Will McCafferty

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That truly is the question in the minds and hearts of so many loyal San Diego Chargers fans. Should I continue to show my loyalty and spend my money on a team that just tore my heart out and moved to Los Angeles of all places? Honestly, I can’t answer that for you. It is an individual decision that there is no wrong answer to. That’s right, I said there is no wrong answer. Despite the personal attacks against fans who are leaving the team and fans who are sticking with them, I say to you that everyone has the right to chose where they give their love and loyalty. All I can do is walk through the process that I went through and see if that helps you make the right decision for you.

You many have noticed that I didn’t write this article last week when the Chargers announced, via online letter (classless), that they are in fact leaving San Diego after 56 years. I was hurt. I was angry. I had a million thoughts in my mind that I had to sort through in order to figure out my next move. Who am I loyal to; the Chargers or San Diego? Whose fault is it? Do I hate Dean Spanos enough to change my loyalties to another team, or to no team at all?  Let’s take a look at how I answered those three questions and see what I came up with. Maybe it will help you decide as well, if you are on the fence.

Who am I loyal to; the Chargers or San Diego? That was a very difficult question for me to answer. I was born in San Diego in 1966. I continued to live there for the next 20 years, before moving away to go to college in San Bernardino, California. After college I moved around the Inland Empire and finally settled in the Temecula area, about an hour North of San Diego. Until recently, my parents lived in San Diego as well as both of my sisters and their families. So, even though I no longer lived down there, I had a lot of ties to the area and found myself visiting multiple times a year. Recently, my father passed away, my mother moved to Oregon, and one of my sisters moved to Oregon as well. The times, they are a changing.

I started rooting for the Chargers around the time Don Coryell took over in 1978. He brought an exciting brand of football that took me away from my early bandwagon ways. The final act that solidified my support and loyalty to the Bolts was the Holy Roller. I won’t insult you by telling you what that play was. I’m sure you already know. If not, go to youtube and check it out yourself. For the record, IT WAS AN INCOMPLETE FORWARD PASS!!!! Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, I was so upset that a team could get away with that kind of crap against my cities team. It was just wrong and I felt like my family and my city were cheated out of a chance at the playoffs and possibly making history. Once and for all, I was a Chargers fan for life! Or, was I a San Diego fan?

As the years went by, I found that anything San Diego was my favorite. I was a fan of all the local teams. I was passionate about the Padres. I liked the Clippers and the Aztecs. I wasn’t much into Nascar, or golf, or tennis or anything else, but if there was a San Diegan competing, I wanted that athlete to win. For the most part, I still do.

Then the Clippers moved to Los Angeles. What was I to do? Honestly, I was so tired of them losing that I took the opportunity to bail on Donald Sterling and the Clippers and changed my loyalty to the Lakers. As time rolled on, I experienced several championships and was happy about all of them. Happy….not ecstatic. I never reached the level of excitement that I believe I would have felt with a San Diego championship. Would I have enjoyed a Clippers championship in LA as much, or more, than a Lakers win? Hard to says, since the Clippers have not yet won anything.

So, my history shows that my love  and loyalty is with San Diego, but I am willing to embrace an LA team if that is the only option I have. That bodes well for the Chargers.

Whose fault is it? That answer is easy. It is EVERYONE’S fault! I would say that the Chargers ownership shoulders the majority of the blame. Followed closely by the City of San Diego and the embarrassing list of Mayors and city councilmen that had been tasked with the job of working something out with the City’s best argument for being a “major league city”. Now that the Chargers are gone, the Padres are the only major league team in town. Here’s hoping that the Padres youth movement can bring a sense of pride back to the city and it’s fans. That may take several years, however. But I digress.

As I said, Dean Spanos shoulders most of the blame. One of his biggest mistakes was the hiring of attorney Mark Fabiani. You see, Fabiani was a bully. It was his way or the highway for years. He insulted local politicians and fans alike. In my opinion, Fabiani did more to drive a wedge between the team and local government than anyone else involved. All along, Spanos could have put an end to what was obviously a bad strategy, but allowed Fabiani to be the tough guy. Here is a tip for anyone reading this who would like to get several hundred million dollars from the city. Are you ready? Here it is. Don’t be an ass! Sit down with officials and actually try to work something out. Yes, the Chargers tried in earnest for several years to no avail. But in recent years, it became more and more evident that the only way Spanos was staying in town was if he had the stadium handed to him on a silver platter. Once he was granted the option to move to LA, his entire focus became, how can we leave without looking bad? He failed at that too.

Dean’s bright idea was to ignore local government, create a measure that had no prayer of passing, and then acting disappointed when it didn’t pass. He even went so far as to say if the approval percentage had been over 50%, he would have committed to San Diego. Perhaps if he had shared that little tidbit of information, more people would have given it their stamp of approval? We’ll never know.

Looking past the government officials of years gone bye, let’s take a look at Mayor Faulconer. Some people seem to be giving him a pass, since he gave his endorsement of Measure C. But let us take a closer look. During the rather lack-luster campaign that the Chargers were rolling out before the vote, Mayor Faulconer was nowhere to be found. He had no comment and was no help. Finally, with just three weeks left, he said that he ironed out some details and now supports the measure. Three whole weeks. To top it all off, the Chargers approached the Mayor with a request that he do a commercial showing everyone that he was in support. That kind of coverage could swing a decent percentage of voters who may not be paying attention to the sports talk shows or pages. The Mayor refused to do the spot and went back into his hole. Obviously, this was his was of trying to get rid of the Chargers without looking at fault.

