Fantasy Impact: San Diego Chargers
New Head Coach: Norv Turner (SF OC:
2006; OAK HC: 2004-2005; MIA OC: 2002-2003; SD OC: 2001; WAS HC:
1994-2000; DAL OC: 1991-1993; Rams WR Coach: 1985-1990)
Previous Head Coach: Marty Schottenheimer
New San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner is no stranger
to the league. He first broke into the NFL as a wide receivers
coach with the Los Angeles Rams in 1985. Over the course of his
six years with the franchise, Turner oversaw the development of
Henry Ellard as one of the games elite at the position. In 1991
he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a member of Jimmy Johnson's
staff coordinating the offense. The Cowboys--who hadn't had a
winning season in the five years prior to Turner's arrival, finished
the year 11-5. They would go on to win a wildcard game in the
playoffs before falling to the Detroit Lions in the second round.
In the two seasons that followed Dallas went on to win back-to-back
Super Bowl titles thanks in large part to the dynamic offensive
trio of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith.
Following his incredibly successful run coordinating Dallas'
Championship offense, Turner quickly became a hot commodity among
coaching candidates within the league. He signed with the Washington
Redskins in 1994, filling their vacancy at the position just a
year removed from Joe Gibbs' (first) retirement. It's a title
he held for the better part of seven seasons with the organization.
The move also reunited him with Henry Ellard, whom Turner lured
to sign with the Redskins during the off-season. Despite being
33-years old at the time, and being two years removed since his
last 1000-yard outing, Ellard recorded totals of 74 receptions,
1397 yards, and 6 touchdowns his first season back in Norv Turner's
system. He surpassed the 1000-yard mark again in both 1995 and
1996 before the process of aging finally got the best of him.
During those '95 and '96 seasons, Washington's offense also housed
a strong rushing attack. Running back Terry Allen ran for more
than 1300-yards and reached double-digits in touchdowns each year.
Despite the bright spots within the offense, the results in the
win-loss column were uninspiring. The two seasons that followed
were no better as the Redskins failed to reach the playoffs and
compiled a 32-47-1 record during Turner's first five years with
It wasn't until 1999 that they finally posted 10 wins within
a season. Washington won the NFC East Title that year behind an
offense featuring Brad Johnson (4005 passing yards, 24 TD passes),
Stephen Davis (1405 rushing yards, 17 TD runs), Michael Westbrook
(1191 receiving yards, 9 TD receptions), and Albert Connell (1132
receiving yards, 7 TD receptions). They won a first round wild
card game before losing their Divisional Playoff game. The 2000
season brought about more disappointment however. It was Turner's
final year with the Redskins. He guided the team to a 7-6 record
before Terry Robiskie took over as interim coach for the remaining
After his first head coaching stint in the NFL, Turner returned
to his position as an offensive coordinator in 2001 with the team
he now heads--the San Diego Chargers. The most notable offensive
performance by a Charger that season came from rookie sensation
LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson would rush for more than 1200 yards,
score 10 touchdowns, and fall just shy of 60 receptions as a first
year player. Receivers Curtis Conway and Jeff Graham also made
notable contributions, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 5-11
finish which cost then head coach Mike Riley his job, and led
to a new staff being put in place during the off-season. Coincidently,
the coach San Diego hired to replace Mike Riley (Marty Schottenheimer)
is whom coach Norv Turner replaces.
Following his one season in San Diego, Turner enjoyed a brief
stay as a coordinator with another franchise-- the Miami Dolphins.
He ran Dave Wannstedt's offense from 2002-2003. Ricky Williams
had a career year for himself as the featured back in Norv Turner's
game plan, rushing for 16 touchdowns and more than 1800 yards
during the 2002 campaign. He also had a strong season the following
year, scoring 10 times while compiling 1372 yards on the ground.
Chris Chambers also hauled in a career-high 11 touchdown receptions
in 2003 as he tallied 963 yards through the air.
