The San Diego Chargers will have AJ Smith and Norv Turner running the show again in 2011. The rest of the AFC West gave each other a high-5 after that announcement.
“The easiest thing in the world is to start over. Who the hell do I go hire? Blow the whole thing up? We’re a pretty good team but we have to make the right moves. We’ve fallen. It could have been our draft picks or our free-agent moves. But we have a good core, and I don’t care what anybody says. I’m not afraid to make changes. If I thought it was warranted, I would do it. We have a good foundation here.” – Dean Spanos
I don’t know many Chargers’ fans that like the idea of this, but it is something that we have to deal with. Hopefully both AJ and Norv have learned from their mistakes.
Let’s see a few of the things that Norv and AJ need to improve for next season:
His slow start to the season finally cost him. Norv will need to get out of the starting gates quickly next season in order to keep the restless fans quiet. The Chargers fans are quick to pull the “Fire Norv” card out and any misstep early in the season will have the gang SCREAMING. A quick start will give the team confidence to run through the season.
The Chargers are 2-5 on the road this season and 4 of those losses are to teams with a record less than .500 right now. The Chargers came out flat for a lot of those games and just look unprepared. Norv will need to properly prepare his team for the crowd and the travel.
The Chargers are 7-0 when Philip Rivers throws less than 30 passes. Norv needs to trust his running backs and play some smash mouth football. The passing game gains chunks of yards, but running the ball beats down the opponent and rests the defense. It will set up the play action and Philip won’t be hit as much.
The team is 2-3 against the AFC West this year. The early season loss to KC catapulted the Chiefs to the top and getting swept by the Raiders slowed the Chargers’ momentum at the end of the season. The AFC West is getting better and the Chargers can’t rely on a weak division to allow them easy access to the playoffs anymore.
The troubles started in the off-season when AJ battled his players, Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill, in a contract dispute. Both players are All-Pro level talents and were watching from home while the Chargers struggled to open the season. These players need to be brought into training camp and made available to play a whole season. AJ needs to keep his attitude and ego in check.
There are a lot of Chargers that are going to enter the season as a free agent, and we need to bring back the key veterans. Last season, we let go of players like Ladainian Tomlinson, Kassim Osgood and Jamal Williams. These players provided a lot of leadership to the team and were key losses in the locker room. Players like Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett and Vincent Jackson need to be brought back for next season.
His drafts the last couple of years have been sub par and he needs to find people that can contribute to the system. His first round picks need to make plays, instead of sitting on the sideline with injuries. He needs to bring more winning attitudes and leadership to the team.
Make a play on some free agents or make some trades this off-season. AJ does a good job of bringing in players, but he just does not do it often enough. He brought in Kevin Burnett a couple of seasons ago and this last season he brought in Donald Strickland and Patrick Crayton. He also does great bringing in undrafted free agents, but he needs to bring in some talent that is more seasoned. This team has a lot of great players on it and an impact free agent can carry the team into the playoffs and give them a good opportunity.
We let Osgood join the Jacksonville Jaguars in the off-season and lost other key contributors in special teams and as a result, had the worst special teams in league history! AJ needs to make sure that this team is solid from the start of the season and we are not searching for players all season long to make it work.
Last, but not least…. FIRE NORV TURNER!
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