Finally, change in San Diego

Another hour, another massive change in the AFC West.

The Chargers just announced they have fired general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner.

Smith was in his role since 2003 and Turner was in his role since 2007. The Chargers went from one of the NFL’s better teams to a team that has not made the playoffs in the past three years.

Turner and Smith were expected to be fired last year, but ownership game them a reprieve. This year, the team had no choice; Turner and Smith had to go. These moves are among the least surprising in the NFL.

This move has been expected for several weeks. Jimmy Raye is a top candidate to replace Smith.

In an interesting development, the Chargers have hired former Oakland and Green Bay personnel guru Ron Wolf to help with the general manager search, along with owner Dean Spanos, his son John Spanos and cap man Ed McGuire, who will stay. That many mean that Raye is not a slam dunk. The general manager will then help hire a coach.

So, the Chargers will keep the power structure of the coach reporting to the general manager.

Here is a statement from San Diego owner Dean Spanos: “I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day. Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.”