After closing out the season in promising fashion with a 9-3 record over the final 12 games, the Los Angeles Chargers have opted for stability in the coaching ranks.
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Brandley are returning under new contracts, the team announced Tuesday. Bradley's new deal is for three years, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source close to the situation.
While Whisenhunt was expected to return for a third consecutive season after guiding his unit to a fourth-place finish in total offense, Bradley was drawing interest as a coaching free agent. Green Bay had requested permission to interview Bradley, while Seattle was reportedly interested in reuniting with the defensive guru who once served as Pete Carroll's top lieutenant.
The Packers are now targeting coach Mike Pettine and are closing in on a deal to hire the former Browns coach as Dom Capers' successor, Rapoport added, via a source involved in discussions. When the defensive coordinator carousel stops spinning, Rapoport expects the highly respected Vic Fangio to remain with the Bears under new coach Matt Nagy.
Why was Bradley in demand after one year under Anthony Lynn in Los Angeles? His defense allowed just 17.0 points per game, behind only the Vikings (15.8) and Jaguars (16.8). The Chargers also finished an impressive seventh in Football Outsiders' weighted metrics, boasting a dynamic pass rushing duo in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to complement a playmaking secondary.
Even though the Chargers lost out on a playoff berth due to tiebreakers, Lynn made it clear after the season that it was a priority to retain both coordinators.
"We'd like to keep this together if we can," Lynn explained. "I know some guys, the contracts are up. We're working on that right now. We're trying to keep this staff together, this nucleus together, because I think we got better as a coaching staff as the season went on.
"We hit some bumps there early, and midway through the season, but things are a lot smoother right now. I think we understand each other."