By Curtis M. Egan
BoltTalk Staff Writer
I recall the summer that the Chargers announced the hiring of Norv Turner. I was extremely upset. I looked at his record as a head coach and slapped my forehead. I looked at what I knew of his ability to motivate players and kicked the dog. I made a lot of conclusions based on my extremely limited knowledge and shook my fist to the heavens… I was an unhappy Chargers camper.
However, once training camp started, I vowed to support the Head Coach of my team and I did that for 3 years. Now I have to say that is over. I watched games throughout those three years, and thought that the team could have been better prepared, but they still played football to a level that made me know they could compete at the upper levels.
This season though, through seven games the Chargers sit at 2-5, and their play has shattered any confidence I had in this team’s ability to compete at a level needed to win games and move into the playoffs. This season has seen just about every melt down on special teams a person can imagine.
Now some will argue that Norv Turner, is focused on the offense, not the Special Teams. I myself have leveled that very argument. But allow me to suggest that after the third time a game’s loss was laid at the feet of the special teams that the Head Coach becomes responsible.
Norv Turner is not the offensive coordinator. That is his focus, his back ground and what made him famous… This I understand. But his job it to be the HEAD COACH of the San Diego Chargers, to have control of the entire team. The buck has to stop somewhere and it stops at Coach Turner.
There have been miscues on the offense that have led me to believe that this team, especially on offense has lost confidence in their ability to score on any team. Last season if the Chargers had the ball last, they were going to win. This season, four of the five losses, the Chargers had the ball last and failed to get the win, or the tie to extend the game.
That my friends is a very frightening thought for me, that the arguably most feared offense of last season is now the cowardly lions of the AFC West… That is Norv’s back yard right there. Teams are not surprised by what we are doing. They are able to see the run before the ball is hiked, and they while respecting the Chargers on offense are not frightened by it.
Now, the game against the new England Patriots saw 4 turnovers in less than 15 minutes. The Chargers have in seven games exceeded their turnover total of last season. They are not protecting the ball, and they are lacking ball awareness.
The two events that occurred against the Patriots that made me jump off the Norv Turner band wagon was the fact that two turnovers were because the players completely gave up the ball. One happened when young Wide Receiver Richard Goodman, fresh off the practice squad got up from receiving the ball, leaving it on the ground. The problem was he was not touched down. He gave up the ball, he lacked the awareness that this was not college, and the ball was live.
The next was when Quarterback Philip Rivers passed the ball laterally to Fullback Jacob Hester. Hester was more interested in showing frustration at his missing the pass than covering the ball, which the Patriots picked up and ran towards the end zone.
Those two costly turnovers that solidified for me that these young men are not being properly prepared to go out and play football.
Is it that there is too much a ‘Club Daygo’ atmosphere at Chargers Park? Is it that there is too little acceptance of accountability? Or is it that the team that could compete against any team just last season has lost all testicular fortitude and talent during the off season? Who is to say, but myself, as a fan of the Chargers will no longer sit and say ‘Norv will get things fixed!’ because I no longer believe that to be the case.
What really burns my buttocks about all of this is the Defense is playing to a level that we SHOULD be able to beat all the teams we lost to. If it were not for the offense and special teams being is such a generous mood and giving points away to the opposition left and right we would have beaten them because we are watching one of the better defensive units in the NFL playing in Chargers uniforms right now.
Their efforts are wasted, and players like Shaun Philips needs to start knocking heads in the locker room and tell the other 2/3 of the team that it is unacceptable to give games away. Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera is the only coach right now on the team that I have any confidence in. I believe the Chargers could get 8 wins this season, only because of the defense.
The rest of the team is playing some of the poorest football I have seen since the Ryan Leaf era. The Chargers need to right the ship alright, and that may require setting Norv and several other coaches adrift in a life boat and chugging along without them. While they are at it, several under-achieving players, and players who lack awareness of the ball or ability to protect the ball should be set afloat as well.
It is time to get the ‘Club Daygo’ atmosphere out of Chargers Park. Make players, Coaches, and the front office accountable for the play of the Chargers.
Anything less is unacceptable.
That is my opinion, what is yours?