Archive for the 'Norv Turner' Category

15
Jan
08

Dallas Cowboys: Will They Keep Jason Garrett or Wade Phillips?

According to a report on ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens have asked Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to be their new head coach after they fired Brian Billick for being out of his league and living on undeserved accolades from years ago. Word on the street says that Garrett has yet to make a decision.

I have a feeling he won’t have to: Jerry Jones will offer him the head coaching job with the Cowboys if he will stay on, firing Wade Phillips in the process.

Now, this is all on gut feeling and I know there are others out there who feel the same way, especially after the Cowboys became the first top NFC team to lose in the Divisional round of the playoffs in modern-day NFL history. Someone has to pay for that, and the top man has proven himself to be, like Marty Schottenheimer, a postseason loser.

Phillips is now 0-4 in the playoffs. Marty has won five games in the postseason, but he has had 18 chances – and two of those wins came with Joe Montana and Marcus Allen playing together for the Chiefs. I have those games on tape and I am pretty sure they just stopped listening to Marty in order to win. If that was the case, Schottenheimer has not won a playoff game on his own merits since 1990. That’s only 18 years, right? Yeah, he’ll get another chance real soon. Madness.

Even Phillips has admitted that he was surprised to get another shot at being an NFL head coach after his sessions of futility while masquerading as the head coach of the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills made it abundantly clear – apparently to anyone not named Jerry Jones – that giving Wade Phillips command of an NFL team is simply to watch the Peter Principle play out before your eyes. It is a waste of the talents of people like Tony Romo and Terrell Owens, and no one wants to see Owens all teary-eyed. (By no one, I mean everyone except Cowboys fans; and I especially mean fans of the 49ers and Eagles.)

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The article linked to in the previous paragraph talks about Norv Turner, the first-year head coach in San Diego, who is going to give an excellent example of an entire team displaying the meaning of the Peter Principle when the Chargers visit New England this weekend to play the undefeated Patriots on their home turf, Gillette Field.

Still, hats off to Turner for getting his team into the AFC Championship game. He has made some great calls in these playoffs and pretty much everything has panned out very well for him. Color me surprised, but happily so. I love being wrong about someone sucking. I want everyone in the NFL to be great. How could you not, as a fan?

Anyway, read what 41 Miles To Freedom says about the hiring of Wade Phillips in Dallas back in July of last year and you’ll get a glimpse into the thought processes that can sway an otherwise sound mind into the illogical notion that, “Hey, maybe Phillips will do just fine.”

So, now Jerry Jones has two choices, really. Both of which will cause him at least a measure of stress and losing face. He can keep Phillips and lose Garrett in the process; a decision that will bring the ire of intelligent football fans from throughout the Lone Star State. Or, he can cut Phillips and make Garrett his new head coach; in effect admitting that he should probably have hired Garrett instead of Phillips last year.

While the second option will placate the fans, at least for now – such a fickle bunch are they – perhaps Jones is smarter than we know. It is entirely possible that, like the four other head coaches mentioned in this piece, Garrett will not be a good head coach and Jones knows this. After all, not many people have been around football and management as long as Jones. (Don’t bring up the obviously insane Al Davis.)

Still, Garrett would only have to be better than Wade Phillips to be the better choice and that can’t be all that hard. Phillips seems to have brought the fun back to the Cowboys and Garrett is given tons of credit for bringing their level of play up a notch. Solution: Keep both, but have Phillips as a sort of team leader / cheerleader-type thing.

This story should be interesting however it plays out.

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11
Jan
08

NFL Playoff Predictions: Chargers at Colts

The last time these two met, in San Diego in Week 10, the Colts were without sure-handed targets Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning threw six interceptions. The Chargers stormed out to a 23-0 lead halfway through the second quarter and even LaDainian Tomlinson looked a little bit happy on the sidelines. Most of the points, by the way, came from one punt and one kickoff return each for touchdowns by Darren Sproles; his first two NFL touchdowns. Then, Norv Turner coaching kicked in and the Chargers watched helplessly as Indianapolis began coming back.

