As the addresses and assignments and playbooks change, Mike McCoy is forced to be the ultimate adapter.
The former coach of the Chargers, now the attack coordinator of the Cardinals, notices that he has cleared the last one and embraces the following. Again. He is an agile NFL nomad who bounces in succession from machine guns from San Diego to Denver to Arizona.
Three seasons. Three teams.
It was a trial rate of pro-football whirlwinds, weathered back-to-back-to-back.
"It has certainly been an interesting few years," McCoy said by telephone Thursday, 72 hours before the Cardinals' match against the Rams at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. "As a head coach or coach, it is a production company, so you understand that you are going."
McCoy, 46, complains the finish in San Diego – a place that still calls his wife home when their son finishes high school. He came on the high-scoring heels of a sparkling season as an attacking coordinator for the Broncos, who rolled over to a dominating division title in the AFC West.
In McCoy & # 39; s first season with the Chargers in 2013, the team reached the playoffs – the only time in the last eight seasons the franchise qualified for the postseason & # 39; A wild-card victory over Cincinnati added to the lingering promise.
A playoff-misser in 2014, despite another record of 9-7, led to a free fall … 4-12 in 2015, then 5-11 a season later. The run was characterized by close-misses, debilitating injuries and terrible performance on special teams.
McCoy was fired after he turned 27-37, with too many what-ifs to count.
"Because of the career, the ups and downs, that's just doing business," McCoy said. "Things happen for reasons, you do not always understand why, you just go with the flow of things.
"… We did not have success at the end there, the last couple of years in San Diego, so you go on to the next one."
When asked if he got a fair chance in San Diego, given the complex tangle of injuries, near-misses and distractions in connection with the dark cloud of moving, McCoy chose gratitude for the sharpening.
"I will say this, I give the staff and the players we had, those guys worked their tail every day," he said. "No matter how hard the last two years were, I think everyone knows, the way we played, the way the boys turned up every day, the way they worked, I can not thank all those people enough.
"It was a very difficult situation, the last two years of the Carson conversation, and then there was the mood and all those things.As players and coaches we went about our business.
"Unfortunately, we have not won enough games."
There is little doubt McCoy, a self-described hurting fellow, struggled with the learning curve in the other phases of the game during his first appearance as the man who controlled the fate of a franchise.
There are also plenty of arguments that McCoy has been confronted with almost no one in recent NFL history.
The non-stop chaos of the stadium debate and the eventual move to Los Angeles undoubtedly affected the overall operation in subtle and some less-than-subtle ways. And he was sacked last season as an attacking coordinator in Denver after 10 games due to criticism of passes, despite a lack of legitimate tools to fit.
The Broncos, 3-7 when McCoy left, lost four of their last six games. No quarterback under the blatant attempts to get answers – Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch – threw for more than 254 yards. In four of those games no one finished more than 200 meters.
For the context, Case Keenum opened this season with 329 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Seattle. Keenum has a career quota of 85.9. The trio of last season is all in the years & # 39; 70.
That is no excuse, only recognition of the unique backgrounds that McCoy had in his last stops.
Of more immediate concern is the offensive egg that the cardinals delivered in week 1. Arizona dropped to Washington 24-6, stacked only 213 yards, and converted only 12 percent of the chances to third and ran only 14 first half games with one kneeling down.
One game hardly makes an NFL season, but it is clear that McCoy will now have to show what he can do with legitimate tools (David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Sam Bradford) and without off-the-field sound.
"In the NFL you have to have a short memory," McCoy told the media in Arizona. "You go for a week at a time."
If time permits, McCoy takes a look at the Chargers. He regards Philip Rivers as a friend and sees him regularly in the off-season, because their families stay in the same neighborhood.
McCoy texted to congratulations and support to Antonio Gates when he recently re-signed with the chargers.
If there is a bad will, McCoy has also clearly left it in San Diego.
I actually got a photo of Philip at my office, who walked out of the locker room, & # 39; said McCoy. "The big sense in the locker room (on the photo) was" Hard, Tough and Together. "These are two of the best ever to have played the game.
"The best thing about those two guys, they're still better people, what they do to help their teammates be successful is unparalleled, the kind of guys they are, they have a burning desire to be big, that's why they're that too. "
Will McCoy again be a head coach, know the landmines of special teams and special circumstances?
"I would like to become a head coach again, but I am very happy with where I am now," he said.
So for now the shuffling continues. It is a different city, a different playbook and another chance. Come to the Coliseum on Sunday, it's a game again.