4th And Goal With Jeff Williams

Since the Chargers lost to Denver last Monday, I've had a lot on my mind. Stuff like "throwback jerseys are good, throwback cheerleader outfits are not as good." Or, "I sure like Jon Gruden when he doesn't work in Oakland." But mostly it's been, "What happened to this team we called a Super Bowl contender?" Many of you have already provided your thoughts on these matters (although I haven't seen a single word about the cheerleaders), and now it's my turn.

(Photo Credit: Mike Nowak/San Diego Chargers)

The most popular reason for the Chargers' downfall starts with Norv and ends with Turner. Personally, I think you're giving him too much credit. I'm not a Norv fan, and will not shed a tear when he is fired, but he is still the same guy who led them to the last two AFC West championships. He didn't win them, but he was the coach when they were won. In my opinion, had it not been for injuries to LT, Rivers, and Gates, the Chargers would have ended the Patriots' perfect season and won Super Bowl XLII. To lay all blame on Norv is to say that the sole reason that the Broncos are any good is because Josh McDaniels replaced Shanahan. No, there is a lot more to it than the coach.

The players share a lot of the blame for their poor play and lack of consistency, but the one thing you can't blame them for is injuries. Missing guys like Hardwick and Williams really hurts; as the saying goes it's tough to replace a Pro Bowler with a Pro Bowler. But having to resort to guys like Dombroski, Mrucskowski, Nwagbuo, and Boone show's you how little depth you have.

No depth...that brings us to the man responsible for this roster, AJ Smith. Oh AJ, how we loved you so. You put together what has been consistently been labeled as the most talented roster in the league. And because of this belief, AJ has been playing the draft like it's his own personal game of roulette. Picking players we don't need in the hope that they turn into a superstar worked once with the Antonio Cromartie pick, but lately AJ has resembled a guy who has lost his touch. Does Bobby Beathard ring a bell?

Norv and his players share their part in the problems with this team, but it all starts with AJ. Instead of addressing needs through free agency and the draft he ignores most free agents and consistently reaches for guys in the draft who aren't contributing. Regardless of the outcome of this season, he has to have a HUGE off-season or we will stand the chance of falling behind the Broncos AND the Chiefs in the coming years.

Chargers vs. Chiefs- hopefully this game will be as good as the jerseys the Bolts will be wearing. If ever there was a game in which the Chargers can and should establish the running game, it's this game. These games are always closer than they should be. Defense, if you can't step it up against the Chiefs, you can't step it up against anyone.

October 25, 2009

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Rob Zepeda said... Oct 25, 2009, 10:01:00 AM

The Chargers have a great opportunity today to get back to .500 but if they drop this one, their season might be officially over...

Tony said... Oct 25, 2009, 11:02:00 AM

Thanks. Good news.

Anonymous said... Oct 26, 2009, 3:19:00 AM

Well said sir....just think if we could have gotten LT going again vs Chiefs. Score would have been 59-0.....

now on to demolish the creampuff raiders!

Anonymous said... Oct 26, 2009, 8:59:00 AM

Well done, Williams. Ahhh, Chiefs, the pause that refreshes...
Now that our Bolts have handily won their scrimmage against K.C., the 2009 Chargers have shown a truer image of themselves for review. It's not a mulligan though, there are still obvious weaknesses to worry about for games against top teams, and (again!?) questionable coaching decisions by Norv (and/or our UOC, i.e. the Unknown Offensive Coordinator: Clarence Shelmon), especially around the goal line.
On Offense: It was so sad to watch the running game settle for 70 yards rushing after running relatively well between the 10 yard lines, because it clearly showed their lack of power up front; a HUGE problem. But the passing game shredded the incompetent Chiefs unmercifully.
On Defense: I hope they all enjoyed "getting a taste" against sad sack K.C., and enjoyed it enough to continue to really get after it later.
On Special Teams: Hester, you are THE Man there as of last night!! Keep it up and you'll make the Pro Bowl for sure! Thank you.
Now bring on the goddamn Raiders. Our Bolts will not only win, but we OWE them a vengeful interior line ass-whumpin' on both sides of the ball.
Go Bolts!!!

