In his final press conference with the team, fired head coach Norv Turner made an honest assessment of the San Diego Chargers 2013 playoff hopes. He wasn’t too optimistic.
According to Michael Gehlken of the North County Times, Turner said “Someone wrote a few weeks ago that this team is not that far away from the playoffs. I would disagree.”
Turner continued, saying “I would hope it would not be the expectation starting in August because I think you need to give whoever the guy who comes in here and the group he brings in some time to get back this thing back to where it was.”
Turner’s comments seem to suggest that he was not at fault for the Chargers missing the playoffs for the third straight season, and their first losing record since 2003. He subtly took a shot at fired general manager A.J. Smith for constructing a team that he couldn’t win with. He also took a shot at the players, claiming that they just weren’t talented enough to be a playoff team under his guidance.
But was Norv Turner right? Is the team really far away from returning to the playoffs?
By looking at other NFL teams, the answer is no.
A team with the right coach can right the ship pretty quickly in this league. Just look at the San Francisco 49ers. After Jim Harbaugh replaced Mike Singletary as their head coach, the 49ers have been Super Bowl contenders ever since. Harbaugh brought the most out of their talented roster and the 49ers are now in great position to bring home the Lombardi Trophy this postseason.
You can also look at the turnarounds by the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins this season. The Vikings jumped from 3-13 in 2011 to 10-6 in 2012. The Colts went from a league-worst 2-14 in 2011 and with a new coach and new quarterback went 11-5 in 2012. The Redskins went from 5-11 in 2011 to division champions at 10-6 in 2012.
The Chargers have plenty of young, potentially great football players on their team. If the future general manager can bring in some offensive line help and if the future head coach can get the most out of guys like Ryan Mathews, Melvin Ingram and Marcus Gilchrist, don’t be surprised if the Chargers turn it around quicker than Norv Turner thinks.