Alright, Chargers fans, everyone take a deep breath, in through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. Now, repeat those steps as many times as it takes to get you to a relaxed state. That exercise will do you, and all of us who read your social media rants a lot of good.
Yes, I’m talking to those Chargers fans that after four days of free agency have already lit their torches, sharpened their pitchforks, and began the trek to Chargers Park and Tom Telesco’s (TT) office. Take a breath, people! Let the man do his job. Let’s be honest. If you or I know more about running a professional football franchise than the team’s General Manager (GM), the team is in worse trouble than we knew!
I read all the complaints about how TT is letting Bolt fans down and he is not going after top-notch players. If these fans had their way, Telesco would have signed DeMarco Murray, Ndamukong Suh, Dwayne Bowe, Terrance Knighton, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Darrelle Revis, and so on down the line of big names to contracts that would still have left us room under the cap! Well here are a couple simple facts for all fans to remember:
- There is a salary cap in the NFL. Teams can only spend up to the cap, whether they have more needs or not. If you spend a large chunk of your cap space on one player, you may not be able to fill other holes that you have. I’m sorry, but the Chargers have many holes to fill.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Okay, that is a little cliché, but it fits. Tom Telesco and the Chargers staff have been trying to dig out of the hole that former GM A.J. Smith left them in ever since they took over a couple years ago. The team was a mess. There were some key guys to build around, for example, Rivers, Gates, Weddle, and Hardwick, but not very many quality supporting players. Telesco has brought in some quality players via the draft, trades, and free agency, but it takes time to build a football team from (almost) scratch.
On the flipside, I understand that we live in a win now, must win society. No one likes to go to work on Monday morning and hear about how their team lost, or didn’t make the playoffs. There is nothing worse than listening to your co-worker brag about how his team has three rings and your team has none (you know who I’m referring too). So, you are mad as hell and you aren’t going to take it anymore? Well, unless you are going to jump on another team’s bandwagon, you don’t have much choice.
Now, every year we run into this kind of drama, but this year seems to be worse than normal. Why do Bolt fans seem so desperate? I have two reasons for their panic:
- The new stadium. Let’s face it; this could be the last season for the San Diego Chargers. Fans want to see their team win a championship for their city, not Los Angeles or Carson, or anywhere else. How did Los Angeles Rams fans feel when the Rams took off to St. Louis and then almost immediately win a ring? That had to sting. No one wants that in San Diego. Not to mention, if the Chargers could win the Super Bowl this season, the odds on obtaining the necessary votes to build a new stadium would greatly increase.
- The Padres. This may be a little more of a stretch, but perhaps watching the Padres spend money and seemingly sign whomever they wanted in the offseason got the emotional Bolt fan worked up. “Why can’t we sign guys like the Padres did?” Well I’ll tell you why; because of the salary cap. A.J. Preller, the GM of the Padres, was given permission to spend and spend a lot. He worked his magic and brought more talent at one time than any San Diego franchise has ever been able to bring in. But let’s face it; the Chargers do not have the ability to spend as much as they want on players. They are limited by rules that do not apply in Major League Baseball.
So do yourself a favor and sit back, relax and enjoy the process. Don’t expect more than is possible to deliver. Tom Telesco is trying to build an entire team. Remember, it takes two to Tango. You may have heard that he was the highest bidder to court Andre Johnson and Johnson decided to take less money to play in Indy. That is not Telesco’s fault. These things happen and he has to move on to the next guy on the wish list.
One last thing to remember, when building a team, the GM has free agency, the draft, and camp signings that are often after week 3 of preseason. The team you see today is not the finished product. Give Telesco a chance to prove he knows more than we do. Keep the faith! Go Bolts!
So how do you feel about the job Tom Telesco is doing so far? Is there any certain player you want him to sign? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.
We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.
The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.
We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.
There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.
Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.
We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.
Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.
The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.
All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.
A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.
The Greg One