Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dealing with close losses

Every coach will lose his share of close games. But San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner -- a consummate professional on the field and a genuinely good guy away from it -- has had more than his share of close games.

In his 11 seasons as an NFL head coach with the Redskins, Raiders, and Chargers, Coach Turner has lost 95 games. More than half of those losses (53) have been by a touchdown or less.

Moreover, nearly 30 percent have been by a field goal or less.

In fact, in his team's last four games this season, the Chargers lost to New Orleans (37-32), beat KC (20-19), lost to Pittsburgh (11-10), and lost to Indy (23-20).

According to this article, Coach Turner "puts a lot of stock in his players, in their maturity and their ability to self-motivate. He also doesn't see the need for pregame rambling or premeditated voice-raising. He likes to treat his players as men largely capable of their own motivation."

And he doesn't shirk responsibility for his team's performance:

"I'm the head coach, and I'm responsible for what happens with the ... team. You work hard as a coach to get the most out of your players. Players work hard to get the most out of themselves. You want to put them in a position to be successful, and then you play the game.

You are what you are. There is no overall thing you can look at. Look at each game and break it down – this happened in this game and this happened in this game. You're the head coach; you've got to do it."