There is no other way to go about it, Norv Turner is firmly entrenched on the hot seat. Heck, his bottom side should have third degree burns by now. Many had figured that Turner would be out of a job following a disastrous 2011 performance that saw the San Diego Chargers finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs in a division without a team possessing a record over .500.
How does that happen when you have a myriad of different talented players on both sides of the ball? How does a team that had won 13 games just a few seasons earlier fall like this so quickly?
It goes without saying coaching is a factor here.
Following its embarrassing 7-6 loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns on Sunday, speculation started to heat up again that Turner would be ousted in short order.
San Diego then had to take on one of the worst teams in the NFL in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs last night on a short week.
The Chargers came out firing on all cylinders, scoring an early touchdown and taking control of the game quickly. They played damn good football for four quarters against the worst team in the National Football League. In reality, it was probably San Diego's finest all-around performance of the season.
This will save Turner's job for one more week, but the hot seat isn't going away any time soon. San Diego doesn't just need to make the playoffs this season—it needs to go deep into January in order for the embattled head coach to keep his job.
I just don't see the Chargers being consistent enough to outlast the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning in the AFC West. Another 8-8 or 9-7 season, which seems likely at this point, will end Turner's tenure in Southern California.
All the blame cannot be placed on the shoulders of Turner. When looking at player personnel moves, the lack of team chemistry and the performances we have seen over the last 40 games, it is important to take a look at San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, too.
With that in mind, Yahoo's Mike Silver brought up a great point as it relates to the Chargers prior to Thursday night.
If ever a general manager and coach should be joined at the hip, Smith and Turner are those people. The notion that Turner might get torpedoed even a day earlier than his GM is a complete injustice. If anything, I could make an argument that Smith should be the first to go, and that Turner should get another eight games to try to coach his way out of this mess.
Bravo, Mr. Silver. Yes, the head coach and general manager are "joined at the hip." If Turner is fired later in the season or in the offseason, Smith should follow suit. It is pretty obvious at this point that San Diego doesn't have a championship-level roster and that blame should go to the front office, not the head coach.
Barring dramatic improvements and a deep run into the postseason, look for San Diego to clean house in the offseason. Additionally, if the Chargers are out of the playoff race late in the season there stands a chance that both Turner and Smith will be out of jobs before the regular year ends.