Norv Turner, Chargers (3-3)
What has gone wrong? The decision to retain Turner as head coach following a second straight season without a playoff appearance was poorly received, to put it mildly, by a very vocal portion of the team's fan base. The cries for Turner's dismissal are now deafening. One game after allowing New Orleans to score the final 17 points in a 31-24 loss, San Diego suffered an even bigger collapse Monday night against visiting Denver. The Chargers squandered a 24-0 halftime lead in a 35-24 loss.
In defense of: Quarterback Philip Rivers (four interceptions, two fumbles) and a defense that allowed Denver’s Peyton Manning to complete 13 of 14 passes in the second half did Turner no favors. Such disastrous failings against New Orleans and Denver as well as his inability to lead San Diego to a Super Bowl overshadow the fact Turner has won 60.5 percent of his regular season games (52-34) since becoming head coach in 2007. He's also gone 3-3 in the playoffs. San Diego's offensive production during that stretch has reinforced Turner's standing as one of the NFL's best play-callers.
Turner has weathered heavy criticism before and emerged unscathed with his players never quitting on him even during tough times. He needs that to continue when the Chargers return from their bye Oct. 28 against Cleveland.
Forecast: Chargers general manager A.J. Smith put his own job and reputation on the line in 2007 when making the controversial decision to hire Turner after firing Marty Schottenheimer largely because of personal animosity and differing football philosophies. It was no secret entering this season that anything less than a playoff appearance would assuredly spell the end of Turner and Smith in San Diego.
With the Chargers still tied for the AFC West lead, Turner deserves the chance to right his ship, even if he may be ultimately remembered in the same light as Schottenheimer with 100-plus career victories as a head coach but no championships. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.