I tried to give Faulconer the benefit of the doubt until he immediately announced that he would be putting a measure on the 2018 ballot that would expand the convention center. Why is that concerning? Because he says that project will be funded by a four percent increase in the TOT tax. That is the same plan that the Chargers had to pay or their “convadium”. That explains why the Mayor took so long to get on board with Measure C. He needed that money for his own plan. Maybe the hoteliers will be behind this plan. (Don’t even get me started on them)

Even the fans carry a little of the blame. Sure, they could have voted for Measure C and the Chargers would have stayed. But, the county was not allowed to vote and that took a toll on the number of fans involved. Also, there were serious concerns on how the measure would effect traffic downtown. The only real negative toward the fans is the large number of fans who have taken to selling their tickets online. Those sales caused The Q to look like an away game many weeks of the season for the last several years. That was topped off by approximately 55,000 Raiders fans infesting Qualcomm shortly before Dean Spanos had to make his decision. Now let me backtrack a little by saying, if the Chargers had put a winning product on the field, the seats would have been filled with Chargers fans.

Do I hate Dean Spanos enough to change my loyalties to another team, or to no team at all? Time will tell, but I don’t think so. Yes, I have no love for Dean Spanos. I think it is terrible that he tore the fabric of San Diego apart by taking his team away. I do give him credit for bringing this problem up 16 years ago, only to be ignored by the city. I give him credit for bring multiple plans to the city in hopes of getting some cooperation, to no avail. That being said, I don’t believe that he wanted to stay any longer and wanted a way out.

Let’s look at the choices. Do I want to start rooting for another team? Well, who would that team be? When the Clippers left, I rooted for the next closest NBA team. If I did that, I would be rooting for the Rams. I can’t justify rooting for the Rams after what they did to their St. Louis fans, and their Orange County fans before that. They are not the poster children for loyalty to a city.

So what other California teams are there? The Forty-Niners come to mind. No. Just, no.

Finally, there is the Oakland Raiders. Honestly, there is no way in hell that I will become a Raiders fan. They are the mortal enemy of the Chargers and they too are not loyal to their cities. They move or threaten to move with the regularity of a healthy man on Miralax. Not to mention that they are planning a move to Las Vegas as we speak.

How about rooting for a team out of state? The Cardinals aren’t far away! This is true. However, I couldn’t give a flying rat’s behind about the Cardinals. They too left St. Louis in my lifetime, they are not even in California, and I won’t be able to listen to local talk radio discus my team. Doesn’t sound very fun to me. Then again, that would give me an excuse to stop listening to that clown Dan Sileo in the mornings. Again, I digress.

Of course there are traditional winning franchises like the Patriots and the Steelers. Again, they just don’t move the needle for me. Great franchises, but no connection. Moving on.

That leaves me two options. Giving up on the NFL, or staying with the Chargers. Personally, I really enjoy NFL football. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should stand on higher moral ground and not support a league that obviously is only about their profit and doesn’t care about the fans or the safety of their players. I suppose that is all true, but dang-it, I really enjoy NFL football and I really enjoy having a team to root for.

It has become obvious to me that the only logical answer I have for myself is to stick with the Chargers. Yes, the Los Angeles Chargers. Who knows? I may change my mind when the games start, but as for now, I’m supporting my team. Let’s be honest, there has never once been a day where I have uttered the words, “I hope they win this one for Dean!” I am here for the players and my own enjoyment. That’s supposed to be what this is all about. It is a game that is designed to be enjoyed by the masses. I personally cannot enjoy it without a dog in the fight (my apologies to Michael Vick).

Getting back to where I started this therapy session, your choice may be different and that is okay too. To each his/her own. Good luck with whomever you choose to follow (except the Raiders).

Thanks for reading. Comment below and tell me where your loyalty lies. #GOCHARGERS

Will McCafferty

 

 

 

 

 

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It is no secret that the San Diego Chargers are on the hunt for a new head coach. Yes, Mike McCoy has worn out his welcome and has been shown the door. As Chargers coaches go, he wasn’t anywhere near the worst. Nor was he near the best. Some give him the excuse that injuries handcuffed McCoy and made it impossible to win. There is an element of truth to that statement, but the fact that he still showed poor game management and lacked any kind of personality didn’t help his argument for staying on and at least finishing his contract. No, McCoy had to go and a new coach must be ushered in. In fact, I would be so bold as to say that this hire may be the most important decision that the Bolts have moving forward. More important then who they re-sign, who they draft, and as far as wins and losses go, where they play.

Judging by the list of candidates that the Chargers have lined up, it appears that the upper management may want a defensive minded coach. In fact, the first three candidates interviewed were all current defensive coordinators. History shows that building a team with the attitude of a defensive mind has worked well for the Chargers. I know what you are thinking, if you are old enough to remember, “The Chargers earned their stripes as an offensive juggernaut!” Well that is true, but that style has not worked in decades. The last two coaches who truly built a formidable contender were both defensive minded; Bobby Ross and Marty Schottenheimer.

