NFL Nation: Rich Bisaccia

Danny McCray joins Bears

March, 18, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Danny McCray is now a member of the Chicago Bears.

The free-agent safety signed a one-year deal with the Bears on Tuesday, reuniting with special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.

McCray led the Cowboys in special teams’ tackles two of his three years with DeCamillis, and finished second in 2012 when he was forced to play more defensive snaps because of injuries. McCray was credited with eight special teams tackles in 2013 under Rich Bisaccia, tied for sixth on the team.

McCray joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and quickly made his presence felt on special teams. He had 87 tackles in 10 starts in 2012 to go with five pass deflections and an interception.

He is the third Cowboy to sign elsewhere in free agency, joining DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher.

Cowboys' coaching staff tracker

January, 22, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Since we parsed Jerry Jones' words Tuesday about the current state of the Dallas Cowboys offensive and defensive coordinators, let's parse what head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday when it came to Monte Kiffin and Bill Callahan.

Like Jones, Garrett said both are under contract for 2014. Unlike Jones, however, Garrett said roles could change, but he would not elaborate.

What does it mean? Maybe everything. Maybe nothing.

Kiffin, who turns 74 next month, has said repeatedly he is not retiring. Could the Cowboys move him to a consultant role like they did with assistant head coach/wide receivers Jimmy Robinson last year? Robinson was not spotted at one practice in the offseason, during training camp or during the season. He is in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl looking for a job in 2014.

Given how Jones and Garrett handled the announcement of Callahan as playcaller last year, first with Jones saying it, then Garrett denying it only to come back a day or two later and say, indeed, Callahan would call plays, this is shaping up as an only-with-the-Cowboys situation.

With that in mind, let's look at the current state of the staff:

Head coach: Jason Garrett

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach: Bill Callahan
Defensive coordinator: Monte Kiffin

Quarterbacks: Wade Wilson
Running backs: Gary Brown
Wide receivers: Derek Dooley
Tight ends: Vacant
Assistant offensive line: Frank Pollack
Offensive quality control/wide receivers: Keith O'Quinn
Offensive assistant: Vacant

Defensive line: Rod Marinelli
Linebackers: Matt Eberflus
Secondary: Jerome Henderson
Defensive assistant/defensive line: Leon Lett
Defensive quality control/linebackers: Ben Bloom
Assistant secondary: Joe Baker

Special teams: Rich Bisaccia
Assistant special teams: Vacant

Strength and conditioning: Mike Woicik
Assistant strength and conditioning: Brett Bech
Assistant strength and conditioning: Kendall Smith

Wes Phillips left the Cowboys to be the Washington Redskins tight ends coach. Offensive assistant Dave Borgonzi left for a defensive assistant's job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mikal Smith also worked with the Cowboys secondary last year but did not have a specific title. He joined his father, Lovie, in Tampa Bay. Assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol and the club agreed to part ways, and the Cowboys will likely give that job to Carlos Polk, although Garrett did not confirm the position at the Senior Bowl. Polk served as an intern with the Cowboys in 2013.

Coaches like Bloom, Baker, O'Quinn and Woicik would need new deals to remain with the team in 2014.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' last head coach, Mike Munchak, jumped from offensive line coach to head coach.

Where will the guy who replaces him come from?

So far, the candidates are all coordinators in the NFL. But I was curious where head coaches in the NFL originated. What positions did they coach before they moved up the ranks?

Some moved around a lot, some worked exclusively at one spot. Some were tougher to categorize than others and I leaned a bit on what they played if I was tie-breaking.

My breakdown of the NFL coaches who were in the league in 2013 and remain in their posts:

Quarterbacks (7): Mike McCoy (Broncos), Bruce Arians (Cardinals), Marc Trestman (Bears), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), Mike McCarthy (Packers), Sean Payton (Saints), Jim Harbaugh (49ers).

Defensive backs (6): John Fox (Broncos), Chuck Pagano (Colts), Dennis Allen (Raiders), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Jeff Fisher (Rams), Pete Carroll (Seahawks).

Linebackers (5): Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Gus Bradley (Jaguars), Bill Belichick (Patriots), Mike Smith (Falcons), Ron Rivera (Panthers).

