For as much as many want to give Head Coach Norv Turner props for the Chargers fast start in 2012, he should be given the same enormous amount of blame for the team’s collective “thud” in week 3. The Bolts 27-3 egg-laying against the Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday was yet another reminder of just how important proper preparation is on a week-to-week basis in the NFL.
Every year it seems to be the same story with the Bolts as they just don’t show up for some games and given the substantial roster turnover from last season to this one, the blame falls squarely on Turner. Mental errors were mainly at fault for the team’s inability mount any kind of come from behind effort as they just continuously shot themselves in the foot.
From critical turnovers (two red zone fumbles and two costly interceptions), to inexcusable penalties, and on down the line to the offensive line’s poor play as well as the Bolts lack of pressure on Matt Ryan, each of these issues can be traced back to a lack of homework done by the coaching staff to prepare the players for the game at hand.
After the loss, Turner said: “I am as upset as anyone in San Diego. I don't like going out and having our team perform the way we performed. It happened. We are going to fix it. We are going to do everything in our power to fix it.” Philip Rivers was quick to come to his coach’s defense as well saying: “(The mistakes) are similar in every loss. When you lose, this is what happens. This loss is no different than any of the 50 losses we have had since I have been here. The score is different, but you lose because you turn it over. You lose because you didn't play well.”
That reasoning is all well and good, but the crux of this issue is WHY do the Bolts play poorly or what causes these stinker performances from seemingly out of nowhere?
It’s difficult to say really why certain games bring out the worst in this team, but coaching is the only possible explanation. Each of these mistakes is a fixable problem that goes unaddressed or is just simply ignored because Turner is incapable of eliminating the issue. He would rather make excuses or continue to perpetuate the same ‘woe is me’ attitude among his players.
Injuries, such as Ryan Mathews being out of action or the offensive line being beaten up, certainly don’t fall onto Turner’s shoulders, but the lack of motivation to get back from those ailments (ahem, Jared Gaither) might. He has led this team down the road to mediocrity during his tenure and they have been steadily trending that way for the past few years.
Even the fact that the team’s playoffs success waned from the year Turner took over through the subsequent seasons says something about his ability to make a team better or even sustain a level of success. There have just been far too many mental collapses in recent memory to buy the excuses being given this time around.
How does the team go about fixing these issues at this point in the proceedings? That is the most difficult question to answer.
Turner can’t be fired just because of this one game and certainly won’t be let go at any point during the course of the season. Still the idea of wanting to improve as a team and reach the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl lingers for the Chargers franchise. Turner doesn’t have the tools to accomplish that goal as a head coach because he continues to offer excuses as opposed to results.
There comes a time when the organization needs to realize that this is a results-oriented business and Turner just doesn’t cut it. No matter how much the players defend him or what it will cost the franchise to go out and find a new face to put in charge, that is the only way to actually reach the pinnacle and find out what the Chargers are really capable of as a team.
Now the verdict. Do you blame Norv Turner for the horrible display by the Bolts on Sunday or are the players at fault? Can this team ever live up to its potential with Turner in charge or do they need a change at the helm? Please fill up the comments with your take on this controversial topic!
Follow Anthony on Twitter: @AnthonyMBlake
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