Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Feb 2007

Norv Turner To Coach Chargers

The Most Terrifying Man in Football, FOX's Jay Glazer, is reporting that Norv Turner is going to be the next head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Ted Cottrell is being lined up to coordinate the defense.

I don't know if there is a Norv Turner penalty built into the Estimated Team Wins projections, but there probably should be.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 19 Feb 2007

141 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2008, 4:51pm by B

Comments

1
by Sergio (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:36pm

Well, it'll certainly put to the test that "anyone can win with the Chargers" saying.

I feel this is going to be a huge waste of young talent. Pity.

2
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:36pm

What's the over/under on posts before Wil Allen castigates the hiring of Ted Cottrell as DC?

Whatever it is, I'll take the under.

And if this is true, I think it hurts San Fran.

3
by Mac (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:37pm

Ugh. 49ers just lost their hope for next year...and hell, so did the Chargers! This recycling is just ridiculous.

4
by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:39pm

I bet there should be. How ridiculous this is. That being said, the Chargers will win the Super Bowl and Mary Poppins will sing in the halftime show.

5
by jim\'s apple pie (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:41pm

Nooooo!!! Why Norv? Why Ted? I don't get it. This is ridiculous. It looked like Rex Ryan was going to be the man. I was fine with that, heck that probably would have been awesome. To go from that possibility to these guys just sucks.

6
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:43pm

Turner is a notorious feature back addict. Does this increase the chance that Michael Turner could be on the market?

7
by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:46pm

Another PFT rumor shot up in smoke (Carroll to SD).

Can we all agree that whoever runs that website pulls things out of their arse and then when they are right once in a blue moon, they act they just cured journalistic cancer.

8
by CA (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:47pm

That title and job may now come three weeks later in the best city in American [sic] to "have to" work in — sunny San Diego.

That's an odd and unnecessary statement in a breaking news article.

9
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:53pm

They dumped Marty for this?

10
by Jin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:54pm

Ted Cottrell is terrible and what has Norv done to prove he should get another job, much less the most talented team in the league? AJ just hired some puppets that are just glad to have jobs so they will always do as he says.

11
by Torn (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:57pm

See, if they had gone after the Ryan brothers, I'd fear them. Now they've proved that they really didn't have a plan.

12
by Clod (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:59pm

Well, crap. How can any semi-informed Charger fan be excited about this? I know nothing about Cotrell except that Glazier calls him very good at the 3-4? Is he? what did he coach before? And turner?? total PUPPET. IMO

13
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:03pm

I think this is the first time I've really wanted a club's seasons to go up in smoke before we've even got to the draft.

I want them to lose to the Raiders. Twice. Preferably due to really bad coaching decisions.

Seriously, this may be good for Philip Rivers' development but based on Will's oft-stated opinion I believe the Chargers may be turning into something not far removed from Indianapolis West.

14
by Clod (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:09pm

I'll take Indianapolis West!!! sign me up

15
by TBW (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:12pm

yeah, but think of the talent they'll have in two years after they fire Turner and have all of those top 5 picks to show for it. And with AJ Smith, sooooooooper-genius, making those picks, they'll be the most talented team in NFL history.

It's almost like Smith is going out his way to choose the worst coaches possible just to prove that he is soooo good at picking talent, anyway can win with his teams. I hear Rich Kotite is going to be OC.

16
by Clod (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:16pm

They already have an OC.

17
by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:18pm

Wait a minute. Didn't Shanahan flunk with he Raiders too before cecoming a genius with a division rival? Maybe Turner and the Chargers... nah. Forget it.

18
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:18pm

I'll try that again. I got distracted somewhere and sent a half-finished comment. After the "Indianapolis West" comment was supposed to go: "If we're generous, then like the Colts the Chargers have a generational talent on offense; unlike the Colts, he isn't a quarterback. With Turner's tutelage Rivers may well develop into a consistently Pro Bowl QB - his projection is excellent - but when you're wondering if your team can put up Indianapolis-level offense because it looks like they're about to start exhibiting Indianapolis-level defense, things are not good,

19
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:25pm

I think this is wonderful news. Mind you, I'm a Denver fan.

20
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:26pm

Well, James, as I said in another thread a few days ago, hiring Cottrell to coach this defense is like signing on the captain of the Exxon Valdez to command a U.S. Navy supercarrier. This defies belief, and makes the hiring of Turner as head coach look like a sound move by comparison, as terrible as it is. Obviously, the most important thing for A.J. Smith was to get some bobos who would not challenge him.

#12, I can't really say that much about Cottrell with regard to coaching a 3-4, other than he tried to institute briefly in his final year in Minnesota, and failed miserably. Then again, he was nearly as miserable in trying to institute a 4-3, so maybe he just sucks in all types of defensive schemes.

Perhaps the Vikings' linebackers' I.Q.s jumped 50% between the time that Cottrell left, and Tomlin arrived, but for some reason they couldn't get lined up corectly about half the time when the Chargers' new d.c. was in Minnesota.

Who knows? The Chargers talent is so good it may work out fine, but if I were a Chargers' fan, I'd fear what Cottrell could do to screw up Merriman, among other issues.

21
by wr (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:42pm

I think we can say it's official now: AJ Smith's ego is completely out of control.

22
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:48pm

Hey anytime you can go out there and get a guy with a 59-83 career record you've got to make that move. You've just got to.

23
by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:52pm

re 7

No.

24
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:52pm

All right, TheWedge just won the thread.

25
by Joe T (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:58pm

The hiring of Norv Turner is great news for the development of young QB Philip Rivers. He'll be playing for his home state Panthers in two seasons after Turner squanders his talent, benches him, and brings in Rodney Peete to run the offense.

26
by Frankly Bored (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:58pm

#20:

I just don't see Cottrel as being as big a disaster as you make him out to be. He led the Bills to the #1 defense in '99 and then #3 in '00. So if the guy has talent on the defensive side of the ball, he can form that defense into a formitable group. San Diego has the talent on defense, therefore, what makes you think he can't make them into a top 1-2-3 defense? He's already proven he can do it.

