Norv Turner appeared to be in a position to avoid being fired mid-season, but things have gotten so bad that the San Diego Chargers may no longer care.
Most of us around here come prepared to discussions about the San Diego Chargers. We know the arguments against every talking point. When the irrational fans are screaming for the Bolts to fire Norv Turner right this very second, we know how to respond.
"You would be losing not just the Head Coach, but also the Offensive Coordinator. He's constructed this offense and is the only one on the staff with any play-calling experience. Even if there's a 0.0001% chance that Norv's team could go on a ridiculous run, and history tells us that the odds are higher than that, it's a much better chance than trying to go on a run without an offense."
By holding both jobs and giving the Offensive Coordinator title to whoever catches the bouquet during training camp, Norv had perfectly positioned himself to be unfirable during the season. Things could get embarrassingly bad, which they have, and he would still get to keep his job and his dignity until the offseason. It was near impossible to envision a scenario in which Norv would get the hook with games left to play … and then 2012 happened.
- After going up 24-14 against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter, the Chargers don't score a single point in the fourth quarter and lose the game 31-24.
- After going up 24-0 against the Denver Broncos at halftime, the Chargers don't score a single point in the second half and lose the game 35-24.
- During the bye week, the Chargers are investigated by the NFL for using an illegal "sticky" substance and the head of their PR department is dragged through the mud after telling fans to "Take a chill pill".
- The Chargers fail to score a single touchdown against the Browns, the 30th best team in the league according to our Power Rankings, and lose the game 7-6.
Four embarrassing weeks in a row. A solid month of depressing chaos, most of it being played out in front of a national audience. Would that be enough to get Norv Turner fired? At the end of the season, sure. During the season? Probably not. However, this "Frankenstorm" has yet to hit the coast.
Three days from now, the Kansas City Chiefs travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. According to our Power Rankings, the Chiefs are the 31st best team in a league of 32 teams. They are one of maybe two teams that this current version of the Chargers could maybe beat, especially with Matt Cassel back in as their Quarterback after an injury to Brady Quinn. That's the good news for Norv Turner. A win will calm things down quite a bit, and this is a team that San Diego could actually beat. Then again, we said that about the Cleveland Browns as well.
The bad news for Norv Turner is that he's being thrown a softball in front of a national audience, in front of 40,000 people that will probably be openly rooting against him, and there's a sniper in the stadium that has his sights set on Norv's head.
Here is the argument that I'll come prepared with to any "Fire Norv" rallies, should the Chargers lose to the Chiefs on Thursday: Four consecutive losses to teams with a combined record of 10-20. That's not even bringing in the "Chill pill" thing or the sticky towel situation, which are embarrassing in their own regard. Keeping a coach after that, even if it's just for the rest of the season, probably does more harm than good. It screws with the confidence of the players. It creates an atmosphere where failure is acceptable. It not only makes Dean Spanos look weak, it makes him look stupid.
We're not there yet. You don't fire your Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator on Monday when you have a game on Thursday. Not unless you plan on forfeiting the game. Norv still, unbelievably, has a sliver of a chance to win this game and get the team on an improbable run in November and December. However, if this game is lost, so is that chance and so should be Norv Turner.