Turner's last head coaching experience came with the Oakland
Raiders during the 2004-2005 seasons. It has been the only stop
throughout his NFL tenure in which he failed to build a successful
rushing attack. Nonetheless, LaMont Jordan still proved a valuable
commodity within the offense--rushing for 1025 yards and 9 touchdowns
on 272 carries upon signing with Oakland during the 2005 off-season.
He also added 2 more scores, and 563 yards with his 70 receptions
out of the backfield. Frank Gore is the most recent running back
to achieve unprecedented success within Turner's system, rushing
for 1695 yards and 8 touchdowns with the 49ers in 2006. He also
added 61 receptions, for 485 yards and another score.
Turner's Impact On The Offense:
Quarterbacks: Philip Rivers;
Billy Volek; Charlie Whitehurst
Rivers is coming off a strong season for himself as a first-year
starter in the league. Having thrown for 3388 yards and 22 touchdowns
last year however, there is room for improvement from a fantasy
perspective. While Turner's offensive schemes allow for productive
outings from his quarterbacks, he tends to center the focus of
his game plan on his running back. In LaDainian Tomlinson, he
has the best in the league to do so with. Couple that with the
strong defensive play expected from San Diego this season and
its unlikely Rivers will be in position to improve upon his 2006
totals. Expect 3350-3450 passing yards and 20-23 touchdown passes
from the 4th-year vet. His totals will only climb higher if the
Chargers defense plays well below expectations.
Running Backs: LaDainian
Tomlinson will be hard pressed to match his totals of a season
ago (a year in which he reached career highs in both rushing yards
and rushing touchdowns), but if there is a coach in the league
that would like nothing more than to duplicate that type of production
from the 7th-year back, it's Norv Turner. After rushing for 10
or more touchdowns and 1200 or more yards every year since entering
the league, Tomlinson is in excellent position to do so again.
Turner has achieved star production from far less talented backs
in the past and will continue using the former first round pick
as the primary weapon in the Chargers attack. Expect another season
of 1500-1700 rushing yards from the future Hall of Famer along
with nearly 20 rushing touchdowns. He'll also get you 50-60 receptions
with another 450-550 yards through the air.
As with last season, Michael Turner remains a valuable handcuff
for Tomlinson owners. Barring injury to Tomlinson however, it's
unlikely Turner will hold much value in fantasy leagues. Coming
off a year in which he carried 80 times, for 502 yards, some owners
may look towards selecting the 4th-year back as a #3 RB this season.
He isn't worth the reach however. Turner may have some nice outings,
but it will be difficult for him to surpass his totals of 2006.
Wide Receivers: Eric
Osgood; Malcolm Floyd; Legedu Naanee
Eric Parker returns for a 6th-season with the San Diego Chargers.
While he has progressed into a reliable second option at the receiver
position for them, his upside is very limited. Playing in an offense
that features such talents as Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, there
are few looks to go around for someone who isn't even the lead
player at his own position. With averages of 50 receptions, 691
yards, and 2 touchdowns over the past three years, there is little
reason to expect any better from Parker in the year ahead.
Vincent Jackson begins his third season with the franchise having
been a second round selection in the 2005 draft. The 6'5",
241 pound receiver had a quiet rookie outing before making progress
and even starting 7 games for the Chargers last year. In the final
4 weeks of the regular season, Jackson caught 14 receptions, for
286 yards, and 3 touchdowns. If he picks up where he left off,
the Northern Colorado alumnus could be in for a productive outing
in the year ahead. At the moment 50-60 receptions, 750-850 yards,
and 5-8 touchdowns appear to be within range.
Tight Ends: Antonio
Gates has been the most dangerous weapon in the NFL at the tight
end position for the past three seasons. Turner will keep him
as involved in the offense this year as he has been in the past
for the Chargers, if not more so. Expect 80-90 receptions from
the 5th-year vet along with 950-1050 yards receiving and 9-12