27
by reggie (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:02pm

20
I know Cottrell was bad in Minnesota, but didn't he excel in Buffalo when they ran a 3-4?

28
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:07pm

Seriously Chargers, we're laughing with you.

29
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:11pm

The heck with the SD fans rending garments and gnashing teeth, what the hell will this do to the all-important FO projections system? I assume it adds a lot of variance to year-over-year data.

There's no way to factor in "all-encompasing" coaching change in the top three slots, is there? At least when NE lost Weis and Crennel they were battle tested and had BB holding down the fort.

The AFC-W coaching ranks sure have changed in the past month, losing a HOF lineman and potential HOF coach and replacing them with a kid younger than 1/4 of the players in the league and a coach with a 59-83 career record. Normally I wouldn't think that SD and Oak have anything in common except maybe the same plates on their cars. Suddenly I am seeing more similarities.

30
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:15pm

Joe T, don't disrespect the Peetster. He finished ahead of Aikman in the All-Pac-10 QB rankings as seniors (and both finished behind the immortal Timm Rosenbaugh!)

31
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:18pm

Anybody wanna buy a room full of Chargers memorabilia? I think I'll skip being a Chargers fan until we get a real coach, and defensive coordinator, and offensive coordinator, and...

32
by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:21pm

I don't understand why everyone is so infatuated with SD's supposed level of 'talent'. I understand that they are very good, but it seems like everyone is ignoring the gaping hole that will prevent them from winning in the playoffs: their secondary SUCKS. Also, its not as though they dont have holes on offense as well. Their wide receivers are mediocre, and Keenan McCardell is just about done. Tomlinson, like any running back, has a very limited window of usefullness, and although everyone still thinks that he is 'young', he is 28; that is, he has at most, four more years of awesome play. Granted, one or two will be career years, but we can also credit at least some of his success to a 37 (Yes, 37) year old fullback who can't play at a high level forever. Also, their passing offense hinges on a very young, and sometimes very error-prone quarterback, and a TE. Ok, so I am overstating my case somewhat to prove a point, but my real point is this: the Chargers are not the 90s Cowboys, or 49ers. They have more talent than most other teams, but they do NOT stand head and shoulders above the other good/talented teams in the NFL. This is all to say, they aren't going to win the Superbowl on talent alone.

33
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:22pm

When Buffalo was having some good defensive performances with Cottrell as d.c., Wade Phillips was head coach. Who knows? Maybe Phillips let Cottrell run the defense with a minimum of supervision.

What I can say definitively is that pretty much the same guys who couldn't get lined up correctly in Minnesota, with Cottrell running things, became an upper-echelon defense when Tomlin coached them. Maybe they all had brain transplants.

Look, like I said, the Chargers may have enough talent for a visit to Switzerland. On the other hand, given all the coaching moves over the last month, it is interesting that the Chargers are the first franchise reported to have looked seriously at Cottrell's resume. Maybe A.J. Smith is just smarter than everyone else. I'm sure he'd tell you that.

34
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:28pm

Rob, yes the secondary is a major issue however you're wrong on the receivers. Vincent Jackson can be an elite receiver, huge with great hands. Eric Parker is better than he played this past season and McCardell, yeah, he's closing out a great career. Philip Rivers, I have no doubt will prove to be a GREAT QB especially under Turner. What makes this team so successful is the offensive line, the best in the NFL, if we don't screw with that we've got many great years to come.

35
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:37pm

32: the Chargers secondary is the weakest link in the defense, and the wide recievers are the weakest link in the offense, but both units are young and improving overall. Jammer was actually competent this year, and he's still improving. Florence's stupid headbutt in the playoffs aside, he didn't look too bad this year either. And Cromartie looked very good in limited action.

Vince Jackson also fits the young and improving mold, and Eric Parker is a fine possession reciever and route runner who picked an awful time to have the worst game of his pro career against New England. McCardell? Do you follow this team at all? The guy was a nonfactor throughout the last half of the season.

Saying Tomlinson has at most four very good to great years left doesn't seem to support your point.

Rivers has been projected to be awesome since the FO college QB projections were introduced. He might not have a long NFL history, but we can look beyond that. We have the technology.

There isn't a roster in football I'd swap the Chargers for in toto. The same cannot be said for the coaching staff, but I've thought AJ Smith was crazy before and he's proved me wrong, so I just have to hope he's smarter than I am.

In summary, put down the crack pipe.

36
by Jonathan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:39pm

Does Norv have some sort of hypnotic device he waves in front of GM's and team owners to convince them he's any good?

37
by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:41pm

I'll say it again: I overstated my case, but (again) this team is not so good that they can beat everyone else on talent alone, like the dynastic teams of the mid-90s. Very good, yes, but not that good.

38
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:46pm

Will, The "enough talent for a visit to Switzerland" reference went waaaay over my head. (Does Switzerland somehow equate to Disneyland with the Matterhorn ride and Cinderella's castle, based on Mad King Ludwig's Bavarian digs? Am I stretching too much here? And of course Disneyland/World is a proxy for winning the SB.)

39
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:48pm

37: I'll say it again as well. This is the best roster in the league. No, of course they aren't good enough to beat anyone else in the league no matter how poorly they execute--they proved that last month.

40
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:51pm

So the Chargers took Norv Turner, wasn't Art Shell available?

41
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:57pm

Re 38

I believe he meant that as a reference to Barry Switzer -- a meh coach who won a Super Bowl because his players were just that good.

42
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:57pm

33: I might be inadvertently admitting my stupidity here but I simply don't understand why talent is required to visit Switzerland. Surely some sort of Visa, together with a passport and a plane/train ticket?

35: I was in total agreement with you that Jammer was actually playing well this year until that horrendous play at the end of the Pats game. Cromarte should become a good player too, they still need a decent strong safety.

As a niners fan, I'm gutted that Turner is leaving. I had hopes of the niners challenging for the NFC West title with an offense built around a power running game and deep playaction passes and a rebuilt defense. Now I assume that Sullivan will take over the offense meaning we've lost a great tutor for Smith and Sullivan will have less time to spend on the recievers and he probably won't be as good a coordinator as Turner either. Disaster for SF, just when I thought that we'd dodged the bullet when Dallas hired Phillips.

