By Ernie Padaon
Another week, another game where the Chargers get behind by three scores, rally in the fourth quarter and fall short. There was a Sopranos episode where Christopher Moltisanti thinks he’s died and gone to hell. He sees his father there and he tells Christopher that every night in hell he gets wacked the same way and every time it’s just as painful. This is probably the best way to describe the Charger season so far this season. Every week the Chargers lose the same way and every loss is just as painful as the last.
The one thing I hope the Chargers have learned is that you can’t play stupid football and win in the NFL. For example, last week the Patriots sat back, played conservative, bled the clock and watched the Chargers trip all over themselves. At one point the Chargers could have easily been up 9-0 but instead they were down 13-3. The only time the Patriots took a chance was at the end of the game when the Chargers finally threatened them. While they didn’t put up big offensive numbers, the Patriots looked like geniuses while the Chargers looked like the fool at the grocery store taking 15 minutes to do the self checkout.
1. How long before Charger fans start burning their LT jersey’s a la Cleveland fans with LeBron jerseys?
Phil: A better question would be is LT really hurt that the Chargers cut him this Spring or is he just a d–k?
Tomlinson has always been a sensitive guy. Remember the game where he walked off the bench when Phil Rivers tired to talk to him? And of course, no one will forget the AFC Championship game against the Patriots where he got hurt and sulked on the sideline. But at this point the petty shots he’s taking at the Chargers — and by proxy Charger fans– is ridiculous. In this latest round of shots he’s fired, LT says this Jets team is the best team he’s been on. We get it LT. You don’t like AJ Smith. You didn’t like how he cut you. But subtly ripping your old team makes you look petty. Trust us, Charger fans could easily take cheap shots at you too considering the way your Charger career ended. Let bygones be bygones and let’s not burn anymore bridges. We want to cheer you not jeer you at your Hall of Fame induction.
Ernie: Tomlinson needs to just pull the Shaun Phillips card and avoid any interviews till the end of the season. All he does is insert his fat foot into his mouth when he speaks. Every single word he speaks will be criticized and the sports writers will find a way to bring it against the Chargers. As emotional as fans that we can be, I almost brought out the jersey last night and torched it for the youtube audience and posted it on the BLOG. LT, just sit on the sideline, say “next question”, and the fans won’t be down your throat over here in Daygo! OR we will see you as a jerk that doesn’t want to answer a dang question cuz you are too BIG HEADED! Sounds like either way you lose!!!
Rudy: I have too much respect for LT to ever try and burn his jersey. I don’t think the comments he has made in the past and just recently are enough for me to do that to his jersey(Besides it was expensive, lol). I still believe the guy is a legend here, and I am not sure if we will ever see someone of his caliber play RB for our team again. The Lebron/Cleveland situation is a different from this. You have to wonder how much of a role the media plays into all of this: comments taken out of context, questions that are leading, etc. Sometimes media outlets just need to create material to talk about in their shows, articles, etc. I know that some of the current Charger players have said some things that LT may consider hurtful and no one is saying anything about that.
2. Is this team the worst of the Norv Turner teams?
Phil: Let’s see:
No way this team is better than last year’s 13-3 team. That team was able to rally from behind, played well on the road and didn’t turn the ball over.
The 2007 season, the Chargers started off 5-5 including blowout losses against the Patriots (the game after Spygate broke), Chiefs (a loss so bad my mind must have blacked it out because I can’t remember a single thing about this game), and Vikings (the game where Adrian Peterson broke the single-game rushing record). This team wasn’t so much bad as it was a victim of circumstance. They ran into a buzzsaw against a Patriots team on Sunday Night Football that had something to prove after SpyGate and Adrian Peterson who had something to prove going against the best back at the time, LaDanian Tomlinson. I also feel that, if the Chargers had more tough players like Philip Rivers and fewer players who were emotionally and physically fragile during the AFC Championship Game, this team would’ve beaten the Patriots and went to the Super Bowl. Based on this, no way the 2007 Chargers are worse than this year’s squad.
(See LT, we can take subtle cheap shots at you too. Let’s just call a truce OK?)
That leaves the 2008 year (the 8-8 season) where they were 2-6 and 4-8 before they ripped off 5 straight wins which included the playoff game against the Colts. This team was bad in the sense that they couldn’t do anything well. They couldn’t run the ball consistently and Vincent Jackson hadn’t emerged yet so their big-play passing game hadn’t truly developed. Plus for the first few games of this season their defensive coordinator was Ted Cotrell whose game plan each week was to play prevent defensive and never blitz. This team would have (and should have) missed the playoffs had Denver not played their last 8 games with their hands around their necks.
So I say if the 2008 Chargers are the worse of the Norv Turner teams, but this current team is not far behind.
Ernie: How can I say that this is the worst team that Norv Turner has ever been given when they are ranked number 1 in offense and defense?! Philip Rivers or more polished and more seasoned now than before. The talent on this squad is there and I think the worst part of the team is NORV TURNER and AJ Smith. The team does not look like they are playing to their full capacity and they just want to play a game of flag football on the field. Bring an attitude to this exact same team and they are a Super Bowl contender and they definitely are not sitting with a 2 win record against those pansy teams.
