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Instant Analysis: What Giff Smith & JoJo Wooden Bring to Their Interim Roles


The Chargers on Friday announced  that they have parted ways with Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco.

Giff Smith, the outside linebackers coach, was named the Chargers Interim Head Coach.

JoJo Wooden, the Bolts Director of Player Personnel, will serve as the Chargers Interim General Manager.

Both Smith and Wooden are beloved inside the building.

Smith has been with the Chargers as a defensive coach since 2016. He was the team's defensive line coach from 2016 to 2021 before moving to outside linebackers coach in 2022.

He helped develop Joey Bosa and has played a key role in Khalil Mack's stellar season, as the Bolts outside linebacker leads the NFL with 15.0 sacks.

Smith is a straight shooter with a Southern drawl. He was a stud edge rusher at Georgia Southern, where he was a three-time All-American and helped the Eagles win a pair of national titles.

He then transitioned to coaching, excelling in both the college and pro ranks.

With three regular-season games left, there is little doubt that the Bolts will play hard for Smith.

And that Smith will bring a strong message to the locker room.

"I think the mentality of our group is dominating every play," Smith told in May about his position group. "I don't want what we call 'ride the rollercoaster.' Can't be up and down right there, we want to steadily gain right there.

"When we're put in run or pass with a 1-on-1 block, we should dominate. That's non-negotiable," Smith added.

Wooden, who joined the Chargers in 2013, will oversee the Bolts front office through the end of the season and into the offseason as jobs get figured out.

Prior to Los Angeles, he spent 16 seasons with the New York Jets (1997-12), including the last six as their assistant director, player personnel. He originally joined the Jets in 1997 and served as a pro personnel assistant (1997-98), pro scout (1999-00), senior pro scout/AFC (2001-02), assistant director of pro scouting (2003) and director of pro scouting (2004-06).

Smith and Wooden will handle things in the short term for the Chargers as the 2023 season comes to a close.

Days like this are not easy in the NFL for anyone involved, the Bills are up next and this team gets back to work on Monday.

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