Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Have You Even Been Paying Attention, Nick?

Nick Canepa implores GM AJ Smith to get a deal done with Vinnie Jack or at least franchise him. Listen, Little Nicky, a franchise at this point is the only option and here's all you need to know about that.

1) VJ comes back for his first game of the season and immediately pulls up lame.

2) People instantly start to speculate that VJ might be painting himself as even more of a malcontent than AJ has claimed he is and the fear is that this will impact his value on the open market.

3) VJ catches 3 TDs and goes for over 100 yards in his next game back. The performance is certain to make his value skyrocket.

4) Everybody in San Diego screams, "Franchise tag!"

5) Vinnie Jack goes out and has a pedestrian day against the Bengals in a game the team has to win.

And that is how little VJ wants to play for AJ. So, AJ can go ahead and franchise him, but we all better be prepared to have a player guaranteed to take $10 million+ off the hands of the employers who screwed him this year and who has no desire to play for them anymore. Do you trust that player to do break his back for the Chargers next year? Would you? $10 million in pocket and a league that loves to give chance after chance to talent? The only thing VJ could do in San Diego next year to hurt his value is get injured.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Staying the Course.

Wait a minute, this course runs straight through a minefield and then off a cliff into a lake of molten lava! Norv's coming back, people. Now, this shouldn't be a surprise, but if you need answers you can check out Canepa's piece from the UT this morning. Or you can read on as I dissect it:

What Dean Spanos can do that many of his football team’s fans can’t do, is remember. It doesn’t take much for the Chargers president to recall the not-so-long-ago, when he was boss of the worst team in the NFL, when even he admits his organization lacked organization.

His short term memory is nothing to write home about, but he will never forget the mess his last egomaniacal GM got him into. Thank goodness for that!

So, when Spanos, who has been in charge of the franchise since father Alex handed him the wheel in 1994, says head coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith will return in 2011, he almost seems incredulous, amazed that he has to be asked.

Of course he's incredulous. This team's upper levels have gone to great efforts to make two things abundantly clear. That they are far more worried about financial decisions than football decisions, and that they don't care one iota what the fans think. Norv Turner's future in San Diego has only ever been in doubt throughout bars and living rooms in San Diego. This team paid the man directly after one of his greatest failures to date, why should this joke of a season change anything?

“I’ve learned the hard way,” Spanos said. “Your GM and coach have to be two individuals who work together. It’s very difficult for some teams; I’ve been through it. I like the working relationship at this level.

"You weren't there! You don't know what it was like! Mommy and daddy fighting and screaming at each other all the time. They said it was my fault! Now new mommy let's me stay up as late as I want and have cake for breakfast!"

“We’re as disappointed as anyone. But I look to 1996 to 2003, when we couldn’t even get (beyond) 8-8. We’ve turned it around, to where we’re a good team and a good organization. There’s a lot of continuity, but we’re still short.

I'm sorry, give me a minute because my head just exploded. This team is a loss away from being 8-8 for the second time since Norv got here. How is that turned around from a team that couldn't get past 8-8? Is it because the media consensus is that we're better than our shitty record indicates? Well hold onto those press clippings, because they are practically the equivalent of a Lombardi apparently.

It’s not often I can sit across from Dean Spanos and agree with much of what he has to say. I’ve had go-rounds with dad and go-rounds with son, but if he were to tear this thing up now and start all over, it just might be the biggest mistake he’s made. And he’s made a few, which he also admits (and, no, firing Marty Schottenheimer is not one of them; yes, firing Bobby Ross is).

I hate to break it to you, Nicky, but these two situations (Ross and Schotty) are nearly identical. If you're saying it's a bad idea to tear it all up now, how can you possibly say that it was a good idea to tear it up under Marty? Oh right, because Marty and AJ couldn't get along and everybody knows that a good GM/Coach relationship is essential in building a winner. That's why we're so good right now. Didn't you see our offensive and defensive rankings? Fuck the Superbowl!

But there are things to consider before ripping and slashing, given the labor unrest in the NFL. There are no guarantees there will be a season in 2011. There may be a quarter-season, a half-season, no training camp, no minicamps, no offseason workouts.

If this happens and you bring in a new coach or a new GM, with new systems and philosophies, good luck in 2011.

You mean if we bring a new coach in right now we may not be able to compete for the possible partial season that awaits us? And there it is, folks, the reason guys like Canepa make the big bucks. My feeble football brain could never see things so clearly. I would have thought that the possibility of a suspended or partial season next year makes this a perfect time to bring in new coaches and a new philosophy. You'd have plenty of time to assemble your new staff and let them evaluate the team's talent and assess their strengths. I'm a moron like that. Talent evaluation is not essential to winning. A good GM/Coach relationship is paramount to achieving football goals! Everybody in the business knows that, silly bloggers!

Smith and Turner both have made mistakes. If the Chargers get off to another bad start in 2011 — or whenever the next season begins — that it isn’t going to get fixed under Norv, enough will be enough. It’s asking too much to continually rise from the dead. This year, for many reasons, it didn’t happen, but the early season bungling has to stop.

This is it! Four slow starts is one thing, but five?! Five will mean it's time to start considering what actions the organization must take once the slow starts reach seven years in a row. Because I am always doing stupid shit, people are fond of telling me that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Normally I try to point out that this is the stupidest saying in the world and that it is not at all the definition of insanity. Since it applies here,though, I'm gonna use it because as it is well documented on this blog, I am a raging hypocrite.

Norv took over a good team and I think he’s done a good job under some trying circumstances. I hate to make excuses, but I don’t (care). It’s hard to win without players. Last year we lost six players in our opener at Oakland and Norv won 13 games. This year, I’ve never seen anything like it. I know injuries are a (bleep) excuse, but we started 2-5 and could have caved and we didn’t.

"I hate to make excuses, but here goes!" And here's a newsflash: The 2-5 start was the caving. The Raider game was a caving. Sunday was a caving. We could have caved and we did. Over and over.

Norv has not been good enough to coach this team to a championship. A.J. has not been good enough to manage this team to a championship. But I do know that, just seven years ago, it was the worst team in football.

Only seven years ago? Well, shit.

“It wasn’t coaching. Sometimes the best thing in the world is to make very few changes. There’s an image out there that Norv is my puppet..."

