Norv Turner

Panthers Hire OC Norv Turner

The Panthers have hired longtime NFL coach Norv Turner their next offensive coordinator. The news was first reported by David Newton of ESPN.com.

Turner was in Carolina on Wednesday to formally interview for the position and it didn’t take long for the two sides to hammer out an agreement. On Friday, the team made it official.

Norv Turner (vertical)

Turner’s hiring should come as no surprise, especially given that he was the first — and only — candidate mentioned following the firing of Mike Shula on Tuesday. Reports indicated the Panthers preferred to hire a veteran coach, and Turner certainly fits that bill. He’s served as a coordinator for six clubs and been a head coach for three more teams. Turner, 65, was most recently the offensive play-caller for the Vikings before abruptly resigning midway through the 2016 campaign.

In addition to his wealth of experience, Turner is also close with Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Turner hired Rivera as an assistant coach and later defensive coordinator when both worked for the Chargers, and Turner also recommended Rivera for the Carolina job when it became open in 2011.

With the Panthers, Turner will take over a unit that boasts pieces such as quarterback Cam Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Devin Funchess, and tight end Greg Olsen. Despite those options, Carolina’s offense struggled in 2017, ranking 12th in scoring, 17th in DVOA, and 19th in yards.

Meanwhile, Scott Turner will join his father in heading to Carolina, as he’ll become the Panthers’ new quarterbacks coach. The younger Turner most recently served as QBs coach at the University of Michigan, and has worked with the Panthers, Browns, and Vikings at the NFL level.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers To Interview Norv Turner For OC

The Panthers will interview longtime NFL coach Norv Turner for their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who notes Turner is the club’s “top choice.”Norv Turner (Vertical)

Carolina’s interest in Turner comes as no surprise, as Rapoport indicated earlier today that the 65-year-old was Panthers head coach Ron Rivera‘s No. 1 contender for the OC position. Additionally, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) reported the Panthers would likely hire a “veteran” coach to replace the fired Mike Shula, and Turner would certainly fit that bill.

Turner offers a wealth of experience, as he’s coordinated offenses for six clubs while serving as head coach for three other teams. He also enjoys a working relationship with Rivera — not only did Rivera coach under Turner with the Chargers, but Turner recommended Rivera for the top job in Carolina.

If Turner is hired, he could potentially bring his son Scott along as the Panthers’ next quarterbacks coach to replace Ken Dorsey, per Rapoport (video link). However, Carolina could have competition for Turner, as Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks could hire Turner (or Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo) as his OC if he’s hired as a head coach, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Eyeing Norv Turner For OC Job

The Panthers need a new offensive coordinator to replace Mike Shula, who was fired on Tuesday morning. Head coach Ron Rivera is hoping that Norv Turner will be the man to replace him, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsNorv Turner (vertical)

Turner’s time as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator ended abruptly in November 2016 when he stepped down following a professional disagreement with head coach Mike Zimmer. Turner was reportedly interested in getting back to football soon after, but he was waiting for the right opportunity with the right quarterback.

Cam Newton could be the right QB to get Turner back on the sidelines, but one has to wonder if the team’s lack of receiving weapons could deter him from joining the Panthers. Due to a lack of depth and injuries, the Panthers’ season ended with Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, and Brenton Bersin as the team’s top three WRs.

Turner has had several stops as an OC in the league, including with the Cowboys (1991-1993), Chargers (2001), Dolphins (2002-2003), Raiders (2004-2005), 49ers (2006), Browns (2013), and Vikings (2014-2016). He also served as the Chargers’ head coach from 2007 through 2012.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching/FO News & Rumors: 1/11/17

General manager candidate Louis Riddick‘s interview with the 49ers “went well,” relays Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, who adds that the team won’t make a decision on a GM without having input from its next head coach. Josh McDaniels, the potential favorite for the 49ers’ head coaching job, and Riddick would likely end up as a package deal in San Fransisco, per Robinson (Twitter links).

