Yeah, I’m referencing Van Hagar. It's nothing compared to the band with Diamond Dave, buttThey have their place--sort of like Survivor. I won’t discuss Monday’s game, although I will end of watching. Do I think that the Chargers could pull out a miracle and make the playoffs? I don’t think it matters at this point. When the Chargers were 4-8 in 2008, I wondered aloud whether I even wanted that team to extend their season. They were not playing like it. As it turned out, making the playoffs turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing. When the Chargers lost to the Broncos on Monday Night football in 2009, I wondered aloud (meaning on this site) whether they were underachieving or just not that talented. Nick Hardwick had been injured and Jamal Williams had played his last game in San Diego.
As you recall, FAITHFUL READER, the Bolts had actually played their best game to date on that night. But Antonio Gates had already feared that with Denver being 6-0, the Bolts could go into a tailspin. The Chargers pushed, but Denver pushed back and Tony Scheffler taunted the Bolts en route to a victory. With his appearance in the booth, fans salivated over Jon Gruden, who had said some wonderful things about Philip Rivers. I think they forgot that he says positive things about every quarterback.
Well, you know what happened next. During the bye week (and a late night of partying before their next game in Arrowhead), we stewed over the decline of the Chargers. During the 11-game win streak that followed, we never really found out if the team was good or not. They pulled out a win in New Jersey, surged and then played prevent against Philly, won at Dallas and kicked a late (gasp) field goal to beat Cincy. But despite a nice LT run against the Eagles on the Sunday he announced he was going to have a baby and some clock killing runs at Dallas, the ground game was still very weak. Guys like Dobbins, Siler and Burnett played better than expected and Philip Rivers played out of his mind. But by the half of their first playoff game, it was obvious that the Chargers had returned to the stupidity of their ’04 and ’06 postseason ways. Those who have such romanticized view of Marty Schottenheimer should remember that he coached those first two teams. 14-2 should be remembered more as 14-3, as Colby Underwood put it. The lack of poise under pressure and good decision making was a hallmark of many of Marty’s teams come playoff time.
That first year under Norv, I remember thinking a lot about the team from the year before. I really could see during the games against Tennessee and Indianapolis that the 2006 team was not built to win it all. Talented? Sure. The “most talented?” Again, that qualifier is used because the Chargers never even went to the Super Bowl. Why didn’t that happen? Due to their own physical breakdowns. That is now the responsibility of two coaches.
This shitty economy has proven one thing. The consumer may be struggling more than ever but they do have power over those from which they buy goods and services. We can still tell those that want our business that we won’t buy a shitty product. AJ’s “act” worked fine when we were winning with his acquisitions, draft picks and coaches. Now, it’s a reason to give him even less slack. You can’t act like Bill Belichick without even reaching a Super Bowl. Bernie Wilson and Jay Paris were both on the radio this week saying that they never thought that Charger fans would rise up as they have. I, for one, couldn’t be prouder. Wilson said that he thought the laid-back fan base was just a bunch of lemmings that wanted to party and would buy season tickets no matter what. He now knows otherwise.
It’s no secret that the most recent playoff loss changed something in me. Sure, I’m older and now have 2 kids. But it was also the result of the sad knowledge that the Chargers hadn’t learned their lesson. They weren’t going to even give themselves the chance to get to the Super Bowl. In true ironic fashion, the one team that seemed ready to was too banged up to get past a previously undefeated opponent. But the past only matters right now because it appears that it is all we have. The one thing we can all agree on is that the AJ/Norv combo has got to go. We can sit and analyze their demeanor, decisions and history at another date. We'll have all offseason for that.
