It was another season of disappointment in San Diego, but this time a change had to be made. Changes that probably should have been made years prior. Norv Turner seemed to have nine lives as coach of the Chargers, but not this time. On Monday the Chargers let go of both Turner and general manager A.J. Smith after missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Philip Rivers understands that the Chargers just haven’t gotten it done during his nine-year tenure. No.17 is preparing himself to handle the change coming soon at head coach. Philip Rivers joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Darren Smith to discuss the San Diego Chargers firing coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith this week, Norv Turner saying the Chargers will have a tough time making the playoffs next season, Norv Turner’s last press conference not taking a direct shot at A.J. Smith and not expecting to have any input on the search for the Chargers next GM or head coach.
Has the reality sunk in yet that both Norv Turner and A.J. Smith are gone?
“I think it has. It’s one of those things that you knew were coming the last few weeks before the end of the season. It’s kind of like is this really going to happen? Until it actually happens. It’s always that first Wednesday when the season is over or at least it has been since we’ve been out of the playoffs the last three years. It’s always tough. Even if we are all returning. It’s kind of like you don’t have to go into the building and you don’t have a game to prepare for, so season’s end is always kind of tough and to add this to it makes it that much harder, but it’s unchartered territory for a lot of us to experience a coaching change since the 2006 season where it happened differently. The circumstances were a lot different. This is the first time for a lot of us.”
What did you make of Norv Turner’s final press conference where he said next year it will be tough for this team to make the playoffs?
“Well I think he meant absolutely zero percent disrespect to any player or coach or anything that’s going to be here. I know exactly what he meant by it and what he means by it is be excited and fired up to get this thing turned around and go winning and embrace this next year’s team when they go and if they go. Go do it and get to the postseason and go. I don’t think it was a slight or shot at anybody or any of us. I think it’s a matter of it’s hard to do. I took it the right way is the best way to say it. I think it was meant the right way.”
You didn’t take Norv Turner’s last press conference as Norv taking a direct shot at A.J. Smith and the lack of talent in the locker room?
“No I don’t think so. I think what he meant was that it’s hard [to make the playoffs]. Now as the quarterback of the team do I expect and do I believe we can go get into the postseason next year and go [to the Super Bowl]? Absolutely. Just like I believe last year and every year you play [for the Super Bowl]. If you didn’t you wouldn’t line up to go play. But I think he just means it’s a matter of and the truth is…it’s not like we can go get a new head coach and we are going to win the whole thing. If we just had a different coach we could go win it all. That’s just not the case. That’s just not how it works. A lot of things have to work and things have to go your way. I need to play better. There’s a long list for that to happen. It’s not just a matter of well we can go get a new head coach and we’ll win right now. There’s a lot more to that.”
Do you expect your input to be considered in the search for the next GM of the Chargers?
“I do not. It is obviously…again I have always said and look I think more was made of the conversation I had with [Chargers President] Dean Spanos and it was really more of I just felt in my gut the right thing to do, so he knew how the locker room felt, but by no means was I trying to persuade him to do anything like that. Look this is unchartered territory. I got my hands full playing quarterback. The last thing I need to do is try to influence these types of decisions of being a head coach or GM. I think it’s in good hands. Look, like I said I am worried about my role and kind of sitting and waiting because I think the unknown right now for everybody in that locker room is that the guys we’ve known and the guys we’ve played for and the guys that drafted us here and the guys that did everything here are not here and they are not going to be here and it’s going to start with a clean slate from round one. Everybody knows how we practice or how we do anything when we get a new head coach and staff in here. We gotta go re-earn that respect and trust and how we operate and how we practice and how we play and how we do things. It’s going to be new and I will get fired up, but right now I am not. I will when it gets ready to go.