Because he is.

...No changes at the top. And, all things considered, that’s not a bad thing. For now.

Yeah, totally. For now it's no big deal because, you know, the seasons over for all intents and purposes. In fact, I don't really see this "staying the course" thing becoming a real problem until we start playing meaningful football games again. Then, of course, we're screwed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

Man, we are a spoiled lot out here in San Diego. All of us convinced that a climb back to the top from a 2-5 start was not only possible, but inevitable. Looking around the bar yesterday as the seconds ran out in a miserable game against a miserable team that sealed our miserable fate, the shock was tangible. Maybe it was my fault for never following through on a deal made with the Football Gods years ago, or maybe it was CJ's fault for calling this letdown before kick-off. Or just maybe the writing was on the wall. Here's what I'll remember about this disaster of a season:

The defections: Several key contributors left this past offseason. For some, like LT and Jamal Williams the time had probably come. But what about Kassim Osgood? Grand special teams contributor leaves town and the his old chums let us down early and often.

The holdouts: All year we were forced to patch together a workable receiving corps due to injury. It's hard to believe our best receiver wouldn't have helped out a bit during that early start. And it's hard to believe our QB would have spent as much time on the ground if our best offensive lineman had had his back for the first 6 games of the season.

Our smug GM: Have you ever seen someone so satisfied with themselves for "winning" a battle of wills with a player's dimwitted agents? AJ Smith created a poisonous work environment with his hardball bullshit, and the real losers here were the team on the field and the fans in the stands.

Our stingy owner: Dean Spanos saved millions on the Vincent Jackson holdout. That's good business.

Our lousy coach: Perhaps the saddest thing to come of this season is that without a total collapse there is no way our coaching situation is fixed. Norvelle started the season by claiming that this was the best Chargers team he had coached yet, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Due to his inability to make adjustments, his "They'll never see this coming" style of playcalling and his brand of all out panic (see the second Raiders game), that best team of his might finish .500 on the season. That would be his second .500 season in 4 years since taking over a 14-2 team.

They'll never see this coming: Whether it's starting a game with a tricky reverse against a team you shouldn't need a tricky reverse to beat or if it's trying to punch in a TD with Jacob Hester rather than putting the ball in the hands of one of the game's best players, Norv's silly playcalling gambits seemed to hurt us far more often than they helped us. I will, however, give him credit for that one fake punt. Or as I call it, the exception that proves the rule.

Darren Sproles: It's seems like every team has a crazy little Sprolesian scatback on their roster these days. There's Danny Woodhead. There's Dexter McCluster. The problem is, with the success of those other players, the Chargers coaching staff refuses to let go of Sproles. I'm tired of reminding everybody that he's only had 3 really good games in his career and all of them are more than a year removed. Don't ever hand him the ball. Send him on his way.

Malcolm Floyd: The man is a talent. And he's as frail as a spinster. This was your chance, Floyd. Han Solo had cleared your path by blasting Vincent Jackson into outer space and you went ahead and steered your X-Wing into the wall. Crap, that would make AJ Han Solo. I need a better analogy, but you all get the picture. Your number one receiver has to play in more than half the games.

Worthless rankings: Best offense? Best defense? Um, not if you don't win the games. Coincidentally, we are the only team to ever hold those rankings and not make the postseason. Now, that's a typical San Diego sports team dubious honor. You know, like that Padres team from several years ago that became the only team to ever have a 14 game winning streak and still finish under .500.

The NFC West: 2-2 against a division that will be lucky to have a winner with an 8-8 record? What more did we need to see to convince us that Norv's best team wasn't so good?

The Raiders: 0-2 against a team we have dominated for the better part of an entire decade? This was a team so inept over the last several years that I found myself consoling their horrible fans, only to have them return to being complete ass holes the second their team manage to notch 6 whole wins on the year. Ugh, the Raiders cannot fade back into obscurity quick enough as far as I'm concerned.

The sound the window makes when it slams shut: Those Raiders probably aren't going away. And neither are the Chiefs. With the division no longer in the bag, and the team's misguided devotion to Norv Turner, this town will never get it's Lombardi. Sorry everybody.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Leaf to Finally Tell His Story

I don't know when this news came out. It seems like I've been hearing about it for at least a couple of days, so I might as well mention it, even though that's exactly what he wants. Ryan Leaf is going to publish a trilogy of books chronicling his meteoric impact into the brick wall of infamy and, ultimately, absurdity. Let's speculate:

Book 1: His upbringing. Mommy's fat little spoiled angel. The Biff Tannen years. Those golden days. The college years, where everybody on his team hated him and his shitty attitude. His one good season. His determination to be 6'5" and fat without looking too fate lands him a $32 million pro contract with...

Book 2: ...The San Diego Chargers! The Pro Years, where everybody on his team hated him and his shitty attitude. How he managed to extend that badwill to the fans and the media. His 1 completion game in Kansas City. How no one gives him credit for saving San Diego football by getting Bobby Beathard run out of town on a rail. How he started to actually look fat. How he went on to play, Dallas? How he managed to never once put a decent stat line when even other noted fatso Jamarcus Russell managed to do that from time to time.

Book 3: Giving back. Taking young men in college and passing on his acquired wisdom. Detailing his own follies so that they might learn from him. Forcing them to hand over their pain medication. Maybe these are the Biff Tannen years? Blowing all his money and losing his cheerleader wife. Getting popped for bringing illegal prescription drugs down from America's Hat. Failing to elicit any sympathy becasue everybody hates him and his shitty attitude. Writing three books in the hopes that someone might still care enough to hand him a second chance at life or at least a handful of percocet.

Shit, I think I just talked myself into checking this trainwreck out. It's going on my Amazon wish list right next to AJ's Lord of the No-Rings Trilogy. I wonder if the crayons are included? Merry fucking Christmas to me!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unbelievable, Acee.

Let me start by getting one thing out of the way. Thank you Kevin Acee for clearing up at least some of the questions I had about how the salary cap next year in your article today. I now know that nobody knows exactly how the franchise tags will work or even if they will exist next year. So informative.

Aside from that, Acee continues to prove that he is AJ's most loyal Stormtrooper. That's right, I'm eschewing the normal Godfather or John Wayne tropes and I'm going with Vader. How ya like them apples?

