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Five reasons why Chargers coaching job is one of most attractive openings in NFL

Closeup of the back of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in uniform
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert just finished one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history and is poised to be the franchise cornerstone for years to come.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

The Chargers announced an expected move Monday when they fired coach Anthony Lynn, and now enter the offseason as one of six NFL teams searching for a new head coach. Five reasons why the Chargers job is one of the more attractive openings in the league.

Justin Herbert

The quarterback finished one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history, and is poised to be the franchise cornerstone for years, if not decades, to come. The No. 6 overall pick in the last NFL draft, Herbert set single-season rookie records in touchdown passes (31), total touchdowns (36), completions (396) and games with multiple touchdown passes (10).

Herbert assembled those records after an abnormal offseason with mostly virtual training, and was plugged into the starting role just minutes before the second game. A full winter and spring of communication with a new coach and mastering of a system and playbook could further Herbert’s development.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars fired coach Doug Marrone. Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway said he will no longer serve as the team’s GM.

Talented stars

Before Herbert’s unexpected ascent, Chargers brass locked up centerpieces of the franchise by offering contract extensions to defensive end Joey Bosa and wide receiver Keenan Allen. Bosa missed four games, but finished with 7½ sacks. Allen led the team in targets (147), receptions (100) and receiving yards (992). Teammates have also said they were instrumental in leading and mentoring younger players. A new coach will be inheriting a team with some of the best players at their respective positions.

Draft position

The Chargers (7-9) finished the season on a four-game win streak, moving into the No. 13 overall draft pick. Still, that slot is relatively high, and a new coach could find a talented piece at that spot. The most glaring position of need seems to be offensive line.

Injuries

From the moment star safety Derwin James tore the meniscus in his right knee at training camp, injuries defined the Chargers’ season. Throughout portions of the season, the team was without multiple starters on the offensive line, running back Austin Ekeler, cornerback Chris Harris and defensive end Melvin Ingram, among others. If key players return and stay healthy, it could provide a new coach with a strong nucleus.

Close games

Despite the host of injuries, the Chargers could have been a playoff team. However, they surrendered leads of at least 16 points in four consecutive games, an NFL record. Lynn and his coaching staff have been criticized for poor clock management, questionable play calling and personnel mishaps, some of which cost the Chargers in close games. A new coach could change that trend and have the team poised to win those close games, as the Chargers did three seasons ago when they reached the playoffs.


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