San Diego Chargers on Verge of Fast Start, but Is Norv Turner's Job on the Line?

Jay BrownContributor ISeptember 27, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA-- The San Diego Chargers could possibly find themselves in a different situation than they have in years past: with a winning record after five weeks of football.

That's right, Chargers fans. With a win against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, the San Diego Chargers will be off to their best start during the Norv Turner era.

Since Turner became head coach in 2007, the Chargers have started each season during his tenure with a 2-3 record after five weeks of football in what have become well known as "Norv's slow starts."

I believe the Chargers' chance of winning a Super Bowl championship in San Diego (should they decide to stay) have slowly started to slip away.

Case in point: the Chargers' last two games against the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.

Both of those games were marred by poor play calling, poor playmaking decisions and, ultimately, poor coaching.

Do you happen to know the name of the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator without Googling it?

I do.

Clarence Shelmon.

Shelmon was previously the Chargers running backs coach from 2002-2006 before his promotion to offensive coordinator.

Can you count on your fingers and toes how many times the offensive coordinator of the Chargers has actually called a single play?

Probably none.

Do you happen to know who calls all of the offensive plays for the San Diego Chargers?

You guessed it: Chargers head coach Norv Turner.

As it well known, by Chargers fans and fans throughout the NFL, Turner is an amazing and brilliant offensive coordinator, but an incredibly lousy head coach.

Turner was the offensive coordinator for a Dallas Cowboys team that would win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993. He was given plenty of credit for the success of the Cowboys offense and being instrumental in molding Troy Aikman into a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Now onto his head coaching career.

In seven seasons as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Turner accumulated three winning seasons and one playoff appearance (a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). He was fired midway through the 2000 season.

In 2004, Turner took another shot at being a head coach, this time with the Oakland Raiders. He led the Raiders to back-to-back disappointing seasons—5-11 in 2004 and 4-12 in 2005. He was abruptly fired by the man who made white track suits and short coaching stints popular, Al Davis.

With Marty Schottenheimer having been let go by Chargers CEO and president Dean Spanos after clashing over personnel and staffing decisions with general manager A.J. Smith following the 2006 season, Turner was hired as the 14th head coach in franchise history.

Turner inherited a Chargers team loaded with talented players and coming off the single-best season in team history, finishing the 2006 season 14-2 and claiming its second AFC West title in three seasons.

However, the start of the 2007 season didn't go as anticipated.

The Chargers began the season 2-3, yet finished strong (11-5) and collected their second straight AFC West title.

The 2008 season began the same way, 2-3, but the Chargers finished 8-8 and, by the grace of the football gods, won the AFC West for the third straight season.

2009 would be no different as the previous two seasons. A slow 2-3 start, but another strong finish on the heels of a 10-game winning streak gave the Chargers' their fourth straight AFC West title.

Ask yourself this: Do you see a pattern developing here?

I sure do.

Take a wild guess at how the San Diego Chargers started the 2010 season—2-3.

However, there was no impressive winning streak to save the season and the chance of a postseason run at the Super Bowl.

For the first time in four seasons, the Chargers found themselves being a bridesmaid instead of the bride, despite finishing the 2010 season with a winning record (9-7).

Now, what happens from here?

"The biggest issue for me right now, with our entire football team, is that we have a tough time getting in sync, playing the entire game in the type of rhythm we'd like," Turner said at Sunday's post-game press conference.

"The most important thing to me is that I told our team is that we get the win as we are working through that," he said. 

"We just don't have the rhythm we would like right now."

The Chargers still control their own destiny, though it doesn't get much easier from here if they continue playing the way they have been.

There are a couple of teams the Chargers play towards the end of the season that have started the season quite impressively. To be more specific, the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions.

Either one of those teams could possibly spoil any ideas the Chargers have about claiming another AFC West title and making the playoffs.

The bottom line is that Norv Turner is going to need to step up and showcase the potential this team still has, or he may find himself looking for another offensive coordinator position instead of a head coach position.


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