Norv Turner: Areas Where Chargers Coach Must Improve over Season's Final Stretch
Turner is in his 15th season as a head coach at football's highest level, but is just 111-119 since he began his head coaching career in 1994. And after leading the Chargers to the playoffs in his first three seasons in San Diego, Turner and the Bolts are on schedule to miss the postseason for a third straight season in 2012.
The Chargers are in shambles right now having dropped two in a row and six of their last eight overall. But there are still games to be played, and many areas where Turner can improve his football team before San Diego is hit with another early offseason.
Let's take a look at the biggest areas Turner must strive to improve over the final stretch of 2012.
Shore Up the Secondary
Through 10 games this season, the Chargers rank 19th in the NFL in most passing yards allowed per game (236), and are tied for 25th in the league in least passing touchdowns allowed (19).
Turner is going to need to tighten up his defensive secondary quick and in a hurry with San Diego set to host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12 and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 before traveling to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers in Week 14. All three AFC North opponents are .500 or above and all three can air the ball out.
The key for Turner shoring up his last line of defense over the final six weeks is to develop a way to get more pressure on the opposing quarterback. Only four teams in the NFL this season have fewer sacks than San Diego through 11 weeks.
Spark the Running Game
Turner's Bolts have become one-dimensional this fall, making life easy for opposing defenses and challenging for his quarterback, Philip Rivers.
Offensive success and winning in the NFL requires balance, and San Diego is in desperate need of a threatening ground attack to provide its offense with more. The Chargers rank 22nd in the league this season in rushing yards per game (100.3) and are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for fifth in least rushing touchdowns (four).
In their most recent loss to the Denver Broncos, the Chargers rushed for just 53 yards on 23 attempts. Although San Diego hasn't been dreadful in terms of yardage on the ground every week, it poses no threat to beat defenses. San Diego's leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, has one touchdown and is averaging just 4.1 yards per carry this season.
If you're offense is built to thrive through the passing game, that's fine, but the passing game better be firing on all cylinders, otherwise 4-6 is the best you can hope for.
Preach Ball Security
It's no secret that the Chargers have been sloppy and careless with the football for most of the season. San Diego has a minus-3 turnover differential through 10 games and a losing record to show for it.
What really stings is that the Bolts are tied for third in the AFC in most takeaways as a defense in 2012, with only New England and Baltimore having forced more. Unfortunately, Turner's club has given the ball away 22 times in 10 games. Only the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles have turned the ball over more than the Chargers this season.
This tweet from FOX Sports radio host Peter Burns pretty much sums it up:
You can't spell Norv Turner without the word turnover. #Scrabble— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsRadio) November 18, 2012
In all seriousness though, Turner has to preach ball security and smart decision-making until his voice gives out. The Chargers are not just losing games this season, but giving them away, and that doesn't bode well for Turner's future in San Diego.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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