The 2013 season for the San Diego Chargers was the most exciting season in franchise history. A 9-7 record isn’t the standard of excellence Mike McCoy hopes to install on Murphy Canyon Road, but this season changes everything for the organization. The past decade was full of missed opportunities marked by the regretful decisions of A.J. Smith and the head-scratching coaching of Norv Turner. Countless home-grown players left San Diego and the window for the team that appeared destine for greatness slammed shut with a bitter bang. Then 2013 happened.
Entering last season, Mike McCoy seemed like a plug to stop the leaking. Following four consecutive AFC West titles the organization was stuck in neutral. Mediocrity was the identity of the powder blue and gold, and it stunk like expired chicken. McCoy was expected to instill discipline and help overhaul a finesse team on the back end of their glory days. Instead of a rebuild, this team completely outperformed expectations and laid the groundwork for a championship future.
Here is what we know.
Mike McCoy is a damn good coach. Is he too conservative? Perhaps. Does he get results? Without question. The first-year head man came into this organization and changed the identity with an old school coaching mentality. Hard work will always get results and this attitude carried the Chargers to their first playoff victory since 2008. McCoy’s work ethic can be seen in his pregame ritual, running the stairs of the stadium, and it is this type of work ethic that rubbed off on the front man’s players. The Norv Turner Chargers were full of screen passes, “trickeration” and finesse perfromances. While this led to a lot of regular season success, the playoff failures ultimately came down to team’s fabric lacking the characteristics champions are built on. Reason number one to have hope: These Mike McCoy Chargers play championship football.
Defensive back is becoming next to impossible to play in the modern NFL. As long as receivers aren’t intimidated to go across the middle, and minimal contact results in a penalty, the league will continue to develop pass-happy offenses. However, there will always be a place for teams that run the ball effectively and play great defense. This is how you win championships. The recent Super Bowl Champions all either had great defenses or had great quarterbacks combined with a hot defense. I absolutely love the way Mike McCoy wants to play football. Physically pound the hell out of opposing defenses and limit the amount of time the opposing offense touches the ball. And this is where we reach reason two to have hope: A slightly improved defense makes a vastly improved team.