Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chargers Beat Jaguars, Above .500 At The Bye Week

It's been almost two weeks since the Chargers beat the Jaguars fairly handedly and now after having last weekend off the Chargers travel to D.C. to face the Redskins.

So far, this season, the Chargers have surprised me by their that it is much better than I had anticipated...but also, how bad the NFC East is.  Prior to the season started I didn't think the Chargers could beat any of their NFC opponents.  Now, I think the Chargers could sweep that division...already beating the Eagles and division leading Dallas...the Redskins are up next and then the lowly Giants later this season.

Another surprise is how well the AFC West as a whole is doing.  For the past couple years many could argue that the AFC West was one of the weakest in the league, it is now one of the toughest.  The Chargers have yet to play the Broncos and the Chiefs...both above the Chargers in the the Chargers need to stay focused because the season is only going to get tougher for them and crucial division games loom on the horizon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chargers Beat Colts On Monday Night Football

For a week ESPN had promos on their stations that featured Andrew Luck passing the ball and verbiage that tempted viewers to tune in Monday Night to watch Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts play on ESPN's Monday Night Football.  Barely a mention or even a notation that Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts were playing the San Diego Chargers.  So it was kind of an extra special pleasantry when the Chargers proceeded to beat the Colts on Monday Night.

The Chargers continue their up and down season...winning a game and then losing the next.  Beating teams people don't think they should be able too and then losing to teams that people think they shouldn't.

I do think the Chargers are improved from last year and will give McCoy some credit so far.  The team hasn't been totally obliterated by another team and is fairly competitive each week.  Once consistency is found, the Chargers could elevate their game to a level that may be playoff worthy.

What's weird is watching the Chargers one week, when they can't get a first down to save their life and their defense unable to get off the field...then the next week, against a team like Indianapolis - many would say a "quality" team - the Charger offense ran the ball down their throats, something the Chargers have been unable to do to any team so far this year and the defense was somewhat formidable...what it amounted to was that the Chargers had the ball for long periods of time as they had nice long sustaining drives and the defense held the Colts out of the end zone which maintained leads for the Chargers throughout the game.

Chargers travel to Jacksonville...which Charger team will be there?  If the Chargers lose to the Jaguars, it will just illustrate that the Chargers a team that is still too inconsistent to be good.  If the Chargers win, then they will know how to come off a big monday night football game, travel to the east coast and do what it takes to win on the road.  Last season the Chargers could lose to any team on the road, regardless of their quality, if this Charger team is going to begin to move in the right direction, winning east coast road games is something that needs to happen more often.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Chargers Look Like Chargers Of Old...Turnovers, Bad D and No Run Game

It was a late night game, the San Diego Chargers versus the Oakland Raiders...word is, the latest scheduled game on the west coast in NFL history...which guaranteed that 75% of America would be sleeping during most of this game.  Some would think that the Chargers failed to wake up for it as well.

The Chargers reminded me of the Charger team of the past few seasons...bad.  Muffed kicks, interceptions, poor defense and absolutely no running game.  The Chargers failed to execute in every facet of the game...offense, defense and special teams...something that they failed to do in most games under Norv Turner the past few seasons..but after seeing the Chargers find some success on the offensive side of the ball and not fail as bad as in the past on special teams, this season did have some promise.  But Sunday night showed that this team is still very far away from being consistently decent.

The Raiders defense was up for the task of stopping Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offense...although, Rivers from the beginning was looking like the Rivers of the past two season as well as he lobbed a ball to no clear Charger receiver and was picked off on the first possession. Rivers would end up with 3 interceptions on the night...more than doubling his season total.

The Charger run game can not be found anywhere.  The Chargers had a total of 32 yards rushing for the game...the Raiders QB, Terrelle Pryor had 31 by himself for the Raiders.  Which just illustrates how poor the Charger defense is and how much better the Raiders defense is.  The Charger defense was seen running around all night...rarely in position to stop the Raiders or make a play...which has been a theme for this season already.  The Raiders defense had pressure on Rivers, their secondary was covering well and they shut down the run...invert that statement for the Chargers who had little to no pressure on Pryor, secondary coverage was horrible and the Chargers couldn't shut anything down.

Then there's the special teams...something the Chargers have struggled with the past few seasons but things seemed like they were getting better....well...not.  Eddie Royal muffed a punt in the first half that set up a Raiders score and later the Raiders would block a Chargers field goal attempt.

Just to make things as bad as they could for the bolts, Danny Woodhead would also fumble the ball that the Raiders would recover and score on.  The Raiders led this game wire-to-wire and the Chargers were never in a position to even make the game competitive...when they had the opportunity to narrow the gap it was the Chargers who couldn't make the plays to do so and the Raiders always capitalized on the Chargers ineffectiveness overall.

