Monday, September 24, 2007

The Big, Quiet Story of Incompetence

The #1 story of the 2007 football season to date has been the New England Patriots. Not only have they been a dominant force, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time, they’ve also brought some delicious controversy to keep us occupied during the week. They’ve become the perfect villains, nearly reaching Yankees status. That’s been covered. After that, there are lots of interesting goings-on, but for me, one stands above the rest and it hasn’t received what I would consider to be the appropriate level of attention.

The San Diego Chargers hired Norville Eugene “Norv” Turner to be their head football coach for the 2007 NFL season.

Just let it sink in: The Chargers hired Norv Turner. Norv F’ing Turner. This guy:

How is this not getting more attention? The Chargers were the top team in the NFL in the regular season last year and arguably the most talented and well-balanced team in the league. They had a bye and lost a tough draw against a battle-tested Patriots team in the first round. In retrospect, it was a predictable loss, as the Pats clearly had more playoff chops than San Diego. Nonetheless, it was still a very successful season and they had a lot of build on. Just as an aside, the AFC is really freaking tough. The Chargers and Ravens were the top two seeds and got the gift of the Patriots and Colts coming to town in the first round.



Chargers GM, AJ Smith, has assembled a very strong squad in San Diego, but he butchered this off-season beyond belief. So he hated Marty Schottenheimer? Fine, fire him. It was an easy enough move, considering he had TWO head coaching candidates already on his staff. Not one, TWO. How often does that happen? Can Marty. Plug in Cameron or Phillips. Move on. Easy, right? Both of those guys would’ve been happy to stay in SoCal, keep coaching their guys and walk into a ready-made championship contender. Nope. Smith let BOTH of them walk.

Damage done, but not a disaster. Losing Cameron and Phillips is hardly equivalent to the Giants allowing Lombardi and Landry get their shots elsewhere. So you’ve still got a job vacancy. What assistant or re-tread NFL coach wouldn’t jump at the chance to coach the Chargers? Even a mediocre guy would do. Just find somebody who wouldn’t break everything. They couldn’t find this year’s version of Brad Childress, Rod Marinelli, or Scott Linehan? Jim Mora Jr. wouldn’t do? Or even a bland non-entity like Dick Jauron, Mike Sherman, or Jim Haslett? Somebody, anybody but Norv.

Now, everybody knows Norv Turner. We know that he’s been a bad coach. We know that he’s the least charismatic sports figure of our time. We know he couldn’t lead starving kids at fat camp to the mess hall. We KNOW he sucks. The guy practically has “failure” tattooed across his forehead. As one of my co-workers would say, just LOOK at him. He’s a LOOOOSER.

What people may not know is that the numbers support Norv’s incompetence to a surprising degree. His career record is 59-84-1, a winning percentage of .413. Among coaches with as many NFL games as Norv, only ONE has a worse winning percentage. That’s Norm Van Brocklin for those of you scoring at home. In the history of the NFL, 77 coaches have coached more than 100 games. Ony FIVE have a worse winning percentage than Turner. John McKay, Dan Henning, Ray Perkins, Dom Capers, and the aforementioned Flying Dutchman. That's 5/77, or 6.5%.

The Chargers have bags of talent and they’re going to win some games. Norv could screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, but even a walking crapstorm like him should be able to get them to the playoffs. But you have to ask why. Why do that to yourself? AJ Smith, you’re in charge. You could hire ANYBODY. You didn’t have to choose from some short list of “people you know” or “guys who would take the job.” How in the hell did you come up with Norv Turner? This mystifying to me and it’s going to be a big factor in how the season plays out. Maybe New England will waltz to the title, but they’ve got some major competition in the AFC. Unfortunately, for neutral observers, some of that competition is guaranteed to be sub-par because of on Norv Turner.

And while we're doing flummoxed former Redskins coaches:


5-11! Not very good!

51 Comments:

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

That was awesome. You know what cheers me up after an excruciating Redskins come from in front loss? Well, other than rolled up aces over kings and check raising stupid tourists, it's remembering that someone else has Norville driving their bus. I just noticed for the first time from the pics you posted and your "loser" emphasis who he most resembles: Principle Skinner, most notably when he led a platoon in 'Nam. Norv, what is it with you and failure?

