As previously reported, the San Diego status quo goes only so far. The Chargers officially have fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
“I’d like to thank Greg for the passion and enthusiasm he brought to our team and coaching staff this past season,” coach Norv Turner said in a statement released by the team.
Apparently, passion and enthusiasm doesn’t get it done, absent more wins than losses. The team points out in the official announcement that the defense has taken a nosedive in one year under Manusky. “San Diego’s defensive ranking dropped to 16th overall, including 20th against the run and 13th against the pass, after leading the NFL in total defense and pass defense in 2010,” the statement, um, states. “The Chargers’ defense on third down struggled in 2011, falling to last in the NFL after finishing fourth overall in 2010.”
Though the stay-the-course reasoning that saved Turner could have also saved Manusky, the reality is that the Chargers need something more than a defensive coordinator. They need a head coach-defense to go along with Turner, the team’s head coach-offense.
That’s precisely what the Texans did this year, with head coach-defense Wade Phillips saving head coach-offense Gary Kubiak’s job by transforming a horrible defense into a great one, even though the team shifted from a 4-3 to a 3-4 with no offseason workouts and limited training camp reps.
And so look for the Chargers to possibly move to the front of the Spagnuolo line, offering him plenty of money and the keys to the defense.
The opportunity could be an attractive one for Spagnuolo, based on what he told Anthony Gargano over the weekend on FOX Sports Radio: “I was very blessed to share an experience in New York where we won a Super Bowl and have that ring that everybody’s shooting for. I came here in hopes that the people here would be able to experience that. So what drives me is being able to bring that for other people, and we hope to continue to do that.”
Spags can continue to do that in San Diego, if he’s interested in becoming a head coach-defense.