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  • Sun., Nov. 30, 2014 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

  • Sun., Nov. 30, 2014 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM PST Chargers @ Ravens The Chargers head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
  • Sun., Nov. 30, 2014 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM PST Post-Game Show The official San Diego Chargers post-game show with exclusive interviews with Mike McCoy, Chargers players, phone calls and comments breaking down the game.
  • Sun., Dec. 07, 2014 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM PST Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

  • Sun., Dec. 07, 2014 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM PST Live Patriots @ Chargers The Chargers welcome the Patriots to Qualcomm Stadium.
  • Sun., Dec. 07, 2014 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM PST Post-Game Show The official San Diego Chargers post-game show with exclusive interviews with Mike McCoy, Chargers players, phone calls and comments breaking down the game.
  • Sun., Dec. 14, 2014 11:05 AM - 1:05 PM PST Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

  • Sun., Dec. 14, 2014 1:05 PM - 4:05 PM PST Live Broncos @ Chargers The Chargers go head to head with the Broncos for the second time of the season.
  • Sun., Dec. 14, 2014 4:05 PM - 5:30 PM PST Post-Game Show The official San Diego Chargers post-game show with exclusive interviews with Mike McCoy, Chargers players, phone calls and comments breaking down the game.
  • Sat., Dec. 20, 2014 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM PST Countdown to Kickoff

    The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.

Coaches

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John Pagano
Defensive Coordinator
College:
Mesa State
Hometown:
Boulder, CO
Experience:
19

Bio

The longest-tenured assistant on the Chargers’ coaching staff, 2014 will mark Pagano’s 13th season with the Chargers and his third as defensive coordinator.

Pagano’s defense turned in a number of stellar performances in 2013, highlighted by a team-record streak of 12 consecutive quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown early in the season.

The defense helped the Chargers reach the playoffs as the Bolts went 4-1 in the month of December. The unit again played a key role as the team won its first playoff game since the 2008 season. The area that showed the greatest improvement was in takeaways. In the playoffs alone, the Chargers had a season-high four takeaways against Cincinnati in the wild card playoffs and two more against Denver in the divisional round, adding to a ledger that saw the Bolts record 16 total takeaways in the last eight games of the year (playoffs included), more than double the team’s total in the first 11 games of the season.

There were several other key areas of improvement for the defense in the second half of the regular season. The Chargers didn’t allow a single team to record more than 400 yards of total offense. The defense got particularly stingy in December, surrendering only 315.8 yards per game, sixth-lowest in the NFL. The Bolts also got stingy on the scoreboard, giving up just 17.6 points per game in December, third-fewest in the NFL. And lastly, the Bolts got down to business by buckling down on third downs, giving up just 37.5 percent of opponent third-down conversions in December. It included a 3-of-8 performance against the New York Giants, a 2-of-9 performance at Denver, a 4-of-13 effort against Oakland and a 6-of-14 showing in the season finale against Kansas City. That trend continued into the playoffs too as the Bolts held the Bengals to just 10 points and 3-of-12 on third downs in their wild card game.

Third downs have been a big emphasis for Pagano since becoming defensive coordinator. In 2011, the season prior to his taking over, the Chargers allowed a 49.2 percent conversion rate, last in the NFL for the season and the highest percentage in the league since 1995. Under Pagano, the Chargers’ defense improved to 42.1 pct. in 2012 and 38.9 pct. last season. 

Pagano made an immediate impression in his first season as defensive coordinator in 2012 when the Chargers ranked ninth in total defense and sixth in run defense. The Chargers recorded 38 total sacks in Pagano’s first season coordinating the defense, including a team-record-tying 11-sack performance in a Dec. 23 win against the New York Jets. The Bolts scored seven defensive touchdowns in 2012, second in the NFL to Chicago’s 12, and two shy of the team record of nine set by the 1961 squad. The 2012 Chargers returned five interceptions and two fumbles for scores.

