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Contrary to popular belief, the Chargers are average

Discussion in 'Smack Talk' started by Blue Bolt, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Exit Interview: Contrary to popular belief, Bolts truly were average

    [​IMG]

    Jason O. Watson/US Presswire

    San Diego QB Philip Rivers certainly didn't enjoy his finest season in 2011, but he turned it on down the stretch.


    With the 2011 season in the rearview mirror, it's time for NFL.com's annual "Exit Interviews," a chance to review the ups and downs of each team's past season and spin it forward.


    2011 in a Nutshell: You earned it, San Diego. Another installment of the Norv face (of frustration) is coming your way, fresh off a giant wave of excitement only mediocre football can bring. Thoughts? Issues? Concerns? Probably many, as fans watched their Chargers ride a six-game losing streak during the middle of the season straight out of the playoff race.


    The fans deserve better, the talent level does not. Part of the "unfulfilled promise" of this team is based on suspended reality. Contrary to popular belief, the Bolts have the talent of a 7-10 win team, not a 14-win powerhouse. This isn't Marty Ball, and it's not 2006. Call it straight-up mediocrity.

    What Went Right: Ryan Mathews still gets hurt too much, but he looked very good when he was healthy. Mike Tolbert did a nice job, as well. Frankly, the Chargers should've run the ball more. Mathews averaged 4.9 yards per carry, and yet Turner sometimes still abandoned the run (like during the midseason home loss to the Raiders).

    Despite all the negative pub, Philip Rivers wasn't nearly as bad in 2011 as fans were led to believe. Yes, he threw 20 picks. But many of those were because Rivers actually takes shots down the field. Not to mention that the inconsistent play of his wide receivers, as well as Antonio Gates being out of shape, greatly hurt him (more on that below). Either way, this team would be playing in Legoland without Rivers under center. He also tore it up when the Chargers got hot late during the season. Over the last five games, Rivers tossed 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions, compiling a 109.3 passer rating.

    Even with their problems, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates were still both productive. Jackson caught 60 balls for 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns, furthering his reputation as one of the league's better big-play receivers (at least when he didn't lose the ball in the lights). Appearing overweight, and slowed by chronic foot troubles, Gates ultimately had a down year by his high standards. Though, most NFL tight ends would do anything for a "down" season of 64 catches, 778 yards and seven touchdowns.


    What Went Not So Right: Gates' injury woes, which included three missed games, really hampered Rivers. The quarterback's interceptions hurt the defense, and the defense allowing 83 points after those turnovers hurt the team's playoff hopes.

    Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was fired right after the season for spearheading a unit that allowed 23.6 points per game. Only two teams (the Lions and Giants) allowed more points per game and still finished with a winning record. San Diego suffered from injuries to Luis Castillo, Shaun Phillips and Bob Sanders (huge surprise!) that covered all three levels of the defense. The secondary really struggled, enabling opposing quarterbacks to post a 92.5 passer rating while giving up 29 touchdowns.


    Offseason Crystal Ball: So naturally, fire Manusky, and all is solved, right? Meanwhile, Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith got a reprieve. Smith's level of popularity with fans and players is similar to that of Barry Bonds. The tenor of fans' excitement that Turner was retained could probably be categorized as "less than delighted." And yet, the players seem to want to play for him. When I spoke to linebacker Takeo Spikes during Super Bowl week, he did not hesitate to fully support Turner's return.

    Needless to say, this should be both an interesting and integral offseason for the Bolts. It got off to a fast start with the knee-jerk canning of Manusky, and should continue with the expected release of starting tackle Marcus McNeill.

    How will John Pagano fare as a first-time defensive coordinator in the NFL? We'll find out in September. Who will replace McNeill on the left side? We'll find out much sooner. San Diego might draft a tackle, as well as re-sign Jared Gaither. The big tackle is a free agent, as are Jackson, Tolbert, Castillo, Spikes, center Nick Hardwick, fullback Jacob Hester and nose tackle Antonio Garay, among others.