Offensive line (3): Doug Marone (Bills), Andy Reid (Chiefs), Joe Philbin (Dolphins).

Defensive line (1): Rex Ryan (Jets).

Running backs (1): Chip Kelly (Eagles).

Special teams (1): John Harbaugh (Ravens).

The Titans' interviews so far were with two guys with a quarterback background in Jay Gruden (who's now off the market) and Jim Caldwell and one with a defensive backs background in Mike Zimmer. Next up is Ken Whisenhunt, who has a tight ends background.

Others who I think will be interviewed: Dan Quinn (defensive line) and Rich Bisaccia (special teams).

Redskins interview Perry Fewell

January, 6, 2014
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The Washington Redskins interviewed New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell Monday for their vacant head coaching position. He's the fifth person to interview for the job -- and plenty more remain as potential candidates.

The Redskins interviewed Fewell at Redskins Park, the team confirmed Monday. The team is confirming interviews that are held in Ashburn because they're with candidates whose teams are out of the playoffs. When they meet with coaches still in the playoffs, they let others confirm the interview in case they want to keep it a secret. Also, when they meet at Redskins Park, the group includes owner Dan Snyder, general manager Bruce Allen and members of the front office. When it's out of the area, only Allen is involved.

In addition to Fewell, the Redskins have interviewed Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.

Fewell, 51, was a hot candidate in 2011 after his defense finished seventh. He interviewed with four teams after that season. Fewell served as defensive coordinator in Buffalo from 2006-09 and went 3-4 as the Bills' interim head coach in 2009.

Here's a look at the Redskins' coaching scorecard thus far.
The Cincinnati Bengals' misfortune could turn out to be the Washington Redskins' gain. The Redskins have requested permission to interview two Bengals' assistant coaches, now that their season is over.

The Redskins, along with three other teams, have requested permission to speak with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Minnesota, Tennessee and Detroit also requested permission, according to a league source. The Redskins do not yet have an interview scheduled with Gruden. They've also requested permission to speak with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, a league source told ESPN.

A league source said the Redskins might have interest in former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, currently the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator. He, too, is available to be interviewed. The Redskins can interview coaches of teams still alive in the playoffs, but they can't hire them until their seasons are over.

The Redskins are interviewing New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell Monday. They've already spoken to Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.

The Redskins also have interest in Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, but no interview had yet been scheduled in part because he was going to be at the National Championship game Monday night.

Redskins interview Jim Caldwell

January, 5, 2014
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The Washington Redskins interviewed former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell for their head coaching vacancy Sunday, as expected.

Caldwell
Caldwell
Caldwell is the fourth person Washington has spoken with about their head coaching vacancy and more will be talked to this week. But he's the first former head coach that they've formally interviewed. They've also talked to Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia and Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. They are scheduled to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell Monday, according to John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation.

The Redskins have expressed interest in Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, who did interview with the Houston Texans. But the Redskins were still trying to line up an interview as of early Sunday night.

Also, they can now talk to assistant coaches from the Cincinnati Bengals: offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, both of whom were said to be on the Redskins' list. If interested, they can also talk to San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt next week, even though the Chargers remain alive in the playoffs.

Caldwell served as Tampa Bay's quarterbacks coach in 2001 and was in the same role with Indianapolis from 2002-08 -- while also serving as an assistant head coach. He became the Colts' head coach in 2009, went 14-2 and lost in the Super Bowl to New Orleans. But he was fired after a 2-14 season -- with quarterback Peyton Manning sidelined -- in 2011. He took over as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator late last season and stayed in that capacity in 2013.

Caldwell met with owner Dan Snyder, general manager Bruce Allen, director of pro personnel Morocco Brown and director of player personnel Scott Campbell. In Detroit, Caldwell met with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. But he did not meet with Washington’s Robert Griffi III, who is on vacation.

Caldwell does not have any other interviews lined up and told Wooten, whose group focuses on minority coaches in the hiring process, that he was most interested in these two positions.

Caldwell prepared for his Redskins interview by breaking down all of Griffin’s plays. He also went over all the scouting reports Baltimore’s pro staff had on the Redskins. He did the same thing before his interview in Detroit.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- So who’s next in line to be coach of the Tennessee Titans?

