Chargers: Who’s to Blame? – Part 1


Hope had entered the building last week.  The Chargers had hung with the Packers in Lambeau field.  Maybe, just maybe, this team was not as bad as we all thought it was.  Well… sigh… by halftime on Sunday hope had been assassinated in gruesome fashion.  It lay dead on the floor, dismembered and bloody.  The Chargers had been exposed for who they were, despite Mediocre Mike trying to tell us different.

How did we get here?  Who is responsible for this madness?  Three years ago we ushered in a new era.  We heralded the coming of Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy.  This was our time!  The Chargers were going to reclaim the AFC West and become Super Bowl contenders.  But three years later we are sitting in a pile, beat up, bruised and hopeless.

I see three suspects for this crime.  And not just one of them is guilty.  They all are.  They all had a roll to play is this mischievous affair. In part one of this series we will take a look at the kingpin’s right hand man – Tom Telesco.

I have already done an in depth analysis of Tom Telesco.  See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.  So I will spare you the details and go straight to the center of the problem – The trenches.

The Chargers are weak in the trenches on both sides of the ball and it is wreaking havoc on our team. Let me explain a little further in detail.

On offense it is quite clear that the Chargers line can not do two things:1. Run the ball with any consistency.2. Pass block for any duration of time.Opposing coaches have seen this and are attacking the line with everything they have. We have seen it all season since Cincinnati.  It is how Minnesota embarrassed the Chargers.  I believe Cleveland could have beaten the Chargers as well if they had stuck with the game plan instead of abandoning it after Philip completed a couple of long passes.

Go back and look at the Raiders game.  They are putting 7 guys on the line of scrimmage and up to 10 guys in the box.  Why wouldn’t you?  You know if you crowd the line the Chargers weak running game will be smothered even quicker.  The counter by any good offense is to throw over the defense that cheats up.  But the Chargers can’t do that because Philip needs to get rid of the ball in less than 2 seconds or he will be sacked.  If the ball is coming out in less than 2 seconds you can cheat everyone forward.  There is no need to fear the deep ball because there is no time.

Watch the end of the Raiders game.  Watch them get pressure while rushing just three guys.  With three guys they consistently broke down the pocket on every down.  The Chargers pass protection is so bad they can not even block 3 guys.

On defense we have the same deal but in reverse.  The Chargers defensive line can not do two things:1. Stop the run game with any consistency.2. Apply pressure to the quarterback.Opposing teams have ran the ball with ease against the Chargers.  They are ranked 31st in the league giving up an embarrassing 5.3 yards per carry.  To try and mask this obvious weakness, the Charger crowd safeties up to help with run defense leaving the secondary depleted and open to big plays.

Against the passing game the Chargers are near the bottom of the league in two categories – sacks and yards per completion.  The Chargers give up 8.1 yards per completion and are averaging only 2 sacks per game.

Opposing offenses are allowed to take their pick of what they want to do.  They can run the ball against our weak defensive line or sit back in the pocket all day and throw to receivers who are in single coverage.

And this all falls on the shoulders on Tom Telesco.

On the defensive side Tom Telesco has failed to bring in any quality free agents for the line.  In the draft he has selected two defensive lineman, the earliest one in the 5th round.  His neglect of this vital unit of the defense has left the Chargers defensive front weak and it is being exposed by opponenets.

On the offensive side he has made some good moves in drafting DJ Fluker and acquiring King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin in free agency.  However he failed to replace Nick Hardwick, making perhaps his greatest draft blunder when he selected Chris Watt (a 5-7 round talent) in the 3rd round and passed over guys like Trai Turner and superbowl champion Center Bryan Stork.

This last off-season it was clear the Chargers needed help in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  They needed linemen.  But in the first 4 rounds Tom Telesco drafted a running back, a linebacker, a cornerback and traded away a valuable 4th round pick. He completely disregarded the teams needs and this team is suffering because of this gross negligence.

Furthermore, his disregard for the value of 4th round picks is appalling. The 4th round is a great place to pick up developmental lineman.  By trading away picks we are basically missing three backup linemen from this team.

Suspect #1 Tom Telesco.  Charged with failure to acquire adequate talent for the offense line and for total neglect of the defensive line, in addition to reckless use of valuable draft picks.