43
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:14pm

Being a Chargers season ticket holder for many years now I can honestly say Quentin Jammer is the worst thing on 2 legs. I was horrified when they renewed his contract. His mistakes have been detrimental at times and his good plays just that, good... Nothing spectacular. Antonio Cromartie is an AMAZING pass defender and a talent on kick return as well. Had he not been injured in college and got more playing time, the Chargers may not have gotten him so late in the 1st round. Keep in mind, he still went 1st round! STRONG SAFETY. The Chargers need a SS! Kiel is okay but gets burned and misses plays... that should be the first concern for the new coaching staff.

44
by Frankly Bored (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:15pm

OK, I revise my earlier post. I read a story in which Cottrell's defensive scheme was described as "bend, but don't break". I just vomited in my mouth.

45
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:20pm

Egads, can I retract my defense of the Marty firing now? Talk about karma, first I had to watch Norv "coach" my fave Skins, and now he's got his hands on my second fave team?

Fellow San Diego fans, get prepared for (among other things) the worst "two minute drill" and clock management you've ever seen. Norv's patented move with the Skins when trying to get in game winning/tying FG/TD range with say 2 minutes left was Incomplete, Incomplete, Complete for First Down... followed by spiking the ball. Norv, with 2 minutes to go, the downs are still more valuable than the seconds, you idiot! Guarantee you fans, with Norv at the helm you'll see an unbelievable number of last minute drives end on downs.

46
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:25pm

Norv Turner is the Koren Robinson of coaches.

Seriously, how great of an interview must this guy be? Every team he's coached has been mediocre to poor, he's had 1 offense in the top 10 in NFL conventional stats since about a billion years since leaving Dallas, and yet he continues to get NFL Head Coaching gigs.

People keep saying "Bad HC, good coordinator". But he hasn't even been a good coordinator outside of Dallas! Maybe he has incriminating photos of all 32 teams owners.

47
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:31pm

Bobman, Karl; Drew has the admittedly too-obscure pun explanation correct.

48
by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:35pm

As for Cottrell, all I know about him is he took EJ Henderson, who was an all-world college linebacker (and big, not one of these guys "too small" for the NFL) and made him look absolutely lost in the NFL. Then Cottrell leaves, and, whammo, suddenly EJ is an above average NFL LB.

49
by Jon (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:42pm

Any word on who the offensive coordinator will be? Is Shelmon going to stick around, or is Smith still looking for an OC? I'm sure Mike Martz wouldn't mind coaching Rivers, Tomlinson and Gates instead of Kitna, and the rest of the Detroit scrubs.

50
by Adam H (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:50pm

Hey why not Michael Irvin for OC? If the headset goes bad he could just scream the plays to Rivers.

51
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:52pm

This is a good thread.

52
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:55pm

I think Turner is a bad fit because SD is loaded with knuckleheads (or criminally inclined individuals) who need a strong coach (like Marty) to tell them what to do.

53
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:58pm

If Robert Gallery gets cut quickly enough by the Raiders, maybe he can resurface as the Chargers' offensive line coach.

54
by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:02pm

Wow. Inspired choice. Definitely worth firing a 200-win coach over.

Can we get 500+ comments out of this?

55
by Andy Reid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:06pm

"Fellow San Diego fans, get prepared for (among other things) the worst “two minute drill� and clock management you’ve ever seen. "

I demand credit where credit is due.

56
by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:06pm

I guess now the Chargers won't have to worry about losing in the playoffs every year.

As a Dolphin fan I was getting sick of losing in the playoffs every year, but I haven't had that agony in quite awhile now.

57
by Marko (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:09pm

In other coaching news, Ron Rivera, who was a candidate for nearly every head coaching job this offseason, reportedly will not be returning as Bears' defensive coordinator. Click on my name for the story.

58
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:09pm

Marty Schottenheimer: 200-126-1 in twenty and a half seasons. 13 playoff appearances.

Norv Turner: 58-82-1 in nine season. One playoff appearance.

Can someone explain this to me? Where's Aaron to bash the hell out of Turner? Vacation? Pfft! He found the time to waylay Phillips, but suddenly can't find the time to criticize Turner. I smell conspiracy!

59
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:15pm

Norval Turner...

Just in his first season for the Redskins he squandered six 4th quarter leads.

60
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:21pm

Re 57

That's interesting, but it makes sense in a way. Rivera had one foot out the door all year. I've even seen it suggested (never substantiated, just suggested) that perhaps he spent a little too much time preparing for interviews when he should have been completely focused on the Super Bowl.

Anyway, he's gone sooner or later. Might as well look to the future.

61
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:23pm

Marty got himself fired intentionally. He wasn't run out of town.

62
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:33pm

A quick review of Cottrell’s record as a DC:

1998 BUF -3.1%/16th in DVOA
1999 BUF -14.7%/8th
2000 BUF -13.2%/6th
2001 NYJ -10.5%/11th
2002 NYJ 11.0%/26th
2003 NYJ 12.2%/29th
2004 MIN 23.8%/32d
2005 MIN 0.6%/19th

He looked pretty good in BUF, then rapidly declined after his 1st year in NY. Apparently, AJ Smith wanted Schottenheimer to hire Cottrell (based on Smith’s time with him in BUF) back when Marty went with Phillips instead, then was pushing Cottrell again this year when Phillips left. Based on his performance in BUF and his 1st year in NY, Cottrell got a lot of HC interviews for a while and was rumored to be a finalist for the SF job when Erickson got it. It’s not clear if how many of these interviews were legitimate and how many were just Rooney-rule compliance.

Here’s one thing I noticed in looking up the numbers. Below are the DVOA defensive ranks of the listed teams the year BEFORE Cottrell became DC and then in his 1st year as DC:
BUF 6th then 16th
NYJ 5th then 11th
MIN 21st then 32nd

The 1st two could just be regression to the mean, but not the third. Admittedly a small sample, but there is no reason to think Cottrell will keep the SD DEF from regressing this year.

63
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:53pm

62: Phillips wasn't on Marty's list. He was recommended by Smith.

64
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:53pm

Will Allen,
Man, Barry Switzer puns... I'm almost glad I didn't get it. Talk about obscure... if I could come up with some ref to Grover Cleveland I would. Lucky for us all I can't.

But Will, your longtime bashing of Cottrell was not just your eyes telling you something was wrong, as evidenced by MRH's good work in #62 above.

That's some damning evidence. Suddenly everyone at the remaining AFC powers is relaxing a bit better today: Manning sees McNair in a restaurant and sends over complimentary dessert. Tom Brady, out shopping at Babies R Us sees a kid's bike helmet and orders one for Big Ben as a litle joke. Champ Bailey takes up golf. And Jake Plummer inexplicably drives straight off a cliff. Well, maybe that's explicable--it's either the bench or Houston--pick your poison.

65
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:57pm

Gosh, MRH, my impression of Cottrell is consistent with your analysis. The Vikings did not have good defensive personnel in 2004, but it was about the same as 2003, if not a little better, and George O'Leary just simply got a better performance from the talent available.

66
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:59pm

Re #63 - I based my comment re Cottrell vs. Phillips on this comment from a Jim Trotter piece in the 13 Feb 07 SD Union Tribune:

Smith suggested Cottrell for the coordinator position with the Chargers after the 2003 season, but the job went to Wade Phillips.

If Phillips was also Smith's idea then, I was unaware of it.

67
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:05pm

42: one bad game neuters Jammer's season? I definitely agree about the safety play and can't wait until Kiel's cut.

43: if you're concentrating on secondary play, you're working with more information than I am, since I see most of my Chargers games on TV. But I've seen Jammer improve by leaps and bounds from Sept 2005 to today--breaking up more passes, intercepting more passes, and tackling well.

I should note that this is purely observation on my part.

45: I wasn't impressed with Chargers clock management this season. I'm actually not worried about decline in that facet of the team's performance. Maybe I should be, but compared to the massive cloud of unknowns that comes from turning over most of the coaching staff, I'm not.

68
by Adam H (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:05pm

Lets not forget to give Norv a little credit for telling the Cowboys "no thanks" a week ago. Anybody else rather have the San Diego job right now?

69
by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:08pm

Everyone's missing the point, here. Norv Turner has a .500 playoff record! .500! That's, like, almost twice as good as Marty!

70
by Jonathan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:12pm

hahaha, DGL's comment is keeping me from shooting myself right now ;)

71
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:13pm

Maybe it's just me, but this is one of the funnier threads we've had in this forum in a while.

72
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:15pm

To add to my notes in #62, here's what happened when Cottrell left a franchise. 1st number is the Def DVOA Rank his last season as DC, the 2nd is the Def rank the following season.

BUF -- 6th then 27th
NYJ -- 29th then 11th
MIN -- 19th then 4th

I'm sure a lot of things changed those years besides Cottrell and it's a small sample. But his defenses dropped in DVOA rank every year when he took over, and got better two out of three times when he left. Maybe DVOA just doesn't like Ted Cottrell.

73
by R.J. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:28pm

Great thread
#72 - If it's true that Cottrell's defensive philosophy is "bend don't break" -- shouldn't it be a tautology that DVOA wouldn't like it?

#52 - You nailed it. Besides all of the X's-and-O's problems that these hirings appear to bring, for all of Marty's faults, he was a tremendous leader of men and his ability to keep the large number of "knuckleheads" on this squad in line was more important than AJ Smith realizes. Norv is about as far away from Marty on that point as is possible. It's almost as if Smith is trying to prove a point...

74
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 7:00pm

67: No, no, no. I was trying to say that I agreed that Jammer had improved. Thaty last play was terrible but I actually blame Wade Phillips for calling a cover-1 defense when the Pats had to move the ball nearly the length of the whole field with very little time. A cover-2 man or cover 3 or 4 zone defense prevents the long play there.

75
by Lightningblast (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 7:35pm

Even the Cardinals outdid the Chargers in putting together a new coaching staff. Sad. Really sad.

76
by Jin (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 7:50pm

#62: An important note on the 2005 Vikes D is that they started playing better (leading that 7-2 finish) after Tice brought it in an offensive and defensive consultant (i.e. new coordinators). They came in during the week of the Panthers game where Daunte blew out his knee and Cottrell singled up a banged up Fred Smoot on Steve Smith who proceded to destroy Smoot. After the game, Winfield (who was with Cottrell in Buffalo) called him out since the plan before the game was to double Smith. So to paraphrase, the Vikings brought a former DC who was sitting at home to show their current DC how to do his job, and then the D played better for the rest of the year. Why do you guys think Cottrell got a job at the league office after nobody wanted to hire him?

77
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 8:09pm

Excellent point, Jin. When Foge Fazio is brought out of retirement, so the players might get a grip on what the *!@% the defensive coordinator is trying to communicate, it is cause for legitimate doubt regarding the defensive coordinator's skills. This really is unbelievable. Fazio probably would have been a better hire.

78
by Bionicman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 8:29pm

I've found a bunch of people who think Cottrell is a great coordinator who got fired because of politics and unfortunate circumstances.

"Who are these people?" you may ask.

Why, none other fans on the San Diego Chargers message board. For further info, click on my name.

Those poor suckers won't know what hit them.

79
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 9:34pm

Look, we all agree that firing Martyball was dumb. We also know that who ever got this coaching gig would be facing an uphill battle with the public.

We shouldn't be comparing Norv to Marty, but Norv to the other alternatives. Norv is a good offensive mind on a team with good offensive talent. Norv's specialty is the featured RB, and he has the best one in the league.

It seems that the hot topic of NFL is minority hiring and hiring of " new" guys like youngster Lane Kiffen. Now it seems like an " old idea" to hire a coach who has been there before and not been so successful. The media has been calling these guys " recycleables" and " the old boy network".

Did it ever occur to you guys that if somebody wasn't so successful once that maybe they learned from their mistakes and they can win next time? When if people thought the guy in the sweatshirt was a shitty coach in Cleveland and bad at the start of his New England stint. Norv is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game.

If you think one of the Ryans is a better fit, then root for him because he's a better candidate, not because he " deserves a chance" or some other political reason.

80
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka Lord J Rocka (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 9:36pm

Norv Turner is nice. But not nice enough to lead Chargers to Super Bowl. Eags baby, all the way!!!!!

