Ranking the 5 Best Candidates to Replace Norv Turner as Chargers HC

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIDecember 16, 2012

Ranking the 5 Best Candidates to Replace Norv Turner as Chargers HC

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    The San Diego Chargers' decision to part ways with general manager A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner at the end of the 2012 season was already made. However, Sunday's 31-7 home loss to the Carolina Panthers does little in the way of providing assurance that these changes will spur positive results in 2013.

    Widely considered one of the more talented teams in the NFL at the time, San Diego failed to capitalize on a window that saw the team win three AFC West titles to begin Turner's tenure.

    The organization will now spend the first part of the offseason finding replacements for Smith and Turner, with both likely to be very quick decisions.

    Here are five of the best candidates to take over the Chargers' head coaching job in 2013.

5. Sean Payton

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    With no contract in place with the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton is a free agent and the hottest name on the NFL head coaching market.

    Though it is difficult to envision Payton not in the Big Easy in 2013, one would imagine the San Diego Chargers to be a good fit if he lands somewhere else.

    New Orleans has struggled without its head man this season, so his presence on the sidelines comes with much impact. The Chargers could receive a similar boost with Payton leading the way.

4. Rex Ryan

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    New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan would bring an entirely different approach to the San Diego Chargers. Not only is he a fiery character, his defensive mind could signal a complete overhaul for the offensive-oriented squad.

    Though Ryan would need to be let go by the Jets to take another job, it might not take long to latch on with another organization if that happens.

    If Chargers owner Dean Spanos wants to make a huge statement to his team and the rest of the league, Ryan's name could begin to surface.

3. Andy Reid

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    Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid is in the midst of his worst season with the team—and it's not even close.

    The Eagles have already fired defensive coaches Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn. And as the team transitions into the Nick Foles era at quarterback, Reid could be next to go in Philly.

    Owner Jeffrey Lurie came into the 2012 season with an ultimatum for Reid, one that would not tolerate another 8-8 season. Best case is that the Eagles reach six wins, so, unless Lurie has a change of heart, Reid will be looking for another job in 2013.

    Though Reid's struggles are evident this season, he could provide the San Diego Chargers with their best bet of bringing in experience to their sidelines. Not to mention that his West Coast offense would be great for Philip Rivers.

2. Jay Gruden

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    With so many organizations potentially targeting new head coaches this offseason, current Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden could finally land a lead job after successful stints in both the NFL and AFL as an assistant.

    Known for his offensive mind, Gruden's work with the second-year quarterback-wide receiver combination of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green is why his name is so attractive around the league.

    Though there could be more appealing destinations, the Chargers could get Gruden on board if they show plenty of interest early on. Coupling him with Philip Rivers could spark San Diego's offense.

1. Chip Kelly

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    College football provides the NFL with one or two hot names for head coaches wanting to prove their worth on the grander stage. Look no further than Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks as the offseason approaches.

    Kelly's personal style is a radical contrast to that of current San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner.

    While Turner's stoic approach may exude a sense of calm, it is exactly what has held this team back during his tenure. Quarterback Philip Rivers could find his former self with Kelly's energy on the sidelines.

     

    Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.