Norv Turner, your second and third-string players succeeded in defeating the first-string players of the Washington Redskins, thereby giving the Chargers their second-best season finish in history (13-3). And even though the Chargers might lose to whomever they play in the divisional round of the playoffs, the fact remains that you got them there. I mentioned a while back that I'd call myself out and apologize to you, so here it is:
All Apologies to Norv Turner
I'm sorry. I was wrong. You, sir, are a pretty good head coach.
I was wrong when I suggested that your 11-5 finish in your first year as coach of the Chargers was merely part of the hangover left by the 14-2 Chargers of Marty Schottenheimer.
I was wrong when I implied that you were not a disciplinarian and could not hold a team together for an entire season.
I was wrong when I hinted that, as a head coach, you were too far removed from the quarterback position to be able to turn Philip Rivers into a true bad-ass.
I was wrong when I theorized that your hire was based on being a false figurehead with which A.J. Smith could play the entire team as pawns.
I said at the beginning of the 2008 season, after the Chargers lost to the Panthers in the season opener, that I would consider you a good coach should you have two more winning seasons. And despite 2008's regular season record of 8-8, you won the AFC West and beat the Indianapolis Colts in the wild card game, so I count that a winning season (Chargers great Leslie O'Neal said it best: "No season's a winning season if you don't make the playoffs.")
On November 17, 2008, I wrote that you should be "kicked to the curb."
I'm sorry. I was wrong. Here's hoping you, Mr. Turner, get a kick-ass extension!
*I just have to mention that I also initially opposed the hiring of Marty Schottenheimer, who (say what you will) was responsible for the Chargers' elevation out of the NFL's basement. What's my point? I guess I should shut up about coaches.
In all likelihood, neither LaDainian Tomlinson nor Shawne Merriman will be Chargers next year. Let's face it... Philip Rivers notwithstanding, LDT is the face of the San Diego Chargers offense, if not the the Chargers as a whole. Merriman, on the flip side, is the face of the Chargers defense (despite being outperformed by other Charger defenders this past season). I get that A.J. Smith prefers business being cold and hard, and it does seem to have worked out for him so far, but part of the front office side of football is marketing... so is it really a good idea to let either (or worse, both) LDT or Merriman go?
Speaking of "cold" and "hard" (feel free to roll your eyes now), Vincent Jackson saved his job as a Charger this season... because you know A.J. was gunning for him after that second DUI. Funny how success makes bedfellows.
Ron Rivera, the Chargers defensive coordinator whose attitude (if not scheme) helped save the Chargers defense from Ted Cottrell's ineptitude, might be the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills. That would suck (for us), but I think he's shown that he deserves a shot at being the guy.
Can anyone imagine how devastating the Chargers defensive line will be if Jamal Williams makes a successful return to form? Holy cow.
And, in all my fearlessness, I will predict it now: The Chargers will win the Super Bowl. And while I would love for the Saints to be their opponent (Rivers vs. Brees... how cool would that be?), I don't think the Saints are going to make it. That stated, I shall reserve my NFC prediction until after Wild Card Weekend.
Speaking of predictions:
Wild Card Predictions for the 2009 Season Post-Season that actually plays in 2010:
New York Jets over Cincinnati Bengals, barely.
Dallas Cowboys over Philadelphia Eagles, barely.
New England Patriots over Baltimore Ravens, strongly.
Green Bay packers over Arizona Cardinals, barely.
(yes, I'm thinking this upcoming weekend will be packed with close games)
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