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Why the San Diego Chargers Shouldn't Fire Norv Turner

Every time someone tells me that they don't like Norv Turner and think "He needs to go", my response is almost always to ask who they would replace him with. Here are the most common answers I get:

Jon Gruden: First of all, Jon Gruden sucks. The only difference between him and Norv Turner is that he managed to succeed in Oakland (because Al Davis supported him and liked his 'fire') and Tony Dungy handed him a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. In his last three season in Tampa, he went 22-26. Not exactly a "championship caliber coach". Also, he's under contract with ESPN.

Bill Cowher: Number one, I hate coaches coming off of temporary retirement. There's always a learning curve because the game changes so much each year. Number two, I would like to have Vince Lombardi as the coach of the Chargers. Neither is happening as long as the Spanos family is in charge. Cowher wants full control and is a disciple of Marty Schottenheimer.

Tony Dungy: No. We do not run the 4-3, he does not coach in the NFL. How would this be a fit?


After people throw those names at me, I like to point out that there are only 5-6 "great" Head Coached in the NFL. The chances of getting one after firing Norv Turner are much smaller than their chances of getting a terrible coach that makes things worse before leaving in a few years (i.e. Josh McDaniels).

Maybe everyone should just suck it up and deal with the fact that teams can win with mediocre head coaches (i.e. Mike McCarthy), and at least under Norv the team has remained one of the better teams in the AFC. He hasn't destroyed the team and left it in shambles, he has driven the car smoothly while its aged and the value has gone down slightly. That's a good thing, because there are so few race car drivers in the league.

After the jump, I speculate about which guys might make for good Head Coaches and if they'd be any better than Norv Turner.

Jim Tressel: A friend of mine (not a Chargers fan) threw this name at me yesterday and it caught me off guard. He's currently working as a Consultant with the Colts, and he'd be an interesting hire. I could see A.J. Smith talking himself into Tressel, who isn't too different from Norv is his demeanor but produced wonderful results in college and is a defensive coach.

Marty Mornhinweg: A guy that fits the mold of "Failed head coach that then became a successful coordinator on a winning team". The Eagles' stock is dropping, but that's mostly because of the defense.

Mike Mularkey: Pretty similar to Mornhinweg, but with better success as an OC before and after his stint as Head Coach of a terrible Buffalo Bills team. Won a Super Bowl with the Steelers and has been coaching up Matt Ryan the last few years in Atlanta.

Joe Philbin: Offensive Coordinator for the Super Bowl Green Bay Packers. Similar to Mornhinweg, there's some question as to how big of a role he actually plays in the offense since he doesn't call plays. Does some really interesting things on offense.

Winston Moss: Usually you can tell which assistant coach is going to next get their shot at a head coaching spot by which is the "Assistant Head Coach". In Green Bay, it's Moss, who is the Linebackers Coach and a student of Dom Capers.

Chuck Pagano: Defensive Coordinator of an impressive Ravens defense, but Ray Lewis is probably the real Defensive Coordinator. Can we hire Ray Lewis?

Mike Zimmer: He's a 4-3 guy, which makes him a tough hire, but he somehow keeps that Bengals defense among the best in the league every year.

Vic Fangio: A long-shot, but a guy who is making a name for himself very quickly. Came from Stanford with Jim Harbaugh to take over for Greg Manusky in San Francisco. His defense has given up less points than every team not named the Ravens this year.


Steve Wilks: He's the guy on the Chargers listed as Assistant Head Coach after Rob Chudzinski left to Carolina. It would be a big jump, but he's more of a disciple of Ron Rivera than Norv Turner so it's not out of the question.

Rich Bisaccia: I would actually be in support of Bisaccia over all of the other candidates. A successful season with Special Teams (and it looks like it could be) would give him respect in the locker room. There's a precedent for Special Teams coaches doing well as Head Coaches (John Harbaugh).

Bisaccia even successful ran the Running Backs for Tampa Bay in 2008 (while being the Associate Head Coach to Jon Gruden), as well as being a TE, WR and QB coach during his ascent through college coaching, so it's not as if he's completely lost outside of Special Teams. He's a fiery guy that gets people going, or at least it seems that way at practice.


The real questions is whether or not any of these guys would serve as an improvement over Turner. I have no idea and neither do you. However, if you think the Chargers should fire Norv, you should probably have a good and realistic replacement in mind.