About the Author
Recent posts by Eric Edholm
Critics of Norv Turner long have pointed to moves like his decision Sunday to go for an onsides kick attempt at game's end as the kind of move that will prevent a team he is coaching from ever winning a championship.
With 2:14 remaining, down 17-14, the Chargers went for the onsides kick. I knew before the kick was executed that if they didn't recover it, they weren't going to win. They had a timeout and the 2:00 warning left, so it was a mistake, plain and simple.
If they line up as if they are going to onsides kick, the Jets have to respect it and put 10 men up front and one deep. But if you kick deep from that position, it messes up the blocking scheme and the returner is on an island back there. Let's say, worst-case scenario, you kick off to the 10-yard line … the longest he's probably going to run it back is to the 25, maybe the 30. Stop them on first, second and third downs — as they did anyway — and you know they are going to punt. But from the Chargers' side of the field there was no risk in going for it on fourth down. The Chargers had no faith in their kicker who had missed three times already and almost certainly would have gone for the end zone and not the tie.
I have not been one of Turner's biggest critics over the years, believing he really knows the game well and has gotten something of a bad rap. But after today, in which the Chargers failed to adjust to the Jets' gameplan well and he made this very suspect call, I am forced to rethink whether Turner ever will figure certain things out that are crucial in becoming a great head coach.