Positional breakdown: Coaching staff

In the final installment of the roster analysis of the San Diego Chargers, the coaching staff takes its place under the microscope. Although many of the coaches are new to the Chargers, most have been around long enough to establish a reputation and style. So, from the retreads to the re-hires to the up-and-comers no one is talking about, here is how the staff stacks up.

There is a lot to like about Norv Turner. In fact, four days before he was hired, I wrote this article explaining why bringing in Turner and Ted Cottrell was the best move the franchise could make.

Not only is Turner familiar with the Chargers' offensive system, but he installed it back in 2001 when he was offensive coordinator. He has a reputation for developing young quarterbacks and riding workhorse running backs, so handing him the reins to a team featuring Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson is almost too good to be true.

"I paid (Turner) the highest honor that I could last year when I asked him to present me in the Hall of Fame," said former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. "He had a tremendous impact on my career. I think he's an outstanding football coach."

Clarence Shelmon holds the title of offensive coordinator for whatever that's worth. As a first-time coordinator who won't even handle play-calling duties, it is hard to imagine him putting his stamp on the offense.

Ted Cottrell was brought in for the same reason as Turner: continuity. Cottrell coached under former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips when they were with the Buffalo Bills, so Cottrell will maintain the same brand of 3-4 defense.

"Ted is one of the NFL's most respected defensive minds," Turner said. "And his experience and success with the 3-4 defense will help us maintain continuity on that side of the ball and grow and get better."

There are plenty of positional coaches who will be a big part of any success the Chargers enjoy this season. James Lofton (wide receivers), Wayne Nunnely (defensive line) and Jack Henry (offensive line) are three of the best at their respective positions.

Also, there are several newcomers, the most notable being Ron Rivera (inside linebackers), the former defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. Rivera is not the only heralded addition: Matt Simon coached Jamal Lewis during his record-setting 2003 season; and Clancy Barone taught Alge Crumpler how to overcome playing with the league's dumbest quarterback.

The consensus amongst critics is that the Chargers have the talent to make a deep playoff run, and that the coaching staff will be the X-factor. Luckily for San Diego, the Chargers have too much talent not to make the playoffs. And luckily for the new coaching staff, the old regime set the bar for postseason success remarkably low.


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