Grade The San Diego Chargers' First Four Games

Four weeks into the 2009 NFL season, the San Diego Chargers find themselves at .500 (2-2), exactly the way they left off the 08 season...

San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner walks the sideline during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Oct.4, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.(AP Photo/Don Wright)

In fact, if you include 2008's regular (8-8) and postseason (1-1), along with the 2009 preseason (2-2) and current season (2-2), the Chargers record comes in at an underwhelming .500 (13-13). With that in mind, I turn to you fans in an effort to get what you feel is an accurate grade on our Bolts' 2009 season.

Much like Chargers GM AJ Smith, we'll grade the Bolts through the first four games; the first quarter of the season.

Let's keep it elementary and use letter grades - after submitting your vote, I'd be very interested in hearing your take on the season so please drop a comment below and let us all know how you feel (and don't forget to follow BOLTHYPE on Twitter)!

October 4, 2009

Join our team:


Kame said... Oct 4, 2009, 11:00:00 PM

I give them a D solely because of the quarterback, recievers, and special teams. The O-Line and Defense might as well not even show up to the games.

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 3:36:00 AM

Norv Turner is Dan Henning: a great offensive mind, but a mediocre head coach.
A J Smith let his personal feelings interfere with his General Manager duties when he hired Norv. He has stated many times that he enjoys talking football with Norv. I wonder what the A J Smith excuse of the week will be after this embarrassing loss to the Steelers?!

arnie said... Oct 5, 2009, 4:02:00 AM

well AJ likes to look at the team in quarters. guess what? we are past the quater mark, and the chargers have cosistanly demonstrated how well they struggled against the 4 teams they played. the chargers are at 2-2, and that sits well with some people in the organization. color me stupid, but that should never "sit well" with any team.

is it time to panic? no. but i do believe the bye week would be well spent, if Dean Spanos had a "sit-down" with his GM and Head Coach, to explain to him how this 2-2 start "sits well" with them.
and please don't get me started with the injury bug garbage. the steeleers just spanked us with thier back-up running back, and back-up to troy. good teams find a way to overcome injuries. and that isn't solved with more signings, it's solved with good coaching.

peace out

Nomad said... Oct 5, 2009, 5:58:00 AM

This team has barely showed up for the first 4 games. They start extremely sluggish and finish acceptable. Neither the O-line or D-line is playing at the level this team needs. The play calling seems suspect also. In short, this team appears to be what they were last year, a .500 team. The entire organization from Dean on down needs a good hard look.

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 8:07:00 AM

i am really dissapointed from what i saw from the team yesterday!! the defensive unit is a complete disaster, they can´t stop anything and we cant rely all the time in the big throws from rivers.

norv turner is and im not panicking the worst coach along with eric mangini maybe!! with this level of intensity and lack of leadership we are destined to have a bad year again!!!

fire turner!!!!!
i am really disapointed and i hope that in this bye week they could turn around this situation cause i am very worried.

the last line of my comment goes to antonio cromartie, he has played his four worst games since he was in college and putting apart his 07 season that actually was pretty good he has become in a lousy corner that plays with zero commitment doing stupid things like penalties and blown coverages!!!

im losing faith not because of the poor play yesterday but because of the lack of leadership in the head coaching position lack of intensity from the head coach and our defense, lets hope for the best but they have to fix way to many problems

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 8:22:00 AM

bill cowher is still out there...norv does fine as an offensive coordinator, but a head coach...let his record speak for itself (mediocre at best). At least we are in one of the weaker conferences again this year, no way denver will keep this up.

EZ said... Oct 5, 2009, 8:25:00 AM

I was baffled when Norv Turner wasn't fired after last season. If AJ likes Turner so much, why doesn't he hire a coach with a winning record and negotiate keeping Turner as the offensive coordinator, the position he excels at? It's because if AJ were to fire Turner too soon it would be a reflection on himself and the ill advised decision to hire Turner in the first place. Turner walked into a dream situation with the player personnel that populated the team at the time of his hiring. Since then LT has crashed and burned, Merriman is obviously not going to "Come Back" from his injury, and the rest of the team, other than Rivers and the corps of receivers, seem to be running on half empty, rather than half full.

