Playing Fact or Fiction with Chargers' Latest Coach and GM Buzz
Just days after the dismissal of Norv Turner and A.J. Smith from the San Diego Chargers, the team's search for a new general manager and head coach has quickly picked up steam with candidates interviewing daily.
The Spanos family wasted no time in making big changes after a third consecutive season out of the playoffs, and it certainly has made the efforts to bring in candidates so as to initiate the team's rebuilding process.
A number of candidates for the head coach and GM vacancies have been linked to San Diego, but the rumor mill has a way of twisting speculation into all-out certainty.
Want to know who's really a possibility in San Diego? Time for a game of fact or fiction.
Fiction: Lovie Smith a Fit in San Diego
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Williamson explained that, while Smith is an excellent defensive coach, it was his team's offensive struggles that ultimately derailed his tenure in Chicago.
San Diego's offense ranked near the bottom last season, furthering the notion that an offensive-minded head coach would better suit the team heading into 2013.
Fact: Jim Mora a Possible Return to San Diego
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After leading the UCLA Bruins to a 9-5 record and a first-place finish in the PAC-12 South, Jim Mora may be ready for a return to the NFL.
Interestingly enough, that opportunity could come with the Chargers—the same team with which he began his NFL coaching career back in 1985.
From 1985-88, Mora served as a quality control coach on San Diego's staff before filling the role of defensive backs coach from 1989-91. Mora would eventually move on to bigger and better things in his coaching career, landing head coaching gigs with the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks.
After falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2004 NFC Championship Game, the Falcons had two straight losing seasons, leading to Mora's firing in 2006. A 5-11 season with the Seahawks in 2009 would result in his second dismissal and a two-year hiatus from coaching.
Coming on the heels of his recent success in the college ranks, the Chargers have in fact shown interest in Mora, according to U-T San Diego columnist Kevin Acee:
Keep an eye on Jim Mora. Hearing there's interest. Keeps John Pagano & offensive coordinator is Noel Mazzone, Philip Rivers' OC at NC State.—UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) January 5, 2013
Fact: Chargers Gunning Hard for Bruce Arians
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Arians, who's never been a head coach at the NFL level, led the Colts to a 9-3 record after he replaced head coach John Pagano, who was absent from the team after being diagnosed with leukemia.
Indianapolis figured to be in a rebuilding year after it drafted Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, but even with the rookie under center, the Colts managed to reach the postseason and rank 10th on offense in total yards.
In a recent article by Kevin Acee of the U-T San Diego, Arians is being rumored as a strong candidate for the Chargers.
What sets Arians apart from some of the other coaching candidates is the fact that he's an offensive-minded guy, and he hasn't tested the waters as a head coach yet—something the Chargers are looking for, as reported by Acee:
One team source said yesterday that the Chargers are “ready for a change” with the new head coach they hire, further indicating that person will be a departure from both Norv Turner and Marty Schottenheimer in terms of hiring someone who has not already been a head coach multiple times.
Fiction: Jon Gruden a Top Candidate for Head Coach in San Diego
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Despite being under contract with ESPN, Monday Night Football analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is being linked to several coaching vacancies around the league.
And, yes, San Diego is one of them.
But, with so many teams in the market for a big name like Gruden, it's highly unlikely the Chargers have enough to draw his interest away from some of the other teams in a bidding war.
Still, you can't blame a city for trying.
The U-T San Diego editorial board recently published an article calling for the services of the former Super Bowl winning head coach, and the last sentence of that piece closed with the following statement on behalf of the board:
The U-T believes the Chargers should make the certain choice and hire Gruden as its VP of football operations and head coach.
Real subtle, San Diego.
Fact: Mike Holmgren Reportedly to Speak with Chargers
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A big-name hiring like Mike Holmgren would almost certainly make headlines in San Diego, possibly even on a league-wide scale, but like the Gruden situation, there's never a guarantee that one team is on his radar.
Holmgren, who stepped down as Cleveland Browns president at the end of the 2012 season, has not coached since 2008, but recent head coaching vacancies have peaked his interest, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora:
Holmgren, according to sources, has had serious interest in the Dallas job should it open up and is also very intrigued by San Diego's opening—its geography as well as the chance to work with quarterback Philip Rivers.
That said, there's still the issue with the Chargers wanting to head in a brand new direction in regards to their head coach:
—UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) January 6, 2013
A "retread", as Acee stated, is a head coach who's been around longer than a decade.
Fact: Chargers GM Search Down to Two Candidates
Courtesy of Matt Kryger-Indianapolis Star
Initially, the search for a new GM included a handful of candidates, but as Kevin Acee reported on Sunday, the final decision is down to just two—Tom Telesco, Indianapolis Colts Vice President of Football Operations and Jimmy Raye, Chargers Director of Player Personnel.
Chargers have two more GM interviews scheduled, but it seems those might not happen. All but certain it's Jimmy Raye or Tom Telesco.
—UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) January 6, 2013
Acee was informed by a team source that the decision could come very soon as well:
Jimmy Raye, the Chargers’ Director of Player Personnel, or Tom Telesco, the Indianapolis Colts’ Vice President of Football Operations, will likely be named as A.J. Smith’s successor in “a day or two,” according to a team source.