San Diego Chargers' Defense Liberated from Former Coordinator Greg Manusky

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIAugust 13, 2012

Aug 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano (right) pats linebacker Antwan Barnes (98) on the back during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The San Diego Chargers have already embarrassed Greg Manusky by firing him after only one year as defensive coordinator. However, I'd dog pile the man.

If you can make it through this article and keep your head from spinning like a top from all these stats I'm about to throw at you, you get a gold star.

This is something I have to get off my chest. I don't think people realize how bad of a defensive coordinator Manusky is. If the offense and special teams only maintain what they did last season, this team will win at least four more games just by replacing him. 

In 2010, Manusky was the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. The next season, he was the Chargers' defensive boss. In each team's season with him, their productivity took a huge, unacceptable hit. 

In the 49ers' case, they got rid of him and flourished, while the Chargers welcomed him in only to get completely tanked.

You can usually look at a team's big plays and tell whether they'll have a good record or not. Let start with the stats that matter.

Under Manusky, the Chargers could not get off the field on third down. A year after leading the league with opponents only converting 34 percent of their third down attempts, the Chargers put up the worst effort in the last 15 years. They allowed opponents to convert an amazing 49 percent of their attempts.

Like Rick James once said, "that, is absurd."

The San Francisco 49ers went from holding opponents to 39 percent with Manusky to 35 percent.

The Chargers were already not very good at forcing turnovers under the previous coordinator Ron Rivera, but somehow Manusky led them to an even worse showing. The Bolts went from just 23 turnovers to 21. 

What did the Niners do? After only taking the ball away 22 times under Manusky, they became a force with 38 takeaways after he left.

That stat alone explains why last year's 49ers found themselves two muffed punts from making the Super Bowl.

Manusky's defenses aren't fearsome at all. While the Chargers and 49ers had him bogging down their defenses they only came up with 32 and 36 sacks, respectively. Without him they thundered in for 47 and 42 sacks.

It is just crazy to me that with both teams, all of the big, game changing stats declined. Every last one of them!

...And this guy was able to go out and find another defensive coordinator position. What am I missing?

I'm not done.

I really don't think a team is going anywhere if they can't stop the run. Get this. Under Manusky, the 49ers were solid against the run. They held opponents to just 96.7 yards per game. That sounds great until you realize as soon as they escaped from under Manusky's thumb, they proceeded to dominate runners to the tune of just 77.2 yards per game.

Surely, the Chargers run defense couldn't have declined as much as the 49ers' improved, right?


The Chargers were barely holding back the flood gates against runners with Rivera somehow holding opponents to just 93.8 yards on the ground per game in 2010. He was doing it with smoke and mirrors, but it got done. Opposing runners ran wild under Manusky's watch, stampeding for 122.2 yards per game in 2011.

Yikes! That's a huge swing in both cases. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the swing was in the wrong direction.

To me, passing yards are meaningless, but lets look at those number just to see what happened. In the year before Manusky, the Chargers led the NFL while holding opposing passers to just 177.8 yards passing per game. Quarterbacks routinely embarrassed themselves with a collective quarterback rating of 76.2.

The opposition took their revenge with the help of Manusky the next season. Opponents passed for 224.4 yards per game with a QB rating of 92.5.

That's ugly.

The 49ers actually gave up nearly the same amount of yards through the air with and without Manusky (of course they improved without him from 231.1 yards per game to 230.9), but the opposing QB rating dropped from 90.0 to 73.6 due to all the interceptions and sacks.

It was a fiasco, rather than a field day, for quarterbacks when they played the Manusky-less 49ers defense. 

Maybe I'm crazy, because he's now running the defense for the Indianapolis Colts.

Either the stats lie, or the man must give one hell of an interview.