Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Dec 2011

Report: Chargers Will Fire Turner, Could Fire Smith Too

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chargers president Dean Spanos feels he has "no choice" but to fire long-tenured coach Norv Turner at the end of the season, and that the odds of firing general manager A.J. Smith are now "75/25" as well. Smith is under contract through 2014, and has been with the Chargers since 2003.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 03 Dec 2011

124 comments, Last at 05 Apr 2012, 12:56pm by sjt

Comments

1
by Drunkmonkey :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 11:16am

Word out of SD for a while was that Dean Spanos' son was set to become the GM once Smith was gone, but now Dean is saying his son won't take over. I'm thinking Dean wants control now.

3
by Temo :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 11:56am

Nothing will inspire confidence in a team's direction than the son of the son of the owner taking over as GM.

2
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 11:22am

The most atractive open HC position for sure. Pro bowl QB and solid to good units everywhere else - if this can't drag Cowher out of retirement nothing will.

Already hating this.

Also: Some team will get a great OC in Turner.

22
by St Jude of San Diego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 1:30am

As much a I'd like you and all Denver fans to "hate this", unfortunately the Chargers don't have solid to good units everywhere else. All units have at least one strong contributor, but none could ever be described as solid or consistent this year.

Defensively, the cupboard is particularly bare. Who is any good?

A really good OLB Shaun Phillips
A good FS Eric Weddle
A good (but starting to get older and get beat more) CB Quentin Jammer
A good (but older and injury-prone) NT Antonio Garay,
and...that's it.

Some people think rookie ILB Donald Butler has shown potential, and I'll give you that ILB Takeo Spikes seems to still be going strong at least as a run defender in his 63rd season, but really, you've got 4 players on defense. Everyone else is bad to average with a big lump of mediocre, and these are the starters we're talking about. So the backups are guys who couldn't beat those guys for jobs.

Offensively, the OL is disaster, partly due to injuries (they lost both starting guards and then both backup guards, as well as the starting LT). But it wasn't that good anyway. Gates is a long way from playing like Gates, there's no #2 (let alone #3) receiver who can stay healthy enough to get on the field, and talented RB Ryan Matthews is injury- and fumble- prone.

Another way of looking at it is that the Chargers roster is talented and healthy, unfortunately the players who are talented are not healthy and the players who are healthy are not talented.

23
by St Jude of San Diego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 1:30am

As much a I'd like you and all Denver fans to "hate this", unfortunately the Chargers don't have solid to good units everywhere else. All units have at least one strong contributor, but none could ever be described as solid or consistent this year.

Defensively, the cupboard is particularly bare. Who is any good?

A really good OLB Shaun Phillips
A good FS Eric Weddle
A good (but starting to get older and get beat more) CB Quentin Jammer
A good (but older and injury-prone) NT Antonio Garay,
and...that's it.

Some people think rookie ILB Donald Butler has shown potential, and I'll give you that ILB Takeo Spikes seems to still be going strong at least as a run defender in his 63rd season, but really, you've got 4 players on defense. Everyone else is bad to average with a big lump of mediocre, and these are the starters we're talking about. So the backups are guys who couldn't beat those guys for jobs.

Offensively, the OL is disaster, partly due to injuries (they lost both starting guards and then both backup guards, as well as the starting LT). But it wasn't that good anyway. Gates is a long way from playing like Gates, there's no #2 (let alone #3) receiver who can stay healthy enough to get on the field, and talented RB Ryan Matthews is injury- and fumble- prone.

Another way of looking at it is that the Chargers roster is talented and healthy, unfortunately the players who are talented are not healthy and the players who are healthy are not talented.

4
by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 11:59am

In the year 7525
Not even Norv Turner will survive
All of A.J. Smith's descendents will funnel
Into Schottenheimer's Morlock Tunnels.

5
by Drunkmonkey :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 12:03pm

HA! I watched the episode of Futurama last night that uses that song.

So, will the Chargers chapter in next years FOA still just read "NORVNORVNORVNORVNORV" for the majority of the chapter?

9
by Mike Kurtz :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 1:52pm

It will have a preface, now: "A retrospective of the AJ Smith era: NORVNORVNORVNORVNORVNORVNORV ...."

10
by Noah of Arkadia :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 2:30pm

That's a disappointment. I thought you guys had taken it from the opening credits of Gentlemen Broncos. Which is, by the way, the best part of the movie. It can't hold Napoleon's or Nacho's jocks for one second.

------
We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

31
by wr (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 2:44pm

Oh My God! A 2525 reference!!! You win the thread.

6
by CeeBee (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 1:10pm

More attractive HC position? San Diego or NY Giants?

7
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 1:35pm

For a guy who would be effectively running the entire football operation, and appointing his own GM or VP of Player Personnel, San Diego: they have a better quarterback. For a coach who would be working under a GM, New York: they have a good front office already in place.