Let's start here, where Acee lays out his cluelessness for the whole world to see:

"Much of the rhetoric since Jackson made his 2010 debut two weeks ago (not counting his mini-appearance at Indianapolis) has seemed to have a central theme: that Jackson has been so good that he certainly must have shown A.J. Smith his worth.

Not exactly.

Smith didn’t know that before? He has called Jackson a “great” player, been effusive in his praise for his practice habits and how hard he plays, as well as his ability to catch passes. Jackson was second in the league in yards per catch from 2008-09. His 63.6 reception percentage last season was remarkable considering the 68 passes he caught traveled an average of 14 yards in the air, most among anyone who caught more than 45 passes. He has 19 receiving touchdowns since the start of 2008 season, tied for 18th in the league while missing the first 11 games of this season. Smith knew what he had before Jackson went for 112 yards and three touchdowns on Thursday."

Who ever said that AJ didn't recognize Jackson's worth? That would be like calling him literally retarded. The issue all along has been AJ's unwillingness to reward that worth, and Acee's little point here only condemns Smith further.

Now let's focus here at the end of the article, where Acee proves that he has swallowed AJ's "The players are the greedy ones" rhetoric hook, line and sinker. Regarding what happens if Jackson is tagged:

"There is the possibility Jackson could withhold his services again. At the very least, we could be going through the will-they-trade-him drama of 2010 all over again.

But one of the league’s best receivers, a guy who is getting better still, would be under control of the Chargers.

For now, that qualifies as good news."

Yeah, that's great news for everyone. Everyone except Jackson, of course, who only wants to go out and be rewarded in the same manner as most other top performers in the league have been. Listen, people, and I can't stress this enough: Don't let the $ millions involved cloud your judgment, the players are the ones who are like you, not the owners. They are the ones who are doing the work. They are the ones whose employers have their fate in their hands. You may think the market is bloated, but the individual players are not the ones who created the market. You are. If you don't like that people in football make all that money, stop going. Stop buying their merchandise. Until then, rail against the owners who hold you hostage for ticket sales and try to steal you tax dollars so they can make more millions still. The players are the ones you pay to see, so stop being misled by the misers here. Do the players get paid too much? Probably, but the owners make far more money, and don't think for a second that any of the savings they create by withholding a value contract from players like Vincent Jackson is ever passed along to you. Only a shill like Kevin Acee should buy into that.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fox Has a Great Idea!

Music to My Ears

Fox is experimenting with adding music in between plays of games. No one knew about this because their trial run was a Frisco-Seattle game that nobody would ever have watched on purpose. I strongly suggest you watch this video clip of this new twist in the way you will experience football. It's every bit as ridiculous as it sounds.

Not only is it annoying and goofy, it does nothing to shut Joe Buck the Hell* up, so what's the point?

The Picks

I didn't do picks last week because the football pool at my work seems to have disappeared. Presumably because the person running it hasn't won a single week. That is why girls should never be in charge of anything important. Except you girls who might read this. You are all the exception, of course. Anyway, my picks would have sucked. I mean, did you see football this weekend?

Vincent Jackson Sticking Around?

So, the buzz around town is that the Chargers will in fact franchise Vincent Jackson. Which makes perfect sense. I mean, why wouldn't you franchise a guy for a year in which there won't be any football? I kid, sort of. I'd be as happy as anyone who isn't Vincent Jackson if Vincent Jackson continued to be a Charger. And it tickles me in a very inappropriate way that the team would have to hand him a check for over $10 million. I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if we franchise him and then AJ trades him to Carolina, Buffalo or some other perennial bottom feeder, just to be a dick. You know, kind of like how he asked his old pal Buddy Nix over in Buffalo to pick Merriman up off waivers this season. Seriously, you know he did that.

*Some people don't capitalize Hell, but I do. Because it's a real place. And the people at Fox who decided to add more music to the games are going there some day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Well Played, Vincent Jackson.

Gee, Frisco. Why even bother showing up? How was this team favored to win even that horrendous disvison? You know, that God awful division that we just secured a 2-2 record against on the season. Okay, okay, no need to poo poo last night's victory.

Another solid showing by the Bolts, followed I'm sure by a sweet after party throwdown at Bar West. As a younger man, I would have headed down there to party with the team. One has so few chances as the years advance to get throttled by professional athletes, after all.

Alright, I'm sorry. Enough jabs! Let's talk talking points!

Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson is back. Now that's the kind of performance that should wake up fans to the great talent we are about to lose. Once again, the airwaves and the fanwaves are clammoring for a deal to be done. And to listen to Jackson talk, one might believe the possibility exists. Not at all sorry to burst your bubble here, but Jackson is saying what Jackson is supposed to say. Every TD is another $million and every contrite statement is a promise to a future employer to be an upstanding locker room presence. Let me point something out to those of you that believe he might stay. AJ essentially fined him no less than $3+million dollars this year for having the audacity to expect the team to reward his performance. If your boss did that to you, and there were other companies out there willing to reward you handsomely for your services, would you stick around?

There is also a lot of talk about franchising VJ. This option is far more likely due only to the fact that AJ would probably get off on keeping VJ from realizing a true value contract for as long as possible. However, there are so many Chargers hurtling towards free agency at the end of this year that I find it more likely we spend that tag making somebody else's life miserable for a while. And speaking of guys on the brink of free agency...

Malcolm Floyd

Y'know Floyd, I've been singing your praises for a while now. "Malcolm Floyd has the best hands on the team..." "Malcolm Floyd is our most exciting big play receiver..." "Malcolm Floyd is every bit as good if not better than Vinny Jack..." Every time, though, the declaration is immediately followed by the same caveat. "...if he can stay healthy." Well, Floyd, you can't. Every game is important right now. If you can walk, you should be out there. But you can't walk, can you? It's getting old. I'm over you. You are glass.

Next year's receiving corps will be Crayton, Naanee, Ajiratoutou[sp? WTF?] and Washington.

Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert

It's apparent that the coaching staff has little to no faith in Ryan Mathews at this point. He didn't even see the field until the game was already in hand. Actually, I'm okay with this. Tolbert has shown enough to convince me and pretty much everyone else he deserves to be the go-to guy right now, and this is no time for experimentation. What does bother me is, as I've mentioned before, that the staff was unable to recognize Tolbert's potential before this season. Why was this guy languishing at the bottom of the depth chart while our running game sputtered the last two years? Why did we have to move up to grab Mathews when the heir apparent was warming the bench all along? Look, I still like Mathews, but we are now rapidly approaching a crossroads. When Tolbert hits free agency, he will command money from somewhere. And this team is unlikely to spend big money on two running backs again anytime soon after Tomlinson/Sproles failed to produce anything from this backfield (Call it the Ryan Leaf effect). Who's it going to be when the time comes to make a decision, Chargers?

The Playoffs

Ultimately, this regular season is going to end up one of two ways. Either A) We win the division for the fifth straight year and AJ and Norv sweep another slow start under the rug until it happens again next year, or B) We miss the playoffs, lose our best receiver and go into the offseason bitter and unsure of whether the window has closed completely. There may be some minor variations, but those are your two basic outcomes and neither one is ideal, really. Personally, I think we win the division again, and I still can't tell if that's good or bad in the long run. But hey, who doesn't like an extra game?

Oh, well. We won last night and it was pretty glorious. Let's bask in the glow of that for a while now. Talk amongst yourselves. Go Bolts!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Big Game for Bad Teams

Okay, I didn't really mean we are a bad team, but there is still no excuse for us being 7-6 and on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. And there is definitely no excuse for the fact that Frisco is 5-8 and also only a game out of contention in their pitiful division. At least when the Chargers came back from 4-8 to win their division, it looked like a bona fide miracle. The details are fuzzy, but did three other teams go down in a plane crash that year? I honestly can't remember how we pulled that off.

So how is tonight going to shake out? Ugly, is my guess. It's not supposed to be out and out raining tonight, but it's gonna be wet, and apparently that sort of thing doesn't fly with these Bolts. Remember opening night? Me neither (glug, glug).

Also, Malcolm Floyd is questionable for the 35th time in 14 games. Maybe this is my fantasy team playoffs talking, but what the effing eff, Floyd?! Your whole career? Drink a glass of milk from time to time, brother! Or are you just trying to get VJ his contract? O R you?

Speaking of VJ, he touched the ball like three times this week and an entire community that was ready to burn him at the stake because AJ yelled "Witch!," suddenly became aware of his superstar status and is calling for a stop to the insanity and a new long term contract. This is why people call you a bad sports town, San Diego. You shouldn't need a minor showing in an important game to remind you that our best receiver over the last two seasons was, well, our best receiver. And it shouldn't have reminded you of that anyway, because it was basically a pretty so so showing. Still, sign the guy. Cause that'll totally happen.

Ryan Mathews looks to get a bigger chunk of the action this week just in time for slick conditions, which should definitely be a boost for his confidence. Let's pray our fumbling issues are behind us. I'm serious, get to praying. Even you, CJ!

As I've mentioned before, the NFC West, in what is perhaps the greatest indicator that our championship window is slamming shut like [insert someone who withholds sex simile here]'s legs, is 2-1 against our Bolts. Our one win came against the Arizona Cardinals who presently stand a Grand Canyonlike 2 games back in that horribly sad division. Still, I just can't believe we lose a game like this at home. Frank Gore is out. Alex Smith is in. Perhaps most importantly, this is Frisco. Of the "Beat us to death in our only Superbowl appearance" Friscos. Maybe you've heard of them? We must forever take advantage of any opportunity to avenge that injustice, damn it! Anything less than an utter woodshedding is unacceptable! Niners 13, Bolts 31 Palindrome victory!!!

Go Bolts!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apparently, We Beat the Chiefs on Sunday. Also, Screw the Patriots!

Sunday's Dismantling of the Chiefs

I probably should have wrote something about this Chargers victory yesterday or Sunday night, but you people don't sign my paychecks. In fact, no one does. But I try to cash them every week anyway.

So, the Chargers beat up on the hapless Brodie Croyle and the "predictably bending under the pressure of trying to win their first division title in too many years to count and/or look up" Chiefs on Sunday. A must win game for us and what I would think was a must "at least show up if we want people to believe we are good enough to compete in the bigs" game for them. Well, we won. If you'd like a baseball parable, there is a solid chance that in this scenario we are the Frisco VaGiants and the Chiefs are sputtering Padres. Yeah, sure, Matt Cassel was out, but fuck that guy. I don't buy him one bit. The running game is what makes the Chiefs go around and it was non-existent against a Chargers defense that got steamrolled by the Raiders the week before. Good effort, Bolts. We may be on our way to another enormous postseason letdown after all!

My sometimes cohort, CJ, says we're going to end up losing to the Bengals in two weeks, to which I have two short replies:

1) If you have been watching the Bengals play football at all this year then you know just how ridiculous that prediction is.

B) That is a foolish prediction to make, because now if the Bengals somehow manage to beat the Chargers, I will be forced to kill you, CJ. Just a major faux pas on your part there, muchacho.

The real worry here should be this Thursday night's game against the 49ers. In case you haven't been paying attention the NFC West has been beating us up a bit this year. Well, not the Cardinals, but the real upper level squads* over there have been handling us. And don't look now, but the 49ers just hung 40 on the Seahawks. Now, for personal reasons such as the fact that I hate the fucking Seahwaks with the white hot passion of a thousands suns, I found this to be a rather charming outburst of competency from the filthy Niners. Outside of that, however, that game should stand as a warning to our team that we should probably not make a trend of assuming teams from the Bay Area cannot hand us our shit from time to time.

Oh, and here's another warning for our players. Stay the fuck away from Bar West. First off, that place is fucking awful. Secondly, it's a sad fact that this is one of the few, if not the only places in the country where the hometown football team can't go out and celebrate a victory without having some douchebag Raiders, Patriots, Niners or Jets fan trying to pick a fight with them. Seriously, stick to the few bars that actually cater to people that would beat up the other teams' fans for you. They're not easy to find, but they're out there, I promise. Hit me up in the comments if you need a list. Also, no bars with bottle service. If you are allowed to hold the bottle, the temptation is just too great.

Anyway, I like our chances on Thursday, because I have no choice and because I can't believe a team helmed by Alex Smith and without Frank Gore is capable of doing much of anything against anyone but the Seahawks. Let's keep this train a rollin' fellas.

