Chargers fire Turner, Smith

Posted Dec. 31, 2012 @ 1:21 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

The Chargers announced that head coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith will not return in 2013.

“I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day,” team president Dean Spanos said. “Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.”

The Chargers had a 7-9 record in 2012, their first losing season since ’03. Turner had been the Chargers’ coach since ’07, leading them to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. His overall regular-season record in San Diego was 56-40.

Smith first joined the Chargers as an assistant general manager in 2001 and became the GM in ’03. Smith had acquired 15 Pro Bowl players prior to the 2012 season.

The Chargers announced that former Packers GM Ron Wolf was retained to serve as a consultant to advise the Chargers throughout the hiring process. The team confirmed that its goal is to hire a GM first and then a head coach.

The way we see it

Turner and Smith knew heading into this season that they needed to get the Chargers to the playoffs to keep their jobs. The club was aggressive in the spring and summer, adding several veterans, but the newcomers didn’t do enough in another disappointing campaign in San Diego.

Turner shouldn’t be unemployed long, as he will be a top offensive coordinator candidate. It’s his offense, though, that was a huge problem in 2012, as it finished 31st in the NFL in total yards.

Smith’s recent draft history has been shaky and his free-agent haul this past offseason did not have the results he hoped for. The Spanos family wants stability, and they’ve had more of it with the Chargers than most owners, but a change needed to be made.

All indications point to Jimmy Raye III, the team's director of player personnel, being promoted to the GM position, and Raye would work with the Spanos family to find the Chargers’ next head coach.