My first choice would be Stanford coach David Shaw, but I don’t think the Titans could lure him away from Palo Alto.

General manager Ruston Webster is connected to a lot of coaches who could be candidates from his time in the front offices in Tampa Bay and Seattle.

[+] EnlargeRich Bisaccia
AP Photo/James D. SmithCowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is a possible candidate for the Titans' head job.
I pondered many of those connections on Christmas Eve. Lovie Smith is off the board, hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His ties to ownership there would have made it tough for the Titans to get involved even if they had fired Munchak earlier and liked him. Jim Mora appears set on staying at UCLA.

But a few other coaches Webster knows could surface. Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is a name I’ve already heard Webster will consider. Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden or Chicago Bears offensive coordinator and line coach Aaron Kromer might be of interest.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, whose current office is only a couple miles from LP Field, is a high-energy coach who’s very popular in Nashville. He has a bit of NFL experience. Adam Schefter says Franklin interviewed with the Houston Texans before they hired Bill O'Brien.

A Pennsylvania native, Franklin is reportedly in line to talk to Penn State about its opening. I feel he’s a better fit with college kids than the NFL, but Webster certainly could feel differently.

Like Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean before me, I’ve heard Bisaccia and Seattle Seawhawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are guys Webster is likely to interview.

Before the Titans hired Munchak in 2011, I wrote about why I thought Bisaccia would be a good candidate for the job. It included a rave review from Jon Gruden and Derrick Brooks. (And a bad assessment by me of Raheem Morris.)

From what I’ve heard about Bisaccia, I think he might be a Franklin-type in the energy department. He’d bring far more experience coaching guys in the pro ranks. Already on Twitter some are crushing the idea. I’m asking them if John Harbaugh was a bad hire for the Baltimore Ravens. He won the Super Bowl with Baltimore last year and was hired by the Ravens with a resume that was predominantly overseeing special teams with the Philadelphia Eagles. A top special teams coordinators should have head coaching qualities, and it's an outside-the-box idea worthy of consideration.

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton have been popular names with regard to remaining openings and it would be no surprise if Webster considered them. Greg Roman of the San Francisco 49ers is among the most popular offensive coordinators in the NFL right now.

One guy I do not think will draw Webster's attention: San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the former coach of the Cardinals. I don't think Webster is a big fan.

Mike Mularkey (not working this season) and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell interviewed with the Titans when Munchak was hired in 2011. Mularkey got the Jacksonville Jaguars job in 2012 and was a one-year disaster.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster will be the central figure in selecting the team's new head coach.

Working for a new president and CEO, Webster will have a great degree of power.

Tommy Smith took over the franchise in late October, after his father-in-law, the team’s founder and owner Bud Adams, died.

Webster and Mike Munchak went home Friday evening after returning from a meeting with Smith in Nashville and slept on it. They spoke by phone Saturday and concluded Munchak could not continue as coach.

“In the end we were not able to agree on the future or direction of the franchise and I felt it was time to make a change,” Webster said. "So we move ahead into the next phase of the Tennessee Titans and look for the next coach and for great things.”

To a follow up question about that answer, Webster said he and Smith decided.

Webster is hardly a power monger. And maybe it was just a default word choice. But I thought his use of “I” was significant here. It, and his tone through 15 minutes at a podium alone for the first time, says Webster was the key decision-maker. I believe that to be the case given Smith’s inexperience.

Now Webster will make his first coaching hire, calling on the situation he’s watched in Tampa Bay, under Rich McKay, and Seattle, the two places he worked before joining the Titans front office in 2010.

He said a person in his position will always have a list of potential coaches in case this situation arises. At least one is part of a staff in the playoffs, he said, and there could be an in-house candidate interviewed. That would almost certainly be senior assistant/defense Gregg Williams.

Two outside candidates for the job, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, will be Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.

Munchak’s staff has not been told anything, and Webster intends to talk to them Monday.
According to ESPN's John Clayton, the Washington Redskins have Rich Bisaccia on their list of coaches to interview. In fact, he was said to be interviewing in Washington on Friday.

