Week 16 Rants And Ramblings

I’ve seen enough I don’t want to see any more.

I can’t believe I’m referencing one of my least favorite Springsteen songs.  I know I swore to only talk about tomorrow’s game, but I almost threw up when I read Kevin Acee’s latest column about Dean Spanos reconsidering Norv’s fate based on what happens in Detroit.  I would never root for the Bolts to lose, but how can I feel good about them winning if it keeps Norv with us.  It’s a matter of public record that I never wanted Norv, but I also admitted that I didn’t see any way he would be fired by ownership.  But I saw a Norvless future for 2012, and it looked bright and glorious.  It’s ironic that I refer to the Spanoses as ownership since they don’t appear to take ownership of anything.  Dean saw the crowd during the win Sunday Night and thought that Norv was the reason?  Maybe they were cheering because it took until mid-December to beat a quality team and turn in a complete performance.  Did you ever think THAT was partly Norv’s doing, Deano?

I blame the Spanoses for making me feel like a win tomorrow might not be a good thing for the future.  If Denver and the Jets win and the Chargers defy our expectations and don’t pack it in, does Norv get to stay?  If so, how can that be good?  I guess if you believe that after 5 seasons he is the coach who can get this team over the hump it is.  But what evidence have you seen that he is that guy?

I know that the Spanoses only really talk to the Union-Tribune, which is why people project their rage onto Acee.  However, I believe they also use him as a back channel to leak stuff in order to gauge people’s reactions.  People won’t take this lying down and will burn their season ticket applications if they need to hear that hoarse mush-mouthed voice try to explain how another game got away next season.  That’s why I mentioned the “Fire Millen” movement.  Those guys got the Ford family to listen and they are even more clueless and stubborn then our owners.  I used to joke that if I wasn’t a Chargers fan, I would have become a Lions fan during their Danielson and Sims period.  I’d be a huge Chris Spielman fan and would still wear his jersey.  But once they got wise after their 0-16 season, they became an upcoming group that clearly was too forward-thinking for my tastes or experience.

That’s all of my venting for now.  However, I do also blame the Spanoses for my quoting “Cover Me” with the title of this week’s post.  So, how do the Chargers win tomorrow?  The Lions are in a “win and they’re in” scenario in front of their home crowd.  We certainly haven’t looked good in loud stadiums this year.  Maybe without Marcus McNeill the offensive line won’t penalize themselves to death.  I just found out that Detroit can still make the playoffs even if they lose.  They just need to beat Green Bay in a game that may mean nothing to the Packers.  Nonetheless, they will be very fired up tomorrow.  I assume the Bolts will too, although I wonder how the early results will affect them.  Vincent Jackson is due to disappear for a big game like this and he is already banged up.  Floyd, who is always one hit away from the injured reserve list, doesn’t fare well when he doesn’t have the attention and coverage diverted to the #1 guy.  I really hope Norval doesn’t come right out with the “chuck and suck” offense.

I find the “Moving The Chains” show on Sirius to be a little hokey and self-important, but I heard Pat Kirwin make an interesting point a few days ago in reference to (who else?) Tim Teabag.  He pointed out that there is a difference between throwing 40 times a game because you want to and because you have to.  When Norv took over, he stressed that in order for this team to get to the “next level,” which after Marty Schottenheimer was out of the first round and off our own field, we needed stronger play from our quarterback.  When we were losing 6-0 at the half of the only playoff game we’ve won in the last 17 years that wasn’t against the Colts, Rivers stepped up.  Remember how Tennessee was daring us to beat them through the air?  They had a right to.  That December game in Nashville included some great throws, but it was still LT that won it.  Gates was cheap-shotted and the long ball to Jackson and Chambers led to 17 points.  But since that season, we began throwing more and more.  But people forget that “Air Coryell” played off of the running and pass catching of Muncie and Brooks.  Dan Fouts could throw exclusively at times, but I don’t know that Rivers can.  In 2009, we tried to establish a running game all year.  The 4th quarter of the Dallas game was the closest we got.  Of course, that was running with the lead in order to salt away a win.  As has been pointed out, the Bolts solution when they are down is to get away from the run.

