Tomlinson thinks Norv Turner, A.J. Smith have failed Philip Rivers

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Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson sees San Diego struggling this season, but he doesn’t think quarterback Philip Rivers deserves the blame.

Instead, Tomlinson said on NFL Network’s Around the League Live, it’s General Manager A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner who have failed to build a complete team that Rivers can lead to a title. Asked if Rivers has enough talent around him, Tomlinson answered, “I don’t believe he does,” and Tomlinson noted that the Chargers let offensive playmakers like Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles get away.

“When you look at the people they have lost over the years and Philip Rivers’ numbers have gone down because of the guys he has lost,” Tomlinson said. “You talk about a guy like Vincent Jackson, who has picked up where he left off in San Diego now in Tampa Bay leading that team in receptions. You talk about Darren Sproles who is doing a phenomenal job in New Orleans right now. Some of the offensive line that you don’t have any more – he has lost a lot of talent around him. I said it last year, there is too much pressure on Philip Rivers. He needs guys around him to help him win games.”

Tomlinson said he believes that if the Chargers miss the playoffs, Turner and Smith will be out of work.

“We heard the rumblings out of San Diego last year when they had the poor season [and] didn’t make the playoffs for the second straight year,” Tomlinson said. “At that point, Dean Spanos really thought about making a change, but he didn’t. He said he would give them one more chance to try to right the ship. So here we are at the point where the San Diego Chargers are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year. At that point, the way this organization has worked, you fired Marty [Schottenheimer] after a 14-2 year. [After] many successful years in San Diego, you fire a coach like Marty Schottenheimer. How can you justify keeping A.J. Smith and Norv Turner when you don’t go to the playoffs three straight years?”

That’s a good question. And the likely answer, if the Chargers don’t turn it around, is that Spanos can’t justify keeping Smith and Turner.

63 responses to “Tomlinson thinks Norv Turner, A.J. Smith have failed Philip Rivers

  1. LT is right the Chargers lost alot of good players the past few years Turner is a awful coach an Smith don’t know how to keep productive players and both will be gone before the season ends.

  2. Speaking of people failing others, is this the same Tomlinson that was a spectator on the sidelines during almost all the important Chargers playoff games?

  3. Hear, hear. How DO you justify firing Marty after going 14-2 and keeping Turner & Smith? 14-2 looks pretty good right now.

  4. So Rivers is good only if he has talent loaded around him? You could that about a lot of QB’s.

    How about the real reason he isn’t playing well – he blows.

  5. Brady won 3 with David Patten, Troy Brown, and Deion Branch as his top receivers. I still can’t believe that. Minus Brady, Corey Dillon was their best player on offense pre-2007, and he didn’t sign until they’d already won 2 super bowls.

    I guess what LT is really saying, is that Phil Rivers is no Tom Brady.

  6. They did one thing right LT, they dumped your selfish butt(even though it was 2 yrs too late). Three playoff wins in 9 yrs w/Chargers, while putting up MVP/Pro Bowl stats, and all you’ve ever done is blame everyone else. What’d you ever win?

  7. San Diego, even when Tomlinson was there, was always playing sub par teams in their division. Now the division is more balanced and San Diego is struggling. I highly doubt Turner will be sent packing, he’s playing in a much more competitive division, especially with the addition of Manning in Denver.

  8. They’re both awful, but Rivers does not help when he has giant Romo-style meltdowns and turns the ball over five times in a half…

  9. if floyd is no. 1 WR… you wont be winning with passing game…

    someone mentioning brady above… first of all rivers is no brady… second they had very strong defense and BB…

  10. Firing a coach after he went 14-2 has got to be one of the more amazing decision we have ever seen in pro-sports.
    As a Redskins fan I can tell you how hard it is to win games in this league, let alone having 14 and 2 seasons.

  11. One can not imagine how Norval and AJ kept their jobs after last season…but the NFL thanks the Chargers.

  12. I am no Norv fan, but I am sick of people talking about Marty Schottenheimer like he was the best coach ever. He won 0 playoff games as Chargers head coach and was constantly scrutinized for playing “Marty Ball” which cost the Chargers in the playoffs. Charger fans just forgot what a good coach looks like and like to remember Marty as the lesser of 2 evils between him and Norv.

