Turner makes living on the hot seat


Turner makes living on the hot seat

ALAMEDA -- Norv Turner knows what the hot seat feels like.

The sixth-year San Diego coach practically lives on it. And many see this Sunday's season finale against the Raiders as his final game with the Chargers. Sound familiar?

"I don't want to minimize the feeling," Turner said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters Wednesday. "I don't believe it's easy (to endure), but it's part of this business and the one thing about it in this league now is it's more and more a part of every team.

"People talk about it…being from year to year, (but) in a lot of situations it ends up being month to month or week to week. So it is definitely a big part of this profession now."

Still, even if 31 other organizations and just about every NFL observer in the country believes Turner is about to coach his last game in San Diego, the Chargers are preparing as if Turner will return.

"That’s what I love about coach Norv, that’s what I love about the coaching staff in general," said Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. "Like I said, man, this is the last game of the season, our season is over with, no postseason for San Diego. And yet we’re preparing as if this is the first game of the season, as if we have a playoff game coming up, and it doesn’t change.

"There’s no shortage of preparation, there’s no shortage of time spent in the meetings. There’s no shortage of practicing and practicing the right way."

As an offensive coordinator, Turner has been seen as a genius, of sorts. Especially in Dallas with the triplets of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. But as a head coach, in Washington, with the Raiders and Chargers? Not so much.

He has a career head coaching record of 113-122-1. In Oakland, he was 5-11 and 4-12 in 2004 and 2005, respectfully. And in San Diego, the Chargers' win totals have gone down since 2009 from 13 to 9 to 8 to 6 thus far this season.

Obviously, with his two-year tenure in Oakland. Turner has a unique perspective on the Raiders. Even if it is undergoing regime change. And yes, Turner is a fan of rookie coach Dennis Allen, who just turned 40 this season. Turner was 42 when he was a rookie head coach in Washington in 1994.

"I know that when you have a new general manager and a new head coach, and all the changes that the Raiders have had, you are in transition," Turner said. "I’m really impressed with Dennis and the way he has approached it, what he has done. He’s really a good defensive mind and he’s going to be an outstanding head coach."

Sound familiar?

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Latavius Murray will spend this practice week testing himself to see if he can play after a debilitating bout of turf toe sidelined him the last two games.

He returned to action on a limited basis for Wednesday’s practice, and needed to respond and rebound well to continue his quest back to the playing field.

Early returns have been positive.

"I think he got a handful of plays out there (on Wednesday)," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said before Thursday’s practice. "I think he’s looking to get better each and every day and hopefully it’s good enough by the time the next game arrives."

Murray practiced a second straight day on Thursday, strengthening his case to play against the Jaguars. That’s extremely likely, barring a setback.

That would certainly strengthen a Raiders running game that has slumped the past few weeks.

“Latavius has his own skill set,” Musgrave said. “Had some explosive runs for us last year. We’ll look forward to getting him back at some point. Hopefully it’s this week.”

Right tackle Menelik Watson practiced for a second straight day and seems in line to re-claim his starting spot against Jacksonville.

Special teams player Brynden Trawick and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander remain out.

It’s possible that Perry Riley will start at middle linebacker over rookie Cory James on Sunday.

Check back for complete participation reports for the Raiders and Jaguars.

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

ALAMEDA – Ken Norton Jr.’s defense hasn’t been good all season. It’s only been a hindrance twice in six weeks, allowing the Raiders to brush it under the rug while compiling a 4-2 record.

The Raiders were exposed in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving many to wonder whether this defense has fatal flaws.

The team’s defensive coordinator believes these problems can be fixed without a radical reconstruction.

Norton trusts his scheme. He believes in his personnel. He has faith there are better times ahead.

“It depends on what you believe in,” Norton said before Thursday’s practice. “If you believe in the players, you believe in the coaches and believe in yourself…

“Obviously you’d like the stats to be better. But we are 4-2, in a good place record-wise. The stats need to be better. We need to continue to understand who we are, what we are and get better at what we’re doing.”

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Coaches have cited eye violations (a.k.a misreads) as communication issues reasons why the Raiders give up chunk yards. Their 6.9 yards per play allowed is the league’s worst.

Edge rusher and team captain Khalil Mack said opponents are challenged the Raiders defensive discipline. Misdirection, bootlegs, wacky formations and the like have given the Raiders fits, and will continue to do so until they repair what’s broken.

“It’s all about discipline,” Norton said. “It’s all about angles. It’s all about leverage and tackling and the fundamentals of the game and getting down to the nitty gritty of playing smart and sharp. It’s the ultimate team game. …Everybody’s connected to a successful play. That play has to be successful consistently over a period of 70 plays. Everybody’s watching every single play, so you need consistency and have guys playing together. It will pick up.”

Communication is the latest buzz word attached to defensive miscues. Norton said it’s been corrected, just not consistently enough.

“It’s been fixed, but it will come up some times, at the worst times,” Norton said. “We are continually practicing. There are 16 games, and you need to be obsessed with improvement, and we are. Guys care a lot. They show up early and stay late. The communication, the playmaking, the coaching, all of it will continue to improve.

“Everybody wants to talk about communication but it’s guys consistently playing well over a duration of a game. You have to be sharp.”

The Raiders have used different coverage schemes at times this season and made two lineup changes – it’s also possible Perry Riley starts at middle linebacker this week – to no avail.

“You see things going wrong with missed tackles or balls going over our head, the little things and details need to get taken care of,” Norton said. “There aren’t a lot of differences between us and the good defenses, but they make a lot of plays they’re supposed to make.

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”