Blog Entry

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:40 pm
Dean Spanos is bringing back Norv and Smith for one more run in San Diego. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner will return to San Diego as the Chargers head coach in 2012, and A.J. Smith will continue to be the general manager, the team said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Bottom line, I believe these two men give us the best chance to get back to the playoffs,” president Dean Spanos said. “A.J. Smith is the best man to improve our roster, and Norv Turner is the best man to lead that roster on the field.

“Together, we have stability and experience that’s hard to find in the NFL. They’ve both been in this league a long time. I don’t think there is anything they haven’t seen or experienced. They’ve led us through some difficult situations.

“As we’ve seen throughout Norv’s tenure and particularly this past season, the players believe in him, respect him and play hard for him. When we went through that tough stretch, no one quit. The team kept playing hard, and that’s a tribute to Norv’s leadership and the respect the players have for him.

“Now we will take a hard look at everything, from player evaluation to coaching to the rash of injuries we’ve suffered in recent years. Injuries have killed us. And no one is ever perfect in this business. Player evaluation isn’t an exact science. We need to improve across the board and I’m going to make sure we do."

On Monday,'s Clark Judge wrote that Turner and Smith could return to the Chargers, even though the speculation in recent weeks was that both were in serious danger of losing their jobs.

In six seasons with the Chargers, Turner was 52-34. Impressive, except that the team has missed the playoffs the last two years and has struggled to play consistently for most of his tenure.

San Diego started the '07 season (Turner's first) at 1-4, finished 11-5, and lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. A year later, they lost their final four regular-season games, made it to the postseason with an 8-8 record, before losing in the divisional round. In 2009, San Diego was 2-3 before wining 10 in a row … and losing in the first round to the Jets. The Chargers begun '10 at 2-5 and eventually missed the playoffs. And after a 4-1 start in '11, they lost six in a row. San Diego still had a chance at the postseason but a Week 16 blowout at the hands of the Lions sealed their fate.

Still, as Judge pointed out, "Quarterback Philip Rivers is a big fan of Turner and voiced his support Sunday for his embattled head coach." And despite fan and media sentiment, San Diego rallied to win three of four and finish in a tie atop the AFC West at 8-8 (the Broncos won the tiebreaker).

Judge adds: "That will go into Spanos' thinking. But so will a business decision. That's one reason he begged off on making an immediate move, saying he needed a couple of days to think about it." But he also notes that the news "doesn't mean Turner is in the clear. On the contrary ... Spanos won't tolerate another 8-8 season, so Turner has been put on alert." 

On Tuesday, Spanos sounded like he was confident in his decision.

“We all have our quirks and faults, but I want A.J. and Norv on my side. They are the right men to help us win a championship. … Despite the number of wins we’ve had, the net bottom line is it doesn’t mean anything unless you win a championship. That’s our goal and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl for San Diego.”

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Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:12 am

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

You forget that Michael Turner and Darren Sproles are one-dimensional RB's. Chargers run a balanced offense, your RB's have to do both.  When we let Turner walk there was no indication that LT's production would fall off like it did.  I don't remember Sproles being a "game-changer" against the Steelers in the playoffs when LT went down...

Of course Green Bay has a lot of depth at WR... that's what they do.  Who stepped up for the Pack when Jennings went down against the Chiefs...?  Truth is... Turner is a better fit in Atlanta.  Sproles is a better fit in New Orleans.  Ryan Mathews is  better fit in San Diego.

You still haven't answered my question... who did well this year with 6 starters on I.R....?

Since: Oct 1, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:07 pm

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

It's called depth. Good teams have it. With Gates and Floyd out who did they have in there?  Your argument it is an excuse, but I ask why are there not players on the roster waiting to step in? Look at Green Bay.  They have WR's who can't get in a game regularly.  (Randall Cobb) New England has 2 elite TE's, it isn't like Gates' injury was a one time thing, he's been hurt for 3 years.  So why not run a 2 TE set, and not with washed up Randy McMichael.  At least a 2 TE set would enable you to BLOCK.

I mean it has been more than this or last year, it has been for many years.  LT was done as the elite talent he was the year they let Mike Turner walk.  They should have never done that, they should have pulled pole on LT and kept Turner, it wouldn't be until now that they needed to draft a RB to replace what they could have had instead of wasting a 1st on a RB last year.

Sure cutting LT at the time wouldn`t have been popular with the fans but they would have gotten over it by him playing like he has in Atlanta and LT is going to retire now.  It wasn`t like they were going to cut Emmitt Smith before he broke the rushing record, he was never going to beak that record.  So stay ahead of the game.

If there is no depth at WR or TE then where is the depth because the O-Line was a turnstile and the defense certainly doesn`t scare anyone.

Oh yeah, good job letting Darren Sproles walk as well, because he was obviously not a game changer.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:52 am

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

Under-achievers?  Name one team that had 6 of their starters on IR and finished over .500...... Don't forget that Gates and Floyd were out during that 0-6 skid, on top of the 6 starters being out.  Brilliant posts, morons.

How many 8-8 seasons have the Faders and the Foreskins had since Norv left...?  You can count them on one hand.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:17 pm

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

Then the Chargers will be underachievers again! Get rid of Norv!

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 12:38 pm

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

Perennial underachievers.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 12:37 pm

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

considering all the coaching changes. something i would like to happen is for the chiefs to hire martz as oc.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 12:02 pm

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

I agree that the best bet for the Broncos is for the Steelers to smush them and hopefully banish the absurd tebow-experiment for good.  That way the Broncos only lose one year of competency but get to hang another AFC West banner anyway.
As far as the Chargers, keeping Norv and AJ Smith will mean adding to the five years of wasted talent they already have dropped on their whiney fan-base.  With this decision, the Chargers window for a super bowl officially has closed and won't be open until they get a new GM.  Smith is a control freak who'd rather lose than be percieved as compromising.  Well, looks like at least one more year of underachieving.  .  

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:49 am

Spanos- PLEASE sell this team!!!!!!!!!

It's really bad when Redskins fans (see below comment) feel sorry for us. It's clear you are doing this to make Charger fans drop their season tickets so you can say "we didn't get their support" when you take the boatloads of money to move to LA. Thanks for ruining 2012 for us.

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:30 am

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

I'm looking forward to seeing the Steelers crush the inept and hypocritical Tebow and the Broncos this weekend. That should be good for a laugh! Compared to the decision to keep Tebow as the starting QB, the Chargers' carrying on with Turner and Smith will look like a stroke of genius. 

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:30 am

Chargers keeping Norv Turner, AJ Smith

As a Bronco fan it has been a rough year being the circus freak show of the NFL.  Hopefully it ends for the Broncos on Sunday. This little San Diego gem piece of news does make me feel a little better though.  At least the Chargers are not going to live up to their potential again for the next year so 8-8 may win the AFC west again next season. 

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