Norv Turner and the NFC East

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
10:55
AM ET
A little trip through the mailbag turned up a question from Joe M. in Haltom City, Texas. Joe is watching what's going on in San Diego, where it appears Norv Turner will be fired as the Chargers' head coach at the end of the season, and wants to know whether Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett would consider bringing Turner to Dallas as offensive coordinator.

[+] EnlargeNorv Turner
John Rieger/US PresswireChargers coach Norv Turner was the offensive coordinator in Dallas from 1991-93.
Well, Joe, this is a somewhat popular question these days, but there are a number of reasons I doubt it would happen. I think Turner would be in high demand as an offensive coordinator -- a job he performed brilliantly with the Cowboys from 1991-93 and later with the Chargers, Dolphins and 49ers. But Jones has said several times that he likes the idea of Garrett doing both jobs -- head coach and offensive coordinator -- as opposed to having what he calls a "walk-around head coach."

Garrett is still in just his first full season as a head coach, and if there are times when it's looked as though the dual responsibility might be too much for him, I would submit that that's understandable. Everybody goes through a learning process, and the Cowboys' 7-4 record (plus the 5-3 mark they posted last year with Garrett as head coach for the second half of the season) indicates that he's doing just fine in the big picture. It was Garrett's performance as an offensive coordinator that made Garrett a head-coaching candidate in the first place, and the impression I get is that Jones likes Garrett's offensive mind and ideas and is fine allowing him to grow. So I'm not sure the Cowboys will hire an offensive coordinator at all, let alone one who worked for them 20 years ago and had aspirations to be their head coach at that time.

Another interesting, division-related Turner item can be found on Bill Williamson's AFC West blog, where Bill wrote Friday that Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid would be a strong and good candidate for the head-coaching job in San Diego if Turner and Reid were fired:
Reid is an upper-echelon coach. Don't be swayed by the Eagles' poor season. If Turner is fired and Reid is available, he should be a top candidate.

I think he would be a fit in San Diego if general manager A.J. Smith stays or if he is let go. Reid has worked with general managers in Philadelphia and he doesn't seem like he'd have a problem having a football boss.

He'd be a good fit with quarterback Philip Rivers, and I think he could do nice things with the Chargers' offense. Reid, 53, is one of the more respected coaches in the NFL, thus, he'd likely be able to attract a strong coaching staff.

This is a key factor for Eagles fans to consider as they clamor for Reid's firing. Philadelphia fans keep telling me that the "national media" do not understand the inside-Philly perception of Reid and the reasons behind it. But do you know who else doesn't understand it? The NFL decision-makers who hire and fire coaches. Reid would be the hottest name on the coaching market -- hotter than Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or any of those popular names fans keep throwing around -- if the Eagles were to let him go, and the Chargers wouldn't be the only team likely to make an aggressive move for him.

I still don't think Reid's getting fired unless the Eagles lose all of their remaining games in humiliating fashion akin to the way they lost Thursday. And even then, I don't think it's a sure thing that the Eagles let him go. But if they did, you can guarantee that there'd be at least one team out there thankful that the Eagles made that decision and gave them a chance to bring Reid in to coach their team.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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