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Chargers coach sees promise in ‘young’ team’s future

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    An open window ?

    [​IMG]


    By Tim Sullivan , UNION-TRIBUNE COLUMNIST
    Friday, July 23, 2010


    Norv Turner says the Chargers’ window has widened. And, no, he’s not about to jump.
    Barring some late-breaking contractual cave-ins, the Chargers will convene Turner’s fourth training camp next week without seven Pro Bowl veterans who performed for them last season. On the surface, at least, that sure seems like subtraction by subtraction.
    From this foggy vantage point, it looks like the head coach might want to take a head count.
    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson and cornerback Antonio Cromartie are now New York Jets . Special teams star Kassim Osgood has resurfaced as a receiver in Jacksonville. Nose tackle Jamal Williams has moved his monolithic might to the Rocky Mountains.
    Yet despite these departures, and with no progress to report on unsigned free agents Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill and Shawne Merriman, Turner nonetheless said his team’s prospects have never been more promising.
    Maybe Turner’s window could use some Windex, but you could probably hoist a grand piano through the opening he perceives.
    “People don’t understand our team,” Turner said during a lunch briefing at Qualcomm Stadium. “Everybody says this team has a window and it’s starting to close. This window is getting bigger. Our team is a young football team … a very, very complete team.
    “There are a lot of guys who I don’t think people spend a lot of time thinking about who they are and what they do. That label of ‘most talented team’ was based on seven or eight guys going to the Pro Bowl.”
    Though NFL coaches’ public pronouncements sometimes suggest they are looking at the world as reflected by a fun-house mirror, there are at least a few grains of truth in Turner’s take. Though they have ranked among the NFL’s top five teams in points scored six years in a row, the Chargers have yet to duplicate that consistency on defense. They won 13 games last season without a reliable running game, a dominant run defense, an elite pass rush and despite injury problems in the middle of both lines.
    They succeeded despite their shortcomings because of an extraordinary quarterback, Philip Rivers, and a superior cast of pass-catchers. They were like a drive-through dinner at In-N-Out: fast, flavorful and indisputably unbalanced.
    Norv Turner would tell you that replacing the 31-year-old Tomlinson with the fresher legs of rookie Ryan Mathews will mean more big-gainers on the ground, and that receivers Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis have grown into the larger roles they could command during Vincent Jackson’s anticipated holdout. He says Antoine Cason can provide more consistency at the cornerback spot Cromartie manned so unevenly. He sees linebacker Larry English accelerating from tentative to instinctual, out of a bumpy learning curve and into a smooth straightaway.
    No NFL team can expect to replace as many as seven Pro Bowlers without experiencing some slippage, but there’s a trap in becoming too attached to aging stars with declining skills and accumulating aches. Tomlinson might flourish with the Jets, but he’s unlikely to beat Ryan Mathews over 40 yards. Jamal Williams was conspicuous last year mainly in absentia, limited to one game because of injury. Cromartie remains a remarkable talent, but his aversion to tackling was a critical factor in the Chargers’ playoff loss to the Jets, and his paternity issues seemed to sap his limited powers of concentration.
    Finding a reasonable facsimile for McNeill at left tackle continues to be a large and legitimate concern. If the Chargers are unable to protect Rivers’ blind side, Turner’s optimism will seem shortsighted and/or delusional. Conversely, so long as they can preserve Rivers in one piece, the Chargers’ window of opportunity is unlikely to close.

    [​IMG]


    “I believe the window of opportunity is twofold,” Chargers’ General Manager A.J. Smith said. “A window of opportunity for a player, absolutely (is finite). Players come and go.
    “But I don’t believe there’s a window of opportunity for an organization. I just don’t. If you’re a good organization and a sound organization, I think that window of opportunity for a championship can remain. If you are fortunate enough to have a young, great quarterback, that is a terrific thing. It helps you immensely to hang in there and achieve things when your players are not quite perfect.”


    While Rivers is clearly the foundation of Turner’s confidence, the coach’s willingness to express it speaks to his proprietary and comforting view of the Chargers’ closed practices. Turner knows which players are on the rise, which are on the mend and which have overstayed their welcome. If his sunny outlook is intended in part to rally a team troubled by its high-profile turnover, it also serves to create performance pressure.
    And that might be the best reason to take Turner at his word; because he’s effectively eliminated his most accessible alibi.
    “I really believe we’ve made a transition as a team,” he said. “There were times when we struggled over the last three years where people were trying to figure out if we were doing the right thing or if this was the best thing for them. I think that’s behind us. I think we have a bunch of guys that are saying: ‘Tell me what to do and I’m going to do it.’ …
    “I believe you’ll see a great commitment to what we’re doing. When we call a blitz or we call a run, you’ll see a bunch of guys saying, ‘I’m not going to decide if this is a good or bad call. I’m going to make this sucker work.’ ”
    Window dressing? Wait and see.


    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jul/23/chargers-coach-sees-promise-in-young-teams-future/
     
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]



    Open for business


    By Christopher Smith, Chargers.com
    Posted 2 hours ago
    7-23-2010


    The faces may change, as is the norm in the NFL, but Head Coach Norv Turner still says the 2010 Chargers can be his best team yet.