    The biggest predicament is what to pay Jackson, who should command big money on the free-agent market. The club could release Castillo or guard Kris Dielman to create more room under the projected salary million cap. San Diego is already estimated to be under the cap by at least $10 million. Cutting Castillo (due nearly $5 million), or even Spikes, would give Smith some room to retool. He also has a decision to make at kicker: Nate Kaeding or the less costly Nick Novak?


    Team Needs and Draft: Offensive line help, defensive end, secondary and wide receiver. Three starting linebackers are at least 30 years old, so that's another area worth considering. Defensive backs Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are average, while youngster Marcus Gilchrist must step up. How about a strong safety to play next to Eric Weddle? These issues make it even more essential to fortify the defensive front. The Chargers must get pressure to mask deficiencies in the defensive backfield.

    Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL
     
  2. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Are you trying to tell me 8-8 is average? :eek: NO WAY!
     
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Not just the record, but the talent.

    I, at least, give the guy credit for being one of the few outsiders that realize this team needs a talent transfusion stat!
     
  4. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats Loud, proud Charger fan

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    If all of the pieces and parts are healthy, talent wise our offense is above average and our defense is below average and with the "depth" on the roster the margin for error is very, very slim. I am hoping we can add defensive playmakers in the off-season, particularly someone who can successfully rush the passer. It is looking like they will be able to shore up the offensive line as it appears Dielman and Hardwick will probably be back and I am thinking we will swap Gaither for McNeill. I wouldn't complain if a solid free agent RT showed up. Bottom line: If the offense and defense can add some talent in a couple of key spots, the Chargers should be back in playoff contention. Here's hoping they are!...I just re-upped my season seats.
     
  5. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    The silence regarding this article is deafening.

    And enlightening. ;)
     
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  6. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Or he's just another fan who only understands the shallow stats he can read on a sheet of paper.

    1yr ago our defense was top 10 with the same talent pool everyone is ripping to shreds now.
     
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I'm sure the ignored content was predictable.
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Really?.......... you know that defensive ranking was more of a statistical anomaly than anything.
     
  9. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    The Chargers are average
    Is that really a revelation to anyone?
     
  10. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Yes really. We were 2nd in sacks and 10th in points allowed and STs did the defense no favors, if anything they were far better than their rank. And if we could stop anyone on 3rd down probably would have been again this year........but as we don't even attempt to rush the QB on passing downs.:tdown: It is what it is, players paying for coaches stupidity.


    Obviously we'll never agree on this, but I hope Pagano can pull his **** together an prove people wrong.
     
  11. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Keep believing that if you like, but it's a load of bull. The Chargers #1 ranked defense was based on yards allowed per game.

    That stat was obviously skewed by the long runbacks and TDs allowed by the NFL's worst special teams unit. The defense didn't have as many snaps as it would in a normal year, therefore they were fresher and not worn out at the end of games. Most teams rack of yardage (especially on the ground) in the 4th quarter when the defense is tired. The Chargers defense wasn't out on the field long enough to get worn down.
     
  12. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I think you missed my point.

    I should have clarified .... the ignored member's content was likely predictable.

    Although that shouldn't be a revelation either.
     
  13. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    ...and in key games, they shat the bed.
     
  14. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Dude start paying attention. I never said anything about their #1 YPG rank because I agree it is skewed by the special teams putting the defenses back to the endzone constantly.

    The PPG rank I gave you includes all special teams points allowed. So if anything its skewing in the negative way, which means our defense was even better than 10th in points allowed if you take out the handfull of special teams TDs we gave up.

    In the end it averages out, the 2010 Chargers were 2nd in sacks, 4th in 3rd down defense, and 10th in points allowed (the 3 biggest defensive stats). It was a top 10 defense wether you want to admit it or not.
     
  15. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Again, I don't see it.......... and can the dude crap, will you? :rolleyes:

    Believe it or not, when the defense has less field to cover, it's actually harder for the offense to score. I'm not talking about having the ball at the goal line either. Many teams, the Chargers included, have issues scoring TDs in the red zone. When the field is shortened, the defenders are in better position to make a play on the ball. Elite offenses will still score their share of TDs, but average ones will have to settle for more FGs.

