4 Reasons Why Bill Cowher to San Diego Chargers Just Makes Sense
If you believe the latest round of reports circling the web, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has already met with members of the San Diego Chargers and is interested in becoming the franchise's next head coach.
I don't know whether that report is true or not, but the fact is that the Chargers would be a perfect fit for Cowher, who is likely to have specific criteria a job would have to meet if he were to take it.
Cowher certainly won't jump at the first offer, but with current head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith likely on their way out of San Diego, Cowher could swoop into the perfect situation in America's Finest City.
The following are the reasons I think San Diego's roster sets up perfectly for Cowher to come in and win immediately.
A Franchise Quarterback Is Already in Place
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As experts have speculated as to what type of place Cowher would return to, one of the requirements seems to be that the team already has a franchise quarterback in place. San Diego's QB may be one of the best in the league.
There is no doubt this season was a tough one for Philip Rivers, but the Chargers' franchise cornerstone is still heading to his fourth Pro Bowl. Whether or not you like him, everyone can agree that Rivers has endured a brutal season that saw most of his offensive line miss extended time and put him on the run for virtually the entire season.
Despite being under constant pressure, he managed to complete 347 of 556 passes (62.4 percent) for 4,314 yards and 24 touchdowns. His 19 interceptions were far too high, but at least five of those came from dropped passes and, as mentioned, he was running for his life for most of the season. His quarterback rating of 86.6 is dismal for a guy of his ability, but again, with a healthy offensive line things would have been much different.
Since taking over the starting job in San Diego prior to the 2006 season, Rivers has a record of 62-33 in 95 starts. He has completed 1,894 of 2,981 passes (63.5 percent) for 23,827 yards, with 159 touchdowns and 76 interceptions. His career quarterback rating of 95.2 ranks fifth on the all-time list.
Rivers is the type of tough, no-nonsense quarterback that Cowher would love to coach. Both guys played football for N.C. State and I'm sure already know each other well.
Rivers is also just 30 years old and is in the midst of a seven-year, $98.25 million contract that will run through 2015.
Skill Positions Are Loaded with Playmakers
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One thing the Chargers have is an abundance of talent at the skill positions. While tight end Antonio Gates was slowed this year thanks to a foot injury, he recovered his form in the latter half of the season and if he stays healthy could contribute for years.
At receiver the Chargers boast size and playmaking ability with Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. Throw in rookie Vincent Brown, who has had a very good second half of the season, and San Diego is flat-out dangerous through the air.
At running back second-year man Ryan Mathews had his first 1,000-yard season, while power guy Mike Tolbert continued to be an extremely valuable member of the team on the ground, through the air and on special teams.
The Chargers will need to work out long-term contracts with Jackson and Tolbert, but both guys want to be in San Diego and the franchise needs both players. I expect both guys to be back with the Chargers next season regardless of who the coach is.
As of now San Diego doesn't need to add anything to the skill positions in the offseason. They are as stacked there as any team in the league.
The Team Has Skilled, Veteran Offensive Lineman To Build with
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In theory if everyone returns next season, the Chargers should boast a solid, veteran offensive line. That of course is assuming that left tackle Marcus McNeill and left guard Kris Dielman both decide not to retire due to scary injuries this season.
San Diego is solid at center as Nick Hardwick is one of the best in the league. While he has only been to the Pro Bowl once, Hardwick is among the NFL's most consistent maulers from the center position. If he, McNeill and Dielman line up together next season, that will give San Diego seven Pro Bowl selections among those three guys.
Louis Vasquez has been solid at right guard, while the team really needs to find a better option than Jeromey Clary at right tackle.
There is a lot to build with for the Chargers along the offensive line, especially with 25-year-old Tyronne Green showing he can compete in the NFL.
Defense Has Talent, Needs Attitude
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While the Chargers may have talent defensively, they are sorely in need of an attitude adjustment. The days of a tough, hard-nosed unit have flown out of town and while San Diego is decent statistically (allowing 335.1 yards per game, which is 11th in the NFL), there is just something missing with this unit.
The defensive line certainly has young, promising guys with Corey Liuget, Cam Thomas and Vaughn Martin all showing flashes of brilliance this season, while Luis Castillo should return to full health at a cheap price of $3.5 million next season.
The secondary boasts safety Eric Weddle who has turned into one of the NFL's best defensive players, and Quentin Jammer is easily one of the league's most underappreciated cover corners. The other corner spot is a problem, but both Antoine Cason and Marcus Gilchrist have the talent to fill that role with the right motivation.
At linebacker, 23-year-old Donald Butler emerged as a force in the middle this season, and when Shaun Phillips is healthy, he is one of the NFL's premiere rush ends. But the Chargers have worked with a rotating group of guys opposite Phillips, and while Antwan Barnes has played well (11 sacks this season), no one is sure whether or not he can be counted on long term.
Something that needs to change on defense for San Diego is attitude. Hiring Cowher would certainly go a long way towards improving that aspect. The talent is there to have a formidable, attacking, imposing unit.