After Late Night writer and Charger fan Eric Stangel decided to give a free plug to his grade school chum and his Chargers blog, the JIC Twitter Followers spiked by almost 100 overnight. Therefore, I felt I needed to get out there today and write something. When I see an article like this, I see that the Chargers can still say all the right things and still not do them. They tried so hard to lose that game yesterday. Yes, the Laboy roughing call was shaky at best. I have no idea what happened with Vaughn Martin not getting out of the way on the sideline for the official. I have seen his footwork, however, and I am not that surprised. However, Cam Thomas actually looked OK. What am I talking about? This was a team that came in hobbled and got more hurt as the day went on. On a day that Drayton "Head Butt" Florence picked off Tom Brady, Antoine Cason got shat on. He literally looked like Jammer did his first few seasons. He didn't turn around even though I am sure all the fans screaming told him the ball was coming. Gregory somehow missed batting the ball away as did our special teams players on an almost blocked kick.The idea that Rivers has been affected by getting hit so often never really dawned on me since he's looked off since Opening Day. Wasn't the reason that he was Peter King (and a lot of other people's) preseason MVP pick was because he would finally have all his weapons back? I wasn't kidding when I said Norv should sit him. He was that bad. On the radio Hank Bauer was shocked that Rivers didn't use a hard count or more time off the clock on the 4th down. When every former Charger thinks you did something wrong, it's not a good sign. They are as pro-Bolt as they come. Bauer also called for Tolbert at FB with Mathews at RB. I think everyone is sick of Hester. Just because AJ drafted him high doesn't mean he can suddenly block. Put him and English at the kids table. Hammerin' Hank was real diplomatic about Mathews "maybe" being better than Tolbert. He's way better and even Tolbert knows it. Mathews wasn't drafted to split time with what should be our change of pace back. Beyond the fumbles and short yard stops, Tolbert can't take us where we need to go. Use him, I agree. But he shouldn't be our first option. Seriously, are you telling me you can't let Mathews even try on 4th down? A week after being blasted for being too passive in Foxboro, the Chargers go into a shell again. Where was the aggressiveness on those last few KC drives? That was pathetic. I was wrong to say that the Chargers have been 1-3 every year under Norv. They have never been 2-1, as they are today. But they did everything in their power not to be. Yes, Oakland rammed it down our throats last December and looks like they could do it again. However, we play them on a Thursday Night at home and in Oakland on the final day. I have a feeling that the head to head matchups won't decide the division. Can we not get upset in either of the next two weeks? That's the big question.
When my wife rolled over before falling asleep last night, she said:
"So wait, the Chargers won AND you're not happy? That doesn't seem fair for me." I know exactly how she feels. Right now, Nick Canepa's point that this group hasn't looked like one that wants to win a title is sadly true. But, if they can even win ONE of the next two games, this will be the "fast" start they promised. As Goldmember would have said "Isn't that veird?"
Bolt The Fuck Up,
Seriously, I haven run out of things to say about this team. Don't tell me it's Week Two--not for the fans. Don't tell me that this is a new team--doesn't look like it. Kelly C. Hair sent me this last night and I think it sums it up pretty well:
I was trying to post on JIC but I couldn't figure it out, maybe it's because I'm half drunk and pissed. I know in the big picture that this game really won't mean that much come January, but can't we win at least one of these big games that everyone in the damn nation is watching? The NFL world was thinking that we could play with these guys, but we would find a way to lose, and that's what happened. I could write a novel going into specifics, but in my opinion we thoroughly got outcoached, and it didn't take the "genius" that everyone says Belicheck is to do it. How many times do we have to run it on first down? I love Tolbert, and he is a great player, but why do we use our all world QB to hand the ball off to him on the goal line when everyone knows that's exactly what we are going to do? I'm offically off of the Norv Turner bandwagon. I'm trying to keep the faith, but I realistically predict an AFC west crown against weak competition and getting outcoached in the playoffs as usual. And if you ask me, it can't come soon enough, because our next coach has to be better than our last two.
I wouldn't say that Norv has a bandwagon, but I know what Kelly is trying to say. Tolbert is not quite excellent, either. However, he should not have been told to run that play on the goal line. How about the draw I keep yelling for? Then again, Tolbert's fumble was the final nail in the coffin. Mathews looked like he was really starting to push other guys around, but our history would suggest that if Norv kept him in he'd be the one to cough it up. We are still the cruelest joke of all in the NFL. I have never liked Norv, but I can't plead for something that should have happened a while back. I still remember Darren Smith asking Kevin Acee before our last playoff implosion where AJ GAVE NORV AN EXTENSION "what if by some chance the Chargers fall apart in their first playoff game?" I can't remember Acee's response because it doesn't matter. Tim Sullivan's column today in the U-T summed up what we have been saying all along:
"Until that trend is reversed, the Bolts will be prone to look better on paper than in the (extensively inked) flesh. They will continue to be portrayed as a team of extraordinary talent and inadequate poise; too soft in hard times; too susceptible to self-inflicted wounds; too careless to become champions." The NY Daily News also called one of the most underacheiving franchises in football (early 90s Oilers, anyone?). I won't say that it is just a hiccup until this team goes 4-1. That's insane if you have been watching the Chargers. The only thing about them that would surprise me is their winning the Super Bowl. I hate saying that but I hate even more that it's the truth.
The idea is to Bolt others, not yourself.
