By Dave Thomas
It was following last season’s 8-8 record, a mark that left the San Diego Chargers out of the playoffs for the second straight year, that the hooting and hollering began to intensify.
For many Charger fans, it seemed like the perfect time to send head coach Norv Turner and/or general manager AJ Smith packing.
After running off four straight AFC West crowns (three under Turner’s direction), the Bolts were going golfing early once again this past season.
So, it appeared Turner had run out of steam and it was time to make a regime change with the Chargers. Even though this was not Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or New York, where the NFL season oftentimes dominates the tabloids and airwaves, many Charger fans would not stand for another season of mediocrity, would they?
As it turns out, both Turner and Smith survived at least for another year, meaning fans and players would have to deal with the former walking the sidelines once again.
Well, you can’t help but wonder if many of those calling for Turner’s head earlier this year would echo those same sentiments here in the first week of October.
Sure, the Chargers laid and egg and then some a week ago at home versus Atlanta, but Turner and his staff did a great job of rallying the troops a week later, the end result being a 37-20 win on the road in Kansas City.
With the first month behind them, the Chargers are probably right where most experts had them before the season started, sitting at 3-1 and in first place in the division. On paper before the season kicked off, the Bolts would have likely been favored in their games with Oakland, Tennessee and Kansas City, with Atlanta probably being a tossup.
Some Turner critics feel like he’s too stubborn to change his ways, does not show enough emotion on the field, and is just not meant to be a head coach.
Success In Dallas, Not So Successful In Washington and Oakland
Before coming to San Diego, there was certainly a track record to peruse when it came to one Norv Turner.
He was a solid offensive coordinator (won pair of Super Bowls in Dallas with Aikman/Smith/Irvin), yes, but if you look at Turner’s previous head coaching stints in Washington (49-59-1) and Oakland (9-23), his teams did not exactly give Super Bowl-type performances. So, was it the talent he had in Dallas, or the fact that he was working under someone else, that made Turner successful?
Having taking the head coaching job with the Chargers in 2007, Turner has definitely seen some ups and downs over these last five years. Some solid playoff wins, along with some playoff letdowns, has had Turner in the spotlight, but that was at least for the years the Bolts were making the playoffs. Having missed out on the postseason dance the last two years, Turner came into the 2012 season with major pressure to produce.
With a 52-32 record to date in his time here in San Diego, including the 3-1 start to this campaign, the former University of Oregon quarterback likely knows deep down that it is produce or else this year.
Time will tell if keeping Turner was the right call, something Charger fans will likely be more than happy to weigh in on in about 12 weeks.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.