Chargers coach Norv Turner, as MDS pointed out earlier this morning, still enjoys the support of his players. But Norv’s players don’t make the hiring and firing decisions, even though their collective performance is likely getting the current guy fired and a new one hired.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Turner is “all but certain” to be dumped by the Chargers this week.
“There reaches a point of no return,” a source from the organization who wants to see Turner keep his job told Acee.
The biggest surprise could be that it took the team so long to get to that point. With annual slow starts, strong finishes, and an inability to carry that late-season success deep into January, Turner’s five-year tenure surpasses those of 21 other NFL head coaches.
And so Turner apparently will join Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as three-time former head coaches, and Turner would likely draw immediate interest as an offensive coordinator, possibly hired to work with a young and/or underachieving quarterback.
The Chargers will inevitably look for a coach who can put butts in all of the seats. It is widely believed in league circles that Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith floated the notion of Smith and Jon Gruden landing in St. Louis as a ploy for persuading the powers-that-be in San Diego to keep Smith and pursue Gruden, but Gruden recently has said that he’ll return to ESPN in 2012.
Regardless of the direction that the process takes, the sooner the Chargers get started, the better chance they’ll have to get the guy they want. With three teams already firing their coaches during the season, those teams can start the search for a permanent replacement as soon as their games end on Sunday.
That’s why it wouldn’t be a shock to see Black Monday begin a few hours early, and the first bolt of lightning could strike in San Diego.