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Inside Slant - 2/19/07

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>
    <p class="inside-copy"><img src="http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070219/capt.cash10102192239.chargers_turner_cash101.jpg" title="Norv Turner speaks to members of the media during a news conference announcing Turner as the San Diego Chargers new head coach, Monday, Feb. 19, 2007, in San Diego. Turner got his third shot at an NFL head coaching job when he was hired Monday by the San Diego Chargers, a week after the surprise firing of Marty Schottenheimer." alt="Norv Turner speaks to members of the media during a news conference announcing Turner as the San Diego Chargers new head coach, Monday, Feb. 19, 2007, in San Diego. Turner got his third shot at an NFL head coaching job when he was hired Monday by the San Diego Chargers, a week after the surprise firing of Marty Schottenheimer." height="234" width="318" /></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Just two days before the opening of the scouting combine in Indianapolis, the Chargers became the final team to identify their head coach for 2007.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> In a very debated move, Norv Turner was given his third opportunity to run an NFL team. Previously the head coach in Washington and Oakland, Turner was handed the reigns to one of the league's most talented teams - and one expected to compete for the Super Bowl next season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Other candidates interviewed included defensive coordinators Ron Rivera (Bears), Mike Zimmer (Falcons) and Rex Ryan (Ravens), and 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Turner, who had been the 49ers' offensive coordinator, brought in long-time NFL assistant Ted Cottrell to run the defense. Cottrell worked in Buffalo for five years under Wade Phillips, who recently left San Diego to become Dallas' head coach. Cottrell provides important continuity for a defense that relies heavily on its 3-4 personnel.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "It was the most natural fit there could be because again the continuity, his history with Wade, his history with the defense," Turner said. "His background as a coach in this league and his ability to lead players, Ted is here and I truly believe he'll get the best out of the players."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Many believe Turner is too laid-back for a team that appeared to need even stronger leadership down the stretch last season. But there is no doubt that Turner will bring a different atmosphere - for good or for bad.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The parting with Schottenheimer was far from sweet. In fact, it bathed the Chargers in the worst possible light.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Citing a "dysfunctional relationship" and an "untenable" situation, Chargers president Dean Spanos fired coach Marty Schottenheimer.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Schottenheimer, who had no relationship with general manager A.J. Smith, was let go with one year left on his contract. This surprising move came about four weeks after Spanos and Smith assured Chargers fans Schottenheimer would return for the 2007 season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Instead, the Chargers have a new coach despite Schottenheimer leading them to two AFC West titles in three years, and their best regular season last year at 14-2.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But it was the Chargers' disappointing loss to the Patriots in last month's divisional playoff game which caused some of the team's brass to reconsider Schottenheimer coming back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Still, he avoided what could have been an emotional discharge at that time, only to get the ax in February.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I still say that at the end of the season, keeping everything status quo or with minimal changes, both A.J. and I believe that that was the best chance for us to succeed this year," Spanos said. "I still believe that. Unfortunately, since then there have been significant changes to our coaching staff. There has been a process that we have been going through in the last month that both A.J. and Marty have not agreed upon in the process with how this has worked with what we've been trying to accomplish.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "You can say it's dysfunctional or whatever you want, but it hasn't worked. I think that's what precipitated the change and the need for the change."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Schottenheimer, who took the high road in this embarrassing debacle, said Spanos was on the mark.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "Dean identified it pretty accurately," Schottenheimer said. "We're in a very untenable situation. I think he made a decision that was tough for him, but he felt it had to be made.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "We had five good years here and I feel very, very confident that this organization and this football team is better than the one when I got here."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-New coach Norv Turner is familiar with some of the personnel he inherits - he was the Chargers' offensive coordinator in 2001. Turner's ability to maintain the Chargers offense that led the NFL in scoring last season was a major factor in the hiring.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I consider Norv one of the best offensive minds in the National Football League," team president Dean Spanos said. "I think because of his ability to maintain continuity within this organization going forward, he is without a doubt the right choice for this job. We're all looking forward to him taking us to the next level because we all have the same goal in mind. That's to win a world championship."