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Manusky named defensive coordinator

Posted Jan 14, 2011

The former Chargers linebackers coach spent the last four seasons as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator and runs an aggressive 3-4 defensive scheme.

SAN DIEGO – Three days after the Carolina Panthers named Ron Rivera their head coach, the Chargers have secured a new defensive coordinator.

Greg Manusky agreed to a two-year contract Friday to become San Diego’s defensive coordinator, a position he held in San Francisco from 2007-10.

“I think Greg brings energy and enthusiasm and I think he will be extremely demanding and I think that gives us a chance to get better,” Head Coach Norv Turner said.

“He’s familiar with what we do. I (like) the fact that he’s been a coordinator the last four years, he’s been making game plan decisions and making game day decisions at a high level. That made him very attractive.”

Manusky has 10 years of NFL coaching experience, including a five-year stint as linebackers coach for the Chargers from 2002-06.

Familiar with the 3-4 defense, which he ran with the 49ers, Manusky helped San Francisco’s unit improve after his arrival.

While in San Diego in 2006, Manusky’s linebacker unit accounted for 42.5 of San Diego’s 61 regular-season sacks. San Francisco’s defense did not allow a touchdown in five separate games in 2009 under Manusky and forced an NFL-best 21 fumbles while allowing just 3.6 yards per rush and sacking opposing quarterbacks 44 times.

A former NFL linebacker himself, Manusky has seen several of his players earn Pro Bowl honors, including linebacker Patrick Willis, defensive tackle Justin Smith and cornerback Walt Harris with the 49ers, linebackers Shawne Merriman, Donnie Edwards and Junior Seau with the Chargers, and linebacker LaVar Arrington with the Redskins.

What is his defensive philosophy?

“Hardcore. Relentless. Getting after people,” Manusky said. “(The Chargers) have in the past. Shoot, they were No. 1 last year and hopefully we’ll just pick up where we were last year.

“I’m going to bring some new ideas but also continue the foundation that they’ve already had and just build on it. I think with the players that we have, the sky’s the limit.”

Manusky never has worked with Turner, who was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator the last year Manusky coached for the Chargers. The two flipped teams in 2007.

Turner’s offense, ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards per game last season, excites the new defensive coordinator.

“That helps a lot when you get an offense that occupies the ball, time of possession, getting points in the red zone and scoring consistently, it helps (our defense),” Manusky said.

“I think the organization is top-notch. Talking with Norv and knowing what his desires are as a head football coach appeals to me. Being with the players I had and coming back to coach some of them is very intriguing.”

The Chargers also interviewed linebackers coach John Pagano and secondary coach Steve Wilks for the position.

“The combination of Greg and the current members of our defensive staff, (linebackers coach) John Pagano, (secondary coach) Steve Wilks and (defensive line coach) Don Johnson give us as strong a staff as I’ve been with and a chance to build on the good things we’ve done as a defensive group,” Turner said.

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