This weekend, two teams face off in San Diego trying to find their identities on the field. The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a leadership change (both in ownership and on the field), while everyone is waiting for the other shoe to fall with the San Diego Chargers.
The Jaguars are a once-proud franchise that is slowly turning into the Detroit Lions of the 1990s. The offensive play-calling has been inconsistent all season long. Former head coach Jack Del Rio never had a clue on when to run or pass. Why would you pass on 3rd-and-short in the fourth quarter of a tight game? The right call is to run over the middle and grind that drive into the end zone.
You cannot blame the defense for the team’s demise, as they were left on the field for far too long each game. All signs pointed to inconsistent play from the offense. Sooner or later, the defense was bound to crack or become too worn out to make key stops.
The Jags were ready for a change at head coach, as Del Rio proved time and time again that his teams underachieved with him at the helm. If team management continued with him, that would have left Del Rio as the lamest of all lame-duck coaches and given the team little incentive to win.
In San Diego, he inherited a talented team that was primed to make a Super Bowl run. The team was inconsistent at times in the regular season, but dangerous come playoff time. And then came that disastrous home playoff loss to an inferior New York Jets squad in January 2010.
During that game, the Chargers play was undisciplined with highly questionable second-half play-calling from the renowned offensive genius (Turner) himself. He lost focus that his offense was pass-oriented and tried to run the ball down the Jets throat.
That game plan played right into the hands of Rex Ryan and company, as they waited for their opportunity to capitalize on the Chargers mistakes. The Jets won and moved on to the AFC Championship Game. San Diego hasn't been the same team since them.
The downfall of the Chargers stems from above, as general manager A.J. Smith is the chief architect of this team, but he clearly doesn’t have a clue how to build a Super Bowl contender. Smith's problems have been poor draft selections, while the players simply haven’t produced on the field.
Smith also lacks any loyalty toward veteran players, often discarding them after an injury-plagued season. He doesn’t inspire his team, but instead breeds resentment toward management.
Team president Dean Spanos must end this current management team's reign and go in another direction before Philip Rivers becomes just another broken-down quarterback who never reached his potential.