"We're in hell right now gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the sh*t kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back, into the light. We can climb out of hell, one inch at a time. Now I can't do it for you, I'm too old."
Coach Tony D'Amato, On Any Given Sunday
This is probably the speech Norv Turner gave to his team after the debacle in Arrowhead Stadium last night. The San Diego Chargers inexplicably botched the center/quarterback exchange as they were driving for the winning field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs. When the team lost in overtime everyone looked to coach Turner for an explanation.
To be fair, there's nothing coach Turner can say to appease his detractors. He doesn't tackle, block, throw, or catch. That's the players responsibility. Coaches put players in a position to win and after that it's up to the players to execute.
In addition, there are other factors going on with the San Diego Chargers that are out of the coaches control. His starting running back Ryan Mathews (the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson) has proven to be a bust, his left tackle Kris Dielman suffered a concussion which led to a seizure, and his pro bowl quarterback Phillip Rivers is a shell of his former self. After throwing for 4700 yards and 30 touchdowns last season Rivers has only thrown 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2011.
Given Norv Turner's track record for underachieving he has become an easy target for criticism, but this time it's not his fault. All the coaching in the world won't help you if you can't execute the most basic and fundamental play in football.
The Chargers could have been sitting atop the AFC West with a win, but instead they find themselves in a 3 way tie with Oakland and Kansas City. It's not the coaches fault, but he will suffer the consequences when this team doesn't make the playoffs. Sorry Norv. Maybe there's a career for you in broadcasting.