The Chargers are still not a good team...they are not a consistent team.  The first step towards becoming either, in my opinion, is the defense.  The defense for the Chargers has been nothing but horrible so far.  Sure the turnovers and mistakes made by the offense are obstacles, but the Charger defense has done nothing so timely interceptions, sacks or fumble recoveries... in fact the Chargers have just 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery on the season, which puts them second to last in the league for turnovers.

The Chargers host the Colts this weekend...the Colts have a decent defense and offense and compared to the Chargers, their team is extremely stout.  If the Chargers are going to even have a chance against the Colts, the Chargers are going to need to protect the ball and force some turnovers...something that wasn't done this last week....last season....or even the season before....

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rivers Sharp As Chargers Beat Cowboys

When this season started out for the San Diego Chargers one of the "unknowns" was whether or not Philip Rivers could return to his old form and be an effective starting quarterback.  The past previous 2 seasons Rivers has looked fairly bad to awful...turning the ball over during crucial times in games and failing to lead the Chargers, when behind, to game winning scores.  Rivers had a pass deflected and intercepted late in the first half and the Cowboys ran it in for a touchdown to go up 21-10...a feeling of another game down the toilet was beginning to creep into my thoughts...but, the Chargers were able quickly drive down the field and get a field goal just before halftime and went into the locker room down 21-13.

Dallas would not score again.  The Chargers defense seemed to let the Cowboys get a few first downs every series, but would do just enough to stop the Cowboys short of scoring in the second half.  In the first half, Dez Bryant was looking like a beast as he outjumped the shorter Charger db for a score and then on a catch and run, he seemed to easily glide away from Charger defenders.  But the Chargers defense made just enough adjustments to keep the cowboys contained.

Rivers was on target all day...throwing for over 400 yards and Antonio Gates had 140 of those yards and a long touchdown score in the fourth quarter that made the game a 2 score lead for the Chargers.  The Chargers defense then came up with a big turnover as the Cowboys fumbled the ball at the goal line with 2:42 left to play...sure the Cowboys wouldn't have taken the lead but it gave them a chance to win it...the turnover ended all that.

Even though the game was played in San Diego anyone watching it may have thought it was in Dallas as there were plenty of Cowboy jerseys in the stands and the cheers as Dallas did well seemed louder than for the Chargers...hopefully, if San Diego continues to do well the Charger fans will begin to show up again.

Dwight Freeney was injured during the game...that could be a big blow for the defensive line if he misses some time.  Even though his stats may not show it, he might be the Chargers best pass rusher....with other teams having to focus on him it has allowed others to get free and benefit from his attack.

Chargers are 2-2 right now, which is better than I thought they would be doing at this up, they travel to Oakland.  I think the Raiders are improving and aren't of doormat status fact, the way things are shaping up, the AFC West is actually turning out to be a pretty formidable division again...Broncos and Chiefs both have yet to lose and the Chargers and Raiders are playing decent enough to beat "bad" teams. 

If Rivers continues his solid play and the defense can start making more plays, the Chargers could certainly be a "surprise" team this year...of course they have yet to play the Broncos or the Chiefs to see how they stack up against those teams...but so far, the Chargers aren't a totally "bad" team...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chargers Choke Again, Titans Win; Chargers Defense Non-Existent

The San Diego Chargers are back to their old self again...choking games away.  After a surprise road win in Philadelphia the Chargers had a chance to gain some respectability and win back-to-back road games...but instead, like in week 1 and many times last season, the Chargers had the lead and the ball in the fourth quarter and end up losing in spectacular fashion.

The Charger offense is playing alright but with the ball and time a ticking, head coach Mike McCoy chose predictable, no gain running plays to try and eat some clock late in the fourth quarter and rather than get a first down that would have ended the game, the Chargers end up kicking the ball to the Titans with 2:12 to play, no timeouts and 94 yards to score a touchdown...with :21 seconds left, the Titans - with the worst passing offense in the league - score on a 35 yard touchdown and go on to beat the Chargers.

The Chargers defense is horrible?  Just read above...but to reiterate, the Titans are one of the most conservative offenses in the league and were able to drive at will to win the game against this Charger defense.  The Chargers defense is ranked 31st (out of 32) in defense and watching the game on Sunday a person would really begin to wonder how awful is the 32nd ranked team (which is Washington).

The Chargers offense isn't playing bad...but not enough to close out games...but that may have something to do with the coaching.  As for the defense, I think it problems are both...poor personnel and poor coaching. 

