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Turner’s offense has produced great runners and passers

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Thursday, Jan 22, 2009
    By Casey Pearce , Chargers.com

    Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner just completed his 18th season as an offensive play-caller in the NFL, and throughout that tenure he’s strived for balance and more importantly offensive success.

    In 2008, the Bolts threw the ball 478 times compared to 421 runs, causing some outside the organization to believe that the Bolts have evolved to a pass-first team. However, a look at Turner’s history as a play-caller doesn’t support that notion.

    As both a head coach an offensive coordinator, Turner has called plays for five different NFL rushing champions. That list includes LaDainian Tomlinson in 2007, Miami’s Ricky Williams in 2002 and Emmitt Smith, who won three-consecutive rushing titles with the Cowboys from 1991-93. Turner has seen two other running backs – Frank Gore in 2006 and Stephen Davis in 1999 – lead their respective conference in rushing under his watch.

    Turner has served as the offensive coordinator in Dallas, San Diego, Miami and San Francisco and has called offensive plays in each of his 11 seasons as an NFL head coach (San Diego, Oakland and Washington). In those 18 seasons, he’s produced 15 1,000-yard rushers, including LT’s rookie season of 2001 with the Chargers.

    In addition to his history with rushing champions, Turner has seen his leading ball-carrier finish in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing an astonishing 13 times, including LT’s 10th place finish in 2008.

    Turner’s pursuit of balance has produced another interesting statistic. On seven different occasions, Turner has called plays for a team that featured a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver. The Chargers accomplished that feat in 2008 (Philip Rivers, Tomlinson and Jackson) as well as during Turner’s lone season as the club’s offensive coordinator in 2001 (Doug Flutie, LT and Curtis Conway).

    His teams recorded the “triple crown” twice in Dallas (’92 and ’93), twice with the Redskins (’96 and ’99) and again in 2005 with the Raiders.

    In 2008, the Chargers threw just seven more passes than they did in 2007. However, they ran 57 fewer plays in Turner’s second season as head coach.

    Several factors contributed to their decline in opportunities. Bolts’ opponents scored first in 10 of their 16 contests, and teams that fall behind typically have to throw the ball more to catch up. The Chargers also won the time-of-possession battle just five times during the regular season.

    The Bolts didn’t enjoy the success they’d hoped for on the ground early in the season, which put them in passing situations on second and third down and forced them to throw the ball more.

    “I don’t think it was ever as bad as perceived,” Turner said late in the season. “We went a stretch of games where we played Buffalo and we only had 50 offensive snaps. You can’t really get yourself going in that environment. We had a tough time getting teams off the field early. There are a lot of reasons.”

    The Chargers got things going on the ground in the final month of the season. During their four-game winning streak in December, the Bolts averaged 151 rushing yards per game, including a franchise-record 289 yards in their regular-season finale against Denver.

    Turner has won AFC West titles in each of his two seasons as the Chargers’ head coach. While he acknowledges that balance is key, results are the ultimate goal of his offense.

    “I’ve been in this offense all the way back,” Turner said. “It’s the same offense we ran with the Rams back in ‘87, so it’s going on 30 years. When we won, the balance was great. When we didn’t, the balance was bad. There (were) times (in 2008) I don’t think we threw the ball enough based on the way people were playing us. I’d love to be able to line up and have them play in a look every down where you can run or pass. And I’d like to be good enough that it doesn’t matter what they’re playing. You can say, ‘We’re going to run it, and they can’t stop us.’"
  2. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    basically just setting us up for we dont need a HOF back in the offense at this point we can plug anyone in for 1000 yards
  3. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

    Aug 20, 2006
    Great breakdown.

    If Rivera makes this a top 10 defense next year... we're gonna walk through the division and go deep into the playoffs.

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