Last week, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews made the mistake of saying some things on behalf of his team that could be viewed as criticism. During an appearance on “NFL AM,” Mathews said that he believed the Chargers got “complacent” under Norv Turner and may have taken winning for granted.
“I think he (Norv Turner) did everything he could to try to make us win, no doubt about it,” Mathews said. “I just think we really got complacent to where we were and what we were doing and thought we were owed to win games.”
Several of Mathews’ teammates took the comment personally, feeling that it was the fourth-year running back’s way of saying the team was not giving a full effort. On Monday, linebacker Donald Butler said he wishes Mathews would not have spoken for other people on the team.
“I just wish he would have spoken for himself,” Butler told U-T San Diego. “That’s all. Just speak for yourself. Don’t make generalized statements like that about the whole team. … I haven’t got a chance to talk to him, but I’m sure he knows that. It is what is. Just speak on yourself, and that’s it.”
Center Nick Hardwick agreed with Butler, providing a vivid description of how hard he worked before every game during San Diego’s disappointing 2012 season.
“Just from my own personal standpoint, I throw up before every game,” Hardwick said. “I know what kind of work it’s going to take to even get through a game, let alone to win a game.”
As Kevin Patra of Around the League pointed out, Mathews likely did not intend to insult his teammates or downplay their hard work. Instead, he was probably trying to make the point that firing Turner was the right thing to do and that it was time for a change. I’m sure he has learned a valuable lesson and will chose his words more carefully next time around.
Many people consider the San Diego Chargers to be a team with talent that would be easy for a new coach to turn around. Norv Turner disagrees.
Turner was fired by the Chargers on Monday after six seasons on the job. Though the team made the playoffs his first three seasons, they went 24-24 and failed to reach the postseason over his final three seasons. He doesn’t think the team is as close to returning to the playoffs as many others do.
“Someone wrote a few weeks ago that this team is not that far away from the playoffs,” Turner said Monday, per Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “I would disagree. I know the things that would have to get done for that to happen. If this team comes next year and they get some things done to help them get better and are able to make the playoffs, I would hope it would be a surprise to all the Chargers fans, and they would be excited about it.
“I would hope it would not be the expectation starting in August because I think you need to give whoever the guy who comes in here and the group he brings in some time to get back this thing back to where it was.”
Turner apparently said he felt the Chargers were the most talented team in the AFC West his first three seasons on the job, but not his last three. He seemed to pin that problem on GM A.J. Smith.
“We’ve had too many changes,” Turner said. “We’ve lost too many people.”
The Chargers lost players like Mike Tolbert, Vincent Jackson, and Kevin Burnett in recent years, but they’ve also retained cornerstones like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Eric Weddle and Shaun Phillips. The team has been in a very winnable division and simply has not played well. That, to me, is on Turner. It would be a surprise if a new coach did not perform better than Turner.
Helmet smack to The Red Zone
San Diego Chargers fans will finally have their wish. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Chargers will fire head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith at the end of the season.
Acee says Chargers President Dean Spanos began thinking about a month ago that Turner’s time as head coach was ending. In the past, Norv was able to hang onto his job after the team rallied late in the season. This season they have lost four in a row and are now 4-8.
Many people have similarly called for AJ Smith aka the “Lord of No Rings” to lose his job for years. Smith infamously sparred with the Manning family and took a hard-lined stance against franchise legend LaDainian Tomlinson. He had a great eye for drafting talent, but his abrasive personality has long been a source of controversy.
Current Chargers Director of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye is expected to take over as the team’s GM. There is no word on who might become the team’s next head coach.
Acee reports that the team is keeping Turner for the rest of the season because of the minuscule chance they can still make the playoffs.
Turner has long been criticized for constantly underachieving in San Diego. In 2010, Tony Dungy said Turner was responsible for some of the team’s problems. In 2011, Rex Ryan said he would have won Super Bowls with the talent the team possessed.
Though he is a great offensive mind, we never felt Turner should have been hired as the team’s head coach. He should have been fired a long time ago, and it seems silly for the Chargers to keep him for the next four games if they’re planning to fire him after the season.
Turner has coached three different teams and is 111-121 in his career. He is much better suited as an offensive coordinator. It’s about time the Chargers came to their senses.
The San Diego Chargers had a tremendous chance to remain in the playoff hunt on Sunday, but once again they failed to get the job done. For Norv Turner’s team, that is certainly nothing new. But this loss may have stung a bit more than some of the others, as San Diego forced the Baltimore Ravens into a 4th and 29 situation with less than two minutes remaining, only to let Ray Rice pick up 30 yards on a miraculous catch-and-run.
There are few teams who could blow a game like the one the Chargers blew to all but eliminate themselves from the wild card hunt, but they have turned it into an art form. As linebacker Jarret Johnson put it, San Diego just isn’t a winning team.
“It’s just really frustrating because we’ve shown we can play,” Johnson said according to the North County Times. “I’ve been on bad teams, riddled with injuries, bad guys, dysfunctional. This team is every bit the opposite of that … We’ve shown we’re a talented team, offensively and defensively. And at the same time, we’ve turned around and proven time and again that we just don’t know how to win.”
Whether it be Philip Rivers throwing a crucial interception, Ryan Mathews putting the ball on the ground or the defense letting up a 4th and a million, the Chargers seem to be better than any team in the league at finding new ways to lose. I’d be shocked if this isn’t the year that it costs Turner his job.
H/T Pro Football Talk
The San Diego Chargers are being investigated by the NFL for the potential use of a banned substance, and they reportedly are facing a fine or lost draft pick as penalty.
