Head Coach Mike McCoy
Watching Mike McCoy’s press conference Monday made me more irritable than watching the Chargers lose another close game against the Miami Dolphins. It was more irritating than watching the anarchy after the presidential election. So for all you protesters of firing McCoy…..
You now have my vote.
Every question during said press conference, seemed to be answered with the preface, “Like I’ve been telling you from day 1…” Yes Mike, you have said the same thing over and over again since the beginning and look where your team is at?
Clearly he does not listen to himself nor reviews his press conferences afterwards. The reason I know he doesn’t?? Nothing seems to change.
I have been giving McCoy a very long leash up until now. I like the man and felt that he was handed a bad product; a product that is always injured and broken – like a Christmas toy that your dad has to become MacGyver in order to get it to work again.
And I still feel this way….to a point. In Sundays loss to Miami, the Dolphins exploited the rookies and sophomores. They knew what we had and punished us for it. Philip Rivers had an awful day, one that I am sure he would agree with. From the onset of the game, there was no continuity between him and his receivers – even with Antonio Gates.
The makeshift defense has done as well if not better than expected. With all the injuries in the defensive backfield, the secondary is playing well due to the dominance upfront with the likes of Brandon Mebane, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and Jatavis Brown. Although last week, with not as much quarterback pressure and always worried about the run game, the weak secondary was peppered with blown coverages and missed tackles. Furthermore, their performance, for the most part, in the second half has been nothing shy of depressing. What happens in the locker room at halftime? Isn’t part of the job of John Pagano and McCoy to inspire and motivate the players to continue their supremacy?
Let’s get back to the press conference.
One of the head coach’s remarks was about how the mistakes prior to the 4th quarter is just as big and bothersome as the mistakes made in the last 15 minutes of play. Question after question was brought up about the late let down and Mike continued deflecting those questions and making excuses for bad play earlier in the game.
Hey Mike? Let’s agree to disagree.
Sure there are spots during a game where San Diego has missed opportunities to take a commanding lead, or at least be the cog and shut down any momentum created by the opposition. However, since Mike has been wearing the Charger visor, the team has been awful in close games (8 points or fewer) with or without the lead heading into the final frame. Take a look at these numbers:
Since the 2013 season and through last week’s game, the Bolts are 15-23 in games decided by 8 points or less. For you statisticians, that equals a 39.47 winning percentage.
Now of those 38 games, San Diego was leading at the end of the 3rd quarter 15 times (7-8 record) and behind 20 times (6-14 record). I understand those numbers don’t add up for all you following at home. So let me add that three out of those 38 games they were tied (2-1 record) heading into the 4th quarter.
Closing out games, in my humble opinion, is just as important as controlling the game in the early onset. In fact I will go out on a limb and say that the last quarter is the most crucial. Every team makes mistakes; blown coverages, missed throws, turnovers…etc. Those are bound to happen. In fact, the likelihood of any NFL team playing a “perfect” game is as minuscule as the chances of me dating model Ashley Alexxis.
The simple fact is that not many times is an NFL team going to be blowing out their opponent every week; hence why it is vital to be able to have that “closer” mentality.
Speaking of dominant closers, perhaps Coach McCoy needs to watch San Diego Padres game where Trevor Hoffman comes in and shuts down the opponents. Trevor, one of the best closers in all of baseball, was so dominate and fearless when he came out to “Hells Bells,” that even when he got older, hitters were still in fear of facing him. But that is what a closer is supposed to do. The team battles all game to lead late in the game, and the closer shuts it down.
It would be fantastic if McCoy would stop repeating himself about what he has “…been telling us from day 1.” We know this team has not been able to put the clamps on the opposition in the final quarter. My question, if I were allowed in the press room, would be this:
What are you going to do about it Coach?
Because clearly McCoy is either so obtuse that he is not aware of this lack of productivity in the final moments of the game, or he has tried for three and a half seasons and nothing has worked. The last time I checked, the Chargers play in the National Football League; professional football teams take the field every game. Is there any one team that if they are behind heading into the last quarter, just plain gives up? These players are playing for a starting position, a bigger contract, a long-term contract…etc.