Age: 53

Position: Dallas special teams coach

Recent background: This past season was his first with the Dallas Cowboys. Their special teams improved under Bisaccia, going from 29th in kick returns in 2012, for example, to fourth this season. Dallas ranked 18th defending punts and seventh against kickoffs. They improved in numerous areas statistically under Bisaccia.

Bisaccia
Bisaccia
The past: He was a college coach from 1983-2001 before joining Tampa Bay as their special teams coach. He stayed in that role until 2010 when he left to join San Diego in a similar role. A year later he was elevated to assistant head coach/special teams with the Chargers. But he left after the 2012 season to take a job coaching Auburn's running backs and special teams. He left after 22 days to join Dallas. His best season as a special teams coach statistically was probably 2009 with Tampa Bay. The Bucs blocked six kicks, led the NFL in kick return average (26.3 yards), were fourth in punt return average (11.6 yards) and second against kick return average (19.1). They returned a kickoff and punt for a touchdown and blocked another punt for a score.

What I've heard about him: After talking to an NFL coach, a Dallas insider and a former NFC executive about him, heard from one coach who said he knows him well and that he's a "great guy." Bisaccia was described as a no-nonsense guy; was respected by his players, with one apparently calling him the best coach he's ever had. Also heard him described as "not a head coach type," -- even by the coach who likes him and knows him well -- and there was no "wow" factor with him. He presents himself well and has a good resume, but it's not considered dynamic enough to command the entire room. But people do like him.

Potential fit: I don't mind a special teams coach being elevated to this job, but I'd want him to be more dynamic than it sounds Bisaccia is; I'd feel better if others around the NFL saw him as a head coach. The hard part is I did not know a lot about him until his name surfaced Friday morning. I wonder if this is a favor to him from general manager Bruce Allen, who was with him for five years in Tampa Bay, a way to get his name out there (possibly even for college head coaching jobs). Bisaccia also worked under A.J. Smith, a senior executive here. It helps that he has familiarity with people in the building; that's a plus. It helps that it sounds like he can get the most out of players' talent. That's all good. At this point he'd have to be considered a longshot. But Allen did say he'd be willing to look at special teams coaches as candidates as well.

Suggested reading: Some past players endorse him ... He could have been in the national championship game Monday night ... ."He holds people accountable."... A few years ago he was up for the head coaching job at the University of South Florida. Former Bucs stumped for him, including his old head coach, Jon Gruden.
IRVING, Texas -- For the second straight year the Dallas Cowboys will see their special teams coordinator interview for an NFL head coaching vacancy.

According to ESPN’s John Clayton, Rich Bisaccia will interview with the Washington Redskins. Last year Joe DeCamillis interviewed with the Chicago Bears and eventually joined Marc Trestman’s staff as assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.

Bisaccia put together one of the better special teams’ units in the NFL last season, but he almost never got to the Cowboys. If things had not worked out, then he would be coaching in the BCS Championship game for Auburn. He was the school’s running backs, special teams and assistant head coach for 22 days before joining the Cowboys last winter.

Bisaccia and Redskins general manager Bruce Allen worked together for years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bisaccia was Jason Garrett’s top choice last season, but he also interviewed Bruce DeHaven, a former Cowboys’ special teams coach, and Alan Lowry.

The Cowboys saw improvement in their kickoff and punt return averages, albeit minimally in the punt returns. The kickoff and punt coverage were also improved by fractions, and there were no major breakdowns.

In 2012, the Cowboys had a punt blocked, a punt returned for a touchdown, and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. This season, the longest punt return allowed was 26 yards, and the longest kickoff return was 45 yards.

With injuries on defense, Bisaccia had to mix and match his units, but they were able to hold up their end of the bargain.

Dallas Cowboys season wrap-up

January, 2, 2014
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Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final power ranking: 17
Preseason power ranking: 20

Biggest surprise: The Dallas Cowboys did not believe they could have a worse defense than the one they fielded in 2012. They were wrong.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan lost his job after the Cowboys finished the year ranked 19th in defense and allowed 400 points. The Cowboys not only switched defensive coordinators, they switched philosophies, bringing in Monte Kiffin to run a 4-3 scheme.