12
by RickD :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 6:28pm

Is Rivers really better than Eli?

Not this season.

14
by WCH (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 7:34pm

I don't have a horse in this race; but going forward, I'd still take Rivers over Manning.

20
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 10:13pm

No shit. Sure, he's having a bizarrely bad season. But he's a year younger (for whatever that's worth) and has in general been a clearly superior player.

19
by sjt (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 10:11pm

Well I suppose if we ignore every season but this one, the Eli definitely comes out on top.

Of course, Eli might be in a slump too if he had a line made up of 3rd stringers, practice squad guys and players who were tending bar 3 weeks ago.

41
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:33am

Eli's line is made up of guys like that and their secondary is worse. Amazing they beat the Patriots, but they did. Irks me that even when healthy, the Chargers couldn't beat the Pats. Frustrates me even more because Eli is a high-level system quarterback and won a Superbowl, while Rivers is a franchise QB and hasn't even gone to one.

11
by justanothersteve :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 2:51pm

Or would that be LA or NYC?

8
by andrew :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 1:37pm

...and someone will get a good OC out of it.

I'm amazed Norv has la.... no, scratch that. I'm amazed Smith has lasted so long. As long as he was there he was gonna keep Norv.

18
by sjt (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 10:06pm

amazed Smith has lasted so long.

Why? He took a bottom feeder franchise and sent them to the playoffs 5 times in 8 years.

45
by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:13pm

Anybody who fired a head coach who is just shy of a .600 winning percentage, over a sample size of 345 games, over a dispute as to who should be defensive coordinator, and then installs Ted Cottrell as DC, before hiring the next head coach, should be on thin ice.

48
by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:48pm

To be fair, there was a lot of support for firing Marty in SD.

As much as we want to say that his record in the playoffs is small sample size, its my opinion that his entire coaching style changed during the playoffs. He was drastically more conservative.

50
by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 3:30pm

Yeah, I'm just not going to debate the merits of that argument, because of the sample size. Not saying you're wrong, of course, but I'm not smart enough to know the truth of it.

If you want rire the guy, fine, do it immediately. When you screw around for a while, then fire him, and then install Ted Cottrell as your DC before hiring a new HC, it is indicative that your ego has destroyed your powers of reason. Anybody who watched Cottrell's last defense play, and concluded that a talented Chargers defense should managed by Cottrell, was out of his mind.

82
by boltsfromtheblue :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:45pm

Spanos fired Schottenheimer. Smith installed Cottrell in an attempt to maintain continuity (oh how they've screwed themselves over these last few years in the name of continuity) after Spanos screwed up by firing Schottenheimer late in the game after his assistants had already left.

51
by speedegg :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 3:58pm

I'm not sure about playing more conservative in the playoffs. I agree, the coaching style changed, but they got more aggressive and it wasn't just in the playoffs. Schottenhemier left play calling to Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips and would intervene only when he thought it absolutely important. A lot of times you'd see him on the sidelines without a headset and that was during the regular season.

The game against the Pats in the playoffs they threw more and went for it on 4th down. They even did it the season before when they beat the undefeated Colts (who were 13-0 at the time). Martyball of old did not do that. Besides, when Schottenhemier first got to San Diego the two starting receivers were a journeyman and an undrafted free agent, so how much are you really going to throw?

52
by bernie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 5:26pm

The other thing about that playoff game, is if Marlon McCree just went down after intercepting Brady's 4th down conversion attempt, instead of running around like an idiot and getting the ball stripped by Troy Brown, the chargers probably run out the clock and win that game, sending them to the AFC championship. Hard to say if they would have beaten Indy, but they definitely had their number in years afterwards, so they could have been superbowl bound. It's hard for a coach to control onfield stupidity.

55
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 7:48pm

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Probably from the pain of a Dominique Foxworth headbutt on an incomplete 3rd down. Give the Pats another 1st down and tack on 15 yards. At least Schottenhemier pulled him and sat him down. Norv would've just had a dumb look on his face and not known what to do.

81
by boltsfromtheblue :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:37pm

Schottenheimer basically dared Dean Spanos to fire him when he tried to bring in Kurt to be the DC. Spanos did.

27
by BJR :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 6:10am

The rationale behind keeping Turner all this time was that the offence was still performing to a high level.....well, the passing offence anyway.

13
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 7:01pm

Any possibility the Chargers bring back Schottenheimer if Smith&Norv go?

15
by Nathan :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 7:37pm

He finally won the big one in the UFL.

16
by speedegg :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 9:23pm

Finally! It's just too bad it took this long for Spanos to realize one or both needed to go. Still pains me to think that this was a 14-2 team and it'll be really hard to get back to that level.

17
by sjt (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 9:59pm

AJ Smith built that 14-2 team. So I guess it makes sense to toss him over the side.

24
by speedegg :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 4:17am

Ah, you again. What happened to the Chargers are going to the Superbowl behind the deepest roster in the league?

