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It needs to be mind over matter for Chargers

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Monday, January 11, 2010

    San Diego may be in a New York state of mind this week. The Chargers can’t afford to be. They have to be in a mind of their own.
    They must know winning 11 straight games doesn’t even get them into the cigar store. Outside of squat, the only thing the streak means is a ticket to the NFL tournament. A million-dollar racecar may look like a million bucks, but it’s useless if it runs out of gas before the checkered flag.
    The playoffs are different, man, different feel, different pressures, another way of life. No matter how big and famous you are, when you walk into this room, nobody’s small.
    “It’s the playoffs,” Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith says. “Know what that means? Everybody’s good.
    “The coaches feel it, the players feel it, the fans feel it. It’s different. Know why? Because it is different. It doesn’t make any difference who we play. Our record in 2009 means nothing. It’s gone. We’re 0-0.”
    So, unless you’re just an overwhelming football team — and this is a year when there isn’t one of those — it’s all about how you handle it between the helmet holes. Don’t screw it up.
    Sure, the Chargers are playing the New York Jets here Sunday afternoon in an AFC divisional playoff game, but more than anything, they’re playing the Chargers. They have to get over themselves before they can get a photo op making out with the Lombardi Trophy in Miami.
    One way to deal with pressure is to have experienced it in person. As Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said yesterday after Baltimore kept the Patriots from visiting here Sunday: “We’ve been through everything. There’s nothing we haven’t seen.”
    Same could be said of the majority of these Chargers. Now it’s a matter of them following Baltimore’s lead and doing something with it. Experience must be experienced. You can’t describe it anymore than you can the pain of childbirth to a man. “It’s tough; it hurt like hell” doesn’t quite express it.
    San Diego has coaches and players who are playoff-hardened, coaches and players who have won, coaches and players who have lost. They might be the best team now. Doesn’t matter. They’ve been the best team before. Best is in the eye of the scoreboard.
    Head coach Norv Turner has won three playoff games here, one when he was with Washington, and totally ran the Dallas offense when the Cowboys captured Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. If you don’t think this had anything to do with Smith’s firing of playoff failure Marty Schottenheimer three years ago and the hiring of Turner, well, take your rethinking meds.
    Smith won’t say it outright, but, trust me, the feeling within the organization was Schottenheimer panicked in the divisional playoff loss to New England. It hardly was the shining hour for then-coordinators Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips, either.
    But Marty, with a terrible playoff history, got more deeply involved on game day than he had at any point in 2006. The better team that year lost; the better team that day won. The players mirrored their coach. They were constipated.
    “My approach, once the game starts, is to stick to the same things you’ve done to win,” Turner says. “Take care of the ball and be good in the red zone. In the playoffs, preparation is heightened. Some guys get in games and try to do more than they should.
    “We know what’s at stake. So prepare and you can go play free.”
    Before yesterday, the Jets didn’t have overwhelming playoff experience. But they have some now, having gone into Cincinnati and taken advantage of the incredible blunders of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis (Marvin, what were you thinking?) to win their Saturday AFC wild-card match.
    Smith often says pressure begets pressure in the playoffs. Some teams, such as his, have to feel it, process the good and bad, and move along.
    The GM has put these Chargers together with January in mind. All he’s ever wanted is a playoff team, because Super Bowls can’t be won unless you are one.
    “I personally believe it’s part of the process,” Smith says. “If you have a playoff-caliber team, it means you’ve been there. Maybe one of those years will be a magical year.
    “The playoffs stand alone. Players here have been in and know about it. It’s different.”
    Smith is almost giddy knowing he has Turner in charge.
    “Our players now know their head coach is the real deal who can help them win in the playoffs,” Smith says. “They know he’s been there, that he doesn’t just talk about it, that he’s proven it winning pressure-packed playoff games. There’s a poise and calmness he displays under extreme playoff pressure.
    “Norv Turner has Super Bowl rings (from Dallas). He has a perspective. He’s poised. It’s how he’s wired. He knows how to handle players. It’s stunning — shocking.”
    Great attributes. Still has to win Sunday.
    “The Super Bowl is thrown around loosely, but it’s so obvious,” Smith says. “Everybody wants to win it. But you have to stop and back off. What does it take to win it?”
    A lack of fear is one thing. The Chargers have to get over fearing themselves.
  2. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    It's another football game that has to be won-play off or not. Each guy has one thing to do, his job within the game plan. Wasn't like that last time we played these in the one and done's. They also have to resist trying to deliver the earth shattering blow and just tackle-wrap up the runners.
  3. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

    Sep 28, 2006
    I remember AJ's comment after the Raven's game about the playcall at the end with the Ray Lewis finisher: "sometimes its about more than that game and that play" or something to that effect. My guess would be Norv knew he may see Ray Lewis and the Ravens again: why show off your A-1 play when the playoffs may provide another opportunity to call a play that wins a playoff game, not a W in week 4...I am becoming a believer in Norv, he has beaten Bellicheck (back in the Giant Dallas days) and Sexy Rexy the best in the game as defensive coaches. He did not beat that Steelers D last year, but they scored enough in that game to advance, it was the D in the 3rd quarter that let them down.

    If the Bolts can get a lead, and slow the run down early, they will move on (assuming they win the turnover battle)....I have the utmost confidence Norv will outwit Sexy Rexy on the X's and O's sunday.

    It should be a good one: you know Sexy rexy will want to show AJ he picked the wrong guy in Norv.
  4. RaiderRay

    RaiderRay RIP SD Chargers..Go Any SD Team, Go Raiders Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005
    What's the big deal, it's only the Jets. The Bolts will approace this like any of the 11 games they've won in a row. #1 rushing team in the NFL? Who cares, we already faced the best back in the NFL and won. Score early and often, and the game falls on Dirty Sanchez's shoulders. #1 defense in the NFL? The #2 D got lit up by an Arizona offense that's almost as good as ours.

    Look, it's not like were the Bengals. We're not playoff newbies. This team has been there done that, and know what it takes to win in the playoffs. Now with a full arsenal of weapons on on both sides, is there any doubt that we will win over the rookie led Jets? I don't think so. And all that any given Sunday crap is just crap when it comes to this game.

    Bolts win easily.

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