Coach Killers, Week 3: Norv Turner Makes You Miss Martyball
Every week, NFL FanHouse hits the lowlights from Sunday's action, looking at those players who did the most to move their head coaches that much closer to returning to the Bed and Breakfast business.
Norv Turner, Chargers
Norvell is a masochist. There' s no other way to explain it. He's arguably one of the smartest offensive minds in football, yet give him a chance to run the whole operation and you can forget about it. I mean, this is the guy who served as Troy Aikman's mentor in Dallas, and helped 2005 first-overall pick Alex Smith come into his own last year.
But in three head-coaching stops that span parts of 10 seasons, Turner is 59-84-1, including 1-2 start this season. Now if this is San Diego and it's 2000, a 1-2 start is cause for a parade (the '00 team finished 1-15). But it's 2007 and the club is coming off a 14-2 effort. An effort, I might add, that got Marty Schottenheimer canned. And after San Diego's uninspired performance against the Packers, I'm guessing fans are pining for the mind-numbing predictability of Martyball.
DeAngelo Hall, Falcons
You can't blame Joey Harrington for this one. All he did was complete 31 of 44 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. This honor, without a doubt, goes to cornerback DeAngelo Hall. The former first-round pick, who often does more talking than covering, blanketed All-World wideout Steve Smith for much of the afternoon (Smith finished with one catch for six yards). So it may seem odd that Hall's a Coach Killer.
Well, about halfway through the third quarter with the Falcons leading 17-10, Hall took it upon himself to gift the game to the Panthers. On the series in question, he collected two personal-foul penalties, the second worse than the first. After Atlanta stopped Carolina on third down, and with the Panthers set to attempt a field goal, a jabber-jawing Hall drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. First and ten, Panthers. Two plays later, Carolina tied the score, and two possessions later they would take the lead for good. Bobby Petrino moves one step closer to pulling a "Saban."
Jon Kitna, Lions
Yes, Kitna set a personal record for passing yards, but he also turned the ball over three times and took nine sacks. I suppose we should all still be in awe that a concussed quarterback was able to call the play in the huddle, make it to the line of scrimmage, and take the snap without passing out.
NFL teams are looking for a little more than rudimentary motor skills from their quarterbacks, however. I'm sorta kidding -- Kitna, scrambled brains or not, is a solid QB and willed the team to victory last week against the Vikings. And honestly, the offensive line could just as easily share this honor -- nine (NINE!?!) sacks doesn't happen by accident.
But Kitna's the leader of this offense, and as such, he's taking the blame. Plus, there's only so long you can expect the o-line to pass block; if the ball's not out of the quarterbacks hand in three seconds, the sack is on him. Rod Marinelli's job is safe for the time being, but this loss will not make lionfan941 very happy.
Matt Leinart, Cardinals
Leinart didn't last very long in Baltimore on Sunday. He started 2 of 6 for 10 yards, gave way to Kurt Warner, returned after the half for a few snaps, then spent the rest of the afternoon taking mental reps next to Ken Whisenhunt. Translation: the head coach spared his young quarterback the psychological scars a typical Ravens' defense can inflict.
Leinart didn't throw any interceptions and was sacked just once, but he only managed to complete 9 of 20 passes for 53 yards. And by the time Whisenhunt finally pulled the plug and turned to Warner, Arizona was down 20-6. The biggest question heading into the Cardinals Week 4 game against the Steelers is who will be the team's starting quarterback.
Phil Dawson, Browns
Dawson got Punk'd Sunday. By the Oakland Raiders. Specifically, head coach Lane Kiffin pulled a Mike Shanahan and Dawson pulled a Sebastian Janikowski. With three seconds on the clock and the Browns trailing the Raiders 26-24, quarterback Derek Anderson completed a pass to Joe Jurevicius to set up Dawson's 40-yard attempt.
A clean snap, hold, and striped boot later, the Browns looked to be 2-1 on the year ... except that Kiffin, in the last millisecond, pulled a Shanny. On the re-kick, the Raiders blocked Dawson's attempt, time expired, and Oakland won their first game in 11 tries. And Cleveland ... well, they're still Cleveland -- manufacturing new and exciting ways to lose.