Friday, September 21, 2007

Week 4.... and the Charger's New Mascot?

The maddening saga that is UCLA football continues Saturday at the Rose Bowl against the resurgent Washington Huskies. They followed up a 10-win season in ’05 with a 7-6 record last year. And in a two-game microcosm of head coach Karl Dorrell’s tenure, they stunned USC, knocking the Trojans out of BCS title contention in the last game of the regular season and then capitalized on that momentum by laying an egg against Florida State, 44-27 in the Emerald Bowl. This year’s team, chock full of returning starters, got out to a 2-0 start and then got destroyed by Utah last week, 44-6. UCLA is actually favored by 6-1/2 points… we’re not even going to touch this one. Yeah, we will. Take Washington and the points.

… and speaking of maddening inconsistency… Michigan St. (3-0) travels to Notre Dame (0-3) and is giving the Irish 13 points. Proving the popular perception of this squad, were this team to wear any other name on the front of its jersey than “Michigan State”, the line against the Irish would be 17-18 points.

We like the ol’ Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks getting 16-1/2 pts. at LSU. LSU will win but Darth Visor will keep it close.

We really like Georgia Tech giving 3 on the road to Virginia and we think Oregon will cover the 16-1/2 to Stanford at the Farm.

And now a few words about our Chargers…. How to put this politely….? They’re not a very smart team. Spanning the end of last season and the beginning of this, they’ve sandwiched a win against the Bears between a playoff and regular season loss to the Patriots and those 3 games have revealed the character and nature of this team. If they are called upon to simply line-up opposite a team and sock them in the grill as they were against another physical team in the Bears, the Chargers are going to win. If they are called upon, though, to use their heads against a savvy, veteran team like the Pats, they are going to lose.

One of the Randy Moss touchdowns in the 1st half was perfectly illustrative of this. In fact, the play, a simple skinny post that is a seam route against the Charger’s cover-2 zone has, by our count, been run at least 4 or 5 times now this season (including the preseason) against the Chargers first unit defensive backfield resulting in either touchdowns or long gains. And in every instance immediately after the play both the Charger safety (either Marlon McCree or Clinton Hart) and the cornerback (Quentin Jammer) whip their heads around to look at each other with the “I thought you had him” look on their faces. Every time… every…. single…. time. At what point do they figure this out? Short of that, at what point do the coaches who are now equally culpable figure out that the secondary is mentally incapable of playing zone and just start playing man-to-man?

We’re only 2 games into the season and its certainly too early to hit the panic button but this lack of smarts is an inherent flaw of the Chargers and its an immutable fact that dumb teams don’t win championships in the NFL.


B-Daddy said...

After the Chargers stopped Green Bay at the one foot line in the fourth quarter, the CBS announcers quoted Norv Turner as saying how the Chargers just needed to play "somewhat smart" to win the game today. So I guess Norv (yawn) was listening to you, but maybe not. Needing only one more first down to salt away a come from behind victory, they fail to get it to LT or Antonio Gates on 3rd down. Then the safety is out of position on the subsequent Favre touchdown throw. Smart? Not.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. All of my friends are worried about this charger season. So i have been doing my best to calm down our fellow chargers fans by telling them its way to early in the season to be worried.

Dean said...

Anon, It is indeed a long season but these disturbing trends are ones that don't appear to be ones that can be solved overnight. LT, Gates, Merriman and Phillips... these are your play-makers. Let them make them. Thanks for your support of the site.