The San Diego Chargers were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL a year ago. Despite having the number ranked offense in the NFL and the number one ranked defense and despite Philip Rivers playing like an MVP candidate, San Diego still finished just 9-7 and missed out on the playoffs. There is no denying the Chargers talent and they play in an extremely winnable division to get to the playoffs, there seems to be something missing. It might be coaching. And that falls on the shoulders of Norv Turner.
While Turner has done a very good job with the offense and may be partly responsible for taking Rivers’ game to another level, he is entering his fifth season with an extremely talented football team and I think it’s fair to say the Chargers have underachieved during his tenure.
Once again the expectations are lofty in San Diego with the Chargers thinking Super Bowl. If the team has a repeat of 2010, they might have to look for a new coach.
Norv Turner joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about whether or not he has concerns with the teams run defense, what he expects to see from the new-look Vikings, the expectations for the team this season, and if he expect Ryan Mathews to bounce back after a rough rookie season.
Whether or not he has concerns about the team’s run defense:
“When you’re getting ready to play Adrian Peterson you better have concerns about your run defense no matter where you are in terms of the process you’re going through putting your team together. There’s no question we’re young. You look out there and Donald Butler is starting at inside linebacker and he’s a young player who really hasn’t played an NFL game yet. In front of him Corey Liuget. We need a lot of work and we need to get great performances from those young guys and get help from the people around them. We’re in a serious game plan mode now, we’re playing our guys, we’re getting a couple of our guys back, and we should be a little more stout. I believe we will put together a great game plan and we know we have to play a complete game of defense. Certainly it starts with Peterson.”
On the new-look Vikings:
“Here’s what I think and you get to this point and there have been nine million theories about what the lockout is going to mean for teams with new coaches and teams with new quarterbacks. Then you go in there and look at the tape and you see (Donovan) McNabb throwing the ball up the field to (Bernard) Berrian for a 49 yard touchdown pass, you see him throwing the ball to Percy Harvin, you see their offense, the bootlegs and different problems they have given you to try and protect their running game. It looks like a group of guys that have been playing together for a while. Donovan looks sharp, we’ve played against him and certainly we feel like we know him a little bit and I’m sure he feels like he knows us. They’re doing a good job of helping the running game with their play action, misdirection, and bootlegs. It’s a good staff and Donovan is certainly a proven quarterback.”
On Philip Rivers:
“There’s no question. He’s gotten a lot better even through this camp. Philip missing some of the time he missed in May and June, I think it affected his sharpness a little bit in some areas. There were some things we wanted to do and add to and you don’t get as many reps trying to do the same things. He’s playing through the preseason with limited action, he’s played extremely well. He’s doing a great job of protecting the ball and I think he will continue to do that.”
On the expectations being high outside their own locker room:
“You’ve been out here and you’ve seen these shirts with ‘today’ and ‘now.’ There’s a number of signs up that talk about ‘today’ and ‘now.’ We’ve talked a lot with our team, let everyone else be the predictors and let everyone else decide ahead of time what our record is going to be. We’re the guys that decide on a weekly basis what our record is going to be. We do have high expectations but I think in the past here all the different talk about the future has gotten in the way of what we’re doing today and how we handle our business. We’re gonna work hard at taking care of each day at a time and hopefully each game at a time. If we can do that we’ll meet some of the expectations that people on the outside have for us.”
If he expects Ryan Mathews to play better than he did when he was a rookie:
“I expect to see Ryan play at a high level. I’m always bothered a little bit by the comment of ‘coming off the season he had last year.’ I want to see him stay healthy because last year he wasn’t healthy for much of the year. We’ve worked hard at having him protect the ball. If he’ll stay healthy and protect the ball he’ll be one of the leading rushers in the league because he’s that type of player.”