    SAN DIEGO – The Chargers sent an NFL-best 11 players to the Pro Bowl in 2006, recognition for a 14-2 season that launched the current streak of four consecutive AFC West championships.
    Six of those players currently are not on the San Diego roster.
    Roster turnover, especially recognizable names, is a standard in free agency, ensuring change in professional sports.
    Some take it as a sign that a team’s best days have passed. After all, the young, unproven players are just that: unknown quantities that don’t have the history that backs their predecessors.
    The Chargers are not alone. Only the Indianapolis Colt (51-13) and New England Patriots (49-15) have a better record than San Diego (46-18) since 2006. Each has undergone a transition.
    The Colts watched Super Bowl Head Coach Tony Dungy retire and another generation of skill players rotate through. The Patriots had to restock an accomplished but aging defense and endure a season-long injury to their prized quarterback.
    Each has kept winning.
    So, now that it’s San Diego’s turn, why can’t they?
    “(Some) see that, well, this team has a window and think it’s starting to close,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “The window (here) is getting bigger. Our team is a young football team. Now we need those young guys to come in and play well and do their part.”
    It’s hard to argue with the track record of Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith, who have acquired better than average talent through the draft and make minimal but effective forays into free agency.
    Then there’s something else the Chargers have in common with the two teams many consider the most successful of the last decade: an elite quarterback.
    And while the passing game has been a magnet for offseason speculation and discussion, Turner believes this year’s team could be the most successful version since he became head coach in 2007.
    Speaking to a group of San Diego media in Qualcomm Stadium’s End Zone Club during an informal luncheon, Turner explained that he and his football staff have renewed their commitment to running the ball. They drafted Ryan Mathews at No. 12 overall. Turner believes Mathews’ combination of speed and power will rejuvenate the 10 and 20-yard rushes that dwindled the last two seasons.
    A younger, more athletic defense is focused on attacking more often.
    San Diego hopes several recent draft picks in the middle of the defense will develop, including defensive tackle Cam Thomas, linebackers Donald Butler and Larry English and safety Darrell Stuckey. Antoine Cason[​IMG], expected to start for the first time, could provide a more consistent performance at corner opposite Quentin Jammer[​IMG], Turner said.
    “Everyone throws the ball so well now. The yardage is up. The scoring is up,” he said. “You have to find a way to get stops. The quicker you get a stop, the quicker for us we get the ball back offensively. You look at the teams that create turnovers, stops, sacks, fumbles … you get those things when you’re playing aggressively.
    “You have to either be disrupting the quarterback, and you do that with pressure, or you have to be disrupting receivers, banging them off the line, jamming them. If you’re not rushing more than four, you better be doing a great job of disrupting receivers’ routes so the quarterback has to hold the ball. I think that style will fit our players.”
    Special teams may make the most marked improvement of all as they recoup players like Antwan Applewhite[​IMG], Jyles Tucker[​IMG] and James Holt[​IMG] and add Butler and Stuckey to what could be an elite coverage unit.
    Injuries forced San Diego to reload as recent as last season, when the Chargers had to make changes along the offensive line and on special teams midseason.
    “It’s like you got knocked down and you had to take a mandatory count,” Turner said. “You’re looking around saying, ‘What are we going to do? How are we going to do this?’ Once we got over the shock, we became a very good football team.”
    Good enough to win 11 consecutive regular season games, a mark that remains in tact.
    The young nucleus that will define the franchises’ future is eager to prove themselves and anxious to learn, traits that remind Turner of a similar group of players largely responsible for the current run of five playoff appearances in six years.
    “They look at each other and want to show each other what they’re capable of doing. It’s a fun atmosphere because they’re big-eyed and they’re really working to do what you want,” Turner said. “I really believe we’ve made a transition as a team.”
     
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I really hope that you're right, Norv.

    I really, really do. :icon_toast: :bolt:
     
  4. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    personally I think this last draft was one of the best we've had in a while. Matthews, butler, stuckey, thomas should contribute big time in the years ahead.

    by the way. CAn I change my personal player from naanee to lb butler. I have big hopes for butler. ONce he gets adjusted to the nfl game I think he's gonna be very good. And its gonna be fun watching him terrorize other teams in the years ahead.
     
  5. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    LT doesn't have enough in the tank

    Jamal won't make it past week four

    Cro is a sperm donor, nothing more


    I like our chances

    :tup:
     
  6. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    That still has to mean that Mathews, Thomas, Cason can step it up and perform, that's the big question
     
  7. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    no doubt about that.

    But what we had didn't get it done.

    I endorse making the change
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I always believe that the new year will be the one of dreams come true. We've all felt the excitement of getting close and even making it once, only to feel the agony of defeat. My hope in the winning of the Lombardi, when it happens, is that there will be no doubt in the thorough *** kicking delivered by the Chargers.
     
  9. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Same here, HB. :tup: :bolt:

    Ya gotta believe!!!! :abq2: :icon_toast: :abq1:
     

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