(POLL AT BOTTOM)
Well…. I’ve had the pleasure of writing the last few San Diego Chargers game recaps. Figures the minute I volunteer, they stop being fun to write.
BUT….. never fear Charger faithful! I am here to give you a reason for you to untie that rope from the rafters. So, take the gun out of your mouth, and get ready for the REAL depressing thing… which is that you won’t have any Charger football for two weeks. That actually depends on how you see it, as today’s game almost makes me feel grateful that we get a break. The last four weeks have been depressing, no doubt.
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This was not a must-win game.
In fact, I have a list (that I refuse to publish) of games that I thought the Chargers would win or lose this year. I had two of the last three games put down as losses. The good thing is, that I didn’t have the Seahawks down as a loss. I always know that we are going to blow the season opener, so I have them right where I thought they are supposed to be right now. We haven’t beaten Miami in 3 decades, for whatever reason, and I didn’t think they were going to do it today. I didn’t expect a SHUTOUT…. But, I did expect a loss.
I wrote earlier today that a loss here would sit heavy in the stomachs of this team, and that might be a bad thing. I am taking that back. I think it is exactly what they needed. The Chargers fielded a team that had no business playing in the NFL. Had they played badly, but still squeaked out a win, I think the win may have given them even MORE false confidence. But, a total blowout in the ugliest fashion known to man… that has to wake up a team. Especially, one that was too busy worrying about what a blog writer was posting about their poor handling of the Jahleel Addae situation, than focusing on the mess of a team they had suddenly been fielding for the last two weeks, right before a game of major implications.
It’s easy to point at guys like Richard Marshall, and clap that he has been released. He was a bad player, I get it. But, he wasn’t out there today. You can say that the offensive line is to blame, as Philip Rivers was running for his life like it was 2012. You can say it’s Donald Butler, who is playing just as bad as Richard Marshall, but just got the TT vote of confidence in the offseason. You can blame it on the defensive line, the secondary, the injuries, the schedule, the outside linebackers (who got ZERO pressure), or any number of horrible performances today. But there is really only one thing you can blame this on….
The Coaches, and TT.
This team has looked more & more unprepared each week. TT knows that the blame starts with him, and trickles down from there. The players have a big part in it, as the execution has been terrible. But, the game-plan itself has been negligent. From going for it on 4th & 1 (when we have been BEGGING him to do it for over a year), McCoy picks the worst time to do it. Pagano should be fired today, end of story. His defense is not responding to him, and the occasional solid win is not consistent enough to retain his job. Frank Reich… well… if I see one more run up the middle on first down, I might be throwing a rope over the rafters myself. Whatever magic coach D was able to work last year was lost when Clary and Hardwick went down. I don’t necessarily blame him too much, as he has very little to work with. Ron Milus has some soul-searching to do, as well.
But, the bulk of the blame goes on TT & McCoy, for not inspiring this team enough to not get shutout in a game that has playoff implications on the line. This erases the Jets shutout, and leaves Charger fans even more confused than when Norv and AJ left. Which team is going to show up from week to week? The one who shut out the Jets? The one that beat the Seahawks? The one that made the Jags & Bills look like lower tier teams? Or the one that got embarrassed by the Chiefs, the Broncos, the Dolphins, and allowed the winless Raiders to put up 4 TD’s on us with their rookie QB… 3 of them to the same receiver?
But, I am not here to make you even more angry & depressed. My job is to shed light, and not to master. This loss should put a volcanic fire of epic proportions under the seats of these players. Particularly the front seven, and the offensive line. More importantly, it puts a fire under the seats of the staff; Telesco, McCoy, and Pagano. We have given them our unconditional support. For the last 4 weeks, they have shown us that they are not paying attention, or capable of motivating a fairly talented team to overcome adversity. Injuries happen, players have bad days, and coaches get out-gamed every week in the NFL. If I didn’t know better, I would say that the coaches are losing this locker room.
When this bye week is over, I expect to see a team that is inspired, healthy, confident, rejuvenated, and ready to show this league that all of this was just an accumulation of bad circumstances. This team is capable of making a playoff run, even in the wake of a shutout. They need to have a serious conversation about player safety, and figure out how to regain the confidence of these players. Mike McCoy’s famous speeches need to have a different tone to them when they return. The catch phrases need to be replaced with brutal honesty. If we wanted catch phrases, we could have kept Norv… who just rattled off three wins in a row with a rookie QB.
The roller-coaster must stop. The steam-engine must become the new Chargers symbol. Stable, dependable, and consistent.
Get ready to come back and take the NFL by storm… this isn’t over yet.
Keep Bolting Toward Excellence.
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