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Chargers Finalize 2018 Coaching Staff
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Head Coach Anthony Lynn made it crystal clear his first priority this offseason was to maintain continuity with a coaching staff regarded as one of the tops in the league in 2017.
On Tuesday, Lynn finalized the team’s coaching staff for 2018, announcing that 17 coaches from last season will return while welcoming four new additions.
“All season long, our team fought,” Lynn said when announcing the staff. “I think people saw that and appreciated how resilient this group was. You get knocked down, you get back up. Simple as that. And as the season went on, I think you saw our team begin to realize its potential and play the kind of football we all knew we were capable of. That’s an indication of our players and coaches being on the same page, and pulling in the same direction. Now, any season where you don’t get into the tournament and give yourself a chance at the Lombardi trophy is disappointing, but I still liked the way our team played down the stretch.
“To keep that momentum going, my priority heading into the offseason was to maintain continuity on the coaching staff. While we lost some coaches to well-deserved promotions, I’m happy we were able to bring the majority of our staff back. By doing that, I’m hopeful we’ll start 2018 the way we closed out 2017.”
Here is a closer look at the team’s staff:
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt – “Whiz” returns for his fourth season as Offensive Coordinator, including his third straight since 2016. Under his guidance last season, the Bolts ranked fourth in total offense, including the league’s top-ranked passing offense.
Wide Receivers Coach: Phil McGeoghan – McGeoghan is one of two new position coaches in 2018. He spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-15, with his first three as the assistant wide receivers coach before being elevated to WR coach in 2015. His promotion coincided with Jarvis Landry’s breakout season in which he set a then-franchise record with 110 receptions along with 1,157 receiving yards. McGeoghan spent last season as the wide receivers coach in Buffalo after a one-year stint at East Carolina.
Offensive Line Coach: Pat Meyer – Meyer is back for his second season as the team’s O-Line coach after changing the unit’s culture in 2017. He coached a line that surrendered the fewest sacks in the NFL (18). The team also had an offensive lineman make the Pro Bowl in Russell Okung for the first time since 2011 (Kris Dielman).
Running Backs Coach: Alfredo Roberts – Roberts also enters his second season with the Chargers coaching running backs. Under his tutelage, Melvin Gordon became the first Chargers running back since 2013 to amass over 1,000 yards when he totaled 1,105 yards on the ground.
Tight Ends Coach: Rip Scherer – The other new hire among the position coaches, the veteran coach comes down the road from UCLA to coach tight ends. Scherer was the associate head coach under Jim Mora where he coached the tight ends for two seasons. Scherer, who has over 35 years of coaching experience, returns to the NFL as he previously served as the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns.
Quarterbacks Coach: Shane Steichen – Steichen embarks on his third season coaching QBs, and his seventh overall with the franchise. He played a pivotal role in the Bolts leading the league in passing offense. Furthermore, Philip Rivers was selected to his seventh Pro Bowl while ranking second in the league in passing yards (4,515).
Assistant Offensive Line Coach: Mark Ridgley – 2018 marks Ridgely’s seventh with the Bolts. He spent his first four seasons as a special assistant in an administrative capacity and assisting with the running backs. He was promoted to quality control coach for the offense in 2016 and served as an offensive assistant in 2017.
Quality Control – Offense: Dan Shamash – This marks Shamash’s second season in this role for the Chargers. He previously spent 2014-16 with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a quality control coach on defense.
Defensive Coordinator: Gus Bradley – In his first season with the Bolts, Bradley orchestrated a huge turnaround on the defensive side as the Chargers ranked third in the league, allowing 17 points per game. It was the best mark by the team since 1992, and nearly a 10-points per game improvement from 2016. The Chargers ranked third in the NFL against the pass, were the best in the red zone, posted a +12 turnover margin and ranked fifth in sacks.
Defensive Backs Coach: Ron Milus – The Chargers have had a Pro Bowler in the secondary all five years Milus has coached the position, including Casey Hayward the past two seasons. In 2017, the Bolts ranked fourth in the league with 18 total picks with 14 coming from defensive backs.
Defensive Line Coach: Giff Smith – Smith coached a pair of players to the Pro Bowl in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who became the first Chargers duo since 2006 to post double-digit sacks in the same season. This marks Smith’s third season as the team’s defensive line coach.
Linebackers Coach: Richard Smith – Entering his 31st NFL season, 2018 will be his second in charge of the team’s linebackers. Over the years, Smith has earned praise for his work with some of the game’s top linebackers, including Von Miller, Jon Beason, DeMeco Ryans, Julian Peterson, Ken Norton, Jr. and more.
Assistant Defensive Backs: Chris Harris – An eight-year NFL safety where he starred for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, 2018 marks Harris’ third in this capacity. He began his coaching career as a defensive quality control coach for the Bears, working primarily with the team’s safeties from 2013-14.
Assistant Defensive Line: Eric Henderson – “Coach Henny” enters his second season as the team’s assistant defensive line coach. A former defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, Henderson coached at the collegiate level for five seasons before joining the Bolts.
Defensive Assistant: Marquice Williams – Entering his third season with the Chargers, Williams previously spent his first two years as the Bolts’ assistant special teams coach. He returns to his roots as he spent six years in the college ranks on the defensive side of the ball.
Quality Control – Defense: Addison Lynch – One of four new additions to the staff in 2018, Lynch joins the Chargers from Florida State where he most recently served under former Seminoles Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator: George Stewart – The well-respected Stewart enters his 30th season as an NFL coach. In 2017, he helped Drew Kaser post the second-best single-season punting average in team history at 48.1, a mark that also ranked third in the league. Punt returner Travis Benjamin ranked eighth in the NFL in punt return average while Nick Dzubnar was second in the league in special teams tackles.
Assistant Special Teams Coach: Keith Burns – Entering his first season with the Chargers, Burns is the former special teams coordinator for the Washington Redskins, and an assistant special teams coach for the Denver Broncos. He played 13 seasons in the NFL, including 11 for the Broncos, and served as a special teams captain under Mike Shanahan in Denver.
Strength and Conditioning
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach: John Lott – A strength and conditioning coach in the NFL since 1997, 2018 marks Lott’s second season with the Chargers. Prior to his stint with the Bolts, he spent time with the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. Lott is once again joined by Assistant Strength Coach Jonathan Brooks and Assistant Strength Coach Larry Jackson, who are also entering their second seasons in Los Angeles.