Taking a look at all 15 former head coaches of the San Diego Chargers, you will see that only six have a winning record. Here is the list of former coaches, when they coached, their record and winning percentages:

Sid Gilman                                    ’60-’69 & ’71            87-57-6         .600

Charlie Waller                              ’69-’70                       9-7-3              .553

Harland Svare                              ’71-73                         7-17-2            .307

Ron Waller                                    ’73                              1-5                  .166

Tommy Prothro                           ’74-78                        21-39             .350

Don Coryell                                  ’78-’86                      72-60             .545

Al Saunders                                  ’86-’88                      17-22             .436

Dan Henning                                ’89-’91                       16-32             .333

Bobby Ross                                   ’92-’96                       50-36            .581

Kevin Gilbride                              ’97-’98                       6-16                .272

June Jones                                     ’98                              3-7                  .300

Mike Riley                                      ’99-01                        14-34             .292

Marty Schottenheimer              ’02-’06                      47-33             .588

Norv Turner                                  ’07-’12                       59-43             .578

Mike McCoy                                   ’13-’17                        28-38            .424

As you  can clearly see, it has been a long time since an offensive mindset has been successful for the Chargers. Sid Gilman was the only coach to ever lead the Chargers to a championship and he was most definitely an offensive coach. But Gilman was doing things offensively with the passing game that had never been done before. Defenses had not had time to adjust to his aerial circus.

Sure, Norv Turner had the fourth best winning percentage of any Chargers coach in history, but it is widely understood that he inherited a great roster from Schottenheimer and systematically burned it to the ground in just a few years.

Yes, Don Coryell is a legend and had one of the best offenses in NFL history! But, the lack of importance placed on the defense in those years doomed his teams to falling short of their ultimate goal. Now, the same thing could be said about Schottenheimer and the post-season. He did indeed fail in the post-season as well, even with his defensive mindset. That is true, but let’s not forget that Marty was fired with a 14-2 record and a roster that could still be dominant for years to come. He was not given the chance to run the full course. We will never know what could have been.

As previously stated, it does appear to be time for a new sheriff in town. Not just a new face saying the same old garbage. The Chargers need a new face, with a new attitude. An attitude of accountability and determination. An attitude of winning is what matters, not excuses. If they fail to find the right man for the job, look for beloved players like Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates to end their potential Hall of Fame careers without any jewelry to show for it. It’s now or never for those great Chargers.

Whether the Chargers go with an offensive or defense coach, or even a special teams guy, there is one thing that they need to do above all else……GET IT RIGHT!

 

 

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So, I’ve been reading lots of comments about how we should hire either Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. Let’s take a look at both candidates and a few other names that have been mentioned by Chargers fans.

 

Jon Gruden: Personally, I don’t get it. I don’t see Gruden as a great coach who can walk in and save the day. After two minutes of research, I found that Jon Gruden has a career coaching record of 95-81 (.540). He coached for 11 years. He had a record of 5-4 in the playoffs with one Super Bowl win. His best single season record was 12-4 and his worst was 4-12.

 
Gruden’s record shows that he is an adequate coach who can win with the right players. I believe his reputation as a tough guy (Chucky) and his recognizable name are the two reasons he is considered a “sexy” pick.

 
Bill Cowher: A much better choice, in my humble opinion. He has a career record of 149-90-1 (.623). He coached for 15 years. He was 12-9 in the post-season with two trips to the Super Bowl with one victory and one loss. His best single season record was 15-1 and his worst was 6-10. There are two knocks that go against Cowher. 1. He is too old. 2. He has a cushy job and doesn’t want to leave it.

 

I don’t buy number one. He is 59 years old. That is not old in coach years. He just retired young. Number two, on the other hand, I totally believe. I don’t think he would want to leave his TV gig for the grind of the NFL. Also, if he came back and failed, it would tarnish his legacy.

 

Let’s just move from both of these guys. If Cowher says he wants the job, I’m fine with that. But I don’t think he will. If Gruden wants the job, I would not be excited.

 
For comparison’s sake, Bill Belichick’s winning percentage is .670 and Norv Turner’s winning percentage with San Diego was .583 with a career percentage of .483.

Other names being talked about by Chargers fans on social media:

Rex Ryan: Coached for eight years so far. Record of 60-65 (.480). Playoff record of 4-2 with no Super Bowl appearances. Best record 11-5, worst 4-12

David Shaw: No NFL head coaching experience. .788 winning percentage while at Stanford.

Ken Whisenhunt: Head coach for eight years. Overall record of 48-71 (.403). Post-season record 4-2 with one trip to the Super Bowl (loss). Best record 10-6. Worst 2-14.

Sean Payton: Head coach for 10 years. Career record of 92-65 (.586). Post-season record 6-4 with one Super Bowl victory. Best record 13-3 (twice). Worst 7-9.

Mike McCoy: Head coach for four years. Career record of 27-34 (.443). Post-season record 1-1 with zero trips to the Super Bowl. Best record 9-7. Worst 4-12.

 

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The best piece of advice I can give a sports fan is this: cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

No matter how wonderful a player is on or off the field, someday either the team or the player will make the difficult decision to go a different direction. The team remains, but the players go through the never ending revolving doors known as free agency and retirement. Remember the aforementioned advise when you look at the following list of fan favorites and impact players who are on the last year of their contracts with the Chargers. Here is the list of the players who may leave at seasons end. The departure of some will leave a hole in the team. The departure of others will leave a hole in fans hearts. So as I crank up The Clash in the background, let’s take a look at who should stay and who should go, as well as what they are making for the 2016 season.