Yes, Smith built the team, but he also demolished it. He let go Brees, Turner, and Sproles. He also trades up for Matthews and Weddle while he guts the roster. I also didn't get playing hardball with McNeil and Jackson, but maybe he wanted to teach the team a lesson...in losing. Going to be hard to make the Superbowl now.

And I don't even want to go into the offensive genius that is Norv.

25
by Yaguar :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 4:33am

Of all the things you could complain about AJ Smith, trading up for Mathews and Weddle shouldn't be high on the list.

28
by Shalimar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 9:18am

The 14-2 team was built on a handful of terrific drafts, which have not been repeated in the last 4 years. Whether that is because Smith has lost his touch or someone else was making the final calls in the good years, who knows. Mathews is good, but they gave up a lot to trade up and get him much higher than he was projected to go.

29
by Whatev :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 10:10am

Now, who knows what actually goes on behind the scenes, but those terrific drafts mostly occurred before 2006. What happened?

35
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 8:22pm

Long-time Chargers fan here. I remember Air Coryell. Somehow I still have a memory of sitting on the living room floor in my blue and yellow footie pajamas, watching the Freezerbowl and looking at my dad's stricken face for some vain attempt at consolation, and thinking, "this is what misery feels like." I remember watching the Greatest Game Ever the week before that too, at my uncle's Christmas party.

I'm here to tell you that AJ Smith is the best thing that's ever happened to the Chargers. The 2004 and 2005 drafts were insane, and the 2003 UDFA was probably the single best UDFA in NFL history. 2009-2011 drafts were good, but weren't nearly that good. 2006-'08 were mediocre at best.

I think firing AJ smith is not necessary. I think that AJ should get a chance to put a new staff together. He's far from perfect, but he's clearly above average as a drafter and as a team manager. A new GM would probably want to make a lot of roster moves, and the roster just doesn't need that.

Here's what I mean. Even now, while the roster is not close to its 2007 level, it's not bad.

Offense: Borderline-great QB (assuming this is a down year, not a trend), a couple good linemen (all but one are out), a solid receiving corps (can't tell this year 'cause the linemen are so bad), a good halfback squad, a legendary TE who may or may not remain great, plus okay backups. Need linemen, backup QB.

Defense: Good DL all around, could always use more bodies. Good secondary, but only one genuine playmaker. Need another corner. LB corps only has one great player, plus a range of mediocre-to-good ones. Needs another great one.

Needs: CB, LB, OL x2-3. You can get all but one key player in one good draft, and you can make do without one key player.

So yeah, bathwater = Turner, baby = Smith.

38
by tuluse :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 11:48pm

From what I heard, Smith has said if you want fire Norv fire me. So the owner didn't really have a choice.

39
by Anonymoose 2 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 12:11am

Well, at least the Captain is willing to go down with the Titanic.

42
by nath :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 5:15am

I mean, even by your own admission the guy hasn't had a good draft in six years. How long do you keep giving him to get it right?

43
by Kulko :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 6:02am

Like so often in football people are believing to see skill when they see only random chance.

Drafting is a low sample size experiment which very even distributions between the outcomes. So having a few good years or a few bad years are just normal random streaks occuring regularly. The question is was he good on average?

And as a NE fan I would also say, that a lot of success in the drafts rests on the people development skills of your HC. not soo much for your 1st rounders, but how many 3rd or 4th rounder pan out is althougfh very dependant on how much effort the Coaching staff is spending to coach them up.

46
by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:18pm

Bingo. The confidence with which people say some guy is good or bad at drafting, based upon less than a 100 draft picks, is really suspect. It is the equivalent of putting a baseball player in the Hall of Fame based upon his first three months in the major leagues.

49
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:50pm

With that logic, Smith needed to get fired a long time ago. He hired Norv and Norv has shown he can't consistently develop draft picks.

Almost makes me wonder if Norv has something over Smith.

59
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:00am

Really? Because it sure seems like he developed Rivers, Jackson, Sproles, Tolbert, and Mathews pretty well. I won't speak to the defensive players since Norv is an offensive guy, but Weddle, Butler, Thomas, Martin, etc. seem to be developing ok.

32
by speedegg :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 4:41pm

Nah, that's my point. If he kept Michael Turner, there wouldn't be a need to trade up for Matthews. Also, the knock on Matthews coming out of college was his problem with injuries. So, Smith trades up for a running back with a high speed score, shows flashes of brilliance, has a hard time picking up the blitz, and can't stay on the field consistently because of injuries. Not really what you want in a 1st rounder.

Weddle is an above-average safety, but they traded up for him also. So, they "lose" their mid-round picks and get thinner on the depth chart.

33
by Yaguar :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 5:41pm

Weddle is an "above-average" safety in much the same way that Mario Williams is an "above-average" defensive end. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trading several picks for a single excellent player. The problem is that Weddle is one of the only picks that Smith has gotten right in a long time. You're zeroing in on the absolute best picks AJ Smith has made, and complaining about them.

