Over the next few days, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is scheduled to interview for head coaching positions with the Detroit Lions, the Tennessee Titans, and the Cleveland Browns. This means that in each of the three days before the Chargers divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos, Whisenhunt will be spending time at an interview for another job.
To Whisenhunt, congratulations. He probably should never have had to take a coordinator position to begin with because he has a decent track record as a head coach. His coaching future looks bright and he will surely have plenty of options ahead of him. Whisenhunt resurrected this Chargers offense, most notably by bringing Philip Rivers back to life.
However, for the Chargers this is bad news. First lets look at what the interviews mean. Whisenhunt will not be the offensive coordinator in San Diego for the 2014-15 season. There are some good teams in need of a good coach and he has proven he is more than capable. If he was hired to coach the Lions, there is no question that he could make that team a real threat. They already have major talent; they just need a good leader.
For the Bolts, this means that a new coordinator will need to come in for Whisenhunt. This could be a big step back for the team and the offense might regress depending on who steps in and how capable they are. Philip Rivers might even go back to his form from last few seasons (but very unlikely). The point is – our offense will be much different from this year.
Furthermore, when we set aside next year, another issue arises since Whisenhunt has taken three interviews in the three days before what could be the last game of the season. This means the time for the interviews will be taking the place of time preparing for the game. With perhaps the most difficult game of the season (especially if the Chargers lose) on Sunday, it seems impractical to be scheduling interviews days before.
In Denver, Broncos coordinator Adam Gase has postponed his interviews until his team has finished their season. Not only is this a more professional thing to do, but it also gives the Broncos a big leg up against the Chargers this weekend. Gase will surely be working closely with his team while Whisenhunt will be looking ahead at his own future.
When it’s all said and done, these interviews may not matter in Sunday’s playoff game. The Chargers offense might play just as well as they have all season. But, if they come out looking flat, or if the play calls don’t seem to be working, it will reflect poorly on coach Whisenhunt.