San Diego Chargers: An Unconventional Approach Could Aid Search for Head Coach

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystJanuary 8, 2013

Mike Holmgren could be itching to coach again and San Diego isn't a bad fit.
Mike Holmgren could be itching to coach again and San Diego isn't a bad fit.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the Chargers' search for a general manager and head coach. There are a lot of prerequisites for the job and pieces that are already in place. A new general manager and head coach will be responsible for the performance of their staff, so not getting to choose many of them could be a problem for some top candidates.

Being a little unconventional might be a good thing because it frees the Chargers from having to compete with other teams for the services of hot young coordinators and hyped scouting staff. Not every good candidate is a hot candidate. Bill Belichick wasn't when he was hired by the Patriots.

Being unconventional means considering candidates that few other teams are considering. Take for example Mike Holmgren and Jim L. Mora, who the Chargers could be interested in according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Holmgren last coached in 2008 with the Seahawks, finishing a 10-year period where he had significant control over personnel. Prior to his stint in Seattle, Holmgren was the head coach in Green Bay for seven years. He spent the last three seasons as the team president in Cleveland and may be itching to coach again.

In 17 seasons as a head coach, Holmgren had just two losing seasons, made three Super Bowls and won one. Holmgren is not a hot name because he is 64-years-old, but he’s still a well-qualified candidate. He was the head coach under Ron Wolf in Green Bay, who is now assisting the Chargers with their search for a general manager and a head coach.

Since Holmgren could be desperate to get back into coaching, he wouldn’t mind the prerequisites to take the job. Keeping John Pagano around wouldn’t be a big deal and he’d likely even accept personnel department run by Jimmy Raye. Holmgren wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but the Chargers might not be looking for one.

The younger Mora is now 51 and got his chance to be a head coach in Alanta and in Seattle after Holmgren left. He’s the head coach at UCLA now and might want to get back into the NFL. Mora got his start in the NFL with the Chargers in the 1980s, and like Holmgren, would be fine with the structure of things in San Diego.

Mora’s track record is not nearly as long, having only been a head coach in the NFL for four years. It’s worth considering him because his first stint was with Michael Vick and his second was for only one year. It’s not like the Seahawks got instantly better once Mora was fired. The Falcons actually got significantly worse.

Two unlikely and perhaps uninspiring candidates that aren’t likely to be pursued by other teams, but aren’t necessarily bad options. Just because a coach is a popular choice doesn’t always mean that they'll be effective. In fact, making the leap from coordinator to head coach can overwhelm the smartest football minds.

The Chargers might want to hire an experienced head coach that has a proven track record instead of a smart coordinator that has questionable leadership skills. Basically, the Chargers could be looking for the opposite of Norv Turner, just not in the way anyone expected.