The Damn Patriots

Now, about those Patriots. As I've mentioned before, the sports media loves it's dynasties. Makes it so much easier to be a pundit, and it's why they can never truly let go of the Cowboys and 49ers. They long for those halcyon days and they secretly pine for the end of the salary cap so they can all go back to stating the obvious and patting each other on the backs for doing so. Right now, the dynasty du jour is the Patriots. The Patriots are special because they are the only dynasty to have achieved their status during the cap era. Sure, there may have been some cheating, but they were a dynasty nonetheless. So, as they put up another solid season and manage to string together a couple of impressive blowouts it is a popular stance to crown them Kings of the World!

The Jets win is impressive. No one does that to the Jets defense and no one is likely to do it again for a long time, but stranger things have happened. As for the Jets offensive woes, it's not that hard to see what has happened there either. When Santonio Holmes returned to the line-up, the team took their extra receiver and used it to spread the field a bit for Mark Sanchez, taking away a blocker for LaDainian Tomlinson whose numbers then gradually declined to the point now where he is basically ineffective in the running game. That should be pretty obvious to any Chargers fans who are paying attention to the Jets. Shonne Green hasn't been nearly as effective in limited work as the team had hoped he'd be and could probably also benefit from an additional blocker. The offense is now, for all intents and purposes, one dimensional. This spotlights the one concern everybody had going into the season, and that is Mark Sanchez. He's a good young player-and it certainly doesn't help his cause when guys are dropping game winners against Miami in the endzone-but that's a lot of pressure to put on him. Still, I give the Pats credit for that impressive victory. Shit happens.

Now, let's talk about that other blowout victory. The Bears? Fuck the Bears! That team is a filthy lie and everybody knows it! They are not nearly as good as their record indicates and when bad teams play in the snow it just exaggerates their badness!! God, they make me sick! The Patriots are a good snow team and they picked on a bad team in the snow! No credit! Fuck the Pats! They are totally overrated! Fin.

Go Bolts!!!

*I hope you can tell I'm using sarasm when I refer to NFC West teams as upper level. In case you can't, here you go, idiot.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm the Worst

Lagged on the picks again. I did pick Thursday's game correctly straight up, but like everybody else in the world the Colts desperate attempt to continue to look bad ruined me against the spread. Here's the rest of my picks, in case you give a damn.

Cleveland @ Buffalo
Cleveland at sad Cleveland. Buffalo has given up. Cleveland still seems to think they make it into the playoffs. I want to believe! Browns 34, Bills 27

Atlanta @ Carolina
Mercy, please. This is the sort of weird division game where it wouldn't surprise me if Carolina rises up and attempts to sabotage their draft position. Except that it would surprise me into a coma! Falcons 35, Panthers 13

Green Bay @ Detroit
I go up against Aaron Rodgers in my Fantasy playoffs today. He will throw 6 TDs. 6. Fucking Detroit. I don't talk much shit about you, but if you don't keep Rodgers from throwing 6 TDs the gloves are coming off. Fuck, he's going to throw 6. Packers 42, Lions 34

Oakland @ Jax
Who exactly is Oakland? Who exactly is Jacksonville. At this point I'm totally guessing, but since the Jags burn me every single week, I'm giving MJD the nod today. Raiders 17, Jags 21

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Again, a weird division match-up that could wind up surprising you. But would it be a surprise? Pittsburgh looks beatable nearly every week, and yet they pull it off every time. Their luck has to run out, right? Not this week. Bengals 17, Steelers 20

Tampa Bay @ Washington
If their is one thing I know, it's that Mike Shanahan is a weasel-faced jag-off. I couldn't be happier with the horrible situation he finds himself in. I have no doubt he will be coaching the Los Angeles Chargers in 3 years, BTW. That's how much the Spanos' care about the fans in San Diego. Tampa feasts on shitty teams. Bucs 31, Skins 12

St. Louis @ New Orleans
I want the Rams to be good. They are the Bad News Bears of the NFL right now. Unfortunately, the Saints are really looking like the Saints right now. Rams 17, Saints 30

Seattle @ Frisco
Every time two teams in this division meet an angel gets run through a wood chipper. Seahawks 21, Niners 20

Denver @ Arizona
This game is so bad that it screams out to your children "There is no Santa Claus!" Broncos 17, Cards 16

New England @ Chicago
The weather is horrible in Chicago today. These are the games you tell yourself, as an NFL fan, that you love to see. Two hardened teams gutting it out in the elements. The truth is that this game will aggravate the shit out of you. Pats 17, Bears 10

Miami @ NY Jets
I wouldn't want to be a middling NFL contender facing the Jets after that embarrassing prison yard gang rape they suffered Monday night. Yet here you are, Dolphins. Pity. Dolphins 10, Jets 24

KC @ San Diego
Okay, we have to win them all. Losing here would end the season. Matt Cassel is out. So yeah, I'm picking us. But here's the thing. I never really bought Cassel. And two years ago, Croyle, with a lesser Chiefs team by a mile, came one miracle finish away from ending our season. You don't think he's excited for the opportunity to do it right this time? Chiefs 23, Bolts 24

Philly @ Dallas
The network could have flexed out of this game for a game with bigger playoff implications, but decided against it. I don't blame them. This could be the most fun you'll ever have watching a football game with the filthy Cowboys in it. Such is the power of the Vick. Iggles 35, Cowpokes 30

NY VaGiants @ Vikings
Snow by 1,000. Seriously, how far is Minnesota willing to go to get a new stadium or get out of town? If this game ever gets played New York should roll. VaGiants 34, Vikes 24

Baltimore @ Houston
I wouldn't want to be a middling NFL contender going up against a Ravens team that let a big game against Pittsburgh slip through their fingers Sunday night. Yet here you are, Texans. Ravens 31, Texans 14

Good? Good. Happy football. Go Bolts!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Matt Cassell Is Dead.

Well, maybe not technically dead, but he had appendix surgery yesterday, so there is a very good chance he will miss at least Sunday's game against the Chargers. Now, this isn't that big a deal to me, considering I'm not particularly high on Cassell, but he has to be better than all time 0-9 starter Brodie Croyle, doesn't he? In a must win game for the Bolts it appears that God has stepped in to try to save Norv Turner*. Man, that guy must be tremendously likable in person.