Next up for the Chargers is the Dallas Cowboys...the only team that looks respectable in the NFC East at this time.  I know they ran it up against the Rams last week and are playing well...if the Chargers defense continues to play like it has so far this season, Tony Romo could have a career day...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chargers Shock Philly, Rivers Solid In Win

The San Diego Chargers traveled to Philadelphia, had a lead for most of the game, lost the lead with 7:06 to play in the game and the Charger team from the past couple seasons wasn't to be found - that Charger team blew leads and floundered in the fourth quarter... but instead of losing the game, the Chargers went on to defeat the Eagles.  What also is rare for the Chargers, it was a road game...they haven't performed well on the road in years and it was a non-conference game and I do believe the Chargers were 0-6 against their last 6 NFC opponents.  Plus, Phillip Rivers had to lead the Chargers on a game winning drive...something that also has been just as rare as all the other ominous stats for Charger futility.

So what happened?  Well, let's start with Phillip Rivers who looked sharp...and I will also give props to the coaching...the play calling seemed to keep the Eagles defense off guard for almost the entire game.  Rivers played a great game throwing for over 400 yards and had 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.  Eddie Royal... a player the Chargers picked up last season and most of us haven't thought much about him since because he really hasn't done much...but he had 3 touchdowns against the Eagles and has 5 total in the first two games...obviously performing at the level the Chargers had hoped for since his acquisition.  What also was fairly impressive was that Malcolm Floyd went down early in the second half and his replacement, Keenan Allen did a decent job filling fact, Rivers was able to spread the ball around, hitting 8 different receivers in the game.

The Chargers could have had an even bigger lead if Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews both wouldn't have fumbled on the goal line.  Gates, gets a pass from me because he has proven to be a good player and if you minus the fumble, he still had a pretty good game.  Now Mathews, on the other hand, has fumbled since he was drafted, never rips off a big run and has done little to prove his worth to this team.  Dan "the moron" Deirdorf commented on how the Chargers were going to "ride it out" with Mathews as the Chargers continued to use him on the offense after the fumble...well, hopefully that is short lived and even if the Chargers do continue to "ride it out" with Matthews, I think he should be used, if at all, outside the 20 yard lines and more sure-handed backs be used inside those critical areas to minimize the mistakes he seems to make every season that hurt the Chargers.

The Charger defense is still a cause for concern.  Even though the Charger offense was able to move the ball and score the defense had opportunities to put the game away by just stopping the Eagles offense...but the Eagles seemed to be able to move the ball very easily and in huge chunks for much of the game.  It was certainly the Eagles defense that lost this game for them.  And to not take credit away from the Chargers, but the Eagles defense was bad and penalized multiple times that often times helped the Chargers out of a jam throughout the game. 

I was somewhat surprised at the confidence the coaches have of Nick Novak.  The Chargers had a 1st and 10 at the Eagles 31 with 21 seconds left to play and two timeouts.  Instead of trying to move the ball closer or even score a touchdown, the Chargers simply ran the ball for a few yards to set up a Novak 46 yard game winning field goal.  If Novak missed that field goal and the Chargers go on to lose the game in overtime (it was tied at 30), people would have certainly scrutinized that decision to settle for a field goal rather than take a few shots downfield....especially with the way Rivers was throwing the ball.

This win gives Charger land some hope that things could be moving in the right direction...that the team may not be as bad as originally advertised, but the season is still very young.  The Chargers have to travel to Tennessee this week and the Titans aren't the slouches many thought they were either so the Chargers need to stay focused.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chargers: New Head Coach, New Season, Phillip Rivers & Defense Still Chokes

Is this still the 2012 football season?  Is Norv Turner really gone from the Chargers?  Because the 2013 Chargers did their best impression of the Norv Turner 2012 San Diego Chargers where the team puts in a marvelous first half only to not come out of the locker room at half time and surrender a 20+ point lead to lose a football.

And Phillip Rivers continues to SUCK and in epic fashion.  Of course he was good for a 2nd half pick six and the offense, as a whole, failed to do much, if anything, for the majority of the second half... they were completely inept.

But let's not let the defense off the hook...they were equally hapless in their efforts to try and stop the Texans from simply marching down the field at will, with long sustained drives...a couple extended thanks to Charger penalties.

With 10:42 left in the third quarter the Chargers take a 28-7 lead and many people may have thought the Chargers were going to win this game going away...but no...Rivers and the rest of the Chargers simply folded up and let the Texans run all over them for the remaining 25:00 of the game and cranked out 24 unanswered points to crush the Chargers.

The Charger defense is as bad as it ever was.  Phillip Rivers is as bad as he ever was...sure he had 3 TD passes, but the pick six late in the game is the same old crappy Rivers we've seen for the past two years.

