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Talk pro football with SI.com's Andrew Perloff in Huddle Up, a forum to discuss the hottest topics around the NFL.
2/13/2007 11:44:00 AM

Readers' choices for Chargers coach

If the Chargers need help choosing their next coach, I hope they're reading Huddle Up today. The nominees are flowing in, ranging from the serious (Mike Martz, Pete Carroll), the longshots (Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells) and the ridiculous (Rich Kotite, Nick Saban, NBA coach Larry Brown).

In a most unscientific manner, I tallied the responses. Here are the 10 most popular choices and my quick take on their chances:

1. Mike Martz -- Martz may like an offense that is too wide open for San Diego, which has a much stronger defense than the Rams team Martz brought to the Super Bowl.
2. Jimmy Johnson -- Johnson makes sense in many ways ... if he wants the job.
3. Pete Carroll -- Seems like they're a lot of readers who think Carroll fits better in college than the NFL.
4. Bill Parcells -- Wow, can you imagine if the Chargers basically traded Wade Phillips for Parcells.
5. Bill Cowher -- No one buys that he won't coach in the right situation.
6. Jon Gruden -- His success getting the Bucs over the hump makes him a viable candidate. Now, for the matter of his existing job in Tampa Bay ...
7. Norm Chow -- Only downside is Chow has never been a head coach.
8. Dick Vermeil -- Who doesn't love Vermeil? May be too old, but would still be a popular choice.
9. Rex Ryan -- Lots of folks have chimed in with the Ravens defensive coordinator. Buddy's son will be a head coach some day, although his lack of experience could bother the Chargers.
10. Ron Rivera -- How is this guy not a head coach yet?

Now that you have had some time to mull it over, who is your final recommendation for the Chargers' next coach?
posted by SI.com | View comments |  


Posted: 1:03 PM   by Don Snyder
Being a Charger fan as well as a USC fan I would love to get some of that success to San Diego and without taking from my Trojans. So a simple solution is to hire a former Trojans Assistant in Norm Chow. How great would it be to have his offensive genious in an already explosive system.
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Powderpuffer
Steve Mariucci. Won in San Francisco with jeff garcia and terrell owens. He helped develop Jeff Garcia in2 a pro-bowl quarterback and he helped Brett Favre in2 a hall of famer. Phillip Rivers would benefit tremendously with Steve Mariucci.
Posted: 1:19 PM   by IHateAjSmith
Norv Turner. A great offensive mind and a great at developing young quarterbacks. He helped make Troy Aikman, Brad Johnson, Gus Frerotte, and Drew Brees in2 probowl quarterbacks.
Posted: 1:36 PM   by Anonymous
I wouldn't mind seeing MIKE DITKA roaming the sidelines at Qualcomm next season. Jimmy Johnson would also be a great addition to the Bolt Family
Posted: 1:44 PM   by Anonymous
Attacking 3-4 defense, strong running game; this team is a perfect fit for two candidates: Bill Parcells and Bill Cowher. But is either one really looking for a job next year? I think Parcells has just been weathered by his term at Dallas. He'd probably like nothing more than to go back to his old neighborhood for a year. There his main task for the day is walking to the corner for coffee and a chat. Cowher just didn't have the will last year in Pittsburgh, and the team's performance showed that. Can he really get the fire back so soon? For this team with the right salary, my bet is yes. Bill Cowher will be the next Chargers head coach.
Posted: 1:49 PM   by Chris
I really wanted Marty here in a Fins Uniform. What the charges did is totally out of spite.
Posted: 1:52 PM   by Anonymous
Martz would give the Chargers a swagger with the fact that people love him or hate him.

Martz was 56-36 as a head coach and 4 of his 5 full years the Rams they made the playoffs.

Another fact that would help is the system on offense that Cam Cameron uses is the same one that Martz uses. So the Chargers would not have to change there offense.

Also there is the Don"Air" Coryell angle has he was Martz hero as a coach and Martz grew up near San Diego.
Posted: 1:55 PM   by Anonymous
The best choice would be Jim Fassel. He is great with young QB's, runs a system not so different from marty's for eas eof transition, would not be ultra expensive, would not demand total control, and is available.
Posted: 1:59 PM   by Anonymous
One more name to toss out there--Steve Mariucci--he was a hot item not too long ago---and was Detroit's down-spiral really all his fault?

