It didn’t take long for new head coach Mike McCoy to realize John Pagano was the answer for his defense. That’s why during this time of big change for the Bolts, he decided not to change a good thing and retain Pagano as defensive coordinator.
“I want to thank the Spanos family, Coach McCoy and the entire organization for believing in me,” Pagano said. “These are very exciting times for the Chargers and I look forward to keep building our defense to where we want it to be.”
There have been strong whispers and rumors around the league of other teams lining up to get a crack at Pagano should he not be retained, but McCoy wasn’t going to let him get away.
“It’s a great opportunity to keep him here,” said McCoy. “When I came in for the interview, I told the Spanos family that he was the guy I wanted to run our defense, so I’m very excited that he’s still here."
In a disappointing 2012 season overall for the Bolts, the Chargers defense was a bright spot for the team under Pagano. In his first season as defensive coordinator, the unit ranked ninth in the league giving up just 326.4 yards per game, sixth against the run (96.4 ypg), 18th against the pass (230.1 ypg) and 16th in points allowed (21.9 ppg).
As the 2012 season came to a close, Pagano addressed his first season as a defensive coordinator and gave a glimpse into what it had been like for him.
“I had a blast this year with these guys,” he said. “Just being able to present with our coaching staff, being able to give them a plan and letting them go out and execute it. Like I’ve always said, our job as coaches is to put them in a position to make plays and it’s not the call. They’re the ones who make it happen and make the magic. It’s been fun. I’ve learned a lot from week one until now. Like a player out there, you learn something new every day and you always keep that mind open to keep growing in this profession. That’s how you always want to be with it.”
To his credit, members of the defense praised the job he did.
“He’s done a good job for us,” 11-year veteran
Clearly, Pagano’s successful first year in charge of the defense give the Chargers reason to be both proud and thrilled to have him here for the 2013 season.