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Michael Silver gives props to our Bolts!

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Thread_Killer, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2006
    I hate Michael Silver, but I have to give him credit for giving the Chargers a little love. To wit:

    Waxing poetic
    By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports
    January 4, 2008

    The San Diego Chargers' season was in danger of slipping away, and the team's best and most important player knew the time had come to assert himself. So, on the day after Thanksgiving, in a players only meeting called in the wake of the Chargers' fifth loss in 10 games, LaDainian Tomlinson stood in front of his teammates and read them a poem.


    Before I try to make the case that LT getting in touch with his inner E.E. Cummings turned around San Diego's season – and, if you haven't guessed, I'm being a bit facetious here – understand that no single speech, meeting or collective epiphany can explain what the Chargers have accomplished over the past six weeks.

    Somehow, a team whose locker room was rife with tense, confused players – who doubted their head coach and mistrusted the motives of the man who hired him – rediscovered much of the mojo that had made it a Super Bowl favorite exactly one year ago.

    The Chargers (11-5), who host the Tennessee Titans Sunday in a first-round playoff game, may not be able to overcome Indy or New England in the brutally tough AFC postseason scrum. But even if they fall short of a championship, San Diego's players can go into the offseason with the pride that comes from having staved off disaster – and from reaching a level of play many of their critics (and yes, I am raising my hand) didn't think possible back in late November.

    Having engaged in conversations with numerous Chargers players over the past few days, I now have a better understanding of how they pulled it off. Here are five reasons why the outlook has gotten sunnier in San Diego:

    1. The line is once again divine
    Last year, the Chargers' powerful offensive line paved the way for Tomlinson's record-setting MVP campaign. However, the combination of injuries, poor performances and Norv Turner's offensive philosophy – one more partial to H-backs, extra tight ends and pre-snap motion shifts – led to struggles by the running game.

    Left tackle Marcus McNeill, a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie in '06, had a classic sophomore slump as he struggled against some of the league's better pass rushers. Right tackle Shane Olivea, plagued by a lower-back injury, seemed to lose his focus and eventually lost his job to Jeromey Clary. Center Nick Hardwick, an ultra-aggressive tone-setter who made the Pro Bowl last season, missed four weeks with a foot injury but returned for San Diego's Nov. 25 game against the Ravens – the start of San Diego's six-game winning streak. Along with left guard Kris Dielman, Hardwick has asserted himself in the latter part of the season, creating consistent holes on the left side of the line and helping to restore the Chargers' power-running personality. Subsequently Tomlinson, whose relatively slow start may have been impacted by his near-complete lack of activity during the preseason, ran for over 100 yards in four of San Diego's final five games and won his second consecutive NFL rushing title.

    2. The quarterback started backing up his talk
    With the possible exception of the Giants' Eli Manning, the man for whom he was traded on draft day in 2004, has any winning QB gotten more flak than Philip Rivers this season? Rivers made the Pro Bowl following the '06 season, but he struggled down the stretch, including the disappointing playoff defeat to the Patriots. For much of '07, he seemed to regress further under Turner. With 15 interceptions and six lost fumbles, he has accounted for as many turnovers as he has touchdown passes (21). The second-year starter was yelled at by Tomlinson in one game (in a 31-24 defeat to the Packers in Week 3) and conspicuously blown off by LT in another (while trailing the Titans). "I don't really know of any other team where the star running back can light up the quarterback like that," says Darren Sharper, the Vikings' All-Pro safety. "That lets you know that the quarterback isn't really a franchise guy."

    Both Sharper and Packers cornerback Charles Woodson describe Rivers as "average." Says Sharper, whose team crushed the Chargers, 35-17, in early November: "He likes to run his mouth, to say the least." In the 32-14 victory over the Ravens that launched San Diego's six-game winning streak, the Qualcomm Stadium scoreboard caught Rivers yelling at Chargers fans, who were booing after an early drive was derailed. Late in a victory over the Broncos on Christmas Eve, television cameras captured Rivers yapping at Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler following a fourth-down incompletion. And in last week's season finale at Oakland, Rivers gestured at Raiders fans after a sack. To his credit, Rivers has played much better in recent weeks, with 10 touchdown passes and three interceptions during the past six games. And though his trash-talking may annoy opponents, it fires up his teammates. "Everyone expects a quarterback to be a certain way, but he's just a fiery guy, and everyone on the team loves him," Hardwick says of Rivers. "If he had a different skill set, he'd play a different position – but he'd still be a football player." Adds veteran long-snapper Dave Binn: "Phil may not make the perfect throw every time, but he's not afraid to try to make a play, and people feed off his enthusiasm."