FOX NFL reporter Jay Glazer first reported on Sunday that the team was being investigated for their use of Stickum during last Monday’s loss to the Denver Broncos. Glazer says a line judge saw San Diego’s equipment man hiding the illegal substance and giving it to players. The judge had the substance confiscated and sent to the Broncos and the league.
Stickum and similar adhesives were banned by the NFL in 1981 with the “Lester Hayes Rule,” which was named after the famous Oakland Raiders cornerback who frequently used it.
UT San Diego says the Chargers are facing a fine or the loss of draft pick(s) as a potential penalty.
The new information makes me think blowing a 24-0 lead on “Monday Night Football” was karma for the Chargers trying to cheat.
H/T Daily Jolt
This has truly been a strange year in the NFL. Granted, every year is strange in the world of professional football. We have teams that start out smoking hot and finish the season 6-10. We have others that start out 1-4 and scratch and claw their way into the playoffs. This season, however, seems to be more of a mystery than ever — particularly in the AFC. The Packers are the clear-cut favorite to win the NFC and the Super Bowl at this point, but what about the rest? With the AFC up for grabs, here’s a look at the teams that are in the hunt. We start with the least likely to play in Indianapolis on Feb. 5 and end with the most.
The Chargers lost another tough one on Thursday night. In short, they have been the same old Chargers. Everyone expected big things from Philip Rivers and company headed into the season, but after nine games San Diego is below .500. Losing at home in a shootout to the Packers is understandable, but allowing the division-rival Raiders to come in and smack you around is not what Chargers fans wanted to see. Maybe that’s why one of them got so drunk he barged into an old lady’s house and passed out on her couch.
According to the San Diego Union-Times, an 81-year-old woman woke up at around 7:20 Friday morning only to walk downstairs and find a Chargers fan passed out on her couch. The man, who she did not know in any way, was wearing a Chargers jersey. The Pacific Beach woman called the police, and the sloppy fan was arrested and charged with being drunk in public.
Here is my question: Assuming the report includes all the known details, how is this idiot only being charged with public intoxication? He let himself into a house that wasn’t his and fell asleep on the house. Breaking and entering? Trespassing? Maybe one of our lawyer readers can help me out on this.
Chest bump to Shutdown Corner for passing along the hilarious story.
That Steve Spurrier is a trend-setter, isn’t he? Just a couple of weeks after the South Carolina coach announced he would be bottling and selling his own wine, the San Diego Chargers are doing the same. According to the Chargers website, the team has partnered with Anthony Bell of Napa Valley’s Bell Wine Cellars to celebrate the team’s 50 year history with the release of Chargers Legacy Cabernet.
People love wine, and I have no problem with that. There are people who drink it daily for its health benefits and can’t get enough of those antioxidants. That being said, the Chargers’ brass has gone a little far in presenting their new wine as a football product.
“We think our fans will enjoy having a bottle of Chargers Legacy wine for any occasion as well as on game days,” said Chargers Executive Vice President – CEO A.G. Spanos. “It’s a very versatile wine that we think maintains the integrity and character of our team.
Peyton Manning is a 10-time Pro Bowl quarterback and three-time NFL MVP. One doesn’t accumulate such accolades without performing extremely well against opponents throughout a career. However, for whatever reason, Peyton Manning seems to struggle against the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers beat the Colts 36-14 on Sunday night, bringing both teams’ record to 6-5 on the season. San Diego’s defense put on a show, intercepting Peyton Manning four times, twice for touchdowns. In fact, Manning is 4-5 in his career against the Chargers with 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In terms of recent history, Peyton is 1-4 against the Chargers since 2007 with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. There aren’t many teams that have success against Peyton, but San Diego is one of them.
Here is a look at Manning’s career numbers against the team his brother spurned in 2004:
2010 reg. season L 36-14, Manning 285yds, 2/4
2008 reg. season W 23-20, Manning 255yds, 2/1
2008 playoffs L 23-17 (OT), Manning 310yds, 1/0
2007 reg. season L 23-21, Manning 328yds 2/6
2007 playoffs L 28-24, Manning 402yds 3/2
2005 reg. season L 26-17, Manning 336yds 1/2
2004 reg. season W 34-31 (OT), Manning 383yds 2/1
1999 reg. season W 27-19, Manning 404yds, 2/1
1998 reg. season W 17-12, Manning 137yds, 1/1
Shall we call it a case of Eli Karma? Works for me.
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Last Sunday, the Patriots overcame a 17-7 deficit in the second half and defeated the Ravens, 23-20, in overtime. This Sunday, New England nearly blew a 23-3 lead when they let the Chargers crawl within a field goal in the second half, only to lose on a missed 50-yard field goal attempt as time ticked away.
Considering the way the Chargers shot themselves in the foot all afternoon, it’s amazing they even had an opportunity to send the game into overtime. Some of the lowlights for San Diego included several dropped passes and three fumbles, one of which came when wide receiver Richard Goodman caught a pass over the middle, fell to the ground, and flipped the ball to the ground before any Patriot had touched him. New England recovered the fumble and it was determined that Goodman was never down by contact.
Despite their countless mistakes, the Chargers somehow clawed their way back into the game with two 11-play touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, one of which came after a perfectly executed onside kick that caught New England completely off guard.
Facing a fourth-and-one situation at the two-minute warning, Bill Belichick gave Patriots fans brutal flashbacks when he decided to go for it at about mid-field up 23-20. The result was the same as the infamous fourth-and-two decision in Indianapolis last year, as the Chargers stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a loss.