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One to grow on; Q&A with head coach Norv Turner

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    B4L, please spam elsewhere...

    Link

    Interview Kevin Acee
    UNION-TRIBUNE

    July 20, 2008

    The Chargers' second training camp under coach Norv Turner is set to begin. Rookies report today and have their first practice tomorrow. Veterans must be in by Thursday and the first full-squad workout is Friday.

    Union-Tribune Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee met with Turner last week to discuss the Chargers' offseason and Turner's thoughts about the highly anticipated 2008 season.

    How was vacation? What did you do?

    “We go up to New Hampshire. Lake Winnipesaukee. We have a little place on an island. It's as close to camping as you can be and still be indoors. We were up there for 2-½ weeks.”

    How different is it this year going into your second training camp?

    “It's funny, because you always talk yourself into different things. A year ago at this time we all felt we'd made great progress. We felt we'd made improvements, knew each other, the so-called continuity thing. So there is no question I want to build on what we did over the last 12 games of the season. I would hope we can play at that level from the start. Every camp is different, and you don't know what they're going to bring. But I know this: I don't know what else our players could have done this offseason to get ready.”

    Did you guys do more this offseason than last – or less?

    “Because we went so long into the playoffs, which you want to do, we started later. That helped out guys. Why I'd say we probably did more is we had over 45 guys not miss a workout. Sometimes you have that, and 25 of those guys don't make your team. The 45 guys that made every workout are guys I expect to be competing to be on our 53-man roster. I think our players have taken it to another level.”

    Speaking of your 53-man roster, I count 55, maybe 57, guys that have a chance. There's not a lot of room on this roster is there?


    “It's going to be a fight. We have a lot of young guys I expect to really step up and be a big factor on special teams and give us some depth so if we have misfortune later in the year we don't drop off.”

    How optimistic are you about some of the big guys' injuries?


    “All our guys are where we expected them to be at this time. Now we have two or three – (Antonio) Gates and Nick (Hardwick) and Jamal (Williams) – we have to see how quickly they're ready to play football. But based on where we hoped they'd be and where they are, I think we're in good shape.”

    Considering the extent of Hardwick's injury and how important he is at center, is that the one that concerns you most at this point?


    “Yeah. But they (the club's medical staff) feel really good about where Nick is at. Any of them could have a setback, but we helped ourselves with adding Jeremy (Newberry). That was important because you're never certain with a guy coming off that surgery.”

    A lot of people think injuries are the only thing that can derail you from getting to the postseason. Is that valid?

    “There's an expectation there and we need to play like we did the last three-quarters of the season and the playoffs. You've got to handle the ups and downs every season brings. But we're a talented team, and we've got good young players who should give us depth. And we've got some very, very special players on our team.”

    Just because a team makes it to the AFC Championship doesn't mean it's going back. But your team returns practically everyone – and guys who have been there. There should be a carryover, right?


    “We know what the expectation is. I know what everyone wants to say – that if you don't reach this level it's a disappointment. But you have to take it one step at a time. They're saying it in Indianapolis and saying it in New England and in Dallas. The first thing you have to do is get in the playoffs. Look at what happened to San Diego two years ago against New England. Look at what happened to Dallas a year ago against the Giants. You have to go play. Anyone who takes this for granted is inexperienced, they don't understand how hard this is.”

    So how was your team able to be peaking in the playoffs?


    “Obviously some of it has to do with the way we started. There was a real sense of urgency through that last part. And we truly did get a feel for each other, the style of offense and defense. Then we kept our guys fresh. Had we panicked during the middle of the year and said, 'Hey, we're not playing the way we should be' and made practices longer or we berated the guys or we said we got to meet longer, we could have worn them out. If you make it overly stressful along with those struggles, you can take the life out of a group.”

    Is this the best team you've been a head coach of?

    “I hope so. Obviously last year's team was the best team I've been a head coach of. We hope to be better.”

    How does the talent of this team compare to the Dallas team of the early '90s for which you were offensive coordinator?


