Times Are Tough For The Chargers, But How Bad Can It Get?

It obvious that the San Diego Chargers have not lived up to expectations thus far. The first three games have been filled with sloppy play, penalties, lack of depth and good ‘ole fashion drama. But how much worse can it get?

There seems to be certain years where injuries hit teams especially hard. And, if the first month of the season has been any indication, this may be one of those years for the Chargers.

After losing rookie linebacker Donald Butler in the preseason, Stephen Cooper, Shawne Merriman, Larry English and Jyles Tucker (did not miss time with an injury, but still missed time) have all missed time on the defense. To make matters worse, the offense has already had its starting running back miss a game, and the starting right guard will likely be out for a few weeks.

The most obvious trickle down of these players being unavailable has been on special teams – I feel like that's been examined enough this week so I’ll spare the readership - but it also can be seen with the lack of depth on offense and defense. Players are being forced to play more downs which causes even more injuries and more sloppy play.

Included in this sloppy play has been the severe case of fumblitis that the team seems unable to shake. As a team in 2009 the Chargers fumbled the ball just seven times, this year they have a combined five fumbles in three games. This has led to a total Giveaway/Takeaway figure of -1, good for 10th in the AFC. Last year the Chargers were second in the league with a +8 differential.

Without their two holdout Pro Bowlers, the offense has not been as squeaky clean as the number one league ranking may say. While the statistics look impressive at first, they are far from what they will likely end up.

Philip Rivers is currently averaging 362 yards per game through the air. Even the record-setting 2007 Patriots offense averaged just a little over 300 per game. Also, the Chargers yards per reception are almost a full two yards ahead of the second best passing attack in the AFC. Include the fact that Rivers is getting sacked at a higher rate than ever before in his career – 2.33 per game – and you get a recipe for letdown.

Possibly the most shocking aspect so far has been that the opening game of the season was blacked out locally. Add in that it looks like the second game may be also unavailable in local markets and this quickly becomes a tough situation. While it is easy to blame rough financial times for many San Diegans, it cannot be discounted that a large portion of the 48 consecutive sellouts that the team had accrued prior to the start of this season had also come during the current national recession.

Say for a second that the Chargers are 3-3 when the New England Patriots come into town on October 24 in Week 7. With the way that fan support has been a roller-coaster ride this season based on wins and losses, if they lose that game it could mean a few more blackouts this season.

All for a franchise that has won the division four out of the last five years.

While there is still a good chance that San Diego will come back and possibly win this division, the percentages and the momentum are certainly against them. The return of Marcus McNeill and restoration of former special teamers like Eric Weddle to kick coverages will certainly help those odds, but it doesn’t seem like this team has another magical 11-game win streak up their sleeve so the winning has to start now.

September 29, 2010

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Anonymous said... Sep 30, 2010, 10:40:00 AM

I would not jump the gun just yet and count the Chargers out. Our team is way too good to quit or be beaten on a continual basis. Our turnovers have been a nightmare along with ST. although I feel by not getting to watch the game on TV due to blackout is a disappointment. Economics says supply is based on demand which reflects price of product. In order to fix this issue prices must be dropped in order to compensate for demand to attract more revenue. Plan and simple, cutting ticket prices equates to a more attractive product.

I would much rather be in the comfort of my home than to pay $200 on some tickets plus 40 bucks on parking for my wife and I to watch the game. Oh, and those are just decent seats. NFL Package... Or stream the games online for free. I love the atm of the games but I just don't know anymore. The business must adapt to consumers. It's not like were SB bound or that we've won a title or anything. I do feel that most fans are sick to their stomachs do to the quick losses in the playoffs and until that starts to change then same with ticket purchases.

Again, I'm a die hard Bolt fan but I feel like I'm driving a car with only a gallon of gas in it and I have to get across country. It just isn't going to happen.


BoltFan in NY said... Oct 1, 2010, 7:54:00 AM

I'm a die hard Charger fan from way back. After getting married, I moved away from San Diego in 1984. My brother still lives there and we just discussed this "black out" situation. He told me that up until recently, the town of San Diego had been buying up some of the seats so that the games wouldn't be blacked out. (I don't know how long this has been going on, but for a long while it seems) Something apparently had to give (I don't know if the taxpayers demanded a change or what) and the practice of SD buying up enough seats to prevent a black out has come to a halt. Hence you have the first "black out" of the game(s) this year that this town hasn't seen in a long time. I don't know if it's so much of the current recession, as it is the idiot politicians who came up with this idea in the first place. Either way, ticket prices do need to come down to attract more fans... period.

As my brother said, it's no wonder the town of San Diego is broke (and all of California for that matter).

Anonymous said... Oct 1, 2010, 11:40:00 AM

BoltFan in NY... you should definately enter the ultimate displaced fan contest. Check it out at http://www.ultimatedisplacedfan.com/. The winner gets a VIP trip for 2 to the Super Bowl!

BoltFan in NY said... Oct 1, 2010, 7:03:00 PM

Hey... thanks for the tip!... I'll check it out.

Been here almost 9 years now after leaving SoCal. It's not easy sometimes rooting for the Chargers around all these Jets & Giants fans. Last year after we basically handed the Jets playoff spot to them on a silver platter, I had to endure all of the Jets fans bloviating and carrying on for over a week... like they earned that win... crap, we gave it to them! Hadn't seen the Bolts implode like that in a long time... looks like they picked up this year where they left off. Lets hope Norv gets the ST fixed, as well as all the ball-dropping... and get these guys back on track! Go Bolts!!!

Anonymous said... Oct 2, 2010, 7:01:00 PM

As a life long Bolt fan you get used to the disappointment. I will be shocked if we are any better than 8 / 8.
AJ Smith, Novr Turner and the complete Spanos family have no soul. The leadership does not have the fortitude to be a championship team.
Great players need great leadership, and it saddens me to say we lack that. There is no excuse for us to be 1-2, by the numbers we should be 3-0! But hey if the leadership is ok with it .......

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