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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Chargers' Turner has won when it counts


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.

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.