Harris said.
It won't just be all about the head coach. Players will need to step up as well.
"I think it just comes down to how you dealt with the players, how you how you lead the players, and how you allow the players to lead as well," said running back Justin Jackson. "I think a lot of it comes down to us to as players, it's not on him, it's not on the coaching staff.
"At the end of the day, we're on the field, you know, we got we have to perform, and you know, they can put you in all the right situations and all the other right scenarios, right. But you still have to go out there and do it."
Telesco stated that they want a head coach who will manage all areas of the game and not just stick to one area during his press conference.
That could be hard, especially with the kind of player the Chargers have at quarterback. Justin Herbert is coming off a record-breaking rookie season.
Will the Bolts brass follow the Patriots or Ravens blueprint of having a non-offensive minded head coach with a superstar at the quarterback position? Or could they follow the Chiefs who have a brilliant offensive mind in Andy Reid and a superstar at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes?
The answer to that question will be interesting.
For Herbert, this will be his fourth head coach in five years and potentially could be his fifth offensive coordinator in the same time frame.
"So, it's definitely a tough situation," said Herbert. "Nothing's going to make it easier. But you know, I know that we've got a pretty good locker room. I know the guys are going to stick together through this."
The Chargers brass will have a tough decision to make, but it seems like they are on the same page as the players. Within the next few weeks, they will be hiring their 16th coach in franchise history.
"It's really finding the how the coach really wants to play us find the best fit that way, but I think we can be very versatile with the type of talent that we have," said Harris.