I don't know exactly what the relationship is between coaching and the team's performance. I do know that you can say all the right things (see Schottenheimer, Marty), but if the team doesn't do it you can't be considered a good coach. You can be a genius and still a shitty teacher if the students don't learn. Sure, I didn't want Norv Turner. But that was as much due to his Milquetoast persona as his lack of success as a head coach. Rich Kotite was considered a good coach for how much he got out of his players in Philly. We know what happened after he came to the Jets. Andy Reid, Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden have their critics. In most cases, those guys had combustible situations at quarterback. Chucky just had Keyshawn. I always loved Bobby Ross because it was clear he gave a shit. He also never shirked the responsibility for a loss. Many Marty lovers forget that he was just quick to put the blame on someone else as AJ is. Again, I only bring up Marty because so many people are mentioning that Norv Turner inherited a 14-2 team that Schottenheimer "built." Honestly, AJ and John Butler deserve credit for that. May he rest in peace, but Butler was a stubborn guy as well. His ego was also called into question on more than a few occassions. Was he always thinking about the team first? We weren't always so sure. I posted on Twitter "wonder why no NFL team wanted Marty after he was fired?" and got a response of "you're exactly right." That never happens in life. Speaking of Twitter, I am sure you've seen Shaun Phillips' crusade to alienate every Charger fan alive. Justice Godfather Daniel Chang, who sent me this screenshot, reminded me that Phillips used to date the ugliest Kardashian before Lemar Odom. Again, results are what I care the most about for this team. But when you aren't getting results, you aren't helping yourself when you do stuff like this. The same goes for AJ himself or his nemesis Vincent Jackson. Rivers has been as stand up as they come, but he's been dogshit on the field. It's a credit to his heart that he might be playing through an injury, but it hasn't helped us one bit. You can decide for yourself how many games he's lost for the Chargers this year. I am referring to games beyond the fumble in Kansas City.
I hate seeing this team lose each week, but I would hate more the same sense of complacency from the top dooming us for years to come. Does Dean Spanos have the balls to BOLT UP and give AJ the ax? I think he does because The Legion is calling for his head. We're not getting closer to a Lombardi, quite the opposite actually. We can sit here and look at Brees, Sproles, LT or Cro and how their skill sets were used elsewhere. No, I am not suggesting that we should have kept those last two. But it seemed like they were used far more intelligently by their next GM and coach. As for Brees, he clearly went to a perfect situation in New Orleans. This is looking at it now, obviouisly. The offense that Sean Payton built around him is very similar to the spread he ran at Purdue. I still believe that if we had kept him that another team would have won a ring with Philip Rivers. As I said last week, I will do my best not to obsess which former Chargers are playing for a title this year. We need to be more concerned with the fact that no current ones are. As for Sproles, he is also in an offense that appears to better utilize him. I have no doubt that Payton is also a much better motivator than anyone we've had since Bobby Ross. Before I go, let's also not forget that the Spanos' firing of Bobby Ross isn't alone what left the Chargers in an almost 10-year playoff drought. The late Chris Mims showing up to clean out his locker in a top hat and tails after our loss to the Colts was only the tip of the iceberg. Old-school coaches don't have an indefinite window to produce results. The message falls on deaf ears after a while. Bobby Ross, the man whom I told personally was the best coach we've ever had, wasn't able to turn around the Lions or Scarlet Knights subsequently. Why did I think the original Boss Ross was the best we've ever had? He got us the closest a World Championship, obviously.
You can hear this week's XX1090 clips here. If they won't stream for you, just right click and save. You can hear the mp3s that way. Enjoy your football-free Sunday. Try not to let the Bolts ruin it when they aren't even playing. Don't worry, FAITHFUL READER, I won't ever be able not to be a Charger fan. Just as you can be a patriotic American and question its government, you can be a Bolthead and hate what they are doing. My daughter Sarah asked me why I was watching last week if I disiked the team so much. They really haven't played a complete game all year, but I couldn't explain that to a five-year old girl. "I'm a Charger fan," I told her.
What did you expect? I couldn't very well show her this site, could I. In closing, I would like to dedicate this week's JIC to my beautiful wife, who turns 37 tomorrow. She told me today that she found a bunch of my Charger ski hats in the closet today. "Would you like me to poop in them," she asked? That's one of the many reasons I love her. Thanks for putting up with all my football and non-football related shit, sweetie.
Do they even know what Bolting Up even means?
PS I can't believe Novak missed 2 kicks after I put him in my "Rainbow Connection" parody.
