[EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally posted in November. Will our fearless leader actually eat his hat? Don't let him get out of this.]
Norv Turner's time in San Diego is almost over, I'm convinced. If he's still the Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers in 2012, I will eat my hat.
I've told anyone that has asked about Norv's job security that he was safe if the Chargers made the playoffs this season. If they didn't, he could be gone. Now, with the prospect of no playoffs for two consecutive years looming and the main reasons being that Norv's offense and his star pupil (Philip Rivers) are performing miserably, it seems like a sure thing.
7 of the 9 remaining games for the Chargers are against teams with winning records. 4 are against teams with at least 5 wins. The Chargers are 1-3 against teams they've played that currently have winning records, with that one win coming against the Chiefs (who are still not a very good team).
After the jump, I'll show you how those numbers equal a new Head Coach for the Chargers in 2012.
I like to think in best and worst-case scenarios. Here is what I think is the realistic worst-case scenario for San Diego the rest of the way:
I know that seems drastic, but unless Rivers turns it around (and he's shown nothing to prove that he will) I can't see this team as good enough to beat any of those upcoming opponents. Even if he can turn it on, does it really change the outcome of any of those games? Maybe the Raiders and Bills home games, but the rest just seem like teams that are better than the Chargers this season.
The San Diego Chargers have deteriorated into a bad team. They have no pass rush, they can't stop the run, they have issues in the secondary and they spend more time turning the ball over on offense than actually scoring. These aren't problems that will fix themselves, they are issues that have gotten worse and worse under Norv Turner's tenure as the coach. But, I digress....
Here is the worst-case scenario for the Oakland Raiders from here on out:
WIN vs Broncos (5-3)
LOSS at Chargers (5-4)
WIN at Vikings (6-4)
WIN vs Bears (7-4) (The Bears are a terrible team on the road)
WIN at Dolphins (8-4)
LOSS at Packers (8-5)
LOSS vs Lions (8-6)
LOSS at Chiefs (8-7)
LOSS vs Chargers (8-8)
Realistically, the Raiders should win those two Chargers games and the Chiefs game too. Assuming that Carson Palmer is as good or better than Jason Campbell. They could definitely beat the Lions, too.
The Chargers' best-case scenario feels like 8-8, which is the Raiders' worst-case scenario. The Raiders should win at least 10 games, which I doubt the Chargers can do with their schedule. The Chiefs' schedule is so difficult that their best-case scenario is somewhere around 7-9.
Do you get it? I don't care that the Chargers were 4-1, or 4-2 with only losses to the "good" teams that they had played. They're about to be 4-4 and a game behind the Oakland Raiders, who have roughly 2 tough games for the rest of the season. The likeliest outcome from 2011 is now that the Raiders win the division and the Chargers are sitting at home again, "elite QB" and all. That is what it would take for the Spanos family and A.J. Smith to give up on Norv Turner as a Head Coach.
The number one reason Norv was hired was Philip Rivers. Rivers was going to will this team to a Super Bowl, as long as he had an Offensive Coordinator that could get the most out of him. That man was Norv, but when Rivers is leading the league in turnovers and the team is losing because of him (or winning in spite of him)....that job security as "Philip Rivers' mentor" sort of goes away.
Rivers is the only one that can save Norv Turner's job now. If he somehow turns back into 2009-2010 Rivers and carries the team to the playoffs on his back (with an MVP-like second half of the season), Turner could be safe. Otherwise, things will need to change in a hurry. A.J. Smith might have great respect for Norv, but he has no patience for missing the playoffs.