Pressure point: Chargers

Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Chargers and why.

San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner have been and always will be linked.

They will succeed together in San Diego or probably will be fired together in 2012. Smith and Turner were expected to be fired after the Chargers failed to make the playoffs for a second straight time in 2011. If the Chargers miss the postseason again, both probably will be fired, barring a stunning chain of events.

Smith has done his job for 2012, and he had a strong free agency before the draft.

Now, it’s all up to Turner.

Arguably, no one in the AFC West faces more pressure than Turner this season. Every time the Chargers lose a game, Turner will be reminded of his tenuous job security. Every time one of his players makes a mistake, folks will wonder what Turner could have done to prevent it.

Turner knows the deal. He’s fine if he wins. If he loses, the pressure could lead to his departure from San Diego.