The San Diego (Stupor) Chargers
Fire. Norv. Turner. There, I said it. Three little words that I'm sure many in Chargers Nation are feeling today. The reverberating echo of those words are ringing true following the Chargers loss to the Denver Broncos. It was as much a loss as it was a statement by the Denver Broncos that there is a new sheriff in the wild, wild west. The fact is, though, the Chargers have slowly slipping over the past two years.
Let's look back to the debacle that was last year. A team that finished 8-8 caught lightning in a bottle at the right time and almost let it carry them to the Super Bowl. On paper, you look at Norv Turner and see that he is two for two in AFC West Championships. The first year he coached with the Chargers was no fluke. They were a good, solid team and came within a game of the Super Bowl. In Turner's second year, the team was ravished with injuries, but thanks to a melt down by the Denver Broncos, the Chargers won their last four games and won the AFC West. Once again, the Chargers used their momentum to get within a game of the Super Bowl. Norv Turner must be a great coach, right?
Wrong. Norv Turner came into town being hailed as an offensive genius. He was offensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys for two Super Bowls, made Kerry Collins a star in Oakland, and was the offensive coordinator for Alex Smith's only good year as a pro. He was brought into San Diego to bring life into a Chargers' offense that had begun to rely too much on the run. Yes, the passing game has flourished over the past two years with Phillip Rivers at the helm. At the same time, the running game has virtually disappeared. Sure, LT has been hurt, but Norv Turner does not seem to know when to run the ball. His "creative" play calling as been anything but that. This year, it can even be called an inept. The Chargers failure to score touchdowns in the red zone is one reason they are losing a few of these games. Last time I checked, seven was worth more than three. Twice this year Turner has tried to run Darren Sproles at the goal line, once with the game on the line. The results: A loss to Baltimore and negative gain against Denver. Both times, the defense knew exactly what was coming. The play makes even less sense against Denver because LT was removed from the game, even though he had found some momentum on that series. Even though he was stopped on two prior runs, the opportunity was open for a play action, yet Norv appears afraid to run that play in the red zone.The opportunities are growing smaller and smaller for the Chargers. Yes, we are only five games in the season. Yes, they should win their next two games. Yes, Denver is bound to slump a little bit. Last night's game was probably the best game the defense has played as a collective whole in a long time. (I don't count Raiders games.) Antonio Cromartie actually looked like he wanted to play football again last night. The Special Teams had a break down last night by giving up those two touchdown returns. The linebackers are beat up and the d-line gets no pressure. All of these are reasons that people defend Norv Turner. Well, it is time to stop making excuses. Norv Turner is not the man to run this team. The man needs to show some passion. He is too laid back, or so it seems, to be a head coach, and the Chargers players feed off of that. Maybe if the players followed the leadership and intensity of Phillip Rivers, we could see more results. Until Norv Turner is gone, though, I'm afraid the San Diego Chargers will continue to stumble through the long season in a drunken stupor.