With training camp under way for the San Diego Chargers, questions are swirling about the team.
Will they win the division? Will they collapse once again? Can Norv Turner get this team to buy in?
These are questions that will circulate around the Bolts as they begin their 2012 campaign against the Oakland Raiders on the road. However, one question has already been answered.
Is Norv Turner on the hot seat?
Here are some reasons why.
Like many football fans I believed that both Norv Turner and AJ Smith were going to be fired following the disappointing season in 2011. There were many different variables that contributed to the lackluster performance that the Chargers had last year.
Norv Turner took a lot of heat for last year’s team and he should have. The talent on the roster was better than the 8-8 record they showed, and when teams under-perform it is always the coach’s fault.
A.J. Smith responded to this criticism by having a great offseason.
He filled holes on the offensive line and at outside linebacker. He also brought in veteran help at running back. He did lose Vincent Jackson, but responded nicely with the signings of Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem.
A.J. Smith has done his job. He has given Turner a team that is capable of winning football games and they should be contenders to win the AFC West. It is now Turner's job to take this team and mold them into a squad that performs up to their potential. This is something that has never happened in the Norv Turner era.
If Turner cannot turn this roster into a playoff team, then he must go.
Not only is Antonio Gates healthy for the first time since 2009, the whole Charger squad is healthy. How long that will last is a mystery that we will have to wait and watch unfold, but Gates coming into camp healthy is extremely important for the Chargers and Norv Turner.
When Gates is healthy, he is one of the best players in the entire game. His ability to separate away from linebackers and out-physical smaller corner backs and safeties makes him a matchup problem for every defensive coordinator.
Norv Turner is an offensive guru and has the ability to use his systems to take over games. With Gates in the mix, the Chargers have the missing part of their offense that they have been looking for. Gates makes every player on the offense better and his coach’s job much easier.
If Turner cannot make an offense explosive with a playmaker such as Gates in the lineup, then he should not be a coach in the NFL.
There comes a time in every coach’s career where they either can get the job done or they can’t. For Norv Turner, 2012 will be his last chance to show that he can get the job done. He has been given too many chances, and now he may face his biggest test.
The entire AFC West improved this offseason and it will take a better record than just 8-8 to win the division title. The Chargers must play a full season of football in 2012.
They cannot afford to take weeks off like they have throughout the Norv Turner era. If they do this, they will miss the playoffs and, as the players clean out their lockers, Turner will be left clearing out his office.
It time for the Turner to prove to every one of his critics that he can get the job done and finally take the Chargers back to the playoffs, something he did in his first three years with the team.
If he fails to put the Chargers into the playoffs, Norv Turner will be gone.
To say Norv Turner's seat is hot is an understatement. It’s blistering.