Norv Turner’s approval rating stands curb high as Chargers open against Raiders

Posted: 09/10/2012 in football
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The San Diego Chargers have started slow under Norv Turner when they had numerous veterans on the roster. So think how glacier-like they might start with a heavy in-flux of newcomers.

The Chargers open the season against the Oakland Raiders later tonight on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and Turner will be under the microscope after somehow keeping his job after back-to-back seasons of missing the playoffs.

Turner’s approval level stands about curb high in San Diego and there is very little margin for error. The populace understands that the Chargers have to collapse for president Dean Spanos to wave good-bye to Turner.

In other words, there could be a huge benefit if the Chargers have a third straight substandard season. So it behooves Turner to use his best motivation stunts in September this season instead of waiting to pull them out in December.

The AFC West is no longer a pushover division – you may have noticed Peyton Manning joined the Denver Broncos – and the Chargers no longer dominate it like they did in the second half of last decade. Oakland has won three of the past four meetings after a streak of 13 consecutive losses to San Diego.

The Raiders are breaking in a new coach in Dennis Allen and have a capable quarterback in Carson Palmer. Chargers-killing back Michael Bush has departed but big-play back Darren McFadden is healthy in Week 1 (something we won’t be saying in Week 8 or 9).

I’m sure the Raiders have noticed that the Chargers are going with Mike Harris at left tackle. If you’re not familiar with Harris, don’t feel bad. There wasn’t a single NFL franchise that felt he was worthy of being drafted in April’s draft. But with Jared Gaither out with a back injury, the Chargers are hoping the undrafted rookie from UCLA can protect Philip Rivers’ back side.

Rivers certainly needs to rebound this season after being picked off 20 times last season. Running back Ryan Mathews (collarbone) is out and offseason receiver additions Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal are nowhere near the quality of departed Vincent Jackson.

I don’t have a good feel for how the Raiders will perform in Allen’s first game as an NFL head coach. But we all know he’s under less pressure than the Chargers’ beleaguered coach.

I’m guessing the Raiders win a close one tonight. We’ll see.

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