Mike Pisciotta

Mike Pisciotta

Lifetime Charger fan. San Diego born and raised, now stranded in the Nevada desert. Air Coryell forever elevated me from casual fan to die hard rabid fan.

wife

As with others, fellow blitzers, this is my last article for boltblitz.com. Dean Spanos can rot in hell for all I care.

When your wife leaves you after years of lies, deceipt and emotional abuse, there are no more tears to shed, only anger remains. That’s where I am right now. Angry with the betrayal. More than that, I’m angry with Dean Spanos’ cowardice. Angry that he announced the move via a letter on the team website which I have since unfollowed and unliked.  Really?

I should thank you for this, Deano.  You saved me a chunk of change being I won’t need to continue to subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket.  I can take my gear money and spend it on the Padres, Gulls and on the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

The people of San Diego, the fans who backed your sorry ass for years, deserve better than that. May your flesh rot in a toxic dump in Smell-A. I hope the Padres start to act like a major league franchise for once now that they’re the top sports dog in town.

Bye Felicia.

Mike Pisciotta

#mwlm

mccoy11

 

 

… where the Good Lord split ya!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The area in which the Lord split you happens to be the buttock cheeks region, so to speak.

 

The dismissal of Mike McCoy has finally arrived! He didn’t even make it to Black Monday. This move by the Chargers front office is at least a year overdue.

I’ve written many times over the last two years that I didn’t think McCoy had the stuff to be a head coach in the NFL. This year only served to reinforce my opinion.

Putting aside a 28-38 record as a head coach for a minute, his inability to finish games reared its ugly head far too often during his tenure with the Bolts, especially during the last two seasons. Too many times, we saw the Chargers come out of the locker room at halftime with an entirely different attitude. We watched them nurse leads, thinking they could just shorten the game and run the clock out on offense. Defensively, we saw a much more passive defense. This conservative playcalling cost the team countless victories in 2015-16.

Why McCoy felt comfortable sitting on leads is something I just don’t understand. If a coach doesn’t have a killer instinct, how can he expect his players to employ said killer instinct, allowing them to finish games with a victory in the win column. If a lead is built by playing aggressive, full-throttle football, wouldn’t it make sense to continue that attitude for 60 minutes instead of 30 or 45 minutes? McCoy’s lack of killer instinct, much like his predecessor, is just one of my gripes with him. I won’t bother to get into his many crimes against the game clock or his pathetic, useless rhetoric during post-game press conferences.

I’m glad there will be no more post-game pressers filled with clichés, with McCoy saying a bunch of nothing words. The phrases “next man up” and “we need to finish” make me want to projectile vomit all over everything I enjoy in life. He thinks he’s “the hoodie,” but he’s lacking something a little bit important: Belichick’s credentials.

When you’re Mike McCoy, talking to a soft media which is accustomed to mediocrity and ready to cut you slack, try being a little forthcoming.

My apologies go out to members of the media who may read this. I think you know what I mean. How long did we put up with Norv Turner? How long did we put up with Bud Black? How long did media members make excuses for both?

Now, I digress.

I can only hope that Dean Spanos breaks a perceived habit and decides to spend for a quality head coach.

Additionally, before anyone puts words in my mouth, I don’t mean Chuckie, Cowher or Coughlin.

Not happening.

Ever.

 

Thanks for reading.  Let me know your thoughts!

 

Mike Pisciotta

#mwlm

 

New San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy pauses during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in San Diego. The former offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos replaces Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

New San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy pauses during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in San Diego. The former offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos replaces Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

 

So much for sweeping divisional rival Denver in 2016.  So much for a divisional win on the road.  The Chargers lost 27-19 in what was, at times, a typical gritty divisional game and what was, at other times, a complete slop-fest branded as football.

There were really seven plays that could be pointed to as reasons the Chargers lost.

The first was a missed field goal by Josh Lambo from 45 yards out with 59 seconds left in the first half.  He simply hooked the kick for his first miss inside of 50 yards this year.

