Pagano Named Chargers Defensive Coordinator

January 5, 2012

The San Diego Chargers named veteran defensive coach John Pagano as the team’s new defensive coordinator, replacing Greg Manusky, who was released earlier in the day.

Pagano spent the last 10 seasons on San Diego’s staff and has coached linebackers since 2005, helping develop Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman among other players.

“John has worked extremely hard and been very patient to get this opportunity,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “I’m excited about John’s experience with this defense, his familiarity with our team and where we can go with his direction.”

“I’m very humbled and honored that they would consider me for the position,” Pagano said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed about, being here 11 years in San Diego.”

Under Pagano's watch, young players Antwan Barnes and Donald Butler flourished. Barnes led the team and set a career high with 11 sacks this season. Butler, in his first NFL season, led the team with 10 tackles for loss in addition to two sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

“We’re going to go out and play fundamentally sound defense,” Pagano said. “It’s still about tackling the guy with the football and getting after the quarterback and covering people downfield. We’re going to do what we need to do to help the Chargers win football games.”

The real surprise in San Diego is that Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith still have jobs after back-to-back disappointing seasons.  Apparently, management felt that the real culprit must have been Manusky, rather than Smith's lackluster drafts or Turner's history of mediocrity.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald

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