Tuesday, January 3, 2012

San Diego Chargers Keep Norv Turner And AJ Smith; Fans Wailing In The Streets

Of all the changes that are expected (and have already occurred) in many NFL franchises this month, one particular team was widely expected to make some significant changes.

The San Diego Chargers, however, had different ideas.  Today they announced that they are retaining their embattled General Manager, AJ Smith, and their under-achieving Head Coach, Norv Turner.
"Bottom line, I believe these two men give us the best chance to get back to the playoffs," owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. "A.J. Smith is the best man to improve our roster, and Norv Turner is the best man to lead that roster on the field."

Yes, these two together have had a lot of wins and AFC West titles.  Turner is 52-34 as their coach, and in nine years under Smith they've accumulated five division titles.  However, look at the state of the division during that time and tell me exactly how the Chargers, with their stacked rosters every year, shouldn't have easily won the division more than that.

It's not that they haven't been winning, it's that they haven't won more.  In those past five trips to the playoffs, they've made the Conference Championship game one time.  The playoff record is 3-5 during that time.  Remember when it was quite fashionable to list the Chargers as the pre-season AFC Super Bowl team back during the years when LT was breaking records?

In 2011, the Chargers finished with the 6th best offense, the 16th best defense, played in one of the least competitive divisions in the NFL, and still managed to go only 8-8.  That's a common thread with the Chargers.  Frequently great play on both sides of the ball, but they don't add up to wins. Who is responsible for that?

Is it possible that the owner simply doesn't want to fork out extra money to pay off these contracts? I don't know, and I don't understand.  Perhaps coming close does count for something, but fans should expect so much more from the Chargers.

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