The next was a blocked point after attempt by Lambo with 4:09 left in the third quarter.

This is where it gets ugly and where my hatred for Mike McCoy grows.

After a Casey Hayward pick six from the Denver 16 with about eight minutes to play, McCoy makes the right INITIAL decision to go for a two point conversion.  It was the right decision because the Chargers were down by five.  A successful two point conversion makes the deficit three points.  What was wrong about the decision was to throw the ball from two yards out.  Too many things can go wrong.  Some did go wrong.  Antonio Gates was called for offensive pass interference, running an illegal pick play.  Back the ball up 10 yards to the 12 and now a pass play is the only option.  Everyone knows that and another Philip Rivers pass was batted up in the air by a Denver defensive lineman.

Fast forward to 2:54 left to play.  The Chargers are at the Denver two yard line with first and goal to go.  The offense runs not one, not two, not three, but four pass plays — all of which fell incomplete — to turn the ball over on downs.  Most teams would bring in their heavy personnel package — three tight ends, blocking back and tailback and cram the ball down the defense’s throat.  The Chargers running game was somewhat effective this week, so it’s reasonable to expect Melvin Gordon could manage two yards.  Instead, the offense comes away empty-handed.

These five play call decisions and the quote below exemplify why Mike McCoy is unfit to be a Head Coach in the National Football League.

mcnorv

 

 

 

Really, Mikeyboy?  You don’t say!

I know that Ken Whisenhunt is the Offensive Coordinator and play caller.  Mike McCoy, as Head Coach is Ken’s boss and should have overruled him and didn’t.  He kept his hands in his pockets.  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  I humbly submit Mike McCoy is insane by this definition.  To make matters worse, Whisenhunt pulled a Norv and got the plays late to Rivers so there wasn’t enough time on the play clock to change out of the stupid calls.

What say you, BoltBlitz readers?  Am I blinded by my hatred for McCoy?

Mike Pisciotta

mccoy11

 

 

Mike McCoy is sending his team the wrong message and it’s a very negative message. It’s a message that says “I don’t trust you in critical times.” Telling your team, through gutless, no-risk decisions, that you don’t trust them is not how to develop a winning culture.

Yeah, the Chargers won in Atlanta on Sunday. Aided late by plays by Denzel Perryman in particular, and John Pagano’s defensive unit in general, the Chargers actually came from behind to win in overtime. That win wasn’t without idiotic decisions (or non-decisions) by the cowardly head coach.

Let’s go back to the end of the first half, shall we? Melvin Gordon scores the second of three touchdowns with 3:29 remaining to pull within 10 points, 27-17. Instead of playing aggressively, McNorv is content to let the half run out, leaving all three timeouts on the board. I guess he thought he could save them and have six at his disposal in the second half?

Three and a half minutes is virtually an eternity in the NFL. Why McCoy chose to let the clock run out, knowing Atlanta was to receive the opening kickoff in the second half is beyond me. I’d have burned the timeouts until Atlanta either punted or got a first down. What do you have to lose? Play aggressively, try to get the ball back and see if Philip Rivers and the offense can’t move down for at least another Josh Lambo field goal?

Maybe Mikeyboy deliberately wanted to trail at the intermission, not trusting himself, his staff or his players to have an opportunity to lead given their penchant for pissing away second half leads. Or maybe he’s just a chickenbleep coach.

Someone said to me “What about the ‘gutsy’ call on fourth down to go for it?”  What about it?  It was do or die.  Two minutes left on the clock, down three points, fourth down and two to go.  There was no other decision to make.  Convert or lose.

Fast forward to overtime. The offense was rolling, having outscored Atlanta 13-3 in the second half. Defense makes a huge fourth down stop, giving the offense the ball in plus territory in overtime. McCoy decides to play conservative and play for a walk-off field goal instead of going for the jugular and playing for six.

Atlanta’s defense was reeling. Rivers picked them apart. McCoy had the opportunity for an exclamation point win. He had the opportunity to let his offense really drive a dagger into the chests of Atlanta but chose to play it safe. His message was clear: he didn’t trust Philip and the offense enough to make this win a signature win.