Here are their draft picks:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=sMgYd

Sort by seasons as a starter, or whatever else you'd like. Who are the best two players on that list? When a guy is blowing 1st round picks right and left on guys who don't even ever start, complaining about the two players who are actually contributing right now is completely ridiculous.

34
by speedegg :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 6:57pm

I'm saying Smith made mistakes about which players to keep and let go, which forces him to reach for other players in the draft. It's like the Falcons trading their future for Julio Jones. It could work, but is it worth the cost?

Weddle is critical for the team because he's a consistent defender on a defense that's lost consistency. I'm wondering did they need to trade up to get him or if he was taken, should they have gone DT, DE, or LB. Heard rumors that the coaching staff is disappointed with their 1st round DT Corey Liuget. Maybe they should've got Mt. Cody or another DT or DE the previous year.

As for Matthews, they should've focused on drafting/acquiring better Linemen than another running back given they have Tolbert and could've kept Sproles.

And I would agree Mario Williams is an above average DE. There are times he disappears on plays, gets caught in the wash, and has trouble locating the ball carrier but when he gets it going, he's awesome.

36
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 8:23pm

With you on Mathews. Good player, they get good use out of him, and he fits their game nicely. Not worth what they paid.

37
by Shalimar (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 9:04pm

Weddle was an excellent pick at the time. Replacing very bad safeties was the biggest need on the team and he was clearly the best safety left in that draft when they picked, and also better than a weak group of free agents. Of course, if they had taken him instead of Buster Davis with the 1st round pick, there would have been no need to trade up.

60
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:16am

If he kept Michael Turner, there wouldn't be a need to trade up for Matthews

I see. So if he had shelled out every available dime to a backup running back, he wouldn't have had to draft a younger, cheaper player with a higher DVOA. But it is a good plan, I suppose Turner and LT could have run the Wildcat after Rivers left town because there was no money left for his contract extention.

Also, the knock on Matthews coming out of college was his problem with injuries

He's a running back. They get hurt sometimes. Ask Forte. Or AP. Or any other RB to every play in the NFL.

In 3 collegiate years he had 1 significant injury which put him out for 4 games.

So, they "lose" their mid-round picks and get thinner on the depth chart.

They "lost" lower round picks which would have likely provided PS fodder. Go ahead and look at who the Bears picked with those extra picks. I'm not sure a single one of those 5 picks is even still in the league.

So on the one hand we had a solid safety. On the other we have a chance a bunch of lesser players who would have had trouble cracking the Chargers roster back in 2007. Which is the better choice?

67
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:33am

You're making the rest of us Chargers fan look bad. Do you even think before you write? Turner was a 5th round pick, he's now a starter, and foundation for the Atlanta Falcons, he's not a backup. Smith could have signed Turner to a starting running back's contract and let Tomlinson walk, then he wouldn't have to draft a HB. He could've focused on drafting for another position. And what exactly is Matthew's DVOA? And Turner's? Or did you confuse it with DYAR? And what games? Matthews missed a few with injury.

Speaking of injuries, yes running backs get hurt. And yes, some running backs get hurt more than others. Because if you read FO's Almanac then you know that staying healthy is a skill and some players don't have that skill. Matthews has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries ever since he's drafted. He doesn't seem to have that skill. That was what scouts were saying about him in college and that's what they still saying now.

Just because the Bears wasted those picks doesn't make it any better for the Chargers. Chargers still lost to the Bears. Smith should've just drafted Weddle in the 1st round instead of Craig "Bust" Davis and trading away their 2nd, two 3rds, and 5th round picks.

103
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:02pm

Turner was a 5th round pick, he's now a starter, and foundation for the Atlanta Falcons, he's not a backup

I know who Mike Turner is. He was a backup to LT, and had he stayed he would have still been the backup, as LT was coming off another rushing title. So they would have had to shell out starter/superstar money to 2 running backs.

Smith could have signed Turner to a starting running back's contract and let Tomlinson walk, then he wouldn't have to draft a HB

Let him walk? He was under contract for several more years, and he had just won back to back rushing titles. So your argument is that Smith should have ditched his MVP and face of the franchise in order to give a huge raise to his backup. Nice thought in hindsight, but that's why they call it hindsight.

But yes, I suppose if he had done that he wouldn't have had to draft a new RB. He would have had Turner, who has a lower DVOA than Mathews and fewer yards from scrimmage this year despite the latter being hurt and sharing the load with Tolbert. And he wouldn't have had the extra draft picks he got as compensation for Turner. But yes, you are correct.

Just because the Bears wasted those picks doesn't make it any better for the Chargers.

One solid player vs 4 scrubs, drafted with picks which weren't needed because the bolts already had comp selections at those same spots. I guess in a bar fight I'd take 4 against 1. Building a football team, I'll take good quality over lousy quantity most of the time.

