With the Ravens inching closer to qualifying for the postseason for the fifth time in the last five years, the last thing anyone is thinking about is coach John Harbaugh’s job status.
The same, however, can’t be said for Harbaugh’s counterpart in Sunday’s game. The San Diego Chargers have dropped five of their last six contests after a 3-1 start, and the calls for coach Norv Turner to lose his job are building in volume and intensity.
A win against the Ravens might perhaps silence the doubters for a while, but Turner, who has coached the Chargers for the past six seasons, said he can’t worry about the rumors swirling around the team’s practice facility.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and if you worry about rumors, then you’re going to really struggle,” he said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. “We have an outstanding staff. I think our staff has done a great job. We have guys who are pros. We have a system that we go by, and we have a plan every week. If you stick with that, I don’t think you can get caught up in things outside that are being said that really are out of your control.”
Turner, who was the head coach of the Washington Redskins between 1994 and 2000 and the Oakland Raiders between 2004 and 2005, isn’t immune to the whispers. But he said he can’t afford to let the criticism distract him from getting his team ready to play.
“I know every coach who is struggling and everybody starts saying, ‘Well, he’s going to be gone,’” Turner said. “Everyone answers it in a similar fashion, but it is part of this business. I do know, I think, how to go about doing the job I was hired to do in terms of preparing our team, preparing our staff. As I said, we have an outstanding system – it’s worked. We have a lot of coaches and players who have won a lot of games doing the things we do. So you trust the things you believe in.”
The seemingly unrelenting wave of games may actually be a salve for coaches like Turner who find themselves on the proverbial hot seat. There’s no time to worry about rumors, and that can keep coaches from feeling the heat.
Harbaugh didn’t disagree with that sentiment when asked about feeling sympathy for beleaguered coaches.
“I don’t think you have any time to think about that,” he said. “We all understand what we signed up for and our responsibilities to our team.”