These are just two poor decisions made by McCoy on Sunday.  There were other questionable decisions, but these were the most glaring.  Mike McCoy coaches scared and it will cost his team in the long run.

It’s been brought to my attention that I incorrectly read the box score.  Gordon scored with 1:04 left in the half, not 3:29.  My contention that McCoy should have used his timeouts does not change

 

Mike Pisciotta

@hawk_pie

yourefired

 

I thought Norv Turner was a bad head coach. This guy has nothing on the current train wreck that is Mike McCoy (or Mike McTurner or Norv McCoy or Mike McNorv or Useless, as he is unaffectionately referred to in some circles).

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this and it certainly won’t be the last. Mike McCoy needs to go. He needs to go far, far away and he needs to do it quickly.

Let’s start with the obvious: 23-29 record as a head coach and that really doesn’t begin to describe how bad he truly is. Five wins, count them, F.I.V.E. over the last 20 games. That’s a 25% clip.

This season alone, through four games, he’s guided the ship to a single victory, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars who we all know have been terrible since 2010. He and his squad managed three come-from-ahead losses in the other games.

The Chargers lost games with fourth quarter leads eight times over those 20 games, per ESPN’s Eric Williams (http://www.espn.com/blog/san-diego-chargers/post/_/id/17764/grabbing-defeat-from-jaws-of-victory-a-closer-look-at-the-choking-chargers).  Let that sink in for a minute.  Eight come-from-ahead losses among those 15 losses since 2015.  50% of losses came in the fourth quarter.

Mike McCoy is NOT a closer. The Chargers have proven that they are NOT closers under his watch.

Divisional games are super critical, right? I mean, each divisional game amounts to two games in the standings for all intents and purposes.  Let’s look at divisional games, shall we? Winless in 2016. Winless! Meaning no wins. Zip, zilch, nada. In fact, the last divisional win was November 16, 2014 in a 13-6 barn-burner against the Raiders.

How about away games? One win in the last nine road games. One. That means 3-6 in the last nine home games.  So much for home field advantage.

McCoy is a wannabe. He got dubbed a great offensive mind while in Denver. He got lucky with Tim Tebow. He was Peyton Manning’s OC for a year. That makes him a wannabe OC. Hell, Peyton could make ME look like a genius. He’s a wannabe Belichick with his snippy, cryptic, cliche-laced post-game pressers.

Don’t forget his clock management skills. I don’t know how many, but McCoy has left countless points on the board, failing to call time outs late in the first half with his offense driving.

Let’s get more recent — a timeout was called on defense in the fourth quarter against the Saints when Drew Brees had two seconds left on the play clock. Two seconds! Who the hell does that? Well, who besides the second coming of Norv Turner, that is.

Blame injuries all you want. As much as the cliché “next man up” is going to make me lose my lunch, it’s just that. A freaking cliché. Yeah, we miss Keenan Allen, but he’s one player. Who knows, we might even miss Manti T’eo.

Might. Again, one player.

I can’t simplify things more than this: Mike McCoy sucks.  The Chargers suck with Mike McCoy as head coach. The time to fire him was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that….

 

Mike Pisciotta

@hawk_pie

McCoy7

 

Yes, after Week 1, I am calling for his head. I wanted him fired in 2015. I wanted him fired half way through 2014. This is nothing new coming from me. Anyone who knows me or has read my articles on this site knows this to be true.

Sunday’s come-from-ahead loss exemplifies why McCoy should be fired. A 21-3 lead at halftime was increased to 24-3 after the first possession of the third quarter. 24. UN. ANSWERED. POINTS.  Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

Fast forward to 2:53 remaining in the third quarter. Kansas City breaks the goal line, making the score 21-10. Still a comfy lead, right? Apparently, Mikeyboy felt so comfy he put his coach’s hat away and put his jammies on. He chose, again, to go conservative and sit on the lead.

