Many factors can be attributed to the New York Jets' upset over the San Diego Chargers this past weekend. Could have been that Philip Rivers didn't play his finest game. Maybe Nate Kaeding's trio of shanks could be to blame. But I feel the finger should be pointed at Chargers' head coach Norv Turner.
As a 49ers fan I have witnessed Norv's excellent coordinating abilities, but he is just that, a coordinator. He has proven time and time again that he can not handle the task of making the tough decisions of an NFL head coach. This was most evident on Sunday.
Any casual football fan could have told you that the Jets are stout against the run and that the Bolts' strength is airing it out to their lengthy receivers (average starting receiver height 6'5"). Yet Norv insisted in running the ball at the Jets early in the game and that was his fatal mistake.
They gave the ball to running back LaDanian Tomlinson early and often on 1st and 2nd down. But the Jets would have none of it, holding LT to 2.0 yards per carry, constantly leaving San Diego in 3rd and long situations.
Now I know LT was one of the greatest running backs of the past decade (emphasis on WAS), but he obviously isn't the back he used to be. You can even argue that he isn't even the best running back on his own team anymore. This has become Philip Rivers' team and LT is just a cog in that system. But Turner and the Chargers seemed persistent on getting LT the ball for some reason.
They had every opportunity during the first half to close out the game because the Jets offense was stagnant. But Turner's conservative game plan kept points off the board and gave the Jets hope in the second half.
When he finally realized that the path to success resided in Philip Rivers' arm, it was too little too late because the Jets' offense had regained confidence. Shonn Greene's 53 yard touchdown scamper in the 4th quarter might as well have been the dagger in the Chargers' heart.
In football, and playoffs in particular, you have to play to your strengths and the opponents weaknesses. Norv Turner must have missed the memo. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this costs him his job.
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