NFL: Chargers retain top coordinators
Weeks after their season ended, the Chargers figured out a way to get another win Tuesday.
The team has agreed to contracts with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for the upcoming season, with Bradley reportedly receiving a three-year deal.
Retaining both was among the team’s top priorities, coach Anthony Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco said last week.
Bradley, who signed a one-year deal with the Chargers last season after being the head coach in Jacksonville, helped the Chargers become one of the most feared defensive units in the NFL.
Green Bay, Seattle and Chicago were among the teams rumored to be interested in hiring Bradley if a deal couldn’t be worked out with the Chargers.
Bradley’s defense produced three Pro Bowlers this season while owning the NFL’s top red zone defense. The group also allowed the fewest points per game (17.0) for a Chargers defense in 25 years.
Offensively, Whisenhunt helped Philip Rivers rebound for one of the best seasons in his career, passing for 4,515 yards with just 10 interceptions. Wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Melvin Gordon also had career seasons.
After starting last season 0-4, the Chargers finished the year by winning nine of their final 12 games.
The Chargers also announced that Melvin Ingram will play in his first Pro Bowl. Ingram, one of the top rush ends in the AFC, will replace teammate Joey Bosa, who is recovering from a finger injury. Ingram had 10.5 sacks this season, tying a career high.
Panthers fire coordinator, QB coach
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera fired longtime offensive coordinator Mike Shula on Tuesday, saying the team’s offense needs a “different perspective.”
Along with Shula, the Panthers also cut ties with quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey two days after a playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.
“I believe we need some different ideas going forward,” Rivera said at a news conference.
Shula spent seven seasons with Carolina, working as the quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2013.
Carolina was 11-5 this season and finished 19th in total offense, but again struggled moving the ball through the air and was 28th in passing. The Panthers were 12th in scoring.
Rivera said the Panthers already have “a few” candidates in mind, and strongly hinted it will be someone with NFL experience, not a college coach, from outside the organization.
Among some of the potential candidates that make sense are Norv Turner, whose son Ron was hired as an offensive consultant by the Panthers last June, and Rob Chudzinski, who worked as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 before taking over as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
The New York Giants interviewed Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for their vacant head coaching job. ... The Kansas City Chiefs promoted running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator, filling the job that Matt Nagy left open when he was hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Falcons’ Ryan misses practice
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan left team headquarters because of an undisclosed personal matter and did not practice with the team.
Team spokesman Brian Cearns said Tuesday the Falcons did not plan to give a reason for his absence.
Atlanta (11-6) visits Philadelphia (13-3) on Saturday.
Ryan’s wife, Sarah, announced in November that the couple expects to become first-time parents in April with twins.
Melvin Ingram will play in his first Pro Bowl, the Chargers announced Tuesday. Ingram, one of the top rush ends in the AFC, will replace teammate Joey Bosa, who is recovering from a finger injury. Ingram had 10.5 sacks this season, tying a career high.
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