The Chargers’ last points came 1:33 into the fourth quarter. From that point forward, Kansas City scored 23 unanswered points to win the game in overtime. By then, John Pagano’s defense was gassed. Conservative play on both sides of the ball is why the Chargers lost.

Melvin Gordon was all but invisible in the second half. No running back can get into a rhythm like that. Instead of pounding the ball, Ken Whisenhunt decided to get cute with wide receiver screens and the like. The defense went soft. They played prevent — as in prevent the win.

Some of you may be saying the game went downhill when Keenan Allen got hurt. Keenan is not the only weapon at Philip Rivers’ disposal. He is one player, albeit, an elite player. To say losing Allen impacted the game is making excuses for poor play calling, poor execution and piss-poor second-half game planning.

The bottom line is the Chargers will go nowhere as long as Mike McCoy is the head coach.

 

Mike Pisciotta

@hawk_pie

McCoy5

 

Let me get right to the point: Mike McCoy should be on the hot seat this year.

The 2016 campaign begins his fourth year as the Chargers’ head coach and the team has steadily gone backwards under his watch. I really thought he was the antithesis of his predecessor, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

In 2013 (his rookie year as a head coach), we saw the Chargers (barely) make the postseason with a 9-7 record. They beat Cincinnati in the Wild Card round before falling to the Broncos in the Divisional Round. Frankly, the team exceeded my expectations.

Conversely, the Bolts failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. The 2014 season saw the Chargers mimic their 9-7 record. In 2015, the wheels fell off the bus and the Bolts finished with a pathetic 4-12 record.

A lot of people have given McCoy multiple passes. The destruction of the offensive lines because of injury. Every team sustains injuries. Nick Hardwick’s injury in ’14 was devastating, but good teams overcome those injuries. Add to that the fragility of Ryan Mathews and injuries to Jason Verrett, Jeromey Clary, and a host of other offensive linemen, Philip Rivers was running for his very life. The running game was largely ignored by the predictable and unimaginative play calling of Frank Reich. Even Norv Turner had a better imagination than Reich.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that Reich was let go after the 2015 campaign where the Chargers finished 4-12. The blame doesn’t rest there.

McCoy is a terrible clock manager. Several times during his three-year tenure, he has left points on the board by failing to properly manage the clock at the end of the first half. Normally, when confronted with his failure to use timeouts (you can’t bank ’em), his response was a cliché of some babble about doing what was in the team’s best interests.

Not scoring is in a team’s best interests?

And not overruling Reich on his play calling?  Draw on third-and-18, anyone?

Yeah, yeah. Philip Rivers could have called out of said stupid play selection. That’s assuming you have a personnel package you can change out of a play with.

 

 

After the 2014 season, which many consider to be a renaissance for Philip Rivers, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was hired away from the Chargers to be the Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans.  Guess what, kids?  The Whiz is back as the Chargers OC, so I look for improvement in many facets of the Bolts’ game.  I also take this as a sign from heaven.  McCoys days are numbered.  Why else would they bring Whiz back after being dealt the short straw in Nashville?

If the Chargers falter, if McCoy continues his, dare I say, Belichickian arrogance and cliché-ridden, no-answer answers with the media, they have his replacement waiting in the wings. Mike McCoy should be feeling the heat this year. The last thing the Chargers need is a crappy team while they’re trying to rally support for a downtown stadium.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments!

Mike Pisciotta

Gordon4

 

Melvin Gordon performed well below expectations his rookie year. Appearing in 14 of 16 games, starting 12 of them, he ran for only 641 yards and never saw the end zone.

I expect bigger and better out of Melvin this year. He had microfracture surgery in January, which may have contributed to his pedestrian performance in 2015. The offensive line, at least on paper, is improved. The addition of center Max Tuerk should put Chris Watt at guard where he belongs. The additions of Gordon’s former blocking back at Wisconsin, Derek Watt, and Chris Swain should also help via competition at the fullback position. Gordon’s supporting cast looks deeper than last year’s and represents an upgrade over 2015 (at least on paper).  The improvements up the middle should produce dividends for No. 28.

