2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chargers fire coach Norv Turner, GM A.J. Smith

By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-31 12:56

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The San Diego Chargers fired coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith on Monday after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

Coming after a season of stunning come-from-ahead losses and increasing fan anger, the firings complete a startling fall for a team that won the AFC West from 2006-09.

The Chargers are the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114-122-1.

Turner was an unpopular hire in February 2007, seen as a pawn controlled by the authoritarian Smith after the GM won a power struggle with old-school coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Despite having what was perceived as one of the NFL's most-talented rosters for several seasons, Smith and Turner never got the Chargers to the Super Bowl.

``Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning,'' team President Dean Spanos said in a statement. ``My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.''

The Chargers also announced that former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf has been hired as a consultant to help the find a new general manager and coach.

Spanos and Wolf will be joined by Spanos' son, John, the director of college scouting, and Ed McGuire, the team's lead contract negotiator, in conducting interviews. The new general manager will assist in interviews for the new coach, the team said.

Smith's glaring roster deficiencies, especially on the offensive line in front of $94 million man Philip Rivers, helped contribute to San Diego's 7-9 record, its first losing season since 2003.

Rivers was under siege most of the season. Having to scramble for his well-being helped contribute to 22 turnovers - giving him 47 in two seasons - and he was sacked 49 times.

After a 3-1 start, the Chargers had a series of collapses.

They blew a 10-point third-quarter lead to lose at New Orleans on Oct. 7.

The Bolts' Monday night face-plant against Denver on Oct. 15 was epic. They blew a 24-0 halftime lead as Peyton Manning calmly led the Broncos to a 35-24 victory.

On Nov. 25, the Chargers allowed Baltimore's Ray Rice to convert on a dump-down pass on fourth-and-29. The Ravens forced overtime and won.

Chargers President Dean Spanos also had to consider business factors. Four blackouts, including three straight, meant the Chargers were losing millions of dollars in potential revenue.

Another sign of the eroding roster was that no Chargers were voted to the Pro Bowl. Six seasons ago, 11 Chargers were voted to the NFL's all-star game, including five starters.

Turner was Smith's signature hire. He inherited a 14-2 team and reached the AFC championship game his first season, but the Chargers began a gradual decline. Their last playoff win came after the 2008 season. Their last playoff appearance was an embarrassing home loss to the New York Jets after the 2009 season. The next night, the Chargers announced a four-year contract extension for Turner.

Spanos had twice sided with GMs over coaches. In 1996, he forced out Bobby Ross and kept Bobby Beathard just two years after the Chargers reached their only Super Bowl. In February 2007, Spanos fired Schottenheimer due to a ``dysfunctional'' relationship between the coach and Smith. The two reportedly didn't speak to each other for the previous two years.

This time, both coach and GM - who have always been linked at the hip - were dismissed.

Smith proclaimed Turner to be the ``right coach at the right time'' for the Chargers. When Turner was hired, he was 24 games under .500, having gone 49-59-1 with Washington from 1994 until being fired with three games left in the 2000 season, and 9-23 with Oakland from 2004-05.

``I'm pretty much aware of who he is and where he's been,'' Smith said that day. ``But this isn't Washington and this isn't Oakland. It's the San Diego Chargers.''

Turner was 56-40 with the Chargers overall, but only 24-24 the last two seasons.

Turner has one season at $3 million left on his contract. Smith has two years left at $2 million annually.

The Chargers were 3-5 in the playoffs in 10 seasons under Smith, who was promoted after his boss, John Butler, died of cancer in 2003.

They were 3-3 in the playoffs under Turner.

Turner was known as a brilliant offensive schemer, having served as offensive coordinator for two of Dallas' three Super Bowl teams in the 1990s.

But he struggled with game management and his first four Chargers teams were known for slow starts followed by mad scrambles to get into the playoffs. When the Chargers were about to drop to 1-3 to start Turner's first season, fans began chanting ``Mar-ty! Mar-ty!'' in homage to Schottenheimer.

Favoring hardball negotiating tactics, Smith clashed with his own players and coaches, as well as agents and the media. He allowed a steady stream of stars to leave as free agents, including Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Michael Turner and Vincent Jackson, while failing to adequately replace them.

Some outsiders felt Smith's ego helped weaken the roster, and that some of his spats became personal.

He mocked Tomlinson, whose Hall of Fame-caliber career included winning the NFL MVP award in 2006. Tomlinson's sin, in Smith's eyes, was being honest about a severe groin injury late in the 2008 season. Smith also mocked the Manning family in April before Peyton Manning signed with Denver.

Smith had his hits and misses with players. He's best known for taking Eli Manning with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2004 draft despite Archie Manning's request that he not do so, and then dealing Manning's rights to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and draft picks that he used to take Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.

Eli Manning went on to win two Super Bowls. Rivers has yet to play in one.

Smith's recent drafts produced more busts than impact players, though, as he seemed to live off the fumes of that `04 draft.

Smith could have picked Clay Matthews in 2009 but went with Larry English. In 2010, he moved up 16 spots to draft Ryan Mathews, the heir apparent to Tomlinson. Mathews has been dogged by injuries and fumbles. In his first draft, 2003, Smith could have had Troy Polamalu but chose Sammy Davis instead.

Smith did sign undrafted rookie Antonio Gates in 2003, but he also let Wes Welker go after just one game in 2004.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group