The firing season is already well under way in college football, with five coaches getting canned over the weekend. So far, with five weeks remaining in the 2012 season, no NFL coach has gotten the boot. But San Diego fans likely desire a change after watching the Chargers blow a late lead against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Is the Bolts' latest choke job the last straw for Norv Turner in San Diego?
Like another longtime coach, Turner is on borrowed timeThe situation in San Diego has reached a point where the vibe there feels very similar to the vibe currently resonating with the Philadelphia Eagles: Two longtime coaches (Turner and Andy Reid) are on their last legs in their respective cities. Both coaches entered this season with a reasonably transparent set of expectations related to their job security, and neither one has done what he needed to do.
While I don't know what the future holds for either Turner or Reid, and while I'm not willing to suggest either one is unfit for such a job, a change in both cities is needed. It's just a matter of when.
Turner's tenure is all but doneNorv Turner has had more than a few disappointing moments during his time as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, but Sunday's might have been the new low point. Turner doesn't orchestrate the Chargers' defense, but the unit's inability to tackle Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice on that fourth-and-29 play was likely the final nail in the coffin for his tenure in San Diego.
That being said, I don't see how making a change during the season would help the Chargers improve their slim playoff hopes.
Norv's reckoning will come -- but not until the season endsThere's no reason to fire Norv Turner during the season, other than to put him out of his misery, and Chargers general manager A.J. Smith doesn't see it that way.
I don't think we're going to see any coaches fired during the season, although a raft of them will be canned after the final week. Starting with Norv.
Don't count out the Chargers quite yetAt 4-7, the Chargers' chances of nabbing a wild-card berth are narrow, but we can't write this team off just yet. Their schedule is not that tough. It includes homes games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders, two of which could be winnable, and road matchups versus an injured Pittsburgh Steelers team and the New York Jets, both of whom can be beat.
The Chargers have an outside shot at finishing with another 8-8 season. That likely will not be good enough for them to make the playoffs, but it will be consistent with what they are at best: a .500 team. The Chargers easily could have won on Sunday, and they are not getting blown out. Ultimately, the only person who knows who will be fired in San Diego is Dean Spanos, and he is not talking.
San Diego's been in trouble for some timeNorv Turner's fate was sealed long before Sunday's loss to Baltimore. When you think about it, it's crazy that he's still around. What surprises me is how acceptable certain things have always been for the Chargers. An underachieving coach? We'll keep him around for a while. Every good free agent wants to leave? We'll let them. Accountability for horrible losses? Nah; we'll complain, then forget about it.
That culture would never exist in the other 31 NFL cities, but it's the norm in San Diego, and it's baffling that the Chargers continue to operate like that. It's not just about Norv Turner; it's a trickle-down problem.
For me, this comes down to how hard a team tries, every day, to get better as an organization, and I don't see the Chargers doing that.
And oh, by the way, after the Ravens win the Super Bowl this year, they'll be talking about "fourth-and-29" for the next 50 years like it was the Immaculate Reception.
Chargers need an organizational overhaulWith the Chargers, one can never really know. You would have thought missing the playoffs for two consecutive seasons would have cost Norv Turner his job, especially when you consider that Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a 14-2 campaign. Turner was supposed to win games in January, but he's not even getting his teams past December.
However, the Chargers have to keep him for the rest of the season. You don't want to risk an interim coach having some success with this team, like Romeo Crennel did with the Kansas City Chiefs last year. There needs to be an entire organizational change with the Chargers, which should include Turner and general manager A.J. Smith, who tied his career to the coach. The Chargers deserve a fresh start and a fresh perspective.