I was too young to appreciate the Air Coryell days with Fouts, Alworth, Winslow, Joiner and Jefferson. I did however get to watch Stan Humphries and Natrone Means lead the Chargers to Super Bowl defeat against the juggernaut that was the 1994 49ers. I had the pleasure of then watching Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan in the Mike Riley/June Jones/Kevin Gilbride years. I vaguely remember watching John Carney kick a game winning field goal against the Chiefs in what would be their lone victory of the season. (I got blackout drunk because I was so happy after watching 11 consecutive losses.) I watched the best years of LT get wasted because Schottenheimer had no idea how to coach a playoff game. And then there was Norv. To cap it off ownership has been actively attempting to relocate to Los Angeles for over a year now.
I am a jaded fan at this point.
Welcome to the final season of Charger football in San Diego. Catch the hot
NFC AFC West action with the Los Angeles Chargers of Southern California next year at the Rose Bowl, StubHub Center (where they are almost guaranteed to sell out) the Coliseum? Angel Stadium? Dodger Stadium? Um, does CSU Dominguez Hills have a stadium?
On to this year’s iteration.
Everyone here is familiar with him. Management wants a long term deal for him but he won’t negotiate signed him to a four-year, $83.25 million contract extension that included $65 million in guaranteed money. Oh and there is a no trade clause because that apparently means something in the NFL.
If the offensive line holds up, and that is a big if, Rivers may survive to the end of that contract. But the names of King “in name only” Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Chris “No, I’m not related to JJ” Watt, Johnnie Troutman, D.J. Fluker do not inspire confidence. If they fail to protect ol’ Laserface, Kellen Clemens is next to go down. Although he’s probably more mobile than Rivers.*
Ryan Mathews was allowed to walk and surprisingly did not get hurt on his way to free agency. First round draft pick Melvin Gordon is the featured back in the offense.
The lunch pail carrier that is Danny Woodhead returns from injury to show everyone in Los Angeles
Southern California San Diego what it means to be gritty. Branden Oliver is still around. And apparently “God Dammit” Donald Brown is too. How could I forget.
Antonio Gates is suspended for 4 games. Maybe now Ladarius Green can actually be utilized after being heavily touted as a fantasy sleeper last year and I used a higher than it should have been draft pick on him. Moving on, Green has speed but beyond that he is an unknown. What he is not is a former basketball player. Did you know Antonio Gates used to play basketball? There is your daily nugget. Tell your friends.
The uninspiring WR corps: Keenan Allen (coming off collarbone injury), Malcolm Floyd (retiring at end of season), Stevie Johnson (God hates him), Jacoby Jones (is a KR), Austin Pettis (ineffective), Dontrelle Inman (Tony Dungy thinks his last name is a distraction).
*The only person less mobile than Rivers is Peyton but he’s a robot so it doesn’t count.
On the other side of the ball.
The defensive line is underwhelming. None of them pressure the quarterback and they are below average at stopping the run. Cory Liuget was signed to a contract extension after a team leading 4.5 sack performance. Four and a half!?
The starting linebackers are Melvin Ingram, Donald Butler, Manti Te’o and Jeremiah Attaochu. Ingram is going into his 4th year and trying to avoid being labeled a bust. This is how the Chargers got Butler per Pro Football Reference:
April 23, 2010: Traded by 49ers as 2010 3rd round pick (79th overall) to Chargers for 2010 3rd round pick (91st overall, NaVorro Bowman), 2010 6th round pick (173rd overall, Anthony Dixon) and 2011 4th round pick (115th overall, Kendall Hunter)
An All-Pro linebacker, a man willing to answer to the name Boobie and a mediocre backup running back. The Chargers lost on that deal.
Manti Te’o is a joke. Attao-who is listed as a starter after having 10 total tackles last year. His back up, Cordarro Law, had 9. At least Dwight Freeney isn’t there anymore.
The secondary is actually good in a bend but don’t break kind of way. Brandon Flowers re-signed and Jason Verrett showed promise last year. Eric Weddle is an All-Pro football player and beard grower.
And yet management wants nothing to do with negotiating a long term deal with him. Go figure, re-sign Liuget and Butler but let’s let the All-Pro safety hit free agency. It’s going to be like Rodney Harrison all over again. And Jahleel Addae is the other safety.
Nick Novak is competing against Josh Lambo
Scifres is still the punter.
Best names among those sure to be cut: Dreamius Smith, Eric Frohnapfel, Chas Alecxih, Chi Chi Ariguzo, Nick Dzubnar, Forrestal Hickman, Josh Lambo.
Sept 27 at Vikings: Adrian Peterson will probably set the single game rushing record.
Oct 12 vs Steelers: Gates returns to action; Green becomes obsolete again.
Nov 1 at Ravens: The Spanos’ may try to talk Bisciotti about whether he knows how to Modell a city. Also, Ray Lewis is being honored.
Nov 29 at Jaguars: Likely the last winnable game on the schedule.
Dec 20 vs Dolphins: Last Charger home game at Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers lose by double digits.
Jan 3 at Broncos: Brock Osweiler will show Denver that they are in good hands by throwing for 450 yds and 4 TDs as Pey-Pey rests for another early playoff exit
Vegas sportsbooks have the O/U at 8. If I were a gambling man (or if I make it to Vegas before the season starts), I would take the under. It’s not that I want to watch them lose. I just want the people of LA to say to the Spanos family, “Fuck off! We don’t pay to watch losers (except the Lakers).”
Enjoy Los Angeles.