Prerequisites Are a Problem for the San Diego Chargers

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystJanuary 7, 2013

Any new head coach in San Diego likely has to keep John Pagano as defensive coordinator.
Any new head coach in San Diego likely has to keep John Pagano as defensive coordinator.Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers need to hire a general manager and head coach.

There are numerous ways to go about the job search, but the Chargers appear to be going about it the right way. The Chargers brought in an outside consultant in former Packers’ general manager Ron Wolf and are going to hire their general manager before hiring their head coach.

Despite an approach that appears to be right, the Chargers are making it hard to attract top candidates for either position because of several prerequisites for their openings. The best and brightest minds in football often have their own ideas on how to run things and want to hire their own staffs, which is not something that is likely in San Diego.

Team president Dean Spanos is conducting the search for his next general manager with Wolf, his son and director of college scouting John Spanos and assistant GM Ed McGuire. One of the candidates for the general manager job in San Diego is Jimmy Raye, who serves as director of player personnel.

Raye is considered one of the finalists for the position according to Albert Breer of, along with Tom Telesco who is the director of player personnel for the Indianapolis Colts. Tom Gamble, director of player personnel for the 49ers is also expected to interview with the Chargers on Tuesday according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Telesco and Gamble would likely be stuck with Raye, McGuire and John Spanos in their front office if they want the job. It’s not that keeping those three around would be awful, but it makes the job a lot less appealing to top candidates like Telesco, and Gamble will probably have other offers to consider.

With these prerequisites in place and the subordinates being part of the hiring process, it seems like all signs are pointing to Raye being the next general manager. Once a general manager is named, the Chargers will start looking for a head coach to replace Norv Turner.

Unfortunately, a new head coach will also probably have prerequisites. The prevailing feeling is that any head coach will have to keep defensive coordinator John Pagano and his staff mostly intact. Unless Pagano himself is given the job, a new head coach will likely be from the offensive side of the ball or a special teams coach.

It’s not that Raye, McGuire, Pagano or John Spanos are necessarily bad and many of them are well respected around the league. But you could say the same things about Norv Turner and A.J. Smith. The problem here is obvious; the Chargers seem to be disqualifying candidates that would completely rebuild the team.

It seems like the Chargers aren’t really rebooting, they simply pushed out some unpopular figures only to maintain the status quo. While having Wolf around as a third-party opinion, he has no real power to make decisions.

Considering all the prerequisites to get the general manager and head coach positions in San Diego, don’t be surprised if the hires aren’t very exciting. A combination of Raye and Bruce Arians would fit that description perfectly.  

A general manager and head coach will already be stuck with a quarterback that may have regressed. Not many guys would want to be held responsible for the performance of a team that is nearly set in the front office and has a partially intact coaching staff. 

Perhaps Dean Spanos will be able to lure a top candidate or two despite these prerequisites, but you have to wonder what top candidate would hitch his wagon to the cart in San Diego that is mostly built.

One thing if for sure; the Chargers aren't going to be hiring anyone that wants to completely gut the scouting department and coaching staff and that can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.