Welcome To Mike and Tommy’s Summer Camp

Yeah, I know the shirt’s a little aggressive, but so am I.  I don’t even hate Phish so much as I just appreciated the football fan mentality applied to supposedly peace-loving music.  This Thursday would have been Jerry Garcia’s 71st birthday and kicks off the weeklong celebration that ends on the anniversary of his passing.  I prefer “Jerry Week” to “The Days Between,” however.  But I also preferred “Super Shark” to “Sharknado.”  I’ve seen the Stones, Furthur, Phil Lesh & Friends already this summer and will hit the Sunshine Daydream movie I mentioned the last time out on the 1st.  I’m finishing out Jerry Week in style with the Black Crowes & Derek Trucks on the 9th.  What does any of this mean to you, FAITHFUL READER?  That I’m getting all this live music out of my system and am ready for the season.  But check out the Ridley Scott-produced Springsteen and I when it comes out DVD if you’re so inclined.  Even if you don’t like Bruce, you’ll definitely identify with what it means to be a crazy fan.

I’ve also been busy at work at completing Drunk On Sunday, my first book.  Who knows, maybe I can get Stan Humphries to give a quote for the book jacket than says something other than “this guy scares the fuck out of me.”  The stories that don’t make it in to the finished manuscript will be left for the sequel.  I actually had to break the window of my car to get my keys after the car broke down before the Stones show.  I was in Harlem at the time.  After getting a rental, we somehow made through traffic for a great show.  Here’s a highlight:

Since we last talked, Ryan Mathews was rumored to have been arrested, exonerated and then declared the possibility of him being a “Top Five Back” this season.

I hate spending so much time on a guy that has disappointed so much.  But there’s no question that we need to improve on the ground.  I am as critical of Philip Rivers as anyone, but one thing that doesn’t get mentioned enough is our inability to run the ball during his decline.  If we had been able to pound the ball a little, can you imagine what the 2009 team might have accomplished?

So Mathews didn’t get arrested and is lighter for camp.  He claims he’s going to just “do his thing” this year.   Acee also revealed that Mathews goes out a lot.  I don’t give a shit about that, as long as you produce on the field.  The reason I threw up a little in my mouth after reading Shaun Phillips’ tweeted apology for a bad practice in Denver was the stupid shit he between the lines in San Diego.  I mean, Rivers never goes out and it hasn’t seemed to help his performance a bit.  His interview with LT, was interesting by the way.  I liked that McCoy had LaDainian talk to the team before their first practice.  After Tomlinson’s retirement, he talked about Mathews needing to improve.  The biggest benefit to LT taking the Chargers up on their offer for him to play this year would have been his leadership.  I don’t if working for NFL Network forces LaDainian to be more objective, but I hope he has some effect on Mathews.  No matter how LT feels about his years with the Jets, I am sure he has some serious regrets about the squandered opportunities in the ’04, ’06 and ’09 playoffs with the Bolts.

Between Brandon Taylor, Melvin Ingram and now Jonas Mouton, I think we can safely say that AJ Smith really lost his drafting touch in San Diego.  Ingram may still pan out, but we will have to wait another year to find out.  I know he's on the PUP list and that he could play in Week 15 against Denver.  I just don't want to delude myself.  Then again, Aaron Hayden came off the PUP list in 1995 and I still think he should have seen more action in the Wild Card game and beyond.

Robert Meachem can’t be as bad as he’s been, can he?  CBS’ Clark Judge claims to have inside information that Meachem won’t be a factor this year even if his guaranteed salary (another aspect of AJ’s legacy) keeps him on the roster.  I know McCoy is trying to get Rivers to throw more high percentage passes, but guys will need to run better routes and do more with the ball when they get it.  For all over Rivers' gambles, there were a million dump offs that went nowhere.  Obviously, Mathews has been as bad picking up blitzes and getting open for screens as has been previously reported. 

There were stories that DJ Fluker was having a hard time fitting in but now that he's both met Richard Simmons and taught Manti Te'o how to swim, I feel far more confident.  Seriously, I am hearing that he's really getting people fired up in a way not seen from a rookie since Merriman.  Did you read that Merriman is lobbying Atlanta to sign him?  The one thing I give the Union-Tribune credit for is that every time they run a story on Merriman they use the photo of him all swollen after our last playoff loss.  Sometimes people wonder why I constantly bring up our playoff pratfalls since they're so painful.  Haven't the last three seasons, where it seemed like they didn't learn from those mistakes, been even more painful?

I am actually pretty optimistic this season.  But I read today that King Dunlap looks to be the favorite for the LT position.  Is Max Starks that washed up?  I know Philly fans are rough, but there's no way everything they say about Dunlap is that far off.  Freeney got his number from Cam Thomas who got it from Castillo.  If the Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla, I wonder if we are still giving money to Castillo.  Vance Johnson got a check during the 1994 season even though he was released.  But that was a year I didn't mind seeing us dish out some extra cash.

I can't believe when I read Power Rankings that have us 26th, but maybe it's a good thing.  We know how things turned out when we were ranked at the top.  Anyway, that's all for now.  I'll start posting weekly when preseason begins.  Until that, I'll start wrapping up the book and enjoying Jerry Week.  For those that are interested, you can download the heart of the 8/1/73 second set here.  You can also get the entire Veneta 1972 show from the upcoming movie here.  There should be a CD/DVD release shortly.  In closing, here's a scorching '83 tune with a 1978 photo:








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.