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Patient Turner takes NFL strife in stride

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    By Nick Canepa

    It’s hard to imagine anyone really knowing a football coach. Not even a twin. They are not the same as you and me. They have crawled out of a rare gene pool. For all we know, their DNA may be a triple helix.

    But we do know one thing about them: Coaches coach, that’s what they do. It consumes them. And as we speak, Norv Turner has no one to coach. Larry King has seven more ex-mothers-in-law than players Turner has to teach.

    The Chargers head coach, as with the 31 other NFL captains, is on the inside of a player lockout. He isn’t allowed to converse with an athlete, not so much as discuss the weather, let alone a playbook. It’s like teaching English lit and banning your students from reading anything.

    But, what, Norv worry? He’s been around The League too long to be consumed by labor strife. When he has people to coach, he will coach them. Sitting with him in his office Monday morning at Chargers Park, all seemed normal. Rhinos have thinner skin than Norv Turner. He’s going about his business as though it were any other March.

    “Up until May, I really don’t think things will be much different than what we do normally,” he was saying. “Coaches are involved in the draft (at the end of April), but we don’t have a major role. At this time of year, as always, we’re looking at ourselves, looking at ways to get better. That hasn’t changed.

    “This time of year, we don’t have much interaction with players. It will be a lot different if it’s like this in May. If nothing’s done by May, it obviously could be a lot different. Maybe I’m dating myself, but there are guys like me still around who coached when there were just three-day mini-camps and no offseason programs. There’s less reason to panic than if this were to happen in May and June.”

    But what if this labor thing drags beyond May and June? Some people think it could go into August and September. Maybe the courts will rule the lockout isn’t legal, which would change things. All I know is that, the longer a fishing boat is tied to a pier, the less money it makes. The longer labor negotiators don’t negotiate, the longer the standoff.

    Turner certainly has fewer problems than newly hired coaches, who have no one to teach their systems to. But not everything the Chargers intend to do this year can be pulled out of an old hat.

    “We would go through it a bit with Rich (Bisaccia) coming in to coach special teams and Greg (Manusky) taking over the defense, although he has been in our system, and a lot of the terminology will be the same,” Turner said. “But, if you’re a team bringing in brand new offensive and defensive coaches, you’re hoping this gets settled sooner than later.

    “We have a new special teams coach, different personality, different system. We all try to do too much. In this case, less could be better. So, you’d better be ready to streamline what you’re doing, because there may not be a lot of time to waste.”

    It stands to reason that, the longer the labor hair-pull goes on, there’s a better chance of game quality being affected. Norv doesn’t see it that way.

    “There are a lot of teams where the nucleus is there,” he said. “Some players might benefit a bit by taking off two months of offseason workouts. We have no control, but this is a time when players do a great job working out on their own.

    “When this is resolved, there will be guys in place and ready to play. And we have a plan in place and, when the time comes, we will implement it.”

    And the rookies? A lot of these kids enter the season without a clue despite months of on-site work.

    “The rookies I’ve been around, if they’re ready to play, you recognize it pretty quickly,” Turner says. “It’s easy to recognize the guys who are going to help us now and recognize the guys it’s going to take a little longer to develop.

    “This time of year isn’t about on-field coaching; it’s about strength work and conditioning. We have a lot of young players on this team who last year got experience under unusual circumstances. We got a lot of guys ready to play and play well who normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity.”

    So Norv isn’t worried. Norv doesn’t seem to worry about much. But then this is a man who has suffered countless blows from the slings and arrows fired by fans. A little thing like a lockout isn’t going to thoroughly penetrate his hide.

    “I think people who really understand the game appreciate what we’ve done here,” Turner said with a shrug. “Over the past six weeks, at the Combine and owners’ meetings, I’ve had a chance to talk with a lot of coaches. I was talking to Mike McCarthy. By Week 12 of last year, they wanted to run him out of town.”

    Mike McCarthy coaches the world champion Packers. Maybe it’s easier for cooler heads to prevail in Green Bay, where they’re used to cool heads.
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Norv stays on an even keel...... no use in obsessing over things you have no control over.

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