    3. The coach kept his cool
    Turner will never be considered a master motivator, but the Chargers came to appreciate the way he hung tough under pressure. "One of the things that held this thing together is that Norv never flinched," Rivers says. "He could've shown a sense of panic, but he stayed the course." As the Chargers drew ahead in the weak AFC West, Turner's season-long message began to resonate: Last year San Diego, which finished 14-2, was the best team in October and November but faltered in the playoffs against New England. The challenge for the '07 Chargers, in Turner's eyes, was to play their best football in December and January.

    4. LT took control
    In the players only meeting, which took place five days after the Nov. 18 defeat to the Jaguars, Tomlinson challenged his teammates to become more accountable. The first part of LT's message, according to several players, centered on the widely held views that Turner (as the offensive play-caller) and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell were hurting the team from a strategic standpoint, especially when compared to popular predecessors Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips. Tomlinson not only acknowledged the complaints, but he also copped to having shared some of the same feelings. That gave him even more credibility when he told his teammates, "It's not about the coaches. Between 1 and 4:15 on Sundays, we're the ones who decide our fate. Don't buy into this 'Norv's not a leader' stuff. If we do that, we're gonna finish 7-9, and we'll be the ones who suffer. This division is there for the taking, and we have to decide right now whether we're going to take it."

    In that same meeting, LT killed the party. That might be a slight exaggeration, but when Tomlinson spoke of "sacrifice," telling his teammates he had given up drinking alcohol until the end of the season and challenging each player individually to do whatever it took to improve his commitment and focus, everyone understood what provoked his words. This is a team that has its share of social animals on the roster, some of whom enjoy making semi-frequent trips to L.A. to party with the Hollywood crowd. Then there was the episode which took place two nights before the Chargers' embarrassing defeat at Minnesota, one in which Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson set an NFL single-game record with 296 rushing yards. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a group of seven players that included star pass rusher Shawne Merriman and standout nose tackle Jamal Williams missed curfew by half an hour, and each was fined $1,500. Before the season Merriman, according to teammates, had spoken openly of planning to write a single check to cover all of his road curfew violations for '07. When Tomlinson said he was giving up even the casual beer with dinner, everyone at least had to rethink his priorities.

    5. The inner voice prevailed
    At the end of his speech, Tomlinson read a motivational poem called "The Inner Voice" – not E.E. Cummings' version, but, apparently, by an author of unknown origin. The poem read by Tomlinson speaks of the pride, fear of failure and willingness to push beyond one's perceived limits that elite athletes experience as they train. In many locker rooms the speaker would get laughed out of the room in the first stanza, or at least goofed on good-naturedly. But Tomlinson, an avid consumer of new-age and inspirational messages, delivered this one to a rapt and interested audience – a testament to his unquestioned stature as the team's dominant personality. "He's E.F. Hutton," Binn says, referencing the old TV commercial in which everyone comes to an anticipatory hush when the broker's advice is about to be revealed. "He's always been that guy. He's definitely the leader of the team, usually by example. But when he talks …"

    We'll resist the urge to finish Binn's thought. Football, after all, is a sport in which deeds ultimately trump words, and San Diego didn't get to where it is now – charging confidently into the playoffs as the league's second-hottest team – because of something anyone said, even LT. More accurately, the Chargers managed to bond together and tune out the noise around them, salvaging a seemingly lost season one block and tackle at a time.

    Click on the link below to read the entire article:

    Michael Silver Props Chargers
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    That's real nice.

    I still say phuc Michael Silver. :icon_evil:

    But thanks for the read, TK. :yes:
  3. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Yeah, he gives props to us in a passive aggressive, backhanded compliment sort of way.

    I concur. Phuck Michael Silver.
  4. turbo_turtle

    turbo_turtle In Disguise

    Aug 2, 2006
    Michael Silver who? :icon_shrug:

    His compliments seem to me to be more like insults instead of what he thinks are compliments.

    I do not like Silvers takes one bit.

    Just my opinion it sounded like Silver was too condescending to me.

    Just me.
  5. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    This half wit reminds me of David Broder, David Brooks and Joe Klein rolled into one insipid package. Hacksaw is more profound.
  6. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Fuk this guy .. is still an ahole.

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