More of the latest coaching news and rumors (here’s a roundup from earlier):

  • If new Bills head coach Sean McDermott is unable to land No. 1 target Mike McCoy as his offensive coordinator, he could look to Norv Turner as an alternative, according to both Michael Silver of NFL.com and John Wawrow of the Associated Press (Twitter links). The 64-year-old Turner would bring significant experience, having worked as an offensive coordinator with six teams since 1991; however, his latest stint – with the Vikings – ended when he abruptly resigned in November.
  • Bills wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal interviewed for the same position with the Eagles on Wednesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Philadelphia is looking to replace the fired Greg Lewis, and Caplan noted Tuesday that its interest in Lal is “strong.” Before hooking on with Buffalo’s staff in 2015, Lal coached wideouts with the Raiders and Jets for a combined six years.
  • Broncos receivers coach Tyke Tolbert could join the Titans, thereby enabling him to reunite with head coach Mike Mularkey, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Tolbert was once the receivers coach in Buffalo under Mularkey, and has also held that post with three other clubs.
  • Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn is a candidate for the Broncos’ O-line coach role, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. That would mean following ex-Dolphins defensive coordinator and now-Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to Denver. Washburn previously worked as Detroit’s offensive line coach from 2013-15. For now, Clancy Barone is atop the Broncos’ O-line, though it appears that won’t be the case for much longer as a result of previous head coach Gary Kubiak‘s retirement.

Mort & Schefter On Norv Turner, C-Mike, Rams

After stepping down as Vikings offensive coordinator, Norv Turner is not looking for work at this moment. However, he is still interested in coaching, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com. Once his Vikings contract runs out this winter, Turner would like the opportunity to help mold an up-and-coming quarterback.

I just enjoy it too much,” Turner said. “I really enjoy teaching the players.

Turner says he’ll only return to the sidelines for the right opportunity or, as Schefter and Mortensen put it, “the right team in the right city with the right quarterback.” Given the Vikings’ offensive struggles under Turner, he is probably a stronger candidate as a quarterbacks coach than an offensive coordinator. Turner has had several stops as an OC in the NFL, but serving as strictly a QB coach at the professional level would be a first for him. The only time he ever held that title was with USC from 1981-1983.

Here’s more from Mortensen and Schefter:

  • Christine Michael‘s release was about his regression as a runner and also a statement about the Seahawks‘ confidence in rookie C.J. Prosise, Mortensen writes. At Notre Dame, there were doubts about Prosise’s ability to grind out tough yards because of his soft-spoken personality. However, the Seahawks saw a warrior underneath his reserved demeanor and had enough faith to use a third-round pick on him. Going forward, Mortensen writes that Prosise is expected to be the main ball carrier with Thomas Rawls eased back into action.
  • Case Keenum will move into a backup role behind No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff, but it’s actually possible that he’s bumped all the way down to No. 3 and made inactive on gamedays if the Rams fall out of the playoff hunt. Keenum is headed for free agency at the end of the year and L.A. will likely want to gauge what they have in Sean Mannion, a 2015 third-round choice.
  • There has been a lot of talk about Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker and his controversial decision to leave the team in advance of the 2017 NFL Draft. The popular view is that NFL teams will not look favorably upon Walker’s decision to abandon the Sooners, causing him to slide in the draft. However, Mortensen isn’t certain that clubs will concur with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops‘ framing of the situation. Walker suffered the third reported concussion of his career in early October and cutting his season short may benefit him on multiple levels. From a talent perspective, Walker is viewed as a first- or second-round pick for the spring.

NFC Notes: Romo, Vaccaro, Vikings

Quarterback Tony Romo is unlikely to be in uniform when the Cowboys face the Steelers on Sunday, but when he does return from a back injury, it seems probable he’ll serve as rookie standout Dak Prescott‘s backup. If that happens, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones expects Romo to accept the role with grace. “Any athlete who’s played a sport they want to contribute and certainly he does,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Friday (via Max Meyer of NFL.com). “At the same time Tony’s the consummate team player and I think if it meant as part of the process with Tony going into games as a backup then, I don’t want to speak for him, but my guess would be that he would.” The answer will come soon enough, as the four-time Pro Bowler practiced in full this week. If Romo isn’t active Sunday (he’s currently questionable), he should be back for the Cowboys’ Week 11 matchup against Baltimore.

More from the NFC:

  • The Vikings were auditioning kickers and pondering a move away from Blair Walsh, but it seems like he has gotten back on track in recent days. “I knew how he would react,” special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer said (via ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling). “It kind of lit a fire under him. He got ticked off in a good way, I think, because he’s a competitive young man. When you bring in guys that are potentially going to take your job, guys that want your job, that’s the way you want him to react. If he didn’t react that way, I would be really worried, and we probably would be looking for another guy. He got — I don’t want to say angry, but he got a little fired up in a very respectful way, just like he always is. I expect him to go out and kick well for us this weekend and the rest of the year.”
  • Saints head coach Sean Payton and safety Kenny Vaccaro aren’t pleased with the way they learned of Vaccaro’s pending four-game suspension for Adderall on Thursday, per Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Payton had no advance notice of the suspension, only finding out via media reports, while Vaccaro didn’t know punishment was definitely coming. He did receive a vague notification beforehand, though. “We got a letter, but that’s just a preliminary letter that it could be a possible something,” Vaccaro said. “But, there have been mistakes before.” Vaccaro and the Saints are now awaiting the results of a second sample, which he told Katzenstein hasn’t yet been tested, and is unsure when his potential suspension would begin. In the meantime, he’ll play Sunday against Denver.
  • Vikings quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, son of ex-offensive coordinator Norv Turner, told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press on Friday that his father’s Nov. 2 resignation came as a surprise. “I knew that he was dealing with some issues, or whatever,” he said. “I thought that it was a possibility. I didn’t ever think he was actually going to do it, and then he told me about one minute before he told Mike Zimmer.” Scott Turner added that he’s unsure if his father will coach again. Norv Turner has been an NFL coach in every season since 1985, including head coaching stints with the Redskins, Raiders and Chargers.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Latest On Norv Turner

The comments that Norv Turner made upon his resignation as Vikings offensive coordinator last week indicated that his decision was wholly voluntary and that he truly believed he was preventing Minnesota from realizing its full potential on the offensive side of the ball. But one always wonders if those types of decisions are truly voluntary, or if the club is simply allowing a respected coach to depart without the ignominy of being fired.

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That does not seem to be the case with Turner, as both Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com write. Per La Canfora, the decision took the entire Vikings organization by surprise, and Turner was not pressured to step down in any way. La Canfora adds that Turner and newly-promoted OC Pat Shurmur–who was serving as the tight ends coach prior to Turner’s resignation–had a strong working relationship, but it became clear during a full staff meeting Tuesday afternoon that Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer had incompatible opinions on how to spark the Vikings’ stagnant offense. The personal relationship between the two men remained strong, but their differing professional viewpoints triggered the split.

Rapoport’s piece is largely consistent with La Canfora, though Rapoport does add that Shurmur was a “huge proponent” of the Sam Bradford acquisition and that Shurmur and Bradford “speak the same language,” whereas Turner was a bit of an outsider when it came to his newly-acquired quarterback.

Both Rapoport and La Canfora indicate that Turner has not ruled out resuming his coaching career, although Turner himself said that any new job would “need to be a right place and with the right people.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Staley, Turner, Chiefs, Bengals

Joe Staley‘s name was among the centerpieces of the 2016 trade deadline, one that ended with just one major deal. The 10th-year 49ers left tackle did not expect to be traded, reports of his availability notwithstanding.

I’m an old man. My name is going to come up every year,” Staley said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “I know no other place than this place. I didn’t even worry about it. I wasn’t going anywhere.”

The 32-year-old Staley added he did not check with Trent Baalke or another 49ers personnel executive after a Pro Football Talk report put his name on the trade block, with San Francisco hoping for a first-rounder in return, per Inman.

Here’s more from around the league, which is taking a backseat tonight to baseball’s 2016 finale.

