Ken Whisenhunt Named Chargers OC: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2016

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2015, file photo, then-Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt looks on from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Tampa, Fla. With 21 teams not owning winning records through eight weeks, it's no wonder coaches from coast to coast are on the firing line. (AP Photo/Scott Audette, File)
Scott Audette/Associated Press

Former Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt is returning to the San Diego Chargers to serve as the team's new offensive coordinator, per the team

Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported the sides reached an agreement on Wednesday.

Whisenhunt was let go by Tennessee after the team started the 2015 season 1-6. It dropped his overall mark with the team to 3-20. He enjoyed two winning seasons in six years with Arizona, including a trip to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2008 season.

Although the Titans' lackluster offensive output led to his premature exit, he continued to express confidence in himself in the weeks before he got dismissed. In late October, he called himself a "good play-caller" and explained sometimes plays just don't get made, per Jim Wyatt of the Titans' official site.

"But like I've said before, when you have a play that's wide open that gets dropped, is that a bad play call?" Whisenhunt said. "You always focus on a play or two that doesn't work, but there's a lot of plays that do work where nobody says, 'That's a good call.' That's the way it goes, that's a part of it."

A former NFL tight end, he earned his reputation as a strong offensive mind during his stint as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator from 2004-06. He had previously served as a tight end coach for the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns and did special teams work with the New York Jets.

His work alongside a young Ben Roethlisberger, who posted a passer rating above 98 in two of his three years under Whisenhunt's guidance, earned him the Arizona head coaching gig.

In between his time with the Cardinals and Titans he also spent the aforementioned season with the Chargers in 2013. His arrival coincided with one of the best seasons of Philip Rivers' career as he tossed 32 touchdowns and finished with a 105.5 passer rating.

Now the question is whether he'll be able to rediscover some of that magic after a couple forgettable years in Tennessee. That said, he's shown he can have success when the correct personnel is in place, which wasn't the case with the Titans.

San Diego's offense ranked ninth in the NFL in yards per game in 2015 but struggled to translate that into scores, finishing 26th in points per game. Rivers remains the stalwart, but the new coordinator's main task will be trying to jump-start a rushing attack that was the league's worst in yards per attempt.

Whisenhunt represents a relatively safe choice to fill the void due to the amount of experience under his belt and his prior success in San Diego. He'll be expected to make an immediate impact as he looks to revitalize his coaching reputation.