Phil McGeoghan knows how to coach wide receivers. Last year, he helped the Buffalo Bills reach their first playoff appearance in 18 years. In 2016 at East Carolina, he coached Zay Jones up to snatch an NCAA single-season record 158 catches. With the Miami Dolphins before that, he coached Jarvis Landry to a franchise-record 110 catches in 2015.
The new Los Angeles Chargers receivers coach obviously has tricks up his sleeve, but one tactic he’s developed might be the craziest of them all — Kali, a form of martial arts, focuses on fighting with sticks, swords and knives, and McGeoghan is teaching it to NFL wide receivers.
Hey, at this point, anything goes in the wild and wacky world of the NFL.
McGeoghan, who played wide receiver at the University of Maine, developed his own technique from the Filipino martial art for knife-fighting, which is helping his receivers break press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
“You’re protecting yourself from being stabbed,” McGeoghan said. “There are a lot more consequences there than when you’re releasing from the line of scrimmage. Fundamentally, the principles are simple — you want to control the wrist and protect your vitals.”
Working with NFL-caliber athletes, McGeoghan developed a set of gloves to protect himself while in Miami to help teach his players how to properly use the techniques and go full speed with him.
“The most important part was to protect myself from these unbelievable athletes, very strong players that will break your wrist,” he said. “If you give them the detail, a very small target on your wrist, they’ll do it.”
The MMA-inspired technique is helping McGeoghan shape pass catchers like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin into one of the NFL’s elite receiving corps.
They’re buying into their new coach’s enthusiasm for technique in the game of football.
“He’s energetic for sure,” 2017 Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen said. “He brings it every day — same guy.”
McGeoghan technique leans on the fact that he is a huge mixed martial arts fan, evidenced by UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Nunes beating the crap out of him at Chargers training camp.
The technique is crazy and unique, but something McGeoghan is doing works, and the results speak for themselves.
Time will tell if the Chargers can capitalize — a potent offense lead by Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon figures to supplement the fighting receivers in route to a big season.
The LA Chargers are one of the favorites to win the AFC West, the conference title, and potentially make a Super Bowl run in 2018.