Schottenheimer stays, others could go

The San Diego Chargers could lose three or more coaches this off-season. With so many of the top dogs in line for positions around the league and in college, the return of Marty Schottenheimer bodes well.

The Oakland Raiders and James Lofton were reportedly talking contract terms. While nothing has been finalized with Lofton headed home and the talk is that Steve Sarkisian is still in the running, the Chargers receivers' coach could be the first to go - somewhere.

It is possible he gets an offensive coordinator position first if the job in Oakland falls through.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is headed to Miami for his second interview with the Miami Dolphins. He would seem to be a perfect fit for the Fish, given his propensity to flank a running game with creative play calls to get the tight end and wide receivers involved.

It doesn't end there.

Assistant linebackers coach John Pagano is being courted by North Carolina – the same place that hired his brother, Chuck, as the new defensive coordinator. John Pagano is an underrated asset and oftentimes runs portions of the defensive practice.

If Cameron does leave, look for Rob Chudzinski, the current tight ends coach, to get a strong look at the offensive coordinator position. Chudzinski had a five-game stint as offensive coordinator in Cleveland and ran the Miami Hurricanes offense for three seasons. Running backs coach Clarence Shelmon will also be in the running for the offensive coordinator position – and his strong ties to LaDainian Tomlinson would assist his candidacy. Shelmon has never had a coordinator position but has been a running backs coach since 1978 and has worked in the NFL in the same capacity since 1991.

The offensive scheme may fall on Cameron, and his use of multiple formations and movement has been a valuable asset to the design of the current offense. But the return of Schottenheimer means the offense will be able to keep the same creative juices flowing, even if Cameron moved on, because of his and the coaching staff's familiarity with the scheme.

If the dominoes fall, however, there is no telling how this Chargers team will respond to new coaches brought in from outside the organization. Simply look to the failed Carl Mauck experiment to see what bad coaching can do. On the plus side, look at the work of Jack Henry with the same offensive line and the wonders he can do with a rookie Pro Bowl left tackle.

Lightning Quicks:

Offensive tackle Jeromey Clary, tight end Kelly Griffeth, and running back Tyronne Gross have been offered future contracts for 2007. Each was a member of the Chargers' practice squad in 2006.


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