I’ve been a Chargers fan since my birth back in 1992. I’ve been a die-hard fan since the LT MVP 2006 season. I’ve seen the worst, the best and even the sorriest teams the Chargers have had here in San Diego my entire life.
This isn’t an article on the team, per se, but it’s an article that is me venting my frustrations, one I am quite sure many of you can relate to. From the top to the bottom, I will go and release some frustration out, and I hope you will follow along with me.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco
The GM that replaced AJ Smith, and one who worked under Bill Polian, has been the Chargers GM since 2013. Tom Telesco, who everyone within the NFL sees as a very good, but very young general manager, has put two 9-7 teams together, and one team happened to reach the AFC divisional round where they eventually lost to the Denver Broncos. Tommy T, as I like to call him, has drafted pretty poorly in his first two and a half seasons here and has signed/drafted two, maybe three impact players. This is not what a successful GM on a winning team does. He is constantly moving up in the draft, trading away multiple draft picks for players who need a lot of work on their craft (Te’o, Attaochu, Gordon) and he hasn’t hit on any gold. Telesco constantly goes against the advanced metrics to draft reaches in the third round. His poor drafting and poor roster management is getting highly exposed when coupled with sub-par coaches.
Speaking of the coaching staff……
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy
Mike McCoy, hired in 2013, is a former offensive mind from the Super Bowl Carolina Panthers and the Tim Tebow- led Broncos. McCoy isn’t the only one I’m going to bring up here. Defensive coordinator John Pagano and offensive coordinator Frank Reich are also underachieving as coaches. I firmly believe that the Bolts need to go in a different direction with these two. The one part Telesco has constructed right is the secondary. The Chargers’ secondary might be the best secondary they have had in quite some time. But in the last two weeks, with the starting secondary playing, John Pagano has not been successful in stopping the pass and is constantly leaving guys on an island to be burned one-on-one. I’m looking at you Donald Butler and Brandon Flowers. Flowers isn’t fast. In fact, he isn’t the lockdown No. 1 cornerback that he was halfway through 2014. He is a possession coverage corner who will need help over the top on speedsters such as Markus Wheaton and Marvin Jones. Pagano needs to realize this and put Eric Weddle or Jahleel Addae over the top, or have someone who is close to or equally as fast as the opposite man. Maybe someone like Patrick Robinson or Stevie Williams. Pagano, now in his fourth year as defensive coordinator, hasn’t shown the ability to adjust or to change up what he does on a constant basis, and if this is the case, the Chargers should look in a different direction.
Frank Reich is another story. Just like Pagano, he hasn’t shown the ability to adjust, and is way too predictable when it comes to offensive play calling. How many draw plays does he need to run before he realizes it only hurts his offensive line? How many times does he need to see D.J. Fluker or Orlando Franklin get tied up after going back to block on a draw play? His offensive calls are boring and it seems like him and Philip Rivers aren’t on the same page during the course of the game with all of the audibles he has to call at the line of scrimmage. I firmly believe that he should be demoted from playcalling, and that McCoy should take over until further notice.
I have been a big supporter of McCoy since day 1, and I still am on the McCoy train. However, this season has really taken a toll on me and has me wondering if he really is the right guy for this job. The one play that really stood out to me was his passive approach at the end of the first half versus the Bengals. He literally let over one minute run off the clock before halftime in a game where the Chargers lost by five. Little things like this are what lose games. This team hasn’t gotten better under McCoy, but I don’t think he’s the main reason why. But him, along with Reich and Pagano and the rest of the coaching staff, need to do a better job of coaching these guys before this season gets out of hand.
There are some players on this team that frustrate me more than anything else, and I’m sure that they frustrate you too.
There is talent on this team. Despite it being poorly coached and/or poorly constructed, there are some players you can build around. One thing that bugs me the most are selfish players. I don’t think I’ve seen as many selfish players on one team, than I’m seeing now. Whether it’s celebrating a touchdown while losing, celebrating every catch or going public about a contract situation. It needs to stop. This is a team sport. The most insulting thing to fans is seeing a professional athlete put himself ahead of the team. It shows a lack of discipline and something that can get the locker room divided. That is never a good thing.