Melvin Ingram (OLB) $7.751 million: Staying: Although Ingram has had to deal with injuries and has under achieved in a statistical way, the future of Ingram seems bright. The addition of Joey Bosa has made this pair of pass-rushers quite a handful for offensive lines. The sack totals are not as impressive as their AFC West rivals, but the fact that the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is a sure sign that these guys are putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. For a defensive front seven to be effective in today’s NFL, there must be two dominant pass rushers and a strong Nose Tackle. Ingram, Bosa and Mebane fit the bill for now. Ingram will be pursued by other teams, but expect the Chargers to overpay a little to keep their former first round draft pick around for the next three to four years.

Danny Woodhead (RB) $5.5 million: Going: I want to be clear about something here. Danny Woodhead is a wonderful player who can be a spark-plug for an offense, and a true leader. But along with his greatness is a serious problem. Since joining the Chargers, Woodhead has only played in 37 of the 64 games he was eligible to participate in. He has had two full seasons and two cut seriously short by injury, including the 2016 campaign. Not only does Woodhead have a hard time staying healthy, he is 31 years old. Not many running backs maintain their effectiveness for long after age 30. I’m sorry to say, the Chargers will move on from Woodhead. He will either sign somewhere as a free agent for the 2017 season, or hang up the cleats. Of course, there is the possibility that the Chargers would try to sign him at a discounted price on the chance that he will stay healthy. Unfortunately, he will most likely find a better offer somewhere else.

Mantai Te’o (MLB) $5.172 million: Going: Te’o is another player who has been plagued by injuries during his time in San Diego. By seasons end, he will have played in just 38 of a possible 64 games, over his four season tenure with the Bolts. He has been improving every year, and the improvement of the defensive line has helped him scrape down the line and get to ball carriers. But, it hasn’t helped his foot-speed, or ability to cover backs in the flat. Look for opposing quarterbacks to pick on Te’o on third and long. The fact is, Te’o will go down in Chargers history as a borderline bust. Nice enough guy, just not a great football player.

Jahleel Addae (SS) $2.553 million: Going: Chargers fans seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for SS Jahleel Addae. Why? Because he is a hitter! Fans love players who come in and lay some hat on opposing teams. Addae certainly does just that. He has been a Charger for four years and has quite the reputation for having no fear. The problem is that all those hits have really taken a toll on Addae’s body. In fact, he has had several injuries, including concussions. Having only played 43 of his possible 54 games so far as a Charger, there must be concern that he will spend more and more time on the injured list. He is fairly inexpensive, but you do not want to pay anyone to ride out injuries. I believe that if Addae fails to get through the remaining five games of the 2016 schedule without incident, the Chargers will have no choice but to let him go.

Branden Oliver (RB) $1.53 million: Staying: Normally I would have said that a player who really hasn’t done very much, and has missed an entire season to injury, would not be returning. In Oliver’s case, I think the Chargers may take one more chance. He is the epitome of a fan favorite. Bolt fans just love watching Oliver run/return the ball and bang into those large defenders. Yes, Oliver plays larger than his 5’8″, 208 lb frame. He is such a fan favorite, some fans wanted Melvin Gordon either cut, or dropped to second string, so that Oliver could get his chance. The fact of the matter is that despite a few impressive games, Oliver does not have the stats to explain the love he receives. That being said, the Bolts may just bring him back because he will be cheap and the fans love him.

Korey Toomer (OLB) $600,000: Staying: It could be a little premature to add Toomer to this list, but he has been an impact player since joining the team in week four. With his playing time increasing, Toomer has racked up 33 tackles in the last three weeks! He is an aggressive player who likes to hit. The Seahawks and the Raiders are going to regret letting this guy go. Look for Toomer to get another two the three years added to his already very affordable contract.

Dontrelle Inman (WR) $600,000: Staying: Without a whole lot of playing time, Inman has managed to have some big games. He is a sure-handed receiver that was plucked from the Canadian Football League to fill in for injured receivers. Although much of the success of the young Chargers receivers can be credited to Philip Rivers, there is no denying that Inman has the ability to get open and catch the ball. He just may be part of a talented youth movement at wide receiver in San Diego.

There are many more players to make decisions on at the end of this season. Very few are notable. None are tremendous impact players or former high draft picks. Even though these names seem less important, some of them will return because they are affordable and they add much needed depth. The following is a list of players who will most likely be brought back to fill various roles: Mike Windt (LS), Tenny Palepoi (NT), Sean McGrath (TE), Damion Square (NT), and Isaiah Burse (WR/KR), Kenny Wiggens (G).

Finally, the list of potential free agents who are either doomed to be shown the door, or will fight hard and get back on the team: Sean Lissemore (NT), Tourek Williams (OLB), Trevor Williams (CB), Asante Cleveland (TE), Adrian Phillips (FS), Kellen Clemens (QB), Javontee Herndon (WR), Codero Law (OLB), Jeff Cumberland (TE), Dexter McCluster (RB/KR), Ronnie Hillman (RB),  Jeremy Butler (WR), Geremy Davis (WR), Tyreek Burwell (T), Chris Landrum (OLB). Some of these guys have a real shot at making the team next year, they just will not be high priorities for Chargers GM Tom Telesco.

So, what do you think? Which of these guys will be sporting lightning bolts next season? Leave your comments below.

 

 

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I don’t know about you, but if I have a great vacation planned on Monday, I have a hard time focusing on being productive at work on Friday. Someone better say or do something to keep me focused on my job or I might as well stay home. Apparently, the Chargers players feel the same way. Since Mike McCoy took over as Head Coach (HC) of the Chargers, the team is 1-3 the week before the bye. Their only win coming against a very poor Jacksonville team. So, am I suggesting that coaching has something to do with the team losing focus? You bet I am! Taking a look at recent Chargers history, it seems the better the coach, the better the team stays focused the week before the bye.

