Norv Turner In Danger Of Losing His Locker Room?

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.


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:

October 22, 2009

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Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 9:13:00 AM

where's mike shanahan?

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 9:41:00 AM

News flash: Norv Turner has ALREADY lost his locker room, if you think of the *whole* locker room and roster instead of just the starting QB and a chummy GM. It's obvious, really. It has been for awhile, and it hasn't been a sudden break but an erosion. Of course, players will never out-and-out say so en masse to the media, but just basic observing of the interaction on the Chargers sidelines says it all. No fire, no joy, no fun toying with notions of greatness or even novelty.
The Chargers have become stodgy despite themselves, slaves to a Head Coach, GM, DC, OC (?), and CEO who are all more in love with "the plan" and the playbook more than the players! It's deadening, even to watch.
On Offense; the Bolts ability to blunt their own ability is astonishing.
On Defense; the decline has been obvious for awhile (since, at least, our Steve Foley got shot and was no longer an "enforcer" in the middle) that our Bolts were weak up the middle unless Jamal was having a great game. Now our defensive weaknesses have multiplied, are even glaring; but they are so obvious now because they are so widespread.
How could this happen?!? Easy. Because that is *precisely* what always happens when top management isn't doing even the basic requirement in ANY human organization: Communicating, sharing, using a transparent and free-flow of information and expertise back and forth to both make that organization complete AND as good as humanly possible. Otherwise, every single thing we as humans do is an empty exercise. No kidding.
So really now, Charger fans; what the hell ELSE did you expect from a "management" that allows their GM's and Head Coaches to not even speak to each other (Bobby Ross vs Bobby Beithard, then repeat the folly with A.J. vs Marty), much less WORK together. Question: do the words CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER mean *anything* in such scenarios?
Now Norv is left "swinging in the breeze", just as Brees was and L.T. is, and even Cotrell's legacy; all abandoned. Other examples: Donnie Edwards, Foley, Turner, Sproles, Merrimen, Oshansky, Hart, and now even Jamal Williams; to name a few. How *could* the Chargers expect to have much respect, emotion, or loyalty in the locker room?! Management has already undermined their Head Coach, because it fosters an environment that repeatedly supports it. Add to this the fact that the Chargers are currently suing Foley for a third of his old signing bonus, and you (as a potential locker-room dweller) should get a clearer idea of how the Chargers organization is more about impunity than unity. The latter is what allows a Josh McDaniel's and the Denver GM to "reverse the culture" of a football team in one offseason, playing to WIN TOGETHER instead of "not rocking the boat". It's the kind of thing men have respected in this and other sports for centuries, it's hardwired into our species, but there is yet to be a consistent example of it allowed to live in San Diego's major sports franchises (although I'd give the Sockers a nod of true respect any day).
It starts at the top , otherwise the NFL could be a mail-order business.
But to the locker-room, I say: GO BOLTS!! Play with ALL your HEARTS! Every single down! DON'T be afraid to change a dumbass call from the sideline (or at least call a time-out). DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID! When it's all said and done, all you'll have is your memories of how you conducted yourself as a MAN, and Life (like football) is a timed event.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 9:49:00 AM

AJ Smith,

End this BS right now. Hire a new head coach. I cannot stand to watch this crap anymore. Give us fans a reason to believe. Norv Turner sucks the hope out of our players and fans.

You say our team is soft? Well, it's because the head coach is soft. When has the head coach of this football team ever taken responsibility for anything that's happened to this football team? He always throws the responsibilty onto the players. That was a solid excuse at first, but at some point, the finger needs to be pointed at the leader of this football team.

The players are considered some of the most talented players in the NFL. At some point, the responsibility has to fall onto the head coach.

Lo Neal is right.

Mikel D said... Oct 22, 2009, 10:40:00 AM

While I agree that Norv needs to get his walking papers, who put him there? Who has refused to supplement the draft with free agent players? Who has had a penchant for making divisive statements to the press about his team instead of having the coach get in there and knock some sense into the guys in the locker room. I think AJ needs to go the same time Norv does.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 10:40:00 AM

i agree with everyone here. besides the guy who wrote an essay, i didnt read it :p

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 10:42:00 AM

i really think we need ASAP a new coach cause we dont have a coach!! he is just a guy that knows the playbook and likes football he is not a leader he is not a talented team he doesnt have the guts to energize this team!!

we this fella at the top of our team we´re lost!!!!

its such a shame what´s happenning here, i hope somebody can take all this messages to the charger organization so they can see hoy pissed we are with turner!! i dont feel respect for this guy!! please if somebody knows the way to get these messages to the organization do it!!

we are loosing valuable time when the season started we were favourites to win the super bowl! now we are a joke!! BECAUSE OF OUR STUPID COACH!!


Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 10:43:00 AM

norv turner is a bad motivator.. you look at what marty schottenheimer did before each game, he was in there in the huddle before the game telling his players to take it "one game at time" you don't see norv turner doing any of that. only time you see him pumped up is if a referee blows a call, thats it. you dont see him angry when the offensive line gets a false start, or a holding call. i remember marty would take that guy out, and just go yell at him to not draw the flag. we need that back.

Mark said... Oct 22, 2009, 11:37:00 AM

I think this post is missing the point- you don't fire Turner, you first fire AJ Smith, offer a demotion to Turner as a O-Coordinator or else, fire him too.
AJ interviewed Mike Singletary, as a formality I guess, when they fired Marty. He would have been great. We need to go after John Gruden and he would love to get back at crazy Al a couple of times a year. As far as a new GM, I am really not familiar with who is out there. But AJ is too much of an ego-centric control freak to keep at this point. Dean needs to take control of this mess and restore some order.

Mark said... Oct 22, 2009, 11:39:00 AM

I wouldn't even mind bringing back Marty, or even Shanahan (another guy who wants to get back at Pat Bowlen and keep sticking-it to Crazy Al).

slim said... Oct 22, 2009, 12:26:00 PM

I agree with everything that's said here. There needs to be change of culture with the Chargers...Just like Butler and Marty did. I really hope the Spanos will recognize that and just looking forward to moving this team into a new stadium. But I have a feeling they won't do anything until the season's end. Just because this team has shown some knack for coming back late last two seasons. I just have a feeling this season will be a valuation season, rookies and veterans alike but I do see big changes coming this off season.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 2:51:00 PM

Norv should be replaced. Who else in the football world would make a call like that on 2nd and goal? that just had to kill the entire team's energy and will !! (not to take anything away from Sprouls-- he is terrific!!)) but, that play was LT's specialty I wonder if John Gruden wants a different job?

Russ said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:19:00 PM

I could see Shanahan coming in here. He's got axes to grind and his teams play pretty well. Norv has always been a .500 coach. He will always be a .500 coach. AJ made a mistake bringing him in and should do the right thing now and show him the door.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:22:00 PM

Had the bolts hired Mike Singletary instead of Norv AND kept Drew Brees, they would be in the hunt for their SECOND straight super bowl title. As it is, they are a combination of the heartless tin man and the cowardly lion.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:41:00 PM

We should have never hired Norv Turner and I think it is safe to say that AJ is an Ego-Maniac. He doesn't get along with anyone, his draft picks have been terrible, and he ruined a once 14-2 football team in a blink of an eye. It is time the Spanos family gets rid of both AJ and Norv Turner and bring in someone who is young and aggressive; someone who shows some emotion on the sidelines, who is not afraid to get in a players face, and has some offensive and defensive imagination. Our play calling is as elaborate as a mediocore high school football team. It is time for a new era in San Diego and it needs to start now without AJ and Norv.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:50:00 PM

John Gruden

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:51:00 PM


Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:51:00 PM

Mike Shanahan

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:52:00 PM


Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 3:52:00 PM

GET THAT NORV TURNER OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 6:32:00 PM

Football is planning and practice during the week and emotion on game day. Maybe norv should stay home on game day and Marty comes in on game day. AJ should take a step back and quit trying to run everything. Look at the two most successful teams, Patriots and Steelers....I know who their head coaches are but have no idea who their GM's are.

Anonymous said... Oct 22, 2009, 8:35:00 PM

You know I am sick of the unimaginative play calling until December-ish. It seems like Norvs philosophy is to use the first 8 games to not expose his limited imaginative trick plays till later on in the season, do you guys get that feeling too? Like let's just slide into the playoffs, don't take these early games seriously, we will bounce back when we have to, cause noone is ever gonna run away with the West, that way I can pull out the cool flea flickers, bombs (did we go deep once last week?)and reverses for December-ish. That call where Sproles got nailed by an un-blocked Ray Lewis and now that one to Sproles with the Donkeys, what is the real problem here anyway, his play calling sucks, Let me know when December is here.

sam said... Oct 23, 2009, 9:45:00 AM

Yeah... I agree with Lorenzo. LT needs to be in on that 3rd and goal play, it does send a bad message to the team, to LT, and to fans. That being said, I we can't put the blame of the loss on Norv by himself. If special teams came out there and did the job they normally do, we would have won that game. Every play is crucial, but returning two touchdowns was a lot more damaging than Norv's bad call.

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 11:30:00 AM

What the heck is up with Buster Davis?? Why did we draft this guy? What a waste.

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 12:38:00 PM

Damn dude! Can we fire Norv already?