What I’m getting at is this team is having an identity crisis. They need a gut check and they all need to look at themselves in the mirror, and play up to their potential and expectations. This roster is far too talented to be playing this poorly, even if constructed badly. No more Instagram photos of yourself scoring a touchdown after a blowout loss. No more contract holdouts or distractions. Come in to work ready to play football and go out there and play to win.
But at the end of the day, we are all Chargers fans and we will rep Chargers’ gear until the day we die, win or lose. This was just me letting off some steam in the best way I could think of.
So, thanks for sticking with me on this.
*If there’s anything you need to vent, or something that I missed, or you just want to absolutely rip into me for saying this stuff, please leave a comment!*
Certain plays keep running through my mind as I lay my head on my pillow. I am flooded with memories of penalties and mistakes that conquer my thoughts. And who do I see when my sleep-deprived eyes finally come into focus? Brandon Flowers. My eyes begin to burn and my head hurts.
Make no mistake about it my friends – the Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night; except of course on the scoreboard. Ironically, however, that is all that matters when you are trying to win the AFC West and go deep into the playoffs.
San Diego played with heart and determination throughout most of the game. People who read that sentence might have a quick-tempered retort, so I am asking for you to re-read that sentence.
“…heart and determination….”
The offensive line is battered – again. However, with a potpourri of players blocking and protecting, they managed to only allow two sacks – against a team that blitzed almost every play. Of course you have to credit the master, Philip Rivers, for maneuvering in the pocket and getting rid of the ball quickly. But you also need to credit those players ahead of him. They played hard and fought through it all. Their mistakes? Penalties. Those penalties from that offensive line hurt drives; inevitably hurting field position. The Bolts and Rivers feed off of momentum. When you throw a fade route to Ladarius Green to convert a 3rd down and it comes back, frustration begins to creep in no matter how hard you choose to ignore it.
For 58 minutes of the game, the defense was a beautiful sight to see. Manti Te’o was wrapping people up and making key tackles. Melvin Ingram and Corey Liuget continued to be in the face of Michael Vick. Jason Verrett was everything San Diego had hoped he could be, as he dominated one of the best wide receivers in the game, limiting Antonio Brown to three receptions for 45 yards on the night.
Pittsburgh’s offense had many golden opportunities with their field position; something the Chargers offense lacked for almost three quarters. Even with Pittsburgh’s great field position, John Pagano’s defense stepped up huge, allowing only three offensive points through three quarters.
The interception that was returned for a touchdown was upsetting. Those who blame Rivers for that need to watch more football and perhaps understand that Malcom Floyd did not run the sharp route he was supposed to. Rivers laid it out perfectly, and the person who ran the best route was in fact Antwon Blake for Pittsburgh. Nonetheless, that was not the most disconcerting mistake of the night.
What was devastating was when Vick threw a deep pass to a wide-open Markus Wheaton.
“Did that just happen?”
My heart had not stopped racing with enthusiasm after Antonio Gates caught his second touchdown of the game.
Flowers was beat badly and it appeared that after the 72 yard touchdown, Vick knew where he had to go when asked to throw. Over and over again Flowers was beat. How fitting that Heath Miller, who caught a pass at San Diego’s one-yard line, was covered by Brandon. Furthermore, what was more disturbing and gut-wrenching to watch, was the soft defense with two minutes left in the game while holding onto a slim lead.
All game, Vick was disrupted. There seemed to always be a spotter on him, ensuring that his dangerous speed and agility were contained. For some reason however, the attack button was put on pause as he marched down the field to win the game in dramatic fashion.
Can we blame the loss on one player? Of course not. As pointed out there were many mistakes that were made which accounted for the loss.
This Chargers’ team can compete. They have the talent and the heart to win. San Diego is not out of the AFC race by any means. This week will be a tough challenge, and if mistakes can be minimized and mental toughness strengthened, there is no reason why the Bolts can’t shock the NFL next Sunday and the weeks thereafter.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott