Why the Chargers Should Fire Norv Turner
After last night's disappointing 31-20 loss against the Chicago Bears, the San Diego Chargers are now 4-6 and their chances of making the playoffs appear to be slim.
The Oakland Raiders are currently top of the AFC West at 6-4 and while it's not impossible for the Chargers to come back and win the division, questions must now be asked on the future of head coach Norv Turner.
Turner signed a contract extension that will keep him as head coach through the 2013 season but for many Chargers fans, myself included, his time in San Diego must surely be up.
Under Turner, the Chargers have a record of 48-31 including the playoffs. Despite early successes under Turner, the Chargers missed the playoffs last season and are on course to do the same this season.
With the Chargers talented roster getting older and their window of opportunity to win the Super Bowl closing, I think it's time to make a change. This change must surely begin the firing of head coach Norv Turner and possibly the firing of general manager A.J. Smith.
I am now going to outline five reasons why Norv Turner must be fired and suggest five possible candidates as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
Window of Opportunity To Win the Super Bowl Is Almost Closed
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The talent on the Chargers roster isn't getting any younger and any chance of a Super Bowl run must be made sooner rather than later.
On offense, quarterback Philip Rivers is turning 30 next month and veteran tight end Antonio Gates is 31. On defense, Chargers veterans Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips are both over 30.
With players such as Eric Weddle, Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson entering into the prime of their careers, a move at head coach must be made to give the team some hope for next season.
He Has Taken the Chargers as Far as He Can
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I know it's cliché but hear me out. In his first season as head coach of the Chargers, Turner led the team to the AFC Championship game. That's as far as the team has been under Turner and since then the Chargers have won just one playoff game coming against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 season.
The Chargers have gone a disappointing 13-12 in the last 25 games and it's clear that Turner has taken the team as far as he can.
Back-to-Back Seasons Without Making the Playoffs
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Although the season isn't over yet and there is still an outside chance of the Chargers winning the AFC West and making the playoffs, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the Chargers miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. With the talent that's on the roster and let's face it, a weak division in the AFC West, two seasons without making the playoffs is just unacceptable.
Poor Draft Selections
Although this may be somewhat down to the poor draft selections of general manager A.J. Smith, Turner still has some involvement in what has been a series of poor selections by the Chargers.
The Chargers first round draft picks under Turner have been Corey Liuget, Ryan Mathews, Larry English, Antoine Cason and Buster Davis.
Although Cason has developed into a solid cornerback, the other selections have been less successful. Buster Davis is no longer with the team, Larry English has just seven sacks in two-and-a-half seasons with the team and the jury is still out on whether or not Ryan Mathews and Corey Liuget can fulfil their potential.
How different things could be if the Chargers hadn't passed on players such as Clay Matthews, Dez Bryant and Phil Taylor.
It's What the Fans Want
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You don't get numerous Facebook pages, websites and a petition dedicated to getting you fired unless you're bad at your job. Norv Turner is really bad at his. Despite all the talent that's been on the Chargers roster since Turner arrived as head coach in the 2007 season, the Chargers are yet to make it past the AFC Championship Game.
Possible Replacements: Marty Mornhinweg
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However, since then Mornhinweg has been with the Philadelphia Eagles mainly as offensive coordinator under Andy Reid. Mornhinweg has had success in guiding the Eagles' offense in recent years with the re-emergence of quarterback Michael Vick.
Mornhinweg would be the only candidate I would choose if picking from coordinators currently in the NFL.
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The former Tennessee Titans head coach is out of work having left the Titans at the end of last season. Fisher is known for his defensive minded approach to the game which is something the Chargers badly need.
Although the Chargers currently have a 3-4 defense, I think if Fisher was hired the team could switch to a 4-3. Fisher would provide the experience and leadership that the Chargers desperately need.
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Billick has been out of work since leaving the Baltimore Ravens after the 2007 season. Since then, Billick has served as an analyst for the NFL on Fox. He led the Ravens to a Super Bowl win in 2000 and is known as an offensive minded coach that is willing to take risks.
I think Billick could be a successful head coach for the Chargers and would help to turn around Philip Rivers' recent struggles.
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Cowher has an impressive record of 161-99-1 including the playoffs as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was head coach of the Steelers from 1992-2006 and led them to a Super Bowl victory in 2005. Since then, Cowher has worked as an analyst for CBS. Cowher would bring a physical attitude to the Chargers' defense and provide a much needed identity to the team.
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My top candidate to replace Norv Turner is Jon Gruden. Gruden is the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach who guided them to a Super Bowl victory in 2002. Gruden was fired by the Bucs when the '08 season finished after two consecutive 9-7 seasons.
Since then, Gruden has been an analyst for Monday Night Football on ESPN. Gruden is an offensive minded coach who would bring some much needed enthusiasm to the Chargers' offense. Gruden definitely gets my vote to replace Turner.
And Finally. . .
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So there you have it. All the reasons why Norv Turner must be fired. Let's just hope for the Chargers sake that someone listens and finally fires Turner. Thanks for reading.