There are so many things to talk about, and bitch about, in this game that it should be a full week of content here at BFTB. For the moment, I just want to touch on one thing....Norv Turner.
I understand we give flack to those that come around saying "Fire Norv!" and state their inane reasons (He's never won anywhere! The team keeps getting worse! He looks dumb!), and I'm certainly not saying the Chargers should fire the man today. However, that doesn't mean I can't criticize the man and point out flaws in his coaching skills that I appear to see. After all, I am a blogger and flinging shit is sort of my profession.
I believe that the Chargers have the most talent of any NFL roster. I credit A.J. Smith, who is able to find gems in the depths on free agency with ease, for that and believe that as long as he's running things this team will continue to be amongst the most talented in the league. However, where things seem to go off track is with the preparation.
Norv almost never seems to be "one step ahead" of whomever is roaming the opposite sidelines. There has been much talk about Norv trying to do whatever he wants to do with no thought as to who the opponent is. Whether or not that is true is unknown to us, but it's something I've had a hard time ignoring this season. In each of the Chargers 7 losses this season, the opposing team did not have better talent but was simply better prepared (and, I suppose you could say "better coached").
In every year of his Chargers coaching tenure, the team has been one of the league's best second-half teams....both in terms of seasons and in individual games. They have also been one of the worst in the first-half of seasons and games. That, to me, says that Norv Turner is a brilliant mind who is fantastic at adjustments....but can't seem to use those same skills to construct an effective and unpredictable gameplan from the get-go. To put it more succinctly, I don't think Norv's Chargers will ever get passed the slow starts to each season nor do I think they'll suddenly start learning how to play well in the first half consistently. Whether or not that's a reason to start looking for a new coach, knowing that perfection doesn't exist and every coach has similar flaws, is up to the team.
When people ask "What happened to the Chargers this season?", the easy answer is that they were caught off guard. Caught off guard about how bad their Special Teams were, about the fumbling issue that came with significant roster turnover, and about how to deal with teams that were not very good.
We, as fans, were caught off guard in our own complacency. Sure, the team was going to have it's issues and probably get off to a terrible first-half of the season....but the AFC West is so terrible, the Chargers will be in the playoffs anyways and we'll take it from there. Well, little did we know that the AFC West was getting a little better each season and putting Norv's Chargers in a position where they had to be better, and couldn't just throw away games, or risk spending January on the golf course. It's a lesson that has now been learned, at least by myself. I hope the team has learned the same, and I hope that effects the future of the San Diego Chargers.