Chargers still lost to the Bears

Not in the game they played right after that trade.

61
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:33am

Oh, and how could I forget: the traded picks for Weddle weren't super valuable, because they already had comp picks in the 3rd and 5th rounds that year, from letting Brees (and others) walk away. Those picks were only a few spots later in the round because the Chargers were picking 30th.

So they still got players in that general area of the draft (neither of which is on the rosters anymore) and they still got Weddle.

63
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:50am

Dude, did you wait until the Chargers beat the Jaguars to post? Seriously, either you're the Bizarro Raider Joe for San Diego or you're an idiot. Since no one is that stupid, I'll go with the Bizarro Raider Joe. Just need to work on the witty humor, cause the current schtick ain't working.

And since the Chargers run a 3-4 defense, the cornerstone is the NT not a FS. I thought Smith should've tried for a NT when Jamal Williams showed signs of age. They still don't have a NT and it shows. And beating the doormat of the AFC South doesn't count for much.

64
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:55am

I waited until I got home from a 12 hour day at work. Then I had dinner, watched the rest game, walked my dog, and then I posted.

I thought Smith should've tried for a NT when Jamal Williams showed signs of age

You mean like Garay? The guy rated by PFP as one of the top NT in the league last year?

They still don't have a NT and it shows

Wrong. They don't have talented outside pass rushers. Philips is aging and has been hurt this year. Barnes has done a decent job in his absence, but its not enough.

68
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:45am

Yeah...last year. This year? Not really. And what's up with the Hello Kitty Smart Car?

And they don't have talented outside pass rushers. Smith drafted Larry English, remember?

73
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 10:25am

This year? Not really.

I see. So a guy plays really well for a year, and the GM is supposed to drop everything and replace him, because he has a silly car which has nothing to do with anything even remotely related to football. Green Bay better hope Rodgers doesn't buy any silly cars, or else they'll be forced to replace him after his awesome season.

And they don't have talented outside pass rushers

I said that.

Smith drafted Larry English, remember

Yup, he was a decent pick who clearly hasn't panned out, mostly due to injury. Its the pick that's gonna show Smith out of San Diego.

65
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:00am

I also think its funny that you would discount the value of a talented FS in a 3-4 (or any defense). I'm sure the Steelers, Patriots and Packers would agree with you. And I'm sure the Chiefs aren't missing Eric Berry one bit this year.

70
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:16am

There's cornerstones and there's additions. NT's are cornerstones of a 3-4 defense and they make a 3-4 work. It's unglamorous, but they allow the linebackers hit the ball carrier in the backfield.

Safeties are additions. If linebackers miss, then the safeties have to make the tackle. They're the defense's "safety valve" on a play. If the safeties are making a lot of tackles that means the defense is losing the battle up front. Teams were shocked KC took Eric Berry since safeties aren't cornerstones and KC needed cornerstones.

Also, Steelers depend on their Strong Safety, not Free Safety. Polamalu allows more zone blitzing in their scheme.

If you want to talk about Free Safeties, look at the Ravens and Ed Reed. Reed lets the Ravens play their "base" defense of 3-4, man-under with a single high safety in deep zone. Eric Weddle is no Ed Reed, Chargers can't go single-high safety though he's paid more than Reed.

71
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:47am

You know, the Texans 3-4 defense seems to work just fine with a rotation of Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell at nose tackle, and those guys are not good players. Sure, a great nose man is valuable, but you can have a good defense without one. Inadequate pass rush, on the other hand, will kill you.

77
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:26pm

I'm with you on that, I was surprised Wade Phillips made his version of the 3-4 work with Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell. Haven't paid much attention to the Texans, so can't comment if he rotates them more or if he changed his scheme to make up for it. Of course, it could be the magic beans that is Wade Phillips.

83
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:56pm

They rotate a fair bit (probably 60% Cody 40% Mitchell) and they obviously don't play on passing downs, but really I think the main reason it works is that they play between JJ Watt and Antonio Smith and in front of Brian Cushing. The Texans defense includes two starters who suck (Cody and Jackson) but every other player on the unit is at least above average, and Cushing and Joseph are elite.

85
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:00pm

Wade Phillips also runs a 1 gap 3-4 which doesn't use a nose tackle like say the Steelers.

74
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 10:40am

Teams were shocked KC took Eric Berry since safeties aren't cornerstones and KC needed cornerstones.

Cornerstones like Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, first round picks who were already on the team when they picked Berry, the pro bowler?

In the Chargers 3-4 at the time, the FS and SS were largely interchangeable. Safety was the need at the time. Jamal was healthy and playing well, as was the rest of the line. They had pass rushers and CBs. What they needed was a safety, and so that's what they got.

And Weddle is paid more than Reed because he was the latest to get a contract and it was a sellers market for safeties this year. Had Reed been up for a new deal he probably would have been offered more than Weddle.

