Monthly Archives: November 2013
It’s Thanksgiving week. This is a time where traditionally you take time to reflect on the blessings you’ve failed to count or take for granted during the year. While I sit enveloped by the many smells emanating from a cornucopia of foods and the sound of football, I can’t help but think of my beloved Chargers.
With just over a month to go in the regular season, I think of the reasons i’m glad I chose the Chargers as my one and only sports franchise. I do love teams across various sports. I love my alma mater, N.C State. I love my Phoenix Suns no matter how bad they are. I like many different teams but the team I am MARRIED to, the team I will love until my casket closes, the team that will cause my heart attack faster than cholesterol or sugar, will be my Chargers.
Despite the yearly heartbreak, the playoff failures, the ineptitude in the front office (until now) and the mass exodus of marquee players this is and will always be a MY team. For them I am thankful and here are a few reasons why.
10. The Chargers play in the greatest city in the US. I saw my first game in San Diego last season and along with it, got my first taste of San Diego. From the beaches to the bay to the skyline you will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful city.
9. Could always be worse, we could be a network of Raiders, Jaguars or Texans fans. For all the Chargers struggles, they are slowly building something that will again become the force of nature it was in the early to mid 2000’s. On the other hand, the Jaguars have sucked for all but maybe two seasons in their entire existence. If you need any more clarity on the direness of the state of football in Jacksonville, they’re begging for TEBOW. Nuff said. The Texans have jumped ship on their own team and are just playing out the string. They’re already scheduling tee times for January and you can see it in their play on the field. The Raiders don’t need or deserve explanation. We don’t get out on furlough to go to the game. We don’t shank other teams fans in the parking lot and don’t live in the past and celebrate Super Bowls we weren’t born for.
8. Charger management. New General Manager Tom Telesco has impressed me with his ability to get quality players in the locker room. He’s shown a take no prisoners approach to overhauling the roster and increasing the team speed and adding youth. Signing impact players like Danny Woodhead, King Dunlap, Thomas Keiser, Seyi Ajirotutu and Derek Cox have improved the team on both sides of the ball. Bringing over Dwight Freeney was a major coup until an injury landed him on the injured reserve list for the season. Still, there’s no doubt he’s making an impact on the young linebackers behind the scenes.
Telesco’s first draft will be seen as a success based on the continuing development of Mantei Te’o and Keenan Allen. DJ Fluker has proved himself as worthy of the spot he was selected in the first round. All the top three selections are on the field making an impact as is the sixth round pick Tourek Williams. His first sack? Just a strip sack of Peyton Manning! If he keeps drafting like this, the Chargers will be in the Super Bowl in no time!
7. Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt. The new head coach and offensive coordinator have made a huge difference in this year’s offense. McCoy’s new offense and the playcalling of Whisenhunt has resulted in a return of the Pro Bowl Philip Rivers and a potent Chargers offense. McCoy has a great history developing quarterbacks and devising offenses that best utilize their strengths. For the most part, this offense has been efficient. They keep the ball moving and chew up copious amounts of clock, keeping dangerous quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck off the field. As they continue to add playmakers and offensive line depth, this will be one of the most lethal offenses in the league in years to come.
6. The unis. The helmets are what made me a Chargers fan as a seven year old boy living in North Carolina. Until I knew who was who I chose who would win the game by who had the best looking helmets. I never picked against the Chargers and my allegiance has never wavered. One never has a second thought throwing on a throwback Chargers jersey. The powder blue jerseys are the best throwbacks in the history of the league. Whether its the old school jersey, the Dan Fouts era jerseys or the recent editions, all the jerseys look fantastic and Charger faithful can rock team gear with pride, unlike fans of other teams. (Looking at you Tampa Bay, New England, Cleveland, Washington and especially you Pittsburgh!)