Chargers could have stunned a lot of people with a thrilling upset to start the season out...instead, they just live up their reputation of being colossal choke artists.  Don't count any team out of a game with the Chargers, regardless of the score...the Chargers don't have the fortitude to bring it home.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

2013 Charger Prediction

It is about that time again...time for football fans to wake from their 8 month slumber and begin to follow their favorite team on their quest to win the Super Bowl.  For Charger fans it is no exception, me included.  I am a fan of the Chargers...always have been and always will be...yes, for some reason I can't be shaken from my loyalty to this team no matter how many disappointments they seem to deliver.  Yes, I am loyal to the Chargers and will likely watch every one of their games this season but I am also a realist.  I am not the "homer" fan that thinks the team is Super Bowl bound each and every year...I see their flaws...and their strengths and I try to gauge my expectations of the team based on my own observations and not let too much of the "mainstream" media dictate my own take on the team.  So with that...let's get into it and here is my initial thoughts of the San Diego Chargers and how well they will do in the 2013 NFL Season.

First off let's start out with the new GM and new coach...Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy.  I've already made some comments about both with a basically a wait and see attitude.  And I'll stick by that...the only negative I have really commented on was that I don't think McCoy may have been the best candidate for the coaching position because he was the offensive coordinator from Denver where Peyton Manning does most of the play calling...oh sure he may have helped with plays and whatever, but when it came to making the "call" at the line of scrimmage, Manning does that.  But offense is only one facet of the game and if he is able to at least manage the game, he will be better than Norv Turner ever was.  If I don't see a single delay of game penalty after taking a timeout this entire season, he already has one-upped Norv who seemed to get that type of penalty on a regular basis.  So if anything, the coaching for the Chargers is an intangible, at this point.

Now with the offense and the focal point of any team's offense is the quarterback.  Phillip one time I had him labeled as a winner and a guy that I loved on the Chargers.  For the past two seasons Rivers has completely erased that and is nothing but a liability now.  I think this story details it nicely... up until two years ago, Rivers was a very proficient QB in the fourth quarter, able to put together game winning drives...but in the last two years has been nothing but awful...turning the ball over 22 times in the fourth quarter and 2-19 in game winning drives.  Last season I noticed that Rivers doesn't seem to have the accuracy or the arm strength for the deep ball, allowing defenses to play closer to the line of scrimmage and even let receivers get downfield because they would be able to adjust and defend any deep pass because it would rarely be thrown and if so, likely off the mark of the intended Charger receiver.  Hope amongst fans of the Chargers is that Rivers play improves with a new coach...but as of right now, that is only hope.

One of the reasons, some Charger fans cite, for Rivers poor play the past two seasons has been the offensive line...and I agree that the offensive line was horrible.  The Chargers have made some moves this season to try and improve it, and it likely has improved, but it hasn't improved enough.  The other problem with the Chargers offensive line is not only is it probably sub-standard by NFL standards, the Chargers don't have any if/when any of the starting offensive linemen get hurt, their replacement is likely a big dropoff...and it isn't just the offensive line, the entire Charger team lacks depth at almost every position.

So let's move to the skills positions...the Chargers still have Antonio Gates who is still a gamer.  He looks like he is in great shape for this season and I hope he is because he is likely the Chargers best receiver.  As for the wide receivers on the Chargers...they are, for the most part, an unproven, injury prone group.  Sure Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Brown have had some memorable plays but as soon as you get excited about either they are on the sideline injured.  Speaking of injuries, let's move on to Ryan Mathews, the Chargers starting runningback...who, in the past, seems like if he isn't hurt is fumbling the ball.  Hope (again) is that he shakes both of those labels, stays healthy and doesn't fumble the ball.  But even when Mathews was given the ball, he has never been able to break off a big run...and I do believe he still carries the stat of not having a run of longer than 20 yards in his career.

Ok, now let's go to the defense...

I think the defense will be improved this year...the addition of Dwight Freeney could really make a difference.  The Chargers have had close to no pass rush with very few sacks over the past two seasons and I think Freeney will help improve in that area for starters.  But the problem with the Chargers defense is what it always has been...the secondary.  I do like Weddle and I think he is good...but the rest of the db's for the Chargers are suspect.  Gilchrist, who played a bit of CB replacing Cason for a while, was awful.  If the Chargers can get a pass rush with only 4 or 5 guys, the secondary will look better...but if the Chargers have to send more pass rushers and leave the corners and safeties to cover all the receivers...well, that's probably a big problem for this team.  And like last season, it seems like the Chargers have a lot of linebackers...but none of them seem to be that good.  Manti Te'o, who the Chargers drafted, has been injured for almost all of the preseason...and to me, looks undersized...I'll wait to see what he does on the field before I cast final judgement on him, but compared to what NFL linebackers typically look like, he does not seem to fit that mold.

So now it is time to make my predictions and like in the past, I like to list out the games on the schedule and base my prediction on that...

Couple of things though... first, I think the first 6 games of the NFL season are a crapshoot and essentially the new preseason.  A team that isn't doing well after the first six weeks isn't necessarily out of anything and a team that is tearing it up after 6 games doesn't mean they are the best in the league...sure you don't want to go 0 and 6 but even if you do, it isn't the end of the world and teams can come back and still make a run at the playoffs...ideally, if a team can be 3-3 after 6 games (even 2-4 ain't that bad) they still have time and opportunity to make the playoffs.  Next, the Chargers have been horrible on the road the past couple years...regardless of opponents (see Cleveland last year).  If the new coaching regime in San Diego can change that trend, that would be another bright spot for the Chargers...

Chargers first four games are a doozey...they start out at home against the Texans...(Sidenote: as the last game of week one and I am already cringing at the thought that Cris Berman is probably going to call that game and he is HORRIBLE!) then they go on the road to play the Eagles and Titans before coming back home to face the Cowboys.  I think they are 1-3...the Texans have two proven weapons, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster both should have little issues with the Chargers...The Eagles will be healthy for a few weeks and the Chargers stink on the road so they take the full brunt of the Eagles, the Chargers have a chance to eek out a win in Tennessee...I think and the Cowboys game could be a coin flip...the Chargers could be 2-2...but I'm thinking 1-3...Next four games...3 are on the road and only one at Oakland, host Indy, at Jacksonville, bye and then at Washington...the Chargers could seriously be 2-2 out of that stretch with wins over Oakland and Jacksonville...but the Chargers stink on the road...I'm thinking they lose one of the games between Oakland and Jacksonville, lose to Indy and Washington and go 1-3 and are 2-6 overall at the midway point.  The schedule doesn't get much easier in the second half...starting out with a home game against the Broncos, they then travel to Miami and Kansas City before returning home to play the Bengals.  I hate the Broncos and I hate it when the Broncos beat the Chargers...but the Broncos will do just that, the Chargers can't win on the road, the Bengals are many people's Super Bowl pick (what?) ... Chargers hit a dry spell, go 0-4 and are 2-10 at this point.  Bright side...3 of the last four games are at home...Giants, at Denver, Oakland and KC round out the schedule...Chargers win their final two games my initial pick, but I think the Chargers could win 1 of the games against the Cowboys, Jags and Dolphins and maybe, like Pittsburgh last season, they surprise some team that they shouldn't have my final prediction for the Chargers is 5-11, possibly 6-10 if they get an upset win ... is that sad, no playoffs and no hope for the playoffs early in the season...I hope, like I say every year...that I am proven wrong...but if you look at my last two seasons predictions I have been off by only 1 game.

The Chargers just are too thin and lack talent in a lot of areas.  McCoy has his work cut out for him and so does this team.  The Chargers have already been riddled with injuries and if any of their "key" players suffer some injury, it will only compound the problems for this team.  I don't see much firepower on offense...if they can simply manage the game and not turn the ball over, the defense may have the opportunity to make some plays and keep the Chargers competitive...but that has yet to be seen.

In the end, I hope for the best as I prepare for the worst....I would love nothing more than post an entry in January as to how I was wrong in gauging this team from the start and how they surprised me at how well they are doing....

For those who are interested, I do tweet during most Charger games (@SayOw) so follow/comment/heckle me if you want.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Annual Tradition For Others: Optimism For The Chargers

Huh...what's this?  I'm awake....I am here...What could possibly awaken me from my blogging slumber you wonder?  Well... a quick peek at some of the Charger forums has done it again.

Here I am, thinking I am going to go to the Charger fan forums to read about how this team is still a ways away from being competitive again...because I would think anyone that has paid any attention to the offseason so far would have a tough time telling me, or any other Charger fan with a clue, that the Chargers are not only going to win the AFC West but deep into the playoffs.

But what do I see and read?  Exactly that.  The Chargers, these fans trumpet loudly, are so very close to 10 wins already and with just a little bit of luck, can go 12-4 next season.  While I would love to be drinking the kool-aid that they are serving, I just find that as far of a stretch as possible as you can imagine.

Being a blind, super homer fan doesn't mean you know more than any of the other fans, but going to these fan forums and even trying to mention anything to the contrary is often greeted with "what do you know?" and "you aren't a knowledge football fan, such as I..." and so on.  Yet, these "super fans" have year in and year out clamored about how the Chargers are just (literally) one bad call, one miss tackle or one play away from the Super Bowl each and every year.