75
by A Dull Science (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:10pm

Didn't the Eric Berry-less Chiefs beat San Diego the last time? Didn't Weddle start both games? So, how important is free safety?

93
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:30pm

This is a joke, right? This isn't meant to be a serious argument?

78
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:34pm

Chiefs had a lot more needs than a FS and it showed. And like it was pointed out, the Chiefs beat the Chargers without Eric Berry.

94
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:38pm

And you don't think Berry would have helped them win by more than a fluke fumble recovery?

You don't think he helped them finally win the division last year, what with being a pro bowler and all?

You don't think he might have helped them win some of those close games this year?

By your logic, Darren McFadden is worthless, because the Raiders have won games with him out due to injury.

Antonio Gates is worthless, because the Chargers beat the Chiefs without him but lost with him.

I mean.. really? This is your idea of a cogent argument?

98
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:51pm

Don't think you should be complaining about others making a cogent argument

104
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:04pm

If I can manage it, they can too. Or is that too much to expect?

107
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 8:29pm

You can't.

108
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 8:46pm

Refute my points. Otherwise be gone, troll.

Stating that a player isn't at all valuable because his team managed to win a game without him his asinine. To defend someone else saying it is worse.

115
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:21pm

I'll stop being subtle. People have. You're just being argumentative, maybe being cut from a jr. high debate team or something. You either select what suits you, twist the logic, and if you're stumped you get angry or ignore the argument. You use some big words, but don't seem to know some simple things.

Like the other guy said, chill. This season is done and it will get better next year with a new coach.

BTW, do you know what a chip block is? Or a green dog?

109
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 8:47pm

Refute my points. Otherwise be gone, troll.

Stating that a player isn't at all valuable because his team managed to win a game without him his asinine. To defend someone else saying it is worse.

86
by boltsfromtheblue :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:08pm

Watching you argue with these dolts has been most entertaining.

88
by Dull Science (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:13pm

yeah, probably because it was a bad surf day. Only 1-3 foot swells and sloppy. Gets you antsy at work.

91
by Nuts 'n Bolts (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:25pm

Waves were good if you had the right board and know where to go.

97
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:23pm

Thanks.

100
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:59pm

That has to be one of the craziest things you're said. Bunch of starters cmoe from low picks and flesh out the roster. Maybe you need a drink

105
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:09pm

When you already have a roster full of quality starters the value of lower round draft picks goes down, since they most likely won't make the roster or practice squad.

The Chargers still got 6 players out of that draft, including 2 near the spots they would have otherwise picked at in the 3rd and 5th thanks to comp selections. What's better, another low 3rd and 5th rounder who might marginally make the roster, or a guy whose been your starting safety for 5 years?

26
by BJR :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 5:55am

He's also pretty much lost the two future HoF players who the 14-2 team was built around (on offence at least) - one of whom is now role-playing in New York, and the other ravaged by injury - reduced to a walking corpse of his former self.

30
by Yaguar :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 12:55pm

An indicator of just how brilliant Antonio Gates is:

He is 5th in DYAR despite missing some games, and everyone is saying "oh no, he's doing so terribly compared to how he usually does!"

57
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:50am

What happened to the Chargers are going to the Superbowl behind the deepest roster in the league?

I'm not sure who said that, except that it wasn't me.

He let go Brees, Turner, and Sproles

There's this thing called the salary cap. You can't sign everyone all the time to infinite contracts. GMs have to make hard choices.

Brees had a horrible injury with an uncertain chance of recovery. The Chargers had a healthy QB ready to go. They offered Brees a contract, but the Saints offered him superstar money.

The same thing happened with Turner, minus the injury. The couldn't afford him, plain and simple.

Sproles was tagged twice by Smith, and he couldn't be tagged again. Smith offered him a contract, but he wanted more touches, and so he went to NO.

He also trades up for Matthews and Weddle while he guts the roster.

He got 2 solid players, and he wasn't ripped off for them going by the draft trade chart.

And I don't even want to go into the offensive genius that is Norv.

Good, because you probably don't know what you're talking about.

79
by speedegg :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:27pm

Man, you need to chill, I'm getting way toooooo much negativity. I'm also getting that you're not a real fan, but hey anyone can jump on a bandwagon.

And yeah, you did say the Chargers are going to the Superbowl behind the deepest rosters in the league, just not in this thread.

Didn't you follow Brees when he was with the Chargers? If you did you would know FO's own injury expert Will Carroll said if Dr. Andrews vouches for Brees' shoulder surgery, the shoulder is fine. You should also know the Chargers offered Brees a backup contract, not a starter contract. The Chargers also fumbled around with who and how much to tender as a restricted free agent and who to franchise. There's was talk by Kevin Acee that the Chargers might franchise Brees a third time, but eventually they decided not to. Really, Brees is a superstar, shouldn't he be paid like one?

