|Turner could be looking for work come January. (AP/US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Norv Turner is in his fifth season as the Chargers head coach. He took over the team in 2007 after general manager A.J. Smith fired Marty Schottenheimer for going 14-2. In three of the four seasons since, two things have been constant: the Chargers have gotten off to glacially slow starts only to mount a late-season run and make the playoffs. And San Diego, despite a franchise quarterback and plenty of playmakers, is still looking for its first Super Bowl.
Turner's record in San DiegoBut 2011 was different; the Chargers started 4-1, were the clear favorites in the AFC West (and even some folks' Super Bowl favorites), and everything was finally coming together. Unfortunately, the new collective bargaining agreement didn't shorten the regular season to five games. San Diego has dropped five straight and is a complete mess of a franchise. Philip Rivers has looked, well, awful, the run defense is non-existent, and head coach Norv Turner, through it all, remained expressionless.
2007: Started 1-3, finished 10-2, lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship game
2008: Started 3-5, finished 5-3, lost to the Steelers in the AFC Divisional game
2009: Started 2-3, finished 11-0, lost to the Jets in the AFC Divisional game
2010: Started 2-5, finished 9-7, missed the playoffs
But barring a Tebow-like miracle, Norv won't have to worry about the Chargers much longer. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee writes that Turner's days could be numbered.
At this point, it is apparent only a drastic turnaround will save Turner, as the Chargers have lost five straight and are in last place in the AFC West, in grave danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season. [Owner Dean] Spanos also has wondered about repeated game management decisions, and after five years it is possible Turner has been given enough time to get done what no Chargers coach ever has – win a Super Bowl.Ah, yes, those game-management decisions. The latest came Sunday, in the Chargers' loss to the Bears. San Diego lost its final two timeouts with 3:16 to play and trailing by 11. They burned the first one, and then during thee timeout decided to challenge a ruling. The Chargers lost the challenge (of course they did) and another timeout. You don't see that every day.
But Turner isn't the only guy who should be worried about his job. Smith could be in trouble, too. Acee writes: "But even late last week, word had begun to circulate in league circles about Spanos' escalating concern about the state of his franchise in the hands of Turner -- who has the second-highest winning percentage in team history at .608 (45-29) -- and even Smith, the man Spanos has given virtually complete control of football operations over the past nine years."
In general, Smith has done a good job of roster-building and fielding a winning team. But the lack of success in the postseason coupled with Turner's weekly gaffes have started to add up.
Early last season, when Vincent Jackson was holding out for a new deal and Smith refused to budge, Jackson's agent Neil Schwartz said "We had multiple deals in place. It is our understanding … that the Chargers were unreasonable. More than one general manager referred to A.J. as the 'Lord of No Rings.'"
Short of an improbable turnaround, Norv and A.J. might soon be the Lord of No Jobs.
As we mentioned in Tuesday's Coach Killers, maybe Rex Ryan was onto something.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.