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Old 11-12-2007, 11:54 AM  
Nzoner Nzoner is offline
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Does this sound like anyone we know(long but decent read)

This internal doubt is the byproduct of a power-hungry general manager's grand plan. Once Schotteneimer was gone, Smith seemed to base his search for a new head coach on the following criteria:

Someone who recognized Smith as the franchise's all-knowing authority on all things football, and a man who could draw up plays that allowed the awesome assemblage of talent Smith has collected to overwhelm overmatched opponents.

It didn't work out that way, of course, beginning with the fact that the fiery, emotional Schottenheimer wasn't so easily replaced with a man who lacks his charisma and aura of authority.




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By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports



SAN DIEGO As the San Diego Chargers filed into their locker room following their dramatic, 23-21 victory over the second-best team in football Sunday night, there was no pretense of triumph. The celebration, if you could call it that, was subdued and almost sheepish.

Despite having defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts their first victory of the 2007 season over a team with a winning record, and one that moved them into sole possession of first place in the AFC West San Diego's players reacted like a bunch of biologists who had just received an award for proving that humans need air to survive.

Then, as few others can, Chargers coach Norv Turner sucked the remaining air out of the locker room, telling his players, and I paraphrase: This could be the game that gives us the momentum we need to do something special. Even though we did a lot of things wrong, we still found a way to win, and we can build on that.

Just like that, the Chargers were on a roll specifically, the eye-rolls that many players felt like giving during Turner's speech.

Right, coach. Whatever you say.

More realistically, Sunday's victory was a one-shot gift from the football gods, an oddly unsatisfying offering that merely reminded the Chargers (5-4) how far they are from being what they thought they were two short months ago.

Consider these staggering numbers:

Thanks to a pair of touchdown returns by Darren Sproles, one on the game's opening kickoff and another on a punt, the Chargers held a 16-0 lead before they completed their first pass (which didn't happen until 1:27 remained in the first quarter).

Peyton Manning threw six interceptions. Six! Second-year cornerback Antonio Cromartie, a player making his first NFL start, had three alone in the first half. Even when the longshots are coming in at Del Mar, you won't encounter a more unlikely Pick-Six in these parts.

Adam Vinatieri missed a pair of 'Oh No He Din't' field goals: a rushed 42-yarder just before halftime (somewhat understandable, especially given the wet weather) and a 29-yarder that went wide right with 1:31 to go (utterly unconscionable). That's right Vinatieri, the most clutch kicker of this or perhaps any era, practically had his quarterback screaming "Noonan!" as he went completely out of character and handed San Diego a game it had appeared to blow.

Most significant of all, the Chargers had one extremely frustrated franchise halfback at game's end.

"At some point things have got to change for us, because what we're doing now is not good enough," LaDainian Tomlinson said quietly as he dressed at his locker. "The way we're going, we're not going to be able to beat the elite teams in the league. I mean, we beat one tonight, and we're happy. But it has to get better."

Last year, after their 14-2 regular season, the Chargers thought they were an elite team with a seemingly boundless window of opportunity. Then they failed to put away the Patriots in a divisional round playoff game at home, and in the aftermath of that defeat, San Diego's world began to spin off its axis.

Coordinators Wade Phillips (Dallas Cowboys) and Cam Cameron (Miami Dolphins) got head coaching jobs, and position coaches left to be coordinators. Belatedly, coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired, the casualty of a power struggle with general manager A.J. Smith.

In came Turner, who thus far has done everything to show that his 59-82-1 career record as a head coach with the Redskins and Raiders was no fluke.

The players don't respond to his leadership or motivational tactics, if you can call them that. They view his sideline demeanor as frazzled and indecisive. And, perhaps worst of all, they're not embracing the strategic vision put forth on offense (by Turner, regarded as one of the NFL's best play-callers) or defense (by coordinator Ted Cottrell).

"We have the best running back in football, and yet we don't sense a commitment to the running game," one veteran said Sunday night. "Last year, teams put eight in the box against us, and we ran anyway and found a way to be successful. That set up the play action, which fueled our passing game. This year, it seems like we run because we're supposed to; it balances out our passing attack. But it's not like being physical at the point of attack and running the ball is our personality."