*Just kidding. Norv could lose his next 20 games and he'd still have a job. No joke, Spanos is that cheap. The only way Turner gets canned before his contract is up is if the team moves to L.A. before then. L.A. would never stand for Norv Turner.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Same Song and Dance...

One thing that will continue to flabbergast me, and by flabbergast I mean completely infuriate me in the highest degree is the inconsistent nature of this football team. Not merely in this highly yet unsurprisingly disappointing 2010 campaign, but throughout the previous five seasons this complete lack of anything consistent continues to ravage its menacing stink on the squad.

This one was simple to analyze. We, as a squad, were outplayed, out-coached, out-executed, and out sobered. Obviously, everyone involved on Sunday was looking forward to Kansas City coming to town and completely abandoned any semblance of preparation for a football game. Dominated on both sides of the ball in the trenches, the coaches failed to make anything resembling an adjustment and completely mashed the panic button abandoning the run like a Malaysian orphan when staring at what they determined to be an insurmountable fourteen point deficit on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Fuck and you coaches.

Needless to say that me laying some of this responsibility on Norv and his feeble minions would be ignoring the nude elephant in the room that without a doubt, the players were drunk. I don't mean like, ooh, these guys were obviously out drinking last night, you can see by their lack of hustle and mental lapses. This wasn't the challenge flag kicking variety, it was the real deal hammertits, cuts on the forehead from banging skull against porcelain during an intense stomach evacuation session at 3:47 a.m.. Somebody get the manager from Platinum on the phone and find out who was there and until what time. There is no other explanation except maybe mescaline. I'd buy that one too.

I was fortunate enough to be in my pick 'em pool with a solid two losses (thanks and fuck you to Miami and San Diego) rolling with the Jets in a tiebreaker on Monday night. Ha. That worked well. I was in that one for approximately eighteen seconds. But, more importantly something very telling came from that Monday night affair. No, not the Patriots are destined for the Super Bowl normal wanking motion bullshit, but something telling of the Jets. The Jets are the Chargers of the past few years. Yep. Believe it. It's there and true and smacking you in your stupid face. I know, I just blew your mind. What a classic fecal smear on the kitchen table that was.

All flatbilled optimism aside, consider the playoffs a very indistinct possibility. We have continually managed to ride the underachieving coattails of our division foes into the postseason and the possibility of Kansas City getting all gaggy on cock is remote along the lines of Sasquatch showing up to beat me at poker and car bomb races this Saturday night. I saw it on the internet once. That hairy fucker can down those things while slow playing a nut flush like it's his career.

Bottom line is that winning out is now not just optimistic drivel but imperative. So, here I'll be as pissy as ever wondering why I still allow myself to be continually let down by these guys. Guys I don't even particularly like ('cept you Gates and Marmalard, you cool). Oh well. At least we have cheerleaders.

TJ Simers is a Dick. Also, Right.

Any one who has ever read anything by L.A. Times columnist TJ Simers knows two things. He gets off on being an ass hole who thinks he's knows evrything there is to know about sports, and he reserves a special hatred for all things Chargers. In knowing that, it should come as no surprise to find out that he wrote a piece recently that pretty much spelled the end of the Chargers in San Diego. Normally, I'd just say Simers was trying to get the dander of the Chargers faithful up-and no doubt he is-but sadly, he is probably hitting pretty close to the truth. Still, fuck that guy.

That Was Hard to Watch

My God, that was a beating last night. Rex Ryan, you now know the worst possible ramifications that come from running your mouth. You may have come to New York to kick Belichek's butt, but he just fed you your balls. 45-3?! Damn.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't watch much of the game. It was out of hand early, and I haven't enjoyed watching the Patriots beat anybody in nearly 10 years because they and their fanbase are such a bunch of smug pricks. You have to give them credit, though. 45 points scored? The Jets were giving up about a third as many per game all season. 3 points allowed? Well, that's what happens when you get taken out of your game early, Jets. Just ask the Bolts.

The sports media ought to be sending Belichek a portion of their weekly pay today, seeing as they're going to have it easy this week. "The Pats are Back on Top: Belichek a Genius!" Now, if Brees can throw 6 TDs this coming Sunday, every pundit in the country can mail in their Superbowl analysis and take an early vacation. Unless Matty Ice over in Atlanta has anything to say about it. Ugh. Matty Ice. That is the worst. Whover came up with that deserves to get Face AIDS.

By the way, last night's game killed my chances at winning the office pool. Well, that game and the Lions, Titans, Chargers, Ravens and Colts losses. Otherwise, I had made reservations at the local Sizzler.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Well, Let's Talk About It.

This one's on me, people. 100%. No doubt about it, I take the blame for yesterday's loss to the Raiders. See, in jumping back on to the bandwagon, I felt it was a good time to redesign the site and make it more exciting and uplifting. Look at that sweet picture of Antonio Gates. You know he caught that ball for a big gain. Maybe even a TD. And look at the rack on that cheerleader to the right! Yes, please. Where I blew it, however, is that tag line. Let's read it together. "The playoffs are already here!" I thought it conveyed the message that the team was ready to buckle down. That each game going forward was important. A must win if you will. Imagine my surprise when I realized that obviously the actual Chargers read this blog, saw that tagline, assumed it really was the playoffs and immediately folded to the Raiders at home. Boy, do I have egg on my face. Sorry everybody. How's about some quick hits?

