Cottrell to meet Chargers brass

The Senior Bowl is two weeks away and the search for a defensive coordinator and secondary coach lingers on for the San Diego Chargers. These coaches figure to be in place by that timeframe in order to get a leg up on the NFL Draft. <br><br> As the coaching staff shuffles kicks into high gear, the question arises: would Marty Schottenheimer fire his son?

"I would, if it was OK with his mother," said Schottenheimer, which is his standard reply.

But when looking hard at the offense, the position which took the biggest step backward is at quarterback. The franchise envisioned Drew Brees reaching a new level in it being his third year as a pro -- in the same offense -- and his second as a starter.

Instead, Brees struggled. He was benched for five games and yanked from two others.

The quarterbacks coach? Brian Schottenheimer, a 30-year-old who never played in the league, and was nearly 12 years younger than Doug Flutie, who won half of the Chargers four games.

But the younger Schottenheimer should be safe. As are -- probably -- offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, offensive line coach Hudson Houck and running backs coach Clarence Shelmon.

The Chargers have already declined to renew the contracts of defensive coordinator Dale Lindsey and secondary coach Jerry Holmes.

Lindsey was in his first stint as an NFL coordinator, and never did produce the type of results the Chargers were looking for. They finished with a No. 30 ranking in his first season, No. 27 in the recently completed season.

Holmes was asked to work with a revamped secondary that didn't feature one opening day starter from the previous opening day. And it showed, as youngsters such as Sammy Davis, Quentin Jammer and Terrence Kiel got burned with regularity.

Marty Schottenheimer used to brag about secondary coach Jerry Holmes, and how he helped rookie Fred Smoot make the transition into the NFL when he was rookie. When reminded of that statement when he canned Holmes, Schottenheimer said: "I think Fred had a little bit to do with that."

Baltimore secondary coach Donnie Henderson could be a candidate for the vacant secondary coaching position.

There could be more changes. But don't expect Brian Schottenheimer to be one of them.

The Chargers would like to make a run at Ted Cottrell, the fired Jets defensive coordinator, but the Vikings might beat them to it.

Cottrell will visit the Chargers on Friday, after he first had a two day visit with the Vikings. And many think if Cottrell wants to resurrect his image, he has a better chance of doing it with the Vikings, instead of the young and unproven Chargers unit. There is also talk that he could visit the Steelers.

New York Jets Head Coach Herman Edwards said it was one of the hardest things he's had to do as a head coach when he fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell last week -- letting go one of the most popular figures within the Jets organization.

The Jets were 28th against the run this season and have been horrible in that area in the last three years under Cottrell. While many in New York hoped that Cottrell would succeed, showing that coaches with the nice-guy approach can win in the NFL, it wasn't the right fit for an underachieving defense that needed a verbal beatdown once in a while.

Another name to watch is Wade Phillips. He has a history with general manager A.J. Smith when they both were in Buffalo. Although Schottenheimer has the final say on his staff.

Then there is current Lions defensive coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer was told last week by Steve Mariucci and Matt Millen that he had not been excluded from their plans for next season.

Schottenheimer, the younger brother of Marty, has been the Lions' defensive coordinator for two seasons. There has been speculation Mariucci might be interested in hiring Dick Jauron, recently fired as the Chicago head coach, and that Schottenheimer might rejoin his brother in San Diego.

Notes:

Before the season ended, team president Dean Spanos was presented the Harold Leventhal Community Service Award by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Spanos has had a lead role in raising funds for the Huntington's Disease Society of America. Chargers' PR director Bill Johnston's wife, Ramona, is fighting the disease.

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