Beyond the palpable incompetence of special teams and epidemic fumble-itis, there is another big problem in Charger Camp.
An offense that seemingly moves the ball at will, has talent at every skill position, and accumulates more yardage than Fabric City, stalls and chokes late in games.
This is directly linked to play-calling. Norv Turner, alleged offensive guru, has a rote method of dialing up wasted running plays. Typically these involve the running game. Rivers was the master of late-game magic last year—this year is different. So why not have somebody else get involved?
Whether it involves running bantamweight Darren Sproles up the middle, or heavyweight Mike Tolbert outside, the stubbornness of Turner's game-planning is only matched by his arrogance answering for this postgame.
Does he simply run out of run plays? Where was Ryan Matthews? Matthews averaged over six yards per carry, Tolbert less than one, and Sproles, as usual was bounced back for an average of minus-one.
Running back by committee is great, however maybe Norv doesn't know that committee chair (Matthews) is not literally supposed to be sitting in a chair, err ah, on the bench.
Also missing in action was Legadu Nanee. Phillip Rivers has a rubber arm but if Norv wants to surprise somebody why not have Nanee be the surprise element? The guy who can run, catch, and pass. Instead it is more stubborn play-calling.
Nanee has earned the No. 2 position, whether in the slot or as a wideout. Yet Norv had to get draft-buster Davis in when he had no business. He either gave up on the route or was not willing to lay out on a play.
The Raiders had their usual 100 yards in penalties, yet the Chargers let them get back in the game late as the Raiders simply wanted it more. It looked like the Chargers were tired. Lack of conditioning is inexcusable at this point of the season—another coaching malfeasance, it sure looked like the Raiders were faster at the end of the game..
Last year I was a staunch defender of Norv and AJ's program, this year is different. Maybe the Raiders are not playoff material, however the Chiefs are vastly improved, and well coached. The Broncos always have home field. Besides this year was going to be different for San Diego.
No more slow starts. There was no way to have predicted another crappy start. The schedule looked as promising as 6-0, certainly do-able at 5-1. Now the Bolts are 2-3. St. Louis will play better at home this week.
After that, some good teams come to town led by Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher. They will certainly exploit the Chargers' weaknesses while AJ and Norv will continue to be unaccountable. Again I was a staunch supporter of the program last year.
I was however, afraid of this year. This team is rudderless—laughing during special teams meetings and no leader besides Rivers. This year will quickly go south as Norv's tenure has become feckless.
As a Bolt's fan I am thinking the only way for the Chargers to avoid a slow start next year is to have no start at all—a work stoppage due to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. Either that, or a coaching change.
Whether on Offense or Defense, the Chargers win in spite of inadequate coaching. The Defense had the Raiders on their heels in the first half, yet Riviera called off blitzes against backup Jason Campbell.
Speaking of blitzes--Rivers is going to end up in traction if some changes are not made.
For those who remember Freddy Fender and the '70s guys out there, the headline of this article may remind you: Why should we bleed powder blue when their to blame for making us lose? Do you remember the day when Rivers and company could pull through?
Speaking of the '70s, Norbert is clearly no Don Coryell. Air Coryell never ran out of plays or imagination.