By Dave Thomas
Given how there are a sizable number of mediocre teams in the NFL in 2013, the San Diego Chargers sitting at two games below .500 may not really be in as bad a spot as some might have you think.
Heading into this season, expectations in San Diego were probably for about a .500 finish, a little better, a little worse. While certainly not the worst team this season in the league, the Chargers have clearly under performed through 10 games.
Yes, an argument can be made that this team has only been clearly outplayed in one or two games this season (Denver and most likely the Oakland game). If that is the case, then why are the Chargers not sitting a game back of both Kansas City and Denver in the AFC playoff race at 8-2 instead of five games back at 4-6?
This past Sunday’s 20-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins showed a clear display of why the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives with six games to go.
On a number of occasions, quarterback Philip Rivers was under the gun and either making errant passes, running for his life, or getting sacked. Other times, receivers were either dropping passes or not making the right cuts to the ball. Wasted in all of this was a solid performance from running back Ryan Mathews (19 carries, 127 yards rushing), including a 51-yard burst to move the ball deep into Miami territory.
Meantime, the defense certainly was not going up against the second coming of Bob Griese or Dan Marino when it came to Ryan Tannehill. Although a good young QB, the Texas A&M product is not going to make Dolphin fans soon forget about the two greatest quarterbacks to ever play for the Fins. That said, San Diego’s tackling at times looked like that of a Pop Warner team, though they did manage four sacks on the aforementioned Tannehill.
In all six losses this season, you can point to a stretch or two where the Chargers had an opportunity to win the game, yet left it there for the other team to take.
Now, does this sound familiar? Perhaps the efforts and results of recent teams in San Diego. You know, the teams coached by Norv Turner.
Along with the fact that the team in recent years was going on the wrong direction (missed playoffs three straight seasons), one of the big criticisms of Turner and Co. was that the Chargers were inconsistent and/or under performing. It was those and other feelings that eventually sent Turner packing.
To be fair to new head coach Mike McCoy, turning around a program in your first season at the helm is next to impossible.
Yes, Andy Reid is doing one heck of a job in the nation’s heartland right now with the Kansas City Chiefs, but don’t forget that Reid had more than a decade of head coaching experience under his belt when he landed at Arrowhead Stadium, including taking Philadelphia to a Super Bowl appearance.
Many people think that McCoy will get things turned around in San Diego. Others, however, are seeing the same old product on the field this season that they saw in recent years, just under the leadership of a different coach.
AFC Wild Card Standings
- N.Y. Jets 5-5
- Miami 5-5
- Pittsburgh 4-6
- Baltimore 4-6
- Cleveland 4-6
- Tennessee 4-6
- Oakland 4-6
- CHARGERS 4-6 (lost to Miami, Tennessee and Oakland)
- Buffalo 4-7
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.