  • Darren Sproles is dead to me. He is no longer competent at the one thing that secures his job for this team. Do I like Darren Sproles? Eh, he's okay. I certainly don't hate him, but I've been saying to anybody who'll listen for quite some time now that the guy is too small to play running back with any regularity and has had just three really good games (two of which came against a Colts team whose defense is almost as undersized as he is). Hardly makes for a $6million resume. But hey, the guy returns kicks and that job isn't going to do itself, right? That muffed punt yesterday was a heartbreaking gateway to horrible coaching and it sealed our fate early. Time to find someone else to take the returning reins for when Tiny Darren is gone. Maybe we could give the job to Tutu. That guy had one good game and everybody already calls him a superstar. The transition would be seemless.
  • A lot of people want to rip the O line and the D line for yesterday. I'm not going to get too heavily into it, but I will ask if anyone knows which strip club all those guys were partying at Saturday night, because that place must rock.
  • Going down 14 in the first quarter should not necessarily dictate the complete abandon of the running game. But it did yesterday. Here's a little coaching 101, Norv. When you telegraph to the opposition that you have already dropped into desperate catch-up mode and will no longer be utilizing the run, be prepared for the other team's defense to pin their ears back and come after your QB. I've mentioned quite a few times on here that guys like Brady and Manning look a lot more human when they see pressure. Well, it's only fair to say that our boy Rivers is not immune either. The other problem with this is that the defense spends about 2/3 of the game on the field, and that's a lot. This is why I don't put too much of the blame onto our lines.
  • Either Kaeding is not healthy or he's is a tiny child to come up short on that 50 yarder. Either way, the coaching staff should have known about it and acted accordingly.
  • With the departure of Merriman and the decline of Kaeding, that trade of Manning for Rivers way back when is looking like a straight up trade now. I still like Rivers waaay more as a QB, but the other guy already has his ring. Oh, and Eli is playing for a winning team right now and getting it done with a bunch of injured receivers as well. Just saying. That trade originally sealed AJ as a draft genius, but it's not as lopsided as it once appeared, which leads ot the following...
  • Where was Ryan Mathews, Larry English or any other recent 1st round pick yesterday? Is AJ still a draft genius?*

Today, I've already seen and heard a bunch of people out there claiming that this was it. The season is over. Let's hold our horses, people. We're two down on the Chiefs, but we play them once, so assuming we must win out, let's call us one down with three to go. Not impossible. The Raiders own a tie-breaker after sweeping us in the regular season and right now we have an identical record. Not impossible to overcome that either. Certainly more possible than the time we made up 3 games on Denver with 4 to go. Or the time we won out our last six to take the division. Look, I hate it as much, if not more, than you do, but this is what this stupid disorganized, erratically coached, poorly run team does. I believed Oakland and KC would be better this season, but both teams are more than capable of dropping a game or two down the stretch. They are young and they haven't been here in a while. That's a stumble waiting to happen. And no team takes advantage of the mistakes of their less talented division mates than we do. So, keep the faith. This thing is far from over.

Although, seriously, if there's football next year, we really need to get our shit together. Go Bolts!!!

*The answer is no.

Friday, December 03, 2010

As For the Rest of the Weekend...

Here's where I'd be putting my money. If I had any money.

NO @ Cincy
A lot of people expect Cincinnati to step up here in the last 5 weeks and try to end the season on a high note. I am not one of those people. Saints 35, Bengals 13

Chicago @ Detroit
I think Tedi Bruschi called this a trap game for Chicago today on NFL Live. That begs the question, "What the fuck is a trap game anyway?" Has Detroit lost most of it's games this year just weaving an intricate web in which to catch the sleeping Chicago Bears? This is Detroit's Superbowl, who am I to deny them?! Bears 24, Lions 27

Frisco @ Green Bay
Now that Frank Gore is gone I hope that we can finally put to bed all this talk of Frisco pulling their shit together and winning this sorry division. Yeah, they dismantled the Cardinals, but the rest of the schedule is full of trap games! Niners 10, Packers 34

Denver @ KC
Don't look now, but this has all the trappings of a trap game! Unless, of course, KC bothers to prepare for a team that beat the ever loving shit out of them a few weeks ago. I would pick almost any other team in the league to beat KC this week due to the fact that they've got to be hearing little Bolty footsteps, but how the fuck can I ever pick Denver again? Donks 30, Chiefs 31

Cleveland @ Miami
This is getting a little ridiculous. This is obviously a trap game! With the multitude of trap games this week, I wonder if it is I who is being manipulated. What trap awaits me?! Maybe after this week we will have some idea what kind of team Miami is this season. However, I already know what kind of team the Browns are. Those guys are just having fun out there as though they are playing sandlot. They're like a whole team of Brett Favres! Except for this year's Brett Favre. That guy is not having any fun at all. Browns 28, Fins 27

Buffalo @ Minnesota
Speaking of Brett Favre...Why shouldn't the Vikings go ahead and win the rest of their games and accomplish nothing more than a half-hearted attempt to make the offseason about Brett Favre one more time? Buffalo is sad Cleveland. Bills 20, ViQueens 24

Washington @ NY VaGiants
NFC East match-ups have really lost their luster with the Cowboys and Redskins reeling so badly this year. Good. Fuck that division. Skins 16, VaGiants 27

Jax @ Tennessee
Jacksonville is the AFC's Chicago. I know for a fucking fact that both of those teams suck balls, but damn it if they're not going to get into the postseason and annoy the hell out of everybody. Tennessee gets a thousand times better with Kerry Collins. Jags 13, Titans 20

Oakland @ San Diego
Let the new 13 game winning streak begin. Raiders 17, Bolts 34

St. Louis @ Zona
I firmly believe the Rams are the Creme de la NFC West. Which is saying nothing. The turn of the century Rams would skull fuck these Rams to an early grave. Rams 18, Cards 17

Dallas @ Indy
I bet at the beginning of the year media types were jerking each other off over this match-up. Not so much now. Funny thing is, it will probably be as exciting as people thought it would be. It just won't mean shit for one of the teams. Haha, fuck you Cowboys! Cowpokes 30, Colts 33

Carolina @ Seattle
Holy Christ, if you are watching this game and your fantasy team is not littered with Hawks and Panthers then I will gladly come over to your house and drive a nail through your left nut for $500, because you are obviously a fucking batshit crazy masochist and I could use the money. Panthers 17, Seahawks 20

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
These two took their last game down to the wire, and that should tell you that division games are wild, whacky stuff. Tampa is a year away from figuring out how to beat better teams, but they are on their way. Falcons 27, Bucs 20

Pitt @ Baltimore
This is the kind of game you look at and go, "Holy shit, this is what the NFL is all about!" Admit it, you are salivating at this division rivalry between two smashmouth juggeranuts. The reality is, however, that this game will probably bore you to tears. Steelers 13, Ravens 14

NY Jets @ Patriots
Trap game if I ever saw one. For both teams. Neither one is ever going to see the other one coming. I so badly want to call for a tie here, but I just don't have the sack. Jets 23, Pats 20 (Doesn't that just look like a very Jets-Pats score?)