  • Norv Turner‘s surprising resignation from his post as Vikings OC caught Mike Zimmer off-guard, but the veteran play-caller said he thinks this could spark a bottom-tier Minnesota offense. “I got the utmost respect for Mike. I think he’s as good a coach as I’ve been around. But it just got to the point where I didn’t think it was going to work with me. So I removed myself,” Turner said, via Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I truly think this move may end up being a positive thing for the Vikings. I just think they got a chance to get on the same page now. I don’t know how to describe that, but I think it could be the case.” A veteran of 42 years in the NFL, the 64-year-old Turner did not say he was retiring from coaching, telling Craig he will return to San Diego and weigh his options.
  • With Alex Smith banged up, Chiefs coach Andy Reid announced that Nick Foles will get the start on Sunday. The fourth-year Chiefs starter is symptom-free, according to Reid, who maintains the 32-year-old passer did not suffer a concussion. Foles has started 35 games in his five-year career, with the first six of those coming for the Reid-coached Eagles in 2012. The then-rookie went 1-5 in those starts. Against the Colts Sunday, Foles ignited Kansas City’s deep passing game, completing 3-of-4 passes of at least 21 yards. Smith’s 5-for-17 by that measure this season.
  • Some contributors who were afterthoughts upon catching on with their current teams in 2016 are poised to sign life-changing contracts in the coming offseason, with CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry identifying Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown as two players who have transformed their stocks at midseason. Joining a Corry-constructed contract-year list that includes Kenny Britt, Dont’a Hightower and Kawann Short, Pryor and Brown are making less than $3MM between them this season. Corry tabs the Browns wideout as being able to set Allen Hurns‘ $10MM-AAV deal as his benchmark, with the Bills’ — and the NFL’s — leading tackler looking in Corry’s view like he’ll be able to score a Danny Trevathan-esque deal (four years, $28MM). Brown signed a one-year, $1.25MM deal with the Bills and just turned 27.
  • A group of kickers including Zach Hocker, Kai Forbath, and Randy Bullock worked out for the Bengals this week, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. That’s a noteworthy audition given Mike Nugent‘s struggles. For now, it seems that Cincinnati is just updating its lists should Nugent’s issues continue.
  • The Jaguars worked out punter Cody Webster today, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Webster worked out for the Bears earlier this season. The former Purdue punter last kicked in a game for the 2013 Boilermakers.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Norv Turner Resigns As Vikings OC

Surprising news out of Minnesota as Norv Turner has resigned as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. The team announced that Pat Shurmur is taking over as interim offensive coordinator. The exact circumstances of Turner’s departure are not immediately clear. Turner has released the following statement:Norv Turner (vertical)

I have tremendous respect for [head coach] Mike Zimmer, our coaching staff, and our players and at this time I think it is in the best interest of the team to step down. I thank the Wilf family for my time here in Minnesota and want to see our players and coaches achieve success.”

The Vikings got off to a hot 5-0 start this year which was extra impressive considering the team’s unusual situation at quarterback. Since then, however, the Vikes have dropped their last two games. While Minnesota sits atop the NFC North, they have gotten there thanks in large part to their defense. Offensively, the team has left much to be desired in its seven games this season. Currently, the Vikings have the fifth-worst passing yards per game average in the league (221.4). Meanwhile, their running game (mostly without Adrian Peterson) has amassed just 71.9 yards per game, the second-worst average in the NFL.

Turner was in his third season as Minnesota’s OC. Over the years, Turner has built up quite the resume including head coaching stints with the Redskins, Raiders, and Chargers. While Turner has taken criticism from Vikings fans for his play calling, one has to wonder how different things might be if the team was at full strength. After all, this a club that has lost its top quarterback, top running back, and two starting tackles. Before those injuries, the team also saw veteran lineman Phil Loadholt retire.

Before today’s sudden promotion, Shurmur was serving as the Vikings’ tight ends coach. Shurmur served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2013-2015, so he has a history with quarterback Sam Bradford.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mort & Schefter: Trades, Romo, Turner, Lacy

Teams have started to make “exploratory phone calls” in advance of the NFL’s November 1 trade deadline, according to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. While the scribe duo notes that the NFL never seems the amount of trade activity that does the NBA or MLB, a few more deals could be made this season due to the influx of young general managers around the league. For a complete record of all the deals already consummated this year, check out PFR’s 2016 NFL Trade Tracker.

Here’s more from Mort and Schefter:

  • The Cowboys aren’t sure if they’ll bench rookie quarterback Dak Prescott once Tony Romo returns from injury, but Dallas has no interest in trading Romo at this time. Romo is unlikely to be healthy before the trading deadline, meaning no other club would feel safe dealing for the veteran, and the financial ramifications of such a move are untenable from the Cowboys’ perspective. Trading Romo right now would force nearly $32MM to immediately accelerate onto Dallas’ salary cap.
  • As many as two collegiate teams are eyeing Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner for a head coaching position, per Mortensen and Schefter, but it’s unclear if Turner would reciprocate such interest. Turner has never been a head coach in the NCAA, and was last involved in the collegiate ranks in 1984 as USC’s OC. He’s posted a career record of 114-122-1 as a head coach in the NFL.
  • Packers running back Eddie Lacy had ballooned back up to 255 to 265 pounds before being placed on injured reserve today, report the ESPN scribes. Lacy worked all offseason to get his weight down, but apparently the pounds had come back. Lacy will undergo ankle surgery and is likely out for the year, although he could conceivably return late in the season.