Turner determined to get more out of Chargers

Head Coach Norv Turner is convinced that – despite posting the league's best record in 2006 – the San Diego Chargers can play better. Although that improvement may not show in the team's regular-season record, it should result in more (any?) postseason success. The Chargers are counting on several key youngsters to step up their games, allowing the team to step closer to a Super Bowl triumph.

The Chargers roster is loaded with young talent, the benefit of General Manager A.J. Smith's build-through-the-draft philosophy. The team will continue to develop those players, hoping that improvements from within help offset a lack of activity during free agency.

"You look at Philip Rivers. You look at Marcus McNeill. There are two examples of guys who have played one season," Turner said. "Vincent Jackson has played pretty much one season. Last year was his breakout, or first time playing. And there are a bunch of guys who have only played three or four seasons. Guys continue to get better, and guys continue to grow."

Turner looks forward to working with such a talented team. In his last two coaching stints with the Washington Redskins (1994-2000) and Oakland Raiders (2004-2005), he inherited teams with less talent than Kevin Federline.

But with increased talent comes increased expectations. Although Turner is unlikely to improve the Chargers' regular-season record, he will quickly be forgiven if he can win in the playoffs.

"The regular season is important, and obviously you have to do the things you have to do to win your division, to get into the playoffs - whatever those things are, whatever it takes. But really, the true success in this league is measured with success in the playoffs and ultimately winning a Super Bowl," he said.

The Chargers no doubt have the talent to make a Super Bowl run, but several things must go right: LaDainian Tomlinson must stay healthy, the defense must stay aggressive and Nate Kaeding must stop studying at the Mike Vanderjagt School for clutch kicking.

Turner believes this year's playoff push will be fueled by last season's meltdown.

"In the conversations I've had with individuals, every guy - and I had a long talk with LT about it - I think it's something that they look at it and say, ‘This is going to propel us. This is going to send us where we want to go,'" Turner said.

It is clear where the Chargers want to go. That would be Arizona, host of Super Bowl XLII. What remains to be seen is whether Turner is the man to take them there. If it happens, he will be viewed as a savior. If not, it won't be for a lack of talent.


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