My favorite line of logic this offseason is that the Chargers were just a bad break away from so many close games last season and if they simply flip that stat, they are instantly above .500 again.  Well, these people conveniently forget that in most, if not all of those "close game" losses, the Chargers likely had the lead going into the fourth quarter or late in the fourth quarter and simply could not close the deal.  The team collapsed on itself and a big reason is on the defensive side of the ball...but the offense deserves it share of the blame too...but the defense was epic in its failures late in games last season. 

The Charger defense hasn't changed much and the secondary looks to be about the same crappy secondary that gave up big plays last season.  Unless the player's from the Chargers are no longer getting beat deep and missing tackles, then that would be a noticeable improvement...but the players the Chargers are sending out to play defense, especially the DB's, have been beaten routinely game after game.  I don't think there is a defensive scheme that is going to help the Chargers secondary out, but if the new coaching staff of the Chargers comes up with one, I will be pleasantly surprised.

We still got a ways to go until kickoff of the 2013 season so there is time to do more assessment of this Chargers' team...but so far, I have not been impressed with this offseason.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The State Of The Chargers...In My Mind

The NFL draft is this weekend and I think most every year I make sure to make an entry stating how I really am not that interested in the draft and how over hyped the draft is and this year is no exception.  As per usual...Let me know when the draft is over, who the Chargers have signed and are these new players going to be any good and help the team win a Super Bowl?

But this offseason is an offseason that reminds of what it is like to be a Charger fan...there really isn't much to look forward.  But what makes this offseason sting even just a little bit more for me is the fact that it has been validated that Dean Spanos is cheap (in the wrong areas) and not committed to winning a Super Bowl.  You see, this offseason is the aftermath of Dean's "gamble" and stay the course with two bozos that did nothing to earn their retention.  That move stunned and shocked me and when last season played out the way it did, most fans that share my sentiment simply sat back and could say that it should have been expected, because it was for me.  Norv Turner proved one thing and one thing only while he was the coach of the Chargers...and that was how inept he was at coaching.  Former GM AJ Smith, the "genuis" behind hiring Norv, followed Norv's inept coaching style with reckless draft picks, paying too much for unproven players and basically leaving the Chargers thin at almost every position and "hoping for the best".

So why is hope still very faint this offseason you ask?  While let's start at the top...again and as usual...and that means Dean Spanos.  It is clear that when he is hiring a GM and a coach, affordability is his number one criteria.  Going after anyone proven or "high dollar" (Parcells, Cowher, etc.) is not even an option in his personelle searches.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind grabbing some young "up and comer" but those people are usually already making some waves before they do ascend to those positions.  The Chargers hired, as their coach, someone who essentially held the clipboard for Peyton Manning last season.  Does anyone think that Mike McCoy was drawing up and calling the plays for the Broncos last season?  Of course not...when the Broncos got Manning they instantly sat him down and said what plays do you want to run Peyton?  And then during the game, Peyton essentially decides what play to run at the line of scrimmage...yep, the head coach of the Chargers is the guy that would pat Manning on the back and say good job after every score and that was about it.  I think hiring McCoy as the coach is Spanos' way of trying to get some cheap intel on the Broncos rather than improve his own team.

McCoy, along with new GM Tom Telesco, have a variety of interesting challenges coming up...the Chargers are essentially short a running back, the entire offensive line, 2 dlinemen, at least 2 db's, at least 3 lb's among other needs.  And, as per usual, the Chargers don't sign any high profile free agents to fill any of those needs so now its either up to trades or the draft to fill those spots.

Do I have much hope for the Chargers next season?  No, not really.  But like I tend to ALWAYS say...I hope to be proven wrong...unfortunately I went into last season expecting a 6-10 season and the Chargers surprised me (and everyone else) by winning a game in Pittsburgh - something they have never done in the regular season - and thus made it to 7 wins...but the signature of last season was the game against Denver when the Chargers were up 24-0 at halftime and then Phillip Rivers, and company, bumbled, fumbled and stumbled that game and the season away.  That was just one of several games the Chargers had a lead and then surrendered it in glorious, flame out fashion...proving that they were not a team made up of winners but quitters.

Every season, it seems, that a team that was horrible last season makes significant improvement and become relevant again.  The Chargers haven't been competitive in the NFL for the past 2 seasons...maybe Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco are just what this team needed and things begin to improve.  To their advantage, the Chargers are in one of the weakest divisions in football ... but not for much longer... the Broncos are a respectable team again, the Chiefs are young and I think they could be very good.  If the Chargers don't turn things around this season they could certainly be in contention, with the Raiders, for the doormat of the AFC West.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rock Music And Today

As a public service to the kids of today, I am going to try and post/list/detail examples of what a "rock" concert was and should be...