The departure of Frank Reich as offensive coordinator and the return of Ken Whisenhunt is definitely welcome among much of Charger Nation and could represent handwriting on the wall for Mike McCoy, as well, but that’s for another discussion. The Chargers’ offense showed more balance and far less predictability under Whiz than it did under Reich, which should definitely help the running game in general, and Gordon in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold Gordon blameless for last year. He showed an inability to hold onto the football with six fumbles — four of them turned over to the other team. Gordon needs to learn to hold onto the ball and protect it with his life. Six fumbles in 184 touches is unacceptable. He ran tentatively much of the time. He needs to be decisive. He needs to hit the gaps created for him. He needs to run north and south with authority. He needs to earn Philip Rivers’ trust and confidence. He needs to prove to himself and to Rivers that he doesn’t need to audible out of running plays.

Whether or not Gordon can fulfill all of the needs bestowed upon him remains to be seen. That being said, I expect that he’ll take care of the majority of  the aforementioned responsibilities in his second year.

Between Reich and a turnstile offensive line, there are plenty of responsibilities to spread around. Gordon has to step up this year and prove he was worthy of being traded up for in the first round of the 2015 draft.

I think he will.  What do you think?

 

(My wife left me)

 

Mike Pisciotta

Carrethers1

 

I recently pontificated about the woes of the Chargers’ offense. Now it’s the defensive unit’s turn in the barrel.  In seven losses, your unit has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in at least five of them.

John Pagano’s unit can’t use the excuse that they’re banged up, at least not as bad as the offense. Yeah, Manti Te’o is dinged up.  So are Eric Weddle and Jahleel Addae, but with Weddle there’s defensive depth that the offense lacks. Besides, you can’t hurt yourself that badly when you don’t tackle. Ask Antonio Cromartie about that. A lack of tackling is just one problem facing the defense. I’ll get into that in a moment.

John Pagano, I’m starting with you. You coach scared. You make play calls at crucial moments with the hope of not losing. The terrible last-second loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers epitomizes your excessive conservatism. Why on earth, when your defense played well for 50 minutes, would you suddenly go conservative? Where did conservative play calling get you? Brandon Flowers, more on him in a minute, got TORCHED on a crossing route that went 70 yards to answer a Charger touchdown.  Your conservative play calling also bit you where you sit late in the game in Green Bay when a defensive stand was needed.  I really don’t know if you have a split personality or just suffer from lapses of cranial rectal inversion.  We’ve seen enough to know it’s not just a matter of execution.

Johnnyboy, are you seriously going to tell me that Jason Verrett is the only Bolt cornerman who can cover Alshon Jeffrey?  Antonio Brown?  It’s not like you’re still hamstrung with Shareece Wright for crying out loud!  But you coach scared and play off of the receivers instead of getting physical with them.  Wake up and challenge these receivers!

Oh, and John?  You know that 3-4 you run?  Do you realize that a 3-4 begins and ends at the nose tackle position?  You think Lissemore is a NT?  He isn’t.  He gets shoved around like a rag doll.  He’s impeding the rest of the front seven!  Bench him.  Permanently.  Why don’t you start Ryan Carrethers?  He’s a big, run-stuffing specimen of a human being, but he rarely sees the field early in the game when teams are trying to establish the run.

Again, the Butler didn’t do it.  The Butler hasn’t really done it since AJ Smith paid him.  Seems the Butler has been invisible.  Does he have stuff over your head or are you playing him in the hopes of getting something for the money he’s being paid?

Brandon Flowers, what happened to you?  You get burnt more often than my toaster oven burns my English muffins.  You got torched against Pittsburgh.  You got torched against Green Bay.  Have you considered changing your jersey to #31?  You remind me more of Richard Marshall than you remind me of your Kansas City self.

Pet peeve time.

