MMM Bop! Meachem, Mathews & McCoy Unite in San Diego
By Andrew Burer
A number of San Diego Chargers players could benefit from a new coach, particularly Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews, and Robert Meachem.
Among these four, Rivers and Gates are looking to prolong their careers while Mathews and Meachem are looking for someone to help save theirs.
Luckily for the Chargers, new head coach Mike McCoy has experience in capturing a player’s greatest strength.
Tom Telesco knows what impresses him most about McCoy’s tenure in Carolina and Denver:
“He just adapted to everything that he had,” the Chargers’ new general manager said. “Look at the different quarterbacks that he had in Denver. He had Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning. So it was three different-style quarterbacks. And he got great production out of all three, so his thought is that you take what you have, work to your strengths.”
McCoy will have a tall task in helping Mathews become the premiere running back the Chargers hoped he was when San Diego traded up to draft him with the 12th pick of the 2010 draft. He’ll also have to find a way to better incorporate Meachem into his offense – Which, perhaps, could be his greatest challenge in 2013.
Meachem’s 14 receptions for 207 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 were his lowest numbers since 2008. After a costly drop against the Browns in Cleveland, he didn’t start the rest of the season and caught just two passes for 18 yards.
Finding snaps among a crowded wide receiving corps, especially at Meachem’s cost, will be difficult for McCoy.
According to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, Meachem “was the Chargers' first and most expensive acquisition in the 2012 league year, signing a four-year, $25.5 million contract in March with a $7.5 million signing bonus. For 2013, his $5 million base salary is fully guaranteed, so cutting him would result in a $10.625 million cap hit. If kept on the roster, his cap number is $6.875 million, or $3.75 million cheaper.”
It’s a good thing McCoy’s track record goes beyond quarterbacks. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards (1,448) and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl while with the Denver Broncos in 2010, and RB Willis McGahee rushed for 1,199 yards in 2011 and earned his second-career Pro Bowl selection.
The Chargers can only hope McCoy will have similar success with Meachem and Mathews.