Published October 30, 2012
SAN DIEGO – If Norv Turner is on the hot seat, he isn't letting on.
The Chargers are in a free fall, with only a home game Thursday night against the struggling Kansas City Chiefs likely to stop it.
Then again, most people thought the Chargers would win at Cleveland on Sunday, but they lost 7-6. San Diego (3-4) hasn't scored a touchdown in its last six quarters and has lost three straight games to fall a game behind Denver in the AFC West.
Among the losses were second-half collapses at New Orleans, where the Chargers surrendered a 10-point lead, and against Peyton Manning and the Broncos at home, where San Diego coughed up a 24-0 halftime lead and lost 35-24.
The Chargers beat the Chiefs (1-6) 37-20 at Kansas City on Sept. 30.
Naturally, fans continue to call for Turner's job, with some also venting at general manager A.J. Smith, who hired Turner in 2007 despite a losing overall record in previous stops with Washington and Oakland.
"You're coaching on a week-to-week basis," Turner said Monday when asked if he's coaching for his job. "I'm coaching to do the best job I can to get our team ready to play Kansas City. All those other conversations, they're going to take place. You know they're going to take place."
Turner said he hasn't spoken about his job status with either Smith or team President Dean Spanos.
The team didn't make Spanos available Monday and Smith didn't return a call seeking comment.
It's doubtful Spanos would fire Turner during the season for a number of reasons. There's no viable candidate on the staff who could step in and replace Turner, especially with a game Thursday night. Turner also is the de facto offensive coordinator given that he calls the plays. Spanos isn't prone to knee-jerk reactions, and he's not prone to eating salary if he doesn't have to. Turner's contract runs through 2013.
Turner's job status was a hot topic at the end of each of the last two seasons. Spanos decided to keep Smith and Turner in January even though the team missed the playoffs for the second straight year. San Diego has only one playoff win the last four seasons.
On Sunday, wide receiver Robert Meachem dropped a certain touchdown pass from Philip Rivers in the third quarter. Meachem has struggled since the Chargers signed him and the oft-injured Eddie Royal to replace the departed Vincent Jackson.
"We've not been able to put together the kind of consistency we need to," Turner said. "Usually, it's a different thing in each situation where you have an opportunity to make a big play. You only get so many in a game. One play it might be protection, one play it might be we didn't make the throw we wanted to make, one play it might be we're still trying to get on the same page. Yesterday, obviously, we had a couple of opportunities for big plays. One was where Meach wasn't able to come up with a big catch."
When pressed on why the Chargers aren't on the same page after eight weeks, Turner said: "It's where we're at. When we've made those type of plays, we've been able to move the ball."
Also Monday, the Chargers signed wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu to a one-year contract and placed wide receiver Richard Goodman on the injured reserve list after he sustained a season-ending hamstring injury returning the opening kickoff Sunday. Ajirotutu was with the Chargers in 2010 as an undrafted rookie free agent from Fresno State, catching 13 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns.