The "Yes" Man

Forget the talk about continuity – that is a sham. Hiring Rex Ryan could have provided the same, keeping Clarence Shelmon and John Ramsdell along with either Ted Cottrell or Donnie Henderson. The hiring of Norv Turner has to do with him being a "yes" man.

"I consider him, and I know A.J. (Smith) does, one of the best offensive minds in the National Football League," Chargers president Dean Spanos said. "With that being said, I feel very confident that because of his experience as a head coach in the National Football League and most importantly I think because of his ability to maintain continuity within this organization going forward, he is without a doubt the right choice for this job."

While Ted Cottrell is a Wade Phillips disciple, won't there be some new terminology introduced since he certainly has his own way of doing things?

To have it explained in terms of continuity may fool the public but we sincerely doubt they are dumb enough to be duped.

The Chargers new head coach isn't the type of locker room leader this team will inevitably need to get over a halftime hump. One thing you could count on with Marty Schottenheimer was a stern message that inspired a team. Is Norv Turner capable of such feats? The feeling here is he is not.

Two years ago at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, this reporter had a chance to speak with Turner at length and minutes later talk to Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach John Gruden. The differences were appalling.

While Gruden could comment on any player on the roster and make it sound compelling, Turner drew a blank when asked about his players and was specifically lost when a highly rated receiver who was turning heads came up.

When given further details about the receiver, Turner still would not comment.

"If our receivers' coach was here, he could tell you all about him," said Turner.

Even on Monday in San Diego, Turner had a tough time recalling which players he spoke to earlier in the day.

What it breaks down to is a coach (Turner) knowing his team and their strengths as opposed to a coach (Gruden) who may not know how to use a player properly when he needs help remembering he is even on the team.

"I'm working on the names," he said. "There were a number of guys in. I had a chance to talk to several of them."

You can bet Schottenheimer knew every name on sight and probably studied the profiles of every player before his interview. The five other qualified candidates likely knew every player on the roster as well.

When pressing Senior Bowl players regarding Turner, they all spoke in generalities and no one mentioned Turner as having a positive influence.

While this was on a small scale with a week of meet and greet, it lends credence to the fact that Turner is more about what you want to hear at halftime than what a player should hear when the team is down by 10.

"It was very apparent to me as we talked, the things that developed back in 2001 for me, my relationship with Dean, my relationship with A.J. - I was the offensive coordinator and A.J. was the assistant general manager – but that year was a big year for me in terms of again growing as a coach," Turner explained in his opening statement. "The Chargers had the number one pick in the draft. There was a decision to be made. Do you trade the rights or the chance to draft Michael Vick? Do you trade for L.T.? That whole process, I was privileged to be part of it. I remember the conversations that were certainly led by John Butler, but I felt like I was a part of it. Obviously everything was being run through Dean. Being involved in that process, I think I had a very good feel that this was something we could do together and make it very positive."

But was Turner really a part of it or just going with the herd and reaping the rewards of working with running back LaDainian Tomlinson?

Clearly the hype says he was the architect but Cam Cameron refined it into precision without a top wide receiver to take pressure off Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Cameron did it with creativity.

His post-hire rhetoric got old quickly. Clearly he had a powwow with A.J. Smith about using the word continuity or a simile thereof.

And thus he showed up as nothing more than a "yes" man, a coach that is there in body but lacks spirit. This may be a move the Chargers regret they made in the year to come.

Rumors swirl that Rex Ryan didn't get the post because he wanted to interview Donnie Henderson for the defensive coordinator position and Smith would not be swayed from his desire to hire Cottrell. Turner conceded. The "yes" man strikes again.

Lightning Quicks:

The only positive to come out of this scenario was the Chargers hiring of Ron Rivera as their linebackers coach – a brilliant stroke by a team that was interviewing him to be their next head coach.

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