    When the special teams allows long runbacks, the defense comes on the field knowing their backs are against the wall, and they play that way. It's a little different mindset than when the opponent has the ball at their own 20. Less field to defend, and less total snaps played will make the defensive numbers better, not worse.
     
  16. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Talk about over rationalization....dude.;) And of course incorrect. Your answer only serves to push the point that I have already agreed with, that the yardage stats were skewed because we were playing on short fields with less downs. Its a very simple concept: With their backs to the endzone on every possession the defense should be giving up more points, because opposing offenses don't have to move very far to get in scoring range. They didn't. :speechless: End of story.

    If you want to start getting into elite offense vs average offense, fatigue, stamina, roster depth, day or night, home or away, rain or shine etc....then you're working to hard to make your own rationalization.
     
  17. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I love this line-
    "Smith's level of popularity with fans and players is similar to that of Barry Bonds."
     
  18. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    STATS DO NOT WIN GAMES!

    People do!

    The #1 Defense doesnt mean crap if you dont win games!
     
  19. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    Well then if they are better than their ranking when do we schedule that Lombardi trophy parade downtown?
     
  20. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    And he's earned it with a similarly egotistical, arrogant attitude.

    But I do wonder - would steroids help his drafting ability? ;)
     
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  21. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Average team. Incomplete where it counts, no heart. Not a very good chance of winning like that.
     
  22. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    where did this hack of a writer come from? Dude says in one paragraph that Castillo and Dielman are free agents, then in the very next paragraph says they might be cut to save money.

    He also lists DE as our 2nd biggest need? I wouldn't even put that in the top 10, even if we cut Castillo.
     
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  23. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    DE not even in the top 10? Hmmmmm ..... perhaps you'd care to share your list?
     
  24. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Maybe he means DE/OLB, but he doesn't you know.....understand football.
     
  25. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Inclined to think he means "pass rusher" by DE. Doubt strongly he means 3-4 DE which we need depth on but don't need a top draft pick
     
  26. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    LOL...... end of story. A football "expert" in your own mind. :roflmao:

    You're forgetting that when the special teams gives up scores, the defense doesn't take the field at all...... the offense goes back in. And if you have an offense that can sustain drives, then the time of possession is tipped toward the Chargers.

    The Chargers time of possession in 2010 averaged 6 minutes and 45 seconds more than their opponents. Obviously, that means the defense had to spend less time on the field. And when scores are given up by special teams, there are less points that the defense is responsible for giving up. Both factors that make the defensive stats looks better.
     
  27. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I would say that these are more important, not in any specific order:
    OT(possibly 2), NT, OLB, ILB, TE, WR(probably 2), SS, CB......Ok, make it 8 positions that are needed more than DE
     
  28. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Then he needs to learn the difference between teams that run a 3-4 and those that run a 4-3 and call out their needs accordingly
     
  29. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Ant your not getting me. I'm saying we were 10th in points allowed including all the return TDs we gave up......thats not bad at all. It means when the opposition didn't score on STs our defense was stout as hell. Not to mention all the big returns that didn't score but still put our backs to the endzone.

    If we hadn't given up so many big returns...would the opposing team have still scored on the drive? A much smaller chance of that.

    TOP has nothing to do with this.
     
  30. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I'm not Ant....... but you're right, I don't get you. :D

    Obviously, the Chargers defensive stats were more than a little misleading. If the Chargers were as good a team as the stats seemed to indicate, then it would've translated into more wins...... it did not.

    The defense came up small last year when it came to game changing plays. Sure, they had more sacks than this year, but they didn't come at critical times of the game. The Chargers did not have a dictating defense..... hasn't had one since the Wade Phillips days of Merriman and Williams.

    Rivers was a turnover machine this year, throwing 20 INT's....... a bunch. Last year, he only threw 13...... that's 7 less. Funny thing, the Chargers turnover differential stat is identical in 2011 and 2010...... minus 7. That statistically better defense last year, only managed 2 more takeaways than this year's crap defense.

    Probably the biggest stat in determining wins and losses (other than the scoreboard), is the turnover differential. In that critical area, there really isn't much difference between Rivera's group and Manusky's.
     

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