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OT: Norv and Wade doing less with more

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by DisgruntledTunaFan, Nov 29, 2008.

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  1. DisgruntledTunaFan

    DisgruntledTunaFan Rookie

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    ESPN - Wickersham: Norv Turner, Wade Phillips doing less with more

    Man, talk about wishful thinking. It was a month ago, a few hours after the Chargers had lost to the Bills 23-14, another game they should have won. A dozen or so players for what many consider the NFL's most talented team gathered around the bar in a restaurant at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

    LaDainian Tomlinson was there, and so were Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Shaun Phillips, among others. Looming was a trans-Atlantic flight to London, where they would play the Saints -- a flight that suddenly seemed a lot longer after the loss left San Diego 3-4. A round of drinks -- some alcoholic, some not -- was ordered, and the players held them up and toasted, "To 9-0."

    Well, 9-0 disappeared a week later in a 37-23 loss to the Saints. And 8-0 was gone two weeks after that, with an 11-10 loss to Pittsburgh. And soon 6-0 was down the drain, too, after the Colts beat San Diego 23-20 at home. Now the Chargers' only salvation is that the AFC West is so terrible that at 4-7, one of the league's biggest underachievers is still playoff eligible.

    "We're alive," GM A.J. Smith said this week.

    Strange as San Diego's season has been, the Chargers also have been an example of the defining story of the year: the gap between the league's best coaches and the pretty good ones. Every team has faced adversity and injuries. The teams with the very best coaches have survived.

    The Patriots lost the league's reigning MVP, Tom Brady, but Bill Belichick's team has gone 7-4 with Matt Cassel, who hadn't started a game since high school. Mike Shanahan has lost six tailbacks but has one-dimensional Denver limping along at 6-5, despite Sunday's 31-10 pasting at Invesco Field by the Raiders. Tom Coughlin has had the Giants ready every week, despite the fact that they are the defending champs and have played without standout defensive ends Michael Strahan (retirement) and Osi Umenyiora (knee injury) all season and without their top receiver and top tailback for stretches. This might be Tony Dungy's fourth-best Indianapolis team, but the Colts probably are playoff-bound. Pittsburgh can't protect Ben Roethlisberger, but Mike Tomlin still has the Steelers at 8-3. Jon Gruden and his Bucs lost Ernest Graham, last season's workhorse, and are 8-3.

    Meanwhile, teams you'd figure would have the talent to overcome injuries -- hello, Chargers and Cowboys! -- have been hampered. Losing linebacker Shawne Merriman was a huge blow to the Chargers' defense. So was the loss of defensive end Luis Castillo. And Tomlinson hasn't been himself since injuring a toe. But San Diego's defense has been a mess, costing coordinator Ted Cottrell his job. Smith has been determined to build the Chargers through the draft, thus stockpiling depth, but Norv Turner, who reached the AFC title game last season -- his first as San Diego's coach -- hasn't been able to coach through those injuries to wins.

    Same in Dallas. Be honest: Before the season, which team would you have said had a better quarterback situation, the Pats with Brady and Cassel, or Dallas with Tony Romo and Brad Johnson? Many would have said Dallas. But when Romo missed a month, Wade Phillips' Cowboys, despite being loaded with Pro Bowlers, could barely complete a pass.

    Such underachieving naturally has led to speculation that Turner and Phillips should be fired. They shouldn't. Whom would ownership hire who would be better? The problem is, coaching is like any other profession. There are a lot of bad head coaches, guys who are glorified coordinators, like the Lions' Rod Marinelli. There are a few good ones, like Herm Edwards. And there are some really good ones and very few truly great ones. Turner and Phillips are really good but not among the top in their profession, at least not yet.

    The Chargers, for their part, aren't only the league's most talented team. They also are the most snake-bitten. It started in Week 1, when the Panthers beat them at the buzzer. Then in Week 2 against Denver, there was the season's most infamous blown call: Jay Cutler's "incomplete pass" late in the fourth quarter. And it continued in Week 12 against the Colts, when on fourth down, a ref picked cornerback Quentin Jammer and Peyton Manning capitalized, hitting Marvin Harrison for a first down.

    Turner has made his share of mistakes -- such as poor clock management at the end of the Colts game -- but the refs haven't helped him out. If the Chargers hope to make the playoffs, all Turner can do is overcome all the factors he can control and try to overcome those he can't. That's what the very best coaches do.

    That, and maybe propose a toast to 5-0.

    Seth Wickersham is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and a columnist for ESPN.com
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  2. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x Rookie

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    Interesting.

    P.S. Not to nitpick, but you shouldn't repost whole articles. Post the excerpt you wish to talk about and link to the article.
  3. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    whats the big deal about posting entire articles. it makes it a lot easier to read. i would understand if the site would become overloaded, so if that is the case i understand...if not, whats the big deal...

    about the article, I dont know why Wickersham thinks Turner is a good coach. Hes horrible, probably in the bottom 10 in the league. I feel like Wickersham is being overprotective, and I dont know why. if they were getting blown out that would be one thing, but they are losing games in the last few minutes by a few amount of points evey single game. at some point, the coach has to be held accountable for the little things that win and lose games. it is the little things that coaches see in preparation for games that make the difference, and it appears Turner does not do that.

    as for Phillips, I actually think hes a good coach. I think the Cowboys have a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl this year if they can get hot. hes lost some tough playoff games in his career, hes bound to start winning some
  4. Ghost of Ben Dreith

    Ghost of Ben Dreith Rookie

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    I lost any of the my limited ability to give this article any credence at all when he identifed Herm Edwards as a good coach. Please....:rolleyes:
  5. cmasspatsfan

    cmasspatsfan Rookie

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    I agree but I think hes grading on a sliding scale.
  6. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    Ian has had serious complaints from authors (and the company's they work for) before regarding the posting of whole articles. Posting a link and excerpts are fine, but whole articles are a no no because those authors want people to click on their website which is their right after all since they have ownership over the the articles.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  7. Disco Volante

    Disco Volante Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Norv Turner was able to beat the 13-3 Colts in the final game ever at the RCA Dome, with Billy Volek in the most crucial moments of the game.

    For that, the man will always have my personal respect.
  8. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Its a violation of copyright law and Ian has expressed that people need to comply with the law. There's a grey area in "fair use", but posting whole articles without permission is almost always prohibited.
  9. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I know. Herm "I can't even manage the clock" Edwards is a good coach?:confused:
  10. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ahhh, I understand, definitely makes some sense... But is it copyright violation if they place the link, give the article credit, and make sure they dont take credit for writing the piece?
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