It's just the same old movie
Been playing here for years
I could use a change of scenery
But when I get there I'm still here
Yes, I'm actually quoting Bob Weir's "Bombs Away." That's also where I got the title of this week's post. It's cheesy, but not all that bad. The same could be said for the "Bombs Away" Nike poster I had in my room during my childhood. I put up a video clip of a '78 solo performance with Lazy Lightning->Supplication preceding it and you can download the whole show here.
Anyway, it's Rosh Hashanah and I'm here thinking and writing about the Chargers. The basic manuscript for Drunk On Sunday is finished, although I'm sure it will need revising. The summer is officially over and the season begins tonight. Obviously, I wish nothing but bad things for Denver but they have Shaun Phillips so maybe that will take care of itself. Over the past two months, I've bumped to a few people who saw a sticker, hat or shirt that identified me as a Charger fan and tried to strike up a conversation. My wife makes fun of me because every time I meet someone who claims to have an interest in the Bolts, I am immediately suspicious. "Why wouldn't you be happy that someone shares you weird interest," she asks? That's because most of the time they aren't really Charger fans. They go on about Air Coryell and then tell me that they went on to be Steelers fans or go back to rooting for the Jets or Giants. At the Black Crowes show last month, a guy spotted me in a Jerry shirt and Charger hat and exclaimed "You like the Bolts AND the Dead?" It was in the middle of an awesome jam, so I just mentioned this site. Yes, there are more of us, I added. But I am yet to hear from this guy. Honestly, those that are truly among The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt are usually known to the Justice Leaguers already.
But every now and then, new believers unearth themselves. I'm sure old names will pop up in the comments section on Monday and some new ones will join in the conversation throughout the year. I still can't believe that we're only 4 1/2 point underdogs. I know it would be at least a touchdown if the game was on Planet Houston (Superman II). But the way people are talking (or not talking) about the Chargers, you'd think we were the worst team in the NFL. I haven't looked at the last preseason game yet, but I'm not sure that it will really tell us much. I know that everyone is talking about our lack of depth. From '06-'08, we were not only considered the most talented (because we never did anything in January) team, but one of the deepest squads. AJ Smith was always big on adding guys to the second and thirs teams. It doesn't justify the money he paid Jyles Tucker based on the regular season finale in Oakland in 2007, however. But as the starters he signed got injured or cut, the guys behind them got worse. Then Kevin Acee could tell us how Travis LaBoy "was never meant to be a starter anyway." Yet Acee keeps trying to act like the fans are impulsive idiots who needlessly hate on Quentin Jammer or Bee Sting Head Clary.
Obviously, Denver will be good but the love for Peyton Manning is reaching pre-dick text Brett Favre levels at this point. I didn’t watch any of the game, but followed it on Twitter. I started watching LaDainian’s “Football Life” documentary on NFL Network, but it got a little tough. Seeing Brees up there talking about how the two of them dreamed about bringing a title to San Diego just made me feel shitty. I will eventually watch the rest of it, although I don’t think I will view the Jet years. As I wrote extensively after his retirement in “Why I Couldn’t Shut The Door On LaDainian,” he was one of the few players who made me believe in greatness. I was so proud to have him on our team that I could never accept him leaving, especially for the team in my own backyard. Although I was happy to read that he picked Ryan Mathews for his fantasy team.
You know I’ve got football on the brain when I can’t even see a cameo from JJ Watt on “The League” without getting pissed. Then again, I’m sure no one reading this would react any differently. I hope I’m not deluding myself, but I still hold out hope that we can make the playoffs this season. My biggest fear right now is that Rivers won’t be to blame this time and the line and lack of weapons will fully doom us. Thus far, I’ve been pretty public that he deserves a good chunk of the blame. I’ve also been pretty outspoken that 2010 wasn’t as stellar a season as people claim. Of course, it’s the last season Rivers put halfway decent numbers and with the explosion of fantasy football, stats are a bigger deal now than ever. Like the Chargers themselves, each year we slip lower and the past (where we couldn’t actually get over the hump) looks better.
