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Chargers to interview Matt Patricia, Dave Toub for head coach vacancy

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers will officially begin the process of replacing fired head coach Mike McCoy this weekend.

San Diego’s front office is set to interview New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on Saturday, according to the NFL Network, and then will presumably travel to Kansas City to conduct an interview with Chiefs special-teams coordinator Dave Toub on Sunday.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers also are expected to interview Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coach job on Wednesday in Miami.

San Diego also plans to set up an interview with Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and has requested to interview Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

According to ESPN NFL Nation Bills reporter Mike Rodak, Buffalo met with McDermott on Wednesday.

The Chargers declined to confirm candidates they plan to interview. Chargers director of football operations John Spanos said last week the team will not comment publicly on candidates, and that includes whether or not Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt or defensive coordinator John Pagano are candidates.

The Chargers have kept most of the team’s coaching staff around, but general manager Tom Telesco said last week that a new head coach would have a strong say in the makeup of the team’s new staff.

Patricia, 42, has served as New England’s defensive coordinator since 2012, working his way up the coaching chain after becoming a offensive assistant in 2004. Patricia worked with current San Diego offensive line coach Jeff Davidson when he served in a similar role with the Patriots.

The Patriots finished No. 1 in points allowed in 2016, giving up just 15.6 points per game. Since Patricia took over as defensive coordinator in 2012, the Patriots have finished in the top 10 in points allowed each season.

Toub, 54, is considered one of the best special-teams coaches in the NFL. Under Toub’s guidance, the Chiefs have a combined 11 returns for touchdowns in the last four seasons, second-best in the NFL.

The Chargers struggled on special teams this year, averaging just 18.1 yards per kick return (third-worst in the NFL) and 6.6 yards per punt return (No. 27 in the NFL). San Diego also had a field goal and three extra points blocked.

Smith, 57, was head coach for the Atlanta Falcons before being fired after the 2014 season. Smith finished with a 66-46 record for the Falcons in seven seasons, including four playoff appearances and two NFC South titles.

Smith led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game at the end of the 2012 season.

Smith is the only person with head coaching experience that the Chargers have requested to interview.