I think pointing fingers at individual players isn't going to accomplish anything, if the coaching staff functioned at the level it needed to the players would fall in line. The confusion and breakdowns during the game are only symptoms, the problem is the coaching staff. Until management makes a decision to bring in a Cower, or Dungi, or some other coach with credentials, the Chargers are going to be a mediocre team populated by great players.

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 8:48:00 AM

Rating the Chargers performance as the first ¼ of the season is concluded?
Our OFFENSE: Overall - B
Passing Attack: Antonio Gates is definitely awesome, and despite some drops last night, over these first four games our entire receiving corps is second to none. They are the obvious strength of this team, and Rivers is doing an outstanding job getting the ball to them despite little time to throw and a makeshift front. Ironically, he is only average at getting passes to the “flats” with proper touch. - Letter grade: A-minus
Running Attack: It’s only a rumor so far. The crucial timing of the big men reaching the defenders an instant before our runner cuts is way, way off; especially to the outside. Slo-o-ow! LaDainian shows rare flashes, but the only thing working (occasionally) is Sproles in open space. Letter grade (including screens) = D-minus
Our Offensive Line: Already a major question mark coming into the season with Goff gone and starting a rookie, the accumulated injuries and rapid changes would stress any unit. So although they’ve had their problems, I’d (cautiously) rate them a favorable B-minus so far.

Our SPECIAL TEAMS: We are very skilled and fortunate here. Letter grade = B-plus.

Our DEFENSE (can we still call it that?): Overall – F-minus-minus (and falling)
Undisputed season-killers so far, just as they were all of last year, etc., etc., this slipshod hodge-podge of strangers wearing Charger uniforms are difficult to even describe. How about: flaccid, limp, sloppy, indifferent, shoddy, tender and toneless? So far, our forgettable defensive team has not just been outmuscled and outhustled, they’ve been flat-out EMASCULATED! I’ve seen stiffer resistance from finish-line tapes and ribbons at grand openings!
Last night, I swear; if the Steelers would have wanted; they could have taken any play just to run and grab any Charger “defender”, pull his pants down, and done “plant the flag” up his ass with a bouquet of flowers and painted his face pink! Not only could they have done it, football-wise, they DID do it!!! OMG, just fifteen feet short of 500 yards offense without your best running back and an aging receiver?!? All this despite our Defensive Coordinator desperately (theatrically?) trying to rally his boys to something resembling manhood in the 1st quarter?
The Chargers defensive players should just forget the pretense and open up a hair-styling salon in Mission Valley (but then they’d probably find that too tough as well - no doubt Cromartie would still line up offside and forget his assignments). But that comparison is unfair to stylists.
Seriously, if I were the GM and/or Owner, I’d use this bye-week to call each and every defensive player into a *personal* meeting WITH their position coach, and go over some film and have a little one-on-one talk “on the carpet”; with a firm eye toward improving or replacing any player AND their coach, one and all. This situation just cannot continue, it’s disgraceful, and clearly a cancer on this team. Hell, last night even Jammer (who has been playing really well) stunk! Things are bad and getting worse now, Cottrell was the sacrificial lamb last year, but his blood isn’t enough anymore. Our Chargers are in danger of imploding already, and any talk of Super Bowls or “most-talented” lists are absurd. This is a defensive embarrassment that is in major need of a major attitude adjustment.
As one talking head said on television last night about our defense, “You shouldn’t have to COACH a lion to eat red meat”. That’s true, and if that’s the situation we are more than overdue for a Total Defensive Player Review right now, with scalpel in hand; that has nothing whatsoever to do with Jamal Williams.

