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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?
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2/12/2007 11:24:00 PM

Who will take over for Marty?

LT
Some lucky coach will inherit the NFL's best running back next season.
Simon Bruty/SI

On the surface, the Chargers appear to be the ultimate coaching dream. They have the best offensive player in the NFL, 27-year-old LaDainian Tomlinson; the best defensive player, 22-year-old Shawne Merriman; Philip Rivers, a 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback; and several other good young players on both sides of the ball. GM A.J. Smith has had three brilliant drafts in a row and the cupboard is definitely full.

Nevertheless, there's a downside to this gig. San Diego's 14-2 mark will be hard to match next year. The Chargers' schedule in 2006 was somewhat soft and next year they'll face the Colts and Patriots. And when the next coach comes in, he'll likely bring in his own ideas and system, leaving himself wide open to criticism if they don't duplicate last season's success.

San Diego has to feel it's on the brink of winning a Super Bowl, so it wouldn't make sense to bring in an inexperienced coach. Expect big names to surface in the coming days. The first name that comes to mind is Pete Carroll, who is already in Southern California and now faces a clouded future at USC in light of potential NCAA discipline. Carroll has said he wants personnel control, but maybe he's willing to back off that demand for this situation.

If the Chargers really want a proven winner, they'll have to chase Bill Cowher and Bill Parcells - unlikely scenarios, but hey, it was unlikely Schottenheimer would be fired in the second week of February.

As for other candidates, some of the guys the Cowboys turned down are a good place to start - Ron Rivera, Mike Singletary, Jim Caldwell and Norv Turner.

If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be Carroll although I wouldn't be surprised if he shot down speculation immediately. Let me know who you think the next San Diego coach will be and what issues he'll face.
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2/12/2007 12:47:00 PM

Does T.O. need to go?

Owens
Terrell Owens is due a $3 million bonus from the Cowboys in June.
Simon Bruty/SI

I'm not surprised Jerry Jones needs more time to decide whether to keep Terrell Owens. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the T.O. issue. Let's weigh the pros and cons.

REASONS TO KEEP T.O.
1. He's coming off a very productive season – 85 catches for 1,180 yards and 13 TDs.
2. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo seems comfortable throwing to him. And Owens has a history of helping QBs put up gaudy numbers.
3. He draws double-coverage, which makes the rest of the Cowboys' receivers look better than they are.

REASONS TO CUT T.O.
1. He will criticize either the head coach, quarterback or offensive coordinator. That is 100 percent certain. Even at his best, he's a distraction. At his worst, he's a total disaster.
2. He had a league high 18 dropped passes last season.
3. A lot of his big numbers came in blowouts last year. Owens disappeared in a key loss to the Eagles in Week 16 and Dallas' loss to Seattle in the playoffs. He blamed the offensive scheme.
4. He's 34.

My choice would be to cut him now and end the speculation. The dropped passes were a problem, but ultimately Owens' emotional issues and penchant for sleeping through meetings would be my deciding factor.

What do you think the Cowboys should do?

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