Coach search moving slowly

Everyone is aware by now that Ted Cottrell will interview for the open defensive coordinator position with the San Diego Chargers, but the otherwise sluggish approach in bringing in Dave McGinnis and Dick Jauron leaves many wondering what the team is planning with Senior Bowl practices a week away.<br><br> With vacations, the playoffs and uncertainty, it may have been the waiting game that has held up the search for a new defensive coordinator in earnest.

"They talked about former Arizona head coach Dave McGinnis, as well as former Chicago head coach Dick Jauron, but nothing has happened," a league source said.

Instead of placing priority on the open spot, Marty Schottenheimer took a small vacation. As a team that ended up worst in the league, it is not an approach many would afford to take. Too much work is needed, isn't it?

Is this a stamp of the complacency that comes with being on the job for 17 years? Or is it further indication that the game is whizzing by and Schottenheimer can't catch up?

"The Chargers have not had an easy road in filling their vacant defensive coordinator position," said the league source. "Jauron still may land the head coach job in Buffalo and McGinnis is still talking with the Vikings on their vacant defensive coordinator position."

It appears very few people WANT to come to San Diego to coach. Cottrell is coming in, but he has an offer from Minnesota and will meet with Pittsburgh on Thursday. Is it a courtesy ploy by the New York Jets former defensive coordinator?

He is not Nick Saban so it would seem unlikely. Cottrell, in fact, is one of the hottest defensive minds on the open market this offseason.

Cottrell's times with the Jets may have been up and down, but his three seasons as defensive coordinator with the Bills appear to be more consistent. With him as coordinator, his Buffalo defenses finished sixth (1998), first (1999) and third (2000) in overall defense.

Marty, perhaps, was content to wait it out. The playoffs that is. One of his wishes may have panned out, while another remains in limbo as of this article.

"Fully expect Marty Schottenheimer to inquire about the availability of one his former coaches, Gunther Cunningham," the league source said.

"Also, Schottenheimer may have the opportunity to bring his brother Kurt to San Diego as the new defensive coordinator, if the Lions release him from his contract."

With Cottrell already receiving an offer from Minnesota and Pittsburgh now on the block, don't expect the Chargers to enter a bidding war for his services. It is not that he isn't talented, but the team did not rank him as highly as others according to a league source. Bringing him in looks to be something agreed upon by both sides without any sincerity to it.

It is no secret Schottenheimer likes to keep it in the family. He has been called "loyal to a fault". The claims that he is waiting for his former coordinator, Cunningham, is very real. He has a rapport with Cunningham and would know what he is getting. The gameplan would be set.

Same goes for his brother. Marty already has his son Brian on staff and it is not a far cry to see Kurt end up in San Diego. The only foreseeable problem, besides the AJ Smith override factor, is that if they fail, the Schottenheimer clan will go down with the ship and it may take some time for each to get another job offer.

The pace aught to pick up this week and a coordinator could still be in place by the Senior Bowl, vacations pending.

En"Lightning" Notes:
Chris Brown, LB, Jason Clermont WR, Jimmy McClain LB, Tony Newson LB, Taylor Robertson G, and Lon Sheriff QB all participated in a tryout for the San Diego Chargers this week.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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