  13. As much as I agree with LT

    Lemme say this, it has been a brutal October. Absolutely brutal. From the media slamming, to the apparent coach firing, to the qb over the hill, to the dropped passes, blown coverages, stupid penalties, choke jobs and everything in between.

    Why does it have to be LT saying this?


    We know you can’t help but take shots, but really? Way to kick the fans while they are down.

    It’s bad enough, but Mr.Class himself is dolling it out.

    What an awful month.

  14. AJ Smith needs to learn not to believe the biggest myth in sports:

    “Addition by subtraction.”

    At the end of the day, the teams with the best players generally win.

  15. AJ Smith is as arrogant as they come. He may be good at finding talent but he’s terrible at keeping them. He needlessly plays hardball with his players. A few years ago when Vincent Jackson and the LT held out rather than play under the restricted free agency tender there were numerous ways Smith could have handled the situation. He could have gotten high draft picks from the number of suitors chasing Jackson, he could have sign them to long term deals etc…..but it was more important to play hardball and show them who’s boss. So he pull the tender and offered both the minimum. So I believe Jackson held out till mid season and returned in time to accruo credit for the year. By then a team many thought were Super Bowl contenders had lost momentum without their number 1 receiver and starting LT. Jackson signed the Franchise tender in 2011 for about $7 million and then walked away from the team to sign a $55 million contract with the Bucs. Yea AJ sure showed him.

  16. The comparisons of Rivers poor group of receivers to those of Brady’s Super Bowl years are silly. No one is saying Rivers is Tom Brady, or needs to be. He’s a good, not great, quarterback. And he’s good enough to win with if you put pieces around him – but not just skill positions. Defense and offensive line should come first.

  17. How about poor execution from all the players, now LT says its a conspiracy? Throw, catch & block…LT after they dragged ur name in the mud who cares? buster

  18. What were the Chargers and Philip Rivers doing before they lost all these “good players”?!? They weren’t winning then either and were notorious underachievers.

    This isn’t fantasy football. Rivers picking up good stats doesn’t mean anything. He just doesn’t have any clue how to win.

  19. Someone mentioned something about Brady. Yes Brady won a SB with Troy Brown , Dillon , and Deion Branch but that was pre-2005 (before the rules changed to favor the passing game more). Now Brady has guys like Welker , Gronk , and Aaron Hernandez and he still hasn’t won a SB in a while. I think Brady is a HOF no doubt , one of the greatest QB’s of all time but you have to admit he was more of a game manager when he won those SB. I can argue that Brady is a much better QB today then when he won the SB’s. All I’m trying to say is that in today’s NFL you need real weapons to help the QB even if you are elite.

  20. Elite QBs make the players around them better something Rivers has failed to do. Elite players made Rivers an above average QB. Did you watch the Denver and Cleveland game? He looked awful.

  21. LT should know well what its like to fail River. I remember crying his eyes out on the sidelines in Foxboro during the playoffs lol

  22. Tsnzim12. Your 200 percent correct. I hate when people try and act like brady was trowin them to superbowls. Great running game and a top 5 defense. Brady wasnt out trowing manning, the defense made manning look average. Tom Brady was a game manager for the first 2 sb

  23. Just don’t trade Drew Bree’s and SD has a Super Bowl. I live here and the fans are so fair weather. I’m a Pats fan anyway so it doesn’t matter.

  24. usmutts says:
    Oct 31, 2012 7:51 PM
    As long as you’re mentioning players they stupidly let walk, they chose Rivers over Drew Brees.


    The Bolts drafted Eli, could have kept him, traded for Ben, or stayed put with Drew. Those guys now have five rings.

  25. Some years ago San Diego was a complete team on both sides of the ball and went to the afc championship. Philip Rivers with Tony Romo is the most overrated qb in the league, he plays well when the things go right, but when the things are on the line his interceptions or fumbles are ready to make his team lose.

  26. A.J. Smith has basically turned the Chargers into a farm team for the rest of the league; they test out and break in talented players and then ship them off to another franchise. See Drew Brees, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson…

    And then throw in the fact that if they had kept Brees they wouldn’t have had to draft that goof Rivers, and could’ve gotten someone else in that class, like say Larry Fitzgerald

  27. Even if they find the right person to run the charger ship, It’s going to take a long time to turn this team into a winner. Sports fans in San Diego are used to being losers.