81
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:11pm

#73:

Whoever is saying Cottrell's a "bend but don't break" defense is full of it.

PPD (points per drive) and YPD (yards per drive) rankings:

1998: YPD 9, PPD 21
1999: YPD 4, PPD 5
2000: YPD 3, PPD 12
2001: YPD 19, PPD 14
2002: YPD 30, PPD 24
2003: YPD 31, PPD 16
2004: YPD 32, PPD 32
2005: YPD 19, PPD 23

As you can see, there were more years (1998, 2000) when his team gave up significantly more points than expected from yardage than the reverse (2003). There's no evidence that Cottrell's teams had a high red-zone DVOA like you would expect from a "true" bend but don't break (i.e., a great defense with one glaring weakness).

The 2004 Vikings, in particular, were a "break, bend, hey, do whatever you want with us" defense.

82
by Mike J (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:46pm

Say Jas, why are you glad to call yourself a short, hairless, impotent half dwarf, half human crossbreed from certain fantasy settings? (Mul Dwarves!)

/nerd inspired question

Im praying that at least the person who laughed at 'chaotic neutral rex' will laugh at this one.

83
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:04pm

I think the CW about Norv is absolutely true. He is a very good OC, but a terrible head coach. Whenever he's been the OC the offense of that team has immediately improved and stayed good throughout the time he's been there.

But when he's a HC whatever the opposite of tight ship is, that's what he runs. The guy just isn't a leader. He can't instill discipline or motivation. And this fact has been proven and reproven beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can't imagine a more obvious example of the Peter Principle, and even though you see mind-numbing stupidity in decision-making at the highest levels of football over and over, this news still shocks me. That's how sure I was that Norv's proper place in the booth was obvious to everyone. But it wasn't.

He won't destroy the team and turn into a 5-11 disaster, they'll just be consistently 2-4 games worse per season than they should be. That may still be 10-6 or 11-5.

84
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:09pm

How often do you get to see someone succeed in three different places under three different sets of conditions in one job, and totally fail in three other places with different sets of conditions in another job.

How much more proof do you need! It's like a controlled lab experiment. Drugs are FDA approved with less evidence than this. Hell in Texas people are electrocuted with less evidence than this.

85
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:11pm

"Nooooo!!! Why Norv? Why Ted? I don’t get it. This is ridiculous. It looked like Rex Ryan was going to be the man."

Yes, but Rex Ryan has independent thoughts, and that's not ok with AJ Smith. Didn't you get the memo?

"yeah, but think of the talent they’ll have in two years after they fire Turner and have all of those top 5 picks to show for it. And with AJ Smith, sooooooooper-genius, making those picks, they’ll be the most talented team in NFL history."

So that's why they fired Marty: they knew that with Marty around, they'd never get a high draft pick, and would have to settle for 14 win seasons again and again, instead of stocking up on talent. This way, they'll get at least one top 2 pick in the next few years, and Smith will be able to draft the next Ryan Leaf. What an exciting time in San Diego!

"I guess now the Chargers won’t have to worry about losing in the playoffs every year."

Well, that's what they asked for. Just another example of be careful what you wish for.

86
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:39pm

"Turner is a notorious feature back addict. Does this increase the chance that Michael Turner could be on the market?"

Wait, he doesn't overwork feature backs, does he? Because if he pulls a Herm Edwards on LT, I would find it very hard to forgive him. Wasting talent that good should be a crime.

87
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:27am

Re 82

Im praying that at least the person who laughed at 'chaotic neutral rex' will laugh at this one.

Do you really mean "laugh" or just "get it"? I get it, but I won't go so far as to laugh. I probably would have chuckled at the chaotic neutral Rex reference, though, if I had seen it before. So I'll give you that.

88
by ravensnut (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:55am

Norv....

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Norv gives the best interviews after another crushing loss. He wrings his hands very convincingly and his voice quavers beautifully.

SD could have hired Monte Kiffin for cryan' out loud!

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

89
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:00am

68. Did Norv say "no thanks" to the Cowboys or did the Cowboys say "we prefer Wade Phillips"... I wasn't aware Norv turned down the Cowboys. All I know is Norv as an OC, I'm all for it... Norv as a HC, God help us!

90
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:04am

What's really damaging for me is my AFC team is the Chargers and my NFC team is the 49ers... I'm getting shafted on both ends.

91
by Tally (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:13am

This just in: Rivera to be LB coach of the Chargers. Talk about aiming high and hitting low.

92
by rivers2gates (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:09am

91. Yeah, I saw that on the Chargers web site. Don't we still need a DC, why not Rivera?

93
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:33am

92: No, you get the immortal Ted Cottrell as your DC. Enjoy your team's implosion, I know I will. It's so rare to see a good implosion by the team that just had the NFL's best regular season record, and this one looks like it will live up to all the hype.

94
by Shalimar (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:55am

Not happy at all with this, but it's the SD defense that is young and improving so hopefully Cottrell can't sabotage them too much. There are a few weak links, but if he can't finish top 10 with this group then Cottrell deserves to be unemployed for the rest of his life.

95
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:05am

Cottrell had success in Buffalo, right? What was so different in his other two jobs? Just curious.

96
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 8:49am

#95: Depends how you define success. He's never improved a defense by coming in. In both the Bills and the Jets case, he's started with a decent defense, and they got worse after he arrived.

97
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 11:32am

#86

Prepare to hate Norv! Turner was OC in Miami for 2 seasons, 2002-03, and had Ricky Williams as his feature back.

In 2002 Ricky had 383 carries
In 2003 Ricky had 392 carries

(stats from pro-football-reference.com)

Miami missed the playoffs both years, and after 2003, Norv went off to coach the Raiders, while Ricky went off to get stoned. With a workload like that, it's difficult to blame him.

98
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 11:53am

Re 94:
The Chargers weren't a top ten defense this year.

99
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:11pm

Ok, so going into this past season there was a pretty good debate as to whether the NFC East or the AFC West was the best division top-to-bottom in the NFL, in no small part due to the quality of coaching in those divisions. So which division has seen the largest decline in perceived coaching talent since this time last year? The NFC East has gone from 3.5 studs down to one stud, an old guy, a lame duck, and a questionable hire. The AFC West has gone from 2.5 studs and a questionable hire down to one stud, LJ’s harbinger of death, a questionable hire in SD, and an even more questionable hire in Oakland.