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 1:17:00 PM

I CANT AGREE LESS then you guys, God dammit, freaking 1st and 10 and you freaking call playaction almost every single play? Your have HEALTHY LT. Run the dam ball man.

Im still piss about that baltimore game when sproles was the running back for that last play of 4th and 2. (sproles got kill by RAY Lewis)

Dude, you got Micheal Bennet (Downhill runner) to run the ball and he put sproles in when every baltimore players stack the dam box.

As for AJ, the draft is stupid, and he need to grow some ball about trading for players. We are down on DLINE so trade for one, Shaun Rogers is right there. We could have trade out picks down and could have still pick up English and maybe RAY Magulua too. We would have a steel wall of Linebacker. Burnnet sucks.

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 1:34:00 PM

I say fire Norv but lets be real. We have to wait till the end of theseason so we dont just pick up another Norv again. Its a rebuilding year after that loss to the donkies.
What we need to do is figure out how to make the defense rush better. Merriman is getting doubled every play, so weres Phillips at? He should of had 2 sacks and 6 hurry ups last game.
And by the way, in order to get a good coach, you have to get rid of AJ. No right minded coach will coach under that ego punk. So if were rebuilding, lets clean house. The End...

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 3:32:00 PM

I'm pretty sure they were 11-5 two years ago, not 9-7. Lo was on that team, shouldn't he know that?

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 3:59:00 PM

All I can say is on the first red zone 3rd and goal, Norv brings in Sproles and my 16 year old daughter says "here comes a run up the middle with the smallest guy on the field". Yep, right on the money and bring in Kaeding. If she can call it do you think the guys getting paid to stop Norv the Genius can too? Lord knows we wouldn't want to let Jackson & Floyd run to the corners and unjump the midgets for a ball. NO, that would be easy. And easy doesn't show off genius.
Norv as got to go and the sooner the better. But Marty??!?!! Really??!?!? Yeah, 'cause so many other teams have been beating down his door to come back. His time is long gone (gone before the Chargers picked him up). Instead of retreading the same old loosers, how about finding some young guy who knows how to motivated. Sure has worked for the Broncos.

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 4:15:00 PM

Norv sucks and does AJ... Send Norv packing to the women's basketball league as a ballgirl or boy.. Even a clown would be a better coach for the Chargers, at least he may show emotion. Mr. Spanos, please pleasse get rid of AJ..
How in the world did Norv not use LT the other night. It was like taking the bullets out of a gun and going to a shootout..
At all cost keep, Merrimen and LT, get some blocking, real blocking, Hester, Tolbert are a joke, Cromartie, Weddle need help, Jammer is the only real piece we have on defense...
Go Boltz!

Anonymous said... Oct 23, 2009, 6:34:00 PM

junior seau said recently you can't win a ring sitting on a couch in san diego. all the charger cast-offs (seau, harrison, brees) who refused to kiss aj smith's rear end must have come to the same conclusion: you can't win a ring playing in san diego. john butler's team was built to win. aj smith tore down jb's team to show how much smarter he is (who is jb and why do aj smith care about the legacy). aj smith wanted this team to fail to show he is the boss and you can kiss his goodbye.

Anonymous said... Oct 24, 2009, 11:21:00 AM

LT was having a much better game than we had seen recently. I still don't know that he would have gotten in the end zone. Most of this year and last year we have lost on obvious running situations. Teams have destroyed us in the trenches on these situations. (We are losing on defense too but let's save that for another day.) We all hated the call to run Sproles because he got stuffed. We hated it in Baltimore because he got stuffed. We loved it against the Raiders because he scored. I would have rather given it to LT in that situation because LT looked good between the tackles, but the truth is Norv doesn't trust the O-line. I don't blame him for the most part as the line has been dominated most of the year. In the defense of the O-line, Norv has never really given them a shot to get into a groove. Not sure that they ever would but Norv would much rather dial up a pass play than try to grit out the running game. This mostly bugs when LT looks sharp and aggressive. He gets stuffed on a couple runs and Norv sticks to the passing game.

Dont bring back Marty. Brees is gone and I dont think that he is better than Rivers. I base this primarily on how many electrifying combacks Rivers has had. I cannot remember even one that Brees had. Bree is an awesome QB - definitely top 3 in the league but I have seen Rivers show more will late in the game or when we are in a deep whole.

AJ isn't all bad but he needs to stop trading away 2nd and 3rd round picks for the likes of Hester and Weddle. Both guys can contribute but we need other picks to fill holes. Not all players drafted work out. It is a numbers game. AJ makes some good choices with his picks but last couple years I think he thought our Roster was more set than it really was. I mean we dont have as much talent as we thought and we need more competition and not just from undrafted players. I believe AJ would agree that he has given up too much for Weddle and Hester and he did this because he thought the roster was mostly set.

