Although Turner has had moderate success in San Diego, after a dissatisfying 2011, the Chargers should realize now that Norv Turner is no longer the man who will win the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
The San Diego Chargers front office has made some very questionable decisions over the years.
First, they fired, Marty Schottenheimer, a highly successful head coach, after a 14-2 regular season. Then a few years later, they let go of future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. It’s no wonder quarterback Eli Manning didn’t want to play in southern California. This isn’t the best run organization to say the least.
But the San Diego Chargers have one mistake that they don’t have to live with. They should fire head Norv Turner and begin looking for a replacement.
Since Turner’s hiring in 2007, the Chargers have been nothing but disappointing. After the 14-2 2006 campaign, Turner began his coaching tenure in San Diego losing three of the first four games. It took a six game winning streak to end the season to secure the AFC West division. San Diego won eleven games, which at the time, was a career best for Turner. He also led the Chargers to their first playoff win since 1994, but with QB Phillip Rivers limping and RB Tomlinson sidelined with an injury, San Diego lost to undefeated New England in the AFC Championship game.
Turner has never gotten that close to the Super Bowl again. 2008 was another underachieving regular season. The team rallied again winning their last four games to finish 8-8, which was good enough for the AFC West division title. The Chargers even won a playoff game, but with RB Tomlinson hurt again, they couldn’t get past the eventual Super Bowl Champion Steelers.
The Chargers again started slowly in 2009 with a 2-3 record. San Diego, however, won their next eleven games, earned a fourth straight division title and a first round bye. But just when it seemed like the Chargers year, the New York Jets pulled off a major upset sending San Diego packing early again.
Despite his under achievements, San Diego was satisfied enough to give Turner a three year contract extension. This seemed strange as three years prior a 14-2 record wasn’t enough to excuse Schottenheimer’s playoff disappointment, but Turner’s 13-3 regular season record was. San Diego hasn’t been back to the playoffs since the extension missing them the last two years.
Last season was a curious year for Turner and the Chargers. San Diego had the number one ranked offense and the number one ranked defense (in terms of yardage), but only won nine games. This unusual circumstance was largely blamed on a terrible special teams unit. This season, without wide receiver Malcolm Floyd and tight end Antonio Gates for much of the season, San Diego finished a measly 8-8.
Turner does have a 52-34 record in his five seasons with San Diego, but including the seven years he spent in Washington and two years in Oakland, Turner has posted a 107-113-1 record as a head coach. Before coming to San Diego, he only had two winning seasons.
Even with his record, Turner continues to get second and third chances to be a head coach in the NFL because he is such a great offensive play caller. He has been offensive coordinator in several different places with the Dallas Cowboys being the most notable. Turner served as Jimmy Johnson’s offensive coordinator from 1991-1993. At that time, Dallas was winning Super Bowls with their famous offensive triplet.
But a great play caller doesn’t translate to a great head coach. It just seems that every year San Diego makes excuses such as they are a slow starting team, RB Tomlinson was hurt, are special teams was terrible or QB Rivers had an off year without a healthy receiving core. San Diego should stop making excuses, fire Norv Turner and hire someone who has answers other than what offensive play to call next.