Week: 9 / Chargers are 3 – 4 & it’s not over…
I read a post saying to RELAX (if you’re a Chargers fan). I also read a Chargers Public Relations piece about TAKE A CHILL PILL. I’ve read stories about Philip Rivers not disclosing information about a throwing-arm injury from 2011 that still hasn’t healed. And I’ve read many articles about Firing Norv Turner, Fumbling Ryan Matthews and how terrible the offensive line is… Seems like a bunch of opinions from a bunch of self-proclaimed football experts and professional fans. What do you call opinions about opinions? Stories, truth, garbage, satire?
Sure, fans have emotional ties to their favorite things, me included. It physically hurts when my Chargers fail, but this is football. Nothing is for certain in the NFL and errors are a part of the game (and part of the reason we love it). It’s the UPS and DOWNS that make us so invested into our teams. Now if only San Diego could fix or minimize these errors, then I’d be a little happier (after this 3 – 4 start). Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better and I’m taking the half-full option right now…
I think I could relax if San Diego actually made a trade before Thursday deadline. The Chargers have a plethora of starting outside pass-rushing linebackers. Granted, I’m not too impressed with any of them at the moment, other than Shawn Phillips… which could make him trade bait. I haven’t even seen Antwan Barns (Chargers sack leader in 2011) or Larry English more than four times a game. Melvin Ingram sneaks in a few plays here and there, but he could be lined up anywhere OTHER than outside linebacker (trying to make him a jack of all trades / or master of nothing). Granted, the only thing I would want (if the Chargers traded away an outside linebacker) is offensive line help. But at this time of the year, everyone needs offensive line help, so I seriously doubt it happens.
Trading away players for draft picks is always an option, but if the Chargers do not win this year, then their head coach and general manager (Norv Turner and AJ Smith) both may be fired. So, what’s the point of trading players for draft picks (other than addition by subtraction, if the whole front office is fired next year)? If Shawn Phillips is trade-able, then San Diego could lose one of their true leaders (probably not an option for a future draft pick) and Norv and AJ want any talent they currently have.
Other players the Chargers could trade, just to get younger (and they have highly-rated younger backups waiting), would be: RB Ronnie Brown (current back up), LB Takeo Spikes (Mouton), Jarrett Johnson (Larry English), Antwan Barns (Melvin Ingram), Atari Bigby (Brandon Taylor). I wouldn’t expect a fire sale, but maybe one or two moves would help the team as a whole.
There are NINE more games remaining in the season, and anything could happen. Chargers could win six of them, and it could put them into the playoffs (with a 9-7 winning record). Or even better regular season record projections could happen and they could win-out with 12 -4 record… But I don’t think I’ll write off the season until mediocrity starts, and that may begin with the Chargers 8th loss.
Firing Norv Turner now will be a big mistake, as you’d be firing your Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and Play Caller. Norv Turner wears many hats and I don’t see an upgrade to firing him mid-season. I think if the Chargers do not make the playoffs this year, Phillip Rivers needs Turner fired for Rivers improvement, as Rivers has flattened out as a passer and not improving as an elite quarterback any longer.
Rivers may need to see his coaches and teammates fired as well, if they all under perform, including himself. Rivers job should be on the line, as being accountable is a part of the game. If you make $15 million per season, and leading the league in turnovers, your job must be on the line. Maybe a coaching staff / front office heads being fired and accountable will lignite something within Rivers as he clearly does not look comfortable is passing the football. To me, it looks like Rivers is his own QB coach, and Norv is merely an adviser (or intern). This offense is the “check’n chunk,” either Rivers a checks-down and tosses to a running back, or he chucks it up for grabs on a 2nd down 40 yard hailmary. Rivers decision making just feels off, and weird.
The AFC West is still very winnable The Broncos have a one game lead at 4-3 over the Chargers (including the tie-breaker at the moment), and no NFL team is invincible (even with Peyton Manning at quarterback). This is a team sport, and every teams is as only as good as ALL its players, so depth is key. But the Broncos are heavily invested into their one guy (Manning) and we’ve seen Manning never miss games to injury, and we’ve seen him miss a season with an injury. You never know with a 36 year old quarterback with a history of neck surgeries.
Just don’t throw in the towel yet…