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Upon further review: Chargers at Packers

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    <img src="http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/29/fullj.getty-75557855ms021_san_diego_cha.jpg" title="GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 23: Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers looses his helmet while returning a kickoff against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field September 23, 2007 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)" alt="GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 23: Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers looses his helmet while returning a kickoff against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field September 23, 2007 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)" height="209" width="291" />

    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <strong>Upon Further Review:</strong>

    The San Diego Chargers have opened the season with a very disappointing 1-2 record after Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers.

    During the game, the Chargers found themselves in the lead up until the two minute warning before the end of the game. That is when the ageless wonder Packers Quarterback, Bret Favre hit Wide Receiver, Donnald Driver on a slant pattern that Driver was able to take all the way to the end zone, slashing a seemingly dazed secondary. The offense tried to claw its way back into the game to force over time, but with two attempts at an onside kick, they were unable to recover the ball.

    The Chargers, who have been touted in the off season as the ‘<em>Ferrari of the league</em>' are beginning to look like a cheap kit car knock off of the famous Italian sports car. Not much seems to be going right for the Chargers who are struggling to find stability and constancy.

    Gone are the days when Marty Schottenheimer would walk the sidelines rallying his players to focus on the game. If Sunday's sideline confrontation between Chargers Running Back LaDanian Tomlinson and Quarterback Philip Rivers is any indication, they are in sore need of such focusing tools at the moment.

    Tomlinson and Rivers were caught on camera arguing, as they explained about a play where Tomlinson though he was open, and Rivers did not look his way. That may be the case, it may not be. But that act, coupled with the poor play on the field makes one wonder where the constancy that we all became so accustomed to seeing last season went.

    Is it simply the change in the coaching staff? The loss of players such as Middle Linebacker Donnie Edwards, or is it something else. Could this team have bought into the mantra that the regular season doesn't matter, that it is the post season that counts? I for one hope not, because with such play, the post season will not include the San Diego Chargers.

    <strong>Coaching Changes:</strong>

    Gone is the speeches of Marty Schottenheimer, the "<em>One game at a time men! One game at a time!</em>" chants that many Charger fans recall. In its place is the mellow, at times placid looking Norv Turner who is by his own admittance more of an X's and O's type guy than a player motivator. Could this be the issue? I don't think anyone who has been watching football for any length of times can lay the blame all at the feet of the coaching staff. But there is something there that must be shouldered by the current coaches of the Chargers, as well as it's General Manager, AJ Smith.

    Last season Smith was in a well publicized feud with Schottenheimer. A feud which was well publicized and included the lack of internal communications between the GM and the head Coach leading many fans to wonder what exactly was going on behind closed doors at Charger Park. This feud was won by Smith when team President, Dean Spanos gave Schottenheimer his walking papers, and handed the reigns over to Smith.

    Smith then hired Norv Turner to coach the team over other more ‘fan popular' candidates, due to his familiarity with the system. A familiarity that has as of yet to result in the offensive constancy the unit enjoyed last season.

    Is that the fault of Norv Turner? Some of it is of course, but much has to be shouldered by the players. The offensive line is not up to the standards of last years unit. They do not come into games to dominate and open holes. They have problems thus far opening passing lanes. I know there is much talk about teams stacking the line of scrimmage, but in general that is not the reason for the offensive line's troubles. Upon further review it is found that the Chargers offensive unit is facing less eight man fronts. They however are not picking up blitzes and moving people out of the lanes as they did last season. Is it scheme or attitude is the question that rings in my mind. Have our maulers of last year become complacent? Has the team in general forgotten that you have to work hard to win?

    If the problem is the lack of focus on winning in the regular season, then how do you communicate "winning" to your new professional football team? Show them a reel of your big wins? Tell a lot of stories that begin with, "I remember when Troy Aikman played for me, and he -"?

    I would think not. You let your team veterans pull together and do it in small ways that build up over time. The leaders of this team have to do a gut check. It is clear to me that they are not on the same page, and I question if they are buying into the system the coaches are selling. Instead of supporting one another they are attacking each other on the sidelines.

    Then Chargers Quarterback, Drew Brees one day called a player only meeting in 2004. He got the team together and let the Captains, and leaders of the team speak about what they wanted to accomplish. The team responded. Who will be that Captain, that leader on this ‘<em>Ferrari</em>' team?

