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Ken Whisenhunt: I am excited about this organization

Posted Jan 17, 2013

Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy introduces Ken Whisenhunt as the team's new offensive coordinator.

Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt:

Opening Statement:

“Thank you. I am very excited to be here. I would like to thank obviously the Spanos family for being here, also Mike (McCoy) and Tom Telesco. It has been a long time since I’ve been here.  I think a little over six days (laughter). I’m excited to be here with this organization. I know I’ve admired it from the number of times I’ve been here as a coach and player. It is really an honor to be a part of it. I’m really excited about getting in here and getting to work and seeing where we can go from here. Thank you.”

On what makes this job attractive to him:

“We’ll I really had a good feel when I came in here last week (to interview for the head coaching position). I haven’t spent a lot of time studying (the Chargers). I tried to a little bit in a short period of time but the feel I got from Mr. (Dean) Spanos and John (Spanos), and Tom, talking with them about the direction of the organization, I know Mike, I’ve been very impressed with Coach McCoy for a number of years. We both kind of come from the same family tree in Dan Henning. Just in our talks during the years, I know how he thinks about it and what I think about it so it’s kind of a great opportunity I think to come in here and get back to coaching football. I’m excited about that.”

On the decline of Philip Rivers in the past couple of years and if it can be fixed in his mind:

“I don’t see it that way because when Philip came out I had the unique opportunity of working for a coach that actually went to NC State. Coach (Bill) Cowher went there. We spent a lot of time preparing for Philip coming out and had a very good feel for him. I’ve seen him play a couple of different times and watching crossover tape and have been very impressed with how he handles himself. I love the competitive nature of him. I’m excited to really get in and spend some time with Coach McCoy, and really look at him and see where he is. In my opinion, I’ve always seen him as a very good football player.”

On whether he has talked to Philip Rivers yet:

“I did briefly. He came up. I was sitting there talking with coach and he stuck his head in. It was good to see him.”

On the key factor that made him take this position:

“I think it’s a good feel with the organization. Playing here, the fan base has always been great when I’ve come in. That is one of the things that really stands out. It has been a hard place to play as an opposing team coming in here and that is exciting. I think just the way that Mr. Spanos and John (Spanos) made me feel coming in here and meeting Tom Telesco and once again my relationship with Coach McCoy was a big part of it. I think when you are in the situation that I am, a big part of it is, and you want to go to a team that you think has a chance. I certainly feel that. You also want to feel comfortable with the people you are working with. In watching the team that played, it played hard last year. I like being able to come here and contribute.”

On assessing the needs of the Chargers offense:

“I really haven’t had a chance to study a lot. I think a lot of that is sitting with coach and once he gets the staff in place, talking about what we are going to try and do. Then you have a chance to really evaluate the personnel. That is something we will spend a lot of time doing. I’m excited to have that opportunity.”

On the relationship between him and Coach McCoy as play-callers:

“The way I like to say it is, the good ones are the ones that I’m calling and the bad ones are the ones that Mike came in and said we’re running this play (laughter). I feel very good about that. Mike certainly has the ability to call the plays and make the decisions in the game, which is important. I support that 100 percent and play-calling to me is not one person. It is about a staff working together and making decisions on what you want to do and having a good plan. That is what I feel the most comfortable about.”

On the fact that he had been considered for the head coaching position for the Chargers:

“It’s really kind of a unique opportunity and some of the other times that I’ve interviewed, it’s been always been in the position of the offensive coordinator, so if you don’t get the job, you’re obligated to go back to the team you were with and you’re actually looking forward to that. But since I really didn’t have a team anymore, then I think you have a chance to look at the opportunities that were there. And I was excited about this organization and the way that they treated me and the way that they handled everything. As far as I was involved with that, you ask a lot of questions in those situations and I was very impressed with the answers that I got. And that’s part of it, but once again, coach McCoy, knowing Mike and having the opportunity to work with him I think is an important piece of it and certainly the Spanos family from my relationship with them over the years just from a different perspective, I always had great respect for that. So I think that’s a big part of it. It’s definitely different. You don’t necessarily think that you’re going to be in this type of position. I think that I’m very fortunate to in it.”

On whether he sees the Chargers as a quick fix situation or a major overhaul:

“Once again, it think that’s premature to get into anything like that because I just know that this team is committed. I know that this organization is committed, and that’s from spending a little bit of time with them a week ago, to getting it right. They want to put a good product out on the field for this city. It’s important for this city. I know that it’s important to Mike (McCoy). You look forward to being a piece of that.”

On whether or not he will envy Mike McCoy taking the job of head coach, the job that he originally interviewed for:

“I’m going to be excited for Mike. He’s worked hard. This guy has worked over a number of years in different positions and has been successful at it and you respect the heck out of that. That’s an important piece of it. I’m excited for Mike and I just hope that I can do a good job to help him to help this organization.”

On having any suspicions that he might have been called back for the offensive coordinator position if he wasn’t hired as head coach:

“I think I’ve learned a little bit in this business not to have any suspicions about anything going forward. It changes quite a bit. I’m honored that they considered me for it. I’m certainly excited to be here, to be around these players and hopefully get going in the right direction.”

On the future of quarterback Ryan Lindley with the Arizona Cardinals:

“The unfortunate part of it is that he is a player who is under contract with another team. It is very hard for me to comment on that. I enjoyed my time with Ryan. I think he did a very good job in working hard for us and I wish him the best going forward.”

On knowing that he wanted to coach this year even if the interviews didn’t work out:

“At the end of the season, especially when you go through some struggles like we did as a team, it’s always tough. It took about 24 hours maybe. I think that you miss it pretty quick and you want to get back in it. A lot of it is the relationships you have with coaches and with players. That is a big piece of it. It didn’t take long to figure out that I wanted to coach again.”

On whether he would have drafted Philip Rivers if he had been available:

“You think I’m going to say no (laughter)? Absolutely.”

On whether he would have drafted Antonio Gates:

“As you sit here with one of the most productive players ever at that position, you are absolutely correct.”

On his offensive philosophy:

“Win game. Move the football. Score points. I think Mike and I can agree on that. I think that is one of the things that Mike and I have talked about. You adapt your system to fit your personnel. You try to do what is the best thing for them. That is something that we are excited about working on in the next couple of months.”

On how important it is for him to find the ideal situation with the right quarterback:

“Well I think it is pretty well noted we have been through some struggles in Arizona at that position. That is a big piece of it. It is exciting to be involved with a quarterback that has had the success that Philip has. I’m looking forward to some more of that.”

On where he first met Mike McCoy:

“It goes back. I couldn’t tell you the exact moment in time. I think I’ve got it written on my calendar somewhere. We both worked with Dan Henning who is a very important part of my career. I think that we have a natural relationship because of that. Dan had talked about Mike many times in such high regard. I value Dan Henning’s opinion so much that I’ve always had great respect for Mike and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with him.”

On where he worked for Dan Henning:

“Dan drafted me out of college (in Atlanta) and I played for Dan. I got a chance to work with him at the Jets as a coach. It was a great experience for me.”

On the strength of the defense helping to fix the offense:

“That is the other side of the ball. I think we have to play good offense. That always helps defense. I have been impressed with the way Coach Pagano and those guys worked from what I have seen. Once again, you don’t really have a chance to study a team. I know there were a couple of games where we had crossover games where we got to see what they had done. I always had respect for how those guys played.”

Closing Statement:

“Thank you. I really look forward to working with you guys and getting to know you. This is a great opportunity for me and I’m excited about it.”

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