Did the Chargers Waste Philip Rivers' Prime by Keeping Norv Turner Around?

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IOctober 18, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner talks with quarterback Philip Rivers #17 against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Philip Rivers has been one of the NFL's top quarterbacks since 2006, but his abilities are clearly beginning to decline. This leads me to wonder if the San Diego Chargers ruined Rivers' chance to become a champion with Norv Turner as the team's head coach.

Turner took over for legendary head coach Marty Schottenheimer, who was axed after 2006, even though he led the Chargers to a 14-2 record in the regular season. There are many different interpretations as to why Schottenheimer was fired, but in the end, it doesn't matter.

After Schottey left, the franchise signed Turner when he failed to land the gig as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and the rest is history. 

The Chargers' 35-24 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 6 was a microcosm of Turner's entire reign as the team's head coach. Leading by a score of 24-0 at halftime, the team came out flat in the second half.

This was at least in part due to the team's game plan, which reeked of the dreaded "play not to lose" philosophy and did not allow the Chargers to legitimately attack the Broncos' weaknesses. All the things that got them the massive lead were abandoned, as Turner predictably allowed the Broncos to get back into the game.

At least Turner accepted the blame, per the Union-Times, saying, "No, If you want to make this about somebody, it's not about one of the guys in there. Make it about me."

The Chargers have repeatedly been pushed around at the most crucial times since Turner's arrival. There's absolutely no toughness to this team, and given Rivers' insanely competitive nature, it's got to be driving him bonkers to see his team fold up when games are on the line. 

Attitude reflects leadership, and anyone who has watched Turner's teams consistently fold under pressure eventually comes to the one conclusion: Turner is just soft, and the teams he coaches are soft, too. 

The Chargers always come up short when it matters most, and given the talent this team has possessed under Turner's reign, there's no good excuse. 

It's time for a change; otherwise Rivers' incredible talent is going to go to waste—if it hasn't already. 


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