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The Story of Norv Turner: Oakland Raiders Head Coach

Norv asks Kevin Acee what he was supposed to do in Oakland.
Norv asks Kevin Acee what he was supposed to do in Oakland.

This is the second post in an offseason series where I break down the various stops of Norv Turner's NFL coaching career in the hopes of discovering how good, or bad, of a coach he is.

Jun 26: Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
Jun 27: Washington Redskins Head Coach
Jun 28: The Offensive Coordinator Years

Oakland Raiders Head Coach

The Raiders took their shot. They signed a bunch of veterans (with Jon Gruden) and made their run for the Super Bowl, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who were coached by Jon Gruden). What they were left with by time Norv got there was a roster full of old, broken down players that made lots of money.

The year before Norv was hired to be the Head Coach of the Raiders, the team finished 4-12. Their QB was 39 year old Rich Gannon. Their top RB was 31 year old Tyrone Wheatley. Their top WR was 41 year old Jerry Rice. The Raiders didn't need a new Head Coach, they needed a new team. They needed to hire someone that could instill their philosophy and build a new roster. Norv was given two years.

General Manager Al Davis signed 32 year old Kerry Collins, who had been one of the league's worst starters the year before, to be Norv's new starting QB. He signed Amos Zereoue to split carries with Tyrone Wheatley to make up what many would struggle to call a "running game". The starting WRs were Joey Porter and Ronald Curry (who had 5 career receptions).

I don't know how you win any games with that team. I don't know how you score points. Still, with Norv calling the plays, they improved offensively from 25th in the league to 17th and finished the season 5-11.

The following offseason was even more Al Davis-y. He insisted that Kerry Collins, who had gone 3-10 with 20 interceptions in 2004, remain as the starter. He traded for Randy Moss, who didn't seem to want to play football anymore. He signed LaMont Jordan, who had been a suitable backup for the Jets but obviously lacked the speed and athleticism to be a starting RB, and insisted he be the starter. This offense was going to run the way Davis wanted it run, with a mediocre running game setting up deep passes thrown by washed up QBs to depressed WRs.

The Raiders once again finished 4-12 and Norv Turner was let go. They have not had a winning season since 2002.

Grade: D

This was a no-win situation for Turner. For the second time, he took over a poor 4-12 team and went 9-23 in his first 2 seasons as Head Coach. Unfortunately, due to incompetence and a lack of patience by his GM/Owner, he wasn't given the chance to build the team into a winning franchise like he did in Washington.

Did he fail to turn the team around? Yes, that's why he gets a D. Could anyone have success with that roster and under those circumstances? No, that's why he doesn't get an F.