Every now and then I'm contacted by another football site or a page run by fans of the team we are playing that week and asked to give my opinion on that week's game. In 2008, I even put my two cents in for the NY Times "Fifth Down" football blog. It's always nice to be asked to give my opinion to those that are not among The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt, but what I get most about these exchanges is that they force me to get my thoughts on the Chargers together. This week the "Foxboro Blog" asked my opinion on our most perplexing team as they travel to a game that I was originally intending on being at. Of course, I have no idea what the Bolts will do from week to week. If I did, I might be able to predict my moods a little better. Then again, if I knew what was coming next, I might decide not to be a Charger fan at all. I'm kidding, FAITHFUL READER, you knew that-didn't you? The worst thing about this team over the last seven seasons is that we don't know how they will play on Sunday. We think we do and then they surprise us. Many times it's a bad surprise. But sometimes their unpredictability actually works in our favor. Anyway, here's my unedited responses to some Charger-related questions:
I know that we deserved to lose the games he choked due to the mistakes of so many others (Parker, Olivea, Florence, McCree, Phillips...), but the fact that AJ kept him around when no other team would sends the message that underperforming in big spots is acceptable. My other least favorite Bolt, Luis Castillo, was also injured yesterday. I don't wish anyone to get hurt, but when I saw the article on him in the U-T the only comment from a reader was "I didn't know he was even playing." I know his job is to eat up blockers to free up the linebackers. I just think he doesn't it very well, especially when you consider what we are paying him. The only time his name was called yesterday was when Adrian Peterson blew right by him.
I heard Josh Lewin liken yesterday's game to the '07 opener when we needed to rally to beat the Bears at home. What he didn't remind listeners was that the next week SI featured us as "for real," and got embarrassed in Foxboro. You remember, right? It was the game after it was revealed that the Patriots taped practices, aka "Spygate." That was also the rematch that Shaun Phllips promised he would take "personally." Cris Collinsworth told the national viewing audience that the Bolts had no business being thought of as contenders and he was right. Of course, the team rallied after losing two more in a row. We can't afford that kind of start this time.
The defense deserves a lot of credit for making some big stops. Sanders and Spikes definitely made their mark. But things will get a lot tougher next week. I don't know whether the short passing game was part of our game plan or was a result of Rivers getting hit (I'm looking at you, Jeromey Clary) or the fact that he was clearly off with his accuracy. I don't think we should have forced the ball to Jackson although Rivers had two picks anyway (in the red zone, no less).
I saw Nick Canepa say today that if the Bolts win on Sunday, they would definitely make the playoffs. I can't disagree. This will be a big statement game. The Pats, with a shortened week, will be playing their first home game. Time to Bolt The Fuck Up.
So much for us going under the radar, huh? Suddenly, it seems that the Chargers are once again "part of the conversation." It's not like they are the only team being discussed, but they are once again being grouped amongst the "elite." Even Jim Trotter actually appears to be hinting that the Bolts might actually finish the job they started seven seasons ago when they returned to the playoffs after an almost decade-long drought. Of course, there's no way I can buy into the hype. We've been let down too many times before. I saw one of the Kansas City Queef blogs wonder why it seems like people are "giving the Chargers the division. Isn't Norv Turner still the coach?" I think I actually saw that blog promoted on the bottom of my screen as I read this piece on what a great coach for the Chargers Turner is.
As I write this, I see a response from Trotter, formerly of the U-T and now of SI, that the Bolts winning the Lombardi "is definitely a possibility." But even my wife is warning me not to allow myself to be too vulnerable for another heartbreak. I couldn't even allow myself to care that Darren Sproles was catching long pass from Drew Brees or that the one-time "Lightning Bug" was running back kicks for touchdowns. At this point there are so many former Bolts out there making plays, it just gets too exhausting to be rooting against them. Wouldn't it be nice to have something to root for? Ah, perchance to dream...
So Dean, Junior and AJ are best buds now? I can't believe Junior stole Hugh Hefner's hat for this shot. I guess he's taken less swipes at The Organization than LT, but I don't know how I feel about this picture. Yes, I know that Junior Seau played the only AFC Championship we've ever won with a pinched nerve. I was there, remember?
Of course, I also haven't gotten over his tackling of Michael Turner on 3rd and goal during an AFC Championship that Philip Rivers played without an ACL. Or maybe it's just that I can't handle the clean shaven, but not clean living, Junior of his later years. The Junior Seau I want to remember looked like this:
Yes, I have included a picture of "Turbo" from Breakin's One and Two for comparison. They could almost be brothers. Apparently, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk. I didn't know that.
This is the guy who might move the Chargers to Los Angeles? He looks like a poor man's John Forsythe. If nothing else, he's got the 1970s Botany 500 wardrobe going.
I liked a lot of what I saw on Sunday Night. Certainly, Rivers looked sharp. Apparently, Skip Bayless was ripping PR on ESPN for being "an overrated choke artist." As much as I enjoyed his expose on the '95 Cowboys, Hell Bent, I must defend Rivers. There is no question that he needs to answer for the 3-4 playoff record. But did he play well enough our two home-field first round implosions to win? It's a tough call, but the mistakes of Florence, Olivea, Parker, McCree, Phillips and, of course, Kaeding had a lot to do with it. When evaluating Rivers, all you need to ask yourself is whether his performances would have been good enough for ANOTHER team to earn a victory.
I got some static for suggesting on Twitter that while Eric Weddle was making a ton of tackles, they seemed more to be cleaning up other guys' mistakes than making plays to shut down the opposition. Obviously, I'm looking at Weddle in relation to his contract. He got a pick, although you could argue that the errant pass was more on Tony Romo than anything. However, Weddle wasn't holding onto a lot of passes last year the Indianapolis game notwithstanding. I wasn't so sold on our linebacker play. I even texted Jersey Tom to suggest that maybe Stephen Cooper should play more. But since it appears that Cooper's bicep tear wil make that impossible.