ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Last season, Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator for the Broncos. Now he's the head coach for the division-rival Chargers and Sunday will mark the first time that McCoy will face his old team.
McCoy came to Denver in 2009 as the offensive coordinator after spending nine seasons in Carolina. Current Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase also joined the Broncos in 2009 – then as the wide receivers coach – making this his first season in Denver not working with McCoy.
"It will be (an) interesting deal," Gase said. "It will odd seeing him on the other sideline. (This is the) first time in four years that we haven't worked together. I know it doesn't seem like a long time to other people, but when you're together every day for four straight years it's a different feeling."
From their time together in Denver, Gase said that he learned about game preparing from the former offensive coordinator.
"I think that's the most important thing that I've learned from him is just that constant preparation – the way he called the game he did a really good job of getting the play calling quickly and letting the quarterback do his job," Gase said.
That familiarity between the Broncos and their opponent's head coach could work both ways.
Quarterback Peyton Manning, who said he is "indebted and grateful" to McCoy for helping ease his transition to Denver, called the knowledge of the Broncos the former offensive coordinator brings with him to the matchup is "just part of football."
"Obviously divisional opponents know each other well and then you add in their head coach was formerly our offensive coordinator, so he does have that," Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said. "I think we both know a lot about each other. I think from that standpoint it's a little bit of a wash. Certainly we have a lot of respect for what he's doing there now, and the challenges that are in front of us."
Adapting to Change
With Head Coach John Fox away and Jack Del Rio filling in as interim head coach/defensive coordinator, Gase said that their process hasn't seen much change.
"It's very similar to how we were kind of operating before the only difference is I was able to go to Coach Fox quite a bit because he'd be watching all three phases," he said.
Gase said that he's already had conversations with Del Rio about the plan for this weekend so that Del Rio could ask questions and "run some things by" him. That process is not too dissimilar from the one Gase would go through with Fox.
"Coach Fox and myself and some of the other coaches, we'd always be walking back down from the hall and asking questions and 'How would you handle this?' and it was always a great line of communication there between offense and the head coach there."
An Improving Chargers' Defense
The Chargers have held two of their last three opponents to less than 10 points and twice this season they have held opponents under 300 net yards – both times coming in their last four games.
After having just one interception in their first five games, the Chargers have picked off three passes in the last three games.
The Chargers are playing some of the best defense they've played all season and they've claimed two wins in their last three games, with the only loss coming in overtime.
"They've made some big strides - big improvements," Gase said. "I think they haven't let up a touchdown pass in the last three games and their secondary is getting better and that pass rush it's getting better. They're going to be a challenge for us. Coming off a bye for us, we got to be clicking on all cylinders."