5. Boltblitz. This site has given me my forum to spout off about all things Chargers and gather loyal readers along the way. I am most thankful of each and every one of you who take the time to read my novellas and come back for more time after time. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that there are people who will ask our fearless leader, BoogaP, why it’s been a prolonged period of time between my novellas. I pledge to make each column better than the last. Don’t count on them getting any shorter though! I am passionate about my Chargers above all other sports franchises, thus I have the most to say about them. Whether you think I am a good writer, a homer, a terrible writer, it doesn’t matter. You read and come back for more and for that I am most thankful. Salute to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
4. The Chargers Twitterverse. To expand on the last point, I appreciate all the Chargers faithful who have befriended me on Twitter. My best friend is the Boltfather and the fearless leader of Boltblitz, Dave ‘BoogaP’ Peters. Without him I would not have made it to the twitter route this soon and I probably wouldn’t be on Boltblitz at all. I wouldn’t have met the great group of people that joined us at the preseason game against Dallas last season and have become like family in a short year’s time. I’m thankful to all who like my columns enough to retweet or comment to them. I’m thankful to all who add me to the multitude of Chargers football communities and list me on their follow friday lists. You all are awesome. To the Originals, Tonya, Jen, Callie, John, Tonya and Dave, I love you as much as I do my own family and in some cases more. Thanks to the Chargers universe for accepting me and allowing me amongst you.
3. Eli Manning. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand Eli Manning. However, his idiotic refusal to play in San Diego led to the Chargers being able to fleece the New York Giants for four draft picks in the 2004 draft that made the Chargers yearly playoff entrants for years. As a result of the trade, the Chargers got Nate Kaeding. Kaeding was the most accurate kicker in NFL history when he departed the team in 2012. After a season in Miami he is second on the list of most acurate kickers in NFL history. The Chargers got Shawne Merriman in the 2005 draft. Merriman took the league by storm until a PED suspension signaled the end of his meteoric rise a few short years later.
The most important piece in the deal was bringing in Philip Rivers, a highly decorated quarterback from, oh yeah, N.C. State! Eli’s ignorance got my favorite college football player on my favorite pro football team and Rivers has shown he is a superior quarterback to Eli and the stats bear it out. Eli did happen into a couple Super Bowl rings riding the coattails of the defense but it doesn’t matter how it happens. It did happen. Nevertheless, I will take Philip Rivers. Rivers is a fiery, passionate, locker room leader who plays every game like his hair is on fire. Eli on the other hand, you sometimes wonder if his every movement and omnipresent dopey look isn’t controlled by an unseen puppeteer. Thank you Eli, for sparing the Chargers your dear-in-headlights stare.
2. The future. This team is a team on the rise. I love the core of this team. On offense, Ladarius Green is going to be Antonio Gates 2.0. Being able to come along slowly and learn from a future Hall-Of -Famer in Antonio Gates is an advantage that will pay dividends the rest of his career. Like Gates (6’4), Green is tall (6’6), fast and has great hands.
The rookies are playing great. Keenan Allen is going to be a star receiver in this league and at this point has to be a leading candidate for offensive rookie of the year. Allen has the speed, hands, size (6’2) and is a precise route runner who will only get better as he learns from his mentor, Chargers legend Wes Chandler.
Linebacker Mantei Te’o is learning in live fire after missing most of preseason with injuries but his football IQ and character are unquestioned. He has been given the responsibility of calling defensive signals, accelerating his role in the understanding and leadership of the defense. Te’o will only get better.
Offensive tackle D.J. Fluker has done a great job protecting Rivers from both the right and left side of the line. Not only has Rivers jersey stayed notably clean, the running game is back on track running behind him. Add linebacker Tourek Williams and fifth round draft pick Steven Williams, a ball hawk of a cornerback out of Cal who has missed all season due to an ACL injury to the lineup next season, this group will grow and gel together and become phenomenal together. The future is bright in San Diego.
1. Philip Rivers. That’s. My. QUARTERBACK! Any Chargers fan who isn’t down with PR17 needs to find a new team! This season has seen a return of the Philip Rivers that took the league by storm when he became the Chargers starter. Guess who’s the fourth highest rated quarterback in the league? That’s right, Philip Rivers. Not fourth in the AFC, not fourth in the AFC West, fourth in the league. Manning, Brees and Stafford are the only ones ahead of him. Brady, Rodgers, and the new flavor of the months read option quarterbacks all fall in line behind Rivers.
