For the third consecutive year one of the most heavily talent-laden teams in the NFL is off to a slow start. Talent-wise, the San Diego Chargers boast one of the most formidable offenses and critical play-providing special teams in the NFL.
Even with a banged up defense, the Chargers boast some great star power on the defensive side of the ball.
If you disagree I'd like to direct your attention to Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo, Antonio Cromartie, Quentin Jammer, and Sean Phillip (I would mention Jamal Williams but we all lament the tragedy of his absence) and all of their Pro-Bowl appearances and impressive numbers.
So how have the Chargers continued to under-perform and start off slow in three consecutive years? The answer isn't anything new or novel, but I'll mention it nonetheless: a serious lack of discipline.
I'll be the first to exclaim how much the Bolts are hurting from injuries. Missing Nick Hardwick (Pro-Bowl Center and centerpiece of the Chargers' O-Line) and Jamal Williams (the defensive counterpart to Nick Hardwick) hurts, and no amount of discipline can entirely make up for their respective absences.
Yet, Chargers fans couldn't point to injuries the past two years, and I won't point to them now. The real common denominator here is none other than our favorite scapegoat (at least in San Diego) Norv Turner.
The slow starts in games, the penalties, the missed blocking assignments, and the turnovers—those are the intangibles that should be fixed by discipline.
Every truly disciplined team I've seen throughout my years of watching football, it was easy to see where it came from: good coaching. This may be redundant, but I'll mention it anyway. The opposite is true of bad coaching.
Since Marty Schottenheimer's untimely departure, following the Chargers' NFL leading 14-2 record in the 2006-07 season, the Chargers have lacked that discipline that helped them finish with the best record in the league.
Forget about the fact that the Chargers did not win a playoff game in either of their two playoff appearances under Schottenheimer. I have said it a million times, and I'll say it here (more redundancy, keep on rolling through I promise I'll put the pieces together), those losses cannot be attributed to Marty Schottenheimer's coaching.
McCree's interception return turned fumble plays over and over in my head every time I think about Schottenheimer's last appearance as the Bolts head coach.
Norv Turner, to his credit, is a great offensive mind. He's worked wonders as an offensive coordinator. On that note Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator.
They both are currently bringing down two very talented football programs that excelled under the previous coaching regimes.
Norv Turner is not the answer to your problems, A.J. Mr. Smith has a talent at finding talent. I sang his praises when he made the trade that brought Rivers and Kaeding to San Diego in one year with a first-round pick that turned into the beast that is Shawne Merriman (not to mention all for a Manning who is very unwelcome in San Diego).
Nonetheless, we have a coach with a wonderful knack for taking all of your talent and producing mediocre results.
Please, on behalf of all Charger fans everywhere, replace him. The Chargers continue to start off slow, fighting out of a hole, not just in each game, but early in the season.
Discipline is what made this team a turnover miser (boasting one of the best turnover differences in the league in 2006-07). Discipline ensured that penalties did not hold this team back from achieving. Discipline pushed this team to win all the way up to a 14-2 finish.
Enough is enough. Norv Turner is not a championship-caliber coach. Norv Turner will not be the answer to the Chargers' problems. In fact, Norv Turner is the problem in San Diego right now.
Give us change. After suffering through those years in which Bobby Bethard destroyed the franchise, cursing us with the likes of Ryan Leaf, Chargers fans deserve better.