  28. Think of the Super Bowls the Charger missed out on by moving Brees.

    Firing a 14-2 HC and letting Brees go for a rook, SD may well be the Sad Sack of pro sports.

  29. I don’t buy the Andy Reid talk. The problem all this time for the Chargers has been a generally solid coach who can keep you in the running during the season, but always flames out when it comes to playoff time and never wins a Super Bowl. Why would they go with a guy who specialized in that for so many years?

    The allure may be too great, but SD should think hard about how to break this pattern.

    Firing Marty was a timid, reactionary move that revealed a lack of poise and patience in SD leadership. For all the flak Marty gets for his own postseason struggles, I bet they’d have had at least a Super Bowl appearance by now, if not a win, if they’d left him in place.

    For those who disagree – what is Reid going to do that Turner and Marty didn’t?

  30. icanspeel says:
    Oct 31, 2012 7:50 PM
    I am no Norv fan, but I am sick of people talking about Marty Schottenheimer like he was the best coach ever. He won 0 playoff games as Chargers head coach and was constantly scrutinized for playing “Marty Ball” which cost the Chargers in the playoffs. Charger fans just forgot what a good coach looks like and like to remember Marty as the lesser of 2 evils between him and Norv.
    Those of us who were old enough to watch back then know what you’re talking about and you’re absolutely right.

    Nobody choked like Marty, he was actually scared to pass the ball in the playoffs.

  31. I have watched every Chargers game.

    The Chargers have plenty of offensive weapons. Meacham has gotten deep and open constantly, and noodle arm Rivers, who throws the ball like a shot put, can’t get him the ball.

    Rivers has had a successful career by throwing jump balls, that he can throw. His tall wide receivers bailed him out more often then not.

    Rivers is a QB with no mobility and can’t hit a wide receiver in stride. Heck, a couple of games ago he couldn’t throw a four yard pass to a running back.

    The only reason he was able to hit Sproles out of the backfield in the past, is because Sproles is agile and can reel in those awful Rivers throws.

    VJ has had off the field issues in the past (google it), I don’t blame the Chargers for not spending big bucks on him.

    Sproles wanted too much money, he had to go. He didn’t get nearly the amount of money that he was apprently asking for on the open market.

    LT needs to shut up. IMO, he is nothing but a whiner. He left the Chargers whining and nothing has changed since.

  32. Vincent Jackson & Darren Sproles?! Nothing haunts this organization more than letting Drew Brees hit the free agent market. #PhilipRiversIsOverrated

  33. PCa Survivor says:
    Oct 31, 2012 10:02 PM
    usmutts says:
    Oct 31, 2012 7:51 PM
    As long as you’re mentioning players they stupidly let walk, they chose Rivers over Drew Brees.


    The Bolts drafted Eli, could have kept him, traded for Ben, or stayed put with Drew. Those guys now have five rings
    True…but perhaps Eli didn’t think he’d have a chance at rings if he had stayed in SD and that’s why he put up a fuss about their drafting him. I can’t really blame SD for letting Brees walk. He was coming off a devastating injury AND they had a QB who had been sitting for 2 years that they traded to get in the first round. Let’s not forget that Brees in SD put up his best year there AFTER Rivers was drafted. He was sort of mediocre-decent before that.
    I get why they let Vjax and LdT go…and even Turner. To me, losing Sproles was the killer.

    Also to the person who said TB was a game manager for all their SB wins. Nope. SB win #1, absolutely. But not the other two. They had a great run game only one of those years (04). But yes, he had a great D behind him, no doubt. I’d argue he’s a better QB when he has less to do with why they win or lose (IE before 07). He’s all time great, but he’s only one man and one man should never be relied on so much as the key to a W or an L. That’s what’s been the reason they’ve not won a SB since 07. Their best offense was 04 (they could hurt you in the most amount of ways) and he was phenomenal. JMO.

  34. Phillip Rivers is basically the real life version of the meme ‘bad luck Brian’.

    -Thinks he’s in the clear when Eli gets picked to play for SD, and he’s probably all excited to play for the Giants, but then all of a sudden… BAM Rivers to SD.

  35. I wonder is Phillip rivers regrets convincing management to keep norv around for 1 more year ?? Loyalty can be a problem in some cases…..who remembers when rivers was a top 5 QB ?? Seems like a long hard fall from grace

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