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Time to reanalyze Norv Turner

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://blackchristiannews.com/news/p1_norv.jpg"><img title="Norv Turner" src="http://blackchristiannews.com/news/p1_norv.jpg" alt="Norv Turner" width="168" height="229" /></a></div>

    All too often Charger fans talk about the current Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers as if they are reading a bed time story to their child. Fans seem to think of Norval Turner as a gloomy, forlorn two legged version of Eeyore, the depressed donkey from the Winnie the Poo books.

    That can not be the claim as of late. In fact, many of the fans who have made the trek to the preseason camps that the Chargers open to the public in spring are given reasons to question that perception. Yet for many perception is reality, that is until it is shattered by a close up view of the Chargers Head Coach snorting fire, and laying out a stream of lyrics on television that makes a lip reading sailor smile with pride as we saw in the waning moments of the Chargers win over the Dallas Cowboys.

    Coach Turner has shown he can be a fiery as any other coach. Many a fan of the Chargers would have thought that would be something that could not be said about the Chargers Head Coach- Especially those fans that were frustrated enough to started the ‘fan site' for Norv Turner, FireNorv.com. A site dedicated to educating the Chargers fan at large on the short comings of the Chargers Head Coach, and pleading with the team owners to jettison the man who was tearing the talented team down.

    Turner himself is aware of the criticism, and seems to take it in stride. "It's the kind of job where you will have critics, be it the media or the fans, and whatever. There is only one way to change those opinions, and that's to have your team go out and play well on a consistent basis." He also added, "It also helps when your quarterback is playing well, and Philip has been great for us. He's got a complete understanding of what we're doing, and he manages the game so well."

    Well, it seems to me that the aforementioned site has been very quiet of late. The Chargers are on an eight game winning streak, and playing some of the best football they have in some time. Perhaps the fans at FireNorv.com have perhaps begun to reevaluate their position where Norv Turner is concerned. I happen to know many fans have. It could just be the euphoria of seeing the Chargers once again vault past the hated division Rival Broncos to take the lead in the AFC West, or the giddiness that comes form having the controlling hand in the run for the second seed in the AFC playoff picture, or it possibly could be that some people are starting to respect the man that in a very short time has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in franchise history.

    Turner has guided the Chargers to consecutive AFC West titles and three playoff wins, tied with Don Coryell and Bobby Ross for the most in team history. Turner has saved his best coaching for late in the season as evidenced by his 9-0 record in December over the last two years, and is the sixth head coach in NFL history to lead a team to the Championship Game in his first season at the helm.

    Now, of course if can be argued that ‘coaching the Chargers is so easy even a caveman can do it'. Believe me, it has in fact been argued on fan forums such as BoltTalk.com. However I would hasten to add that it has not been an easy ride for Norv. In fact, a slow start in '07 and '08 I believe is due in large to players not fully buying into the system the Coaches were selling. Norv made this comment that reflects that opinion: "You try to build something, and you try to sell it to the players, and you have to believe in what you're doing, even when the rough spots hit," he said. "The main thing is that the players also believe.

    Turner though has of late shown that he has won the players over, and it seems is quickly winning more of the fans over as well. Of course that is a side effect of winning football games. But the fans can be fickle, and it would not take much to turn the current smiles upside down- Luckily, the Chargers are playing at a level currently that gives me confidence that the fans will continue to have reasons to smile.

    Turner this season has also been chipping away at various other critiques and perceptions. One such is that he is not a detailed oriented coach, and that his teams lack discipline. To assail that perception the Chargers have quietly moved into the position as the leagues least penalized team for the 2009 season. This is big, because you can watch teams week in and week out put themselves in a position to lose games because of mental lapses that lead to yellow hankies on the turf. Turner and the coaching staff are due some of the credit for eliminating such mental mistakes; something that Turner's predecessor with the team, Marty Schottenheimer was known and respected for.

    Now if my hypothesis is correct that would appear to be a notch in the armor of Norv Turner, perhaps I just choose to look over the rim of my ‘Homervison"©' glasses at the Chargers for a moment, but let me not rain on my blind fandom here. Because while it could be argued that he may have lost the players, it can be pointed out that he has won them back in stunning fashion. The players believe in their head coach now.

    Last Night, after winning a closer than comfortable victory over the Dallas Cowbys in Dallas, Philip Rivers, start Quarterback for the Chargers gave a game ball to Coach Turner. Rivers made these comments about Turner shortly after "He doesn't care one bit about getting recognition, but he certainly deserves a ton of credit for where we're at," Rivers said. "I know it was special for him to come to Dallas. He's always the one giving out game balls so I thought I'd give him one this time for the great job he's done." (credit; Casey Pearce, Chargers.com)

    A sign of appreciation and respect, as the entire team cheered the moment. It is much easier to stay tight as a team with the wins, and as mentioned before, the Chargers with Rivers and Turner have had a lot to celebrate in December. Since they were 2-3, the Chargers have accumulated eight straight wins. The latest improved them to 11-0 in December under Turner and gave them an NFL record with 16 straight wins in the month.

    It can be argued that Turner has the team focused in the right direction. Many fans have said of the past Chargers that they are too interested in the press clippings of their last game. If the players are to be believed now, they are focused forward, not backwards along with their Coaching staff.

    "The thing I like best about us is that we're addressing what we have to do on a week-to-week basis," Turner said. "And if you want to be a team that has a chance to have success in December and January, you have to be ready to play whatever type of game presents itself."
    "A lot of things have to happen to play well in December," Turner said. "You have to believe in what you're doing and you have to stay healthy. And over the last two years we've been healthier in December than we've been in September. Our schedule has been such that we could have success, but that's not the case this season. Our schedule's much tougher.
    "You get closer to what you're trying to accomplish, and our guys enter that period with great focus."

    "We're not even going to worry about Cincinnati, what they did today," linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "We're going to just concentrate on what they're going to do next week against us. We'll continue to enjoy this win tonight and get on to the Cincinnati Bengals tomorrow."

    "We seem to finish strong," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "We've talked about it and really made it one of our mottos. That has a lot to do with our mindset in December. We have a knack for really taking it one game at a time and taking that idea to heart. We've done that."

    "It says a lot about our team," said Philip Rivers, "We've had the focus and the attitude that you need down the stretch that it takes to make a run at it."

    I think it might be time for Charger fans to reanalyze Norv Turner, to weight the facts against the perceptions that have been built up. Let us judge the man for his time with the Chargers, and hope that the Chargers continue responding to their Head Coach through the last game of February!

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