Nuts & Bolts: San Diego Chargers Update
The Chargers have dropped 4 of the last 5 games since October 28th with losses to Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Denver and Baltimore and a win against one of the NFL’s worst teams, Kansas City. San Diego is on the verge of being eliminated from the play-offs for the 3rd straight year. The Bolts are struggling on offense and QB Philip Rivers is looking more like an average quarterback, rather than an elite one. Rivers has thrown only 18 TD passes with 14 INTs this season. Although Rivers is 6’5” he often looks like Doug Flutie when he throws the ball straight into the defenders’ hands. He’s been hurried all year and doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket with the offensive line failing to protect him more times than not.
Also, both Norv Turner and Rivers never blame the receiving corps, but who’s misreading the coverage on some of these throws to an empty spot? Four years ago Rivers had 34 TD passes and 11 INTs and he was on the way to a brilliant career. Now, the general consensus is that Rivers isn’t “elite” when he’s not surrounded by offensive superstars (who are no longer playing for the team). These players include Ladainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Michael Turner and Vincent Jackson.
On both offense and defense, injuries are a concern this week against AFC opponent Cincinnati. The Bengals are 6-5 and tied for 2nd in the AFC North, 3 games behind Baltimore. The Chargers are 4-7 and are in 2nd place in a weak AFC West division. On Sunday San Diego could be without Larry English, Darrell Stuckey, Eric Weddle, Darrel Green, Dante Rosario and Eddie Royal. In addition, both Atari Bigby and Jared Gaither are done for the year. Punter Mike Scifres continues to have an outstanding season, but after being injured following blocked punts against Tampa Bay and Denver, he’s not 100% healthy. If Scifres can’t play, Kicker Nick Novak will take over punting.
Local sports talk radio reports that many San Diego fans are hoping the Chargers lose out the rest of the way and fire both coach Norv Turner and General Manager AJ Smith. Jon Gruden is still the fans’ favorite, but other names in the mix are Bill Cowher and Stanford’s David Shaw. Here’s another name: Marty Schottenheimer. The Chargers were 14-2 in Schottenheimer’s last year in 2006, but San Diego ownership chose to let him go…Schottenheimer is now 69 and says he has no desire to coach in the NFL again. How about Bolts’ Owner Dean Spanos call him anyway?