So let us take a look at the last three Chargers coaches and see how each one did before the bye. We will go in reverse order, starting with Mike McCoy. This is McCoy’s fourth season as the Chargers Head Coach. He has had four opportunities to go to the bye with momentum. He has squandered three of those opportunities. Time to take a look at McCoy’s 1-3 pre-bye record:

Year          Week          Opponent                    W/L          Score

2016          10                Dolphins                        L              24-31

2015           9                 Bears                               L              19-24

2014           9                 Dolphins                        L               0-37

2013           7                 Jaguars                           W              24-6

Those are not exactly juggernauts that the Bolts fell to the last three years. Although the Chargers are not to be confused with a team that contends for the championship each season, they are certainly good enough to win against this competition. It appears to this viewer that the Chargers do not come out to play going into a bye under Mike McCoy.

Okay, so maybe the players are mentally fishing, hunting, or golfing while they await permission to leave for vacation. Is that really on Mike McCoy? Not completely, but in my humble opinion he should shoulder much of the blame.

Despite the negative opinion that most Chargers fans have about former HC, Norv Turner, I think most would agree that he was better than McCoy. Turner did lead the team to as high as a 12-4 record during his tenure. Yes, he did have a very nice roster to work with, but he still had to coach and motivate the team. Turner’s record going into a bye very much resembles the average coach that he was. Norv teams were 3-3 the day before vacation. Here is the breakdown:

2012          6               Broncos                           L                24-35

2011           5              Broncos                           W               29-24

2010          9              Texans                             W               29-23

2009         4              Steelers                            L                28-38

2008         8              Saints                               L                32-37

2007          6              Raiders                           W               28-14

Now let us take a peak at a coach who was considered a winner, a disciplinarian, and a leader. Yes, Marty Schottenheimer was the Chargers HC for five seasons. Schottenheimer was known for not allowing his players to lose focus. He kept his players accountable. They knew that if they slacked off, they would be invited to watch the rest of the game from the bench. It is no coincidence that his record going into a bye was excellent. Here is what Marty accomplished:

2006         2             Titans                               W                 40-7

2005         9             Jets                                   W                 31-26

2004         9             Saints                               W                43-17

2003         5             Jaguars                             L                   21-27

2002         7             Raiders                             W                27-21

Sure enough, the Chargers, under Schottenheimer were a very respectable 4-1 heading into a bye. Before you start talking about how great the players were in Marty’s day, remember he had teams that went 8-8, 4-12 and 9-7 to go along with his 12-4 and 14-2 teams.

In this writer’s opinion, there is no doubt that a coaches ability to keep his team motivated and focused on the goal at hand, rather than their upcoming vacation, is paramount to a team’s success. What is your opinion? Please leave your comments below. I’ll get back to you. #gobolts!

 

 

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Currently, the San Diego Chargers are showing signs of improvement. Despite many injured, “stars”, the makeshift team has taken the field and beaten the reigning Super Bowl champions and then followed that up by squeezing out a victory over the Atlanta Falcons and their number one rated offense. Yes, Chargers fans have reason to feel excited about the future of this team. Who knows, maybe there is a chance for Philip Rivers to win a ring before he retires, without trading him away. Time will tell.

 
One thing most fans don’t consider is that if this teams continues to play well, Head Coach Mike McCoy, or, “McNorv” as some fans call him, will not only survive the season, he will most likely get an extension! Remember, when fans were screaming for the departure of Norv Turner, he received an extension.

 
One thing NFL teams do not like to do is have a lame-duck coach. Whenever a coach is on the last year of his contract, the front office worries that the team will not listen to him and will not buy into his system anymore. After all, why learn from a guy who is on his way out the door?

 
For McCoy, there is one more year on his contract after this season. Many fans do not expect him to survive the season. After the last two victories, it appears he has saved his job, at least until the bye week. More than likely, he has saved his job for the rest of the season. If the Chargers continue to improve and end the season at .500 or better, expect Coach McCoy to be locked into another two, to three years.

 
We should be honest, if Coach McCoy turns this team full of rookies and backups into a playoff team, or at least a winner, he probably deserves an extension! (That was painful to type)
Looking around the NFL, it is obvious that some teams have different philosophies when it comes to making coaching changes. The Cleveland Browns have had 18 different coaches since 1969. Even the great Bill Belichick couldn’t win there. He left with a dismal record of 36-44. The Browns front office decided it was his fault and cut him loose. Now, with the Patriots, he has a record of 193-70, and a handful of rings.

 
The Steelers, on the other hand, do not like to change coaches. They have had just three coaches since 1969. The three of them have totaled a record of 726-290 and six championships between them. It seems there is something to be said for continuity.

 
Our Chargers have had 14 different coaches in the same time span. In all those years, our Bolts have made it to the Super Bowl one time and have no jewelry to show for it. Perhaps it is not so much the coaches, but more on the players. Then again, Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner had some great talent on their teams and never made it to the big show. I suppose that is what makes the decision to fire a coach so difficult.

 
I do not know the answer, so you tell me: Should the Chargers fire Mike McCoy? If so, when? Or, assuming the team ends this season .500 or better, should the Chargers offer McCoy an extension? If you go by recent decisions made by the Chargers front office, I think an extension is more likely than a firing. Leave your answer below and I’ll get back to you.

Do you remember what is was like to simply be happy with a Chargers victory? Those good ol’ days when it didn’t matter if your Bolts won 3-2 or 50-0. You were just thrilled that they left the field with a “W”. If you are like many Chargers fans these days, those feelings are long gone.

 
Maybe it is because you know more about football then you did when you were young. Maybe it is because you have been a Chargers fan so long that you are tired of playing a certain type of football that you know will not yield you a Super Bowl ring at season’s end. Maybe it is just because you have been disappointed so many times, that you refuse to let your guard down. Whatever the reason, many Chargers fans cannot enjoy victories. They must pick the game apart and focus on the negative.

 
I’ll be the first to admit, that I fit that description for many years. I clearly remember commenting after wins, “Sure we won, but if we play like that against a good team, we don’t stand a chance.” Or, “We didn’t win. The other team lost.”

 
It is fair to feel that way. Too many times in the past, the Chargers have gotten their fans hopes high, only to crush them like one of Gallagher’s watermelons. Be honest, it is not easy to be a Chargers fan.

 
All that may be true, but I think it is time to change our way of thinking. We are talking about the NFL. A league where on any given Sunday, (almost) any team can beat any other team. Winning a game is a difficult thing to do! That should be evident by the Chargers 4-12 record last season.

 
Look at this season. The Chargers seemingly should be 6-0 right now. They should be the talk of the NFL, for all the right reasons. Instead, they serve as a punchline for jokes and the guinea pig for various studies. What a difference a few plays can make.

 
So, why should you try to put your cynicism behind you and appreciate every win your favorite team manages to secure? Because right now, you are looking into the future. The Chargers are playing games with kids all over the field. They just beat the reigning Super Bowl champions, with six of the eight players who were just drafted month ago! Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Jatavis Brown, and Drew Kaser (yes, that Drew Kaser) all were impact players in that win. Fourth-round pick Joshua Perry and sixth-round pick Derek Watt also participated in significant snaps and made some plays as well. That bodes quite well for the future of this team.

 
Going back to the 2015 draft, players like Melvin Gordon, Denzel Perryman, Craig Mager, Kyle Emmanuel, and even Darius Philon are all still with the Chargers and are important players moving forward.

 
What I am saying is that 12 of the last 14 players drafted by the Chargers are playing important snaps for the 2016 team and the team is competing every week. Sure, they are struggling to close out games. They are kids! Yes, it could be that they are not playing for a coach who can take them to the next step as well. That problem is a lot easier to solve than trying to replace failed draft picks.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Some of these young kids are playing because of need more than because they beat someone out. Injuries have forced the Chargers to play kids before they may be ready. Ready or not, these kids just beat the Broncos. That should be celebrated!

 
Do yourself a favor. Watch these games with your heart, rather than your head. All that matter at the end of the day is who has more points on the scoreboard. There will be plenty of time for us to mope and complain about heart-breaking losses. It feels good to celebrate the wins. So take off your annalists hat and go back to being a fan. You will probably live longer too. Remember, the longer you live, the more chances you have to see our Chargers hoisting up that Lombardi trophy!

 
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments below. I will be sure to get back to you.
Go Bolts!! #VoteYesOnC
Will McCafferty

Bosa8

“Bosa better get three sacks and a forced fumble against the Raiders!” This is an actual quote from a Chargers fan on Facebook earlier this week. This fan is completely serious! Here is another good one; “Bosa doesn’t want to play. He is a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf!”

My answer to both of these quotes is the same. For God’s sake, will you just stop already! Take a breath and quit pretending you know anything about the situation. You are not in the trainers room when they are working with Bosa. You are not in the coaches office when they are deciding if Bosa should practice in pads, or continue to limit his duties. Finally, you are not inside the brain of the Chargers first round pick. You have no idea if he wants to play, or if he is just happy to get paid. If you are freaking out over this whole situation, perhaps you are in a little too deep.  Pull back on the reigns and let the situation unfold and not judge the kid on what he has not done. In other words, chill-out already!

Okay, now that is out of my system, so let us take a look at what is fair to expect from Mr. Joey Bosa.

First of all, do not expect him to play 50 snaps. He cannot be in football shape right now, so he will most likely be limited to around 20 snaps or fewer. They may be desperate enough to send him out there more often, but if they do, he will fatigue early and vanish in the box score in the second half. Something to keep in mind is that Joey Bosa has not played a complete football game since Saturday, November 28, 2015, when his Buckeyes destroyed Michigan 42-13. He was scheduled to play a bowl game in January of 2016, but he was ejected early, ending his college career. I do not think it is fair to expect much from a guy who hasn’t played football in almost a year, even if he did hold out and alienate himself from many Chargers fans.

As for sacks, who knows? It is quite possible that he will get a sack, or even two! It is also quite possible that he will end the day with zero sacks. That would be okay, as long as he managed to get pressure on the quarterback (QB) and disrupt the pocket. That kind of play will not show up in the stats, but it is a huge part of the game. Pressuring the quarterback is responsible for many of the interceptions thrown in the NFL today. The Raiders offensive line is not considered elite by any means. That tells me that Bosa could have success on obvious passing downs when he can focus on getting to the QB. But remember, if he has too much success, they will add a second blocker and most likely shut him down. If that happens, look for others to be able to find success in the sack department. That would still make it a positive start for Bosa, even if others were accumulating the statistics.

Finally, as for forced fumbles, that is not something we can predict with any certainty. Last I checked, Ryan Mathews does not play for the Raiders so fumbles are far from certain. Okay, that was a cheap shot. Moving on.

Now, all that being said, I do appreciate the level of frustration that fans feel after what was an excruciating and embarrassing contract dispute. Try to remember that he was a young man trying to trust his parents and his agent. The Chargers had plenty of blame in that situation as well.

Try to have patience. Remember, winning football games is the most important thing. Hopefully, Joey Bosa can help with that.

Oh, as for that, “..bigger bust than Leaf” comment. That isn’t even worth discussing. There will never be another draft pick that will have the negative impact on a team that Ryan Leaf had on the Chargers.

Go Bolts! #VoteYesOnC

Will McCafferty

 

riversbrees

 

 

Let us begin with one seemingly simple, yet frequently argued truth: the Chargers made the right decision when they let Drew Brees get away.

Those with 20/20 hindsight see how great Brees became and know that he won a ring with New Orleans. They look at his accomplishments after leaving San Diego and compare them to the success, or lack thereof, of the Chargers under Rivers, and envy the fans of the Saints.

That being said, be honest with yourself, Drew Brees was seriously injured in his last game in San Diego and, quite frankly, his performance with the Chargers was average at best.

Please allow me to refresh your memory.

During the Brees’ tenure in San Diego, he was very hit-or-miss. In his first season, he sat the bench and learned behind fan-favorite Doug Flutie. In his sophomore year, 2002, he won the starting role, but was only able to throw for a little over 3200 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, adding two fumbles. Not bad for a first-year starter, but he lead the team to a middling 8-8 record.

Brees came back as the starter in 2003 and only amassed 2100 yards with 11 touchdowns, 15 picks, and four fumbles. He was benched by then head coach Marty Schottenheimer and replaced by Flutie. Despite the efforts of Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the team ended up just 4-12 that season. With Brees seemingly heading in the wrong direction, the Chargers’ brain trust decided that it was time to draft a quarterback.

Enter Philip Rivers.

In 2004, Brees could see the writing on the wall. The Chargers traded for Philip Rivers on draft day and he was the heir apparent to the starting QB job.

Brees’ days were numbered indeed.

Fortunately for Drew, Philip decided to hold out for more money and missed most of training camp. Coach Schottenheimer decided that he could not afford to start their new $40 MIL rookie and put Brees back in his familiar role.

Well, one thing we all know about Drew Brees in current times is that when his back is against the wall, he will come out fighting. He went on to throw for over 3100 yards with 27 touchdowns, against just 7 interceptions and four fumbles. This was by far his most productive season, as he lead his team to an amazing 12-4 record.

What do you do with a quarterback who just lead your team from worst to first in a single year? You start him the next year!

The 2005 campaign rolls around and Rivers is sent to the bench once more. That holdout is proving very costly to the sophomore QB. This was the last season on Brees’ contract. Something had to be decided by the end of the year. Two quarterbacks’ futures were on the line as the season wore on. Brees was quite inconsistent in 2005. He amassed just under 3600 yards and 24 touchdowns, but his interceptions ballooned back up to 15 and his fumbles up to eight!

The decision was going to be tough.

With the team going 9-7 and Brees showing signs of greatness along with signs of ineptitude, no one was sure whom the Chargers would keep.

Word was leaked out that general manager AJ Smith wanted to keep Rivers. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer liked Brees.

Who would win the job?

As it turned out, that difficult decision was made quite easy. Despite many who thought Brees should not play the meaningless final game of the season, Schottenheimer decided he should. Many speculated that Brees got the start because Schottenheimer did not want to showcase what Rivers could do and keep AJ Smith from offering Brees a contract extension.

Whatever the reason was, it backfired in a big way.

While attempting to recover a fumble, Brees suffered a severely torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. This injury is not considered an automatic career-ender, but many do not return with the same arm strength. Brees was not considered a strong-armed QB to begin with, so the thought of him coming back weaker was not attractive. Also, the thought of letting go of their $40 MIL bonus baby was eating away at AJ Smith.

Smith made the call. With Brees’ numbers declining and it being impossible to determine if and when he would recover from his injury, it was time to part ways; thus opening the door for Philip Rivers, who lead the Chargers to a 14-2 record the following season.

With Rivers and Tomlinson playing at an extremely high level, it was obvious that Smith made the right call. Hell, even the Dolphins, who brought Brees in for a workout, refused to sign him. They opted instead for aging veteran Daunte Culpepper. That proved to be an extremely poor decision.

Yet again, when you tell the undersized Drew Brees that he can’t do something, he gets determined to prove you wrong. Brees rehabbed his shoulder and came back stronger than ever before. The New Orleans Saints decided to take a shot and signed him as their new starting QB. Just four years later, Drew Brees was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high in the air and celebrating his Super Bowl victory with the Saints. He was the king of New Orleans and the top passer in the NFL.

Sunday, October 2, 2016, Drew Brees returns to his roots. He will once again grace the field at Qualcomm stadium in front of thousands of adoring fans who think about what could have been.

You see, Drew Brees didn’t leave San Diego in an ugly fashion. There may have been no love lost between Brees and the Chargers’ front office, but with the community, all was well. In fact, Brees still lives in San Diego in the offseason and is a pillar of the community.

