When are guys going to start taking some personal accountability for the inconsistent, and at times down right disappointing way the Chargers have played this season? Yes they win and lose games as a team and individuals alone do not determine outcomes of games; if the team is going to be successful it’ll take all eleven guys on the field to be on the same page. They need to play with intensity and passion. They need to be disciplined in their assignments. And they need to make big plays.
In my mind, when you say that you “win and lose as a team,” it seems like a convenient way to escape the spotlight of personal accountability. Team sports are comprised of individuals working together doing their jobs. But each player has got to take pride in their work and the job they are doing. Each player has to stand up and take responsibility for what they are doing out there on the football field. It’s not about scheme or blocks or coverages, or even Wildcat formations. It’s about missed opportunities, bad angles, poor tackling, lack of focus, lack of passion, not having the will to win.
Watching the Chargers, you see guys who don’t look excited to be playing professional football. You don’t see guys leaving it all on the field. Runs are stopping short without second and third efforts. Catches aren’t always being stretched out for. Guys are going for ankles instead of heads; you see Charger defenders on the ground even before the ball carrier is down!
When a team plays physical with the San Diego Chargers, the Chargers struggle to match that intensity. Without Shawne Merriman, who has stepped up to be the team’s emotional leader? Maybe the coaching staff needs to set the tone; maybe Norv and Ted need to get into guys’ faces a little bit more. Expectations were sky high coming into the season, but at 2-3, those expectations are being tempered significantly. It would be one thing to see the Chargers playing hard and staying in the game for 60 minutes, but week after week we see a team only really competing for a couple of quarters.
I’d like to see guys take a look into the mirror and ask themselves “Am I hurting this team or helping this team?” Everybody needs to ask themselves this question. If you’re banged up and can’t go, let the guy behind you get the reps. If you don’t want to tackle and don’t want to make plays, let the next guy get in there and bust heads. You’ve got to want to win. You’ve got to have an attitude.
Back in 2007, following a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars which dropped the team to 5-5, an emotional Shawne Merriman spoke to reporters in the locker room and made sure the guys around him heard his words:
“We need to get an attitude, period. We need to get an attitude around here. This game is played with violence. It’s played with an attitude. I have no friends out there on the field. I just want to go out there and play football for 60 minutes. You have to go out and play aggressive for 60 minutes. That’s how you win a football game. You’ve got to want it and you’ve got to hate to lose. That’s the way we have to play as a team.”
After Merriman’s outcry, the team wouldn’t lose again all year until falling to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Subscribe to this Chargers blog
Go to the front page