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Who could be the next head coach of the Chargers?

We discuss who could be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers after the franchise fired Brandon Staley.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks off of the field after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on December 7, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers will go into Week 16 with a 5-9 record and an interim head coach leading the team. Following an embarrassing 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles wasted little time in firing head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco. The Chargers now join the Carolina Panthers and Raiders as teams that will be heading into the offseason needing to find themselves a new head coach.

Here are some of the options that Los Angeles could be considering when trying to find a new head coach to turn around the team.

NFL Coaches

Bill Belichick

For the first time in a long time, Belichick’s future looks relatively uncertain in New England. Reports earlier this season said that there was an extension done behind closed doors. More recently, the narrative has shifted that team owner Robert Kraft has already made a decision about the future of Belichick. Personally, I think he stays with the Patriots for next year, but the idea of Los Angeles trading for him and giving him Justin Herbert to work with is very intriguing. Plus, the Chargers needing a new GM could be enticing for Belichick in a potentially hybrid role.

Eric Bieniemy

Whenever a coaching search begins, Bienemy’s name comes up. He rose to prominence in the Andy Reid coaching tree, and it felt like he kept getting passed over for opportunities. Bienemy made the decision to leave the Kansas City Chiefs and join Ron Rivera’s staff as the offensive coordinator. Washington isn’t having a much better season than the Chargers were at 4-9, but quarterback Sam Howell has the fifth-most passing yards in the league. If the Chargers want to go with an offensive mind, Bieniemy seems like a solid option.

Kellen Moore

Moore is currently serving as the offensive coordinator for Los Angeles. He is a prime candidate to take over as the interim, and the Chargers’ front office would be able to do an in-house interview over the last few weeks of the season. Los Angeles has played an extra game this season but ranks 17th in offensive yards per game, 10th in passing yards per game and ninth in passing touchdowns per game. If the front office thinks that the defense was the main issue, Moore could provide some stability heading into next season and give the Chargers’ an intriguing option so they avoid starting from complete scratch.

Ben Johnson

Johnson is the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He joined the team in 2019 as their offensive quality control coach and has moved up the ranks as the tight ends coach, passing game coordinator and now O.C. Detroit’s offense averages the third-most yards per game in the league. Johnson had Jared Goff looking like an MVP candidate early in the season and could be a good option for the Chargers to go with. He is a younger option, can get creative with Herbert and could either be a bridge head coach or a long-term solution if he works out.

College Coaches

David Shaw

Shaw was most recently the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal from 2011-2022. He finished his tenure 96-54 with a 5-3 record in eight bowl games. Shaw won at least 11 games in four of his first five seasons, but recruiting didn’t end up being his forte. He finished 14-28 over his last four seasons. It seemed like he was a good fit for a head coach, but the recruiting didn’t pan out, meaning he could be an intriguing option for an NFL shot.

Jim Harbaugh

The best way to respond to multiple NCAA investigations in the same season could be just to head back to the NFL. Harbaugh’s name was thrown around in the Carolina Panthers’ head coaching search from last season. He served as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before accepting his current role at Michigan in 2015. Harbaugh went 44-19-1 during his time with San Francisco, with three playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl Loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2012-2013. Harbaugh has gone 35-3 at Michigan over the last three years and could exit on a high if the Wolverines win the national championship this year.

Lincoln Riley

This one feels like a stretch, but Riley is known for making surprising coaching changes behind the scenes. He is currently the head coach at USC but is coming off a disappointing 7-5 season despite having one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Caleb Williams. The latter is likely headed to the NFL early in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and Riley could be on his way out as well. The 40-year-old has only coached in college, and if he ever sees himself making the jump, the local Chargers could be the perfect fit.