Meanwhile, eight days ago in Minneapolis, the Chargers' once-vaunted defense got pushed around and gave up 296 rushing yards to one player, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson. "A lot of guys were wondering how we could sit back and play zone all game while he was doing that to us," another Chargers veteran said. "It's like Cottrell is going to do it his way, and that's the only way he knows, and he won't come off of it. If you look at it, he's been fired from his last two jobs, and guys are questioning whether he's the right man for this one."

This internal doubt is the byproduct of a power-hungry general manager's grand plan. Once Schotteneimer was gone, Smith seemed to base his search for a new head coach on the following criteria:

Someone who recognized Smith as the franchise's all-knowing authority on all things football, and a man who could draw up plays that allowed the awesome assemblage of talent Smith has collected to overwhelm overmatched opponents.

It didn't work out that way, of course, beginning with the fact that the fiery, emotional Schottenheimer wasn't so easily replaced with a man who lacks his charisma and aura of authority.

"Norv's not going to give you a Knute Rockne speech," said one Chargers player, "so you're going to have to find a different way to get yourself up. Look at it this way: We had a lot of young guys who came straight from college and then played for Marty. In some cases, they had eight consecutive years of a coach screaming at you and telling you what to do and how to do it. Now you're all of a sudden supposed to be a professional and do it on your own? Also, a lot of the key veterans who were here before (Donnie Edwards, Randall Godfrey, Keenan McCardell) are gone now. So it's going to be an adjustment."

Turner didn't help himself Sunday by coaching passively with a lead and by mismanaging his replay challenges in a potentially ruinous way. He was goaded into one unsuccessful challenge in the first half when fans loudly responded to what they believed was a poor call on Colts linebacker Clint Session's acrobatic end zone interception. Turner missed again with 10:57 remaining, throwing the red flag following Reggie Wayne's low, 20-yard catch on third-and-8 from the Indy 3-yard line.

That meant that when Turner really needed to challenge a call, on another Sessions interception with 5:50 to go that looked like it might have been reversible, he had no red flag to throw. Turner might as well have raised a white one as Manning, given yet another chance to win a game he had no business winning, jogged onto the field down two points with the ball at the San Diego 42.

Only a replay reversal on a first-down spot (mandated by the officials, as it occurred in the final two minutes) and Vinatieri's miss spared San Diego the agony that seemed imminent.

In the locker room after the game, two Chargers stood near the door to the training room discussing Turner's poor handling of the challenges. Another wondered how quarterback Philip Rivers (13-for-24, 104 yards, two interceptions and one horrific fumble in his own end zone) seems to be regressing under the coaching regime of a man renowned for his ability to nurture young passers.

Even the San Diego defensive players, who had responded to the embarrassing effort against the Vikings with an emphatic display of relentless energy and opportunism, weren't buying Turner's spin that Sunday's effort was the start of something big.

"I'm happy with a win, of course, and it puts us in first place, but we know we've still got a long road ahead," All-Pro nose tackle Jamal Williams said. "You've got to understand, we got a new coaching staff. They've got to get used to us, too, and it takes time. But we've all got to get it together, man. It's not last year. I'm tired of hearing guys say that 'Last year, last year.' That's over. We need to figure out who we are now."

The Chargers, to GM Smith's credit, are a team full of promising young studs like Cromartie, who has a chance to be a star at a position that tends to cannibalize even its most talented performers. But when you think about this team's window of opportunity, realize that LT, the reigning league MVP, is now 28 and counting.

Given that Tomlinson's seventh season, from a team perspective, has been a significant step backward from his sixth, he has every right to be worried that his window is closing more rapidly than an Adrian Peterson burst through the San Diego secondary.

"Yeah, definitely, that's the way I feel," he said. "Nobody knows how long I'm going to play, so heck yeah, I definitely think about that."

I can't be 100 percent sure, but something tells me that neither the rare Vinatieri shank nor the mundane Turner speech put his mind at ease.
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Old 11-12-2007, 12:14 PM   #2
Nzoner Nzoner is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Sounds like Turner is on the brink of having a mutiny on his hands and now they get to go play the Jags in Jacksonville.
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Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.Nzoner 's phone was tapped by Scott Pioli.
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