Chargers to fire A.J. Smith, Norv Turner after 2012 season
Looks like Dean Spanos dug up his New Year Resolution list from 2011 because NFL sources are reporting the San Diego Chargers president decided over a month ago that Norv Turner’s performance this season doesn’t merit another chance. And more recently, A.J. Smith too could be taking the boot with Norv Turner, ending an era that was marginalized with the San Diego Chargers’ failure to cap a Super Bowl win, despite making regular playoff runs down the stretch of the 2006-2009 seasons.
Dean Spanos made a similar decision last season, but given due consideration Norv Turner’s past accomplishments and the San Diego Chargers’ sudden turnaround with four straight wins at the end of 2011 to finish at 8-8, forced Spanos to change his stance. Although the San Diego Chargers (4-8) are down a similar stretch, with a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this week followed by games against the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders to mark the end of the season, Dean Spanos is expected to stick with his plan. Dean Spanos is only awaiting the end of the season to announce the decision since it is the right time to make such moves.
Hence, Norv Turner could be sent packing with $3 million and a year still remaining on his contract while A.J. Smith will pocket $4 million with two year still remaining on his contract.
Both Norv Turner and A.J. Smith came under fire over questionable personnel and on-field decisions during their tenure with the San Diego Chargers.
A.J. Smith has been called out over his questionable drafts picks and free agency moves, as well as failure to keep talent like Vincent Jackson and Darren Spoles with the organization.
Starting as the San Diego Chargers’ assistant general manager in 2002, A.J. Smith was promoted to the full post following John Butler’s death in 2003. A.J. Smith instantly set to work radically transforming a San Diego Chargers’ roster that started 4-12 in 2003, and won the AFC West with a 12-4 record the following year. However, A.J. Smith’s failures with drafts picks, more famously linebacker Buster Davis over David Harris in 2007 (with Davis retiring in 2012) tainted his recordas a talent evaluator.
The criticism against Norv Turner mainly stems from his clock management and play-calling which contributed to the San Diego Chargers’ fall from one of NFL’s best offenses to the No.26 rank this season.
After being hired in January 2007, Norv Turner led the San Diego Chargers to a win in their final six games and sealed the season with an AFC West championship title after defeating the New England Patriots. The San Diego Chargers made the playoffs over the next two seasons but each time had the ground pulled from underneath their feet despite a 13-3 record in 2009. By then the San Diego Chargers were 35-18 under Norv Turner along with three playoffs victories. Since, the San Deigo Chargers haven’t made a single playoffs appearance with Norv Turner leading 21-26.
Although fans had been calling for a change since the San Diego Chargers’ 2010 playoffs dry-spell, with current Director of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye’s name being thrown as A.J. Smith’s successor, it’s hardly the fresh start many had hoped for.