So Norv Turner's head on a stick, right? Surely the Chargers should have kept Drew Brees? And don't call me Shirley. Thursday night's loss to the Raiders makes four losses in a row for the Chargers. They lost two offensive linemen to injury tonight. Have the Chargers hit rock bottom?
We've really loved to hate Norv Turner for as long as I can remember. He seems to be the offensive (side of the ball, not literally offensive) version of Wade Phillips. He is a great coordinator, but not really cut from the cloth of a NFL head coach.
In 2011, we can blame Philip Rivers. I mean, he is leading the NFL in interceptions, right? Rivers has gotten a pass from the Turner nonsense, because he has consistently played at a Pro Bowl level. In 2010, he put up top-five QB stats without Vincent Jackson for all but a handful of games and only with a half of a season from Antonio Gates.
I would be tempted to argue that the lack of offseason work hurt the Chargers as much as any team. But the thing is, the problem with the Chargers is really their defense. And quite frankly, their last few drafts have been lackluster, to say the least.
Statistically, the Chargers defense looks good. They looked good on paper last year while the Chargers missed the playoffs. In reality, the Chargers have exactly one cornerback who can cover (Quentin Jammer) and one safety who can cover at a decent level (Eric Weddle). Their linebackers are terrible at covering running backs out of the backfield.
Do we even have to get into the Chargers failure to produce a decent pass-rush? Even since Shawne Merriman got off of the juice, the Chargers have struggled to find a decent pass rusher. Sure Shaun Phillips is decent. But what happened to Larry English seamlessly replacing Merriman's production?
The Chargers defense line produces zero pass rush. And while they produce this mediocre pass rush, they fail to cover up offensive lineman for their slow-ish linebacking core. Takeo Spikes can tackle the hell out of people who run straight at him. But he does not move well laterally at this stage of his career.
So there are a million ways to attack the Chargers. The really, really, sick fact is that they still play in the AFC West. I would be a sizable sum that nine wins is good enough to win the division. So the Chargers are far from out of it. Norv ain't goin' nowhere. But changes need to happen, especially on defense. And by changes, I mean like by Monday.
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