I guess I’d give the NFC East “largest decline�, but I’d still take Reid/Gibbs/Coughlin/Phillips over Shanahan/Edwards/Turner/Kiffin.

And is there a real strong argument for one division’s coaches over any of the others? I can’t really see it.

100
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:34pm

Re 99

Shanahan/Edwards/Turner/Kiffin

That really just hit me. When Herm is the 2nd best coach in the division, that's a division with questionable coaching quality.

101
by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:35pm

Re: 99

The NFC East has gone from 3.5 studs down to one stud, an old guy, a lame duck, and a questionable hire.

I'm not sure I'd call Tom Coughlin a "stud." :-)

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:35pm

#99: It's tough to say. In any division, someone has to win, and someone has to lose, and without consistent winning, someone drops out of the "stud coach" pile really quick.

Accepting that, then, I'd say it's the NFC South and AFC South, clearly. Only one question mark coach in each case, with the others all having postseason quality teams recently.

103
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:45pm

Hmm. The AJ Smith braintrust strikes again!I feel for Chargers fans this year, and I guess Indy, NE, and Ravens fans should be happy, since the major thorn in those three teams' sides will now be festering in self-doubt at playoff time.Anyone else love the irony of the Marty/Norv connection, though?

104
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:05pm

Re #97:
"Prepare to hate Norv!"

That probably won't be too hard. And if he ruins LT's career without even getting a Super Bowl ring to show for it (which seems almost inevitable at this point), I'll be even more mad. And things were going so well.

"Miami missed the playoffs both years, and after 2003, Norv went off to coach the Raiders, while Ricky went off to get stoned. With a workload like that, it’s difficult to blame him."

No kidding. When I heard that Ricky had been suspended for smoking pot, I thought that the NFL should institute a rule allowing for medicinal marijuana for any running back that had more than 390 carries in one season.

105
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:24pm

"I’m not sure I’d call Tom Coughlin a “stud.� :-)"

I wouldn't even call him half a stud.

106
by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:27pm

79, you're out of your mind with optimism. It's nice to think that we grow wise with defeat, and that, by those standards, Norv is very very wise indeed. The Gandalf of head coaches. Unfortunately, I don't think you were joking.

Still, you never know...

107
by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:34pm

Re: 86, depends on what you mean by overwork, but when Turner has a #1 quality RB on his roster, the backups don't get very many carries. Emmitt in Dallas, Stephen Davis in Washington, Ricky in Miami (Norv was OC when Ricky had 390+ carries), LDT in SD. Norv's stint in Oakland is not 100% consistent with this trend, but then again LaMont Jordan has not been healthy enough to get all the carries.

108
by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:35pm

Re 91:

So let me get this straight.

A.J. Smith drives alienates and then fires (or at least causes the firing of) one of the winningest active coaches in the game. And replaces him with ... Norv Turner.

Then, the DC who has put together one of the the best defenses in the NFL becomes available and A.J. Smith hires him ... as a Linebackers coach.

This is the man that's supposed to be such a genius general manager?

109
by Martial (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:57pm

I just don’t believe that there are fewer than 32 people on this planet who can be decent NFL HCs. As I see it, a head coach needs five characteristics:

1. Leadership: motivating the players
2. Management: controlling the coaching staff
3. Organization: overseeing the planning for a new challenge every week
4. Strategy: coordinating the small decisions with the big picture
5. A solid understanding of football

The first four aren’t exactly common, but they’re not so uncommon that only 20 people who also know football have all of them. I’d bet there are a half-dozen people here who fit the bill - and you know football too.

OK, I can see how AJ Smith and other GMs keep making this sort of choice. They only interview people who they know for sure have #5 – because of previous employment. They project #1 from the individual or a small group to the whole group, even though that is a huge mistake. They look at #2 and #3 over the long haul of a seventeen week season and the off-season, while fans see only what happens for the three hours on Sunday – and which is the whole point. They don’t care about #4 because the GMs see that as their job, except that strategic sense is crucial for game day (GMs tend to see organizational strategy as different from field strategy, but the big picture is the big picture and if you hire someone to be a strategist, you have to encourage them to be one. Or you hire guys who aren’t very good strategists and you accept the game day bobbles.).

Where Marty has it all over Norv is #1. He’s probably superior on the other four as well, but quantifying the difference (what is that difference that makes a difference?) is difficult – except in Ws and Ls.

110
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:59pm

Disclaimer: I'm far from sold on the hiring of Turner and think either Ryan would have been a far better bet (I would slightly favour Rob, if only to hurt a division rival). But . . . I'm not sure it's fair to hold anyone's record in Oakland against them. And I believe I'm right in saying that his Redskins teams were fairly talent poor, and that neither his predecessor nor his successor achieved much with them either. I don't think Turner's record alone comprehensively proves that he's a bad head coach (though it probably does rule out the possibility of him being a really good one). It's possible he's an average coach who's been in bad situations, and an average coach can probably have quite a lot of success with the Chargers.

111
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:09pm

#110: No, but the fact that they brought in Cottrell as DC shows that they aren't really good at evaluating coaches. Which means its hard to have a positive feeling about Turner at all.

112
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:23pm

People getting way too excited about coaching.

The Chargers are now officially hungry. Ted Cottrell was sad as Vikings DC but coaches tend to look better when Merriman is rushing the edge rather than Darrion Scott.

LDT doesn't need fancy plays; he's better than most and they will be good next year. Norv Turner can't do a more spectacular implosion than Marty has done FIVE TIMES.

The guy saying Norv Turner is a lab experiment with control must explain to me the lab experiment gone wrong that is Schottenchoker in the playoffs. Then he wants to hire his BROTHER.

I'm a Vikings fan and I'm happy the Chargers got rid of their coach.