Whether it is holding onto a lead, or trying to dig out of a hole, the simple fact is that this Chargers team, since McCoy took over, CAN NOT CLOSE OUT GAMES.
Sure, the coaches do not take the field – the players have to execute. However whose job is it to make the right play calling? Whose job is it to encourage and be positive around the players to ensure they will continue to fight for the whole 60 minutes? Whose job is it to make sure the players are in the right position to execute?
To have your play calling questioned after so many games is getting tiresome. Perhaps it is time to admit that McCoy just does not have what it takes to close out games. If he did, if he had the aggressive confidence the team needs, San Diego’s record would be more around 9-1 or 8-2, rather than a pathetic 4-6.
I know most of you anti-McCoy constituents have been feeling this way for a while now. I am big enough to eat crow and admit that this just isn’t the massive injuries, or the lack of execution causing the team to fail. There needs to be a change, otherwise this team will not change.
One possible solution: Bring Hoffman in to coach in the fourth quarter of every game. He can even wear a visor backwards if he wants.
Thanks for reading
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
I thought Norv Turner was a bad head coach. This guy has nothing on the current train wreck that is Mike McCoy (or Mike McTurner or Norv McCoy or Mike McNorv or Useless, as he is unaffectionately referred to in some circles).
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this and it certainly won’t be the last. Mike McCoy needs to go. He needs to go far, far away and he needs to do it quickly.
Let’s start with the obvious: 23-29 record as a head coach and that really doesn’t begin to describe how bad he truly is. Five wins, count them, F.I.V.E. over the last 20 games. That’s a 25% clip.
This season alone, through four games, he’s guided the ship to a single victory, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars who we all know have been terrible since 2010. He and his squad managed three come-from-ahead losses in the other games.
The Chargers lost games with fourth quarter leads eight times over those 20 games, per ESPN’s Eric Williams (http://www.espn.com/blog/san-diego-chargers/post/_/id/17764/grabbing-defeat-from-jaws-of-victory-a-closer-look-at-the-choking-chargers). Let that sink in for a minute. Eight come-from-ahead losses among those 15 losses since 2015. 50% of losses came in the fourth quarter.
Mike McCoy is NOT a closer. The Chargers have proven that they are NOT closers under his watch.
Divisional games are super critical, right? I mean, each divisional game amounts to two games in the standings for all intents and purposes. Let’s look at divisional games, shall we? Winless in 2016. Winless! Meaning no wins. Zip, zilch, nada. In fact, the last divisional win was November 16, 2014 in a 13-6 barn-burner against the Raiders.
How about away games? One win in the last nine road games. One. That means 3-6 in the last nine home games. So much for home field advantage.
McCoy is a wannabe. He got dubbed a great offensive mind while in Denver. He got lucky with Tim Tebow. He was Peyton Manning’s OC for a year. That makes him a wannabe OC. Hell, Peyton could make ME look like a genius. He’s a wannabe Belichick with his snippy, cryptic, cliche-laced post-game pressers.
Don’t forget his clock management skills. I don’t know how many, but McCoy has left countless points on the board, failing to call time outs late in the first half with his offense driving.
Let’s get more recent — a timeout was called on defense in the fourth quarter against the Saints when Drew Brees had two seconds left on the play clock. Two seconds! Who the hell does that? Well, who besides the second coming of Norv Turner, that is.
Blame injuries all you want. As much as the cliché “next man up” is going to make me lose my lunch, it’s just that. A freaking cliché. Yeah, we miss Keenan Allen, but he’s one player. Who knows, we might even miss Manti T’eo.
Might. Again, one player.
I can’t simplify things more than this: Mike McCoy sucks. The Chargers suck with Mike McCoy as head coach. The time to fire him was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that….
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am not the biggest fan of Chargers’ head coach, Mike McCoy. I want so badly to be excited about this upcoming training camp and ensuing season. I want to be excited about Travis Benjamin and Keenan Allen on offense, and Jason Verrett and Denzel Perryman on defense. But there is one person standing in the way of my excitement — freaking Mike McCoy.
