If you didn’t know, the San Diego Chargers put Vincent Jackson on the Roster Exempt List on purpose. It was not the mistake some would have you believe it is.
I am amazed by how many of the sports gossip columnists are writing absolute junk about how the San Diego Chargers need to expeditiously trade Jackson now that his so called team suspension has been reduced from three games to one game if Jackson is traded to another team by Wednesday.
I don’t want to rule out that a team will offer a deal to Chargers general manager AJ Smith’s liking by Wednesday, but there is no urgency on San Diego’s part to make that deal happen. In other words, it better be good.
Let me try my hands at an analogy. I was recently trying to reduce the amount of stuff in my garage, so I put a lot of the items on Craigslist. I repeatedly received the question, “what’s the least you will take for this item.”
I wasn’t desperate to sell, so the answer was either:
a) What did I list it for? ….moron (you know me), or
b) Nah buddy, you make me a deal and if it’s to my liking then I’ll accept it. If not, I’ll see you later.
I was not a highly motivated seller and neither are the Chargers.
Jackson and his camp still must ask the Chargers for permission to negotiate with individual teams, the Bolts still won’t tell them what they’ll accept for Jackson, and they are still the Chargers, which means they’ll want to come out as the winners of any trade they didn’t initiate.
Several things need to happen in order for teams to become desperate:
- the team must believe that they are close to a Super Bowl and Jackson will put them over the top,
- the coach or general manager’s job is on the line, and
- in some cases, pressure from the fans and media
The main ingredients in desperation are time and urgency. The Chargers will need to bide their time for teams to become desperate and urgent.
They need time for a fringe contender to establish themselves at 3-2. They need time for a team’s star receiver to get injured. They need time for a coach’s hot seat to heat up. They need time for fans to become angry.
Once any of those things happen and gossip sports columnists start racing to put their name out there with pot stirring news, the flame fanning will become wildfires rather quickly and now we have desperation. To compound matters, they usually all happen at once.
If the Chargers ignore Jackson’s victory and stick to their guns, they could have more suitors willing to give up more compensation in week five when teams are a lot more prone to desperation than they are now.
Otherwise, Mr. V-Jax, his agents, and his new team better make the Chargers one hell of a deal before Wednesday.
The 2010 season is upon us and the Minnesota Vikings predictably fell to the New Orleans Saints.
What is not predictable, however, is whether the Chargers will perform well against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.
Under Norv Turner, the Chargers have gone 2-1 on opening day, but in terms of performing up to expectations they’ve gone 0-3.
It’s been a 2-3 start for San Diego every year under Norv, but the Chargers have finished a combined 21-0 to end those three potentially disastrous seasons, winning the AFC West title in all three seasons and frustrating the perennially second place Denver Broncos (and the Bronco Nation) in the process.
In 2007, coming off of a 14-2 season under former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, the Chargers were supposed to blow away the competition. They opened the season against the defending NFC Champion Chicago Bears.
Off season smack talk centered around a LaDainian Tomlinson Nike commercial had both teams fired up. In what turned out to be a foreshadowing of the first month of the season, the Charger offense could barely get out of it’s own way.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson was completely ineffective, rushing to the tune of 25 yards on 17 carries, but he dazzled the Bears with both a rushing and passing touchdown.
It was only dazzling due to the fact that the bad Rex Grossman-led Bears were lucky to end the game with the 3 points they did.
This game set NFL offenses back nine decades.
In 2008, the Chargers suffered through a rebuilding year as their two cornerstones, defensive tackle Jamal Williams and Tomlinson began to show their age. The NFL kings of stopping the run and running the ball were dethroned by younger players on other teams and the Chargers win/loss record suffered as a result.
To open the 2008 season, the Chargers welcomed the supposedly overmatched Carolina Panthers who proceeded to march up and down the Qualcomm turf like the 1999 St. Louis Rams in the first half.
Carolina dominated the first half time of possession battle. Well, that’s if you call the Dream Team verses Angola a battle.
All Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman attempted to play through torn ligaments, which seemed to make no sense to anyone but himself. He was injured and out for the season early. As was the case with the Chargers in those days, no Shawne Merriman, no defense.
Hot off of his stunning playoff performance the year before, Rivers continued to flourish as he made several amazing plays to come back from a 19-10 deficit to lead the Chargers to a 24-19 lead, forcing Jake Delhomme (in the swan song of his career) to lead the Panthers to a TD on the final possession.
Delhomme channelled his inner Joe Montana as he tossed the game winning touchdown pass to that perennial All Pro tight end Dante Rosario as time expired, robbing Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson of a game winning touchdown of his own.
In 2009, the Chargers returned to Oakland for a Monday Night showdown with the Raiders for the second time in four years. The assumption was that the Chargers would hand out another beating to the Raider Nation.
