Lots of people subscribe to the superstition that big shake-ups always come in threes, but San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner should probably be a little worried that big things are actually going to come in fours in terms of NFL head coaches getting canned this season.
Jack Del Rio, Todd Haley and Tony Sparano
Letting go of Haley may have come as a surprise to lots of Chiefs fans, especially considering the injuries some of the higher-profile Chiefs players like Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Kyle Orton suffered this season.
Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano’s firing (via ESPN) was a bit less of a surprise given the Fins' three consecutive losing seasons, as was the Jacksonville Jaguars axing Jack Del Rio last week when they simultaneously announced their intent to sell the franchise (via ESPN).
Neither organization exactly did much to hide the fact they’d likely be moving in new directions, despite both teams beginning to show some signs of life and a possible successful turnaround after another chance at a draft and free agency.
But the fact that Del Rio, Sparano and Haley’s 2011 seasons have already been cut short might be a reason for Norv Turner and his staff to start worrying about finding a new gig themselves a bit earlier than initially planned.
Who's most likely to replace Norv Turner?
SD Union Tribune Says Turner and Smith Are Done
The San Diego Union Tribune reported last week that Charger’s team president Dean Spanos feels he has “no choice” but to part ways with Norv Turner—a coach who has failed to put together a Super Bowl team since he was hired in 2007, despite being consistently loaded with player talent in just about every position—upon conclusion of the season
The Union Tribune also suggests that Chargers general manager A.J. Smith is likely to be relieved of his duties along with Norv—and that idea seems to be confirmed by NFL officials publicly suggesting that Smith could be a candidate for other GM positions expected to be open around the league at the end of the season.
While the Chargers technically have a chance to make a last-shot playoff run by winning the AFC West, is it worth it for them to give Turner such an unlikely last chance at a Super Bowl? With Tim Tebow’s current magic in Denver and a tough AFC Wild Card race, it doesn’t look good for the Chargers.
And even if it did, it’s probably still in San Diego’s best interest to part ways with Turner and Smith, considering how much opportunity has been squandered during their tenure with the Chargers.
With Del Rio, Haley and Sparano getting fired early, the Chargers are going to want to aggressively compete to woo available talent to fill the unusually high number of open head coaching jobs, including the higher-profile names thrown around in head coaching rumors like Jeff Fisher, Josh McDaniels and Bill Cowher.
In order to sufficiently achieve that ability to compete, it may be necessary for the Chargers to act early and do their part to throw off the superstition that big shake-ups come in threes. If they don’t, they may risk some additional long-term difficulty saving San Diego from their coaching woes.