The Monday after a season ends is usually reserved for exit interviews and cleaning out lockers. While those took place, Monday also was the first time Chargers players reacted to the news that Mike McCoy had been let go after four seasons with the team.
“It’s never easy,” Philip Rivers said. “As the quarterback, you always feel like you (could have) made a few more plays, less mistakes and won a few more games. The maybe you could have helped the outcome, not only for the season, but for Mike’s case helping him still be here. I thought Mike gave us a chance each and every week over the last four years.”
Despite the immediate shock, many admitted they understood that at the end of the day the NFL is a bottom line business. When you don’t produce, jobs are lost.
“He was consistent and guys played hard for him, but we just didn’t win enough games, especially the last couple years,” Rivers continued. “That’s the reality of this league we’re in. Shoot, Mike’s still a young coach that has a lot of years left in this league.”
“I think he’s a great man,” added Matt Slauson. “The only thing is we didn’t get it done on the field. It’s a real shame because there is a lot of talent here. (McCoy) and (General Manager Tom) Telesco have brought a lot of really good players here in free agency and the draft. But we didn’t win.”
McCoy went 27-37 over his four year tenure. In the past two seasons the Chargers went 9-23 and 1-11 in-division.
“It doesn’t happen here a lot, but I was in Kansas City and played for four or five head coaches,” added Brandon Flowers. “I just know it’s part of the business. If you don’t win in this league, players, coaches, GM or whoever you are, your job may be on the line. Bottom line is you have to win.”
Casey Hayward finished his first season with the Chargers after joining them in free agency last spring. The cornerback had positive things about his former coach despite only knowing him for one year.
“He was always a great guy. I always talked to him on and off the field. He was a really good guy and I wish him the best of luck. Hopefully he can get back into this league quickly because he’s a really good coach.”
Although McCoy is gone, Chargers players admitted they won’t forget certain things he instilled in them along the way.
“He really spoke on mindset a lot, which I liked,” Melvin Gordon said. “That’s how the game is played (because) the game is mental. That’s how I approach the game because you have to approach (it) with the correct mindset.”
“(He taught me) how to be a true pro,” added Hunter Henry. “He taught me how to watch the older guys and how to practice and get better. He was my first (NFL) coach so it was special to have a guy like that. He was a tremendous person so I enjoyed every second of it.”
Fresh off a 1,000-yard season, Tyrell Williams doesn’t know if he would be in the NFL without McCoy.
“He was big. He gave me an opportunity to come in undrafted and gave me a shot to come in and play. I owe him a lot. I’m thankful for him…. It was a tough year. We dealt with a lot of adversity so (it’s) a credit to him.”