As a San Diego Chargers fan I am devastated today. I've had to deal with five years of mediocrity brought on by the four most sickening words in professional sports: head coach Norv Turner. I thought maybe, finally, things would be different this year. After years of dealing with disappointment, there was no way Turner could keep his job after a team with Super Bowl aspirations finished 8-8.
Apparently Chargers' ownership doesn't agree with me, as the team announced today that the marble-mouthed head coach would be back next season along with less-than-amiable general manager A.J. Smith. While I can understand retaining Smith because of his eye for talent and the fact that several injuries caused the Chargers to suffer serious depth problems this year, bringing back Turner is just flat-out unacceptable. And frankly, Smith is the guy who inexplicably gave Turner a three-year contract extension in 2010. He should be ousted for that reason alone.
For the second-straight season, San Diego was hyped as one of the top contenders in the AFC. And why wouldn't the Bolts be? They returned a wealth of talent on offense and looked as if they had actually improved a defense that ranked first in the NFL in yards allowed last season. Only an idiot could fail to lead that roster to the playoffs. Enter Norv Turner.
For five years Turner's teams have been undisciplined, uninspired and poorly coached. It has been evident in everything they've done. Under Turner the Chargers typically suffer a long losing streak because there is no urgency or fire apparent in their performance, then late in the season they realize they're in danger of missing the playoffs and turn things relatively strongly.
Clearly Turner is not a good motivator. Someone needs to kick the Chargers in the butt and get them playing hard all the time.
Aside from his deficiencies in influencing his team's attitude, Turner has also turned San Diego from a smash-mouth running team into a soft passing team. It seems as if roughly 80 percent of the Chargers' plays are run out of the shotgun, which makes running the ball much more difficult.
Philip Rivers and the Bolts work best when pounding the ball out of the I-formation, then using play-action passing to go downfield to the team's tall, playmaking wide receivers or hitting future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates over the middle. This shotgun all the time stuff has only proceeded in almost getting Rivers killed.
When you can watch a team on television and know exactly what plays they will run based only on which formation they are in, it means that squad has a horrible offensive play-caller. Turner calls all of San Diego's plays.
Aside from the fact that he is a heck of a nice guy, there is nothing redeeming about Turner as an NFL head coach. After five years at the head of the Chargers everyone but San Diego's ownership seems to have realized that.
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