Cam's O and Dale's D

The season is concluded and answers are on the way. Marty Schottenheimer returns in 2004 for a third stint as head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Changes to the coaching staff are next in the pecking order. With Dick Jauron, Dave McGinnis, Greg Williams and Gunther Cunningham lurking in the shadows Dale Lindsey may be feeling a BIT uneasy these days...

A BIT, only because Marty is known for being loyal to his players and coaches (see Stephen Alexander). It's already noted that Marty has the say in staffing decisions which leads you to believe that changes aren't likely...Bummer.

"I haven't had an opportunity to sit with the staff," said Schottenheimer. "That will take place over the next 48 hours."

When Marty Schottenheimer was hired he wanted coaches that are good teachers. He went with not one, but two rookie coordinators. The Cam Cameron pick made sense. Norv Turner installed a proven system the previous year and Cam's offense is basically Norv's offense with different terminology. Continuity for the young Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson. Makes sense.

Dale Lindsey has a good reputation and is highly regarded as a teacher. Junior Seau and Brian Urlacher have been among his pupils. Sounds like he fits Marty's description to a T.

Good teachers don't necessarily make good coordinators. To be fair, let's admit that these guys aren't exactly working with Tampa Bay talent on defense or St. Louis talent on offense. So what have they done in their first two seasons as NFL coordinators? Stats don't always tell the whole story but they sure tell a lot:

NFL Rankings
CAM'S OFFENSE 2002 2003
*Yards per game 16th (332.8) 14th (322.9)
*Points per game 20th (20.8) 16th (19.6)
*Rush yards per game 8th (133.6) 6th (134.1)
*Pass yards per game 22nd (199.3) 19th (188.8)

The production that Cam Cameron has bled from his offense, considering the circumstances, is commendable. He has been called predictable but hey, this is Martyball. When you consider the offensive line injuries and shoddy quarterback play, you could say the production is more than commendable. LaDainian Tomlinson's production in the system must not be overlooked. That is the ONE thing the Chargers have going for them. Continuity on offense should only help the Chargers in the future. Hudson Houck, Clarence Shelmon, Tim Brewster, James Lofton and Cam Cameron should not be considered weak spots on this coaching staff. Give these guys a healthy offensive line, a legit #2 receiver and a quarterback that can hit an out or a deep pass then we may really see some production. That's not too much to ask is it? Maybe the Chargers can draft Robert Gallery, Larry Fitzgerald AND Eli Manning. Problem solved. This is not implying that Cam is the next offensive genius only that he deserves another go round with the Chargers.

NFL Rankings
DALE'S DEFENSE 2002 2003
*Yards per game 30th (377.1) ouch! 27th (349.6)
*points per game 22nd (22.9) 31st (27.6) ouch!
*Rush yards per game 11th (108.7) 25th (138.6)
*Pass yards per game 32nd (268.4) ouch! 21st (210.9)

Dale, Dale, Dale. What are we gonna do with you? How much the demise of the defense is directly attributed to Dale Lindsey is up for debate. Is this Marty's soft scheme or is it Mr. Lindsey's? Was it Marty's idea to strip the veteran leadership or did Dale have a say? We do know that Dale calls the plays on Sundays and the plays he called were often ineffective. In his defense, the talent level this season was minimal. He did have some talent to work with in 2002 but those numbers are brutal as well. Dale Lindsay is a good football coach but in two seasons as a defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers he has failed to earn a passing grade. The Chargers are in a rebuilding process on defense. The foundation is youth. An inexperienced coordinator coaching so many inexperienced players hardly seems like a winning formula.

Will there be changes in San Diego?

"At this point you never know," Schottenheimer says. "There are a number of coaches whose contracts have expired.

"I do an evaluation and we sit down and have a dialogue of where individuals might be, make sure everybody is still headed in the same direction.

"The first responsibility goes to the coach. Your job is to make sure he understands. I have always put the onus and responsibility on the coach." Words of warning perhaps?

Greg Williams, Dave McGinnis, Dick Jauron were defensive coordinators prior to their stints as head coaches. All three received walking papers after the weekend.

Gunther Cunningham is currently the linebacker coach for the Tennessee Titans. He has ties to Schottenheimer back in their days with the Chiefs. He was Marty's defensive coordinator from 95'-98'. Cunningham is no stranger to lightning bolts; he coached the defensive line from 85'-90'.

Will can be reached at

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