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Ryan, Turner visit; Rivera is on deck

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Ryan, Turner visit; Rivera is on deck

    By Kevin Acee
    February 16, 2007
    <!--- BODYTEXT --->Even as fans tear their garments, wailing over what has transpired and what is to come, it is clear A.J. Smith has a plan. The Chargers' general manager is moving at a caffeinated pace.

    The team yesterday interviewed two candidates for its head coaching position – Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

    Each of the three candidates to visit Chargers Park has spent between four and five hours speaking with Smith, team President Dean Spanos and Executive Vice President Ed McGuire.
    Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera will interview today.

    Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is also scheduled to interview, perhaps this weekend.
    It is not known if or when Seattle Seahawks secondary coach and assistant head coach Jim Mora or New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs will interview.
    Smith is not the type to waste time, yet it is still possible the Chargers' next head coach will be someone not already publicly identified as a candidate.
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    The GM is a man of meticulous planning who makes many lists.

    He has long had a list of possible successors to Marty Schottenheimer – not so much because he didn't like his coach but just in case.
    “Right after Dean hired me, maybe three or four days later, I think it's my job and responsibility to have names,” Smith said Monday night, hours after Schottenheimer was fired. “I've always had a list of names.”
    It appears he has more than that.

    According to sources inside the organization, when they spoke to Smith and Spanos on Tuesday the two were extremely optimistic – “giddy” was the description of one source – when they referred to their plan.

    That plan was not revealed in those meetings. Smith is not returning messages, as he speaks publicly only in statements issued by the team.
    The Chargers, however, are making candidates available to speak to the media.

    As Mike Singletary was on Wednesday, the men who interviewed yesterday were duly excited about possibly taking over a team that went 14-2 last season and has so many of its stars locked up in long-term contracts.

    “I couldn't be more impressed with the organization,” Ryan said. “Everybody just wants to win around here. I feel the same kind of commitment out of Dean and A.J. that I would have. With a 14-2 record, it would be a unique situation to come into as a head coach. Usually it's reversed. They've got things going in the right direction. I think I could add to the program and help in certain areas. If I got the job, my job would be to not screw it up.”

    Ryan, 44, is the son of former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan. The younger Ryan has been a coach in the NFL for 10 years but had never interviewed for a head coaching position before his 14-hour stay in San Diego.

    “Once you go through this process, you realize how much you really do want to be in this position,” Ryan said. “I know I'm ready. I would bring a great passion. I was born to be a football coach. It's all I know how to do. I love the game. I'm committed to the game. My family is committed to it. I think that will be obvious when I – if I – get an opportunity to be a head coach.”
    Turner, 54, was the Chargers' offensive coordinator under Mike Riley in 2001. He was the coordinator during LaDainian Tomlinson's rookie season, and he essentially installed the offense the team runs now.

    He is 58-82-1 as a head coach in Washington (1994-2000) and Oakland (2004-05).
    While many outsiders have focused recently on the “dysfunctional” atmosphere that existed in the front office with Smith and Schottenheimer not communicating, and many think the Spanoses have mishandled the Chargers, what Turner would walk into here would be positively functional compared with his previous head coaching jobs. He worked for the notoriously meddlesome Dan Snyder in Washington and the freakishly controlling Al Davis in Oakland.

    “For me to want to be a head coach it needed to be a real unique situation,” Turner said. “I coached here. I know a lot of the people involved. I've been (a head coach) in a couple situations that were not maybe ideal.”
    Both Smith, in a statement, and Turner, who addressed the media following his interview, spoke of being comfortable in that Turner spent a year here when Smith was assistant general manager.

    “I felt good about the conversation I had today,” Turner said. “I think there is a plan in place how this thing will be structured. The working relationships you've had, having a previous experience here, gives me a comfort level.”
    Every coach the Chargers have interviewed has earned a Super Bowl ring as a player or coach.

    Singletary got one from Super Bowl XX when he played for the Bears, as did Rivera. Turner has won two rings as a coach, as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. Ryan was the Ravens' defensive line coach when they won Super Bowl XXXV. “The goal of this search is to find someone who can help us get there,” Smith said.


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