Norv Turner did two things after being fired as San Diego Chargers coach on Monday that didn’t surprise me in the least.

Turner wore one of his Dallas Cowboys’ Super Bowl rings to his final press conference. Turner has been living off his run as Dallas’ offensive coordinator for two decades now and I am pretty sure he stares at the ring every single night before hitting the sack.

Call it calculated timing for that ring to be on Norval’s finger Monday as he desperately wants to be running an NFL offense next season – a role he will once again excel at when it is the only thing he needs to worry about.

The second thing Turner did was take not-so-thinly veiled shots at general manager A.J. Smith, who was also fired on Monday. I’ve been expecting this to happen as Turner is one of those head coaches who seldom takes any responsibility for his own failures.

I sat down with Turner in his office shortly after he was hired as Chargers coach in 2007 and the guy was just loaded with excuses for why his stints with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders ended in failure.

There wasn’t a single thing that was his fault. He pointed fingers at quarterbacks, at general managers, at owners and, yes, even at players.

He had to deal with continual quarterback turnover with the Redskins. … The Raiders’ defense only intercepted five passes in his final season. … The Washington long snapper botched the possible game-winning field-goal snap in a playoff game. … Veterans in Oakland – are you listening, Jerry Rice and Warren Sapp? – didn’t buy in. … The Redskins’ owner (Jack Kent Cooke) died and the new owner (Daniel Snyder) didn’t understand the situation or football in general.

On and on and on it went. There was no responsibility taken – even when it came to No. 3 overall pick Heath Shuler bombing out as one of the worst quarterback draft busts in NFL history.

Turner certainly was overly helpful to get some of his boys – Troy Aikman, Dan Fouts, John Robinson to name three – in touch with me so they could crow about how Turner is one of the best coaches in the history of football.

With that backdrop in mind, I was expecting Turner’s fingers to be pointing in all directions upon being fired by the Chargers and good ol’ Norval met those expectations.

“Somebody wrote three weeks ago that this team is not that far away from being a playoff team,” Turner was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “I would disagree. I know the things that have to get done for that to happen.”

Turner alluded to how powerful the Chargers were when his six-year tenure started. He made it clear that wasn’t the case over the final half of his stint.

“For the first three years I was here, I think we were the most talented team in the division,” Turner said. “The last three years, I don’t think we’ve been that.

“We’ve had too many changes. We’ve lost too many people.”

So what happened those first three years when the Chargers were loaded with Pro Bowl talent? How come Norval doesn’t have a Chargers’ Super Bowl ring on his finger?

The Chargers went 13-3 in the 2009 regular season under Turner and guess what happened? An epic one-and-done playoff collapse that was just as brutal as the one in 2006 that ultimately cost Marty Schottenheimer his job.

San Diego came within one victory of the Super Bowl after the 2007 season due to the fact the Schottenheimer toughness was still a powerful component throughout the roster. By the middle of 2008, Turner softness had permeated the roster and only a late-season sprint to win a very weak AFC West with an 8-8 mark got that squad into the postseason.

After that, the Chargers played one measly playoff game in Turner’s final four seasons. The general manager was certainly a problem with the decline – Drew Brees, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson leaving for merely compensatory draft picks sounds like something only an absentee fantasy football GM would allow – but the head coach definitely wasn’t a difference-maker himself.

The funny thing about Turner taking shots at Smith is that A.J. was the only NFL executive dumb enough to give Turner a third chance to be an NFL head coach.

But that’s Norv Turner in a nutshell. You can expect him to wear his Cowboys’ Super Bowl ring to his upcoming interviews. He’ll also have his list of excuses updated, too.

But you will never hear him take responsibility for anything. Turner has lost 122 regular-season games as a head coach and you don’t even need a second hand to count the times he’s placed the blame on himself.

Norv is not a winner, he’s not a leader and he’s not somebody who takes responsibility. But at least he won’t get a fourth chance to be an NFL coach.

And perhaps someone like Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians will get a first head-coaching job. Will  be interesting to see the direction Chargers president Dean Spanos chooses in a new leader.


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