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AFC West

Chargers Land Pep Hamilton as QB Coach

Pep Hamilton. Photo by MGoBlog. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The “Pep talks” with QBs will be back in the NFL as the Los Angeles Chargers hired Pep Hamilton on April 29th.

After four seasons, Shane Steichen has been promoted to offensive coordinator, and Pep Hamilton will fill his former role. Pep Hamilton has had a long journey as a coach in football, with his most recent stint being with the XFL. Unfortunately, Pep’s first head coaching job was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re currently facing. During the season, Pep and the DC Defenders had a hot start as they dominated the competition with a 2-0 start which included the first 2 wins being milestones: securing the 1st win in the modern XFL, with the 2nd win being the first shutout. Even though the team didn’t end the season on a good note, Pep displayed that he could lead a group of men.

Before the XFL, Pep had been coaching in the NFL and NCAA throughout his career. He started at his alma mater Howard University being the quarterbacks coach, and finished his last two years there as offensive coordinator. From that point on, he has coached quarterbacks like Chad Pennington, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Cody Kessler, and Andrew Luck. At Stanford, Pep was able to groom the former great Luck and help turn him into a Heisman runner up and soon to be #1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. In 2013, Pep and Luck reunited on the Indianapolis Colts and continued to excel together as Luck established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league at that time.

There’s a hate and love feeling with Hamilton being the new QB coach with skeptics wondering why he has bounced around so much. He has been coaching for over 20 years, but his longest tenure as a coach on a team is 3 years. Even in his last stint, Cardale started out great, but he ended up being benched at one point during the DC Defenders’ season. Pep’s resume’ includes improving Pennington’s game, tried to create a baseline threshold of play for Alex Smith, improved Jay Cutler’s game, hit his strides with Luck, suffered through a disappointing 1-15 with Kessler, a marginal run with the QB fiasco of the University of Michigan, and an up and down run with Cardale Jones. It’s safe to say that he’s had a roller coaster of a career which will definitely create a bit of pause.

The Los Angeles Chargers have brought in Pep for one reason, and that is to help mold Herbert into something special. Justin Herbert is a QB with a lot of ceiling, and Pep may be the guy to seize his potential. Pep’s bread and butter has been using his tight ends and implementing a strict timing component into the offense. He wants the defense to assume it’s going to be short routes and quick passes, but next thing you know, somebody is going deep for a 60 yard pass. The Chargers are most likely going to have Tyrod Tayor run the show first, but hopefully once Herbert gets his chance he will have plethora of weapons for his use. Don’t be surprised to see Pep turn this already loaded offense into something similar to what he helped create with Indianapolis Colts and Stanford.

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