I still think Merriman will get better. Shaun Phillips has underperformed. English is showing signs. If the D-line is truly playing better, we just might put together a better defensive performance. It doesnt look good but i am watching all the way.


Eric Huddleston said... Oct 24, 2009, 11:40:00 AM

There's a lot of correct comments here. i don't feel that i need to say the same thing as everyone else because it is obvious what the chargers need...As for me, although i am disgusted by the way this season is going, I still am a whole-hearted fan. the only thing i'll say is please fix what is broken, and as i have read here, we all know what that is. right now it is like watching a six year old drive a ferrari over a is just sad and shame on the parents for letting the kid get in the driver's seat. you know what i mean guys?

Anonymous said... Oct 24, 2009, 6:08:00 PM

Charger fan since 94 superbowl and i'll play devil's advocate... lt would get the 3rd down play and gets stuffed then everyone talks about how lt's TOTALLY lost it haha. But special teams did play poorly but that's because they a)stink and b)haven't played together long enough because of all the injuries but in 2 wks they will have cleaned that up.
And to be honest norv is a scape goat, he's a great oc not hc.
FYI The new stadium in la was approved the seats are purple/navy blue (raiders, vikings, chargers... pick a team most likely to move). Spanos is good friends with the owner building it. Spanos loves aj smith the very good scout not general manager who's history includes scouting for the bills who went to the superbowl 4 times and lost 4 times, so what does that tell you about his ability to choose players and coaches? Players and coaches who are actually good enough to get his teams somewhere but in the end get very unlucky and blow it. Spanos needs to put his ego aside and fire Smith (he is the one DETRIMENTAL to the team).
If not fire him and help make me owner and/or gm and/or head coach of the (hopefully in 10-15yrs still) San Diego Chargers. I will be a pop warner coach soon then move up from there in order to get my experience. So look out for me Coach T.

Anonymous said... Oct 24, 2009, 10:04:00 PM

AJ got too confident with the roster in drafts past. This year he brought in the type of players the chargers need. In the short run the injuries will really hurt us. In the long run some tough young players will get valuable palying time. We won't see AJ waste more picks reaching on players. He will no longer be overconfident and buy into the "most talented roster" bs anymore. He will bring in quality players and create competition.
Talented players cannot produce when you get shellacked in the trenches.

Let's see what Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Vaughn Martin can continue to bring each week.

Wild card?

Anonymous said... Oct 25, 2009, 10:34:00 AM

Norv Turner has never been successful in the NFL as a HEAD COACH, not in Oakland, not in Washington. Norv singlehandedly took one of the most talented teams in the League, and made them very mediocre. From 14-2 with Marty to our current downward trend with Norv, it doesn't take a football insider to connect the dots. Norv, do us a favor and stay a coordinator. Marty had us on the brink of a Super Bowl, and he was fired for AJ's ego. Nice job, AJ! Here's an idea AJ! Let's get a head coach in here who knows how to win. Our window of opportunity is shrinking (especially with LT).

Enrique said... Oct 25, 2009, 11:03:00 AM

Thanks. said... Oct 25, 2009, 11:03:00 AM

Thanks. Good.

Anonymous said... Nov 2, 2009, 2:13:00 PM

"Football is planning and practice during the week and emotion on game day. Maybe norv should stay home on game day and Marty comes in on game day. AJ should take a step back and quit trying to run everything. Look at the two most successful teams, Patriots and Steelers....I know who their head coaches are but have no idea who their GM's are."

Quoting an above post. I would only add that LT/Rivers could lead the team, but we have such a fragmented upper management that the void of football culture has been replaced with party culture via rock stars like Merriman and Cromartie.

Why do the Chargers ALWAYS play to not lose when they could have an ass kicker Head Coach and some great legacy. It's a lot of wasted talent right now.

Thank God Cromartie finally caught an INT. How are you going to pay child support on 9 kids when you can't catch an INT in the League? Put that on your Twitter.

P.S. Who else would put up with some kid cornerback complaining on the Internet?

Anonymous said... Nov 3, 2009, 10:55:00 PM

I read through this entire blog. I hope Dean and Company are seriously taking the advice of the Charger fan community. There is passion and valuable insight and sincere comments comming from people who really care about this team. I agree Norv T must be leave. I was shocked to learn that chargers released #89. this is a bad move, it shows no loyalty. He's been clutch for the team. Now he's in KC and will make you see yet how you've release another proven player.. quit being so cheap Dean family Darrin Brooks is still out there.

Please keep Merriman!

lighting 72

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