Chargers 2011 Coaching Carousel, Take Two

After taking a spin on the coaching carousel once already this offseason, the Chargers are now hearing rumblings that they may once again have to endure that ride.

With the Tennessee Titans deciding to axe the longest tenured coach in the league in Jeff Fisher recently, their vacancy at the head coaching position has plenty of candidates interested in making the jump. According to several sources throughout the league, recently hired Chargers’ special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is in the discussion for a look as the new head man in Tennessee.

When Bisaccia left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take the same position in San Diego, many wondered just what he was looking to accomplish with such a move. Evidently Bisaccia knew what he was doing and current Bucs Head Coach Raheem Morris said of his departure to the Bolts: "That shouldn't surprise anybody. Rich has been one of those fence guys for the last five years. I'm leaving, I'm leaving, I'm leaving. Okay, I'm staying. I don't know that he wants a change of scenery, he wants to be a head coach. In order to do that, he thinks he's got to go and meet other people, get involved with different organizations. There's nothing else, I guess, he can do from Tampa. I think it's a really good move for him.''

By getting into different locker rooms, meeting new people around the league, and spreading his name as a sought after commodity, Bisaccia clearly has a plan in the works to become a head coach some day in the future. Even he couldn’t have anticipated that the future is now and he might have his shot at becoming a head coach this year.

The Chargers were inexplicably ranked number one in total offense and number one in total defense last season yet still failed to make the playoffs. Obviously there were some serious issues with the third phase of the game where momentum can swing on one play and games can completely turn around in ten seconds or less. Adding an inspirational coach and leader like Bisaccia to the staff has the potential to make a huge impact on this team’s fortunes looking forward to the upcoming season.

The glowing praise of Bisaccia from former players as well as mentors has been astounding to say the least as former Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden offered up a heck of an endorsement for his former understudy saying: “I coached a long time, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve worked with and I’m not just trying to be his agent or publicity manager. He’s a tremendous football coach, great with players, smart, works his butt off. I’d hire him as a head coach. If I was in position to interview people and look for quality candidates and he’s certainly one of the best I’ve been around.”

Gruden himself hasn’t exactly been dying to get back into the head coaching gauntlet, but he would certainly consider a number of jobs if the price was right. For him to offer such genuine approval for Bisaccia says a great deal about just what kind of a coach he has the potential to become.

A former player under both Gruden and Bisaccia gave some similarly complimentary commentary on his former coach as long-time NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks said: “He’s gotten the best out of everybody, and for me, being around him since 2002, I jumped at the opportunity to play for him on special teams despite being a starter on defense. I wanted to be part of what he was doing with other guys, I was a little jealous. I even inserted myself in practice as a punt returner. I really did want to be a part of what he had going on with our core group of guys on special teams.”

Inspiration seemed to be an issue for the Bolts’ special teams unit last season with any number of guys looking less than enthused to be out there covering kicks and making the little plays that make a big impact. If Bisaccia has the ability to motivate an 11-time Pro Bowler to button up his chin strap and get after it on special teams then the sky is the limit for his potential in San Diego.

It is easy to understand now just why a team like the Tennessee Titans could look to snatch Bisaccia up from the Bolts as their next head coach now before he becomes the hot commodity on the coaching market. A move like this would clearly leave the Chargers in a tough position late in the game when it comes to hiring a replacement, so fans should be holding their collective breath that Bisaccia stays put for at least one season with the Bolts.

Now it’s your turn. After seeing the admiration that Rich Bisaccia has garnered around the league from players and coaches alike, does his addition to the coaching staff seem like more than just another hire? Do you think that the Titans are really considering Bisaccia as a candidate to fill their head coaching role? How much impact do you think one coach can make on a special teams unit like the Chargers who had their struggles in 2010? Do you expect any long-time defensive starters on the Bolts to volunteer on special teams after seeing what Derrick Brooks had to say about Bisaccia in his past experiences? Please give your take in the comments section below!

February 4, 2011

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