Ken Whisenhunt Named San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 17, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 16:  Head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Lions 38-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Any speculation about Ken Whisenhunt returning in 2013 as a head coach can be put to rest, but he will still be roaming NFL sidelines for the San Diego Chargers as the team's offensive coordinator.

ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news of Whisenhunt's hiring on Thursday:

Former Cardinals HC Ken Whisenhunt will become offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 17, 2013

After suffering through horrific quarterback play in the post-Kurt Warner era in Arizona, the most recent Cardinals head coach will have the opportunity to work with Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers and Co.

In his only stint as an offensive coordinator in the league, Whisenhunt was extremely successful.

Building around talented young quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, his inventive play-calling which featured a fair share of trick plays ultimately keyed the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Super Bowl XL title.

That ultimately resulted in him being hired by the Cardinals and eventually having another crack at the Lombardi Trophy against his former team in Super Bowl XLIII, although they fell short.

The opportunity with the Chargers is intriguing for several reasons. Rivers has become somewhat of a turnover machine in the past two seasons. He tossed 15 picks and lost 13 fumbles in 2012 alone. Additionally, the Chargers are still trying to get a full season out of former first-round pick running back Ryan Mathews.

With a heavier emphasis on the ground game, Whisenhunt may be the ideal fit to take some pressure off of Rivers—who was also facing shoddy pass protection—and also help Mathews grow into the player San Diego expects him to ultimately be. 

Despite the recent shortcomings in Arizona, there is no question that Whisenhunt can call plays effectively. Between him and newly hired head coach Mike McCoy, the Chargers' offense should improve this coming season after finishing 31st in total yards in 2012.