Pagano originally joined the Chargers in 2002 as the team’s quality control coach for the defense and he moved his way up the ranks. He began as an assistant linebackers coach before moving to outside linebackers and then ultimately linebackers coach by himself before moving into the coordinator’s role in 2012. In 2010, the Chargers had the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense and the squad was second in the league in sacks. And from 2005-11 when Pagano worked with the team’s linebackers, a player from that group led the team in tackles and sacks every season. One of Pagano’s star pupils was three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the NFL’s leader in sacks in 2006.

A native of Boulder, Colo., Pagano was an all-state linebacker at Fairview High School. He played at Mesa State from 1985-88, earning a degree in business marketing.

John’s older brother, Chuck, is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Both John and Chuck played for their father, Sam, at Fairview High. Sam spent 26 years as the head coach at Fairview, winning three state titles, and he also coached internationally in Taiwan, Germany, France and Italy.

Pagano and wife, Kimberly, have two sons, Jagger and Brody.

The longest-tenured assistant on the Chargers’ coaching staff, 2014 will mark Pagano’s 13th season with the Chargers and his third as defensive coordinator.

Pagano’s defense turned in a number of stellar performances in 2013, highlighted by a team-record streak of 12 consecutive quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown early in the season.

The defense helped the Chargers reach the playoffs as the Bolts went 4-1 in the month of December. The unit again played a key role as the team won its first playoff game since the 2008 season. The area that showed the greatest improvement was in takeaways. In the playoffs alone, the Chargers had a season-high four takeaways against Cincinnati in the wild card playoffs and two more against Denver in the divisional round, adding to a ledger that saw the Bolts record 16 total takeaways in the last eight games of the year (playoffs included), more than double the team’s total in the first 11 games of the season.

There were several other key areas of improvement for the defense in the second half of the regular season. The Chargers didn’t allow a single team to record more than 400 yards of total offense. The defense got particularly stingy in December, surrendering only 315.8 yards per game, sixth-lowest in the NFL. The Bolts also got stingy on the scoreboard, giving up just 17.6 points per game in December, third-fewest in the NFL. And lastly, the Bolts got down to business by buckling down on third downs, giving up just 37.5 percent of opponent third-down conversions in December. It included a 3-of-8 performance against the New York Giants, a 2-of-9 performance at Denver, a 4-of-13 effort against Oakland and a 6-of-14 showing in the season finale against Kansas City. That trend continued into the playoffs too as the Bolts held the Bengals to just 10 points and 3-of-12 on third downs in their wild card game.

Third downs have been a big emphasis for Pagano since becoming defensive coordinator. In 2011, the season prior to his taking over, the Chargers allowed a 49.2 percent conversion rate, last in the NFL for the season and the highest percentage in the league since 1995. Under Pagano, the Chargers’ defense improved to 42.1 pct. in 2012 and 38.9 pct. last season. 

Pagano made an immediate impression in his first season as defensive coordinator in 2012 when the Chargers ranked ninth in total defense and sixth in run defense. The Chargers recorded 38 total sacks in Pagano’s first season coordinating the defense, including a team-record-tying 11-sack performance in a Dec. 23 win against the New York Jets. The Bolts scored seven defensive touchdowns in 2012, second in the NFL to Chicago’s 12, and two shy of the team record of nine set by the 1961 squad. The 2012 Chargers returned five interceptions and two fumbles for scores.

Pagano originally joined the Chargers in 2002 as the team’s quality control coach for the defense and he moved his way up the ranks. He began as an assistant linebackers coach before moving to outside linebackers and then ultimately linebackers coach by himself before moving into the coordinator’s role in 2012. In 2010, the Chargers had the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense and the squad was second in the league in sacks. And from 2005-11 when Pagano worked with the team’s linebackers, a player from that group led the team in tackles and sacks every season. One of Pagano’s star pupils was three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the NFL’s leader in sacks in 2006.

A native of Boulder, Colo., Pagano was an all-state linebacker at Fairview High School. He played at Mesa State from 1985-88, earning a degree in business marketing.

John’s older brother, Chuck, is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Both John and Chuck played for their father, Sam, at Fairview High. Sam spent 26 years as the head coach at Fairview, winning three state titles, and he also coached internationally in Taiwan, Germany, France and Italy.

Pagano and wife, Kimberly, have two sons, Jagger and Brody.

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