Ken Whisenhunt

Chargers Fire OC Ken Whisenhunt

Ken Whisenhunt‘s second stint with the Chargers has come to an end. The team announced tonight that they have fired their offensive coordinator.

“This is not an easy decision and definitely not one that I take lightly,” said head coach Anthony Lynn. “You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It’s never about just one person. At the end of the day, however, I simply felt a change was needed at this time. I want to thank Ken for his years of service to the Chargers organization and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

The Chargers hired Whisenhunt as their offensive coordinator back in 2016. This was the coach’s second stint with the organization, as he previously served as offensive coordinator between his tenures as the Cardinals and Titans head coach. The Chargers offense saw a bit of a renaissance upon Whisenhunt’s hiring, as the team finished fourth in yards during the 2017 campaign and sixth in points during the 2018 campaign.

However, the offense has struggled a bit in 2019, as the team ranks towards the bottom-half of the league in yards (17th), points (23rd), and giveaways (20th). This could partly be attributed to the inconsistent running game, especially following Melvin Gordon‘s return; the Chargers are currently bottom-10 in most rushing categories. The team hasn’t scored more than 20 points since their late-September win over the Dolphins, and they narrowly avoided a four-game losing streak this past weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers OC Ken Whisenhunt Withdraws From Georgia Tech HC Search

Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has withdrawn his name from Georgia Tech’s head coaching search, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Whisenhunt was initially expected to interview for the Georgia Tech position last weekend, but those plans changed. A new meeting was reportedly set up for this week, but it’s unclear if that summit ever actually took place.

Whisenhunt is in the midst of his second stint as the Chargers’ OC. His first run came in 2013, under then-head coach Mike McCoy. Whisenhunt left to become the Titans’ head coach for one-and-a-half seasons before returning in 2016, and stuck around even after McCoy was fired. This year, Whisenhunt’s offense ranks third in DVOA, fifth in total yards, and fifth in scoring.

Los Angeles is virtually assured of a postseason berth and still has an outside chance at taking the AFC West. The Chargers will close out the season by facing the Bengals, Chiefs, Ravens, and Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Georgia Tech To Interview Ken Whisenhunt

FRIDAY: Whisenhunt will now not be flying to Atlanta this weekend to interview for the Georgia Tech job and is expected to now go sometime next week, ESPN’s Eric Williams tweets. Head coach Anthony Lynn has spoken with Whisenhunt about the job and says his focus is on the team’s upcoming game against the Steelers.

THURSDAY: Whisenhunt will indeed interview for the Georgia Tech position over the weekend, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

WEDNESDAY: Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is “a top candidate” to take over as the head coach of Georgia Tech’s football program, ESPN.com’s Andy Rittenberg (on Twitter) hears. It’s not immediately clear whether Whisenhunt is interested in the position, but it stands to reason that he will be at least intrigued by the job since he played for the Yellow Jackets. 

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is expected to retire in the coming days, creating a vacancy. Whisenhunt, meanwhile, profiles as an extremely attractive candidate given the Bolts’ success in 2018.

Whisenhunt is in the midst of his second stint as the Chargers’ OC. His first run came in 2013, under then-head coach Mike McCoy. Whisenhunt left to become the Titans’ head coach for one-and-a-half seasons before returning in 2016. This year, Whisenhunt’s offense ranks sixth with 4,422 total yards and is tied for seventh with 27.9 points per game.

The Chargers, who are currently 8-3, will presumably make a competitive offer to the OC when/if he gets interest from other NFL and college teams. This Sunday, they’ll look for another W when they take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Retain OC Ken Whisenhunt

The Chargers will keep offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt for the 2018 season, a team source tells Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. The Bolts made it a priority to keep him after the offense led the league in passing yards and Melvin Gordon broke out for 1,105 rushing yards. Ken Whisenhunt (Vertical)

[RELATED: Chargers Retain DC Gus Bradley]

Los Angeles has managed to maintain continuity on the staff, despite Whisenhunt’s improved stock and widespread outside interest in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. On Tuesday, L.A. inked a three-year deal with Bradley, keeping him from the Packers and other teams with DC vacancies.

Whisenhunt is in the midst of his second stint as the Chargers’ OC. His first run came in 2013, under then-head coach Mike McCoy. Whisenhunt left to become the Titans’ head coach for one-and-a-half seasons before returning in 2016. Although McCoy was ousted after the ’16 season, head coach Anthony Lynn kept him on staff.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bolts, Texans, Fins, Browns

Before the Chargers hired Anthony Lynn as their head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that he would retain offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt if he got the job. That will indeed be the case, Lynn confirmed Tuesday at his introductory press conference. Whisenhunt, who’s in his second stint with the Chargers, will enter his third season atop the club’s offense. He has a “strong relationship” with quarterback Philip Rivers, notes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).