There is no question that the success that Brees has seen in his brilliant career in New Orleans has helped revisionist historians question the decision to let him go. That being said, what choice did the Chargers have? Keep an ailing, undersized, average quarterback? Or, give the young stud who they had invested so heavily his opportunity to shine?

In reality, the decision worked out for both teams. Brees found the perfect situation, team, city and coach to allow his skills to flourish. Rivers stepped in and quickly made fans believers. In fact, they are both considered to be future Hall of Fame QBs by many experts.

My question is, if Brees did not get injured, would he ever have had the chip on his shoulder that allowed him to build up his strength and become a far stronger and more deadly quarterback than he was in his first five years?

We will never know the answer to that question, so the debate goes on.

Thanks for reading. Please  leave your comments below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Go Bolts! #VoteYesOnC

Will McCafferty

Danny+Woodhead 2

 

 

Before you get out the torches and pitchforks and start hunting me down, allow me to explain how Danny Woodhead’s knee injury could actually be used as a positive from this point on. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Danny. He is a very good running back; extremely valuable as a runner, a receiver, and a blocker for Philip Rivers. He has had a fine career with the Chargers and I am sad to see him lost for the season. I know what you are thinking. “If he is so good, how can his injury be a positive for the team?” Allow me to explain.

 

With losing Woodhead for the season, Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will be forced to become better, more aggressive coaches. If you watched the week one game against the Chiefs, you saw that the play calling was completely differently in the second half than in the first. In the first half, the 2015 first round draft pick Melvin Gordon was given the bulk of the load and pounded the ball down the field. Twice he even got into the end zone. He looked like a completely different back than he was last year.

 

In the second half, Gordon’s role essentially vanished. Woodhead’s number was called upon for almost the entire second half. Why Woodhead? Because he is trustworthy. Coach McCoy remembers the fumble issues that Gordon had last season and did not want to risk a turnover in a game where the Chargers had a big lead. So, Gordon to the bench and Woodhead on the field; playing a role that does not suit him — the “every down back”.

 

Delayed draws out of the shotgun formation became the play of the half as they went with it time and time again. Although Woodhead was able to move the ball fairly successfully for much of the half, he was unable to punch it into the end zone. His presence did not make the defense fear the run, so pass coverage tightened up and pressure on Rivers picked up as well – a bad combination to say the least. We all know how that game turned out. McCoy and Whisenhunt played timid, cautious offense in an attempt not to lose. This plan did not work and KC made it all the way back to win the game in overtime.

 

Let’s move to last week’s game against what most people consider a team going in the right direction, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Again, Gordon started out getting the majority of the carries and punished the Jaguars’ defense play after play. Woodhead was doing what he does best. He was basically a third down back who can protect the quarterback and catch outlet passes out of the backfield. Unfortunately, one of those passes lead to his knee giving out, tragically ending his season.

 

Now what?

 

Melvin Gordon, that’s what! McCoy and Whisenhunt had no real choice but to keep Gordon in the game, even with a big lead, and letting him pound the rock. He continued his effective play and actually tallied his first 100 yard rushing game in his short NFL career. Oh, and by the way, he hasn’t fumbled yet! That second half should go far as to gaining trust from the coaches moving forward.

 

As long as Gordon stays healthy, there is no reason to believe that he cannot be trusted to keep defenses honest and take a lot of pressure off of Rivers. If Melvin continues to be as effective as he has started out, this could be a classic story of someone going from goat to hero in one season. A story that might never have been told if Woodhead was still there to allow McCoy and company to play it safe.

 

Of course this goes without saying, but Gordon can’t play every snap for the entire game. That would be asking to get him hurt. So who else can step in to give Gordon a breather? Let’s take a look:

 

Kenneth Farrow: Farrow had a very nice preseason and earned his way on the roster. With Woodhead’s injury forcing him on the field against Jacksonville, Farrow carried the ball four times for a total of 13 yards. Not an earth shattering debut, but it is a very small sample size. What fans need to remember is that the impressive numbers he put up in the preseason were against second and third string defenders; running vanilla game plans. If he gets the call, he would be facing the best of every opponent. The sledding will be a lot more difficult. Time will tell if the Bolts have a player in Farrow.

Andre Williams: Personally, I’m excited to see what this kid can do. He is a strong, bruising back who can get the short yards that are so important on third downs and late in the game. Last season his production tailed off significantly which is why the Giants let him go. Before that, however, he had a good rookie campaign. The team from America’s finest city is hoping that the Giants made a mistake and will catch lightning in a bottle.

Dexter McCluster: McCluster is the guy the Chargers brought in to replace Woodhead; capable as a runner and receiver. He is also a solid kickoff and punt returner. He is fast on his feet and so quick that he often makes people miss. Obviously, he has not played at the level of a Danny Woodhead, or he would not have been cut by the Chiefs and the Titans. My hope is that he will play as a full-time kick returner so that starting wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, can give up that position and avoid unnecessary collisions. With Keenan Allen out for the season, it is vital that Benjamin stays healthy.

This week, the Chargers play the league’s 32nd ranked defense against the run – the Indianapolis Colts. This is another golden opportunity for Gordon and company to get many carries and gain even more confidence. We have to face the facts: Danny Woodhead is done for the year. He is also on the last year of his contract, which means that there is a very good possibility he will not be back with the team next season. The Bolts need to learn how to call plays and win games without the trustworthy, scrappy Woodhead. If they can do that, his injury will go down as the reason San Diego left the ranks of pretenders and became true contenders.

Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments below, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Go Bolts!!

 

Will McCafferty

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