Suddenly, everything is warm and fuzzy with this 2010 San Diego Chargers Team. After solid wins over the Titans and Texans and then dominate victories at home over the Broncos and on the road against the Colts, the public perception of the Chargers has done a complete 180 degree turn. “The Chargers are not going to lose the rest of the season.” “Philip Rivers is the MVP.” “The defense really is ‘that’ good.” “Special teams really did just need to get some healthy players back.” Will that public perception remain?
Being a fan of the Chargers this year almost feels like what you’d imagine if you were to welcome back a cheating lover. This 2010 San Diego Chargers team balled up, spit on, and tossed in the gutter five of its first seven games. Since, it hasn’t lost and sits at 6-5. The upcoming schedule shows what appears to be a pack of winnable games; you know, just like the winnable games earlier this season in Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland, and St. Louis. But maybe it is different.
Jim Valvano, the excitable former North Carolina State Basketball Coach, cancer research advocate, and inspirational speaker, consistently preached that “in order to accomplish ANYTHING, you need to know: where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you’re going.”
WHERE THE 2010 CHARGERS HAVE BEEN
Everyone knows where they’ve been. The first seven weeks of the season wasn’t a roller coaster ride, it was a cave excavation. The NFL Power Rankings on ESPN had the Chargers ranked 24th after Week 7. Injuries had piled up. Fumbles. Tipped balls. Missed tackles. Etc. The Special Teams repeatedly made huge mistakes. And then they made them again. And after that, they made some more. After accounting for the wrong man during a punt against the Raiders, Antwan Applewhite was benched by Special Teams Coach, Steve Crosby. Before the next punt though, Applewhite pleaded with Coach Crosby to let him have another chance. Applewhite said, “Coach, please don’t do that to me.” Crosby gave in. Minutes after the conversation, the Chargers lined up for another punt. Applewhite ran out to block. Amazingly, Applewhite again helped on a man already accounted for, leaving his gap empty. Another punt block, this time for a touchdown. This is a microcosm of where the Chargers have been.
WHERE THE 2010 CHARGERS ARE NOW
Factually, they’re one game over .500 and essentially 1 game back in a race against the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC West. They’re coming off two dominant performances on national TV against a division rival and the NFL darling, Indianapolis Mannings. They’ve played four straight relatively clean games. They’re playing more balanced football. Rivers isn’t being forced to push the ball down the field for the team to win. Tolbert, aka Little Hippo, aka Tugboat, has become a do-it-all running back and has two straight games over 100 yards rushing. Basically, the Chargers are now what everyone thought they could have, er uh, should have been. But they also have serious questions regarding the health of starters. Malcom Floyd’s hamstring will not spring back. Vincent Jackson’s calf is “strained”. Antonio Gates, who continues to fight, has serious problems with both feet. Stephen Cooper is now missing practice with a knee, even if it’s precautionary. Supposedly Ryan Mathews is back practicing, but who knows how long he’ll play before he gets injured again… And the list goes on. Moving into December and *fingers crossed* the playoffs, health is key. So…
WHERE THE 2010 CHARGERS ARE GOING
The Playoffs! Well, it sure looks like they’re going to the playoffs. They’re primed and poised for another late season sweep which would have them winning nine straight games to finish 11-5. They control their own fate. They win out, they’re in. If not, they’ll need help. Three of the five remaining games are at home. The one spot that seems most likely to trip them up is a December 12 rematch against the surging Chiefs.
Like Jim Valvano said, you have to know all three things to accomplish anything: where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you’re going.
The 2010 Chargers have repeatedly acknowledged where they’ve been. They need to be really honest about where they are, and they need to prepare like they know where they’re going.
WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY’RE GOING?
Do you see the Chargers winning out? What games will give them the most trouble. Is it too early to mention the Playoffs? Did I just curse their chances?
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Labels: NFL Season 2010 Week 12
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