AFC West: Bobby Ross

The San Diego Chargers have announced the speaking lineup for the celebration of life in honor of legendary linebacker Junior Seau on Friday at Qualcomm Stadium.

Former Chargers legends Dan Fouts, LaDainian Tomlinson and Rodney Harrison, former San Diego coach Bobby Ross, former NFL star and San Diego native John Lynch and San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders will all be part of the speaking program.

The Chargers are hosting the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. PT Friday.

Seau died on May 2 at the age of 43. His death was ruled a suicide. His family will have a private funeral for Seau in his hometown of Oceanside, Calif., on Thursday.

In other AFC West news:

NFC West blogger Mike Sando believes former Denver general manager Brian Xanders would be a good fit in St. Louis because of his previous working relationship with new St. Louis general manager Les Snead. Xanders and the Broncos parted ways Monday because Denver is streamlining its front office.

Second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor prepares for a new opportunity in Oakland. He is probably looking at being the No. 3 quarterback again in 2012.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

I had a long conversation with San Diego general manager A.J. Smith when I visited the team's minicamp earlier this month. Smith discussed many topics, including his head coach Norv Turner.

  Norv Turner on 2009 season
  NFL.com Video
  Norv Turner believes the Chargers will be better than last season and has aspirations for a championship.

Smith knows that Turner has been maligned. He knows that his decision to replace regular-season warrior Marty Schottenheimer with Turner after the 2006 season was and still is unpopular in some circles. Smith doesn't care. He believes in Turner.

Smith said what most pleases him about Turner is his ability to shine when the pressure is on. The Chargers are 19-13 in the regular season under Turner. However, the Chargers are 12-2 under Turner in December and January, and 9-0 under Turner in December. After just two seasons, Turner is tied for the most playoff victories in team history (three, tied with Don Coryell and Bobby Ross).

Schottemheimer was fired after a 14-2 regular season. However, San Diego lost at home in its first playoff game to end the season.

"Norv is great under pressure," Smith said. "He is cool and he makes the right decisions. The players realize that and it helps them on the sidelines. He's smart and he helps me. I'm glad we have him."

Say what you want about Turner, but he has won some big games in San Diego and it is clear he has the full support of his boss.

Numbers back up Turner's success

January, 22, 2009
1/22/09
9:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

There was no coach in the NFL in the first three months of the season who was more ridiculed and criticized than Chargers coach Norv Turner.

 Turner

I admit, before San Diego completed its remarkable turnaround from a 4-8 team to an 8-8 AFC West Division winner, I wrote Turner should be fired if he didn't win the division. I still believe that. But Turner won the division and he deserves credit.

There are plenty of numbers that back up the need for Turner to be praised. Here are a few facts that show that Turner, a noted quarterback guru, is not the head coaching disaster some believe he has been in San Diego:

  • After just two seasons, Turner is tied for the most playoff victories in team history (3, tied with Don Coryell and Bobby Ross).
  • The Chargers are 12-2 under Turner in December and January, and 9-0 under Turner in December.
  • The Chargers led the AFC in scoring with 27.4 points per game, second overall in the NFL.
  • The Chargers led the NFL with the highest average per pass play.
  • The Chargers also ranked 3rd in yards per play.
  • Quarterback Philip Rivers set team records and led the NFL with 34 TD passes (Dan Fouts had 33 in '81) and a 105.5 passer rating.
  • Rivers' 100.6 passer rating over the last 27 games is the highest in the NFL over that period (includes five playoff games): 17-10 record, 51 TDs, 19 INTs, 63.5 completion percentage.

Next time someone knocks Turner as a complete bust as a head coach, throw out these statistics. Turner may have his faults, but there has been success in San Diego under his watch.

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