By Dave Thomas

While the San Diego Chargers enter this Sunday’s matchup with Tampa Bay in Florida with a record of 4-4, there is already talk of what will happen should the Bolts fail for the third straight season to make the playoffs.

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(Credit, Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

As many Charger fans knew coming into this season, head coach Norv Turner and general manager AJ Smith were on a tight leash. Essentially, the mantra is not only make the playoffs, but at least win one round or very likely one or both will hit the road after the holidays.

Heading into this weekend, the Bolts sit one game out of first place in the AFC West (Denver 5-3) and one game ahead of rival Oakland (3-5), with Kansas City a non-factor this season.

So, while San Diego is certainly in the playoff hunt, there is also a good chance that just the AFC winner will go to the playoffs, though parody in the conference this season could lead to two teams coming out of the division come January.

What Are Options For Possible Change in San Diego?

In the event San Diego falls short of the playoffs, what scenarios would you approve of? Some of which could include:

  • Turner getting fired;
  • Smith getting fired;
  • Turner and Smith getting fired;
  • Changes at both the head coach and GM level, along with dumping several current players.

As for that last option, which players would you say have under-performed most during their time in San Diego and could potentially be on their way out of a Chargers uniform after this season?

  • Quentin Jammer?
  • Antoine Cason?
  • Larry English?
  • Ryan Mathews?
  • Robert Meachem?
  • Ronnie Brown?
  • Philip Rivers?

The last name is one that most San Diego fans would never expect to be headed out of town, especially given the huge contract extension Rivers signed back in the summer of 2009 (6-year, $92 million dollar deal, about $38 million of which is guaranteed).

After setting a career-high in 2011 with 20 interceptions, Rivers already has 10 through eight games this season against 12 TD passes.

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While anything is possible, it is highly unlikely Chargers would try to send Rivers somewhere, especially if his touchdown to interception ratio does not do a 180 over the second half of the season.

As for Jammer and Cason, how many times this season and in past years have you heard Charger fans complain about the play of these two in the secondary?

In some cases, they come up with the big play, while other times they look like they are playing their first-ever NFL game, getting left as toast on the field.

Lastly, Mathews still has not lived up to his high draft pick status three years ago, and many Charger fans hold their breath each and every time he touches the ball.

Sporting 12 fumbles in his time running the ball for San Diego, Mathews has not solidified a ground game that has not clicked regularly since the prime days of one LaDainian Tomlinson. Unless the Chargers come up with a sound running game, the pressure is always going to be on Rivers to move the offense through the air.

With the second half of the season beginning Sunday in Tampa Bay, Charger fans can only hope that the Bolts have more in them than they did the first half of the season.

If they don’t, look for some changes to welcome in the New Year.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.

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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on