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10 NFL pre-training camp question marks

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    5. San Diego Chargers coaching staff
    Expected Opening Day coaching staff: Norv Turner, head coach; Ted Cottrell, defensive coordinator; Clarence Shelmon, offensive coordinator


    Norv Turner hasn't been successful as a head coach, but he'll have no excuses in San Diego. (Donald Miralle / Getty Images)

    The Chargers were the only NFL team to not sign a single new veteran free agent over the off-season. A 14-2 squad last year, San Diego will go to war in '07 with almost exactly the same roster they battled with in '06. So why are some folks in the media picking the Broncos to win the AFC West? Well, the coaching staff has changed quite a bit down in SoCal. And few say for the better.

    Gone is head coach Marty Schottenheimer (some say this is a good thing), offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (now Miami's head coach), and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips (now the head coach in Dallas). Also lost are tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski (the new offensive coordinator in Cleveland) and linebackers coach Greg Manusky (now the defensive coordinator for San Francisco).

    In comes Norv Turner as the new head coach, Ted Cottrell as the new defensive coordinator, Clarence Shelmon takes the helm at O-coordinator, and former Bears defensive whiz Ron Riviera comes in as Manusky's replacement as linebackers coach. Turner has a history with San Diego (offensive coordinator under Mike Riley in 2001, 2002) and has recently been the recipient of showered praise in NFL circles for his role in the rapid development of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.

    But he's still Norv Turner. The same Norv Turner that has a career head coaching record of 58-82-1. The same Norv Turner who is 1-1 in career postseason contests. Excuse me for not doing flips over the hiring.

    Cottrell's one of the more respected defensive minds in the game, but has had his failures along the way, too. Shelmon's a longtime Chargers assistant who has worked with running backs Emmitt Smith, Chris Warren, and Tomlinson over the course of his 16-year coaching career, but is a first-year coordinator. A 14-2 team losing a coach here or a coordinator there is expected, but the top three spots on the coaching pyramid? That's a lot to overcome.

    San Diego should be fine this season. They're the favorites in the AFC West and will more than likely make the playoffs. But are they better than they were in 2006? That's hard to say. It's like one of those old high school chemistry experiments. The roster is the "control" here, as it's remained unchanged. The coaching staff, though, has an entirely new look. Let's see what kind of chemist GM A.J. Smith is.
     

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