With the announcement of Mike McCoy as the new head coach of the Chargers, there were questions as to whether he would retain defensive coordinator John Pagano. It turns out that the Chargers were pleased with the progress of the defense this past season and decided to keep Pagano on for the 2013 season.
Pagano started with the Chargers in 2002 and has held various titles during his tenure. In 2012, he was promoted to defensive coordinator by Norv Turner and it turned out to be a good move for the Chargers. The Chargers defense improved this past season and there are three reasons why retaining Pagano was a good move.
3. 18th ranked pass defense
This may not seem like a good reason to keep Pagano but if you compare 2012 to the 2011 season, the Chargers improved from the 20th ranked pass defense to 18th in 2012. Improving by two spots in pass defense may not seem like a big deal but it appears that Quentin Jammer has lost a step the past couple of years and if the Chargers can improve their secondary this upcoming draft they will certainly improve their pass defense in 2013.
2. Sixth in rushing defense
The biggest improvement the defense made this past year was in the rush defense. Pagano took the 20th ranked rush defense in 2011 to the sixth ranked rush defense in 2012. Prior to becoming the defense coordinator, Pagano was the linebackers coach and in that time he help to mold and shape players such as Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman. With the improvement he made in just one season, imagine what he can do in year two.
1. Ninth in total defense
Pagano took the 16th ranked defense in 2011 and made it the ninth ranked defense in 2012. This was a vast improvement year over year. The ninth ranked defense will certainly not win you championships but given more time Pagano will get the defense to elite status.
Pagano improved in all three defensive rankings this past season. Coaches are measured by their success and by stats; and the stats support his retention for this next season. In 2013, the pass defense needs to improve but if Tom Telesco the general manger can get Pagano the pieces needed in the draft, the Bolts will be improved defensively.
Robert W. Ekberg is a staff writer for SportsOutWest and Los Angeles-based area sports journalist. Follow him on Twitter @Robek24
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