San Diego Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner made arguably his most questionable playcall this past Monday against division rival Denver Broncos.
In the first quarter on third and goal, the Chargers lined up in a goalline formation with their heavy personnel package, determined to run the ball for a touchdown. The Broncos, caught in a mismatch defensively, called a timeout. Norv Turner, perhaps losing faith in his running back Ladainian Tomlinson, or perhaps losing faith in the ability of the 6 offensive linemen and 3 tight ends lined up to block, decided to take advantage of Denver's timeout. Turner decided to switch the play up, going to a three wide, single back set with Darren Sproles substituting for LT. Turner hoped to lull the Broncos defense into giving up an easy touchdown through the middle, but Denver had seen this play many times before.
A visibly annoyed Tomlinson was seen on the sideline, tossing his helmet in desperate frustration as he watched helplessly from the sidelines. Nick Hardwick and Antonio Gates offered their condolences, but it was clear to everyone that Tomlinson should have been on the field. Norv Turner made a bad call, and he cost his team 7 points.
LORENZO NEAL PUTS NORV TURNER ON BLAST
Former San Diego Charger Lorenzo Neal, one of Ladainian Tomlinson's best friends, came on to local radio station XX Sports Radio with host Darren Smith after the Chargers' heartbreaking loss. Lorenzo Neal is one of the most straight-shooting guys in or around the NFL, and he held nothing back in what has quickly become an almost legendary rant:
"Let’s start with 21 (LaDainian Tomlinson). He’s got to be frustrated. I’m looking at that game watching it, it’s first and goal on the seven yard line, he picks up two yards. The next play he picks up three yards. Its 3rd down and goal from the two. You have a guy who has arguably the best nose for the end zone in the history of the game; one year he’s had over 29 touchdowns. From one to two yards, I think if you look at his rating, he must be in the 90 percentile. No disrespect to Darren Sproles. Darren Sproles is arguably one of the best return men in the league. The guy is a phenomenal athlete, he’s got great feet, quick, tough guy, has shown what he can do in this league. Let’s not take anything away from Darren. I love him like a brother, great guy, but if you’re riding in the car with somebody, if you’re willing to ride with them, you gotta be willing to die with them. If you’re gonna ride with LaDainian Tomlinson, you’re willing to die with this guy. This guy has been a leader, he’s been a pillar in this community, you don’t do that to L.T. You do not do it. I don’t care how it is. I don’t care what you say. You don’t take out the guy and put in anyone else in that situation when that guy is running the way he is running last night.”
“Yeah, LT has lost a step, but losing a step for L.T. is still as good as anybody in the league. Last night he was focused, he was ready to run and when you took that away from L.T, you might’ve lost your leader. You might have lost a guy that has been a pillar in this community, a guy that has been a diehard Charger that will bleed and die for that team. When you send that kind of message to L.T, I think you hurt your team. That’s not A.J. calling down, that’s not Dean (Spanos) calling down to say ‘hey take LaDainian out.’ That’s not them. That comes from the top. That’s the coaching staff. And Norv needs to nip that in the bud, call L.T. in the office and let him know how he feels because you don’t want L.T. disgruntled and I know that’s not L.T’s makeup, he’s always been classy, but you cant do that to that type of guy. What kind of message did you send to LaDainian Tomlinson last night? What type of message did you send to the fans last night? A guy that has a nose for the end zone, to take him out on that particular play. That should have never had happened. People are frustrated. Players need to be held accountable and so do coaches. When the Chargers started three years ago (with Norv Turner) their record was 9-7, the next year 8-8 and what is our record right now? (Host: yup under .500) Same guys, same players. There has to be accountability on every level. Norv’s got a tough job, coaches have tough jobs, players have tough jobs too because when players don’t do their job, you know what it is. Send them packing. Ask Clinton Hart. There were a lot of things in that game that got exposed, but you lose as a team and you win as a team and people gotta take responsibility where responsibility needs to be taken.”
Interview via: XX Sports Radio
Transcription via: SportsRadioInterviews.com
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