Rudy: I don’t believe this is the worst team that Norv has had in regards to talent. It might be the worst in terms of discipline, preparation, and leadership…and of course special teams. Stupid penalties, dumb mistakes, costly turnovers, those are what might lead some to believe this is the worst team that Norval has had. Though, we have had some injuries, we still have Phillip Rivers at the helm leading the way. In addition, the defense has been playing better than it has in years.
3. Kansas City Chiefs, are they for real?
Phil: Not to me they’re not. I’ve watched the Chiefs the past few weeks and I have no idea how they’re 4-2. Jacksonville (whom the Chargers blew out 38-13) hung with them for three quarters last week. They got smoked by the Texans and Indy handled them. They beat a crappy Frisco team, the Browns and the Chargers in the rain. I’m not sure this team is any good.
Ernie: Kansas City is playing with smoke and mirrors right now. They are a young team and are riding the emotional streak and will soon be brought back down to earth. They are led at QB by Matt Cassel and I have absolutely no faith in Cassel as a QB. The coaching staff there is very good though and they have found ways to hide their weaknesses. I think that the weaknesses will be exposed soon and they will come back to the pack. The division is still wide open for everyone and they will now have to learn how to play on top with people breathing down their neck!
Rudy: Though, KC does seem to have improved its talent pool through the draft, I don’t think they are the best team in the AFC West, at least not in regards to standings. They benefited from a weak schedule and from playing in the AFC West. I think it’s a matter of time before the team gets exposed, similar to the way the Broncos and Giants were exposed a year ago. Cassel is average at best, they have inconsistent WR’s, their running game is good, but I am not sure if its enough to carry them, and their defense is just a little above average
4. What has been the most disappointing aspect of the Chargers season thus far?
Phil: I’m disappointed in the fact that the schedule was set up for them to start of hot and set up for the playoffs they couldn’t take advantage of that. It’s hard to believe that if not for a handful of dumb plays this team could easily be undefeated right now. During the game last week I tweeted, “The Chargers lead the league in offense, defense, and stupid plays.” The Chargers are inventing ways to lose and now they have to rally if they want to make the playoffs.
Ernie: Besides the obvious 2-4 record that we are sitting with, I think that I am most disappointed with the attitude that AJ Smith is creating in the locker room. No player is supposed to be bigger than “the TEAM”, in this case “the TEAM” is AJ Smith. We have 2 Pro Bowl players sitting out on the sideline for the first few weeks and we started the season with a 2-4 record!! I am sure that it would be a different story with those players on the field. I sure know that Richard Goodman would not be on the field for that play to just give New England the ball!
Rudy: The most disappointing part about this season is the fact that our Chargers are leading in total defense and total offense, but cannot seem to win a game. It is mind boggling that our stats cannot be properly reflected in the standings. Rivers has been playing great as usual but he cannot do it alone. The defense has stepped up, despite numerous injuries to our LBs, to lead the NFL, but the special teams and some aspects off our offense have managed to lose the game for us.
5. If this were the offseason, what moves do you make to correct the team?
Phil: Ideally, I’d get a coach that would instill a little more discipline on this team. Realistically, since there’s almost no chance of the Chargers getting rid of Norv Tuner, I’d just build more depth on the team. The Chargers are showing what happens when a team gets decimated by injuries. Guys expected to start on special teams are either hurt or have to start because the starters are hurt so they’re basically running out 3rdand 4th stringers on special teams. If you look at it, this is a relatively young team. Even if it doesn’t look like it now, the Chargers are in a good spot. Philip Rivers is the best franchise player the Chargers have had in the past 10 years and is a leader they can actually build their offense around. As long as Rivers is on the team the Chargers will be contenders and the best Charger team he will be on is the one 2 years from now. (I had to take one more shot. I couldn’t help myself.)
Ernie: I think I keep AJ Smith around, ONLY if he is able to bring a high profile coach into the organization and willing to work with him. Norv Turner is done in my opinion, if he wants to stick around as the offensive coordinator than I am cool with that. He has lost this team and they do not play up to their potential! I would think about giving Ron Rivera his shot, BUT I would rather have a proven coach with this talent on the roster. It would be the Phil Jackson factor to bring in the championship to this city. I would also spend the money to sign Vincent Jackson to a long term contract. The other receivers have done well, but this guy is a top talent and you cannot say that he is on the decline at this point in his career! He is a stud on the field and he needs a clause for his off the field actions!
Rudy: If the season ended right now, I would get rid of Crosby the special teams coach. I would promote Rivera to head coach, and if Norval wants to stay as an offense coordinator I would let him. Also, there needs to be a final decision made on the Vjax situation, though the offense is doing well without him, there is some distraction that comes with this situation. I think we need to change something in the offensive line, we notice how much success LT is having in NY with a better OL. As much as I like Sproles, I don’t believe he is worth the amount of money we are paying him, so I would let him go.
Follow us on twitter at:Phil: @KenCaminiti21Ernie: @epadaonRudy: @ianswermyself