Tackling.  The aforementioned T’eo and Weddle jump out to me in the worst way.  T’eo is horrible at wrapping up tackles.  Ball carriers slip through his arms like water runs through a sieve.  You have to finish.  You can’t continue to let guys slip out of your grasp and run for additional yardage.  And you, Eric “I’m disrespected by my front office” Weddle.  Groin or no groin, nobody ever made a tackle while backpedaling.  Geez, stop contributing to opposing players’ YAC!

Overall, I’ve never seen the Chargers in such disarray.  At least when Ryan Leaf was drafted, the team just plain sucked, so it wasn’t shocking to see them play so badly.  This team isn’t nearly as crappy as their pathetic 2-7 record implies.

 

Mike Pisciotta

 

 

TGC-McCoy-and-Telesco

 

The problems the Chargers have on offense reach well beyond a banged-up offensive line. Granted, Philip Rivers deserves to be anointed for sainthood having to play behind such a hot mess.

Let’s be real, kids. The offense is a complete mess and here’s why:

• Tom Telesco drafts kids who do not fit in this offensive “scheme”.
• Mike McCoy and Frank Reich refuse to change their “scheme” to fit the personnel Tom Telesco has given them.
• Frank Reich is clueless and predictable at the same time.

The first and second points go hand in hand. I give you Melvin Gordon as case in point. Melvin is a 21 or 22 personnel grouping back. This means two running backs, a tight end and two wide receivers (21 personnel) or two RBS, two TEs and a WR (22 personnel). He is not, nor ever has been, a spread formation back. He ran primarily out of 21, 22 or 12 personnel groupings (single setback two TEs on the line, not in pass formation). Sure, Melvin ran effectively out of other personnel groupings, but his strength is as an I-formation back.

When you move up in the draft to get the player you covet, you don’t make him fit your scheme. You adjust your scheme to his skill set. The Chargers don’t even possess a legitimate fullback on the roster. The closest thing to a fullback they have is tight end David Johnson. The last real fullback this team had was Lorenzo Neal. Once AJ Smith and Norv Turner kicked him to the curb, the fullback position has been an afterthought and the running game began its decline.

Gordon’s lack of production isn’t his fault alone. He doesn’t fit the scheme, rather the scheme doesn’t fit him. Blocking has been horrific, that’s on personnel and coaching. Injuries to D.J. Fluker, Orlando Franklin, King Dunlap and others hasn’t helped. Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris has to do a better job coaching up this line. Chris Watt gets destroyed on a regular basis at center. Move him to guard and he gets pushed back into Rivers’ face.

Make no mistake, the 2015 Chargers’ offensive front will never be mistaken for Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick, Mike Goff and Shane Olivea. They just aren’t that good overall. I like the Orlando Franklin acquisition, but he’s hurt. Dunlap is solid and his return will help Rivers sleep a little easier. Moving Fluker inside was a positive and, by far, an upgrade over Johnnie Troutman. Barksdale at right tackle is an upgrade over Fluker playing the position. I said it before, but it bears repeating: Watt is horrible. Telesco and McCoy have failed miserably to assemble a line that is worth its salt.

Apparently, Dean Spanos needs to hire Bill Polian so that Telesco can be good again. He’s looking like the classic example of the master making the apprentice look better and smarter than he really is.

Nobody will ever mistake Frank Reich for Ken Wisenhunt — or even Cam Cameron. His idea of attempting to run the ball is give it to Melvin from the shotgun, up the gut behind the aforementioned Watt and the one-legged Fluker. In D.J.’s defense, on one leg he’s still better than Troutman. That run nets two yards, so it’s back to pass, pass, pass behind an O-line that can’t protect a ham sandwich, let alone an immobile Rivers.

I realize this is a pass-first league. To that, I say “so what?”

Newsflash, Frankie-boy, this line is not your Buffalo K-Gun line. This line couldn’t pass protect against a pee wee football team! You and Mike McNorv talk about balance, so do it! Don’t continue to be an idiot. All that will do is get you charged with murder when Philip finally can’t get up after being hit while trying to throw the ball.

 

Mike Pisciotta

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