Whit, Merriman would hardly be able to rub our noses in anything since was hurt when the Bills were winning and now they aren't doing that. I'm OK with the blackout. Fans are saying they need a change regardless of how this season ends.
The bolts are blacked out this Sunday so if making the playoffs is still a team goal the majority of Chargers fans are not buying it. Even if they manage to beat the Bills this week the last 3 games should all be losses which would put our season at 6-10. Well at least Merriman's not coming back to town to rub our noses in it.
7 guys from our lone SB squad now gone. Lew (when he was Lewis) Bush signed my photo the night before the Super Bowl. RIP
On a less important note, Daniel was referring to this Jay Paris column
Whit, I know the Bolts will end up making it moot by not winning out. However, the fact that Spanos would be swayed not by his own team's performance (or lack thereof) and what Oakland or Denver do is part of the problem.
I remember how often Bobby Ross talked about chemistry. When was the last time you heard that word associated with the Chargers?
Jay Paris made a good point. With their push for a downtown stadium, Spanos cant afford to let the lone gunman AJ run wild and crap on the "good name" of the Chargers in San Diego. Every day, it sounds more and more like he's gone too. God, how awesome it would be if he took the job in oakland.
Ross, I'm not worried about us making the playoffs. It ain't happening. Jacksonville win meant nothing except making us wish they could play that way against very good teams. They can't.
I will probably post a new JIC tonight, but thought I'd chime in now.
Acee's point in this interview on 1090 yesterday that Dean would keep Norv and AJ if we somehow made the playoffs is sickening. I think, Diego, that Acee admits also in this interview that he was mentioning Devanney not based on any sources. The thing about AJ is that I do think it limits the type of candidates we can get. When Marty was fired, this was a plum coaching opening that we filled with the one candidate no one else wanted. I am tired of hearing every announcer (and Norv himself) repeat Acee's point that Laboy, Spikes, etc. weren't meant to play this much. I even heard Dan Fouts mention it on the air two weeks ago. That IS ON AJ. He got these guys. I have wondered whether we were good enough for a few years now. Antonio Garay had a good year, but he's not healthy or impactful enough to be a defensive anchor. Now he's being touted as a guy to pair with Cam Thomas, who showed very little before this season. This is the problem with AJ's team. They are filled with guys that might not be starters elsewhere. Yes, I know that ironically some of those teams have other former Chargers as starters. We don't make the most of our guys when we have them and that is coaching. Colby pointed out to me that New Orleans doesn't run Sproles into the center of the line or call that draw that won 1 game and cursed us for 2 years. Watching Mathews sprint to the corner reminds me of how we kept trying that with LT when he clearly couldn't get there. Darren Smith pointed out that if somehow Oakland and Denver went 0-4 and the Charger 3-1 (I know how minute a possibility that is), it is "interesting" to say that it would be enough in Dean Spanos' mind to keep Norv and AJ. In that case, the Tebows are doing us a favor if they take the division.
I was happy to see a win, but no one believes that Norv will ever get this team into a SB, let alone win one, except for the family that owns this team and the Rasputin-like GM they have entrusted. By the way, did it look like AJ was watching the game from a microbrewery in Jacksonville? There were a lot of tubes and tanks in that luxury box.
Someone started a thread at the UT forum called "Lipstick on a Pig". To me that sums up the Jaguar game. Let´s not get caught up on one win. I know we had over a month and a half of losses but a win against a 3 win team is nothing to even consider as a positive when our goal was to go to the Super Bowl.
Still think Norv should go, not so sure about AJ, mainly because I fear getting someone like Bill Devaney, who everyone seems to forget was part of post Beathard years when we sucked like no one else. I actually think Acee mentioned him last week as a posibility.
Jacksonville was like taking a test and having all the answers. And yet still Maurice Jones-Drew still ran all over us. I must say though, Mathews looked better than Jones-Drew. With the right offensive line and the right coaching staff Mathews could be a bad ass.