That it is, suckahs! Happy Weekend! Go Bolts!!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tonight's Game That I Can't Watch

Fuck you, NFL. I know you don't care about me or any other fan, but you don't have to rub my nose in it with you're stupid network that my cable provider will not carry because you are a bunch of no good extortionists. Seriously, you are more evil than my cable company. That's pretty damn evil. Anyway, the game.

Houston @ Philly
As has been mentioned here before, Houston is sporting one of the very worst pass defenses in the history of the game. That makes Rusty Smith of the Tennessee Titans quite possibly the worst QB to ever start a game. Mike Vick is not Rusty Smith. I expect Mike Vick to make fantasy football explode tonight. And why wouldn't he? A win for my fantasy football team will do nothing for me. I'm already in the postseason, with no hope of procuring a bye, so go ahead and light it up for me this week, Vick.

As for Houston? Jay Cutler, who I should not need to remind you is fucking terrible, shredded Philly for 4 TDs last week. I expect Matt Schaub to hook up with Andre Johnson for about 400 yards and 5 TDs even though Johnson shouldn't even be playing because he got in a freaking fist fight on the field last week! In his defense, he did not get in a fist fight with a QB, which is all the league really cares about. And the QB matters too. Punch Tom Brady or Drew Brees in the face and you get sent to the UFL for a year. The league probably has a money jar that goes to the guy who punches Philip Rivers in the face.

When all is said and done, I expect Houston to prove yet again how little they want to succeed at anything other than being overrated. Texans 27, Iggles 35

Enjoy the game. I'll be watching LeBron get hit in the head with a bottle.

More of the Same

Check out what Tim Sullivan in the UT wrote today about the prospect of the Chargers skipping town. Now, I've corresponded with Sullivan on a couple of occasions and the one thing I can say about the guy is that he is a true fan. He likes the Padres and the Chargers. He doesn't seem to have some special relationship with AJ, he's a pretty genuinely good guy who has a very respectable knowledge of sports. And you can tell he's a fan, because when you read this article it's apparent that Sullivan wants to believe the Chargers won't leave.

First off, he uses the old Colts comparison, saying there is no way the Chargers are packing up the trucks in the middle of the night and skipping town like Art Modell did to the city of Baltimore so many years ago. Well, Tim, I don't think anybody who's been following this situation ever believed that's how the move would go down. The team has a window during which it can negotiate with other cities every year and their payout to the city drops by millions every year they wait. If they make a deal with L.A. it probably won't happen until this next offseason or the one after that. And then they have to actually wait until they have a place to move into before they bail. So no, they aren't leaving tonight or tomorrow, but the wheels are in motion merely with the mention of a deal with AEG. Haven't you ever heard that where there is smoke, there is fire?

Then he quotes media sources in L.A. as saying it's unlikely that the town could come together and approve a facility for the Chargers anytime soon. But Sam Farmer's article in the L.A. Times doesn't claim the Chargers won't move there. Again, it only claims that it won't be today or even tomorrow, but sometime down the road. As far as the people being unlikely to come together and approve of a Chargers facility, the facilities proposed in L.A. have all been classified as multi-purpose, meaning they could house anything from football games to Olympic events. That might be more appealing to the people of L.A.

The truth is, though, this isn't about what the citizens want. The NFL doesn't care about the fans, they only care about getting a team in one of the nation's largest advertising markets as soon as possible. The television revenue an L.A. team would deliver to the league is enough to make me believe that if all else fails the NFL could step in and put money down for and L.A. stadium themselves, and if that ever happens look for the City of San Diego to be the scapegoat.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Harrison & Harrison

Earlier this season James Harrison of the Steelers had a crybaby hissy fit and threatened to take his ball and go home because the NFL fined him for trying to decapitate opposing players. In general, I agree with him that the NFL is full of shit when it comes to the way they police defensive players for doing their jobs, but I thought it was kind of a wuss move to threaten to quit. What does James Harrison make annually compared to the meager fines the NFL doles out in order to keep up their charade anyway? The interesting thing here, though, is that Harrison has had several more fines levied against him since then and it's starting to look like he's been targeted for discipline. As a San Diego fan, I can say it's probably getting close to time for the Steelers to cut ties with Harrison, for both of their sakes.

One move that longtime Charger fans will always go back to is when the team cut ties with Rodney Harrison, claiming that the fan favorite was a descending talent. As everybody knows, Rodney went on to enjoy several more productive years with the New England Patriots. What many people seem to have forgotten is that Harrison pretty much became a marked man after he levelled Jerry Rice in the endzone during a game. The hit looked worse than it was and was arguably legal, but from that point forward Harrison couldn't so much as breath on a receiver over the middle without drawing a penalty and/or fine. That was his bread and butter. The Chargers had very little choice but to let Harrison go. It took joining up with the lily white league darling Patriots (remember that this was before Spygate) to get Rodney out of the doghouse, and it's starting to feel like Pittsburgh's Harrison will need a similar makeover if he wants to survive in today's mushy NFL. It'll be a bitter pill for the rough and tumble Steeler fanbase to swallow, but swallow it they must if the flags and fines keep flying.

Sorry, Chargers Fans

This deal with AEG in L.A. is happeneing. It may seem like the beginning, but it will in fact be the final straw for the San Diego Chargers. It's no wonder if you are taken by surprise by this. I mean, look at the way the news is reported in this town. Look at this headline, then read the article and tell me where it says the team denies anything. Nowhere. This team and it's newspaper have no respect for the passion or intelligence of the Chargers fans in San Diego. Heck, they may even be justified in underestimating us, but what chance do we have when the organization has never once been straight with us and has ordered it's lackeys at the local paper to spin the truth at every turn? I'm sorry if this kind of thing ruins your day; I just thought you all should know. Let's just try and enjoy the season at hand.

Update: Here's another article from the UT. The reporter opens by saying that rumors the Chargers were selling a controlling share of the team were batted down by a Chargers spokesman. No one who's been paying attention believes the Spanos family would ever do this! But the team and the UT would have you believe this is some sort of blow against those of us who believe the team will leave. This is more spin and misdirection by the UT on behalf of the Chargers. Nowhere in this article does the reporter ever try to refute the original claims that the Chargers will give up somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% of the team, which is all the convincing I'd need that the team intends to move. Not that I needed convincing.