Ending what has been a tumultuous tenure with the club, the San Diego Chargers will fire head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith at the conclusion of the 2012 season, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Sources said this week that Chargers President Dean Spanos essentially decided at least a month ago that Turner’s time was drawing to a rapid close. Spanos, sources said, has more recently resigned himself to the fact that Smith can’t be kept in the current environment of plummeting performance and fan unrest.
UPDATE: Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:55 p.m. by Tyler Conway
Chargers president Dean Spanos has weighed in with a statement about Turner and Smith's imminent firing. Here is what Spanos had to say, per the team's official website:
There is only one person in this organization who will make those decisions and that’s me, and I haven’t shared my thoughts with anyone. I will make my evaluations at the end of the season. Anything coming out now – from sources or otherwise – is pure speculation.
---End of Update---
Though word leaking now likely wasn’t what the team had in mind, the move will come as little surprise to most, as the 2012 campaign has been a massive disappointment in San Diego. Expected to compete for an AFC West crown, the Chargers are 4-8 coming into Week 14 and have lost seven out of their last eight games.
Turner's departure will end a six-year run with the team, where he’s had some notable successes. In his third head coaching job, Turner led San Diego to three division championships and even took the club to the 2007 AFC Championship Game.
Smith, meanwhile, has been with the organization for much of his career and worked his way up through the ranks to become the general manager in 2003. While at the helm, the Chargers have not had a losing record, though that is almost certain to change this season.
Despite strong resumes on both sides, Smith and Turner have come under scorn in recent years due to questionable personnel and on-field decisions.
For Turner, it mostly pertained to his clock management and play calling, as the Chargers slowly regressed from one of the NFL’s best offenses all the way to 26th this season. Smith has been responsible for bringing in the talent, so it stands to reason that both men are at fault for the team’s fall from grace.
With the slate wiped clean, look for the Chargers to go after a name that will appease their unsatisfied fanbase in the offseason. All things considered, though, fans will likely just be happy to have someone different running the show.