Well, somehow we are still relevant. Norv actually looked like a real NFL coach for a change. I will gladly put away my pitchfork and torch for a week. Still, it was gross hearing Gruden and Jaws toute Norvi's coaching skills.
Anyone want to bet we let the Jags score at least 28 points tonight? Why did we switch to zone coverage on that last drive??? We made Gabbert look like Brady. Jeez.
Here is a long list of what ifs for our next head coach.
No Wonder Rex Ryan told the media before the Chargers played the Jets that he would have won it all if he was coaching the Chargers instead of Norv. After all Ryan was on the short list of coaches AJ could have chosen in 2007. Instead he took Turner. When you look at what kind of a car that Norv Turner was handed the keys to by daddy AJ it makes you want to puke seeing what Norvy has done to it. When AJ took the keys from Marty, I'm not saying that that was the wrong thing to do. But then (and I think it was because of his arrogance) he decides to let Norvy drive the Ferrari. It is a testimony to how good our team was that he won so many races with it. But now 2 years in a row he can't even finish the race. The once beautiful and potentially awesome driving machine has been turned into a low riding beater. An offense that once averaged in the low 30s now struggles to stay in the low 20s.
If the bolts get beat by the Jags Norv will be fired the next day. AJ won't be far behind.
Hey I just thought of something. People say Cowher wouldn't come to SD because they gave the axe to Marty but what if Spanos plays good cop and says that AJ had more to do with that than he did. Don't you think that Cowher would love to be the one that in effect sent AJ packing.
Could the "spitter" become the next head coach of the bolts.
At least PR is making a little coin on the side. Not a total loss.
Ross, the shit stains on Norv and AJ are rubbing off on the whole team. Novak went from Nick the kick to Nick the brick, Rivers looks like Vince Young and the only team our offense could score on in the red zone is the same team Young plays on. Check the stats. The birds have gone from 2nd best red zone defense in the Jim Johnson era to 32nd in the league. Man what a season, instead of competing with pats for a championship we are being compared to the eagles and wondering if we can beat a Jacksonville team that fired it's head coach and sold it's franchise.
Ross, after reading this article, forgive me but I must say it. "What a long strange trip it's been".
I love the thought of AJ leaving SD to "Occupy" Oakland. Now that Al is gone AJ could trade in his TB florals for some of Al's old leather.
A poll from ESPN. See we are being noticed.
At least our teams monumental collapse has made us relevant again. With AJ gone the opening for the Chargers will be the most desired. Does Spanos have the stones.
I like this line the best...
"But league sources familiar with Spanos’ thinking contend the GM will almost certainly be fired due to the owner’s concern over the maelstrom that has taken hold of the fan base, essentially demanding the owner lop off the top of his football operation management."
@Lucab12 The best possible thing fans could do would be to boycott the games. Spanos will get the message loud and clear. The status quo is not ok.
RIP Sweet Lew #58
@Lucab12 I was sick to my stomach too when I heard Acee say that. If they can fire a coach after going 14-3, they damn sure can fire a coach if he makes the playoffs but his coaching style sucks balls. FOURTEEN years as an nfl headcoach and 5 years with the Chargers. When are the beautiful minds of the nfl going to realize that Turner couldnt coach a dead dog to sit still?
@boltrunner Nice win and all but sorry - that was like watching a preseason game.
@boltrunner Jeez, 98% of the names on that list made me sick to my stomach: Cam Cameron, Wade Phillips, NORV FUCKING TURNER, Todd Haley, Steve Spagnulo, Dennis Green, Eric Mangini. Yikes. Makes me think we're doomed no matter who we picked. Even though they wouldn't have selected Jim Harbaugh (I think), it still upsetting to think we missed out on him by a year.
I think that whoever is hired, has to be a big name. And the name has to have legitimacy. Those guys I listed above all suck at headcoaching. My four to watch: Fisher, Cowher, Dungy, Gruden.
Yeah Kelly there's a lot to like about that article. Some how I know AJ will have something particularly clever to say after Spanos makes his departure official. Who the fuck is running the raiders now? I hope they make AJ an offer. @kellyh