Is Norv Turner about to be fired? A report in The San Diego Union-Tribune claims that the San Diego Chargers are already planning to sack their head coach and general manager A.J. Smith at the end of the current season.
The Union-Tribune report, published Thursday, cited league sources when it said team president Dean Spanos had already made up his mind to see Norv Turner fired. However, Spanos has since described the rumors as “pure speculation.”
Extremely similar reports emerged last December, but a late-season surge from the Chargers allegedly saved the coach’s skin. San Diego won four of its last five games in 2011, helping the team to an 8-8 finish.
Things look graver this season. The Chargers are 4-8, and set to face the Steelers on the road this week. Games against the Panthers, Jets and Raiders will complete their season. The Union-Tribute report suggested a second reprieve was not on the cards:
“[Unlike] last year, when Spanos found enough reason for clemency in a strong finish and past accomplishments, those with knowledge of plans that are already in motion said it seems certain there will be no last-minute change of heart this time.
“Spanos is waiting until after the season, more because that is his preferred time to make such moves than due to any faith in the Chargers’ microscopic playoff chances.”
However, Spanos vigorously denied such plans in a statement released through the team:
“There is only one person in this organization who will make those decisions and that’s me, and I haven’t shared my thoughts with anyone. I will make my evaluations at the end of the season. Anything coming out now — from sources or otherwise — is pure speculation.”
Should Norv Turner be fired, it will mark a disappointing end to a coaching stint that started promisingly. San Diego made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game in 2007, the first year of Turner’s tenure, only to lose to a strong Patriots team. The Chargers made two further playoff trips in 2008 and 2009, though results have dipped since then.
Chargers fans, would you want to see Norv Turner fired? And if so, who’d be your ideal replacement?