As I have said all along, the problem was never Rivers, it was the deterioration of the team around him. Having Rivers makes me proud to call myself a Chargers fan. Not only because he’s from my Alma Mater but because he’s always been the one constant Charger fans can count on. Field General. When he has time to throw he is the best in the league. Makes the most out of the least and plays with the passion we all did in our playing days. There’s not a player in the league I would rather have at the helm of the Chargers. Now that he’s got some legitimate weapons and a coach that understands how to create an offense that compliments his talents, I can’t wait to see Rivers finally get his Super Bowl ring!
I am unabashedly the President of the Philip Rivers fan club and I make no apologies for it. I am a flagbearer for the Chargers and I will always be honored to be. I will defend our Chargers against all fans of all teams, foreign and domestic, who try to diss our team without knowing the facts. The upcoming years are going to be the most exciting in Chargers history since the apex of the Ladainian Tomlinson era. I am thankful to have been on this ride from the beginning with all of you and I will be in San Diego partying my tail off with the rest of you when the Lombardi Trophy finally comes home to America’s Finest City, San Diego!
The Greg One
The Chargers are among a group of 8 teams in the AFC that still have a shot at the 6th seed for the playoffs. Although the chances of them making the postseason are very slim, they have yet to be mathematically eliminated. Let me be clear before I proceed. It’s not looking very good for a multitude of reasons. But for this post, I am going to ignore the playoffs and focus on the week 12 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
This is a game that even the majority of Charger fans don’t expect San Diego to win. The Bolts travel to Arrowhead facing a 9-1 Chief team that is coming off its first loss of the season. The Bolts bring with them a record of 4-6 and a 3 game losing streak. During the first ten games of 2013, the revolving door on the offensive line has been very impressive. Despite multiple injuries at every spot in the starting 5 during this season at one time or another, Philip Rivers has only been sacked 19 times thus far.
Hoping to increase that number significantly are the Kansas City Chiefs led by the pass rushing duo of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The combination of both Hali and Houston will test the dogs up front for the Chargers. Not to mention, Dontari Poe has become a significant force at the nose tackle position. I could keep going on and on about the Kansas City defense and its players. San Diego will definitely have its hands full. But that is not solely due to the Charger offense having to contend with the vaunted Chief defense.
Despite Alex Smith not being much of a game changer at the quarterback position. He has been very solid at managing games. He has been very poor at deep passes but that has never been confused for being a strength of his game. Since 2011, no NFL signal caller that has played in every game has a higher winning percentage than Smith.
Although Smith has performed respectfully as a Chief, he is the least of our worries. The Andy Reid offense in Kansas City is focused on the running back position; whether that be via running plays or attempting to get the back the ball in the passing game. The key cog in Reid’s offense is Jamaal Charles.
To say that Charles is a force to be reckoned with is an understatement. He is a home-run threat that is capable of scoring each and every time he touches the ball. Adding to threat of Charles is the mercurial wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Despite posting three yard 1,000 yard seasons in his career, Bowe is on pace for about 700 yards or so. Bowe has always been an issue for San Diego’s secondary due to his size.
In addition to both Charles and Bowe is Dexter McCluster. He is a very dynamic player that moves all over the field. His speed and quickness are definitely worth mentioning. He is not the most consistent player but he certainly poses a mismatch versus linebackers.
Winning this game will be a tall task for the Bolts. Although it will be very difficult, they Chargers can leave Kansas City with a victory. Here are some keys to getting their first divisional win of the 2013 season at Arrowhead.
1- FREE 24!!! The Chargers need to grind this game out on the ground and Ryan Mathews needs to see the bulk of the carries. He has been running very hard and he even broke off a couple big gains in recent weeks. Get 24 the rock and get it to him often.
2- The offense needs to find a way to get both Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green on the field at the same time. Running some 2 tight end sets would help neutralize the linebacking corp of Kansas City. Furthermore, Green is ripe for a breakout game. He has earned the right for a bigger role in this offense. He is making plays each time his number is called. As far as Gates is concerned, he is one of the best to ever do it. Utilizing him in the redzone should help with the woeful performance of the offense inside the 20.
3- Rivers must continue to get the ball out of his hand quickly. The pass rush of Kansas City was held without sack last week versus Denver. The passing game should be focused on protecting Rivers with multiple routes and reads that do not take a long time to progress.
4- Keep getting the ball to Danny Woodhead in the passing game. He currently leads the team in receptions and the NFL in catches at the running back position. This key actually piggybacks off of the last one. Woodhead is a tough runner and not afraid of contact. It is going to be cold so the defenders that don’t wrap up will be asking for trouble when Danny has the ball.
5- Protect the football. This is an obvious necessity in any game. But when you are playing in a game on the road, where the temp might not be as high as freezing by kickoff, you can not give the opposing team any advantages. Extra opportunities for the Chief offense will spell disaster for San Diego. The stadium is going to be extremely loud. Add in a turnover or two and their decibel level record might be broken
1- The defense has got to get back to the fundamentals and make tackles. It’s a bit embarrassing to start off defensive keys to the game with tackling being a must. It has gotten really bad. Some of this should be addressed by coaching and then the players need to go back to the basics.
2- John Pagano must be aggressive in playcalling. Due to Alex Smith’s inability to get the ball down the field effectively in the deep passing game, I would really like to see the Chargers play more press coverage. Disguising the coverage and blitzes could end up being the biggest way to sneak away with a win today. I am not looking forward to another week of the “bend but don’t break” philosophy on the defensive side of the ball.
3- The front seven must create pressure to fluster Smith and give the secondary a chance to make plays. The Chargers have been banged up all over the linebacking corp and the defensive linemen have been under-performing as a group. This goes back to the scheme and Pagano. He needs to get the most out of the guys that we do have in the game. I am fine with giving up a play here and there if the team is being aggressive and gambling via blitz packages, Dline stunts etc.
4- The defense must capitalize on turnover opportunities. The Bolts have had some chances to make game-changing plays and have either been out of position or dropped interceptions. This game is a last-ditch effort at keeping their playoff hopes alive. If they want to fly back home to San Diego victorious then they have to create turnovers.
5- Cam Thomas has got to do a better job. I am not going to elaborate. We all know how important the nose tackle position is in a 3-4 defense. Thomas has yet to show that the nose tackle position is not one of the biggest needs for the upcoming 2014 season. The same goes for the secondary. Derek Cox, Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist have got to step up and challenge the Kansas City receivers. Eric Weddle has been asked to do so much this year. He has played all over the field and that is to be commended. But his tackling, or lack thereof, has been questionable.
There you have it. This was a game that I circled in the offseason as a possible loss. Traveling to Arrowhead in late November means cold, non-San Diego weather and the loudest fans in all of the NFL. More often than not, you can throw out the records when these two teams play. The all time series record when these teams have met is locked up at 52-52-1. Today’s winner walks away with a one game lead in the head-to-head series. But for San Diego, it means so much more than that. It means one more week to fight for the 6th seed in the AFC. It will be a very difficult road, but I’ll be here regardless of the outcome.
It is so hard in this social media-driven day and age to determine whether or not a twitter conversation is to be taken seriously. In the case below, it is entirely possible that the player’s tweets in this post are to rile up the very likes of blogs such as this one. But considering the widespread talk of issues and discord in the locker room, perhaps we’re not reading into anything at all.
The tweets in this post are from Donald Butler, Jarret Johnson and Ladarius Green. Green simply posts a picture of the weather in KC.
I’ll leave it to you, the readers, to decide if these guys are playing around or not. Take a look.
— Ladarius green (@king_green89) November 23, 2013
@DAButler56 stop worrying about the weather and get ready to smash some heads. FYI it’s 45 degrees in Seattle.
— Jarret Johnson (@JarretJohnson96) November 24, 2013
Seems innocent enough at this point, right? No big deal. Just a couple of players jabbing at each other a little bit about the weather. And then there’s a reaction tweet from Donald Butler.
— Donald Butler (@DAButler56) November 24, 2013
The first tweet is obviously from rising star and tight end, Ladarius Green. Then you see a comment from Butler, followed by a response from Johnson. It all seemed like fun and games up to that point. But then the curve ball in the equation is thrown by the former Washington Huskie. He seems to call out Jarret Johnson. Butler then proceeds to tell Bront Bird that he should be in the playbook and that they are being a “distraction” on Twitter.
There has already been talk among the media that there are problems in the Charger locker room. If this exchange of tweets is not a complete farce, or jab at the same media members reporting such a rift at Chargers Park, then it appears as though the problems in San Diego are not just on the field.
I am really hoping that my gut is correct and there is no problem among the players. This could easily be a situation where the players are using social media to toy with the emotions of those that get paid to write about it. The good news here, I don’t make a penny for running this site. I am just trying to keep all the Charger fans informed. We’ll keep an eye on this and see if anything materializes from here on out.
UPDATE: I spoke to Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego and he informed me that this is a non-story. That is, obviously, great news to hear.
In the middle of a losing streak it’s easy to focus on the negative. The question I’d like to pose is are the Chargers better than they should be? Given the roster turnover, injuries and overall talent; should this team have a worse record than they do? Some of the stats will speak for themselves, but the data suggests this year is very similar to the 8-8 year of 2011.
The 2013 Chargers
- Averaging 22.8 points per game
- The offense is averaging 6.1 yards per play
- The turnover differential is -6
- They’ve outscored opponents 228 – 222
- Time of possession is near 33 minutes per game
The first thing to note is the 6.1 yards per play. In researching on ProFootballFocus.com, the closest the Chargers had come to that in previous years was 2009 where they averaged 6.0 yards per play. Really shows the offensive efficiency (outside of the red zone) that they have had. It’s an impressive number considering the running back by committee, patchwork offensive line and starting a rookie wide receiver (who is amazing and deserves to be starting).
The other thing is the point differential. They are a couple plays away from being 7-3. Now you can argue the three teams they lost to late in games have bad records. But that Houston roster was the same team that made the playoffs last year. No one had picked the Chargers to win or even be in that game. The Redskins are a tough team having a bad year and also were a playoff team last year.
That brings me to my last point. This team has been in every game or at least fought back to make each game close. Their only double-digit loss this year was to Oakland. That game was a stinker all the way around. But despite a bad defense, this team has focused on the strength of their offense and controlling the clock.
I’m not saying this team is playoff bound, but with Coach McCoy has done with the talent on this team is pretty remarkable. Outside of the Oakland game, the Chargers have had a chance to win every game. I truly believe it has more to do with overall talent of this team, and once they have more of it, we should see more wins.
Thanks for reading.
Following Sunday’s loss to Miami, the Chargers hopes for making the playoffs are on life support. At 4-6 the Chargers would have to run the table to make the postseason. With one game each against Denver and Oakland, plus two games against Kansas City, that is not an impossible task but it is an unlikely one. Losing to Miami gave away their margin for error. A win would have put the Chargers at 5-5 and in the thick of the wild card race. Instead, the Chargers now sit two games out of the wild card and in last place in the AFC West.
Lost in the ugliness of their record is the fact that this is a good team. Considering the magnitude of the injuries that have cost them big name players on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball the team has played very well. The Chargers have not been blown out this season, their worst loss was by ten points to the Raiders in a game that started after most of them go to bed. They are in every game in the fourth quarter. The knock on this team is the same as it has been since they were making the playoffs every year. This is not a mentally tough team. The Chargers have beaten themselves more than the other team has beaten them.
The Miami game is a great example of that. Corey Liuget’s inexcusable hit on quarterback Ryan Tannehill cost the Chargers a key turnover on the goal line. The Dolphins scored a touchdown on that drive. In a game decided by four points, that is a huge swing in momentum. Similarly, Philip Rivers’ decision to throw the ball after crossing the line of scrimmage resulted in loss of down and penalty yards on a play that began with goal-to-go at the Dolphins 5-yard line. The Chargers had to settle for a field goal.
The play in the secondary was horrible, especially from Derek Cox who dropped a sure interception that would have been six points as there was nothing but grass between him and the end zone. Cox missed open field tackles and gave more than enough cushion all game long to Brian Hartline, possibly one of the slowest wideouts in the league.
All season the defense has given up key plays at the end of the game. Against Houston and Tennessee they gave big chunks of yardage that allowed those teams to get the game-winning scores as time expired in the fourth quarter. Against Oakland, the offense turned over the ball late in the fourth quarter to allow the Raiders to score and seal the game. In Washington the offense couldn’t convert on goal-to-go from the ONE yard line to win the game. The Redskins took the ball and the win in overtime.
Both sides of the ball has given away the game deep in the fourth quarter. That’s four wins that would have the Chargers near the top of the playoff race with Denver and Kansas City. Those mental mistakes are what need to be corrected. Championship teams make those plays. Championship team get the key stops and score touchdowns with four downs inside the opponents 5-yard line. The good news is mental mistakes can be corrected and coached up. The bad news is it can take time to usher in that championship level of football to a team that has few players left with championship level experience.
So, what should we expect from the Chargers for the duration of the 2013 season?
The Chargers need to finish the final six games strong to end the season. There is not a game on the schedule they can’t win. Four wins in their last six games would get them to 8-8, an improvement from last year’s 7-9. Five wins could possible get them in the playoffs if the right teams lose at the right time. If the Chargers can beat their division rivals that would give Denver another loss and Kansas City two losses. Those wins would pull Denver and KC back to the pack and improve the Chargers chances of getting in. Their two non-division games, the New York Giants and Cincinnati, are back-to-back home games that they can definitely win.
If the Chargers can fix the mental mistakes and play to their capability instead of to the level of their opponents as they tend to do, they can possibly run the table. The Chargers swept the same Kansas City team that is 9-1 right now just last season. All that has changed is their coach and quarterback. They can sweep the Chiefs again if they bring their A-game. The Chargers held Denver to their then season low in points (28) until Sunday night against KC where the Broncos scored 27.
We all want to see this team right the ship and get into the playoffs. We also know this team is in the midst of a massive rebuild and not even the most tunnel-visioned fan sees the Chargers winning the Super Bowl this year. What we want to see is improvement. What we want to see is a better team and an offense that makes us want to watch it. What we want to see is a team that plays with its full complement of weapons instead of an all-star team on the injured reserve list. These are all things that can and will happen but it will take time. The amount of time it takes is up to the team and the organization.
If you improve it, they will come.
The Greg One
The Chargers gave us every reason to believe they were some kind of different from seasons past. It seemed for a second that the new regime that was brought in really brought in a refreshing aura to the team. This team is still bad. Very bad. Before any Chargers fans close this article, allow me to explain.
Going into our bye week we were 4-3 and 2 flags going the other way would have put us at 6-1. This team surprised me as I had little expectations from a new head coach, general manager, offense, etc. 3 weeks after the bye, I am finally seeing the team I have been dreading to watch. No matter how fresh the smell of a new front office and staff overhaul, this team still stinks of an old era. Injuries are somewhat an uncontrollable factor, however the depth (or lack of) left to Coach McCoy has forced him to put unlikely players in unexpected situations. San Diego had shown for a while that they could stumble into the playoffs due in part to a rather weak AFC season. Now comes my next “Is this guy even a Charger fan” statement.
While it is highly improbable, it is still possible to make the playoffs. I vote we don’t. I even vote we finish the season terribly. You never want to lose to the Raiders twice so I want to beat them, but if this team wins 6 or 7 games I will get worried for the future. The Chargers are known for turning around bad seasons in the name of pride to finish with a somewhat respectable record.
This will leave us with a middle of the pack draft pick, get us an average player, and then “rinse, wash, and repeat”. We need a top-tier draft pick in order to bring some major change into our locker room. These things are difficult to do when drafting from 16, 18, etc.
Jarvis “I Really Do Like The Chargers” Royall
The last six weeks do not look good for the Chargers. Heading to Kansas City, the 4-6 Chargers find their backs against the wall just to finish .500 for the season. Even my original prediction of 7-9 is a stretch as that would require .500 ball the rest of the way.
Here’s how I see the final six weeks playing out:
11/24 @ Kansas City (L). The patchwork offensive line will be no match for the Chiefs’ front seven. Kansas City’s defense leads the league with 36 sacks after nine games. They sack the opposing quarterback once every nine pass attempts. On offense, they run for an average of 119 yards per game against a defense that simply can’t tackle. For those who say the Chiefs “haven’t played anybody”, they are 6-1 against common opponents. The Chargers’ record against those same opponents is 3-4.
12/1 @ Cincinnati (L). If they can’t beat KC, how are they going to beat Cincy with A.J. Green, who is just as good as Dwayne Bowe, if not better?
12/8 NY Giants (W). I’ll give them this one. Chargers are 2-0 against Eli Manning and the Giants have been out of sync all season.
12/12 @ Denver (L). No way, Jose.
12/22 Raiders (W). They’ll have ten days to lick their wounds after going to Denver. Pride game.
12/29 Kansas City (L). See 11/24
This puts the Chargers at 6-10. They could have hit 7-9 with a win in Miami, but they couldn’t get out of their own way. Hopefully, this team will at least show some heart. To tank for the sake of draft position is something I really hope we don’t see.
On the bright side, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in less than 90 days! At least then, Padres fans can criticize the baseball version of Norv Turner!
Six losses. Four directly due to poor decision-making.
At this point, Mike McCoy and his staff seem to be coaching scared. Play calling seems to have been designed to “not lose”. Defensive press conferences follow. Just what is going on inside the minds of the Chargers’ coaching staff is something the public may never know.
The Chargers’ loss in Miami was a pedestrian game against a pedestrian team. McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Wisenhunt would rather stick to their “plan” instead of playing the hot hand, in this case Ryan Mathews. Take away Ryan’s 51 yard gallop and he still runs for a 4.2 yard average on 18 carries. Why not feed the beast? Given the red zone woes of the Chargers (they kicked three field goals again), why not throw the plan away and get aggressive? Settling for field goals is the easy way out — playing and coaching to not lose.
Back up to November 10 against Denver. The Chargers successfully run a fake punt on the opening drive, much to the delight of the Charger faithful. In years past, that was always Eric Weddle’s call to make. Certainly a gutsy, odds-defying call. The “book” would never permit that play in that situation. Maybe McCoy had a temporary rush of testosterone and made that call himself. Who knows? Who cares? It worked! In a presser after the game, McCoy defensively commented that the media would have crucified him if the deception failed. Maybe, maybe not. It showed guts.
Then it happened. The sheepish Chargers re-emerged. Later against Denver, Philip Rivers gives himself up short of first down yardage. A failed third down conversion attempt followed. McCoy then opts to settle for a field goal attempt deep inside plus territory. A play call to take some points instead of going all in. There were two other instances of settling for three in the first half and the Bolts head into the locker room down 21-6. Fast forward to the first series of the third quarter and the score is now 28-6. Proof positive that “bend but don’t break” is merely playing prevent defense from start to finish.
Chargers lost in the opener against Houston due to being out-adjusted in the second half. Rivers was stymied. The defense went passive and gave up the lead. They lost in the waning seconds in Nashville by punting the ball back to Jake Locker. The defense couldn’t solve Locker all day, so why trust them with the game on the line? They lost in Washington because McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt didn’t have the huevos to line up in a heavy set and try to cram the ball down Washington’s throat. They settled for a game-tying field goal, then trusted the defense to stop RG III when they failed to do so all day.
See a recurring theme? Am I full of it? Let me know your thoughts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Happy to announce that Mr. Pisciotta has been named a Senior Writer for the BoltBlitz.com. Thanks a lot for all you do for the site, Mike.