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Monday

ACSlaterThus far, the Chargers season is a lot like last year’s.  I pointed this out already in my Bleacher Report piece.  Look, I don’t claim to have the answers for this most maddening of teams.  But they still do things that any observer can see are stupid.  My buddy Mike is one of the few people whose football knowledge (present company excluded) I have come to really respect.  Even as a Jet fan, he had these words after last year’s loss in the Meadowlands:

Yeah, I think both teams are mediocre at best; the difference is Turner got outcoached again.  They came out for the second half and didn’t even try to run more on the Jets.  The Jets just flooded the middle of the field and took away what Rivers likes to do – at that point Turner has to make an adjustment, but of course he is not capable of making those adjustments, he is the worst coach in football.  Teams have been running over the Jets and David Harris (best run stopper) was out for most of the second half.  I totally understand your frustration, Turner must, must be fired.  

Now compare that to the e-mail he sent me after the loss in New Orleans:

I’m not sure what is worse, having Mark Sanchez at QB or Norv turner as coach.  I know I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but he is the absolute worst game coach ever.  The Chargers were in control but every time the opponent makes an adjustment, it takes Turner forever to react.  The Saints lose a cornerback, do the Chargers attack, no, not at all.  Do they play action after being effective running the ball, no.  Do they take out guys that are obviously hurt, no.  Yes, the Chargers got jobbed by the refs last night, but I truly believe I could be a better in game coach…I can’t believe both Sanchez and Turner still have jobs, embarrassing…

These aren’t just the words of an amazing friend trying to console me.  These are observations that reaffirm what we have all been saying.  I know Troy Aikman was Tweeting during the first half on Sunday Night that Norv is the best play caller in football.  “It’s not even close,” he said.  If that was the case, why did he throw on 3rd and 2 when the Saints clearly couldn’t stop the run?  I am sure Novak looked good in warmups and all, but Norval was once again outsmarting himself.  Rivers apparently checked out of a run at the goal line according to Jim Trotter, who interviewed him for the SI profile that ran this week.

But there was no excuse for ignoring Mathews in the second half.  This week, people are already speculating that he’ll continue to forget about Mathews against Denver.  We all remember that it was last year’s Denver game that Norval didn’t even know Mathews was out of the game at one point.

I have no problem with the way Mathews has been handled to this point.  It’s not as if Charger fans have been front runners by calling out Mathews.  His fumbles have single handedly been that destructive.  Of course, we could argue that Rivers, Cason and Kaeding have all lost games by their own actions as well.  But Sunday Night it became clear that Ryan Mathews was taking over the game.

When he pulled that Gary Anderson move, I literally started laughing.  I was so loud that I woke my daughter up.  However, it was that cathartic to see him score in that fashion.

But, of course, the Chargers shat all over that.  I know all about the bad calls.  Antonio Gates was hit with a bullshit pass interference last year on Halloween that nullfied a touchdown.  But the Bolts could have won that game and we all remember how and why they didn’t.

The Chargers have no resiliency right now.  As soon as the Ingram hit canceled out the pick six, we all worried that the Bolts wouldn’t be able to recover.  That’s fucking pathetic.  My buddy Tom Twomey texted me that “Frankstein Footed Philip” hadn’t yet fumbled.  Of course, Tom assumed that he would and he did.  Eric Stangel emailed me that Rivers hadn’t yet thrown his killer interception and of course our QB soon obliged.

Floyd was interfered on that play.  There’s no doubt.  But Rivers had a shot to lead his team into the end zone and couldn’t do it.  Were there shitty calls on that drive as well?  Absolutely.  But until he can lead this team as he once did, alll the things people said about the Chargers this week will continute to be true.  Nothing will suffice other than a win.  If they lose, the AFC West will once again look like an awful division that the Bolts can’t even control.

I know I’m not telling anything you didn’t already know, FAITHFUL READER.  But I think we are all desperately looking for some evidence that this year will be different from year’s past.  Just when it looked like they might be learning from the past, they cowered under the pressure on Sunday.  What’s that Einstein quote, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw Norv’s Monday comments that he would have run more if they had taken a 17-point lead like they did in Kansas City?  Isn’t that what adjustments are supposed to be for?  What was Dean claiming that Norv needed help with?  Was it just clock management, because that sucked too.  Is it just Rivers’ immobility that makes our hurry up offense slower than me trying to get two kids into the car?  Is it a lack of urgency?  It’s like being the mom of Tommy, the protagonist of The Who’s second best rock opera.  I’m a Quadrophenia guy, obviously.

What is happening in his head
Ooooh I wish I knew, I wish I knew.

It’s more like the lyrics to “The Punk Meets The Godfather,” from the aforementioned 1973 double album:

I have to be careful not to preach
I can’t pretend that I can teach,
And yet Ive lived your future out
By pounding stages like a clown.

If the Chargers actually let Mathews show his stuff tomorrow night and he fumbles or gets hurt again, I guess that would at least constitute something different.  Or would it?

Oh well, you can’t be half a Charger.  And you can’t be half a Charger fan.  Talk to you tomorrow night.

JIC,

RLW

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About Ross Warner

ROSS WARNER is a forty-three year old freelancer whose credits include Sports Illustrated OnLine and Blitz as well as numerous articles on his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Blah, Blah, Blah. Yeah, I was on WNEW FM the morning after the Chargers made the Super Bowl. Having returned from Pittsburgh only hours before, there I was at half-court at Madison Square Garden in my #12 jersey and wiping my sweat with a "Terrible Towel." When asked about the future for the newly-crowned AFC Champs, I simply uttered "justice is coming." Like so many others, I first took notice of the Chargers during the "Air Coryell" period of the late 1970s. But as Dan Fouts gave way to Ed Luther, Mark Hermann, Babe Laufenberg, Jim McMahon, David Archer, Mark Vlasic, Billy Joe Tolliver and John Freisz my fanaticism turned to obsession. When Stan Humphries resurrected the franchise in 1992, I began calling the Chargers organization to share my plan to get the team into the Super Bowl. This began the stormy rapport with the Chargers' Public Relations staff which reached a boiling point at a 1996 "team spirit" luncheon when I demanded that guard Eric Moten explain his propensity for holding penalties. It was then I realized I needed my own forum. Founded in 1995, Justice Is Coming is precisely that. To decide whether this site is for you, ask yourself these questions: Do you think of Johnny Unitas as an ex-Charger? Are your three children named JJ, Kellen and Wes, with one of them being a girl? Do you think that Rolf Benirschke got a raw deal on the daytime "Wheel of Fortune?" Can you remember where you were on December 3, 1984 when Bobby Duckworth fumbled the ball attempting to spike it on "Monday Night Football?" Does Al Davis, a dark alley and a lead pipe mean anything to you? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then you, too, believe that Justice Is Coming. This is a weekly look at the San Diego Chargers through the eyes of someone who spends most of his time thinking about the Bolts so you don't have to. But being a Chargers fan is not an obligation, although it sometimes feels like it. So I offer you this "alternative perspective." All the football, film and music collides in the centrifuge that is my brain and this newsletter is the result.

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