slimsocal said... Oct 5, 2009, 11:20:00 AM

It baffles my mind how soft they are. No, we don't have Jamal and hobbled Merriman...but just overall demeanor of the players are simply WEAK. Toughest player is Rivers who only plays on offense but might do better than some of our defensive starters. They are not showing any heart. I have to blame coaching because they are consistently out of place and pushed around. So when these break downs occur, the confidence is gone...swagger is gone. Big play opportunities are gone.
They can't get up for a national TV game against their biggest foe? What other motivation do they need? All of sudden, they are so thin, it's scary. AJ needs to take the blame here. Let's hope some of the guys come back healthy after the bye and Patriots pound the donkeys so they come into our house hobbling on Monday night. This early in the season, it's already do or die situation....typical of Norv teams.

Bolt79 said... Oct 5, 2009, 2:57:00 PM

EMBARASSING, INEXECUSABEL.....down 28-0 in Primetime?????????

That has to be the worse Defensive effort ever for ANY professional football team. Horrible. This is a superbowl team??? 500 yrds without
their starting runing back and No Troy Polamalu:

We can't Run the football
We can't give Rivers enough time
We can't rush the passer
We can't Stop the run to save our lives
We can't stop the pass.

What the Phuck is this team? Fire EVERYONE before we waste the career of poor Philip Rivers without a superbowl ring. We already did it to L.T...

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 3:11:00 PM

I’ve been thinking and re-thinking about the abysmal defensive showing by the Chargers last night in Pittsburgh, wondering how (in any way possible?!) such a pathetic non-effort could go on for nearly three hours by “professional” (honest, they are highly paid)athletes?
My newest conclusion: DRUG TESTING all around, everyone, no exceptions. There is something fundamentally wrong with this defensive unit, and about all it compares to is the hung-over bunch of defensive backs that were blown out in the first half of our only Super Bowl appearance and/or the drug-addled wreck that were the Chargers under Coach Harland Svare in the early ‘70’s (probably too long ago for many of you Boltheads, but look it up).
I know this is a harsh accusation, but if the shoe fits…, show us the results please.

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 3:35:00 PM

Maybe it's time for a switch to a 4-3 just for this season alone. Jamal Williams is the only reason the 3-4 worked and even in 2007 with a healthy Merriman and Williams the 3-4 was hurting. Until the Bolts find a rightful heir to the throne of Jamale "the Wall" Williams then I think a 4-3 is worth a look. A 4-3 defense is what Ron Rivera used to take the Bears to the Superbowl 4 years ago so why shouldn't he be able to do it now? Here's my lineup for the 4-3 front:

RE - Merriman, DT's: Martin and Castillo, LE - Cesaire
ROLB - Tucker, ILB - Cooper, LOLB - Phillips

Go Bolts!


Rob Zepeda said... Oct 5, 2009, 4:11:00 PM

@ LosAngelesCharger

I'm thinking the same thing...I think we should give more 4-3 looks that way we can get our best football players on the field instead of having guys like English and Dobbins play limited snaps. I think we can move English/Merriman/Phillips to the Ends, and we can get Burnett, Dobbins, and Cooper playing 'Backer. I think Castillo and Martin playing a more traditional 3 tech allows them to use their quickness and pass rush a bit more from the interior.

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 6:48:00 PM

I give the players a C. True they should be held responsible for their lack of effort as a whole but the offense has played well at times and they are 2-2. It's not like we're 0-4 so they deserve a barely passing grade. The real blame as pointed out by everyone here should go to the coaching staff. An F doesn't even begin to describe how pathetic and unprofessional the coaching has been. Every week I see the same flat team come out asleep. Then they wake up in the second half, try desperately to make the comeback, if they win they don't learn anything and if they lose they make the same excuses. The defense spots the opposing offense a few easy scores every game (unless they fumble it in the endzone, miami!). The offense has an amazing big play capability which is why we're always in a game, but when it doesn't complete a big play it usually goes 3 and out putting our sorry defense back on the field. These problems and many more stem from a coaching staff that couldn't motivate a motivational speaker. Not only that but every week this team looks more unprepared than it looked the week before. Undisciplined is a major major understatement. Every week there are blown coverages, blown tackles, and most of all we lack the physicality we used to have. This team used to run it down people's throats even though it was the only thing we could do and we used to stop the run completely. I know those days are long gone but to have been such a physical team, it is hard to believe how unphysical we have become. You can't run a successful 3-4 with this kind of lack of physicality so maybe a switch to the 4-3 would be better but that couldn't happen til next year. Our players can play as hard as they want, but if the system sucks and if they don't know what they're doing or where they need to be, they will fail and they are. The dream of San Diego's first superbowl win died when AJ fired Marty. AJ has to know he screwed up but as someone mentioned earlier, the man has too much pride to admit it. He will keep Norv until he cant find any reason to keep him but what will that take, a 4-12 season? This team had so much promise and still has so much talent, I can't believe things have turned out this way. How do you go from the best coaching situation in 06 to the worst since then?

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 6:56:00 PM

im really pissed from what i saw yesterday!!!!! what an embarrasment!!!

of course we have a lousy defense but lets remeber we have the WORST COACH OF THE LEAGUE!!!!!

i hope this improves but right now i dont see how???

the idea of changing to a 4-3 scheme is a pretty good one, and rivera knows this type of defense pretty good

Anonymous said... Oct 5, 2009, 7:03:00 PM

There are a lot of weak spots with the chargers this year. Sure, there have been some injuries, but the generally dismal performances we have seen from them this season.... and last for that matter, can largely be attributed to the coaching staff. Penalties and missed assignments on both sides of the ball have killed us, this is coaching. Poorly coached teams make mental mistakes.
While the offense has shown the ability to score by throwing the ball, they have yet to prove they can run the ball effectively. Down the stretch, this is really going to kill us. Defenses will adjust their game plans to close down our passing attack, and with no rushing attack, we are in trouble. Not having the ability to run the ball is a huge weakness.
The other big weakness is our defense. Our D-line is undersized and we have not really been able to stop the run or control the line of scrimmage. Cromartie is afraid to make a tackle, and Jammer get a PI call almost ever game (if not every other). The really sad part is, the Chargers have one of the best punters to ever play............If we could stop someone(anyone), we would win the battle for field position, and that goes a long way in determining the outcome of a game.

Based on these three glaring weaknesses, I believe our only hope is to BRING IN BILL COWER!!!

Anonymous said... Oct 6, 2009, 1:06:00 AM

Ok, nice comments on here, and here's my $0.02...

Quarterback-B+. It could even be as high as an A-, but my nitpicks on Rivers is that, with his O-line in shambles, he needs to hold onto the ball less. Also, maybe he should take more check-downs and safe passes--granted, once in a while he'll unleash one to VJack down the field, but he's paying the price for waiting for the route to develop, and we really need him for the whole season. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy about how he's played.

RB-C. I really believe LT is 'over the hill'. His jukes and cuts are just netting him a few yards, rather than the 5-6+ yards he used to get. Some of that is the O-line, but honestly, a lot of that is the fact that he'll go down on 1st contact (is it me, or does LT seem to dive on every inside run, rather than run upright and take the chance of shedding a tackler?). Sproles is great for what he is, a situational back, and special teams maven. Also, he's pretty under-utilized, though with Norv's predictable 3rd down game plan, every defense knows that when Sproles is in there, he's getting a screen pass. Another grade could be given to our fullbacks-D. Honestly, Hester was an absolute waste of a draft pick--slow, small 'pseudo-fullback' who can't clear holes. He's a good special teamer, and has good hands, but isnt' one to produce much yards-after-the-catch, and is too small to really 'pound it in' to pick up 1 or 2 yards in the clutch. Tolbert seems more athletic, but he hasn't produced much at all in this scheme.

Wide Outs-B+. Vincent Jackson seems like a star-waiting to happen--if he can get the ball. Gates is dependable as ever. Chris Chambers seems about mediocre, and Floyd will make a spectacular catch every once in a while. We seem to be missing a possesion wide receiver (Gates has taken that role), and a good slot receiver. Buster Davis, until proven otherwise, has been a bust.

O-line-D. Granted, they have had injuries, and they have also given Rivers more time than anticipated on occasion, but the fact that they haven't done much in the run game hurts the team balance. It also doesn't help that Rivers seems to hold on to the ball a loooong time.

D-line-D-. Thought about giving them an F, but it was close. At least they could do 1 thing well--like stop the run, or rush the passer--but they have done neither. They sorely miss Jamal, but even with his absence, the Chargers are in huge trouble if they were solely depending on the health of JW with his balky knees. Hard to believe there were no contingency plans here...

Linebackers-D. Absence of a pass rush, poor in coverage with continued gaping holes in the shallow middle. Also, bad angles and fills of the run gaps have allowed opposing teams to rape us with the run.

DB's-D. Cromartie has ben bad. Jammer has been more dependable, and is the best tackler. Cason has played decently. Safeties have been horrendous. Weddle has been out of position on several big plays, very glaring in the Pittsburgh game. As for Hart, when was the last time you heard his name called out by the commentator for a positive big play?

Special Teams-B+. Kaeding has largely been dependable, Scifres has been money, and Sproles has been above average on the returns.

Overall, I think AJ has to swallow his pride--if we finish mediocre, or bow-out in the 1st round of the playoffs (assuming we make it), then it's a no-brainer to fire Norv. The man's milquetoast demeanor has made this team as soft as he is, giving these players a false sense of job security and over-confidence. Also, the last several of AJ's drafts have been very bad--including the reach for Hester...

Anonymous said... Oct 6, 2009, 9:59:00 AM

Go back over the last few years and see how many 2nd and 3rd round picks have been wasted or doubled up to move up. These foregone picks are the backbone of a successful team. Not to mention the whole Michael Turner non-trade. This is a long way of saying that the talent level is not what we had hoped it would be. Also, have we seen, collectively, a defense that tackles this poorly and is constantly out of position. Cromartie, I am talking about you. I hope they use the bye week to shake up the starting defense; however, per my comments above, I'm not sure there's enough talent to fix what needs to be fixed.

Anonymous said... Oct 7, 2009, 8:37:00 AM

maybe the writer from Baltimore was right. the chargers maybe
about to implode ala the Ravens in Billicks last year

Anonymous said... Oct 8, 2009, 11:51:00 AM

an nfl team takes on the personality of its head coach, and norv turner is a pushover, so they are playing like a bunch of pushovers. i think everyone in the organization knows that turner is only there because he is willing to be aj's lackey. the man has no spine and no self-respect. the team has gotten progressively worse ever since turner was hired, and the is absolutely no way anyone can argue that.
the real problem is, no decent nfl head coach will ever take this job with aj as the gm...can you imagine cowher or holmgren trying to work under aj? not a chance in hell, they know better. it would be a great situation for a coach to walk into, a young franchise qb signed long term and plenty of talent elsewhere, but nobody is going near it because if aj is capable or running schottenheimer out of town after 14-2, how can they possibly expect to keep him satisfied?

we can only hope spanos wakes up and realizes this team is rapidly retreating from the place they were a couple years ago...just a boneheaded play away from a super bowl championship (it's virtually a given that if mccree kneels on that INT, we beat NE, roll indy and destroy chicago)...and cleans house. aj-GONE norv and staff-GONE bring in somebody with a clue.
of course none of that will happen because it would involve a spanos opening his wallet...find me a bigger long-shot than that!!!

Post a Comment

What's your take? Registration is not required but we encourage you guys to at least use some sort of screen name to help identify one another in discussions. Use Name/URL If You Don't Sign In Please!


Newer Post Older Post Home Page

This Week's Popular Posts


  Pro Football Talk

  USA Today

  San Diego Union - Tribune

  Yahoo! Sports

  ESPN - AFC West

  FOX Sports