WIth SD success with the 3-4 defense I doubt they want to hire someone who will make drastic changes on D. I would expect them to hire an offensive minded coach, or a Defensive minded head coach familiar with the 3-4.
Posted: 2:06 PM   by Anonymous
Posted: 2:11 PM   by Anonymous
I say go for Mooch! Steve Mariucci that is!
Posted: 2:11 PM   by David
Cowher would coach next year in the right situation? You mean Pittsburgh wasn't the right situation?
Posted: 2:20 PM   by Jason
As a die hard Charger fan that lives and breaths San Diego pouder blue, Norm Chow would be my first choice. He's a proven winner that can transform any offense (ie. Vince Young last year). The only hesitation I have with him is that he's never been a head coach and I'm not sure how involved he would be in the defense, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if they bring in a great defensive coordinator. I also like John Gruden for the job, but I'm not sure if he'd leave Tampa or even more, if Tampa would let him leave. Finally, why is no one mentioning Dennis Green? The guy is a San Diegan and with the right team could be great. I would give my right arm for Cower but I don't think he's going anywhere for a year. I DON'T WANT JIMMY JOHNSON ANYWHERE NEAR MY TEAM! Smith was and is an idiot and he'll probably make the wrong decision. How can you fire a coach so close to draft season? Why didn't he do it earlier if he was going to do it? And most of all, how can he possibly shift the blame to Marty for the coordinators leaving? Wasn't it the Chargers themselves, aka Spanos and Smith, that granted those guys permission to talk to the Cowboys and Dolphins? The blame falls on their shoulders. If they were smart they would have let Marty go right after the New England game and then hired Cameron on the spot. That guy's a genious and look what he did with one year with Rivers. Overall, the Chargers proved two things to me yesterday - I guess winning isn't that important to them (can you say 14-2 season and firing coach?) and that to them "winning isn't everything", but the ego of a general manager is. I'm now a fan of Charger players ONLY, not their ownership and management. Because obviously they don't know how to run an organization. This is further proof of why they can't get to a superbowl...b/c they don't know the definition of team, but rather only know the definition of ego and me!
Posted: 2:22 PM   by Anonymous
How about Mike Sherman? If Dick Jaron can get another shot, why not him?
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Anonymous
Why isn't Steve Mariucci being mentioned as a candidate for any opening??? Has his analyst position on the NFL Network been that great? I am thinking not... I mean, he did have a hand in developing Jeff Garcia. I am sure he could do the same with Philip Rivers.
Posted: 2:35 PM   by Anonymous
"Finally, why is no one mentioning Dennis Green?" Um, because he's awful. Hey, Ron Burgandy is from San Diego. Why not him?
Posted: 2:37 PM   by Anonymous
Hey you know what would have been good? Doing something sensible like hiring a coach in-house like Cam Cameron or Wade Phillips. Wait, they're gone, never mind.
Posted: 2:40 PM   by ChrTh
I'm thinking we're going to see Mike Sherman enter the mix. Finalist in Arizona's recent search, experience in coaching an established (rather than rebuilding) team, strong regular-season record, always seemed to get along with the other personnel. I'd be surprised if he's not interviewed.
Posted: 2:47 PM   by Anonymous
How about LOVIE SMITH?? My understanding is that he is a free agent since his contract with the bears has expired.

Isn't LOVIE the best candidate out there???
Posted: 2:49 PM   by Anonymous
Even if you think Bill Cowher would want to coach in 2007, his rights for this year belong to the Steelers. Why would the Steelers let him go without demanding a lot in return (if they even would let him go at all,) especially to another AFC contender?
Posted: 2:49 PM   by Anonymous
moe said:
I think GM Smith deliberately waited until all open Head Coach positions were filled before canning Marty out of spite. What a class organization.
Posted: 2:50 PM   by John in EP
Where is Norv Turner in this mix? Singletary was passed over as the DEF coordinator in SF, (although he's still the LBs coach) so it's feasible that Norv could grab him to coach the young, phsical DEF in SD. Martz is a moonbat that should never be given the reins to an NFL team again. Remember his recent slip-up concerning the Lions, "Not selecting a QB with their first pick?" What head coach would give away draft day leverage?

