Turner, Rivera, Joiner Likely to Get Attention as Chargers Season Progresses

Glenn CravensContributor IMay 29, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 21: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers talks with coach Norv Turner against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Two, maybe three men on the San Diego Chargers coaching staff will probably get the most attention this season on the sidelines. Two will probably expect it while it might come as a surprise to the third.

Head coach Norv Turner runs the show, having been there the past two seasons. They've broken ground in the playoffs, having won at least one game each of the trips there under Turner.

I'm sure dissenters will point to his lack of success. But why? That time is over. Did everyone forget that he helped the Dallas Cowboys win two Super Bowl championships as offensive coordinator? Did everyone forget all of the players that have improved or seen a resurgence under Turner?

There's plenty of people that owe Turner a lot of credit. Troy Aikman is one of them, having been on those two Dallas championship teams. Kerry Collins' passing yards improved in the two years he was with Oakland because of Turner's leadership.

How about Alex Smith over in San Francisco? If it weren't for Turner, people would be talking about Smith easily being the greatest bust of all time. But because of Turner, Smith had a season that will be highlighted on the back of his football card (and it probably will be the only one).

All of those quarterbacks have to credit Turner in one form or another, because Turner has climbed the ranks. The coach was a quarterback at Oregon, where he graduated in 1975. He became the quarterbacks coach at USC in 1981, then becoming offensive coordinator in 1984.

There's a lot of success under Turner's belt, and considering how the rest of the AFC West is set up, there's a good chance Turner will add to that this season with a division title and a deep run in the playoffs.

He'll likely get some help with a defense led by coordinator Ron Rivera.

Rivera will try to improve on a defense that was nowhere near its top-10 status. And if the players don't think Rivera has knowledge, they better think again. Rivera was on the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears as a linebacker; yeah, those '85 bears that went 15-1 and dominated the Patriots in the title bout.

While at Philadelphia as a linebackers coach, he helped Jeremiah Trotter reach Pro Bowl status. Rivera joined the Chargers in 2007 and was bumped to defensive coordinator during last season. He might get a lot of attention because of the draft acquisitions and the return of Shawne Merriman.

Plus, he's been considered a candidate for a head coaching job at several locations. Having lived in the same area as him (the Monterey Bay), I hope he gets a head coaching job eventually. Perhaps a Super Bowl ring with the Chargers will get him over the top.

If the wide receivers get any love this season look toward Charlie Joiner as the catalyst. The wide receivers coach is a 1996 Hall of Famer. Having been with the team one full season, his style should continue to seep into the receivers' minds.

Joiner has some history with San Diego, having been a part of The Epic In Miami, where he helped the Chargers beat Miami in the 1981-82 playoffs.

So, if the receivers have big seasons, I don't think Joiner will be blinded by all of the lights that will come his way praising the improvement.