It never worked.

The Cowboys allowed 6,645 yards, 432 points and failed to deliver most of the time. They were hit by injuries, just as Ryan’s defense was, and poor play from big-name players such as DeMarcus Ware, Bruce Carter, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. Sean Lee was having a Pro Bowl-type season but hamstring and neck injuries forced him to miss most of the final seven games. Only Jason Hatcher, Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church had representative seasons.

Biggest disappointment: It’s hard not to go with Ware, who had a career-low six sacks. For the first time he did not play in every game in a season, missing three games with a quadriceps strain. He also played with injuries to both elbows, a back strain and stinger. But the pick will be Miles Austin. Like Ware, he suffered through injury. He missed five games with a hamstring injury and was held without a catch in two games as he attempted to play through the strain. He finished the season with 24 catches for 244 yards and no touchdowns. It was the fewest catches he had since 2008 when he was a bit player and first time since 2007 he did not score a touchdown. The Cowboys hoped for a late-season boost when he returned but it never came.

Biggest need: The easy answer is to say upgrade the entire defense. They need help at linebacker and safety. The defensive line needs an overhaul. We talked about Ware’s status, but Hatcher, who had a career-high 11 sacks, and Anthony Spencer, who is coming back from microfracture surgery, are set to be unrestricted free agents. The Cowboys used 19 defensive linemen during the year and found solid contributions from players such as George Selvie and Nick Hayden, but optimally they play in reserve roles. The hits on the line started in April when the Cowboys passed on Sharrif Floyd, their fifth-ranked player, at No. 18 and traded down and continued when Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles on the first day of camp. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said in the offseason the defensive line was a strength. There is no way he can say that now.

Team MVP: By process of elimination it cannot be a defensive player because the unit was the worst in the NFL. DeMarco Murray would get votes for a second-half MVP. The contest comes down to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Romo missed the final game because of back surgery, but threw 31 touchdown passes and was intercepted only 10 times while throwing for 3,828 yards. Bryant earned his first Pro Bowl berth and finished with 93 catches for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns. They made big plays at big moments. They had mistakes at big moments, too. As a result, they split the award.

Cowboys release safety Will Allen

October, 8, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys released veteran safety Will Allen on Tuesday.

Allen started the first two games of the season before he was replaced by rookie J.J. Wilcox prior to the Sept. 22 win against the St. Louis Rams. In the season opener against the New York Giants, Allen was credited with 17 tackles, two pass deflections and an interception.

The Cowboys have not decided how to fill the roster spot.

Allen was signed to a one-year deal worth $840,000, the veteran minimum salary. He received a signing bonus of $65,000, and $555,000 of his base salary was guaranteed. Allen played for defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia in Tampa Bay and was viewed as a solid locker-room presence.

The Cowboys have four safeties on the roster: Barry Church, Wilcox, Danny McCray and undrafted rookie Jeff Heath. Church suffered a broken nose in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos but will not miss a game.

Thoughts on Chargers' search

December, 31, 2012
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It is interesting that the Chargers hired longtime personnel man Ron Wolf to consult during the general manager search. Wolf’s son, Elliot, is the Packers’ director of pro personnel. He is young, but he is considered a future general manager. Not sure if the Chargers will consider him.

Last year, Wolf helped the Raiders in their decision to bring in Reggie McKenzie as general manager. McKenzie worked for Wolf in Green Bay and Wolf worked for the late Al Davis in Oakland.

I think Wolf’s involvement in San Diego is a strong indication that in-house candidate Jimmy Raye will have major competition for the job. If the Chargers were sold on Raye, I don’t think Wolf would have been brought in to help.

Expect the general manager search to be fairly fast. The general manager is going to have a say in hiring the coach, so the process has to be swift.

The Chargers may consider keeping defensive coordinator John Pagano and special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia. Both men did a good job with their units. It may be tough for a new coach to keep a large part of the old staff, but perhaps something could be worked out.

I think the Chargers need more offensive help anything.

The old adage in the NFL is teams hire coaches who are the opposite of the discarded coach. Norv Turner was a player’s coach. Will the Chargers go looking for a hard-edged coach?
The Oakland Raiders' coaching search is taking a turn.

