If this is going to be Norv Turner’s final week as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, he’s certainly doing a good job of hiding his embarrassment. That may be due to the fact that he’s been hired and fired before, but still it has to sting to have your tenure as the man in charge of one of just 32 NFL teams end with a pink slip. For the current regime in San Diego however, there’s no doubt the time has come to move on.
This Chargers team has steadily declined during the six seasons with Turner as the coach. His time there began with a playoff run to the AFC title game and has since been stuck in neutral with the team missing the postseason for the third straight year in 2012. Despite all of this, when asked about whether he will be fired, Turner said: “I’m not really giving it a lot of thought.”
Allow me to do some of that thinking for you then. The predictable play-calling that gets the offense stuffed repeatedly, the inexplicable abandonment of the running game, and then the blown second half leads on a regular basis are all reasons that it’s time for the both parties to move on. This time spent with Turner at the helm of the Chargers has been truly forgettable.
Many will point to General Manager A.J. Smith as at least partly to blame for this mess as well. The Chargers’ roster has gone from one loaded with Pro Bowlers at many different positions to one without a single Pro Bowl caliber player this season. Smith has made many questionable draft choices and this past offseason saw some even more suspect signings that have clearly backfired. It’s highly likely that he too will be shown the door when the season concludes.
After all, it was GM Smith who hand-picked Turner to be the successor to Marty Schottenheimer following the very public blow up between those two after the 2006 season. In terms of the age old Bill Parcells analogy, Smith bought the groceries and hired the chef, yet the meal still came up miles short of gourmet.
Owner and team President Dean Spanos gave Turner and Smith each one more year last offseason to try and fix this mess that they had created. With a third season in a row of missing the playoffs, three consecutive home blackouts, and plenty of embarrassment on nationally televised games including back to back blown double-digit leads in week five and six, there is no way to justify bringing Turner and Smith back in 2013. It is time for the Chargers to start anew and try to build this franchise with some different faces next season.
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