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

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

Matthew StaffordNov 25 01:23p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford had the worst completion percentage in his career in Week 12 against the New England Patriots at 39.1 percent), and the Lions haven't rushed [ More ]

Brodrick BunkleyNov 25 12:03p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (quadriceps) is believed to have torn his quadriceps in the team's Week 12 game Monday, Nov. 24, but he'll undergo an MRI exam [ More ]

Jordan CameronNov 25 11:53a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) is expected to play in Week 13.

Michael VickNov 25 09:53a

New York Jets QB Michael Vick (calf) is expected to start in Week 13 if head coach Rex Ryan is still calling the shots and Vick's calf is healthy.

Andre SmithNov 25 09:23a

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) will miss the rest of the year with a torn triceps that will require surgery.

Justin ForsettNov 25 12:13a

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett ran for 182 yards and two scores in a 34-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints Monday, Nov. 24.

Latavius MurrayNov 24 08:13p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) remains a question mark heading into Week 13 against the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Tony Sparano said Murray hasn't passed the league's [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is unsure when he will return from his knee injury, according to head coach Bruce Arians. We still don't know anything about Larry, [ More ]

Andre EllingtonNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington and WR Michael Floyd both saw the fewest offensive snaps of the season in the Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Ellington played [ More ]

Jorvorskie LaneNov 24 06:43p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 24.

Chris JohnsonNov 24 05:53p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson will receive work on third downs, because RB Bilal Powell (illness) has been declared inactive for Week 12.

Fred JacksonNov 24 05:43p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Bilal PowellNov 24 05:43p

The New York Jets have declared RB Bilal Powell, OL Dakota Dozier, DE IK Enemkpali, CB Josh Thomas, QB Matt Simms, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Cyrus KouandjioNov 24 05:33p

The Buffalo Bills have declared DE Bryan Johnson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, FB Frank Summers, DL Jarius Wynn, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Randell Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs placed SS Eric Berry (illness) on the Non-Football Illness list Monday, Nov. 24, according to a source. Berry will miss the rest of the season.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) underwent an MRI on his chest, which revealed a mass in his chest. The team believes he has lymphoma, but there is no definite diagnosis.

R. Griffin IIINov 24 03:33p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will start Sunday, Nov. 30, against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Jay FeelyNov 24 03:33p

Free-agent PK Jay Feely (Cardinals) will visit the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Nov. 25, for a kicking audition, according to sources.

Vernon DavisNov 24 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had three catches for just 21 yards in the team's Week 12 win over the Washington Redskins, and that came after he had [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 24 01:13p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) is expected to miss the rest of the season because of the pectoral injury he suffered in Week 12.

Tony RomoNov 24 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) went 18-for-26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns in Week 12 against the New York Giants, and he didn't show any signs of [ More ]

Shane VereenNov 24 12:33p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen had a team-high 62 snaps in the team's Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions, but RB LeGarrette Blount had 17 snaps and [ More ]

C.J. AndersonNov 24 12:23p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed 27 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in the team's Week 12 win over the Miami Dolphins, and it was the most [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group