detroit-lions-fan-fire-millenI know there were some, Kevin Acee among them, who felt that we should have thrown more in our last playoff game.  There is something to be said for knowing your strengths and not trying to be something that you’re not.  However, I think that the idea of using a rested (for the first playoff since his MVP year) LT was sound.  But the execution was not.  He couldn’t hit the corner and/or the holes weren’t there.  LT and AJ have difference opinions on that.  But I believe that we need to be patient with the run.  However, that doesn’t mean running Mathews up the gut and Tolbert east and west when their strengths are to do exactly the opposite.  Detroit has a strong front 7, but to allow them to pin their ears back and come after Rivers constantly is foolish.  I point this out because I sadly don’t think that it’s beyond Norv to do this.  Cris Collinsworth was exalting Turner’s playcalling (not motivating skills, ability to limit his players’ mistakes or in-game adjustments, mind you) for having McMichael chip at the line on Sunday Night.  What a brilliant stroke to create a favorable matchup, Collinsworth said.  Apparently, Norv just shrugged it off and said we do that all the time.  So we were just lucky, I guess.

This team needs to attack the Lions.  That doesn’t mean they have to throw all the time.  They can be aggressive simply by keeping the defense on their heels a little bit.  Yes, I have watched virtually every single snap of Charger football since I was old enough to sneak into bars to watch them via satellite in 1992.  But if I know what play is coming, wouldn’t it make sense that the opposition does too?  Mathews needs space, whether it’s on the edge on a run or on a screen.  Of course, he needs to hold onto the ball too.  Tolbert, when he’s not putting the ball on the ground as he did in Foxboro, can be effective as a counter/health preserver to Mathews.  But when it was Tolbert and then Mathews, it clearly wasn’t benefitting us overall.  How will these guys hold up tomorrow? I have no fucking idea.

pornstacheAs for the defense, it’s a similar mystery.  Joe Flacco, with his gay porn star moustache, seemed to just wait for our guys to sack him.  Weddle, the only guy who could really claim a Pro Bowl season (doesn’t mean we didn’t overpay a bit), saved a touchdown by streaking across the field.  Jammer looks more and more exposed each week and Cason is still a liability.  So how will these guys stop Johnson, Burleson, Pettigrew and Scheffler?  I don’t know, but I still remember Scheffler dancing around when Denver beat us on Monday Night Football and dropped us to 2-3.  It was great that Liuget got his first sack, but it’s sad when the Bolts’ official site releases an article that we are “happy” with him.  It’s sort of like Kevin Acee saying to Mike Florio that Dean Spanos sees this as the “golden age” of Charger football because he remembers the 1997-2003 period.  Any wonder that the other teams who have won as many if not more than the Chargers since 2004 all have Lombardi Trophies?

Greg Manusky has been suspect ever since he let New England waltz down the field at the end of the half in September.  Detroit doesn’t have much of a running game, but they do use a lot of quick slants instead.  I saw in the U-T that the defense has used “Lurch” to prepare for Johnson.  If Steve Gregory starts getting toasted, I guess we can wheel that thing out on the field.  I also see that nfl.com has picked up on Acee’s pandering and restated that Norv can live another season with a win.  “Great News For Norv,” Bleacher Report states.  Yeah, but shitty news for us.  Anyway, I am a little worried about Nick Novak holding up with a pressure kick if it’s close.  He did pull a Kris Brown and hit the post on Sunday.  Normally, I would say it doesn’t matter until January.  However, this could very well be this team’s January if things don’t shake out.

Merry Christmas, by the way.  The pic at the top of the page is of course from Kentucky Fried Movie.  But the line that is echoing through my head right now comes from The Shining.  Shelly Duvall asking Jack if she can take a few minutes to think things over reminds me of Dean Spanos right now. 

You’ve had your whole fucking life to think things over. What good’s a few minutes more going to do you now?”

More wins, less Norv.


About Ross Warner

ROSS WARNER is a forty-five 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.