Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Dec 2012

Sources: Chargers to Fire Norv Turner, A.J. Smith

Normally, XP has a policy against linking to "rumors" posts. We only link to news when it happens. But we've been waiting for this for so, so long that we have to celebrate just the idea that it is finally going to happen. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune says the Chargers will finally get rid of Norv Turner and A.J. Smith after the season. Turner can go back to being a very good offensive coordinator who doesn't have to actually motivate the locker room or manage late-game strategy, and Smith can go back to... I don't know what he's specifically good at, actually. He used to be good at drafting, but not lately.

UPDATE: Hmmm, this was apparently reported last December as well. Maybe we shouldn't be too excited. Sigh.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Dec 2012

31 comments, Last at 09 Dec 2012, 12:14pm by Other Dean


by David Coverdale (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 7:47pm

I'm guessing this one probably will take. That team is really dreadful.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 7:52pm

If the Spanossian Aptitude Pathway (sap) is to be followed, the next move is obvious; Go West, Matt Millen, Go West!

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:04pm

and with the recent passing of motivational speaking guru Zig Ziglar, A.J. Smith's move into the field of educating folks as to the Power of Positive Thinking is certainly on the horizon.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:12am

I would not even wish that fate on my worst enemy, and I have no quarrel with Chargers fans.

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:08pm

So, Andy Reid coaching San Diego next year?

by RickD :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:13pm

Seriously, isn't Andy Reid out of credibility by now?

I'm not just suspicious of the decline of the Eagles, but the particulars of his mismanagement over the last two years makes him look washed-up.

The team hasn't been the same since Jim Johnson died.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:18pm

The way he (mis)managaed his staff would concern me as much as anything. Everybody loses their fastball eventually, and he has certainly had enough going on in his life to make that more likely.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:08pm

Right on. One scapegoat (Castillo) might be credible. A second (Babin) or third (Washburn) screams that this is a guy who doesn't have control and is looking to dodge the blame.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:37am

I don't agree with the "scapegoat" comments everybody is flinging around.
I do agree that the offense was a major part of the problem (specifically turnovers) but FO's numbers show that the defense has steadily declined since the start of the season.
It is fair to question the lack of changes on the offensive side but I don't think it is fair to call the defensive changes "scapegoats." They earned it just as much as the offense did. The defense under performed all season.
You can say the offense was worse and was more deserving of change but that doesn't take away the fact that the defense was poor as well.

Entitled freeloader

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:19pm

Everyone thought John Fox was washed up a couple of years ago too.

Sometimes a change of scenery can make things better, and Reid has been too successful to give up on. Norv Turner, on the other hand... not so much.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:38am

Reid's also went through a terrible family tragedy which might well have cost him focus this season in particular. His scapegoating this year has hurt him in my eyes, but he didn't have all those great years by pure luck.

by Collapsing Pocket (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:56pm

It certainly helps when your new scenery includes a DPOY frontrunner and a HOF QB.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 3:43pm

He managed to squeeze out a playoff appearance last year without Manning. It wasn't pretty, but no one expected it, either.

by Aloysius Mephis... :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:27pm

Reid will get another coaching gig in the future if he wants it, but I really hope he takes a year or two away from the game. I don't know how you can coach a football team with what he's been through this year. Maybe the answer is that you can't.

by JonFrum :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:19pm

I assume they'll be firing their QB as well.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:09pm

They have a lot more invested in their QB than the other two.

by Scott C :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:50pm

The problem is the OL, not the QB. Street free agents and UDFA's don't make good LTs or LGs. The OL is absolutely awful.

by Other Dean (not verified) :: Sun, 12/09/2012 - 12:14pm

This is true, but Rivers has also regressed. Until 2 years ago I think that he could have been classified as a top 5 quarterback but that is no longer the case. AJ shouldn't go; this team just needs to rebuild it's offensive line and find a coach that can help Rivers get back to where he was and can get the team to play well for an entire game.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:12am

If that Three's Company revival comes to pass, Norv can play Mr Roper. No idea who'd hire AJ for anything, though.

by MJK :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 2:00am

I wonder of Marty Schottenheimer would be interested in coaching again. I hear he's good at turning around bad franchises...

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 6:06am

Did AJ Smith used to be good at drafting, or did he draft players who then became good because their headcoach got the best out of them?

(Put it in another context, a decade agothe Raiders were great at drafting Pro Bowl players then when Jon Gruden left their drafting went bad)

by In_Belichick_We... :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:43am

I have always wondered how much is drafting and how much is player development after the draft.
I think Eli was correct in refusing to go to San Diego.
Is it coincidence that the same teams keep drafting busts?
Some teams can't develop QBs. My team can't seem to develop a safety.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:12am

Is it post-draft coaching, or more that the head coach has a lot of input in what kind of players the GM drafts to fit his system?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:27am

It's a fair question ... however in my two examples ... I would be guessing that neither AJ Smith or Al Davis were ever people to take the input of what players the coach wanted drafted.

And if it were that the headcoach had input why didn't that then continue to benefit either franchise with later coaches

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:29am

Having said that you have to have some level of capability for evaluating and drafting good players ... otherwise you're Matt Millen

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:45am

Which is odd, because Gruden/Allen didn't draft well in Tampa at all.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:19pm

Very few people have run enough drafts, to get a large enough sample size of draft picks, so as to allow us to really have much insight as to who is really good or bad at it. For all we know, these guys are like major league hitters who get on base 20 times out of their first 50 plate appearances, or 5 times, and from that much knowledge, we declare them HOF-worthy, or schmucks.

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:45am

If Philip Rivers stays in San Diego, I would hire Ken Whisenhunt, assuming he's fired in Arizona. He's done good things with thought-to-be-washed-up former great QBs.

by jackiel :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:11pm

Especially when his QB is throwing to elite receivers in Fitz and Boldin. I also think that Haley's influence shouldn't be discounted. I'm surprised about how well Pittsburgh's playing in offense given their constraints...bad pass protection, injuries galore, a mandate to play ball control offense in order to keep an aging defense off the field. I wonder how his KC tenure would have turned out if Cassel wasn't shoved down his throat and they were able to draft more major impact players at the top of the 1st round.

Assuming that Whisenhunt had some input regarding the QB position--and it seems like he did--I don't think he's HC material. He ran off Linert (sp?), who may or may not have been above average (I believe he deserved a chance to be the starter, personality be damned), and replaced him with that mess we see today.

by buddons (not verified) :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 12:34pm

I don't know that Leinart was ever going to be above average, but I think even below average would be a pretty solid upgrade for ARI right now.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 3:36pm

Leinert had his chances in Arizona and never showed any real improvement.