SAN DIEGO – On Wednesday, after the holidays have concluded and the good feelings of their latest win against the Jets wears off, Norv Turner will begin to assemble a detailed game plan for their last game of the season, and possibly, for the last game of his career as head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
When asked whether he anticipated Sunday’s game would be his last as the Chargers’ head coach, Turner said he hasn’t given it a lot of thought. “Obviously, there’s a lot of speculation that way, and I know there’s people (that) assume that.”
Turner said he enjoys being around this group of people, put aside what they are as football players, and adding that they’ll prepare for the Raiders this week and “get everything we can out of this week, enjoy each other and we’ll see what happens.”
Regarding comments he made last week saying that he’d be open to a return to an offensive coordinator position if he was let go at the end of this season, Turner explained by saying: “You’re doing interviews; you’re doing interviews about your team and I did it on Wednesday with the New York media and they start speculating, and it was probably my mistake of speculating with them.
“And they speculated if I wasn’t coaching here, do I want to continue to coach. Yeah, I would like to continue to coach. So obviously you look at different options available if something were to happen.”
With Sunday’s win against the Jets, Chargers veteran tight end Antonio Gates broke the team’s record for most touchdown receptions. In the third quarter, Gates caught a pass from Philip Rivers and ran it in for what would become his 82nd career touchdown reception.
The reception places Gates at the top in receiving touchdowns for the organization. Two weeks ago against the Carolina Panthers, Gates tied former Charger Lance Alworth’s record, which he set from 1962 to 1970.
Turner called Gates’ performance level throughout his career “impressive.” “You see him out there running around at full speed the way he is now; you kind of forget the things he’s gone through over the last three years to overcome to get back to this point. It was a tough road for a while with the toe and the foot situation he had,” Turner said.
Turner was also quick to praise the defense, including the young defensive players and the defensive front, which had committed 11 sacks against Jets quarterback Greg McElroy. The 11 sacks tied a franchise record for most sacks in a game.
“I think Kendall (Reyes) and Corey Liuget are two guys that have gotten better as this year’s gone on, and I think they’ve shown that they’re going to be outstanding players in this league for a long time,” Turner said.
To end the season, the Chargers will face their division rivals, the Oakland Raiders Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.
Next season the Chargers home schedule includes games against the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals. Their road games include visits to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Tennessee, Jacksonville and either Miami or the New York Jets.