The San Diego Chargers' defense has performed well through the team's first four games of the season.
On Sunday, the defense forced the Kansas City Chiefs to turn the ball over six times en route to a 37-20 victory in Arrowhead Stadium.
Some people might point the finger at John Pagano and say that he's the primary reason that the Chargers have improved on defense from a year ago. It's always convenient to laud the newcomer and criticize their predecessor.
While it's true that Greg Manusky made some poor decisions throughout the 2011 season, it's clear that he did not have the talent that Pagano currently has at his disposal.
During the offseason, the Chargers added Jarret Johnson, Atari Bigby, Melvin Ingram, Aubrayo Franklin and Kendall Reyes. Additionally, Larry English and Jonas Mouton are now healthy.
The Chargers have allowed just 80.3 rushing yards per game, which is good for sixth best in the NFL.
There's no doubt that the Chargers' run defense is much better than it was in 2011. It appears that their increase in productivity should be credited to the influx of new talent on defense—not a change in defensive coordinators.
Johnson is one of the best at setting the edge on defense, and he hardly ever allows running backs to get by him.
Franklin is a big space-eater in the middle of the defensive line, and he allows other people around him to make plays.
Ingram and Reyes have also been impressive when playing against the run. Furthermore, Corey Liuget has gotten better due to the luxury of a full offseason.
At the moment, it appears that the switch from Manusky to Pagano hasn't ushered in any significant changes, but it is too early to make a decision on which coordinator is better for this team.
If the Chargers' defense markedly improves from its current state, then Pagano can unquestionably be cited as a reason for the improvement.
However, if the defense continues to play like it has in the first four games, the overall improvement should be attributed to much better personnel rather than a change in defensive coordinators.