The Bears’ website reports that the Raiders have decided not to interview Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice for their head-coaching job. It reports the Raiders are concentrating on a second interview with Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. It is not known if anyone else will get a second interview. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg may be a favorite.

This news signals the Raiders want to wrap up the process and it likely means new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie believes he has already talked to the man he wants to hire.

If Allen does get the job, Denver will be looking for its seventh defensive coordinator in seven years.

In other AFC West news:

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports former Panthers secondary coach Ron Meeks is expected to be hired for the same job with the Chargers. Meanwhile, Chargers special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia is no longer in the mix for the same job with the Tennessee Volunteers. That’s a good thing for the Chargers. Their special-teams play improved under Bisaccia in 2011.

The Bears announced Chiefs college scouting director Phil Emery is one of two finalists for their general manager job. There was a report earlier Monday that said he has been offered the job, but the Bears denied it.
Here are some thoughts from the Chargers’ 24-17 loss to Seattle in their preseason opener on Thursday night on ESPN:

The first-team offense is nice: The expectations in this post-lockout world have been that established offenses would be further along than teams with major change. The Chargers are virtually the same offense as they were last season.

The first-team offense looked like it’s been working daily all year. Quarterback Philip Rivers led San Diego on an impressive 10-play, 89-yard drive in five minutes, 33 seconds. Rivers completed 5 of 6 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown pass. The Chargers cruised down the field as if it were November.

The fact that Rivers led more than 40 players in four-times-as-week workouts beginning in March makes it’s easy to understand why the first-team offense clicked so well.

Happiness on special teams: The Chargers’ area that needs the most improvement is the special teams. It got off to a terrific start in 2011 under new coach Rich Bisaccia. Bryan Walters energized his team with a 103-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. Even though it is just the preseason, the entire stadium erupted and Bisaccia acted like he just won the Super Bowl. You can’t blame the Chargers for reveling in the moment. After a year in which special-teams misery cost them a playoff spot, this was a welcome moment.

VJ-Rivers combination is back: The highlight of that first drive was a 48-yard pass from Rivers to No. 1 receiver Vincent Jackson, who held out for much of last season. Prior to last season, Rivers and Jackson developed a tremendous chemistry and it is clear the combination is back in form. This will make San Diego’s offense, which was ranked No. 1 in the NFL last year, even more dangerous.

Mathews has nice hands: Rivers told me this week when I visited the Chargers’ camp that he was impressed by how second-year running back Ryan Mathews was coming around in the passing game. Mathews made a nifty 9-yard catch on that first drive. If he can continue to make strides, Mathews can help make up for what is lost in the passing game with the departure of free-agent Darren Sproles, who is now in New Orleans.

New coordinator, same nasty D: This was the debut of new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. He replaces Ron Rivera, who is now the head coach in Carolina and who led the Chargers to the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense last season. I heard good things about Manusky, and Thursday, his defense came out and looked great. The Chargers’ defense was swarming and aggressive -- just the way Manusky likes it. Seattle didn’t pass midfield in the first half. It seems like this defense is still in good hands.

Liuget is explosive: A big part of the new defense is first-round pick Corey Liuget. He was drafted for his speed and his ability to quickly get into the backfield. The Illinois product displayed that Thursday night, and the Chargers have to be thrilled. He is didn’t have an offseason program, signed late and missed some camp time. Yet, he looks ready to go.

Todman looks good: The Chargers have been thrilled about sixth-round running back Jordan Todman. They thought they got a steal when he lasted until the sixth round and they loved the way he worked in camp. The hope is he can replace Sproles. After his first preseason game, that hope shouldn’t change. Todman looked good Thursday. He had 30 yards rushing on six totes and he added 21 yards on four catches.

Third stringers not so much: The Seahawks outscored San Diego 24-7 in the second half. It was a tough game for San Diego undrafted rookie quarterback Scott Tolzien, who has been impressive in camp. He led a good drive at the end of the game that fell just short of the end zone. Overall, this was a good night for San Diego, just not for many of players who likely won’t make the roster.

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