McDonnell Podcast: Chargers coach Mike McCoy
LOS ANGELES -- Philip Rivers. LaDainian Tomlinson. Antonio Gates. Shawne Merriman. Eric Weddle. Darren Sproles. Vincent Jackson. Kris Dielman. Takeo Spikes. They all played under head coach Norv Turner for the Chargers during Turner's six-year tenure in San Diego.
And despite their talent and that of their Charger teammates, none of them played in a Super Bowl under Turner and general manager A.J. Smith.
So after missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year, Turner and Smith were sent packing and owner Dean Spanos hired Tom Telesco to replace the perpetually dour Smith. Spanos and Telesco then brought McCoy in to do what Turner never could -- win a Super Bowl.
McCoy spent the last four seasons with the Chargers' AFC West rival Denver as offensive coordinator, inspiring -- and adjusting -- a Tim Tebow-led offense get to the playoffs in 2011, where they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2012, he and free agent signee Peyton Manning helped the Broncos go 13-3, the second most wins in franchise history.
He quickly became a hot head-coaching candidate, interviewing with at least five teams before ending up in San Diego. He's now charged with resurrecting Rivers' dominance, something missing for the past two seasons.
The final quarterback in the history of Long Beach State football -- the program was discontinued in 1991 -- the 40-year-old McCoy was in L.A. recently and met with a half-dozen reporters in an informal interview session at a downtown eatery. He talked about Rivers' decline and his potential to rebound and once again become one of the NFL's elite QB's.
(Listen to the complete question and answer segment on The Joe McDonnell Podcast, available on this page).
"For Philip, we just keep telling him not to try and do too much out there," said McCoy. "If he runs the system, believes in it, then he'll be fine."
And it's something Rivers needs to do, because over the past couple of seasons he has blatantly forced passes into tight coverage when he should have thrown away the ball.
"We also have to help him in that area," said McCoy. "The (offensive) line has to give him better protection and the running backs have to perform.
"I think Phillip is going to have a great year. I really do. I don't think he's in decline at all."
It's not only about Rivers and the offense, though.
"Definitely not," McCoy said. "We need everybody to buy into the systems -- offense and defense -- and practice and play as hard as they can every time we step on the field.
"Potentially, we believe can have a really good team. With camp opening we just have to do it."