Very few gave the Chargers a chance last night against the Broncos, but few in the Chargers room had a doubt such wins were coming.
While the Chargers improved to 7-7, it was a statement win for first-year coach Mike McCoy, whose conservative demeanor undersells his ability to reach his team.
“They bought in from Day One,” McCoy said last night, via Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego.
But it wasn’t simply an act of players, as the Chargers aren’t so full of talent that immediate improvement was a given. McCoy inherited an odd mix of veterans and kinds, and enough of the old guys threw in with McCoy from the start.
“He had a plan early on,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Veteran players can see through it if the guy is feeling his way around. He had a definite plan. So whether we always agreed with every little thing, it was like, ‘Well, we don’t have a choice but to buy in.’ ”
“This is not the most talented team I’ve played on,” tight end Antonio Gates. “But this is the best team I’ve been on, in terms of playing together. . . . When you have a change, especially with the situation we’ve had in the past, people wanted something to believe in. He was like a new movement. He brought this way about him. He made us believe we had to play for one another. When you watch us, you see we play for each other.”
That’s the kind of shift that’s philosophical more than anything to do with Xs and Os. They’ve had guys in the job that are good at those.
But McCoy has his Chargers looking like more of a team than any recent versions, and that takes leadership that transcends drawing football plays.