Monday, September 12, 2016

Fire!! San Diego Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy Has To Go

San Diego Chargers Coach Mike McCoy - Doug Pensinger
I've seen enough. It's time for San Diego Chargers head football coach Mike McCoy to hit the road. He's the person most responsible for the team's inexcusable, devastating come-from-ahead loss on Sunday in Kansas City, where the Chiefs climbed out of a deep, 24-3 hole in the second half to humiliate the Bolts in overtime, 33-27.

Hopes were high in this season opener, and the Chargers entered always-raucous Arrowhead Stadium with a boisterous bang. But they left with a wimpy whimper. The Bolts dominated early, taking a 21-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, and still led 27-10 into the fourth quarter. 

Then the wheels fell off. The offense got cute and gadgety. No more pounding the ball inside. No more running back Melvin Gordon. The defense went "prevent." No blitzes. No pressure on Chiefs' quarterback Alex Smith. No good.

Yes, McCoy recommitted this team, again, to not losing rather than to winning. He dumped a smokin'-hot dance partner on Sunday for a knock-kneed step sister, and the rest of the party was a bust. 

By the end, the offense had lost its way, the defense was consequently cashed, and the Chiefs were the ones doing all the dancing as McCoy just futilely watched, befuddled and detached as always.

Some shortsighted observers put all the blame for this loss on the fact that San Diego's burgeoning superstar wide receiver Keenan Allen left late in the second quarter with what appears to be a season-ending ACL injury. But you can't pin this loss on the injury to one player, as valuable as Allen is. 

This game was a 'W' waiting to happen, even without Keenan in the lineup. You have to really go out of your way to lose a game you are leading 24-3 when you have a world-class quarterback such as Philip Rivers, multiple gifted skill-position players on offense, and a very aggressive and motivated defense.

Allen is a key offensive player, a burgeoning star who was dominating before he was injured. But good teams rally when one of their best players go down. 

No one on the offensive line or defensive line was hurt. If this were the Broncos or Patriots or Panthers or any other well-coached team, the loss of one player would not have led to a cataclysmic collapse.

But the Chargers are not a winning, well-coached team. And it starts and ends with McCoy, who's no improvement on Norv Turner, the most recent failed Charger skipper.

McCoy is by all accounts a decent man who cares about his players and about his family. But that's not enough. 

As a coach, he's a hapless technocrat and deeply flawed communicator who has no clue how to manage in real time. He's not just a failure at clock management, he actually doesn't have the first clue how to roll with punches or keep things moving down the track once the train leaves the station. 

It's called thinking on your feet.

McCoy is cranky, distant and aloof, and when the going gets tough, he just shakes his head and sticks his nose deeper into his notes rather than rally the troops.

McCoy doesn't seem to possess the ability to keep a football team geeked for four quarters. And that's about 70 percent of head coaching. The players don't dislike him, but he's not the kind of guy for whom you go all out. He is not a born leader. He hasn't lost the locker room completely, but he doesn't inspire. 

Mike is a career offensive coordinator, at best. He's the football personification of middle management.

The football played this weekend by San Diego's two best-known teams presented a striking contrast. On Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego State University football coach Rocky Long masterfully kept his players focused for a four-plus hour game until the heroic interception on the final play gave the Aztecs a huge win over Cal. 

And these kids weren't even getting paid to play!

The following morning, watching McCoy demotivate a team and deconstruct a game in Kansas City that should have been an easy win was maddening and sickening. And he's done it countless times.

Equally annoying is that almost from the get-to, McCoy has been unnecessarily defensive and rude to the San Diego media. Even to the sportswriters who have, or had, his back. Unless you've won multiple Super Bowls, you can't afford to be an ass with the press. 

Granted, a lot of the fail last season, when the Bolts went 4-12, was due to injuries. But except for #1 pick Joey Bosa who's nursing a hamstring and still getting into game-day shape, this team on Sunday was healthy. 

The players were fired up. The O and D lines were both playing with new confidence, energy and an edge. The Bolts were winning the battle in the trenches, on both sides of the ball, and that almost never happened last year. 

But when they got a comfy lead, the Chargers got predictably predictable. Soft. Complacent. Careful. Conservative. Which in football are synonyms for "loser." They played not to lose, rather than to win

On defense, they morphed into mostly prevent mode and stood on their heels. On offense, they repeatedly ran the same draws to running back Danny Woodhead and took the ball out of Gordon's hands. 

Woodhead is great, but Gordon, who had two touchdowns in the first half, was having success going right at the center of KC's D line. The Chargers were looking for a moment there like a team that could pound the football.

Interestingly, as San Diego Union-Tribune sports columnist Kevin Acee pointed out Sunday, the Chargers also lost a 21-point third-quarter lead in McCoy's 2013 debut as the team’s head coach. Three years later, things have essentially remained the same since ownership brought McCoy in to take the team in a new direction.

McCoy will evidently never learn that, during a football game, a team that is not only winning but kicking butt needs to "dance with the one that brung you," as legendary Texas football coach Darrell Royal said. It's an old cliche', but it's eternally true. 

In other words, if you're having success, keep doing what you're doing. When you're pounding the ball and putting pressure on the opposing QB and you gain a big lead, avoid big mistakes, yes, but don't put the machine in nuetreal when it's firing on all cylinders.

Chargers' defensive coordinator John Pagano and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt are culpable in this mess, too. But the head coach calls the shots. He has veto power. 

Let the impeachment proceedings begin. Give McCoy his walking papers. I don't care who you bring in, just please take the damn headset from McCoy. No more losses like this. Please. No more painfully rude, condescending and vague press conferences. Please. 

Is Bobby Ross still available? It's both laughable and a crying shame that Bobby, who took a far less talented team than this one to a Super Bowl but was mistreated then resigned nearly 20 years ago, is in fact the last good head coach this football team has had.

The Chargers are cursed. And soon, they'll likely be L.A.'s problem.

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