The Los Angeles Chargers made the best hire of the 2024 NFL coaching carousel by landing Michigan Wolverines’ Jim Harbaugh. Landing one of the best coaches in football provides immediate stability and hope for the franchise moving forward, but now it’s time to find a Chargers offensive coordinator.
Harbaugh would love to have offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore follow him to Los Angeles, but Moore is poised to become the next Michigan football coach. With the top option off the board, Harbaugh will likely prioritize NFL experience and familiarity for his Chargers coaching staff in 2024.
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Let’s dive into our Chargers offensive coordinator candidates for the 2024 season.
Top Los Angeles Chargers Offensive Coordinator Candidates
Greg Roman, former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator
Harbaugh will target coaches he knows he can work with and being hired ahead of a general manager means he’ll have total control over this new coaching staff. For Los Angeles, that means it is extremely likely that Greg Roman will be joining the team in some role.
Roman, 52 in August, was the AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2019 after his system helped Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson win MVP. While the Ravens did part ways with Roman after the 2022 season and Jackson is now poised to win an MVP without him, Roman was still productive as a play-caller.
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As the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, Roman had a top-10 offense in 2013 and about a league-average offense in his three other seasons. He also had a two-year stint with the Buffalo Bills, before Josh Allen’s arrival. While Roman isn’t necessarily the best option as offensive coordinator for the Chargers, his experience and familiarity with Harbaugh’s team culture make him a strong bet to join the staff in some role.
Tanner Engstrand, Detroit Lions pass game coordinator
Tanner Engstrand isn’t among the most popular NFL coaching candidates, but it won’t be long before he’s a well-known name. Harbaugh demonstrated at Michigan that he’s willing to take a chance on bright, young coaches. Not only does Engstrand check off that box, but he’s also worked with Harbaugh previously.
Engstrand, a native of Southern California, started his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the University of San Diego in 2005 and he coached there through the 2017 season. Harbaugh, San Diego’s coach from 2004-’06, spent two seasons with Engstrand. The young up-and-comer climbed the ladder in San Diego, working his way up from graduate assistant to offensive coordinator and QBs coach (2011-’17).
After spending more than a decade in San Diego, he joined Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan as an offensive analyst. He turned that job into a stint as the DC Defenders offensive coordinator in 2020 before joining the Detroit Lions as an assistant (2021) and then passing game coordinator (2022-’23).
Lions’ passing game coordinator is the same role Ben Johnson filled in 2021. Engstrand has been learning from Johnson, working one-on-one with him on Detroit’s passing game and mastering the art of making a game plan. While it would be a jump to make him the Chargers offensive coordinator, Harbaugh’s trust is all that matters.
Pep Hamilton, former Houston Texans offensive coordinator
As previously mentioned, we’re focused on Chargers offensive coordinator candidates whom Harbaugh knows well. While he might go outside his direct coaching pipeline for smaller roles on the offensive staff, it seems inevitable that the offensive coordinator for Los Angeles in 2024 will be a trusted confidant.
Pep Hamilton is an intriguing option. While he was out of the NFL in 2023, he did excellent work as the DC Defenders head coach in 2020, the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach immediately after and he even got more out of the Houston Texans offense than anyone predicted. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills, a third-round pick, posted an 88.8 QB rating with Hamilton’s help despite playing on the least-talented offense in the NFL.
Before his recent NFL work, Hamilton worked with Harbaugh as Michigan’s assistant head coach and passing game coordinator from 2017-’18. Let’s also not forget that Justin Herbert raved about how important Hamilton was to his success as a rookie.
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David Shaw, former Stanford Cardinal head coach
There likely aren’t many coaches Jim Harbaugh has more respect for than David Shaw. We’d also highlight Shaw as one of the likeliest options to become the next Chargers offensive coordinator, especially since he was brought in for an interview shortly before Los Angeles hired Harbaugh.
Shaw and Harbaugh first started working together in San Diego. In 2006, Harbaugh targeted the Baltimore Ravens wide receivers coach to join his staff. He coached the Toreros’ wide receivers and assisted Harbaugh as San Diego’s passing game coordinator. When Stanford stepped in and landed Harbaugh, he immediately hired Shaw as his offensive coordinator.
The Southern California native held that little from 2007-’10, also coaching Stanford’s wide receivers (2007-’09) and running backs (2010). When Harbaugh left for the NFL, Stanford wasted little time promoting Shaw to replace him and he helped the Cardinal maintain their excellence for several years.
While Shaw hasn’t worked on an NFL coaching staff since 2005, he operated in a variety of roles at the highest level from 1997-’05. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Harbaugh names Shaw his offensive coordinator with Greg Roman and Pep Hamilton joining the Chargers coaching staff in other roles.