    “That story hasn't been written. This team, if it accomplishes the things we want to accomplish, then I think people will compare it favorably to that team. Those teams were remarkable in December and January. I told our guys last year if guys want to make the Pro Bowl, guys want to be mentioned among the elite players of this league, well, everyone watches the playoffs. That really is what coaches and players get measured by: Did you have a chance at a championship? Did you win a championship?”

    You have some young receivers emerging. You are known for running a certain kind of offense. Do you anticipate the offense being more wide open this year?

    “You have to be versatile. There are games we are going to need to be more wide open. There are games we are going to have to line up and pound the ball and get first downs and let LT win the game. When the situations call for it, I hope we are more explosive. Because we were very, very explosive over the last eight games of the season. And along with being explosive we cut down on the turnovers and sacks and things that plagued us in the first four weeks of the season. The way you get better is not just doing the things you do well but to grow.”

    Philip Rivers looked really good in the spring. Do you feel he's totally ready and looking as good as he ever has going into a season?


    “He's ready to go. There are some times we're going to have to give him rest. What he's done is remarkable. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like it – his approach and his work, what he's done to get himself back. I know we're going to have to keep an eye on him. He's a guy who is going to push it. We have to make sure we don't let him push it too hard.”

    How was Philip better in the last six games and the playoffs?


    “He got a lot better understanding what we were doing and he was a lot quicker with the ball. He got the ball out of his hand quicker. He made great decisions. Obviously we cut down on the interceptions and we cut down on the pressure on him. And we know Chris Chambers' addition was a big plus for us. It helped everyone.”

    LT mentioned he might take some snaps in the preseason in order to start quicker in the regular season. You said no. What's up with that?


    “He doesn't need that. Last year we didn't start the way we wanted. The previous year, his first month of the season was fabulous. It's the risk versus what you get from it. And we can get him ready, and LT works as hard as anyone you've ever been around. He'll get himself ready to play.”

    LT really came to rely on Michael Turner to spell him the past two years. How will Michael being gone affect him and the rest of the offense?

    “We've got to have that same process. If it's two guys; if it's Darren Sproles and someone else; if it's Darren Sproles by himself; if it's someone else That's one of the things we have to do as we go through camp is the backup runner – whoever those guys are. We have a lot of work to do to get those guys ready.”

    How that backup running back spot shakes out and who the third corner is are the only real issues in camp, right?

    “Yeah, and to keep our young players developing. I think we'll have a plan to get our starters ready. I want them to go into the season fresh. We have a unique deal because our backup guys on both sides of the ball are capable players. Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis, Jyles Tucker, Paul Oliver, those guys are going to get a chance to really grow (in training camp and the preseason).”

    Your schedule on paper is pretty easy. You'll preach to your players that doesn't mean anything

    “Teams change so much every year. And then when you look at the things that make our schedule a lot more difficult in my mind than it looks like is the circumstances of it – where we're playing and when we're playing. We travel across the country, travel across the world. There are a lot of things our team has to handle. It's going to be important our maturity level handles that situation.”

    Every year is the same for a coach, but this is a pretty good team. Any higher level of anticipation or excitement to see what this team does?

    “There is no question because of the way we finished. You want to see how far you can take it. But there is always that reality that there are a lot of good football teams in this league and the difference between winning and losing is very small. It's a long, long season.”
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Good read. Thanks, Conc.

    I feel really positive about our offense getting off to a much quicker start this year than last. They really caught on to Norv's system in the latter part of the season. Now they're ready for him to open up the playbook much wider.

    I feel good about the players we have on the D, but still worry a bit of Cottrell. He just needs to be flexible & disguise our schemes, especially against teams like NE.

    Special teams should be very good again. Now that Cro is 100%, I wouldn't hesitate to throw him in as KR occasionally, just for a change of pace. Hopefully Kaeding is healthy. Scifres should continue to be a BIG weapon.