113
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 2:38pm

Vikinghooper, you entirely underestimate the ability for Cottrell to foul up Merriman. The Vikings this year, under Tomlin's coaching, got very, very, sound play out of many of the same linebackers who looked liked they weren't ready for Pop Warner-level execution under Ted Cottrell. No, the Vikings didn't have an edge rusher of Merriman's quality, but Cottrell is quite capable of having an adverse effect on Merriman's play. Perhaps Rivera will be an effective buffer, but the fact that Lovie Smith seemed to have little desire to keep him in Chicago may be indicative of Rivera's contibution, and there is something wrong when you need a defensive assistant to act as a buffer between the players and the newly hired defensive coordinator.

This is the worst coaching hire since Steve Spurrier, and Spurrier didn't have this amount of talent to foul up.

114
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:13pm

The funny thing is that people are defending Marty now. Obviously, Marty needed to go. The past three years have ended in disappointment -- the home loss to the Jets in 2004, missing the playoffs in 2005, and the loss to the Patriots. Now whether or not those problems can be totally laid on Marty is debatable, but it's no secret that the team has mightily underachieved the past three years. Now if you are fine with good regular seasons that end in disappointment, than Marty is your guy. But if you want to win in the playoffs, Marty can't be your coach. If he couldn't win this year with a far superior Chargers team over the Patriots, than he can never win. Remember, when you are a great team (one that was 40 seconds from possibly going undefeated), winning the Super Bowl is the goal, not going 14-2 and flaming out in the first round of the playoffs.

115
by underthebus (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:39pm

...and Tom fires the first salvo at the pro-Marty camp. Can of worms man, can of worms!

116
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:45pm

Yeah, Tom, it was obvious that Schottenheimer needed to go. Sheesh.

117
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:06pm

Somehow I doubt this one's going to 535 posts, though it is impressive we got to 115 off of pure horror at the hires. In my opinion Tom is exactly what the Marty debate in the other Extra Points discussion needed. It was far too rational.

Anyway, I feel pretty sorry for Chargers fans. As Bill Simmons' friend once said of Norm: "I wouldn't want that guy coaching my kid's Pop Warner team."

I wasn't familiar with Cottrell, but it's rather impressive he was responsible for so many awful defenses over the years. I'll have to ask my Jets fan friend if he hates him (my guess is yes). Excellent work, Smith. I guess I have a new least-favorite GM.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:06pm

winning the Super Bowl is the goal, not going 14-2 and flaming out in the first round of the playoffs.

Yeah, because I can't remember any other team or coach that perennially got to the playoffs and lost, and then up and won the Super Bowl after years of postseason futility, including a 14-2 flameout in the playoffs in the previous year. None whatsoever.

The only difference between Marty and Tony Dungy is that Indy wasn't idiotic enough to fire Dungy after 2005. Otherwise, Dungy would've gone to another team, had a few more playoff losses as he rebuilt yet another team, and ended up 5-10, 5-11 before building a Super Bowl winner.

The fact that the owner didn't tell AJ and Schottenheimer to work it out, or you're both fired, is just crazy to me.

119
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:27pm

The fact that the owner didn't tell AJ and Schottenheimer to work it out, or you're both fired, is just crazy to me.

Well, there has been some speculation (a.k.a. PFT rumor-mongering) that Smith will also be fired, but that they'll wait until after the draft. Of course that theory was predicated upon Pete Carroll being the new coach, so I guess we'll see.

Re 114

Not to inject rationality here, but Marty wasn't fired because he's a choker or an underacheiver. If the firing was related to on-field performance, they wouldn't have waited a month while the well of candidates dried up.

120
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:46pm

A couple of quick notes:

There was an article in the SD paper speculating that Marty effectively got himself fired on purpose. He didn't want to have to work with AJ anymore, but he didn't want to quit: he wanted to get paid. He also wanted to look for a new job coming off of his 14-2 season, and not take the risk of having a poor season in 2007 hurt his future job prospects. So, he engaged in things that he knew would get him fired like trying to hire family members for his coaching staff.

As for the Dungy-Marty comparison, I don't like that one as much. Although Dungy had never won the big game prior to this year, we was still winning playoff games, and 2005 was his only real craptacular Marty-style playoff flame out. It's been 14 years since Marty won a playoff game, and 3 times in that span he has had 13+ wins and failed to win a single game. That's a whole other level from Dungy.

121
by Jim Ryalto (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:51pm

Giants fans, keep an eye on whomever SF makes their new OC, he's probably your 2008 head coach.

122
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:55pm

TBW, any general manager who puts forth Ted Cottrell as a defensive coordinator candidate has zero business complaining about the head coach's preferences. Schottenheimer could have suggested his wife be hired to run the defense, and it would not be as egregious as Ted Freakin' Cottrell.

123
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 6:15pm

Will,

I didn't really mean that as a defense of AJ, I just thought it interesting. If Marty really was determined to get himself fired then the Chargers actions are a little more understandable, at least until the point they started hiring their new coaching staff.

I don't think there is much anyone can say to defend the cast of flunkies and rejects they hired. What boggled my mind was that the names they brought in to interview were by and large the same guys who interviewed for all of the other jobs and didn't get them. They basically were dealing with the backwash of all the other bad teams that had been looking for coaches. You would think maybe they would go in another direction rather than just hire the guys no one else wanted.

124
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 6:28pm

It’s been 14 years since Marty won a playoff game, and 3 times in that span he has had 13+ wins and failed to win a single game. That’s a whole other level from Dungy.

If you fire Marty after 1995, he looks a whole lot like Dungy if they would've fired Dungy last year.

The coaches who've replaced Marty have gone 9-6-1, then 3-13, and 9-7, then 7-9, and 7-9, then 5-11.

If Marty's the one holding all of these teams back... why'd they regress after Marty left?

Hey, in Dungy's case, I could've made a stronger argument: when Dungy left Tampa, they won a Super Bowl.

125
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 6:29pm

I thought that hiring one of the Ryans had an outside chance of making the firing of Schottenheimer tolerable, at least for a year or two, depending on the offensive coordinator hire. This, however, even a day later, just astounds me. When the Cottrell rumour first came forth last week, I didn't give it any credence, because I couldn't conceive that Smith would be so ignorant or insecure.

