Each week the season gets a little bleaker, huh? As I have been saying since the first Denver game, every failure comes with the solace that a change will soon be upon us. Deep down, I think we all knew it had to come to this.
The game against the Falcons proved that the Chargers would still take themselves out of an important contest before the competition could even get to it. The win at Arrowhead showed that the Bolts still had difficulty putting together a complete game.
The New Orleans game proved that the Chargers couldn’t finish off a team after leading at the half (three more such games would follow). The Denver game proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this team would be no different than those that came before it. Actually, this team is a lot worse.
What we’ve seen is the culmination of three years of spotty drafts and free agent acquisitions. If A.J. Smith is actually to be retained, he would get to hire his second head coach. I think the Chargers need to find the next great coach, so I would be wary of “retreads.”
But unless A.J. could actually deliver John Gruden, as Jason La Canfora suggested Smith has been claiming, I see no reason for Smith to stay.
The best description I’ve read for Dean Spanos’ hesitancy to fire Smith was given by Craig Elsten on XX 1090. You don’t need to have read or watched The Lord of the Rings to appreciate the image of a clueless leader under the influence of a cunning deceiver.
Liuget, Reyes and Ingram might constitute two fine draft classes from 2011 and 2012. But Ryan Mathews is still one of the most mystifying and frustrating players in football. Craig “Buster” Davis, Antoine Cason and Larry English have all been busts to various degrees. Davis and English have hurt the Bolts by not being healthy enough to play. Cason hurts the Chargers by playing.
I’m not going to join the masses by citing all the guys that A.J. has drafted but let leave the Chargers without compensation. I think he should be let go purely on the basis that he would be allowed to hire the next head coach. I didn’t agree with his last selection very much, obviously.
ESPN’s AFC West blogger Bill Williamson suggested that David Shaw might be a good fit in San Diego. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. However, I don’t think Dean Spanos is up for a gamble on this hire. The sting of Mike Riley might be too strong.
Lastly, I feel obligated to once again point out to many of the revisionist Boltheads that even though Norv Turner needs to go, it doesn’t mean that Marty Schottenheimer was any better. Marty’s 14-2 had flaws, both mental and physical. Marty said all the right things, but the team didn’t do them when it mattered most. The last time I checked, that was what a coach is paid to do.
I am no fan of Norv but he won three more playoff games as Charger coach than Marty Schottenheimer did. However, the last one was over three years ago.
Based on results alone, Norval has to go. But if Deano needs to see a team blow a 24-0 lead and surrender a 4th and 29 to blow another one, so be it.