Media, Fans: Time To Employ "Tough Love" on the San Diego Chargers

Eric GomezAnalyst IOctober 20, 2009

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 19:  Eddie Royal #19 of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against Jacob Hester #22 of the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 19, 2009 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

Last night, a national audience realized that there are several things wrong with the San Diego Chargers.

Things apparent to Southern Californians and hardcore NFL observers were laid out plainly to Joe Football Fan during Monday night's lackluster performance.

Pro Bowl QB Philip Rivers can't hang on to the football after contact.

Rivers' offensive line is wretched, failing to open up holes for the run and allowing pass rushers to consistently pressure the quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, pressure on the opposing QB is non-existent, and stopping the run in key situations? Forget about it.

Personnel shifts in the secondary will most likely not be finished with the dismissal of Clinton Hart, as corners blow assignments even when they are not required to linger out in coverage for too long.

Heck, even the special teams, San Diego's shining beacon in an otherwise horrendous night in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, gave up two touchdowns to Eddie Royal—his first scores of the season.

Expectations have been officially lowered for Norv Turner's squad, a team that has been consistently picked by preseason prognosticators to at least appear in the Super Bowl over the past few seasons.

The group's once sterling cast of performers have been silenced by injuries, age or opposing schemes.

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LaDainian Tomlinson and Jamal Williams are done.

Shawne Merriman might be.

Nick Hardwick is extremely skilled, but extremely small for his position, and he will continue to get injured unless he bulks up.

Antonio Cromartie's mind is not on the football field, and it shows.

Philip Rivers continues to be the team's saving grace, but he can't do much under a pile of defenders.

Today, ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd could be heard saying that, "San Diego should have the best team in football every year. But [their media and fans] don't care."

His argument might be too broad and sweeping to be an absolute truth, but he's definitely on to something.

There's certainly excitement in town when the Bolts look good, and there's almost certainly bewilderment and frustration when they play like they did on Monday night, but after a while, it tends to fade away.

San Diego fans and media are content to shrug their shoulders in an "oh well" motion, and wait for Laker season and Padre season to begin, usually starting the process anew with those teams.

The level of involvement that this city has with its sports teams, most notably the Chargers, gives the players a bit of a free pass to turn in mediocre performances.

Where's the vocal outrage? Where's the outright questioning of the general manager, coaching staff and players?

Where are the team's beat writers and columnists for newspapers, local radio hosts and TV personalities demanding that Norv Turner be fired?

That A.J. Smith trade for offensive tackle help, or someone to help the pass rush?

Someone needs to get on the Chargers' case. Someone needs to stir up the emotions in the clubhouse, because it's obvious the coaches aren't doing it.

Gutless play calling, disturbingly stubborn managing of personnel and free agency, soft tackling, uninspiring play in the trenches and bad coverage aren't exactly hallmarks of a championship team.

Because they aren't a championship team.

It's time to let them know that.

Out loud.

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