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New TE Coach Pete Metzelaars on Gates, More
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With the 2014 coaching staff recently finalized, we sat down with new tight ends coach Pete Metzelaars to get to know the man who’ll be instructing Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green and company this season.
A legendary tight end for 16 seasons before transitioning into coaching, Metzelaars spoke about his experience at the position, his coaching philosophy and his thoughts on the current Bolts at the position.
Watch the video above to hear from Metzelaars directly, then read the transcript below.
Chargers.com: First of all, congratulations. Talk about the process that brought you to San Diego?
Metzelaars: It seemed like it was a long, long process but it was probably just a couple weeks. Things fell in place as the season (ended). Whiz started leaving and different people (so) positions started opening up. I had been out of coaching last year. I didn’t have a job so I was chasing hard and called my buddy Frank (Reich). I knew he got the promotion to offensive coordinator and so he was pushing for me. Over a couple weeks of a lot of phone calls and a lot of prayers, things have worked out.
Chargers.com: What kind of opportunity are you most excited about here with the Chargers?
Metzelaars: Number one is the chance to go win some football games. They’ve got some great players at the tight end position that I’m really excited about working with. So I look forward to that opportunity. And you’ve got a great quarterback. When you’ve got those elements you have a chance to win. That’s always a good thing.
Chargers.com: What would you describe as your coaching style?
Metzelaars: I’m going to be a little bit laid back but demanding. I want things done right. I want the guys to do right. I want to take pride and play with a lot of passion in the game and have fun playing the game.
Chargers.com: Frank Reich is a guy you need no introduction to as you were with him in Buffalo in the 80’s and 90’s and coached with him in Indianapolis. How would you describe your relationship and what do you think he brings to that job as offensive coordinator?
Metzelaars: Our relationship is we’ve been great friends for a long, long time. We’ve gone through a lot of battles and played a lot of games as both players and coaches. He’s had a lot of success at it. What he’s going to bring is the expertise of being in the game, being around the game and knowing the game from a quarterback’s position and from a play caller’s position. He helped call plays for the K-Gun with Jim Kelly back in the day. So he’s had that mindset of calling plays and getting the right plays called at the right times. He’s going to bring that and organization. He’s very organized. He’s very particular and wants things set in place in how they’re going to be done. That’s how his mind works. So he’s going to bring that organization along with the innate play calling ability that he has as a quarterback.
Chargers.com: You have a lot of talent in that tight ends room that you’re going to be working with and coaching in 2014. What stands out to you about that group?
Metzelaars: Well Antonio Gates is the guy that jumps out. He’s been a great, great player and an All-Pro player for a long, long time. I played for 16 years and this is his 12th year coming up, so I’m looking at it like he’s got four or five more great years left in him. Maybe more than that. Gosh, Tony Gonzalez just finished his 17th year and he retired so there’s no reason Antonio, if he takes care of himself, can’t play that long and play very, very productively. And then you have Ladarius who is an up-and-coming guy. He has a chance to be good. And then hopefully John Phillips can get healthy and then a couple other young guys and we’ll see what they can do.
Chargers.com: Finally, what are the next few months going to be like for you here at Chargers Park?
Metzelaars: A lot of it is learning, although I was fortunate enough to work with Joe D’Alessandris in Buffalo. So I kind of know his system and a little bit of the other system that Frank and I worked with in Indianapolis. So some of the terminology is similar to me, but it’s still learning the process, learning what everything’s called, learning the players and learning how things are done here. Then (I’m) trying to fit in with all that.