Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Should the Chargers fire Norv Turner?

Coach Norv Turner, a.k.a Freddy Krueger
As a Charger fan, 2-3 is definitely not where the Chargers expected to be.  Looking at the schedule, it looked like the Chargers should have started at 6-0.  A surprising loss at Kansas City was followed by brutal defeats at Seattle and Oakland, where the Chargers were plagued by special teams breakdowns and turnovers.  On the surface, Norv Turner, in his tenure in San Diego appears to be doing a great job.  His record in San Diego sits at 34-19, good enough for a .642 winning percentage.  However, every year the Chargers get off to terrible starts, only to rebound in the last month.  Could this be the trend once again in 2010?

Norv Turner has a great offensive mind, and that is apparent with what he has been able to do in San Diego.  Philip Rivers has developed into one of the best QB's in the league, and the Chargers are consistently one of the highest scoring offensive teams in the league.  2010 is no different, with the Chargers averaging 28 points a game, and Philip Rivers leading the league in passing yards.  Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates are 3rd and 4th in the NFL in receiving yards respectively, and the non-existent running game 2009, is much improved.  So the offense hasn't been the problem.

The Chargers have lost 3 games on special teams alone, a number that may rise if they don't fix it right away.  They allowed Dexter McCluster to take a punt back 95 yards in week one, Leon Washington to run back two TD's in week three, and spotted the Raiders 12 points with two blocked punts, that the Raiders cashed in on.  Later in the game, they also allowed a 46 yard punt return, which set up Oakland in Chargers territory.

Norv is now 2-3 for the 4th straight season.  That is an 8-12 record out of the gate, which is definitely uninspiring.  San Diego is notorious to rebound in December, only to piss away their momentum in the playoffs.  The Chargers play St. Louis on Sunday, then have a stretch against New England, Tennessee, Houston and Denver.  All tough games, and all ones that can be lost rather easily.  The Chargers have the talent to be a legitimate contender, but by the time they put everything together, it might be too late.  So ultimately we must ask ourselves:  Is Norv the right coach for this team?

I believe that Norv is a poor fit for this team.  The team has been undisciplined, committing several bonehead penalties in the Divisional Round loss to the Jets last season.  This season, the team has lost a fumble in each game, and has had critical turnovers in the red zone.  His passive demeanor has driven me, and other fans nuts.  He never seems to have the fire that you see in great coaches.  Norv Turner is a great offensive coordinator, but an average head coach at best.  The regular season record is somewhat deceiving, the Chargers have arguably been the most talented team in the NFL since 2004, yet have just one AFC title game appearance to show for it.  Firing Norv, and getting an upgrade at the Head Coach position would be the best thing for the Chargers going forward.  Oh, if it were only that easy.

Norv's daughter Stephanie
Coach Turner(or Freddy Krueger as I like to call him) just signed a contract extension in January, putting him under contract until the 2013 season.  There is absolutely no way that the Chargers eat all that money owed to him, in addition to having to pay a new coach.  So ultimately, Charger fans just need to hope and pray that Norv can get the Chargers back into contention.  They are only 1.5 games behind the Chiefs, so they are not buried by any means, but the Chargers need to stop the turnovers, and play sound football.  This team is too talented to be in the position that they are in.

On an unrelated note, Norv has surprisingly good DNA, take a look at his daughter.  At least he's done something right.

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