The Top 10 Candidates to Replace Norv Turner as Chargers Head Coach

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IDecember 7, 2012

The Top 10 Candidates to Replace Norv Turner as Chargers Head Coach

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    The Norv Turner era in San Diego is reportedly coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2012 season, so who is the right man for the Chargers in 2013?

    According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

    Not only will head coach Norv Turner be gone at the end of the season, but general manager A.J. Smith will be fired as well, as the Chargers make a monumental break from an era that was arguably the most successful and most disappointing in team history.

    Who wouldn't want to coach in San Diego?

    This gig will attract many an elite coach, and it'll be interesting to see which one ends up coaching the Chargers in 2012. 

    With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 10 likeliest choices. 

Will Muschamp

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    No doubt this is a long shot, but the way Will Muschamp has turned things around at Florida will certainly attract attention from front offices at the next level. 

    And wouldn't Muschamp's fiery personality be just what the Chargers need after mellow yellow Norv Turner?

    Muschamp is a defensive-minded head coach who has excelled at every level, and he's already coached at the NFL level, serving as an assistant head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2005.

Mike McCoy

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    Who is Mike McCoy?

    He's the guy who managed to make Kyle Orton look like a Pro Bowl quarterback, make a Tim Tebow-led offense somehow work and who is now calling the shots for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos

    It's important to note that he hasn't abandoned the running game, despite the fact that one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the history of the NFL is the man behind center. 

    The Chargers could use a man like him to turn things around, and he's likely going to get his shot to become a head coach somewhere in 2013. 

Ray Horton

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    Ray Horton is another dark-horse candidate that may not be as flashy as some of the names coming up on this list, but he's a rock-solid coach who has managed to keep the Arizona Cardinals defense playing well this season.

    Horton took over as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator in 2011, and he's forged one of the top units in the NFL. His ability to get his players to play up to their potential is something the Chargers desperately need right now. 

Gus Bradley

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    Gus Bradley has put together a heck of a defense for Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, and he's going to be a hot name this winter as a head coaching candidate. 

    Bradley worked under Monte Kiffin during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his defensive-minded approach would be a good fit in San Diego. 

Jay Gruden

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    I was shocked that Jay Gruden stuck around in Cincinnati in 2012. 

    He's one of the hottest young NFL coaches due for promotion, and it's going to be hard to convince him to stay with the Bengals for another season. 

    He's an offensive-minded head coach who will be able to get Philip Rivers back on track in 2013—provided the team bolsters its offensive line. 

Kyle Shanahan

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    It's about time for Kyle Shanahan to leave Mike Shanahan's nest and venture out on his own, and the gig in San Diego just might be the perfect landing platform.

    Philip Rivers is a seasoned veteran who would be able to make Shanahan's transition a smooth one. And given the tradition of making a strong running game one of the Shanahan staples, they both have something to offer one another.  

Sean Payton

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    It seems like a foregone conclusion that Sean Payton will end up back with the New Orleans Saints, but the longer we go without a deal, the more tenuous this assumption becomes.

    If anyone could turn the Chargers offense around in a hurry, you have to believe it's Payton.

    That said, you have to wonder if Dallas isn't on his mind...

    No matter where Payton ends up in 2013, he's going to be one of the biggest names making news this offseason. 

Andy Reid

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    Andy Reid's tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles is almost guaranteed to be over after this season, and it's been rumored that he could end up in San Diego, with that talk starting late last season (h/t's Bill Williamson). 

    Reid's West Coast offense could be just what the doctor ordered for Philip Rivers and his offensive line, as his offense is predicated on quick-hitting timing patterns. 

Chip Kelly

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    A switch from Norv Turner's aloof demeanor to Chip Kelly's frenetic perfectionism might ruffle a few feathers in San Diego, but that's exactly the change needed for the Chargers to get things turned around. 

    Kelly is the hottest college coach being considered as a potential head coach in the NFL next year, and he'd bring an element to the Chargers that's been missing for a long time: a demand for excellence.

Jon Gruden

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    You can't have a list of head coaching candidates and not include Jon Gruden. 

    Sure, he's turned every job down of late, but it will shock no one when Gruden finally makes his return to the NFL. 

    A quarterback guru with a steel gaze that could melt granite, Gruden will be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL once again—sooner rather than later, methinks. 


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