    Time for some Chargers football!!!!! :abq2: :abq1:
     
  3. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    Oh man. I just invented a miracle hair growth formula over the weekend.
    Why can't I advertise it in here!!! :icon_evil:
     
  4. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Thanks Conc, I enjoyed the read. I'd like to see the O get it going early on but I don't want them to peak to early either.

    Our D should be good again, great would be better. We seem to have the players but like buck said, Cottrell needs to mix things up a bit more and keep the O guessing.

    ST's is ST's and as we seen last year anything can happen, just hope when it does it's in our favor.
     
  5. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug New Member

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    After Sproles had his two returns for TDs against the Colts in primetime, teams began kicking it away from him.

    Putting Cromartie and Sproles back as the two possible returners means that teams will have to "short kick" it if they want to try to keep the ball away from either explosive returner. That should allow the team to start more possessions past the 30 yard line. :tup:

    Naanee is about the size and speed of most RBs, and could be used as such if need be, for more variety. :yes:

    The one thing that will change is that without Lo Neal's presence and positioning, we will no longer signal the type and direction of the play.
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Opening day kickoff return by Cro for a TD!!! :bolt:

    You heard it first here. :yes:
     
  7. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

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    I hear you guys regarding the threat and excitement provided by using Cro on KO's - even occaisionally.

    However......do you really want to risk our All-Pro corner taking a knockout shot from some crazy Special Teamer trying to make ESPN highlight shows?
    To be blunt, we can survive without Sproles - Cro,s absence would cause huge problems.
     
  8. AnteaterCharger

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

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    I would like to keep him on special teams because his speed makes him such a valuable asset - i do remember three-to-four times where a returner had broken from the pack and the person to stop him was cro from behind. Returning the ball I'm not so sure for the reasons you mentioned, besides Sproles has earned the right to be the primary returner.
     
  9. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    HEY!

    DON'T SELL MY BOY SHORT!!!

    HE'S GONNA MAKE THE DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR


    :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:
     
  10. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    :lol:


    BRING IT B4L!!!!


    :lol:
     
  11. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug New Member

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    :icon_rofl:


    I remember last offseason you wanted him cut from the team. :lol:
     
  12. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

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    That and the two yard pass on 3rd and 8...
     
  13. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    There is a lot more self assurance evident in Norval over last year. He always figured he could coach, but now he knows the team has bought into what he does and all he has to do is implement the rest of his system. He also knows he has guys he can count on and real depth. The whole tone of this year's interview is different from last year's. There is no uncertainty among the players either since there's no learning curve to negotiate for the vets, they know all they have to do is refine their timing and make the formations and movement instinctive. This will leave more time to devote to teaching the rookies the ropes without the pressure on them to produce right away.

    The only rookie they actually need to perform immediately is Hester. Cason can be eased into the system, depending on how fast he picks things up, but with Oliver, Weddle and Cromartie we have the youthful core, so there is no urgency for Cason. Jammer, Hart and Gordon are the vets. Watching Gordon this camp will be interesting. He seems to be the forgotten man here, but he is almost as fast as Cro and earlier this year he was supposed to be in the thick of the mix and this is his third season.
     
  14. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug New Member

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    Norv was always confident in the players and the plays. :yes:

    It took the players, and fans, a month or so to get confidence in him. :tup:
     
  15. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Hey, I don't mean turn Cro into a FT KR in place of Sproles. Just throw him into the mix on occasion to keep opponents guessing. We have a lot of versatility on this team - let's use it to keep our opponents back on their heels. I want this offense to attack, attack, attack. Keep the heat on. :bolt:
     
  16. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    see my adopted Bolt? It's my penance for doubting AJ/Norv


    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Give us 10 hail marries (football style) and kiss the bolt for forgiveness!
     
  18. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

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    I think this is the make or break camp for gordon. With a possible Cason holdout Gordon will get another chance. but if he fails to impress he'll be odd man out...
     
  19. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Gordon has been developing, and with McCree and DFlo both gone, he has a roster spot, even if Tribble makes the roster and not the Practice Squad.
     

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