5 NFL Coaching Candidates Who Can Win in San Diego Next Year
For many, the blown 24-point lead at half time against the Broncos in Week 6 represented the last straw for a head coach who has simply used up more than most are given are at the NFL level.
While I'd be remiss not to mention that the Chargers are still 3-3 (tied for first in the AFC West) and 10 games are left to be played in the 2012 season, the general feeling is that Turner should be approaching his last games as head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
If Turner is indeed let go during this season or shortly afterwards, the Chargers should have their eyes on a few attractive candidates this offseason. In the following slides, we break down a list of several names that could make San Diego winners again in 2013.
Formerly the president of the Cleveland Browns, Holmgren has been sent packing and is now free again to do what he wants in the NFL landscape. Coaching could be a possibility.
In fact, according to Pro Football Talk, Holmgren "misses coaching" and would coach again in the "right opportunity."
The Chargers are certainly one of those opportunities.
San Diego offers Holmgren the chance to coach a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback again in Philip Rivers, and the Chargers are close—at least on paper—to competing for a Super Bowl. It's also possible that axing both Turner and GM A.J. Smith would open the door for a "buying the groceries and cooking the food" role for Holmgren.
And maybe it's just as possible that Holmgren is done with the general manager responsibilities. He's been down that road for several years now. Holmgren certainly sounds like he wants to coach again, however, so he has to be one candidate.
Also, keep in mind that Holmgren grew up in Southern California and got his coaching start in the same area. A return home might be another factor in getting the Super Bowl-winner coach in San Diego for 2013.
The most obvious obstacle in getting Gruden, a 95-game winner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, is a five-year broadcasting contract he signed with ESPN and Monday Night Football. But if Gruden wants to coach again in the NFL, and there's little evidence that he doesn't want to, that contract will do very little to keep him off the sidelines.
When coaches have the itch, eventually they'll scratch it. San Diego would represent an enticing opportunity for any coach, including Gruden, to give the itch a scratch. The fit with Gruden makes sense, too.
Gruden is young (49 years old) and has Super Bowl experience, plus his coaching style could bring the kind of energy and excitement to a sideline that sometimes looks dead under Turner's rule. Gruden and Philip Rivers would also make a strong coach-quarterback combination.
There's no guarantee that Gruden wants to get out of the comfy chair of MNF, but he's eventually going to get an offer he can't refuse. Maybe Rivers, a talented roster and a fresh start in Southern California will be that offer.
In San Diego, the cries for Cowher have nearly been as loud as the calls against Turner. But that doesn't mean the feeling between the two is mutual.
Despite rampant speculation tying him to several NFL head coaching positions, Cowher has maintained for a number of years that he is just fine with his job as an NFL analyst on CBS. He said as much about coaching during the 2012 season, according to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel.
I'm here to say to you today, I do not plan on coaching next year. I love where I work, and more importantly I enjoy the people I work with [at CBS]. So I can put all this speculation to rest, and if I have to repeat this in December I will...It's a tough profession, and I know the speculation is out there. I'm flattered by it, but at the same time it affects too many people's lives. I like what I'm doing right here and I plan on being back in the same seat next year.
New speculation will certainly start as the 2012 season winds down and coaches are fired. Could Cowher suddenly have a change of heart for 2013 if the right job opens up? Who knows.
That said, Cowher is essentially the anti-Norv Turner, a fiery, no-nonsense coach who demands the very best out of every man on his 53-man roster. His personality may be the perfect fit for this Chargers team as it's currently constructed.
The one worry could be that the game has passed by Cowher, who hasn't coached since 2006. But if given the chance to bring aboard Cowher, how could the Chargers turn that opportunity down?
Our list of Super Bowl-winning head coaches continues with Billick, who won a Super Bowl in the early 2000s with the Baltimore Ravens.
The positives with Billick and San Diego are obvious: He wants to coach again (despite an analyst role with FOX), he won big in Baltimore (80-64, 5-3 in the postseason) and his ability to coach offense would be a natural fit with Rivers at quarterback.
It's also likely that Billick would be more than happy to find a successful defensive coordinator and hand him over complete reigns on that side of the football.
If Billick can give Rivers a fresh start in a new offense and find a coaching running mate to keep the defense humming, the Chargers could go from laughing stock to Super Bowl contender in a hurry.
Long List of Assistants
Maybe a list of capable assistants doesn't count as one candidate. But a number of really good head coaches have come from the inexperienced ranks over the last couple of years.
Here's a good start:
Mike Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator
A player's coach, Zimmer has gotten the most out of every defense he's coached. Eventually, an owner is going to hand the keys over to Zimmer. Do the Chargers need a change in personality, however?
Gus Bradley, Seahawks defensive coordinator
The work Bradley has done with a no-name defense is astounding. Given a rag-tag mix of players, Bradley has turned Seattle into one of the NFL's most feared defenses. He's also developed young players, such as Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright, into key contributors early in their NFL careers.
Todd Bowles, Eagles defensive coordinator
You just watch what Bowles, the Dolphins former assistant head coach, does with the Eagles defense. That unit will be much better, and it make Bowles one of the hot assistants for 2013 and beyond. He's a rising star that needed this chance.
Kyle Shanahan, Redskins offensive coordinator
Shanahan has coaching pedigree and a building head coaching interest. His work with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense in 2012 has been a revelation, but it all goes to show how prepared and smart Shanahan is as a play-caller. However, is he the right fit with Rivers?
Jay Gruden, Bengals offensive coordinator
Jon's younger brother, Jay Gruden has done exceptional work with young quarterback Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. He's not as over-the-top as his older brother, either. You'd have to think that it's just a matter of time before there's a team asking Gruden to be its head coach.