Now here is Coach!
Dear Mr. Billionaire, err ah, Mr. Philip Anschutz, and trusty sidekick Magic Johnson:
Though the Chargers played as crappy as their old stadium yesterday, I am urging you to expedite this deal and serve notice to the head coach and staff. That is, before leaving in the middle of the night this summer.
Like Jerry Jones, you can change your mind. Like Minnesota, you can get rid of these guys. Magic Johnson seems to have some ideas about personnel, too; he could replace A.J. Smith, who has lost his touch.
This way you can carry out your nefarious scheme and actually have a good team, and better yet, some accountability, something the Los Angeles Chargers are going to desperately need. Something current ownership does not have the balls to do.
Has anyone done less with more, like Norv Turner this year?
Slow starts are nothing new; however, taking a win over Oakland and wins in December are nothing new, either. No mas: Turner is now the third-best coach in the AFC West, along with his squad. Pathetic, to say the least.
"Every game is our Super Bowl," according to Eric Weddle.
Well, yesterday the Bolts revisited 1995.
Special teams were supposed to be fixed. Darren Sproles makes terrible decisions on both kickoff and punt returns. When he does field the ball cleanly, on a kickoff, it is like clockwork: a pedestrian 25.5-yard return. Shane Lechler is the best punter in pro football, yet Sproles was caught off guard and fumbled yesterday, as Lechler actually creates hang time.
The Chargers are estatic when they simply get a punt off. Lack of preparation was palpable again on special teams, and again, Turner refuses to change. I realize Crayton got hurt, but surely someone with some speed besides Devin Hester (another screw-up) could return kicks.
Not that it matters, but these head coaches are supposed to account for every aspect of the game. Tom Cable outcoached Norv Turner in every aspect of the game yesterday. Yes, the Raiders outplayed the Bolts at every position yesterday, but a team becomes a reflection of its coach in this copycat, non-cerebral era.
That is the unkindest blow of them all yesterday. The facts that the Bolts are now the third-best team in the AFC West. Bragging rights in California are important.
A close second in the agony and painstaking process of what has become of watching San Diego this year: bearing witness to Norv's witless play-calling on 4th-and-short again. How many times will he show his hand with the two-back set, run it up the gut and get stopped for a 2-yard loss?
It doesn't matter who is carrying the ball on this play—LT, Sproles or Mike Tolbert. It doesn't work. Yet Norv refuses to change. Why not put the ball in your best player's hands—that is Phillip Rivers—on an option toss? Other teams do it.
Yesterday, twice on fourth down, Cable drew up brilliant plays, one on a naked bootleg touchdown by Oakland QB Jason Campbell. Yet when it comes to short yardage, on fourth down, Norv clams up and dials up the most predictable of short-yardage plays. Minus-3 yards and a cloud of humiliation.
How will the Bolts finish?
We now see what happens if the Chargers are not playing Indy or if Rivers is not having an MVP game—the team is not well-coached.
The good news: Yesterday was a Total Team Loss. Every player, including Rivers, and with the possible exception of Sean Phillips, played awfully. The lack of physical and mental toughness is chillingly apparent.
I dare say, it would have been better to go 6-10 and hand the torch to the Chiefs, not the Los Angeles Area fanbase of the Raiders. Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you: L.A. is Raider Country.
You may want to think about relocating to your hometown of Toronto—or San Antonio.