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AFC West coaching: Shanahan's division

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006

    Change is inevitable. Change is good. Change is the life force of the NFL.

    We welcome new rookies each year. We honor the game's legends at the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies each summer. And, of course, we jump aboard the wild and wacky coaching carousel for another ride.
    The AFC West knows change as well as anyone. The division has now turned over three of its four coaches in the past two years, and one of the teams has swapped out coaches twice.

    The Raiders turned back the clock to Art Shell ahead of the 2006 season, but a number of issues conspired to make his second tour of duty with the squad a short one. The Chargers waved goodbye to Marty Schottenheimer after another shortened playoff run. And prior to last season, the Chiefs handed the reins over to Herman Edwards.

    There is only one constant under the headset in this division, and he resides in Denver. Mike Shanahan is the longest-tenured coach in the NFL following the retirement of Bill Cowher from the Steelers. That's where I begin this look at the coaches of the AFC West.

    San Diego Chargers: Norv Turner

    Offensive analysis
    Evidently, a record of 14-2 and a boatload of points wasn't enough for the Chargers, as Marty Schottenheimer was let go after another shortened playoff run. Norv Turner, who owns a career head coaching record of 54-82, will be called upon to push this team onward to Arizona (Super Bowl site). The team hardly changed at all, with the exception of veteran Keenan McCardell's release.

    What else is there to say? Turner installed the offense that has centered around LaDainian Tomlinson since the 2001 season. Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards last season and will once again handle a tremendous workload. Michael Turner was re-signed as LT's backup, and while he may push for a few more carries after his strong 2006 performance, he won't eat into Tomlinson's carries very much. The system isn't broken, so there were no radical fixes made here.

    Philip Rivers acquitted himself nicely in his first year as a starting quarterback in 2006. Quarterbacks have historically played brilliantly under Turner, and one can only expect the Pro Bowler to get even better this season. The team also added former fantasy hero Billy Volek as a tremendous backup option. Antonio Gates remains the top option in the passing game with the ability to line up all over the field and dominate in the red zone. The team will be looking for other options to step forward in the passing game in place of the departed McCardell. Vincent Jackson showed flashes last season, and 6-foot-5 Malcom Floyd is awfully imposing down low. They will be joined by veteran Eric Parker and rookie Craig Davis in the rotation.

    Who benefits? Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, LaDainian Tomlinson
    Sleeper: Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson
    Past stars: Troy Aikman, Doug Flutie, Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams

    Defensive analysis
    The Chargers rely heavily on their pass rush to set things in motion. They attack up front with Shawne Merriman and ends Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky. The offense scores in buckets, offering this unit the opportunity to pin their ears back and rush the quarterback.

    San Diego ranked seventh in the NFL in run defense, allowing 100.8 rushing yards per game last season. Nose tackle Jamal Williams anchors the unit and clogs the middle, allowing the linebacking corps to finish off plays. The team will count on Matt Wilhelm to replace the departed Donnie Edwards, who led the team in tackles in five straight seasons.

    The pass rush is impressive to say the least, racking up sacks with great regularity (61) and offering the secondary ample opportunities to make plays. Merriman is one of the game's most imposing forces in the game, racking up 17 sacks in spite of a suspension. He'll be ready to roll after off-season surgery. Merriman teams with Castillo and Olshansky to form one of the game's most formidable pass rushes. The team saw Antonio Cromartie improve markedly as the season progressed. He'll team with Quentin Jammer, Drayton Florence and rookie Eric Weddle to form a better secondary than they've seen in years.

    Who benefits? Luis Castillo, Quentin Jammer, Shawne Merriman, Igor Olshansky

    Click the link for the full article.
  2. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    "The brilliance of the Denver offensive scheme has been well-chronicled"
    Especially last year, when they couldn't beat us at Denver.
  3. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    How many times do we have to say this, man? The Chargers are loaded. Rivers, Gates and LT notwithstanding, the offensive roster creates mismatches all over the field on each and every play. I expect that Norval will have Rivers ready to exploit them even before the snap. Rivers is accurate, if nothing else, and there are few defensive backs who won't have to leave their feet pretty often to defend a pass against the likes of Gates, Floyd and Jackson. Then there's sneaky little Parker, speedy Davis, 6'7" Chandler, Naanee and the guy they will forget is on the field, Sproles. If Rommel had these kind of resources, we'd all be speaking German.
  4. Steve

    Steve BoltTalker

    Jul 12, 2007
    Schemes and plays are another way of saying you need to find a way of getting the ball to guys who can make plays. It can be limited players who do one thing well, or a super star who does everything well. The only thing you usually worry about is can a new coach impliment his new scheme with the players he has in order to keep his job long enough to bring in new (his) players

    Norv has guy that fit his scheme. There is no transition or any of that nonsense. That he and AJ can comminicate should only make it easier to get the scouts and coaches on the same page. And unlike some GM's who don't necessarily get into what a coach is looking for, AJ seems to have a pretty good handle on what our assistants and HC have wanted, evn if they didn't work well together.

    Shanhan is a good coach. He has the rings to prove it. But he is going to need to do a much better job then Norv to get the same results. That is especially true on D, where we have one of the best DL in football, and they are pretty bad there.

    People will focus on Cutler all they want, but on any given week Rivers doesn't need to play a great game, we have lots of other guys who can step up and win for us. Cutler pretty much has to play well every week, unless their D is a lot better then last year.

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