After all, Brees and Sean Payton won New Orleans a Superbowl, right? While I might not coach, I can see that those two make up for the deficiencies of their offense with chip-blocks, check-releases, different formations, and motion. I didn't really see that from Norv and Rivers during their games...like the loss to the Raiders. Why wait for Rivers to get sacked for the whole first half before shifting a HB and TE to block? Maybe that's why San Diego didn't win a Superbowl.

95
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:04pm

I'm also getting that you're not a real fan, but hey anyone can jump on a bandwagon.

If and when you drive to Pittsburgh to sit in a blizzard surrounded by 50000 Steelers fans to watch a 4-7 team lose a heartbreaking game, then maybe you can question my fandom. After that you can show me the wallpaper on you computer, which is a picture you took at training camp.

The Chargers are my favorite team in any sport, full stop. I know the roster front and back, I know the history, I know the coaches, I know the GM, I know the drafts and deals they have made and haven't made.

And yeah, you did say the Chargers are going to the Superbowl behind the deepest rosters in the league, just not in this thread.

Find it. I recall no such statements, and it doesn't sound like anything I've every said or written.

Didn't you follow Brees when he was with the Chargers?

From draft day till the day he left.

You should also know the Chargers offered Brees a backup contract, not a starter contract

I do know that. I read it at the time and confirmed it when I read it in Brees's memoir.

Really, Brees is a superstar, shouldn't he be paid like one?

Absolutely. As one of the best QBs in the league he deserves every penny of his contract, and I'm happy he got it. Just like I was happy for Turner when he signed his big deal with Atlanta. I was sad that the Chargers couldn't afford to keep them, but such is life and fandom.

After all, Brees and Sean Payton won New Orleans a Superbowl, right?

They certainly did. They had a great run in which both their offense and defense played great for long enough to win the whole thing. Good for them.

They've also had sub .500 years and missed the playoffs twice, including a dead last finish in their division. Sometimes its just not in the cards.

Sample size is a bitch.

Maybe that's why San Diego didn't win a Superbowl.

Along with injuries, bad luck, poor play, player attrition, teams held together with athletic tape and good wishes, poor coaching by Marty and his staff. You know, all things which get in the way of 31 team every single year.

101
by retrofish (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 6:38pm

dood, you're really messing with my karma. they should've have kept the rug to hold everything together. if you'd just chill you'd know people are just trying to say the Chargers were trying to get things together, but messed up. they let the wrongs dudes go. they didn't let The Dude go, but Brees was close. if AJ kept him and the rug together everyone would have a Superbowl. but AJ removed the rug and it threw everything off. norv is a carpet and he can't center the room. only the rug could and it's gone. only thing left is to clean house and start over, dig it?

106
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 7:10pm

Meh. Try harder.

116
by retrofish (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:25pm

abide.

117
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 7:31pm

Wait, are you talking about the Steelers game that was only 3 years ago? Man, I've been going to home games and seen the whole Murph in orange because the Broncos are in town. I'd have more respect if you said you saw the Chargers play that one time in Sun Devil Stadium.

118
by San O (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 9:16pm

The Murph? You and the other bolthead are old school. Yeah, sjt is funny, he talks alot, but never mentions The Murph, The Q, TNT, Humphries, Don Coryell, or how some games there's more of the other team's fans than us.

124
by sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 04/05/2012 - 12:56pm

I was in Pittsburgh, not San Diego. It was damn cold. I had to drive there from DC. It was the closest the Bolts came to me that year.

119
by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 1:14pm

"He let go Brees..."

Hard to be critical of that given Brees was coming off an injury at the time and they replaced him with a younger player who has become a Pro Bowler (though he has struggled this season).

120
by tuluse :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 1:20pm

Well how about "he let Brees for nothing."

121
by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 1:57pm

Is it worth arguing over a mid- to late-round pick? Because they would have done no better than that at that time. Lots of people were scared off by the shoulder injury. Miami was the frontrunner to sign him but they pulled out of the negotiations over the shoulder. The Saints took a considerable risk. Bottom line is letting him go worked out quite well for everybody involved.

122
by San O (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 2:41pm

Yeah, if Dr. Andrews says the shoulder is fine, nobody listens.

123
by tuluse :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 2:43pm

There is a such a thing as a conditional pick. I see no reason he couldn't have worked out a trade for at least a 2nd round pick if Brees started some number of games over the next 1 or 2 years.

21
by morganja :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 11:11pm

He also built this 4-7 team.

58
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:55am

You are correct. I'm certain it was his plan to have so many starters on IR and missing significant time due to injury.

80
by Dull Science (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:35pm

So? The Packers won the Superbowl with 15 players on IR, what happened to the Chargers?

96
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:08pm

Indeed. And what's with the Colts? Put one QB on IR and they can't even win their division anymore?

