Now that Mike McCoy is the new head coach of the San Diego Chargers, it would seem that few people would be happier than Philip Rivers. Since beginning his coaching career in 2000 with the Carolina Panthers, McCoy has made his living primarily working with quarterbacks — and turning them into high-production pocket passers.
Take his work with an aging Jake Delhomme in Carolina. By 2008, Delhomme’s star was fading as injuries and a lack of production were taking their toll. It also happened to be McCoy’s second season as the Panthers’ passing game coordinator. Working together, the 33-year old quarterback rebounded to throw for 3,288 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Carolina finished the season 12-4 and won the NFC South. The next season, McCoy moved on to Denver, where he groomed Kyle Orton into a quarterback with back-to-back seasons of 3,600-plus yards and 20-plus touchdowns. He also helped fashion Tim Tebow into a credible quarterback — thanks, in large part to a quality defense. Meanwhile, Delhomme played just three more seasons and topped 2,000 passing yards just once.
Of course, last season McCoy had Peyton Manning in his employ as Denver’s offensive coordinator and (in case you somehow missed it) the Broncos had the fifth-best passing game in the league.
Now McCoy heads to the sunny shores of Southern California where he inherits an offense with a talented but under-performing quarterback in Rivers, a pair of big play receivers (Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd) and a quality, though aging tight end in Antonio Gates. Certainly the pieces are there for the Chargers to once again be competitive in the AFC West.
It’s also encouraging from a fantasy standpoint. The Raiders and Chiefs offered little resistance defensively all season long and McCoy should have a working knowledge of the Broncos’ secondary after seeing it up close all season long. And while we remain skeptical of Ryan Mathews, it’s hard to believe that a competent passing game wouldn’t open up more opportunities for him on the ground. Either way, the outlook (like the weather) in San Diego is looking pretty sunny.
– Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG