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.