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Chargers report: Inside slant

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Here comes the visiting Baltimore Ravens to face the struggling Chargers on Sunday, with the home team juggling a nest full of problems.
    Just what ails the Chargers, who have plummeted from a nifty, preseason pick to reach the Super Bowl to trying valiantly to keep their head above the .500 mark?
    Is it a team grown complacent after racing to a franchise-best 14-2 record last year?
    Is it a team still grasping the shocking change of seeing Marty Schottenheimer, its veteran and successful coach, being replaced by the uninspiring Norv Turner?
    Is it the expectations that have clung to this team like dog hair on a sweater?
    Is it the players, well, trying too hard?
    "At times it does seem like that -- like we feel the sense of urgency throughout the game, and you try to make a play and sometimes you have the tendency to push too hard and it doesn't happen," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "That could certainly be the case."
    Whatever the case, the Chargers (5-5) aren't close to being the team they thought. Despite that, they own a share of the AFC West lead with the surging Broncos.
    Tomlinson, who is far off his NFL MVP pace of last year, speculates the Chargers need to grasp the game's joys without thinking of its pitfalls.
    "I think we all need to be reminded sometimes it's still the game we played since we were kids and we weren't getting paid a dime," he said. "We were just doing it because we loved it. We did it because family was there and friends and it was fun."
    Snickers and giggles are hard to find at Chargers Park this year. The maddening inconsistency by this group, which returned 11 Pro Bowl selections, is causing some to snap.
    Linebacker Shawne Merriman, one of those Pro Bowlers, questioned his teammates' commitment in the aftermath of Sunday's defeat in Jacksonville. Merriman barked despite having but one tackle and getting creamed by the undersized Maurice Jones-Drew on a touchdown pass.
    But Turner -- who is getting roasted by local fans -- doesn't see any quit in the Chargers.
    "I don't look at tape and say someone's not playing hard," he said. "I don't look at tape and say, someone's not competing. I don't look at the tape and say, we lack energy."
    Still, that was one fired-up Merriman after Sunday's loss when stating loud and clear that losing isn't that a big of a deal to some of his teammates.
    Turner shrugged.
    "After a game, it's so emotional and these guys are so competitive, guys may say something and then all of a sudden see it the next day and say, well that's not exactly how this thing was meant to be or perceived," Turner said. "I don't see it."
    What's plain to see is this team is still searching for confidence and an identity. And that raises nothing but a big red flag if those two attributes haven't been secured by late November.
    That's what makes Sunday's game against the desperate Ravens so critical. The Ravens are basically playing for their 2007 life after dropping four straight games. One more loss and whatever thread of hope this team had of returning to the playoffs is snapped.
    The Chargers?
    They need to show they aren't a team becoming fractured in the locker room after two weeks of sub-par play. Yes, one of those weeks resulted in a win over the Super Bowl champion Colts. But the Chargers know luck played as big of a part in that triumph as did their play.
    So which way Chargers? Is this the start of a six-game stretch run in which they prove they should be mentioned among the NFL's elite teams?
    Or will Sunday be the continuation of a team taking one step forward, then two back, at every turn?
    No matter which way they turn, the hour glass sand for this season is dwindling.
    "Is it pretty? No," fullback Lorenzo Neal said. "Is it ugly? Yes. Do you wish it was better? Of course, we all do, but it's not.
    "But until we as players actively take a hold of this and do something about it, then we will continue to struggle."
    6th meeting. The Ravens lead, 3-2. The last time they played was in 2006, when the visiting Chargers coughed up a 13-7 fourth-quarter lead to fall in the final minute. Although the loss came with a silver lining, as after the game Marty Ball was officially buried. Then-coach Marty Schottenheimer turned the offensive responsibilities and philosophy over to then-coordinator Cam Cameron and the Chargers finished as the NFL's highest-scoring team.

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  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    It's time for the team to nut up & play some lights-out football. No time to waste or think about coulda, shoulda, woulda. Get this thing done, starting with handing the Ravens their butts on Sunday. :bolt:

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