x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

San Diego and Jacksonville both after change in fortunes

The Chargers and the Jaguars, two sides who have under achieved heavily this season, meet tonight.

Norv Turner, right, the San Diego Chargers coach, is under pressure after a run of six defeats in a row.
Norv Turner, right, the San Diego Chargers coach, is under pressure after a run of six defeats in a row.

The San Diego Chargers (4-7) have lost six consecutive games, the franchise's longest losing streak in more than six years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) had a massive shake-up this week, dismissing Jack Del Rio, the coach, selling the team and making substantial roster and staff moves.

So it seems like a fitting NFL match-up tonight in Jacksonville, Florida. Two teams on opposite coasts that have been dealing with speculation about coaching changes and potential relocation for months, even years.

"As players you've got to block all that out," Philip Rivers, the Chargers quarterback, said. "Not just players, but everybody in the building, you've got to block all that out.

"People on the outside would tell you, 'Oh, this is the worst Monday Night Football game ever. Two teams, this and that.' But I guarantee you it's a big deal and it's important for the guys suited up."

It means a little bit more for the Jaguars these days.

Wayne Weaver, the owner, stunned the franchise by announcing on Tuesday he has agreed to sell the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan.

Weaver also dismissed Del Rio after eight-plus seasons, a move that had been expected.

Weaver said in January that Del Rio needed to make the play-offs to stick around for a 10th season.

As players were still dealing with the news, the interim coach/defensive coordinator Mel Tucker dismissed Johnny Cox, the receivers coach, reassigned Mike Sheppard, the quarterbacks coach, and waived Jason Hill, the starting receiver.

"This is a busy year to be a Jaguar," Maurice Jones-Drew, the running back, said. "In my six years, I've seen more than I think what most guys have seen in their whole career. So it's a wake-up call. It's definitely a class of Business 101.

In San Diego, the paying customers have called for Dean Spanos, the team president, to get rid of Norv Turner, the coach, and AJ Smith, the general manager.

Turner said: "If you came in here and looked at the way our guys prepare, I don't think you'd see it being a whole lot different than when we were on a six-game winning streak instead of on a six-game losing streak."

* Associated Press