Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Norv Turner Has Got to Go
The Chargers are off to their third slow start in as many years; all on the heels of their 14-2 season where the team went from being as socially pertinent as the Minnesota Wild, to joining the ranks of the Giants, Packers, Eagles, Colts, Bears, Cowboys, Patriots, and Steelers as the leagues most viable franchises.
Time has proven that the 14-2 Chargers were more of a mirage, and the team, though a member of the AFC Elite, should not be expected to ever reach 14-2 again... not with this group at least. That being said this is still a playoff team.
The AFC West is bad. Although the Broncos are 4-0, the Chargers still have two games with their division rival Broncos, and if they can take care of those, will be in control of their division yet again. Last year a division title was enough to give them a home game against a team that had won four more regular season games; this year a home game in that first round will yet again be valuable given that if the Chargers can pull of a fourth straight division title they'd likely be hosting either the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, or Jets. Four teams the Chargers will benefit greatly from having at home.
All of this being said, Charger fans should still not be happy with the state of their team. Sure, their two losses are against the two teams who played in last years AFC Championship game, but that's the point! The teams two losses are against the two teams who played in last years AFC Championship game! These are the two teams that San Diego needs to prove they can beat when the pressure is on. If the Chargers want to live up to their hype they're going to need to beat teams like the Steelers, Ravens, and Patriots; and they're probably not going to host more than one of them at home.
All of this falls down on their head coach. Sure (0verrated) GM AJ Smith has placed the blame on the players, and not head coach Norv Turner, but I'm going to take the other side on this one AJ.
In Sunday Night's game against the Steelers the Chargers had the opportunity to go 3-1 and send the Steelers to 1-3, crippling the defending Super Bowl champs hopes at home field throughout the playoffs. Stifling some of the playoff dreams of the team that embarrassed the Chargers last January. Heading into Sunday Night I expected to see the Chargers come out with the sense of fire we've grown used to seeing, the fire and urgency we saw last year against Tampa and Denver. The Chargers had all the momentum heading into Sunday and the Steelers had none.
That was until the opening drive where Big Ben and Rashard Mendenhall made these Chargers look like the 2003 Chargers. After that drive we saw another pair of beastly drives by the Steelers. We saw Complanian Tomlinson stand on the sidelines and pout. We saw Ron Rivera yell a bunch of curse words trying to motivate a bunch of kids wealthier than he is. But most importantly we saw Norv do nothing.
Then Norv comes out the tunnel for the second half and we hear a report saying Norv thinks the offense needs to do a better job... Seriously Norv? You're problem isn't your offense. Everyone in the NFL knows you have a great offense. The problem was your offense was never on the field because you couldn't stop someone named Mewelde. Even with Complainian declining at an equal rate to Edgerrin James your offense is still top tier. It's that Ron River lead defense that's the problem.
You can tell me that it's Jamal Williams injury that deserves some blame for the Chargers defensive decline but I say that's a load of crap. The Pats are missing Mayo, the Colts are missing Sanders, and the Steelers are missing Polamalu, and their units are still playing at a higher level than the Chargers D. And wasn't the Steelers run offense their weakness?
Pretty much the only thing the Sunday Night game proved is that the 09 Chargers, though talented and still a potential playoff team (by default), are not ready to compete with the big boys. Come January I'm not quite sure this team has what it takes to take out the Ravens, Patriots, or Steelers... and chances are they may have to take out all three if they want to live up to all the hype we've been forced to swallow every summer.
The Chargers need to get rid of Norv. I don't wanna hear he beat the Colts two years in a row. That doesn't matter, he hasn't won the big one. Every year he's handicapped this Chargers team by starting slow and preventing his team from getting that first round bye. It looks like he's going to do it again for the third year straight. AJ has drafted poorly. Norv has coached poorly. If AJ wants to cover his tracks and get this team on the right one, he'll fire Norv and give John Gruden whatever it takes to come out of the booth and onto to the field back in the AFC West.
If not AJ may end up like the other (more talented) GM in San Diego sports... unemployed.