For my first submission, I present exhibit A ... a band, when performing live, should have roughly the amount of energy and "power" displayed in the following video...Filter performing Under from way back in '07...

I know many will think shows like this are staged, but no kids, this is how a rock show should look and sound...

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Chargers: Is It Just The Offensive Line?

It's been a good month since the San Diego Chargers ended a miserable season and since then they have "cleaned house" in regards to their coaching staff.  Most pundits and fans all agree that moves was long included. Now is the next step for this next year a "rebuilding" year or is it season that the Chargers, with a few personnel moves, could return to contention.  One point that many "knowledgeable" Charger fans continually vomit up is...Fix the oline, then everything else will come.  Well, there's where I am going to veer off of a bit...

Yes, the Chargers offensive line last year was horrible and does need some fresh faces.  But I also want to remind many of those same "knowledgeable" Charger fans that they were the very same people saying that signing Jared Gaither last season was a huge pickup and that would certainly solidify the line...forgetting that Jared Gaither has been a bum his entire career and proved to be such one all of last season.

No, in my opinion, the Chargers have more to look at than just the offensive line...but will stay on the offensive side for starters...let's start with Phillip Rivers, he needs to prove he is even worthy of being an NFL QB again and not the quarterback that over the past two seasons has the most turnovers. There were more than one game last season where the Chargers were in command of the game and all they needed to do is not turn the ball over to win and Rivers and Co. did just that.

Skill players, with the exception of Rosario and Gates, there isn't a back on the Chargers roster that did much of anything last season.  I know some fans have high hopes for Vincent Brown, but even that, at this point, is an unknown.  Mathews continues to disappoint with injuries and subpar play.  So many fans of Mathews continue to cling to hope that this guy can do something but the time might be just to let this guy go.  He doesn't break off any big runs and seems like he runs into traffic rather than away from it.  When you see a rookie like Doug Martin playing on a Tampa Bay  team reel off big runs in a losing cause I wonder why Mathews in three years has yet to be able too?  

The defense...I really didn't think the defensive line was all that bad, but overall the Chargers defense wasn't that good.  The linebackers are old and slow and the secondary is just bad.  Eric Weddle at safety is probably the only db worth retaining.  Some Charger fans would be quick to point out that the defense did "seem" too keep the team in games but you also need to remember that the Chargers' offense was likely going 3 and out on most of their even if the Charger defense did make a stop or two, it was never when the game mattered or when it was meaningful.  The Charger defense is, as it almost always seems to be historically, decent until it really matters then it is really bad (see 4th & 29).  

Sadly, the only "improvement" I saw on the Chargers last season was their special teams...and it wasn't anything special...just not the epic failure it was in 2011.  Not sure if Novak is the man to be that maybe a need as well.

This is the NFL and more than one team has been able rise up to contender status after having a fairly poor season the year before.  Of course with Peyton Manning bringing the Broncos back to life all the pressure (and media attention) is on the Broncos in the AFC West.  If the Chargers could at least become more disciplined and eliminate turnovers, they easily could become, at the very least, respectable...and that is something that could happen as soon as next season with the right people in the right places.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

21st Century Children - I'm Not Walking!

My second installment of comparing my children's childhood experiences with my own was inspired by today's weather and subsequent "demands" needed from my daughter. It snowed last night a fair amount...probably a good 6 inches.  It's not cold and it's not windy. And for this installment I am actually going to do a broad age range for it deals with giving my daughter a ride to school...