I think Norv is the simplest choice and won't cost them the farm. Parcells, Jimmie Johnson, and Cowher will require HUGE money and incentives.
Posted: 2:56 PM   by Anonymous
Norv Turner would be a great fit for the Chargers. He has always done a good job working with young QBs like Rivers, He's had terrific success with good RBs (Emmitt) and Tight Ends (Novacek). His last two stops as head coach were sabotaged by bad owners. I can't comment on the Spanos, Smith team other than the fact that they've obviously accumulated great talent on that team.
Posted: 2:58 PM   by Anonymous
HOw about Jim Mora, players love him.
Posted: 2:58 PM   by Anonymous
The Chargers need to simply hire someone that AJ Smith can order around without any talk back..So many fans and people in the NFL talk about Al Davis and the Raider's inability to attract quality head coaches because of the "dsyfunctional" way Davis goes about handling coaches and players, but you have to wonder now if the Chargers are going down the same path..??? Keep in mind that Marty was very well respected by his players, bringing in a "questionable" coach with not the pedigree of a Schott could be disasterous..
Posted: 2:59 PM   by Gary
Who the Chargers should interview:
1) Ron Rivera
2) Mike Martz
3) Norm Chow
4) Rex Ryan
5) Norv Turner

No ways:
1) Cowher - too early and he's a Marty guy. He also enjoyed partial input to the staff/personnel process, which ol' AJ Smith won't give the new guy
2) Parcells - this time he's really done
3) Vermeil - same as Parcells
4) Jimmy Johnson - nope, sorry, his heyday is over and done. Bad fit I think.
5) Carroll - even though it's san Diego, still think he's USC all the way. I also don't think he'd do well in the NFL, as seen by his last stint with the Pats. Even with the talent the Chargers have, he'd fail in getting them to the Super Bowl.

The only questions are how will the new coach moderate the run and pass, and how will they deal with that great 3-4 defense. I sure hope they find someone to guide them to the big one!
Posted: 3:04 PM   by Anonymous
Jimmy Johnson would be a great choice. He will lead this young team to a new AFC Dynasty!
Posted: 3:12 PM   by Anonymous
The old timers who have a well established rep are guaranteed no's. Cowher won't come out of retirement to join a dysfunctional team that has a GM with an EGO the size of Texas. Jimmy Johnson has said already he will never come back to coaching and he said it again around superbowl time. Vermeil/Parcells are probably too old and likely won't want to deal with a controling GM as well.

Also who else would want a head coaching job where you have to bring in a brand new OC and DC when it's almost time for the combine. You have virtually no one to pick from to develop your staff. Like Banks article says this firing is one month too late and really a terrible decision (indecision early on).

