Monday, January 25, 2010

Union-Tribune love affair with Norv Turner is sickening

Sometimes, it’s best just to sit back and let others do the talking for you.

Such was the case in the Sunday edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

We all know Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee has a (sports) love affair with Chargers coach Norv Turner … and the paper’s columnists follow his lead.

Our only comment is that Marty Schottenheimer was 33-17 in his last three years with the Chargers. Norv Turner took over the same group – with more maturity – and has gone 35-19 the past three years.

It’s a virtual push between Schottenheimer and Turner; but you’d never know it by the U-T writers who blame Marty for everything that went wrong in his era … and Norv for nothing that has failed in his tenure.

Enjoy the reading:

A different take on U-T’s love affair with Norv
By D Brent Mote

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s two sports columnists, Nick Canepa and Tim Sullivan, as well as Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee, have such a bromance going with Norv Turner you wonder if they exchange Valentine’s cards. Fortunately, they back up everything they write with facts, right?

Well, to quote Mark Twain (or Benjamin Disraeli or Charles Wentworth Dilke, take your pick), “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Which means if you crop the statistical picture just right, you can support any position you care to take.

So, in the spirit of balance, here’s what I think of the “facts”:

•Turner has more playoff wins than Sid Gillman and George Allen combined.
Wow. Could that be right? Yes, it is, but it’s also misleading.
Allen lost a lot of playoff games. It kind of defined who he was. You know, the Marty Schottenheimer of the 1970s. Additionally, there were fewer playoff rounds in the ’60s and ’70s. In some cases, a lot fewer. As in one.

•Turner has a better winning percentage with the Chargers than Bill Walsh had with the 49ers or Chuck Noll had with the Steelers.
Walsh coached 10 years with the 49ers, Noll 23 with the Steelers, Turner three so far with the Chargers. This is like comparing apples and applesauce. If you include the time Turner spent in Washington and Oakland, his winning percentage drops significantly, well below the other two men.

•Turner led the Chargers to a 13-3 record with little or no running game.
Absolutely true. Trouble is, Turner inherited the second best running game in the league and turned it into the worst. (OK, next to worst.) LaDainian Tomlinson went from a league-best 1,815 yards in 2006 under Schottenheimer to 730 this year, and from an NFL-record 28 touchdowns rushing to 12.
Turner has stated repeatedly that he has a commitment to running the football. What he hasn’t said is he has a commitment to running the football well. Look, when you take the No. 2 rushing attack and turn it into the 31st, you’re either exaggerating your commitment or you don’t know what you’re doing.

•The poor running game isn’t Turner’s fault; LT has lost a step.
Yes, he has. But continually slamming him into the line doesn’t help. He’s not built for that, never was. In fact, any sane person would stop doing it at some point. Or, to quote Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

•Turner has the best winning percentage in Chargers history.
Well, why wouldn’t he? At 14-2, the Chargers were one of the most talented teams in the league when Turner took over and few coaches have been given the keys to a juggernaut like that right off the bat. I could be wrong, but I think a dancing bear could go 8-8 with this team. Which, if you recall, Turner did last year.

•Unlike Schottenheimer, Turner is cool under pressure.
I don’t know if “cool” is the right word. “Aloof” or “spaced” might be better, but regardless, it’s worked — until Sunday. Sunday, Turner was anything but cool. Sunday, he was a sputtering basket case. He almost jumped headfirst into a pile for a loose ball at one point.

•Turner is an offensive genius.
True, he is. Sometimes. Other times, not so much. Sunday’s loss to the Jets falls into the “not so much” category. I think we need to find out if Turner has a twin brother and if the two like to pull the old twin switcheroo from time to time because the man we see on the sidelines is not always the same guy. He can’t be.
Look, I wish Norv Turner well. I want him to win a Super Bowl with San Diego. I’m not even sure I want him fired anymore. (Yeah, like that was going to happen.)
But what I really want is some honest, unvarnished criticism of the guy, so maybe, just maybe, he won’t continue to make the same mistakes year after year and maybe the Chargers will finally win that Super Bowl we all crave.

And that is a fact.

Here’s more:

THE TOADY:Marty Schottenheimer takes over an average team, turns them around after several years, creates a 14-2 team that plays competitively but loses their first game in the playoffs to an equal or superior team, the New England Patriots. For this fine effort he is fired.

Norv Turner is handed an exceptional team, and, for several years, guides them to fewer and fewer wins. Then, in 2009, they complete a 13-3 season, and, after a first-round bye (during which players rested, returned to health, and had an additional week to game-plan and strategize) play an uninspired and poorly coached game in losing to the underdog New York Jets.

For this poor effort he is awarded a contract extension.

The Chargers need a true leader, not a misplaced offensive coordinator whose main selling point is that of being a “toady” for Smith and Spanos. The Bolts will not reach the Super Bowl as long as Turner is head coach.

Bill Geyer

Rancho Palos Verdes


kareem said...

It sure seems as if the UT does indeed have a great love for Norv Turner. It reminds me what my grandfather always told me. Figures never lie but liars sure figure.

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