    <strong>What is not working:</strong>

    It is easy to look at the game footage and say what is not working. The talking heads in the media are talking about it as well. I have decided to lock onto two key factors here:

    <strong><em>Running Game:</em></strong>

    With a tandem of running backs like LaDanian Tomlinson and Michael Tuner, can someone tell me how it is that the Chargers are ranked as the 30th rushing attack in the league, averaging only 67.3 yards per game and scoring only one rushing touchdown in three games?

    The Chargers boast last seasons rushing leader and league MVP, in Tomlinson who to this point has had problems getting it going on the ground. It is not that he does not have the ‘<em>want to</em>'. There are few holes for him to run to. Also having the notoriety of being the league MVP comes with a cost. People focus on you and will try to shut you down. Thus far three decent defenses have done just that.

    To date the Chargers running attack is not up to standards, and until such a time as it is, the Chargers will have difficulty getting the offensive scheme instilled by Norv Turner going.

    They need to look each other in the eye, and challenge one another. They have a three game stent coming up where they face all three divisional opponents. They cannot continue to flop around without a purpose. They have to focus on thing, and one thing only. Punching the opposition in the mouth and taking victory the twitching carcasses of their opposition.

    What else is not working?

    <strong><em>Pass Rush:</em></strong>

    The Chargers are battling though some injuries to be sure, but when the opposing quarterbacks have five or six seconds of unmolested time to let a play develop, even the best defense will have problems. Problems the Chargers defense has.

    Teams are not running on the Chargers, they are bombing their secondary with repeated strikes. They are doing this with minimal receivers as well. Both the Patriots and the packers have kept receivers in to block, sending two pass catchers out in the pattern. Even with the minimal numbers teams have had success against the Chargers secondary, partially due to the inability of the Chargers to hit, rush, or in general scare the opposing quarterbacks.

    Every game where the pass rush doesn't get the job done provides more footage for teams to see how to attack the ‘<em>Ferrari</em>' and guarantee success. Ted Cottrell, the Chargers Defensive Coordinator needs to start thinking outside of the box.

    The term speed kills is one used with regularity in the NFL. That is a mantra the Chargers used when putting together their defense. However, there is little use of that speed from the outside in the pass coverage. Cottrell will have to develop a scheme to allow his speedy Charges to attack the passer. They will not have to lead the league in sacks, but the opposing quarterbacks cannot be given time to allow their receivers to double or even triple move their way out of the secondary coverage.
    <p id="post_message_301648"><strong>What is working:</strong></p>
    It is easy to get down in the dumps as a Charger fan right now. Indeed there are many long time Charger fans who are calling for the jobs of everyone from AJ Smith to the towel boy. This team simply has not lived up to expectations or hype.

    But rejoice for not all is lost. The offense has shown signs of improving every game. The Chargers have weapons that will never allow another team to take them lightly. The Chargers have improved from the 29th ranked offense in week 2 to the 27th ranked offense in week 3. The wide receivers are getting involved in the game, and once the running game gets on track the sky is the limit.

    The players are not giving up. That is clear from their play; they are still striving to get the wins even though their frustration is obvious.

    Face it, there is no place to go from here but up. If people are thinking that this team will not win another game in 2007, I would suggest a high dosage of medication. They can right the ship, and must do so in short order.

    The Chargers have to adjust, they have gone through major upheaval in the off season and are working out the kinks because of that. Many Chargers fans are now getting a taste of ‘<em>be careful what you wish for</em>' as the calls for Marty Schottenheimer's head rang loud following the loss to the patriots in January, 2007. Now many of those same fans are asking why he is gone.

    It is much too late for such thoughts. The AJ / Schottenheimer feud has played itself out. There is nothing to be gained by crying over grown men who can't get along. The Chargers, the fans find themselves in a position thee they must now focus on getting to the playoffs. Even though Smith may have let some of the air out of the tires of the ‘<em>Ferrari</em>' and perhaps the spark plugs are not as new as suggested, he has put coaches and players in place to get it fixed and running right.

    Perhaps though Chargers Head Coach Turner could use a mantra from the departed head coach:

    <strong>ONE GAME AT A TIME MEN! ONE GAME AT A TIME!</strong>
    <p id="post_message_301648">&nbsp;</p>
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