Third Time's the Charm? Or will Norv Turner become a three-time loser? The San Diego Chargers responded to the mass exodus of their assistant coaches by firing the head coach, Marty Schottenheimer. Now, they've followed that move by bringing in Norv Turner, who was a disaster as a head coach in both Washington and Oakland. Maybe, it was just these were not good situations for him. Norv ought to feel comfortable in San Diego, as he served before as the team's offensive coordinator, in 2001 -- the days before Marty-ball. Certainly, the players are there. Almost all the pieces are in place. The challenge for Turner this year will be in putting together a top coaching staff, as the other staffs are pretty much in place.
If they don't win a lot next year, the blame will belong on Turner's shoulders. I'd guess he's got two years to get the Chargers to the conference championship -- maybe three to win the Super Bowl. Turner has proven himself over and over again as a successful offensive coordinator, most recently with San Francisco last season. Unfortunately, his successes as an offensive assistant coach have been matched and followed by failures as a head coach. As a Chargers' fan, I have to hope he can break that pattern.
Curiously, the Chargers have reversed what the Redskins did at the beginning of this decade. In 2001, the Redskins fired Turner and hired Marty Schottenheimer to be their head coach. Now, in an absurdly ironic twist, Turner finds himself replacing Schottenheimer in San Diego. He's got a challenge in putting together a coaching staff, but the talent in San Diego is so good that the team could succeed without much coaching. My fingers are crossed -- that's for good luck (not because I'm lying about what I really think of this hiring decision).