The bottom line is this: I can't stand Norv Turner.
It's gotten so bad that I have actually started rooting against the San Diego Chargers so that even AJ Smith can't hide his head under a rock and let this bad coaching slip by.
I have little faith that there is any other way Smith would ever step up and take control of this spiraling situation.
Smith is terrible. I think he does a fine job of assembling talent, but that means absolutely nothing without a coach to develop that talent.
Here is my biggest problem with Smith. He's soft. People go on and on about how Smith fired Marty Schottenheimer, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Marty had to angle to get himself fired because Smith made the situation "untenable" by refusing to speak with the coach. He's a man with a passive aggressive personality in the football world where it has no place.
It took me a while to realize this, but if you look at all of the bad situations the Chargers have faced over the last few years, there is AJ Smith waiting for things to sort themselves out. Whether it's low-balling Marty and Drew Brees or infuriating LaDainian Tomlinson, he's there mishandling the situation.
People forget that Smith came out and endorsed Schottenheimer to return as the head coach in 2007, but Marty was having none of that, as he made a demand that Dean Spanos wouldn't agree to, forcing the de facto owner to fire him.
Smith has a reputation as being a hardliner with a big ego, but that's about as true as the statement "Norv Turner is an offensive genius."
Do you agree that AJ Smith's refusal to be direct is a huge issue?
Smith refuses to deal with a situation head-on like a man, instead, burying his head in the sand hoping that it just goes away. How many times have we heard people complaining about Smith refusing to talk to them?
If this man won't even face an agent or a disgruntled player, do you actually think he has the guts to fire Norv?
If Norv gets this team going on a winning streak to end the season (and, heaven forbid, makes the playoffs only to make a first-round exit), Smith will have his excuse to duck the obvious need to get rid of Turner.
Charger fans don't deserve that.
Smith didn't appreciate what he had in Schottenheimer. He didn't give Marty the credit for building a tough, confident team with an arrogant attitude that expected to win with his talent.
This team can't run the ball, can't stop the run, can't create turnovers, can't stop turning the ball over, can't protect the quarterback and is totally ineffective when trying to score in the red zone.
Those are some of the most basic keys to winning football games known to man.
Ask yourself this question: Did Marty's teams have any of those problems on a consistent basis?
Smith also gave Schottenheimer too much blame for playoff losses that were the direct result of his pick, Nate Kaeding, missing game-winning/tying field goals.
Should both AJ Smith and Norv Turner be fired?
I love Smith as a talent evaluator, but even I can see that this man no longer needs to be running this team. Smith loves being a talent scout, and that may be what he needs to go back to doing.
He can't make the tough decisions, can't face a tough agent and will not handle this tough situation until it plays itself out and there is no other choice.
Let me sum this up.
Marty Schottenheimer's direct, no nonsense approach is what AJ Smith needs if he is to remain the Chargers' general manager. Bringing in another yes-man like Norv Turner is not going to work.
Rex Ryan was too much of a manly man to coach in San Diego under Smith, Jim Harbaugh was sitting in San Diego's backyard the whole time even up in Stanford, and Ron Rivera had no business coaching under a buffoon like Turner.
AJ Smith should be promptly let go unless he's willing to take a backseat to a no-nonsense head coach.