However, the Nation had other plans. The Bolts suffered a verbal beatdown from the Black Hole and a physical beat down from the Raiders on the field.
The shockingly hard hitting Raiders injured five Charger starters.
The sluggish Chargers run defense was once again a non-factor to open the season as Raider running backs repeatedly high stepped down the field untouched. However, they continued to shoot themselves in the foot by allowing JaMarcus Russell to throw the ball on running downs.
The gift from the Raiders coaching staff allowed the Chargers to adjust their game plan and the Raiders offense began to sputter.
While the Raiders never ran more than a play or two on the Chargers side of the field in the second half, the desperate Raiders went for it on 4th and 15 from their own 42 yard line.
Forty-eight yards later Louis Murphy was celebrating what the Nation contends should have been his second touchdown of the game to give the Raiders a 20-17 lead with just over two minutes to go.
Too much time for Philip Rivers and company.
In what has become a formality in close games against Oakland, Philip Rivers marched the Chargers 89 yards with running back Darren Sproles capping off the drive with a surprise draw play for the game winning touchdown.
In 2010, for the sixth straight year, the Chargers will play a supposedly inferior opponent and once again that opponent brings an unquestionably superior rushing attack.
The Charger defense has been very slow to come to the table in the last two seasons. Especially against the run. If it happens again, the upstart Chiefs will be looking to take advantage of the situation.
The only season opener under Norv Turner in which the Charger defense has come to play was against the Chicago Bears and that was an absolute grudge match against what was thought to be the elite team of the NFC.
In the Chiefs, the Chargers find themselves facing an opponent that they outscored 80-21 in two games last season and the games weren’t as close as the score indicates.
There is no motivation for the Chargers to come out of the gate with fire.
There is no Marty Schottenheimer soliloquy so elegantly and passionately recited to put a jolt in the bolt either.
Not so for Kansas City.
The Chiefs are playing the four time defending AFC West Champions at a newly remodeled, sold out home stadium with a young fiery team that ended a horrendous 2009 season by dominating the rival Denver Broncos.
Knocking the Broncos out of the playoffs in the process.
They will be ready for the Bolts. Recent history tells us that the Bolts will not be ready for the Chiefs.
The first half is a potential trouble spot for San Diego.
The Chargers have not gone to halftime with the lead on opening day since the days of Schottenheimer, but they have not been outscored in the second half during that time period either.
The Kansas City rushing attack may catch the Chargers defense out of position in the first quarter, but I expect the Chargers to begin controlling the game midway through the second quarter.
The upcoming preseason game between the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys should have a very interesting first half.
The Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews will be looking to impress the home crowd once again at the expense at the Cowboy defense.
Mathews may be surprised to find that the Cowboys defense is not only very similar to the Chargers’ bunch, but they are very familiar with the Chargers’ offense since the Cowboys run the exact same system as the Bolts on both offense and defense.
I will be looking for Mathews to continue to show off his impressive balance, speed, agility, and power. With the dark visor, he was looking like a young LaDainian Tomlinson against the Chicago Bears.
The Chargers swarming defense looked like the wrecking crew of old against the Bears. They racked up six thunderous sacks, caused turnovers, and wreaked havoc on the potentially disastrous Bears offense (meaning don’t get overly excited about the dominance).
I will be closely watching this game to see if Tony Romo fares any better than the Bears quarterbacks. While linebacker Antwan Applewhite should continue to declare war on the backfield while working his way back from major injury, Shawne Merriman will likely miss the game due to a minor hamstring injury.
A lot of “experts” are overlooking the rebuilt Charger defensive line, but the Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t. They should be well aware of young lions like Vaughn Martin and Ogemdi Nwagbuo. Their development could be the difference between a solid defense and one that smashes opposing offenses.
Rookie defensive tackle Cam Thomas will be put to the test in the first half against the Dallas starters, who should play about a half. The Chargers coaching staff kept Thomas on the bench for the first half last week and he proceeded to dominate guys who will be working at Dominoes soon. Now he’ll get his test against the big dogs of the NFC East. I will be looking to see how he fares this week.
With the recent news that Vincent Jackson has had discussions with the Seattle Seahawks about a potential trade, Charger fans, players, and coaches will be taking a hard look at the other wide receivers. There is no receiver in the league with V-Jax’ combination of speed, size, and power, so the Chargers offense will have to change if Jackson is no longer a part of it (and it will probably need to change for the better).
Anyone who has objectively looked at receiver Craig “Buster” Davis when he’s been on the field knows he looks like the best player out there when he has the ball in his hand. He has some sort of superstar swagger that could be something like a dagger through the hearts of opposing defenses. The only problem is Davis is usually injured within a play or two of his first couple of catches. I don’t just want, but I need to see Davis make it through this game healthy.