Anonymous said... Oct 26, 2009, 11:06:00 PM

Hey AJ, look what Will Witherspoon did tonight for the Eagles! Why can't we look for a savvy defensive player with a nose for the ball? What about Derrick Brooks or Donnie Edwards? Nah, let's just sit back and do absolutely nothing....
Hey LT, do you think you could put as much energy into picking up an extra yard or two as you put effort into displaying your displeasure on the sideline, er I mean finding an empty bench to sit on and pout. You were one of the best when you had a heart! What's up with criticizing AP about blocking and catching....Have you watched tape of yourself this year!?!

Anonymous said... Oct 27, 2009, 12:57:00 AM

Jeez!! All you L.T. fair-weather friends need to get real. L.T.'s been a team player from Day One here, and has never, ever taken a shot to publicly criticize his team, coaches, or ownership; and that INCLUDES (lest we forget) when this team was truly awful and he carried them.
Then, years later, he sits injured for a championship game and every paper player weenie (including Peon Deione) declares him suddenly weak, a "quitter", and NO ONE from management or the team stepped up to quickly and defiantly defend his well-deserved honors for his work ethic.
That's the same tired crap they used to pull on Tony Gwynn with the Padres, the best player they ever had. Absolutely absurd.
Now the media is taking potshots at L.T., calling him a "pouting" malcontent, and even for dressing nice (compared to Rivers). All for going mildly ballistic ONCE, showing his frustration when he was pulled for Sproles, after all these exemplary years!? Don't all you pinheads remember that *last* time he went ballistic? That was when he went out to midfield AFTER the Patriots eliminated us here to confront New England players for celebrating so much in OUR house, and in front of OUR supposed fans, demanding that they show US our due respect. And for that he get's pissed on in the twilight of a great, great career?! Unbelievable.
I swear, as the pro games get more and more corporate and glittery, it all gets more and more bloodless and any display of emotion and fiery competiveness is looked down on like a fussy cocktail served in the "wrong" glass. F*ck it, and drink up while you can guys; Life is a timed event, and men like L.T. or Tony Gwynn won't be coming around again that often, ever. We are damn lucky to have him, as a player AND a person.

Anonymous said... Oct 27, 2009, 3:39:00 AM

Well said LT.

Anonymous said... Oct 27, 2009, 8:36:00 PM

Sorry for my rant, but it all just hit a nerve. It is both amazing and troubling to me that L.T. has somehow not been quite as "welcomed" to the bosom of San Diego as some other sport icons have been in the past.
As consumers in San Diego, it almost seems we need a more compelling (even if it's contrived?) story than L.T.'s for us to feel strongly attached to him enough personally to put him in our "beloved" pantheon of Local Sports Heroes.
I mean, what the hell will it take for you people?!?
- Does he need to play on Monday Night, and win after one of his parents dies that morning?
- Does he have to have a child of his die before rushing for a record during a championship game?
- Does he need to have his wife and mother-in-law both stricken with breast cancer within a month, while he sets another rushing record?
- Does he need to run into a burning building and save children and old ladies, then go buy pizza's and treat the firemen when they arrive?
WHAT is *IT* you "fans" need from Tomlinson, really?! L.T.'s delivered about all that's possible with a football in his hands, but he just hasn't been able to deliver you to second-hand Validation by winning the Super Bowl yet. So, instead it's goddamn L.T. and his "pouting tantrums" and declarations that he's "done", "used up", and needs to be "unloaded"; even as he's trying to exhibit the Leadership that he used to be lauded for. It's all just incredible, as in; "lacking in credibility". The selfishness of the consumer and business is shocking.
Momma's, don't let your children grow up to be professional athletes. It's like throwing them into a stock yard run by psychological vampires. They are there just long enough to win a colored ribbon, then dismissed, killed, and ground up for fodder.

Mark said... Oct 28, 2009, 10:40:00 AM

Good article, Jeff. And on another note, I think the Chargers need to dump the baby/powder blue uniforms and go back to their dark/navy blue home unis. I read some studies in years past that teams that play with darker-colored uniforms play with more "intensity" but the flipside is they are penalized more. Just a thought.

Rob Zepeda said... Oct 28, 2009, 10:48:00 AM

Interesting find Mark. I love the Navy on Navy look. Last time I can remember them wearing those was I think a Monday night game that the Chargers played in Arizona due to the fires. I think they got killed by Miami in that game, but their unis looked awesome!

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