The Chargers Running Out of Time in Search for Next Head Coach

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystJanuary 15, 2013

Mike McCoy (left) has drawn rave reviews for his job adjusting to different quarterbacks.
Mike McCoy (left) has drawn rave reviews for his job adjusting to different quarterbacks.Rob Carr/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers quickly got to work interviewing candidates to become the team’s next head coach after hiring Tom Telesco as general manager. New general managers are at a significant disadvantage because they have to try to assemble a scouting staff for the upcoming college All-Star games while also finding the right head coach.

The head coach is usually an integral part of the scouting process and will have to try to put together the core of his coaching staff prior to traveling to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl. Everything is on an extremely tight timeline. The Chargers are just a few days into the process and time is already running out.

San Diego have confirmed interviews with Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt, Jay Gruden and Mike McCoy on their official website. Gus Bradley also interviewed with the Chargers according to Albert Breer of, but it may have not taken place in San Diego like the other four.

Bruce Arians will interview on Wednesday according to Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego, leaving Tuesday open for a mystery candidate which is possibly Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. The Chargers were reportedly interesting in Zimmer, but no interview was set at that time.

Announcing the next head coach on Thursday or Friday would give him a couple days to cobble together a coaching staff before the 2013 Senior Bowl practices begin. Waiting any longer to make a decision will put the Chargers at a disadvantage in hiring qualified coaches, and the new front office would be pulled in multiple directions.

It’s hard enough to be successful in the NFL with an established, experienced front office and coaching staff. Ideally, the team makes the hires as soon as possible to give them enough time to put together a staff and focus on personnel. These guys are good, but there is only so much time in one day.

It’s important to get the right guy for the job, so rushing it is a bad idea, but it’s worth wondering if the right guy without an adequate supporting cast would be successful. The Chargers are going to have to make a decision and it appears the candidate list is pretty much set.

49ers’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman was Telesco’s teammate at John Carroll University, but he’s also the favorite to get the job in Jacksonville. Waiting and striking out on Roman would hurt San Diego’s chances to find quality position coaches because most staffs are finalized. The one advantage the Chargers have is that basically the entire defensive staff is intact.

Having a defensive staff in place means the Chargers can hire an offensive mind as their head coach and he’ll only need to add a few key position coaches on offense. The later things go, the more it seems like John Pagano will survive as the team’s defensive coordinator. 

Fans can only hope that the team has found an impressive candidate that is ready to lead the Chargers into a new era of football in San Diego. One that is hopefully more successful than the last.