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> So is Turner simply the safe pick?</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "You can say whatever you want to say," Spanos said. "If we hadn't made a change and we lost, we made the wrong decision. If we do make the change and we lose, we made the wrong decision. So the net result of all this is, there's only one thing we have to do this year, and that's get back in the playoffs. Just get to the postseason and win the first game, is our goal. And then I think we're off to a good start."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Ron Rivera, who interviewed for the Chargers' head coaching position, is now out of a job. Chicago announced it will not renew his contract. He reportedly will talk to Turner about a potential spot on the Chargers' staff.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Turner is 58-82-1 as an NFL head coach. In his most recent head coaching position, he went 9-23 in two seasons in Oakland (2004-05).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "Norv is a perfect fit for our team. We have a great relationship. He will know exactly what to do with our team." - RB LaDainian Tomlinson on new coach Norv Turner.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> TEAM NEEDS/OFF-SEASON STRATEGY</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers' biggest need is trying to keep two standout players from last season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> LG Kris Dielman had a sensational season, as the team often ran his direction in directing LaDainian Tomlinson to an NFL record in touchdowns and points. But the negotiations have hit a roadblock and many feel the Chargers will let him walk as an unrestricted free agent.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Another key player the Chargers will work hard in keeping his OLB Shaun Phillips. He started in place of the wounded Steve Foley and responded with 11.5 sacks, second on the team only to Shawne Merriman's NFL-high 17. No way the Chargers let Phillips slip away, especially with him being an exclusive free agent.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 1. Strong safety: Not only was Terrence Kiel merely OK, he was charged with five felony drug counts. It appears he will miss jail time, but it's likely Smith will send him packing and try to upgrade the position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 2. Wide receiver: Keenan McCardell tumbled from being the No. 1 wide out to an afterthought at season's end. Eric Parker, the No. 2 wide receiver, had a terrible game in the playoffs against the Patriots. Attention is needed here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 3. Left guard: If the Chargers can't get on the same page as their talented, soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Kris Dielman, this position will need some serious attention.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">MEDICAL WATCH: QB Philip Rivers is still mending from his sprained foot. But it's believed he won't be required to undergo surgery.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Darren Sproles (leg) will be ready for the offseason workouts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Steve Foley (shot three times) isn't able to run yet and it's unlikely he will ever play again.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Leander Jordan (concussion) should be fine for offseason workouts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd (leg) should be ready for the May minicamp.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Aaron Shea (foot) should be ready for the offseason workouts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RG Kris Dielman was in negotiations with the Chargers during the season, but those talks have stalled. Dielman, although not going to the Pro Bowl, was often singled out by coach Marty Schottenheimer as the line's top player.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Randall Godfrey could return, if he doesn't retire.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Donnie Edwards was the team's leading tackler in each of the past five seasons, but he won't be invited back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-T Leander Jordan's time has likely come and gone.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Carlos Polk is a solid special teamer and will likely return.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Az-Zahir Hakim could come back and supply depth to a questionable wide receiving corps.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Cory Withrow returns at the right price; a backup to Pro Bowler Nick Hardwick.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Ryon Bingham remains in the team's plans as a backup to Pro Bowler Jamal Williams.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Ryan Krause is likely out, a victim of a numbers crunch at this position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips is a solid starter and will be back as the team is hopeful of securing him to a long-term contract.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner will be back as an insurance policy for LaDainian Tomlinson. However, if the right deal appeared, he could be moved in a trade.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Greg Camarillo is on the fence; team needs to upgrade this position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd will be back as he proved his worth as a dynamite red-zone target with three touchdown catches.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris; the team likes his pass-rushing ability - he had three sacks last season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Derreck Robinson will likely return, but needs to prove he can stay healthy.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RT Cory Lekkerkerker is probably back as Shane Olivea's backup.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS LOST: None.</p>
     

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