Well, here’s a good one. Former San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner, who was fired on Monday after failing to take the franchise to the postseason in each of the last three seasons, said after his termination that the Chargers aren’t ready to go to the playoffs in the near future.
No, really. This is the best NFL example of circuitous logic we’ve seen since former alleged Washington Redskins general manager Vinny Cerrato started bashing his old team on the radio, or when people started to pay Matt Millen to make personnel judgments on television.
Turner, who coached the Chargers for six seasons and had just three playoff wins to show for it, told the media after his firing that it was personnel decisions made by similarly fired GM A.J. Smith, not bad coaching, that has put the Chargers in a hole.
“Someone wrote a few weeks ago that this team is not that far away from the playoffs,” Turner said. “I would disagree. I know the things that would have to get done for that to happen. If this team comes next year and they get some things done to help them get better and are able to make the playoffs, I would hope it would be a surprise to all the Chargers fans, and they would be excited about it.
“I would hope it would not be the expectation starting in August because I think you need to give whoever the guy who comes in here and the group he brings in some time to get back this thing back to where it was.”
Norv said that he believed the Chargers to be the most talented team in the NFL his first three years there — when the organization made the postseason every year — and not so good in the final three.
“We’ve had too many changes,” he said. “We’ve lost too many people.”
These are obviously shots at Smith, and while Smith was an absolute debacle as a personnel man over the last few years, San Diego’s decline can be put just as much on Turner’s head-scratching in-game decisions and inability to roll off wins with any real consistency. Many coaches have done more with less than Turner did, with a 24-24 mark in those last three campaigns.
“Every team thinks they have the best team,” Turner concluded. “I think the lesson I know, and I’ve known it for a long time: evaluate your own players; keep your best players. Evaluate your own players and understand who can and who can’t.”
Well, we’d assume that quarterback Philip Rivers “can,” or at least he “could” before a mechanical regression that has been very obvious over the last two seasons, and may seriously affect Norv’s longstanding reputation as a quarterback whisperer as he looks for a new job.
When Norv does look for that new position, he’ll probably want to point his resume as any open offensive coordinator positions. After 15 years, three different teams (Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, and the Chargers), a 114-122-1 record, and a newfound ability to throw other people under the bus on his way out, Turner may find it difficult for a fourth team to take a risk on his acumen at the highest level. He would have been better served by equally pointing out the issues for which he was responsible.
He did not do that.
“I think that when they look at the tape, they’ll see that this team has been extremely well-coached,” Turner said of whoever his and Smith’s eventual replacements may be, “and they’ll say, ‘They need to find a way to add more players, so that they can compete.’ I’m proud of what these guys have done, and in most cases, I think we’ve gotten the most out of them.”
Well, Norv certainly has every right to his opinion. We’re not sure how many other people in the league will feel the same way in retrospect.