When Norv Turner first took over the coaching gig with the San Diego Chargers, most marveled over how the club seemed to stumble coming out of the gate year after year only to make a strong push in the season’s final two months to make the playoffs. Unfortunately for the embattled Bolts’ coach, his luster appears to be wearing off.
After leading the team to undefeated Novembers (or Norvembers) in 2009 and 2010 for a combined 8-0 record in the month, the Bolts have struggled in one of the season’s most critical months since. San Diego is just 1-7 over the past two seasons in the month that used to be billed as Norv-ember. The moniker still fits, but it seems to have taken on a new meaning from unbeatable to unable to get a win.
What stings most from the past two seasons of struggles in November is the way the team has managed to lose games. Late collapses like the one witnessed on Sunday where an unthinkable fourth down and 29 yards to go was converted have become routine. The team’s that the Chargers have fielded seem to lack awareness and have no sense of the in-game scenario when out on the field. That all comes with preparation and clearly this team has been under-prepared for many years now with Turner at the helm.
Certainly the losing can’t all be placed on Turner as injuries have become a common part of the struggles with Sunday being a prime example. Starters on defense like Donald Butler, Eric Weddle, Corey Liuget, and Atari Bigby all left the contest due to injury. Veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes summed it up best saying: “We lost the meat and potatoes of our defense.”
At 4-7, the injuries are now beginning to pile up for the Chargers and things look to get worse before they get any better. The club heads into December with basically no hope left of making a late playoff push and it will be interesting to see how the team responds. It is clear now that they are playing for their coach’s job and just how they perform under those circumstances will say a lot about just how they feel about Turner in the locker room.
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