As for the Bolts’ defensive coordinator position, Lynn revealed that he’ll conduct a second interview with Gus Bradley on Tuesday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. Lynn and Bradley have been connected to one another over the past few weeks, and the ex-Jacksonville head coach is reportedly the front-runner to take over the Chargers’ defense. At the same time, though, Bradley’s waiting to see if San Francisco will vie for his services.

More from the AFC:

  • The Texans are likely to re-sign pending free agent punter Shane Lechler to a one-year deal, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Lechler indicated Monday that he’d like to return for what would be his age-41 season in 2017. “Looking forward to next year,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back. I’m ready to go. I feel good. We’ll see how it goes.” After spending the first 13 years of his career in Oakland, where he earned seven Pro Bowl nods and six first-team All-Pro selections, Lechler joined the Texans in 2013. He’s coming off a season in which he finished sixth in the NFL in yards per punt, ninth in kicks inside the 20 and 16th in net yardage.
  • The Dolphins held an “animated” December meeting in which they discussed moving linebacker Kiko Alonso from the middle to the weak side, but they opted against it so as not to “mess with Kiko’s head,” sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Now that the Dolphins’ season is over, they’re again weighing whether to make the switch. If the Dolphins are confident Alonso can play either spot, it would give them flexibility in finding upgrades at the other two linebacker positions, writes Salguero. “We’ll see what other type of players we bring in through free agency and the draft and where Kiko fits in,” said new defensive coordinator Matt Burke. In his first year in Miami, Alonso rebounded from a torn ACL in 2014 with Buffalo and a disastrous 2015 as an Eagle to pile up a Dolphins-leading 115 tackles and two interceptions.
  • The Browns have tabbed Clyde Simmons as their assistant defensive line coach, per Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. He’ll take over for Robert Nunn, whom the Browns fired Tuesday, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com (Twitter links). Simmons, a former defensive end who amassed 121.5 sacks between 1986-2000, worked as the Rams’ assistant D-line coach over the past half-decade. Heading to Cleveland means he’ll remain under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was also previously with the Rams.

Chargers To Interview Gus Bradley For DC Job

The Chargers coaching staff has seen plenty of turnover, and now there’s another name to add to the list of potential additions. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the organization will interview Gus Bradley for the role of defensive coordinator. The former NFL head coach is the “favorite” for the gig.

Gus Bradley (vertical)Bradley has been a relatively popular name since he was fired by the Jaguars in mid-December. The 50-year-old was reportedly atop the Redskins’ list of potential defensive coordinator candidates. Bradley has a natural connection to that organization, as the coach worked under general manager Scot McCloughan when the duo was in Seattle. The Browns also reportedly reached out to Bradley regarding their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Bradley had plenty of success as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2009 through 2012. However, things didn’t go nearly as well during his head coaching tenure in Jacksonville. In his three-plus seasons with the organization, Bradley compiled a 14-48 record. His .226 winning percent is the second-lowest mark in league history.

The Chargers don’t necessarily have an opening at the position, as defensive coordinator John Pagano is still under contract. However, there seems to be a belief that recently-hired head coach Anthony Lynn will want to hire his own personnel. Bradley and Lynn have been connected throughout the hiring process, and our own Sam Robinson noted that “a Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go.”

For what it’s worth, it appears that the Chargers will be retaining offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Hire Anthony Lynn As Head Coach

In less than a week, the Chargers have a new city and a new head coach. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the franchise has hired former Bills coach Anthony Lynn. It will be a four-year contract for the new head coach. Lynn entered his Thursday interview as the clear frontrunner for the gig, and reports last night indicated that the organization was finalizing a deal.

The Bills promoted Lynn twice this season, elevating him from running backs coach to OC in September and made him their interim head coach in December. Lynn was viewed as the frontrunner to be the next Bills’ full-time HC earlier during the hiring period, but the organization agreed to a deal with Sean McDermott. Lynn was the only candidate connected to all six teams with vacancies this offseason.

This deal completes a rapid ascent for the 48-year-old Lynn, who served as running backs coach for five different franchises from 2003-16. But the Bills became one of the best ground attacks in football under his guidance this season, and Lynn is in line to have a chance to enhance the Chargers’ offense.

Lynn will consider keeping OC Ken Whisenhunt on offense, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets, and former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a prime candidate to become the Bolts’ next DC. Bradley has already interviewed to become the Redskins’ DC but has been connected to Lynn throughout this process. A Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go, but that pairing could be set to work together in Los Angeles.

It’s been quite the eventful 24 hours in a city that had few of those regarding the NFL for around two decades. The Rams named Redskins OC Sean McVay as their next HC — and youngest in NFL history — while the Chargers formally announced they are planning to relocate to L.A. And they’ll now have a coach to help steer that transition, one that wasn’t certain as the franchise interviewed five other candidates to succeed Mike McCoy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lynn Would Keep Whisenhunt If Hired By L.A.

Things are heating up between the Chargers and Anthony Lynn. Lynn could be the man to replace Mike McCoy as head coach and if that’s the case, he’ll keep offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Chargers brass likes the idea of keeping Whisenhunt on the staff and that is a plus in Lynn’s quest to become head coach, Rapoport adds. Ken Whisenhunt (Vertical)

[RELATED: Chargers Move To Los Angeles]

Whisenhunt, who is in the midst of his second stint as the Bolts’ play-caller, boasts seven-plus years of head coaching experience with the Cardinals and Titans. He was not given consideration for the head coaching vacancy, but the team has been intent on keeping him as OC regardless of the hire.

Quarterback Philip Rivers works well with Whisenhunt and he has been an advocate of continuity at a time when the Chargers are undergoing major changes. In 2017, he’ll be playing for the fourth head coach of his professional career in a brand new market. Amidst all the chaos, Rivers is hoping to have his plays called by the same OC as last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Lynn, 49ers, McDaniels

The latest news on the league’s coaching vacancies:

  • For a complete rundown of every interview scheduled for the teams in search of a new coach, check out PFR’s 2017 NFL Head Coaching Tracker.
  • Anthony Lynn‘s interview with the 49ers will take place today (Wednesday), according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will interview with the Rams, Jaguars, and 49ers all on the same day, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe writes. McDaniels will huddle up with all three teams on Saturday in separate rooms at a hotel near Gilette Stadium. Those three teams will be permitted to interview McDaniels again in the week after the AFC title game, if the Pats make it to the Super Bowl.
  • The Chargers won’t force assistants on a new head coach, but they value their offensive staff, Rapoport tweets. There’s a good chance offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and his fellow offensive coaches stay put.
  • The Broncos are expected to talk to Lynn at some point and will interview Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as soon as the rules allow, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is scheduled to meet with the Rams on Thursday and the Bills on Saturday, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub will interview with the Broncos on Friday and then he has the Chargers on Sunday, Rapoport tweets.

Extra Points: Chargers, Vikings, Lions, Giants

The Chargers will wait until after Thursday’s game against the Broncos before considering a head coaching change, a source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Club ownership is thinking through all its options, and the most likely candidate to take over the team in the event that Mike McCoy is fired is offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt, in his second stint as San Diego’s play-caller, boasts seven-plus years of head coaching experience with the Cardinals and Titans.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Given that the club has $33MM worth of salaries on injured reserve at the moment, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he needed a “magic wand” in order to fit new signee Jake Long‘s cap figure, writes Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Spielman, who said Minnesota had less than $50K in cap space before adding Long, claimed he didn’t need to restructure any other contracts to squeeze in the veteran offensive lineman. It’s unclear exactly how the Vikes made financial room for Long (one possibility, from my vantage point, could be tweaking another player’s incentives to “not likely to be earned”), and Krammer reports that Spielman was “vague” about the subject.
  • Lions defensive lineman Kerry Hyder has made an agent change. The 25-year-old will now be represented by Select Sports Group (Twitter link). Hyder, who was previously repped by Rich Rosa and Tony Agone, appears to be in the midst a breakout season with five sacks through five games.
  • The NFL is now looking into Giants tackle Ereck Flowers after he pushed a reporter after Sunday night’s game, according to a league official who spoke with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). After a poor showing against the Packers, Flowers shoved an ESPN scribe, but has since apologized for the incident.
  • With Dallas Thomas cut today, only three members of the Dolphins‘ nine-man 2013 draft class left are Dion Jordan, Jelani Jenkins, and Dion Sims, as Alex Marvez of The Sporting News tweets. Clearly, none of that trio has made a significant thus far in their Miami careers.