40
by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 12:15am

I think a lot of "football people" (for lack of a better word) will never forgive smith for ditching Marty. It was completely uncalled for. Marty was a top 10 coach at the time and would be today if he was still coaching. Lets dump him for a coach who struggles to stay in the top 20.

A lot of people hated the idea at the time and the decision has only looked worse with time.

He also seems to have a pretty bad time deciding when to let people go, having many very productive players leave.

54
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 7:44pm

Not sure about most football people, but any owner would hesitate to hire Smith as their GM. Smith was given the keys to the castle and he wrecked it Imagine if Tannenbaum (NY Jets GM) fired Rex Ryan because they couldn't settle their differences, then hires someone like Ted Cotrell and the team bombs. Any owner would ask,"What were you thinking and why?" there are mistakes, then they are catastrophies Someone better get ready to be the director of college scouting because they can't manage a front office and the coaches which is a basic jobs as a GM.

62
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:34am

Except that Smith also built the castle, and Norv has 3 times the playoff appearances and win as Marty did.

Marty also underachieved with this team, arguably moreso than Norv ever has.

87
by boltsfromtheblue :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:21pm

Except the owner, not A.J. Smith, fired Schottenheimer. I suspect "football people" are aware of this fact. Thanks for playing

89
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 3:59pm

If we're getting that technical, then was he fired for nepotism, for cause, or because he clashed with the GM? If it was nepotism, he would've been fired years before when he hired his son as QB coach. If he was fired for cause, he violated his contract and wouldn't collect the salary of his last year. Marty's contract stated he has the freedom to hire whomever he saw fit for his coaching staff. Maybe it was the nepotism, but why not put it in is contract? It wasn't and he collected his last year's salary.

There are a bunch of other details we wouldn't know and "football people" would. It might be cool to know, but if Marty and Smith got along it would've been a moot point.

90
by Nuts 'n Bolts (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:23pm

I actually think Spanos made something up so Marty can chill with Ed Hochuli in Mission Beach. Hochuli has a sweet place there.

99
by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 5:53pm

Is that why Hoculi screwed us in that Denver game? Backward pass my a*s

44
by Bots Meat Commission (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 12:33pm

They would fire A.J. Smith?

It's terrible seeing such a modest, down-to-earth, kind-hearted and gentle soul be treated like this.

47
by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 1:19pm

HA!

53
by TomC :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 6:21pm

The Bears gave Ron Turner two shots at OC, so I don't see any reason they wouldn't give Norv at least one.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/9248239-606/source-says-mi...

56
by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 10:19pm

Sweet! PFP starting a rumor that Jon Gruden might be the Chargers next head coach. He did it in Tampa Bay, why not get a shot in San Diego?

66
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:18am

Because he got run out of Tampa after Norv cleaned his clock back in 2008?

Because he hasn't done anything since then but guffaw with Jaws and make stupid comments that ruin otherwise enjoyable football games?

69
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 2:47am

But Gruden won a Superbowl as HC, when did Norv win the Superbowl as HC...? Oh, yeah. He didn't.

72
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 10:18am

So did Billick. Want to hire him?

Ditka won a SB with one of the all time great teams. Didn't seem to help him a bit in NO.

Gibbs has 3 rings. Didn't seem to matter when he had his comeback.

Jimmy Johnson won how many rings with the Dolphins?

Just because a guy has a ring doesn't make him the right fit for a given job. Why hire Gruden? What's so great about him? Does he come with a free pash rusher and a spare left tackle, because that's pretty much what the Bolts need.

76
by Sleepless in San Diego (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:22pm

Right, so what makes you think Norv is fit for the job?

92
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 4:27pm

3 Playoff appearances and 1 torn ACL short of a Super Bowl?

Gruden may well be a better coach, but I don't see why I should get so excited about a guy chased out of his last job because of an epic collapse. All coaches have high points and low points. His having a Ring doesn't make him automatically the right choice.

102
by retrofish (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 6:47pm

but he's not centered, man. because of that norv will never win the Superbowl with the Chargers. but's that's okay, not everyone can be the valued rug. what will be okay is if everyone realizes it, accepts it, and moves on. they need someone who can center the team. when everything is held together for a single purpose then the Superbowl will come

110
by Dean :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:16am

I hate to micturate upon your argument, dude, but Nick Hardwick centers the team.

111
by Nuts 'n Bolts (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 2:26pm

He's not talking about a position on the line, he's talking about a zen-like state of being. Hard to follow, but he's spoofing someone.

112
by Dean :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 3:06pm

If you knew who he was spoofing, you'd know why I used the word "micturate."

113
by Nathan :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:19pm

It's almost like you guys are quoting some kind of movie or something.

114
by Nuts 'n Bolts (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:31pm

OMG! Ok, yeah. Got it. I just thought he was a stoner surfer. My bad.

84
by djanyreason :: Tue, 12/06/2011 - 1:59pm

It bugs me that all of a sudden I can't stop misreading this headline as "Chargers Fire Will Turner"