In Norv We Trust

It's time Norv Turner gets the credit he is due, says BOLTHYPE's Jeff Williams. Turner has taken a beating from the fans and the media, and yet through it all Norv has his Chargers playing their best football as they roll into the playoffs.

When are we going to learn? For a third straight year, the Chargers got off to a rocky start, and Norv Turner was believed to be a failure. For the third straight year, the Chargers fought back from that rocky start to make the playoffs. Each of the last three years I picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl (I know, big surprise), and in the previous two years they came close but not close enough. Through it all Norv has taken a beating from the fans, and I’ll admit to leading the charge against him more than once. But it is past time to give Norv his due credit. He has coached through an incredible number of injuries and poor defensive schemes yet still manages to have his team playing their best football in December and January. This season more than ever, he has been passionate on the sidelines, he has been incredibly focused, and most importantly he has Philip Rivers playing like an MVP.

Norv Turner was brought in for a number of different reasons, including his familiarity with the offense, and his ability to get along with others (like his GM), but primarily he was brought in to mentor Rivers. After their first year together back in 2007, Rivers performance really took off. In 2008 he posted career highs in passing yards, TD’s, completion percentage, and QB rating. This year he has already set a new career high for passing yards with 4155, and tied his career low for interceptions with just 9 (in a full season, assuming he doesn’t play enough Sunday to throw for another one).

Back in 2007 I wrote about Turner’s expert handling of QB’s, and compared the numbers put up by Troy Aikman early in his career to what Rivers might be able to accomplish under Turner’s tutelage. Turner was offensive coordinator for the Cowboys from 1991-1993, when Aikman threw for career highs in yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and QB rating. As previously mentioned, Rivers has already thrown for career highs of his own under Turner, and has greatly exceeded the numbers put up by Aikman in that same time span. In fact, the only stat that Rivers has not topped Aikman in is Super Bowl victories.

Aikman won two Super Bowls while Norv was the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys, and he was named MVP of Super Bowl XXVII. Rivers is still waiting for his first opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. After so many chances and missed opportunities, will this be his year? I’m going to stick to my prediction and say yes, and this year I really believe it. And I really believe in Norv.

December 31, 2009

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Nahum M Villalobos said... Dec 30, 2009, 10:56:00 PM

I have to admit that Norv has done a great job coaching the Chargers. I have to admit that I hated what Norv was doing as a head coach for our football team. I was still in love with Marty Schotteinhiemer and what he had done with our football team, especially our defense. Marty was a defensive guy, 'cause he played on defense in his days in the NFL, and that led the chargers to be the number 1 total defense for about 1-2 seasons. Now, Norv is an offensive guy as we all know, I have never seen the Chargers offense this good out of all my years of watching the chargers play, since I was 5 in 1995. Really it's really really good. I'm falling in love with what Norv is doing, and since he's an offensive guy our defense has fallen a little bit over the years, but still, I think we're pretty decent on defense, especially with all the injuries. That's one thing Marty didn't have as a coach for the Chargers, injuries. Injuries weren't a problem for us back then, but they are a problem now. Norv has done a great job with what he has, 2nd string 3rd string, maybe 4th string backups, and their backups backup, Norv is just a genius and is directing this team really really well.
Well that's all I've got to say.
But great post Jeff.

Rob Zepeda said... Dec 31, 2009, 12:31:00 AM

I've never seen the Chargers offense more dominant; Norv is at the top of his game, and Philip Rivers has really blossomed with a coach who is willing to let him play to his abilities. The Chargers will be a deadly team come playoff time, and Norv has a chance to erase many of the knocks on him and really cement his legacy.

Anonymous said... Dec 31, 2009, 3:10:00 AM

Norv is a genius. I have followed his teams since Washington and was irate when he was dismissed by Dan Snyder, especially the way he was dismissed. I always believed he would be where he is today. Nobody has a more exciting offense than Norv and he has done a great job at keeping his team focused and ready to play regardless of injuries to starters. The backups perform admirably. A testament to a true leader.

Anonymous said... Dec 31, 2009, 5:44:00 AM

HOLD ON THERE fellow Bolt fans! You can cue the music, but it's not time to "kiss the bride" just yet! There's still one regular season game to go and, of course, the all-important playoffs (the ring, the vows, Goodell's "power vested in me"; and THEN the Kiss).
It's a little premature to anoint Norval, just in case Rivers has a (gulp) bad game, or Norv bungles critical clock management again at the end of a game. And although "I DO" (see, another wee wedding pun) agree Norv has done a wonderful job this year, especially keeping and playing the WHOLE team despite injuries, this is no time to jump the gun or presume anything. However, that said; If (nay, WHEN!) our Chargers WIN this upcoming Super Bowl, I vote for Rivers as League MVP and Norv as NFL Coach of the Year. No doubt about it.
Meanwhile, everyone vote for Amanda today and every day, no exceptions!

Anonymous said... Dec 31, 2009, 5:52:00 AM

BTW, Just for review I think there have been two times the Charger's offense has been even better than it is right now:
(1) The Air Coryell days when Chuck Muncie was also in the backfield.
(2) The Air Gillman days when both Lincoln and Lowe were running, and Alworth was unstoppable as a flanker.
This is to take nothing away from the great current crew though, although I do think they benefit greatly (as does the whole NFL) statistically because of gross rule changes in recent years. Nowadays (by design), every NFL game isn't over until the last 13 seconds because every advantage goes to the offenses.

Anonymous said... Jan 1, 2010, 3:27:00 PM

"When are we going to learn? For a third straight year, the Chargers got off to a rocky start,"...

Actually, it's there 6th straight year of being either 3-3 (5 times), and once they were 4-2.

It's what this team does, under Marty, under Norv. Doesn't matter.

Anonymous said... Jan 2, 2010, 9:07:00 AM

"When are we going to learn..., it's what this team does, under Marty, under Norv. Doesn't matter."

Sorry, but I cannot concur (although I'm happy with the chance result) about the "logic" of the idea that *because* the franchise HAS done something in the past, it in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER is destined, or even likely, to therefore do it again; is just nonsense. And although such loose thinking helps keeps a nearby casino open 24 hours all year, it's a very poor basis for training and supposition for a sports franchise; even our beloved Chargers. In other words, bad habits and bad luck will catch up with everybody eventually, and you can never "enter" a running river in the same place twice (because the water IS moving).
Just sharing a thought, but I do *hope* you're right.

Anonymous said... Jan 6, 2010, 4:32:00 PM

Norv had me in question the first 3 weeks, odd play calling, too conservative and a lack of passion from the "D". But a Charger fan is a fan that is now used to these minor set backs, and yes Team Norv and Co. showed again just how it's done on the West Side. Rivers is and will become the QB of the next few years and this is the Year of The Big Game which we will win. Why, just listen to the players, they are in total sync with Norv's "one week only - no ups no downs - believe in my system" approach completely. He is now showing that he is a Leader and they are following...he has been hot on his play calls and time management and they are poised to be the most dangerous Team to play in the playoffs. What is great is that until only the last 2 weeks, the national media has all but ignored the Chargers playing up only the Saints and Colts stuff, great it keeps us focused like a fine tuned killing machine on the task at hand. Thanks Norv and his entire staff to get so far with such takes a Leader to lead a Team...MVP no question!

marosia said... Jan 27, 2010, 1:43:00 AM

It will be great to watch Super Bowl Package, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

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