Friday, January 9, 2009

Taking pride in putting players in the best position to do their job

One of the best stories of the NFL season has been the turnaround in San Diego where the Chargers, who were 4-8 on November 30, ticked off four consecutive wins to end the season, then beat IND in the wildcard game last weekend.

After 12 games, critics were calling for SD coach Norv Turner to be fired.

But according to this article, "Turner's players have praised the way he spends time in the locker room with them, how he seems more approachable than other head coaches and how his refusal to panic, even at 4-8, helped prepare them for this latest run."

According to Chargers GM A.J. Smith, Coach Turner is a great decision-maker:

"Game day, in the playoffs, when it's turned up a notch big-time, there are critical, critical [coaching] decisions that must be made. I'll just say four, five or six decisions that take place in a game, critical decisions made by the head coach. Consult with the coordinators, yes, but you still have to make the call. The strategies, the chess game, it's all very important. You have to make the right call. I think Norv has this."

As for Coach Turner, he says he never thought about making wholesale changes to his plan:

"To have dramatic changes that completely try to change who you are or what you are, or how you react to things, [the players] see right through that and they know what's going on," he said. "You just have to make sure that you don't try to do something that you are not capable of doing when you are struggling. That tends to be what gets you in trouble.

It's part of what this profession is and it's part of this business," he said of the criticism. "If you're affected by it and you let it keep you from doing your job or doing a good job then I think that would be the biggest error you could make. I've got strong beliefs. I've been fortunate to be around great coaches and great players. I do believe our staff knows how to coach and we know how to get some things done.

Are we perfect? No. No one is perfect in this league. We had a great plan. This game is still about players competing and players making plays. We take a great deal of pride in putting those guys in the best position to do their job."