 

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At 23-7, Adam Vinatieri missed a 42-yard field goal to end the first half. A Kenton Keith touchdown in the third made the game 23-13 and the Colts attempt to covert for two was successful as well, making it 23-15. Just fifteen seconds later, Philip Rivers was sacked; the line of scrimmage was his own 8-yard line. He dropped the ball going down as he had seen Antonio Gates get free in the flat and tried to pass the ball as he was getting sacked, forgetting for a split second about the rain that was pouring down, making his hands and the ball too slippery to grip together. The resulting fumble was recovered by Indy in the end zone, making the score 23-21 with 14:28 to go in the fourth quarter. The Chargers stuffed Joseph Addai as he tried to run up the middle for the two-point conversion.

Somewhere around this time, Philip Rivers went to sit beside what appeared on television to be a sulking and pouting LaDainian Tomlinson as LT sat near the end of a bench on the sidelines. As soon as Rivers pluncked his butt down, LT jumped up and stormed off. It looked for all the world like he pretty much was disgusted with Rivers and wanted nothing to do with him. After the game, however, LT had this to say about the apparent rift: “I saw why it looked like that,” Tomlinson said. “But the crazy thing is that was the time I just got done talking to (Lorenzo Neal). I didn’t realize Philip had sat down.” He should run for office.

Then, with just 1:34 on the clock, Vinatieri lined up for a 29-yard chip shot field goal to complete the Colts comeback. Shockingly, he missed that one as well.

“I should make that kick every time,” Vinatieri said. “There are no good excuses. I just missed it.” Yeah, we saw…twice.

After holding the Chargers to three-and-out, Manning got the ball back with :22 seconds, but threw his sixth interception to seal the unlikely and very lucky Chargers victory, and Indy’s second straight loss.

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So what happened? Well, even with six Manning interceptions, the Chargers were able to score just one offensive touchdown and almost lost the game, were it not for a missed 2-point convert (which would have tied and given either team a chance), or either of two missed field goals by Vinatieri. At home.

This week, the Colts may still be without Harrison, but they are use to that now. The Chargers will be without Antonio Gates – something they are not use to at all. And the Colts are at home and well-rested. And Norv Turner is still coaching the Chargers. And Tony Dungy has rumors of his impending departure from the Colts swirling about, perhaps giving the team a little extra incentive to win more games for the man they have grown to love and respect.

Something about this looks for all the world to me like a big-time Indianapolis victory.

The Yardstick for this game is calling for a 10-point Colts victory, but I think it will more likely be around an absurd 21 point win; a wholesale slaughter. The only real intrigue, I suspect, will be watching to see LT explode on the sidelines. Hopefully, he and Turner will actually get into a hockey fight on the sidelines.

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24
Dec
07

Monday Night Football Predictions – Broncos at Chargers

The San Diego Chargers have more to play for in Week 17 of the 2007 NFL regular season than they would like. But, considering the fact that ten weeks ago it looked like they would fall prey to Norv Turner’s lack of coaching abilities, they should just be happy that they have a division crown and a chance to be in the playoffs at all. It will be a testament to the futility of having Marty Schottenheimer on the sidelines in a playoff game if the Chargers manage to win even one postseason matchup this year.

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The biggest reason the Chargers have to win this game is to try to avoid having to meet the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first playoff game in January. They would much, much rather have the Titans – who are in the postseason, somehow, with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts backup squad next Sunday night – or the Browns, who are in the playoffs no matter what they do next week; the Browns need the Titans to lose to make the playoffs.

The Denver Broncos will finish the season in a disappointing fashion, but hardly unexpected. Quarterback Jay Cutler might have the goods and he might not, but it was obvious from last year’s pretty decent performances that he needs a bit more time to develop before we are to know for sure.

The Yardstick for this Monday Night Football game favors the Chargers by eight points, at the time of writing.