 
At 9:39 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

Make that Principal Skinner...he's your "pal."

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

And you really have to question handing a position of leadership to a guy who has such an abundance of excruciatingly disappointing photos on the internet. It didn't take very long to find those 4.

In half his publicly accessible pictures it looks like he just got his lunch stolen from the office fridge by the mail room guy for the 5th time this week. And you know he's not going to say anything about it.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

Interestingly, Don Banks just went on a rant about how Ted Cottrell has as much to do with the chargers futility as does Norv, essentially alluding to the fact that Cottrell is a pretty incompetent DC and that many in the NFL feel this way. I found this pretty interesting because I have keen memories of NFL talking heads breathlessly telling me it was a travesty or an outrage that Ted Cottrell was not given a head coaching job about 5 years ago. So wait...is it possible that he didn't get those jobs based on merit...and not race? No. That can't be....

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I'd just like to add that two of the five coaches that have worse winning percentages than Norv are early era Bucs coaches. So, they're kind of exempted by the collective ineptitude of the entire organization at the time.

Norv looks like the kind of guy who would ask a girl if he could kiss them at the end of a date. Looooser.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger TJ said...

The 2007 Saints: Drowning in Ineptitude

Too soon?

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger TNT said...

I'm so glad I opted not to keep Randy Moss and instead took Drew Brees in my one league.

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger TJ said...

I had to face Brees and Colston last night, up by a very slim margin...needless to say, Brees came through huge for me in that 4th quarter. Even Sexy Rexy was laughing at his turnover troubles.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

I was down 5 points to Clark going into last night's game. He had Brees going, I had no one. I almost came back and won.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Greg said...

That first picture is hilarious. One can almost imagine the sound coming out of his melty-looking mouth.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

This is from the NFL rule book:

"Coin Toss

1. The toss of coin will take place within three minutes of kickoff in center of field. The toss will be called by the visiting captain before the coin is flipped. The winner may choose one of two privileges and the loser gets the other:
(a) Receive or kick
(b) Goal his team will defend
2. Immediately prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the officials of their respective choices. The loser of the original coin toss gets first choice."


So, as I read that, a team could conceivably defer both kicks. Should the Bears consider this?

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Greg said...

I think when a team wins the toss and defers, that means they want to have the choice for the second half and the loser of the coin toss can choose the first half.

If a team defers, (I think) and the other team chooses to receive, then in the second half, the Bears could choose to kick-off in the second half.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

But as I read it, if the Bears (for example) lost the opening toss, and the opposition elected to receive, the Bears get to choose in the second half. so they could elect to kick...unless I'm missing something.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger mayhugh said...

I'm reading that the same way Geoff is. I must confess I never knew nor noticed that the teams reconvened at the start of the second half for this purpose.

Not having watched a ton of Chargers football this year (I chose to watch the Cardinals/Ravens for some reason this weekend), can someone tell me what's up with the SD offensive line? These guys were pretty good last year - are defenses just loading up on LaDanian or is there something more to it? Did they change the blocking schemes?

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Well, yes, I think they can do that.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger mayhugh said...

And maybe Norv should try wearing a bandana to cover his nose and mouth, old-West-Train-Robber style. This may increase his coaching mystique, if not his coaching acumen.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Geoff said...

The Chargers are starting the same five o-lineman they did all last year. I know when Norv was here he did not use a zone blocking scheme and I'm pretty sure he still doesn't. I'm also pretty sure that Marty did. Could that be the problem? Portis struggled to make that conversion and as result the Skins do a lot more zone blocking now.

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Mark said...

That's an interesting point re: blocking schemes. I'd be interested to know if San Diego switched during the off-season. So, Geoff, why don't you call your buddy Norv.

Also, I've been meaning to mention this. Did anybody watch Inside the NFL last week? I usually just fast forward to the highlight packages to get some of the NFL films inside stuff you can't get on other highlight shows. Anyway, during the highlights of Pats-Chargers, there was a sequence where LT was going off on some coach (just off camera) while sitting on the bench. He was screaming, "We're getting our ass kicked. Stop fucking with us. We're getting our ass kicked." I couldn't help but suspect that he was yelling at Norv and imploring him to do something, anything to turn the game around. Not seeing the coach just made it feel like it HAD to be Norv he was yelling at and NFL Films didn't want to show him up. Anybody else see that?

