Friday, January 26, 2007

Norv returning East?

According to reports on ESPN and elsewhere, Norv Turner is on Jerry Jones' short list of candidates for the Cowboys head coach position.

We aren't sure how to take that here at Running Redskins. Norv is a top drawer character guy and a first class offensive coordinator. We've said before that Turner is a better OC fit for "Redskins football" than Al Saunders. But, head coach? There's no getting around that 58-82-1 won-loss record, albeit under trying circumstances.

In Washington (48-59-1), he coached through a transition of ownership from The Squire, to the Cooke estate, to the foundation's sale to the despised highest bidder. The Washington fan base shared Dan Snyder's growing disdain for Turner, but was very sympathetic to the insults Turner suffered from an insufferable owner.

The Redskins managed two winning seasons out of Turner's seven years here. Talent was part of the issue. Heath Shuler was the quarterback in Turner's inaugural season. Gus Frerotte followed. You may see them in the halls of Congress, but not the Hall Of Fame. Turner gave new life to Henry Ellard's career, but eventually the team had to turn to Michael Westbrook as the lead wide receiver. Over time, the Skins lost the mental toughness that was characteristic of the 1980s teams. Word around the league was if you hit the Redskins hard early in the game, they would fold.

Oakland was a no-win situation for Turner and everyone else who's been there recently. That's an ownership issue. Can't blame Turner for that. The 49er offense, with Turner as offensive coordinator, showed improvement with poor talent. QB Alex Smith steadied his performance (2890 yds, 16 TDs, 16 Ints, 74.8 QB rating) and Frank Gore emerged as a power runner late in the season (1695 yds, 8 TDs). Power running is trademark of a Turner team.

Redskins fans would applaud Turner's appointment expecting the same results as at the Redskins and Raiders. Hey, turnabout is fair play.

Norv Turner-Brad Johnson photo: The Washington Post
Daniel Snyder photo:

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