Whis' the True Cause for Excitement

In Tom Telesco, the Chargers scored a young executive who helped construct the feel-good team of 2012. In Mike McCoy, San Diego added the top coaching candidate from the pool of NFL assistants. But the coup of the offseason is Ken Whisenhunt, who'll instantly restore potency to the offense.

Telesco, a first-time general manager, and McCoy, a first-time head coach, are question marks. Whisenhunt, on the other hand, is a proven commodity. He was offensive coordinator for the Steelers from 2004-2006, winning a Super Bowl in his final season in Pittsburgh before taking the head job in Arizona. It took him just two seasons to guide the Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance.

He molded Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. He revived the career of Kurt Warner in Arizona. The proof is in the pudding: when Whisenhunt has a quality quarterback spearheading his attack, he is successful.

Whisenhunt will get the most of Philip Rivers. Whether that is enough to shape the Chargers into a contender remains to be seen.

QB Philip Rivers
Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports
Rivers has shown signs of greatness. He rattled off four consecutive 4,000-yard seasons from 2008-2011. He has thrown for more than 25 TDs in five straight campaigns. And he has shown the ability to protect the ball, as he kept his interceptions in single digits in both 2006 and 2009.

However, he's turned the ball over 47 times the last two seasons. And his fourth-quarter magic melted away as he missed opportunity after opportunity to author game-winning or game-tying drives.

Enter Whisenhunt, an expert on protecting QBs and putting them in position to excel. He worked with Roethlisberger, infamous for holding the ball too long, and Warner, who was even less mobile than Rivers. He helped them both perform at optimum levels.

It is amazing the Chargers had a chance to land Whisenhunt as an assistant. If not for Baltimore's upset for the Broncos, McCoy would still be coaching and Whisenhunt would likely be San Diego's head coach.

Now the Bolts get two of the game's elite offensive minds -- McCoy and Whisenhunt -- to help reshape an offense that ranked last in the AFC in 2012.

Whisenhunt brings with him Frank Reich, his former receivers coach in Arizona who will coach quarterbacks in San Diego. The Chargers literally could not have done more to get Rivers prepared to have the best season of his up-and-down career.

Some Chargers fans feel Rivers isn't a franchise QB and should join Norv Turner and A.J. Smith in the club of wayward Chargers. With Whisenhunt calling the plays, Rivers will once and for all either silence those critics or give them complete validation.

What are fans saying about the Whisenhunt hire? Discuss in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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