Where Is The Personal Accountability?

Where is the personal accountability?

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.

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October 6, 2008

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Sean said... Oct 6, 2008, 3:56:00 PM

It surprises me, but I now realize how much we miss Merriman on defense. Where the heck is Gates in the offense? We need to re-establish Gates in the offense by throwing it to him consistently, even when the Defense knows it's probably going to him. Gates can make the plays but we need to get him hot.


Anonymous said... Oct 6, 2008, 8:42:00 PM

I'm really starting to miss Marty rigt about now. Even with Merriman out, Marty would make sure that the players knew what it would take to win a football game. I just don't see Norv doing this. His postgame comments says it all. I'm just looking forward to our next game. Show some emotion Norv!!! It's Washington all over again.

Greg said... Oct 7, 2008, 11:39:00 AM

Did you all see L.T. sitting on the bench Sunday? Philip Rivers wasn't just sitting around pouting about being behind, he was walking around talking to coaches and players. L.T. needs to stop this poor me pouting crap and do something to keep the rest of the team fired up, or at least awake.

Closet Geek said... Oct 8, 2008, 9:37:00 PM

Bolts are too predictable. Period. Even players on the Dolphins D said it themselves. They knew exactly what were going to do, because we DID exactly what they thought we were going do. I can't count the number of times I yell at the TV "Alright, its first down, RUN PLAY ACTION!". Everyone in the world know's LT is getting the ball 90% of the time when Tolbert and Manu are in there. Hell, put Sproles AND LT in there, fake to one of them up the middle and send the other in the flat with a lineman out in front to at least try to get one of them in open space, while drawing in the LB's on the fake. Is that really so hard? Geez, WE should run the Wildcat lol. The meat and potatoes stuff just isnt working. And Norval, could you maybe try to make adjustments DURING the first half and not wait until you get to the locker room? I've never seen this guy talking with his offense while the D is on the field.

And enough about LT firing up the team. You think you would have figured it out by now that its just not how that dude operates. Merriman was the motivator. He's out. Oh well.

Closet Geek said... Oct 9, 2008, 6:41:00 PM

Oh, and I guess my point to all that above is that I don't really think its just personal accountability with the players, but also with the coaches. Coaches need to prepare players for the weeks game. Its very difficult to believe that 5 of some of the best linemen in the league are having problems with blocking assignments. They've been missing a lot of blocks in the last few games and seem slow to get off the ball. A coach needs to recognize the mistakes they're making and work on fixing them, and motivate them to strive for perfection. Is this happening? Who knows. But all I have to say is the way you practice is the way you're going to play. Its time to light a fire under everybodys asses.

Anonymous said... Oct 10, 2008, 8:01:00 AM

Bring back Air Coryell.
Turner is no good.
They should switch head coaches with the AZTECS

Rob Zepeda said... Oct 11, 2008, 12:29:00 AM

Closet Geek, great points. The coaching adjustments need to be made during the first half and not during halftime.

I wonder if the coordinators would be better served coaching the game from the box? Maybe they can't get a good feel of their opposition until they have a stack of polaroids in their hands and ten minutes to digest it...

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