126
by Martin Muldoon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 6:55pm

At first, I was sickened and distraught and found myself on the roof of Bldg 58 of the Tactical Training Group Pacific Navy Base, gazing out into the Pacific while I thought of family, friends and other warm memories. I was all but ready to jump, but for some reason did not. On the ride home, I listened to a fill-in on the local sports radio station and his fresh opinion. Little by little, I realized why they hired this guy. And Ted Cottrell. I'm thinking if they couldn't retain last year's coaching staff, why not emulate it? If you're loaded on both sides of the ball, why change the philosophy? Why change the terminology? Why change anything at all? This is Norv's offense from 2001 and this is (basically) 3-4 Cottrell's defense via Wade Phillips. The players already appreciate the lack of studying that they would have otherwise needed to do. If it ain't broke... Furthermore, Norv will acquiesce to AJ in all football matters. This will maintain front office harmony but then again, he won't command respect from his players. Cottrell seems to know his sh*t and is a likable guy. They also brought in Chicago's Ron Rivera to coach the LBs. Another note: The San Diego Chargers signed T.J. Cottrell as a free agent on February 6, 2007 and assigned him to NFL Europe training camp. Now, they need a speedy WR and a ball-hawking Safety to fill the final two holes.

127
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:07pm

If it ain’t broke...

... let it slide back to mediocrity?

128
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:24pm

It is going to be an interesting test case in San Diego. It does appear that the primary criteria in their hiring was the ability to come in and not change anything., just keep running the same system. So, that's why Turner got the job, since everyone says the offense is that same one he put in way back when. And Cottrell is familiar with Wade Phillips oeuvre. It sounds like AJ is betting that with the talent in place, and the system not changing, there shouldn't be much of a problem with the transition and it should be smooth sailing in 2007. In other words he's betting it's the players and the system, not the coaching.

The question I have is if San Diego is still running Norv Turner's offense from 2001, why was Cam Cameron a hot commodity ? Also, since the 2001 Chargers went 5-11 and LDT averaged only 3.6 YPC, what exactly was so great about that system that warranted keeping it virtually unchanged for the past 6 years ?

129
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 8:32pm

"As for the Dungy-Marty comparison, I don’t like that one as much. Although Dungy had never won the big game prior to this year, we was still winning playoff games"

Yeah, but here we run into the problem of first round byes. If Marty hadn't gotten as many first round byes, he would've had a chance to win more games against wildcard opponents. I think it's better to look at how many times they reached a certain level of the playoffs, like a conference championship game. There, Marty held a 3 to 2 advantage before this season, so I think it's a fair comparison.

130
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 8:42pm

"The question I have is if San Diego is still running Norv Turner’s offense from 2001, why was Cam Cameron a hot commodity ?"

I think it has something to do with the fact that there is a difference between creating the offense and showing that you can manage it successfully.

"Also, since the 2001 Chargers went 5-11 and LDT averaged only 3.6 YPC, what exactly was so great about that system that warranted keeping it virtually unchanged for the past 6 years ?"

The fact that after Norv left, the offense became spectacular? Just a guess.

131
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka Lord J Rocka (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 9:58pm

re: 82

I'm Mulgrewlicious.

132
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 2:07am

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I'd rather have A.J. Smith making these decisions for my Chargers than either Will or Pat.

133
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 3:39am

132: Personally I'd go with "Lord J Rocka" (just typing that made me chuckle.). Followed closely by Sophandros, because I still imagine every one of his posts in a crazy-ass cajun accent.

Really though, from my time on this site, I would probably trust Pat to be the commissioner, let alone a GM.

134
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 9:03am

#132: If those are the only three choices, my God, the Chargers are in trouble.

135
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 11:14am

#134: Well, they do have another choice: have everyone run around like chickens with their heads cut off. But then again, that wouldn't really be a whole lot different than what they're already doing, so I guess they are screwed.

136
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 11:50am

Yep, when it gets to the point where votes of confidence are being cast for A.J. Smith over me, the situation truly has become bizarre, and not due to me having anything to offer.

137
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 12:02pm

I should also say: a lot of people are trying to say this isn't a bad hire because Turner and Cottrell are basically "don't rock the boat" candidates, and they figure hey, the team's winning now, why change it?

Except that misses one basic point: this team is young. Tomlinson's got probably 3-4 years left. Gates has 4-5 years left. Rivers, Merriman, Castillo, McNeill, Phillips are all basically rookies. They've got a handful of veterans (McCardell, Neal, Edwards) who need to be replaced, but other than that, this team is so young it's absolutely scary.

So why do they care if they lose a season adapting, if it'll allow them to be competitive for the remainder of the run? They could just as easily lose next year if Rivers, Tomlinson, or whoever else goes down due to injury. Instead it seems like they're making a short-term decision - and on a young team, that just doesn't make sense.

138
by Martial (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 1:10pm

Last night on "Pardon the Interruption", reflecting the conventional wisdom of a million either/or barstool conversations, W and K wondered if Cowher would replace Norv or Wade. In other words, they're assuming those two guys won't be around following the coming season. Nobody outside of San Diego or John Clayton thinks the Norv Turner Experience is going to have a hit in 2007. (K said Gibbs, for whatever its worth)

139
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 2:47pm

"Last night on “Pardon the Interruption�, reflecting the conventional wisdom of a million either/or barstool conversations, W and K wondered if Cowher would replace Norv or Wade. In other words, they’re assuming those two guys won’t be around following the coming season."

I highly doubt that Cowher is going to go coach for a team that just stabbed his mentor in the back. He might go to the Cowboys, but then again, he might not want to have to deal with Jerry Jones' micromanagement. Anyway, I do think there's a good chance that Norv gets fired, and I think that's probably part of the plan: They'll have Norv come in, not change anything too much so that they can have a good season, and then next season they'll look for someone new when there are still some high quality coaches on the market.

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by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 1:31pm

RE: 7

It's Mike Florio, and yes he does make things up. He also thinks of himself as "we" and "us", so he has some kind of mental problem (perhaps schizophrenia).

141
by B :: Sat, 09/13/2008 - 4:51pm

Did somebody hit the wayback machine? if so, 10 bucks says the Chargers make it to the AFC championship in Norv's first year as head coach with them.