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger TJ said...

I'm pretty sure Wilbon would like a QB switch in Chicago:

Naperville, IL: If you were Lovie Smith, would you start Griese next week?

Michael Wilbon: Yep. And if Lovie Smith doesn't bench Rex and start Griese the Bears' season is effectively over. Rex Grossman can't play quarterback at the elite level. He just can't. He doesn't seem to have the instincts. I've talked to defensive players who've told me how they do simple things to overwhelm and distract him that other QBs would exploit...It's sad. I thought Rex was going to be a lot better this year, but he's a lot worse. And you can't keep asking the Bears to shut high-powered teams out for a half (which they did to the Chargers and Cowboys). It's too hard. The defensive players get too tired. There's too much pressure on them to be perfect. The defense and special teams (Devin Hester) made big mistakes in the second half because they started making gambling plays to score instead of simply doing what they're supposed to do. Rex has to sit. It's over for him in Chicago and everybody needs to accept that. Nobody in that locker room wants to trash the kid; there's no reason to do that. But the coach has to do his job first. And it's Lovie's job to make the change. Now.

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Whitney said...

Well, I sure didn't go 3-0 this week. What's our group picks record now?

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Here's what I've got:

Rob
5-2-2

Whit
5-3-1

TJ
4-3-3

Jerry
4-5-0

Mark
4-5-0

Geoff
2-6-1

As a group, 24-24-7...

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Mark said...

We'd be doing okay...if Geoff wasn't dragging us down.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Really? The coaching staff thinks of both these guys exactly the same? It doesn't necessarily surprise me; I guess I just never heard Coach Joe put it this way:

Asked to explain why Clinton Portis sat out the final two offensive plays in Week 3, coach Joe Gibbs called Portis and Ladell Betts "interchangeable."

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Gibbs also said that Gary Clark and Santana Moss were "interchangeable" and that he plans on starting Clark next week.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

There are so many contrary messages coming out of Redskins Park on why Portis wasn't in. Gibbs is going with the aforementioned "interchangeable" defense. Saunders is going with the "I have no idea" defense, and sounded annoyed when he said it, and Portis is claiming that he took himself out because he was injured. Oh yeah, you gotta love it.

Personally, I'm just rolling with it. I used to get upset about these things, especially during the Spurrier era, but that was a whole other level of incompetence. But this sort of this? Eh...no big deal. When the Giants were 0-2, they were in disarray, Coughlin was two quarters away from the unemployment line, Strahan was a cancer and Antonio Pierce was terrorizing reporters in the locker room. Now, one win later, there's happiness and harmony all over again. Last year the Chargers all loved each other, cruised to 14 victories and LT was Jim Brown/Paul Hornung and Jesus wrapped into one. When you lose, under this media microscope, they are going to find away to make you look like a clusterfuck. It is going to happen...and you just have to deal with it.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

Also, the Portis thing is kind of obscuring the larger story, which is the Redskins inability to move the ball against what had appeared to be a really bad Giants defense. They didn't get a 1st down for 4 or 5 consecutive drives. 10 of the 17 points were set up by the defense, although they did miss a FG on a good drive early and moved the ball on the last drive. Overall, it was a really bad day for the Skins O.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger TJ said...

I love the fact that the Offensive Coordinator of a team is saying "I don't know" when asked why his star RB wasn't in the game. If anything was ever Spurrier-esque it's that.

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Spurrier would never be that succinct. I imagine it going like this, "Well, we had a ball play drawn up for him but he wasn't in. Time was running down and well, he just wasn't in there. You gotta play with the guys on the field."

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

"Lindell is a good running back and we thought he could get past the touchdown line. Didn't work. Gotta draw up some new ball plays. Maybe get Clayton the ball a bit."

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

Five and eleven! Not very good!

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

One of my favorite Spurrier moments was when he was asked by a fan on his radio show if he would consider Darnerian McCants as a possible punt returner. His response?

"Darterrian (not his name)? Hmmm...we've never tried him at punt catcher. That's a good idea. Maybe we'll try that. Thanks."

Yes, he really said "punt catcher."

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger TJ said...