Of course, I’m worried about the pass protection. I really like what I’ve seen from DJ Fluker. I like his enthusiasm and ability to move people off the line on running plays. All the knocks on him coming out of college seemed to center around his pass blocking. “He’s huge, his footwork needs improvement, etc.” I only know of King Dunlap what Eagles fans have said about him and it’s not good. I would liken him to Clary, but it sounds like Dunlap wasn’t always seen as giving his all in Philly. The scary thing is that Ol’ Bee Sting Head Clary is clearly getting the most out of his ability. The problem is that there isn’t that much of it.
But at least Richard Goodman got the ax. Rivers needs all the help he can get so starting at the 15-yard line didn’t seem like such a good idea each series. Spurlock took back two kicks for scores last year in such a short time, while Goodman was still living off that one kick in a meaningless game at Oakland. Of course, it wasn’t so meaningless to Dean Spanos since he made us all live through another Norv/AJ year because of it.
I’m assuming at this point that Te’o isn’t playing Monday and I can’t say I’m all that torn up about it. All we’ve heard thus far is about his amazing summer, but it’s still just hearsay. At this point, his walking boot is as played out a story as his fake girlfriend. Of course, when I see headlines like Will Larry English’s Health Pay Off? (Union-Tribune), I’m not exactly brimming with optimism either. I don’t give a shit how many sacks Shaun Phillips gets for Denver. He’s a selfish douche and we’re better off without him.
I know I’ve always said that I would rather Spanos rebuild the team than continue to make the same mistakes with the same guys. Everyone says that a “rebuild” like ours will take a couple of years to bear fruit. But I wasn’t happy when we were 4-12 in 2003 and I won’t be happy with another season that ends before the playoffs. However, deep down I do understand the concept of taking a step back before you can go forward. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last time this team took a step forward.
Floyd, Royal, Brown and Tutu are not the worst group of receivers to go into a season with. I can’t say I blame Telesco for cutting Meachem loose regardless of what he does back in New Orleans. It wasn’t as if he was banished to the bench simply for dropping that pass in Clevleand. I’m sure he was given every opportunity in practice to beat out the scrubs. Even if his body isn’t “broken down,” as Know It All Acee suggests, I have to trust our talent evaluators. If they were that far off on this assessment then we’ve got bigger problems than Robert Meachem.
I’m less worried about our offensive on Monday Night than our defense. Then again, that could be because I’m used to worrying about the defense. Butler, Liuget and Reyes could be AJ Smith’s final strokes of drafting genius. But I see Houston’s running game and Andre Johnson and I get concerned. Cox and Wright have to be an upgrade from Jammer and Cason. If our cornerbacks are going to get burned, then at least they’ll be different cornerbacks.
I see today that Rivers has restructured his contract, allegedly to free up more money to sign Donald Butler long term. Of course, Boltheads have been wondering for years why Rivers wasn't asked to restructure his deal since every other highly-paid signalcaller already did. The truth is that he was never asked to. Acee suggested this summer that the Chargers never did because it would require them to add more years to Rivers' deal. This, of course, led to the "make or break" theory making the rounds.
You might have noticed on Twitter (even though I can't get the module to your right to show my Tweets any more) that I finally sent Acee a message that I'm tired of him treating the fans like knee-jerk simpletons. While he responded at first with the same type of quip I was describing, he did eventually suggest that he wasn't intending to alienate his readership. This was after I said that I writer needed to hear from his audience. I ended by mentioning his professed love of Kelly Taylor in 90201 which I remembered from one of the U-T roundtables. I'll post a screenshot next week if you can't see it on Twitter.
My wife asked me last week when we went out to dinner for our 10-year anniversary if I was psyched for the opener. I, of course, went on for about ten minutes and said a lot of the same things that I’ve written here. By the time I was finished, she looked like she wanted to off herself as if she was sitting next Ted Striker on a plane to Chicago or a lunar shuttle. That’s when I knew I needed to get back here inside the Halls Of Justice. I really think we can win Monday, but I wouldn’t be able to tune in without that belief. But as the once-wise Robert Hall Weir sung,
I need more than a trade in
Guess I'll have to change the world
That's all until Monday. Bolt Up, Protect The Dream, One Charge, and whatever the hell else you want to throw in there.
And it's still the same old movie
And I've seen it all before
Guess one more run through won't undo me
Hell, I'll just watch the show some more