It's Not Norv's Fault

It’s not his fault. Norv Turner is not a bad coach.

Take a breath. Calm down. Let me finish.

The demise of the San Diego Chargers is not all Norv’s fault. Sure, he contributed to it in his own way. And he has hardly proven to be a great coach, someone who can make a bad team good or a good team better.

But Norv is not a bad coach, and the disappointment we are watching each week is not his fault.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. In 2007, the Chargers were one of the best teams in football. They fought their way to the AFC Championship under the direction of Coach Turner, and matched up very well with the then-undefeated New England Patriots. Had the Chargers been able to stay healthy just a little while longer, I have no doubt that they could have beaten that tired Patriots team and gone on to defeat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, serious injuries to Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Shawne Merriman, among others, squashed their championship hopes.

Injuries are part of football, that’s not an excuse, blah, blah, blah…

The loss of those key players is the reason why they lost, and in my opinion, the reason why Norv does not have another Super Bowl ring.

Since that time, the Chargers roster has gone through a metamorphosis, from most talented to depth deficient. The 2011 roster includes only nine of the 22 opening day starters from that 2007 season, and that doesn’t even take into account the losses of guys like Darren Sproles, Antonio Cromartie (for better or worse) and Kassim Osgood.

While Norv had input on some draft picks and players, this roster is hardly the talent-filled assembly of Pro Bowlers that it was a few years ago. Age, injuries, and attrition have destroyed what was a dependable group of players. AJ Smith has failed to keep up. Now Norv is stuck working with whatever is leftover.

Don’t take this as an endorsement of Norv. He has to take some blame for some bad coaching decisions, poor player conditioning, and a lack of leadership. When he is fired, I'm not going to miss him.

What I am saying is that there aren’t a lot of coaches who could have made a significant difference in this lost season. Not with the cumulative affect of years of bad roster decisions.

It’s not fair to place all the blame on the coach. If you want the Chargers to turn things around; if you want them to make a change for the better, start with the GM.

OK. Take another deep breath. No let me have it! Sound off in the comments section below.

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

December 1, 2011

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