Many of McCoy’s coaching deficiencies are well documented. Blunders like terrible clock management in big games, recycling the same game plan from week to week, overly conservative play-calling (punting on 4th down when he should go for it), or questionable player development and usage are some of the big problems. Seeing these mistakes being made for three straight seasons, I was confident that the axe was finally coming down for a coach who had just steered his ship to twelve lost games, including no wins in his own division.
Enter the stadium saga. Perhaps the most important era in San Diego sports history began in early 2015 with Dean Spanos’ bid to move the team to LA. The bid ultimately stalled because a bunch of billionaires, who all have bigger piles of money than Dean, decided it was going to be the Rams who would move to LA with an option for the Chargers to follow if they couldn’t get a stadium built in San Diego. One of the underrated effects of this decision was that Mike McCoy got to keep his job.
The team’s future was uncertain. The only way to appear like a stable football organization was to give the illusion of some sort of stability. So, in an all too predictable and equally conservative move, the Chargers gave McCoy a two-year contract extension. The 4-12 record for the 2015 season was essentially erased and McCoy is back at the helm for 2016. However, there is one major problem for McCoy this year that he did not encounter last year: The Chargers HAVE to win this year.
I am calling it. This is the most important season ever for the Chargers as an organization. They have to have a winning record going into the November 8th vote of the downtown stadium initiative. Even if they have a winning record, it’s still going to be an uphill battle to get the two-thirds majority approval many are saying they will need for the initiative to pass. Having McCoy calling the shots at this critical juncture is a mistake. I would have taken the chance and tried to lure Hue Jackson to San Diego before he got a chance to go to Cleveland. But what is done is done, so let’s look into the future as we so often do as NFL fans.
This team has so many question marks. Will the offensive line be better? Will Melvin Gordon be better? Will special teams be better? Will the return of Ken Whisenhunt improve the offense? Will the defensive line be better? Will they be able to run the ball? Will this team have better injury luck? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, I think the Bolts will have a winning record and maybe make it to the playoffs. If the answer is no to even some of these questions, I do not believe that Mike McCoy will be able completely change his coaching style.
So what if the Chargers are 2-3 going into week six against the Broncos and lose? Many fans would be calling for McCoy’s head, including myself. Should he be removed midseason? Well yes, but also no. He should have been fired midseason last year. So if the team tanks in the first half of 2016, what do you do? The Chargers have put themselves in a very difficult situation. The conservative “old” Chargers philosophy would probably be to keep him until the end of the season. But this is not a normal season, and if a new football operations strategy is being formed within the organization, we could see its first really bold move of firing McCoy as early as Week 7.
It just so happens that Ken Whisenhunt used to be a head football coach and even took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. So you have McCoy’s potential interim replacement already on the team. Many fans might call for John Pagano to step in as McCoy’s potential proxy. I disagree. Pags has been behind the wheel of a defense that is full of first- and second-round draft picks, but has consistently given up big plays and underwhelmed in big games. If McCoy goes, I believe Pagano is not far behind.
I actually hope McCoy can break out of his shell this year and coach the Bolts back into the playoffs. As many of you know, I am critical of the Chargers, and will continue to be until they win a Super Bowl. But, I never root for players or coaches to fail. I simply point out where I think they can improve if a player or coach is not performing well.
We as fans need to show up in support of these players this year, and hopefully these players will feed off of our energy and dominate like we know they can. For once, let’s take it out of the coach’s hands. These players could be playing for the team to stay in San Diego forever. Isn’t that something worth showing up for and cheering for? I sure think so. Winning will solve many of our problems. Winning this year will take all of us together, and maybe one day, we will look back on 2016 as this being one of the greatest years in the history of San Diego sports.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
It’s officially the doldrums of the NFL offseason, the lonely time between mini-camps and the start of training camp. Made worse by the fact that the NBA and NHL seasons are over, this could be considered a sports fan’s darkest hour. Coaches and players are on “vacation” until the last few days of July. For many players this is the only time they will have to take care of important personal business like buying and selling houses and cars, renewing or obtaining driver’s licenses, and other important “housekeeping” duties.
For other players, it party time! The next four weeks are their last bit of freedom to let loose before another grueling season begins. Let’s hope our Bolts can focus on staying in shape and the playbook instead of “making it rain” and the local clubs.
Usually during this time sports news is hard to come by. Most local sports talk show hosts and news reporters are on vacation, and aside from the occasional story of some bonehead NFL player getting into trouble outside a local strip joint or night club, NFL news is fairly non-existent. So I was delighted to see an interesting NFL story break recently.
The Associated Press published an article about how a few NFL teams are using beeping footballs to help their running backs hold on to the ball more securely. The footballs are equipped with pressure sensors and an audible beeping device that emits a sound when the runner holds the ball by key positions tight enough to avoid being dislodged via a hit. The article states the ball could reduce fumbling by nearly sixty percent. The article also states that the Tampa Bay Bucs, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are all using the device. More interestingly, it also stated that the Chargers are reportedly going to start using the football when they commence training camp on July 30th.
This is something worth taking note of when camp starts. Running back Melvin Gordon’s fumbling issues were well known last season. Putting the ball on the ground is unacceptable, especially this season for a team in “win now” mode for several reasons, including a potential stadium vote in November. The ball helps with muscle memory, training backs to grip the ball properly as well as with the correct amount of force. Instead of thinking about holding on to the ball, they can think about hitting the hole in front of them.
One potential hiccup I foresee is Mike McCoy will have to turn down the training facility’s boom box during practices. A staple of McCoy’s practices, and one of the few things he does that I actually approve of, is playing loud music during practice. Blaring rhythmic tunes over the facility’s speakers helps simulate loud stadium environments the Chargers play in on a weekly basis such as Arrowhead Stadium. I am not sure how Gordon and company will be able to hear a beeping football over Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit screaming expletives. If the new footballs help reduce fumbling I am all for shelving McCoy’s playlist and listing the boom box for sale on Craigslist.
Hopefully these new balls can help Melvin Gordon, who has many facets to his game that need improving, as well as the other running backs on the roster. I would actually give this device to any players who handle the ball such as receivers and return men, maybe even the whole team. It will be interesting to see if this new training tool will make an impact for the teams using it this year, especially our Bolts!
What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
Scattered throughout social media concerning the 2-6 Chargers are endless rants about the offense. The porous and oft-injured line, the lack of a running game and the vanilla play calling takes center stage from the voices of the fans.
As true as these perspectives may be, there seems to be an obvious concern that not too many are jawing about. Simply put….
The Chargers cannot stop anybody.
Philip Rivers leads an offense ranked 8th in most points scored with 191. That averages out to 23.9 points per game. Furthermore, San Diego leads all NFL teams in total yards with 3,386 (423.3 per game).
Of course, there are many questions to be asked when comparing these stats with the overall record. Most fans have come up with their own solutions: Fire Frank Reich. Fire Mike McCoy.
I am not here to argue with any of you who voice this sentiment. I am, however, needing to point out a prominent dysfunction with San Diego’s defense.
Ranked 27th in points allowed (28.4 per game), the Chargers players are either ill-equipped to handle the task at hand, or their leader continually is over-matched and out-coached.
What is your opinion? Is it Pagano or the players?
Let us take a quick statistical snapshot.
According to pro-football-reference.com, since 2012, when John Pagano took the reins as the defensive coordinator, the defense has not ranked any higher than 11th. Pagano’s defense is currently ranked 27th, and it shows.
With the Bolts giving up five yards a carry to opposing running backs, they are tied for dead last in that category. The defense has given up 124.6 yards per game on the ground, moving them up to 27th overall.
Opponents thus far have completed 64.75% of their passes against the Chargers’ defense, ranking them 19th overall. Adding fuel to the fire, this same defense is giving up 12.1 yards per completion, ranking them 30th overall.
Needing to find a silver lining with all these statistical rankings, I was able to notice that Pagano’s defense currently ranks 10th overall in holding teams to a 35.96% third down conversion rate. The 2014 team, in comparison, allowed their opponent to convert 43% of third down attempts.
When the Chargers are behind, it is the offense that has to get them back into the game. They must overemphasize time of possession, moving the chains and putting points on the board. If San Diego is ahead in the game, it is up to the defense to secure the victory. With two squeezed-out wins thus far, it appears that the majority of the problem is on the defensive side of the ball. The offense, who definitely has their own issues, is still putting points on the board and moving the ball, despite their lack of a formidable running attack. Pagano and his defense just can’t stop their opponents.
This defensive unit has stars: Jason Verrett, Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, just to name a few. Injuries can certainly be relevant to their struggles, however it can no longer be the crutch that Pagano seems to use. His base scheme is a 3-4, but it is run more like a 4-3. He utilizes the talent he has and plugs them into different packages to offset what the offense does.
One of the main issues of the defensive unit is the fact that they give up far more “explosive” plays than they should. Big, game-changing plays have turned the momentum to the opposing team’s favor far too often, and multiple times within individual games. These plays have occurred due to a multitude of reasons: blown coverages, poor tackling, missed assignments and vanilla play calling. The team rushes four players or less an inexplicable amount of times, making it difficult to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
So, once again, I ask for your opinion…
Is it the players or is it the coach?
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
The 2014 season finished in what can be accurately described as “disappointing” for the Chargers. The team started 6-1, were No. 1 and on top of multiple power rankings to start the season. Philip Rivers was getting consideration for the league’s Most Valuable Player and they were being thrown around as a possible Superbowl team.
Then, injuries happened.
Danny Woodhead broke his leg. DJ Fluker played through half the year on a hurt ankle. Ryan Mathews played in six games. Keenan Allen missed the last two games with a broken collarbone. Rivers played with a back injury that limited his ability to throw and move. It goes without saying the playing five different centers makes it difficult to build cohesion on the offensive line.
As you can tell, the Chargers played beat up and with a lot of back ups and third stringers. But they finished the season 9-7, and one game shy of the playoffs.
Just how good are the Chargers when healthy?
As everyone knows, the Bolts added some playmakers this season. They upgraded many areas of their team and they are also coming off a very disappointing, yet not terrible season. The offseason has been a disaster, however, from the talks of relocating to Los Angeles, to Eric Weddle not being extended which then lead to a brief holdout and then the biggest bomb of them all, future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates being suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs.
So why the optimism?
Well, the Chargers are good. REALLY good. Tom Telesco has altered the o-line as one of the best in the AFC, gave Rivers another weapon in Stevie Johnson, got more physical defensively with the signing of Patrick Robinson and Jimmy Wilson and made the return game something teams fear with the signing of Jacoby Jones.
Is it enough?
The schedule this season is very favorable. Early on in the year is the toughest stretch, with games in Cincinnati, Minnesota and Green Bay and games at home vs Pittsburgh and Detroit. I mention these five games because they seem to bring the toughest competition to the Bolts.
Early in the season, it is not that big of a deal to drop a game or two to a team of that caliber. Win two of those five and you’re set up perfectly for the stretch run. The notable games after the bye week (week 10): Home/away versus the Chiefs, home/away versus the Broncos and home against the Dolphins. These are very winnable games and with the depth and offensive line that Telesco has provided, the Chargers should be able to compete and win at least three of these five games mentioned.
That leaves you at 5-5 through the toughest stretches of the schedule. The remaining games are at home versus the Browns, Raiders, Bears and on the road against Raiders, Ravens and Jaguars. Five of the six just named are extremely winnable with the Baltimore game being winnable, but a difficult game, nonetheless (and Chargers have experience winning there as they did it this past season). That leaves the Chargers final record at 10-6 or 11-5 and should be enough for a wild card berth and a potential AFC West division title.
The key to the playoffs is health (also, having an elite QB in Philip Rivers doesn’t hurt either) and the Chargers have depth, but will they stay healthy? Head coach Mike McCoy has been doing a great job trying to keep everyone healthy during training camp. That won’t change during the regular season.
On paper, this is the most talented team the Chargers have had since 2009 where the Bolts went 13-3 and snatched up the second seed in their conference. The AFC doesn’t seem to have that one Superbowl favorite team that you know will dominate the conference. It is wide-open, and the way Telesco has built this roster, the Chargers very well could end the year in Santa Clara playing in Superbowl 50.
Do you think the Chargers have what it takes to reach the Super Bowl? Let me know in the comments!