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Face in a new place: Norv Turner

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=241601" target="_blank">The Sporting News</a>

    By Mike Nahrstedt

    <img src="http://i2.chargers.com/assets/178/33033_699w393h.jpg" title="Norv Turner, Chargers.com" alt="Norv Turner, Chargers.com" align="right" height="188" width="231" />Forget the two Super Bowl rings with Dallas. The remarkable work with quarterbacks from Troy Aikman to Alex Smith. The immediate improvement of every offense he has ever presided over as coordinator.

    Forget all that. For Chargers fans, the numbers that count with Norv Turner are 58-82-1, his record as a head coach with Washington and Oakland. Marty Schottenheimer -- he of the stellar regular seasons (14-2 last year, best in the NFL) and miserable postseasons -- was sent packing after his latest playoff one-and-done. In his place is Turner, who has directed one team to the playoffs in nine seasons as a head coach.

    This is the man to get the Chargers to the Super Bowl?

    Don't scoff -- not yet, anyway. At both of his previous head coaching stops, Turner was handed 4-12 teams. He led the Redskins to a division title in 1999 and four winning records in seven years before becoming the first victim of owner Daniel Snyder's quick trigger in 2000. Then he inherited a disaster in Oakland that only got worse after he was fired. He won nine games over two seasons with the Raiders.

    After a quick stop to resuscitate the offense in San Francisco, Turner has slid down the coast to San Diego. Talk about your changes of scenery. In Oakland, he had Kerry Collins, LaMont Jordan and an increasingly disillusioned Randy Moss. Now he has Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. In all, 18 starters return from a team that ranked first in scoring offense and seventh in scoring defense a year ago. Six offensive players, two defensive players and three special teamers were invited to the Pro Bowl.

    It is, by far, the best roster Turner has ever had as a head coach. "He's got a better hand," says an AFC personnel chief. "He was playing with 10s and jacks. Now he's got queens and kings and aces."

    Indeed, Turner couldn't have dreamed up a better situation. He assumes control of an offense that, amazingly, remains almost identical to the one he installed as the Chargers' coordinator in 2001. He'll merely be tweaking a proven system that his players and staff already know.

    A defense featuring Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo should enjoy continuity as well, with Ted Cottrell replacing his mentor, Wade Phillips, as coordinator. Turner also lucked into the hiring of linebackers coach Ron Rivera, who became available when the Bears surprisingly let him go.

    "We're a very, very talented team, a team that's capable of doing great things," Turner says. "Our goal is to be the most complete team in the league and to be playing our best football when the playoffs come around."

    Turner, 55, acknowledges the pressure is on -- not just to go deep in the playoffs in Year 1 but to prove himself. This is almost certainly his last chance as a head coach. "I'm sure it is," he says, laughing. "But my approach is to look at it and say, 'I plan on someday retiring as having been the head coach of the Chargers for a long time.' I want this to be my last job."
     

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