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Which brings us to the number one problem: Norv Turner.
In that previous article, I stated I believed Turner had the ability to learn from his mistakes. Apparently I was wrong.
From poor team preparation to inexcusable clock management to scratch-your-head stupid ways to lose games, nothing has gotten better. Everything Turner’s critics said about him when he took over five years ago has come true. Turner’s Chargers are seldom prepared to play their best football at the beginning of the season or at the beginning of a game. They are unfocused and lack discipline. (They are currently tied for 10th in the league in penalties, and in the past three games, all losses, they have been flagged 33 times, more than any team not based in Oakland.)
They are also prone to stupid, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot mistakes. And when they do somehow manage to miss putting a smoking bullet hole in their cleats, they hit the field with the cohesion of a team assembled out in the parking lot just prior to kickoff and assigned positions on a play-by-play basis.
The Chargers became very efficient under previous coach Marty Schottenheimer. They ran off records of 12-4, 9-7, and 14-2 in his last three years at the helm for a winning percentage of .729. Right now, for all his celebrated success, Turner has a winning percentage with the Chargers of .625. Apples to oranges, you say. I’m cherry-picking Schottenheimer’s three best years?
Well, Schottenheimer’s overall record with the Chargers was 47-33. Turner has to finish the season at 6-10 just to equal that record, and at this point, that is not a given. But the big difference here is Schottenheimer took over a team that had gone 14-34 the previous three seasons and taught them how to win. Turner took over a team that had gone 35-13 the previous three seasons and taught them how to lose.