Talent clearly hasn’t been an issue with the Chargers since 2005 when the team had officially stockpiled enough top tier players to be relevant again on the NFL landscape. After mediocre flops in the postseason following dynamite regular season campaigns in both 2005 and 2006, General Manager A.J. Smith had always been in turmoil with then Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer. Those flameouts gave Smith the necessary ammunition to put Marty on the chopping block and clear the way for a newfound hope in San Diego with a much anticipated new coaching regime.
Fans only found it more befuddling when the team chose to replace an average coach with an even more mediocre name in Norv Turner. Having inherited all of the same talent that Schottenheimer had at his disposal, the expectations were high for Turner even in his first season with the Bolts. After a series of early playoff exits under Marty, Turner’s two postseason victories in his inaugural season with the team gave fans hope with their first playoff win since Bobby Ross led the Bolts to the Super Bowl in 1995 that things were looking up for their Bolts.
Fast forward to now where the Chargers playoff progression has been waning since that opening season and Turner is beginning to look an awful lot like his predecessor. The one thing about Turner that has always been troubling in his tenure with the Bolts is the team’s propensity to get off to a slow start in September. His 6-8 September record since being hired in 2007 is a disgrace considering the strength of the Chargers’ opponents over those games and the fact that the team has been considered a preseason Super Bowl favorite by many over the past four seasons.
Slow starts aren’t the end of the world obviously as Turner’s teams have closed with a flourish during nearly every regular season under his navigation, but digging these early season holes will eventually catch up to the Bolts. The fan base should be wondering whether this is the year that things finally fall apart for the Chargers with Turner’s well documented lack of motivational skills. Some aspects of the game come down to simply desire and the fire within to make plays happen. Many coaches believe that special teams is the number one area where sheer ‘want-to’ and maximum effort can make plays happen as opposed to any raw skill.
Go figure that the main area of weakness on this Chargers team in 2010 has been in kick coverage. This team is motivationally bankrupt as Turner’s nonchalant attitude and lack of fire is not inspiring anyone. Just the fact that the Chargers have been on the wrong end of several sickeningly dramatic and gut wrenching finishes over the past few seasons should illustrate a lack of passion and desire in the crunch time which stems back to the man in charge.
Turner’s questionable playcalling cannot go without scrutiny either as the Bolts have been the victims of predictable red zone calls made by Turner on a regular basis. The pass first mentality of Turner often times gets the team off schedule forcing them to run on passing downs and pass on running downs. Suspect calls in the most critical of situations have been the modus operandi with Turner in charge and that all goes back to his lack of motivational skills as well. His teams just seem to lack that killer instinct that is necessary to make a deep playoff run and really feel like a threat to win it all.
There may not be a clamoring group of fans calling for Turner to be fired just yet, but if things don’t start looking different from a motivational standpoint soon, those pleas might not be too far away. This club has far too much talent not to make a deeper push into the postseason on a regular basis and championship windows don’t stay open forever. Here’s to hoping that the vibes coming out of the Bolts locker room get more positive sooner rather than later or a significant change is made by the organization regarding the man in charge.
What do the fans think, is this a matter of motivation or do the Bolts just not have the proper pieces in place to make a championship run? Is Norv Turner the right coach to win the city of San Diego a Super Bowl or do they need a more in your face coach to motivate the locker room? Will this season turn out to be just another slow start with a happy ending or will the Bolts struggle to make the playoffs in 2010? Are the issues on special teams just a matter of desire and focus or are there fundamental flaws in the Bolts approach to kick coverage? Let your voice be heard below!
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