Chargers' moves begin with firing Manusky

There will be change in San Diego after all.

Two days after San Diego ownership made the controversial decision to keep coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith, the team fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after one season, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. There will likely be other tweaking on the staff.

This is no surprise.

It had long been thought that if Turner did survive, Manusky wouldn’t. In San Diego, the hiring of Manusky was considered the biggest mistake the team made in 2011 along with allowing running back Darren Sproles to leave and go to New Orleans as a free agent.

Manusky’s defense never caught fire. Last year, the Chargers were the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL under coordinator Ron Rivera., who left to become the head coach in Carolina. However, San Diego’s defense fell to 16th under Manusky.

Manusky, a former San Diego linebackers coach, promised an aggressive defense, but it never developed.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports linebackers coach John Pagano is a favorite to replace Manusky. Pagano reportedly was in line to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA. This opportunity would very likely sway that decision.

Another name to keep an eye on is secondary coach Steve Wilks. He is a player favorite who has drawn comparison to Rivera for his style. Wilks was brought to San Diego by Rivera.

Expect San Diego to stick with the 3-4 defense. The next defensive coordinator will be Turner’s fourth in his six seasons in San Diego. Ted Cottrell was fired midway through the 2008 season.

Whoever the new coordinator will be, improvements will be needed in San Diego. The Chargers need some pass-rushing linebackers, a starting safety and backups at cornerback. Expect improving the defense to be a focal point of the offseason. The move Thursday was just the first step.

Meanwhile, there will likely be three new defensive coordinators in the AFC West. Oakland is expected to fire Chuck Bresnahan. A new defensive coordinator will be brought into Kansas City regardless of whether Romeo Crennel is given the head-coaching job.