SAN DIEGO — Players expressed some surprise but ultimately seemed resigned upon learning that the Chargers had fired coach Mike McCoy after the team’s season-ending loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
“It sucks,” said guard Orlando Franklin, who played for McCoy when he served as offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. “I have a lot of respect for Coach McCoy. He’s a big reason why I came here to San Diego, being that we had that relationship when we were in Denver.
“It’s unfortunate anytime someone gets fired in this league. But Coach McCoy is a great coach, and I’m pretty confident he’ll have a job here in the next few days or couple weeks. So good luck to him and his family wherever he lands.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers spoke with McCoy since the announcement of his firing, wishing him well, and Rivers said if he had made a few more plays, perhaps McCoy would still be with the Chargers.
“Shoot, I thought Mike gave us a chance each and every week over the last four years,” Rivers said. “He was consistent, and guys played hard for him. And we just didn’t win enough games, especially in the last couple years.
“That’s the reality of this league we’re in. Shoot, Mike’s still a young coach that’s got a lot of years left in this league and will continue to be a heck of a coach.”
As far as who will fill the head-coaching vacancy, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers have asked the New England Patriots for permission to interview defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. That interview likely would have to take place during the Patriots’ playoff bye.
As Rivers has in the past, the QB said he will talk to the front office about potential hires but is not directly involved with the coaching search.
“My job is to play quarterback and to play it better than I played it this year,” Rivers said. “So that’s really as far as it goes. Are there conversations that you have? Certainly, I think over 13 years you earn at least that dialogue. But as far as being part of a search or heavily involved, I don’t see that as my role.”
Safety Jahleel Addae and defensive tackle Damion Square said they hope a new head coach keeps what the team has done well, including the retention of some of the assistants on staff so the Chargers retain some continuity during the offseason.
“Just a guy that establishes a great culture,” Square said. “Culture is everything. When a good culture is in place, it takes care of a lot of things, from an injury standpoint to guys stepping in and playing at a high level.
“I think New England is one of those places like that; the organization is a winning culture. It’s been established a long time ago. I think with any college or pro organization, you want someone who’s going to be a leader and someone who wins more than they lose. You’ve got to start with culture. It’s everything.”
As it stands, whether the team relocates to Los Angeles or stays in San Diego, the offseason program is expected to remain at Chargers Park through June.