First, I would like to detail my "transportation" to and from school...first, for kindergarten, I walked to and from school every day, it was 5 blocks.  My mother walked me to school on the first day of school and that was the last time any adult walked to or from school with me my entire school years.  For elementary school, it was sweet, about 1 block plus we had an alley that we could take to a catwalk...for some reason lots of stuff did happen on that short 1 block walk because rocks, debris, water, snow, mud, etc... all could be found on that walk.  But those were the "good ole days" once junior high hit, my parents felt the need to enroll us (my older sister and younger brother as well as myself) into parochial school and for 7th & 8th grade the catholic school they sent us too was all the way across town, as I Google map it today to get the distance, it measures 1.9 miles.  Here were my options for 7th and 8th grade, for a ride to school, I could get one but I would be there almost an hour before the school starts, at 7:00 AM, plus need to be ready to leave the house by 6:45 AM.  Or walk and leave the house at 7:15 AM.  I did usually take the ride, but after getting to school I remember some long, cold, boring mornings standing outside the school waiting for anyone to come...and I mean LONG, COLD and BORING mornings...I could have chosen to go to early mass, but I would rather stand outside in the cold then go to church. After school, if it wasn't basketball or football season, I would usually walk...and regardless of what the weather was.  Of course we all can remember junior high and this is the beginning of kids beginning to be conscience of what they are wearing and doing and are trying to "look cool" and of course one of the things you do to "look cool" in North Dakota (when your in junior high) is to wear light clothing, no hats, no gloves and certainly no boots during the winter time.  I recall having to walk home when the temps were subzero with no gloves, basically a sweatshirt and sneakers...I got frostbite on both of my earlobes and too this day they will sting when it gets extremely cold, always a reminder of that walk on that day.  During the sports season, after practice, I could wait an hour and get a ride from my father who got off work at 6 or walk...again, I usually walked.  Plus, for football, I would walk 6 (long) blocks to the practice field, practice for an hour and half, then walk back the school, change and then walk home.  Yes, for two years, 7th and 8th grade, were some tough hikes and a miserable time for me...I hated it every day.  Then high school sister had her license by the time I started high school, so I got a ride to school with her for my first two years.  She would give me a ride, but she required me to go out and start her car and scrape any ice off of it before we could leave.  After school, I would usually walk, but the walk now was considerably shorter, just a mere 10 or so blocks...seemed like a pleasant stroll.  And of course by the time I was done with my sophomore year I had a job and was on my way to my first car to end the walks forever.  Throughout my school years, though, never did I ever think I was "entitled" to a ride nor could I just flat out and demand I get a ride when I want one..and when I say when, I mean EXACTLY when I want a ride...not 20 minutes later, not 5 minutes, NOW.

Now we can compare that with my daughter's experience...and as I've said before, I'm not here to judge and declare one was better than the other, just my observation of how the times have changed. First off, the schools my daughter attends are all relatively close, the elementary school is 3 blocks away, the junior high is 10 blocks and the high school 14 blocks.  My daughter has never had to walk to school and at least 50% of the time things work out where she has gotten a ride home from school.  But today is one of those days where she likely will not be able to get a ride.  As I mentioned to begin this post we had a bit of snow last night, but the temperatures are mild and there isn't even a breeze.  After telling my daughter that I would not be able to give her a ride home today she replied "But some people won't even have their sidewalks shoveled when I get done with school." and that's why she is DEMANDING a ride home from school...because some sidewalks might not be shoveled off for her.  Now of course, if she would be willing to wait at school for a half hour, she could get a ride...but no, not the 21st children.  I am done with school at 2:52 and if I can't get a ride at 2:52 I will walk home and let you know how you ruined my life, my shoes, my coat and now I'm sick and you have to pay, pay, pay, and pay!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Manti Te'o's Fake Girlfriend Exposes Lazy Journalism

By now most everyone has either read or heard about the Deadspin article exposing Notre Dame's star linebacker, Manti Te'o and now we are in the "aftermath" period of that story.  Here's are the points that I find the most interesting in this entire story, for I am not a big Notre Dame or Manti Te'o fan, I was unaware of how "big" this story was at the time and now how big it has become.

The first is the lazy journalism.  Sure, people are quick to say, are you really going to fact check every time someone says they are in remorse because someone died?  No, you don't have to do that...but when you look at the circumstances of this entire episode, you would think that the impact this "girlfriend" had on Te'o's life - he broke down and cried more than once - you would think at one point someone that was putting together their "feature" on Te'o they would have tried to contact someone that knew the deceased girlfriend to get some comments from them...a family member, neighbor, co-worker, friend, etc... but no, neither ESPN nor Sports Illustrated nor did any of the other media outlets that were quick to pick up Te'o's story and run with it.  What likely happened, is the journalist made a half-hearted effort to contact someone but because of deadlines and what not if that part of the story fell through, oh well, the "meat" of the story, Manti Te'o, is still there for ya.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg for shoddy reporting...we can go on and on about how the major media, once again, didn't let facts get in the way of a good story.

So let's move to the phase this story is in now, namely that Te'o is saying he was "duped".  Notre Dame, ESPN and other media outlets are going along with that angle and even making up excuses as to why it could be plausible that this happened.  To that I say HA HA!  The only reason Notre Dame, ESPN and the others are trying to stick up for this liar is because they don't want to admit that they were swindled...but EVERYONE knows that Te'o and his pal were doing this knowingly and for personal gain.  All ESPN, Notre Dame and the others that are defending this guy's excuse is to simply put a plea to their viewers...that buy into everything they say..."is hey, we were swindled just like you!"  But the reality is, if ESPN and the others don't like it when they dictate the story...ESPN likes to manipulate the story to their liking and here they were manipulated...but they can't be wrong, so they side with Te'o and say that he is just an idiot...which is still true...but he is also ranked as one of the biggest lying scumbags of all time as well.