I think the best they could do would be Gruden but I doubt they'll get him or be willing to give up picks to the Bucs for him.
Posted: 3:13 PM   by murph
"We got Wade and they got Bill" That's my hit song..
Posted: 3:27 PM   by Anonymous
Anyone smart enough to help the Chargers is too smart to buy into this dysfunctional family.
Who is dumb enough to take this job and smart enough to help the Chargers?
Posted: 3:28 PM   by Anonymous
Bring back Kevin Gilbride! ;-)
Posted: 3:36 PM   by Anonymous
Al Saunders, hands down.........look what he did for the chiefs before they let him go to Washington. With his offensive schemes, this team would probably surpass the numbers they put up last year.
Posted: 3:38 PM   by Anonymous
I like Mike Sherman. Former Green Bay Packer Head Coach.
Posted: 3:48 PM   by BadgerBob
Mike Sherman. Many of my Packerfan brethren couldn't see him go soon enough but I don't remember him being on the field playing defense on 4th and 26. The guy's very organized and coached the Packers during seasons that they had record numbers in both rushing and receiving. Sure he had Favre as QB but he also had an aging team and a D that was always questionable. What killed him were bad drafts and some disasterous FA pickups. With Smith taking care of that end of the business I think Shermie would be great for the Bolts.
Posted: 3:49 PM   by Anonymous
Norm Chow transformed Vince Young? Vince Young was already nasty before he ever put on a Titans uniform. Chow doesn't get credit for Vince Young. Vince Young would be a stud anywhere he went...
Posted: 3:52 PM   by Anonymous
Don't start all this Norv and Singletary trash again! Niner fans had to go thru this with Dallas, so just leave it alone! Go find your own coaches San Diego!
Posted: 3:54 PM   by boltdog
How about Norv Turner. San Diego still runs his offence so Rivers would not have to learn a new one. Then bring in Ted Cottrel as D-coordinator to continue the 3-4. Without Cam and Wade Phillips being available I think this is the way to go. Leave Jimmie Johnson in the TV studio where he belongs. As a second choice Norm Chow and Cottrel.
Posted: 3:55 PM   by Anonymous
What a terrible move by the SD brass. I hope they tank next year. I mean who fires a coach who got his team to 14-2?! Morons, that's who.
Posted: 4:06 PM   by Anonymous
I have a great idea. AJ make yourself the coach, that way you will be sure to get your petty way with everything. You knucklehead. YOU ARE A LOSER and think you know it all. You won't be satisfied until you destroy a good team. You are well on your way to doing it! And San Diego will pay for your ineptness. Seems to me we lost several great people who may have stayed had Marty been tendered an offer where they might assume they would be around for a while. All in all, Marty you get a well deserved Thank You from the Fans and a chance to relax for a while. Your players still love you and you are free of a bad situation. If you so desire another will appear. Good Luck!
Posted: 4:06 PM   by Anonymous
How can anyone believe Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll, and to a lesser degree, Jon Gruden, would even allow themselves to be considered? All have their legacies established (Carroll in the NCAA, granted), and all have made their preferences clear: They want more control over a team than AJ Smith is willing to grant. And Smith is staying as GM, that much should be obvious.
Posted: 4:25 PM   by Anonymous
Like Jerry Jones the Spanos mantra should be "what can I live without". Also important would be the new coach's recruiting ability with Coordinators and other asst. coaches.
Posted: 4:29 PM   by Anonymous
Attention, John in EP. in regards to your comment about Mike Martz...
"Remember his recent slip-up concerning the Lions, "Not selecting a QB with their first pick?" Umm he's the offensive coordinator. I didn't know they got to make draft selections. Rod Marineli is a different story.
Posted: 4:34 PM   by Anonymous
definitely Ron Rivera. He's still young enough to carry this team through the dynasty of the young team.
Posted: 4:49 PM   by Anonymous
Of course Mike Martz is number one, but what about Mike Singletary, Rex Ryan, Ron Ryan and Jim Mora (Jr.). Mora has coached before with the Chargers as an assistant and has ties to Spanos.
Posted: 4:54 PM   by Anonymous
How can anyone recommend Al Saunders? He may be a fine coordinator, but as a head coach, he stinks. I remember when he got Don Coryell fired, so he could take over the Chargers, when Spanos first bought the team. The team was horrible, and he publicly stated that it was not a team he could take into battle. Good way to build team morale.
Posted: 5:15 PM   by Anonymous
What about Jim Bates from Denver? He didn't get a look when the Packers whacked Mike Sherman. He's a little older, but he's experienced, a good leader, and a great D-Coordinator.
Posted: 5:24 PM   by Anonymous
Brilliant move by AJ. Marty was given all the tools to win and came up chocking as always.
Remember this team is not rebuilding it still has a great team. San Diego should hire the best coach that AJ feels will fit the system.
Posted: 5:32 PM   by Anonymous
Get ready for Kirk Ferentz
Posted: 5:55 PM   by STLRamsFan
As a long time Rams fan, I can tell you that you want Mike Martz to be the next Charger head coach. He'll breathe life into that franchise, bring in a solid WR or two, and turn Philip Rivers into a perennial All Pro.
Posted: 5:57 PM   by Roger
Here is who they want, ultimately. Someone who won't demand much control because I believe they would prefer to promote current coaches to the coordinator spots to retain some continuity. Someone with head coaching experience because they are ready to win the SB NOW, and they will want quick results. I can only think of one person that fits that bill well: Joe Vitt. He has a good reputation around the league as being a good guy, so he should be easy to work with for the front office. He was assistant head coach of the Rams, holds that position with the Saints currently, and was HC of the Rams while Martz was gone. He wouldn't demand much in terms of his own staff as a first-time HC.
Posted: 5:58 PM   by MikeyLightning
Mike Sherman. He was a good enough coach at Green Bay and only got fired for his incapability in the GM world. He could be a charger.
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