Well, that's a helluva lot better than him transposing the first two letters of those words.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

Scene at Hughes' house this afternoon:

http://www.czabe.com/mediaclips/index.shtml?a=showclip&id=832

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I've been looking for that box for months now. Why the Police felt the need to confiscate that as evidence is beyond me.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

It did seem completely unrelated to their investigation. Well, you can probably get a replacement...somewhere...

 
At 4:13 PM, Blogger TJ said...

Mark, was that the model D83 Swedish sure-grip suck machine?

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger chip said...

Color me sick to death of self rightous big time college football coaches- a pretty self-important group to begin with. Do you realize that douchebag from Ok State was screaming at a woman reporter during that tirade?

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger Mark said...

No TJ. Its an older model.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger mayhugh said...

Chip - Ok St: His 3 minute tirade was based on an assertion by the newspaperwoman that the OKST QB "wasn't tough" or "was scared".

I get that the guy was trying to stick up for his QB and send a message but there's got to be a more intelligent way to do it. The "I can tell you don't have kids comment" was really over the line.

It seems some of these coaches are dealing with the overboard reactions of the media by having their own overboard reactions.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

I enjoyed his "this article makes me so mad" argument being bolstered by his "this is why I don't read the papers" assertion. Hold on there professor.

 
At 4:50 PM, Blogger mayhugh said...

And the "who's the kid here" rhetorical question at the end of it? Made no sense.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Whitney said...

I actually kind of enjoy reporters getting called out and taken to task on articles, and I find it predictable that the fellow journalists are lining up to take shots. That said, and although I really think Gundy was attempting to do the right thing, the blow-up seemed poorly-timed, misguided and over the top. Way to deflate the team after a big win, coach.

There are a handful of journalists out there who have needed a way worse tongue-lashing for inking irresponsible pieces without fear of accountability. Not so sure this lady is one.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Anybody read that article? It wasn't really that bad. I was expecting to read that Bobby Reid molests collies or something. I mean, the reporter didn't make his Mom feed him his chicken in public. She just chose to point out that oddity in her column.

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

When I read that I thought "made his mom feed him chicken in public" was some sort of odd euphemism.

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

I thought it was awesome. Too many people live without fear of ever getting their comeuppance. I like seeing people get it unexpectedly. Plus, it looked like a hazing meeting with the way he was swaggering and rambling at high volume.

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger chip said...

I generally like to see journalists get some commupence (ngs) but this was just over the top grandstanding that really felt put upon. He was basically bullying a female journalist for an article she had every right to pen. She was hardly out of line. I don't buy this notion that BigXII qbs are like freshman field hockey players and must be left totally alone. They are not paying for school or being treated generally like an "amateur athlete" in reality. I agree they should be treated with more deference than pro players, but in no way was the piece in question over the line. The tirade on the other hand was. Seemed like he just generally preferred top get on his coaching high horse instead of taking any questions so he threw a convenient tantrum which just happened to paint him in a great light.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Jerry said...

I thought it was at least pushing the line. Definitely went after his character and the stuff with his mom was pretty unnecessary. The point could've been made in a less aggressive manner. I'm not a fan of pulling out personal stuff with the college guys.

Also, I'm kind of surprised that you care the reporter is a female.

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger mayhugh said...

The forum just didn't make a lot of sense to me. You won a decently big game for the school. Talk about that. And it did look a bit staged and theatric.

In general I dislike the media and enjoy the Knights and Parcels of the world making them feel like idiots. But for the most part (especially with Parcels), the responses are proportional to the idiocy of the writer/question-asker, and this was pretty far from it.

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger mayhugh said...

And did the voice/cadence remind anyone else of R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket?

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger chip said...

Jerry- the fact that the reporter was a woman matters because the coach was allegedly trying to take the high road, show how to act and not act, how to conduct oneself. I didn't know the reporter was a woman the first time I saw the rant- but I was pretty sure he was ready to kick the crap out of the off screen reporter he was CLEARLY trying to intimidate the balls off. You don't see it as relevant that he was bullying in a nearly violent manner a woman to show his moral superiority as a leader of young, strong men?

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger TR said...

When it comes to making inappropriate comments to female reporters, Zeke Mowatt and Jack Morris set the bar for inappropriateness. Gundy would've had to leave a mushroom-shaped bruise on her cheek to match what these guys said.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home