The Morning Report
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Last week after the loss to Green Bay, I went onto the Bolttalk web site and counseled patience and calm. Most of the people on the board we’re ready to fire the entire staff and start over from scratch. I said that it is time to reflect and to cool off. We had come off the toughest three-game stretch any team in the NFL had, we had shown great improvement in the Green Bay game, and that firing the coaches and staff would not help. I said it was no time to panic.
Guess what? It’s time to panic. Not only that, Head Coach Norv Turner and Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell are now on notice that their jobs are on the line.
Let me add that when I talk about Turner and Cottrell, those are the only two coaches I talk about. The vast majority of their assistant coordinators and coaches (e.g. James Lofton, Hal Hunter, John Ramsdell, Ron Rivera and Bill Bradley) are not to blame. By and large, they are some of the best at their jobs. Nor is Offensive Coordinator Clarence Shelmon, he is not running the offense nor calling the plays, Turner is.
Every single fan and media person who lives and works in San Diego was sold a bag of lies when Norv Turner took over as head coach. We all saw his record, we all saw his horrid teams in Washington and Oakland. But we all bought the AJ Smith line “he has never had this much talent.” So we overlooked the most obvious of facts right in front of our face.
Ted Cottrell was Wade Phillips defensive coordinator in Buffalo. Wonderful, but that was from 1999-2001. Since then he had been the defensive coordinator for the Vikings and Jets, and had been absolutely atrocious in both those jobs. He had been working for over a year in the NFL’s front office. But we looked past his obviously poor record and said he would be acceptable because he sounded good and worked with Wade Phillips.
Charger fans, we were suckered so badly that I feel like a Bugs Bunny cartoon where my head has been replaced by lollipop with the words “SUCKER” on it. This team, for the third week, played an uninspired, unprepared and poorly executed game plan. And for the second week in a row, the Chargers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. And Charger fans are screaming for blood from Turner, Cottrell and AJ Smith.
Maybe this will look better tomorrow morning but tonight, I do not know what else to say. The Chargers are on a very fast downward spiral.
Five Things I Think After the Game
II. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that the fans at the end of this game would be chanting for Marty Schottenheimer, I would have laughed it off. I’m not anymore. I don’t believe Marty is a viable coach or a good one without outstanding coordinators but Marty’s teams were prepared and did not play as poorly as the Chargers have.
III. One positive out of this game (besides LT); Nate Kaeding. He had a 3-for-3 day including one from 51 yards out. That does stand out and does deserve to be recognized.
IV. Shawne Merriman had a good day with 7 tackles and a sack. The truth of the matter is he’s not at 100 percent, heck I’d be surprised if he was at 50%. Merriman had a shoulder and arm injury throughout the off-season and training camp, which cut into his ability to lift weights and condition. Yet just by being who and what he is, he is still feared and is still able to contribute impressively.
V. Who in the world do you blame for poor tackling? You want to blame the players but they knew how to tackle in college (for the rookies) and last year (for the veterans). You want to blame the coaches but do you really need to run tackle drills for professionals? If somebody knows, email me. This feels like a “the chicken and the egg” problem; which comes first?
— LOREN CASUTO