Here's what I wrote last week:
Make no mistake about it, the Chargers could be significantly better than the Tennessee Titans and it would still be surprising if they won simply because it would mean that they won back-to-back games at 10am PDT.
If you like connecting dots, you can see how the back-to-back early road games could've affected the Chargers enough that they lost the Titans game. The toll it took on their bodies meant less healthy players, and less health for the players that were actually on the field. The lack of depth showed up because the players were extra tired. Are these excuses? Maybe, but that doesn't make them totally untrue.
If the Chargers come out on Sunday looking fresh, with many of their injured starters returning to the field, I'll chalk up the Titans loss to a tough traveling schedule and continue thinking that this is the good team we keep seeing in spurts and not the bad one that keeps showing up late in games.
I went over this yesterday with a positive light. Both Tony and Philip are prolific passers, each about as good as the other one. However, they also share some of the same flaws. The most notable of which being that they each tend to force throws, leading to turnovers, when they're asked to carry the offense.
Take the running game out early, either by "accidentally" locking DeMarco Murray in a closet after warmups or by getting lower than the Dallas offensive line, and Cowboys fans (and coaches) will start biting their fingernails over the thought of Romo throwing 40+ times.
For as good as the Cowboys offense is when everything is clicking, they have a tendency to disappear or become prone to mental mistakes for entire halves (and sometimes, entire games) when they don't have the running game to rely on. Manti Te'o and Donald Butler returning to the field should make it easier for San Diego's front seven to shut down the Dallas ground game.
All New Everything
Here's what's new for the San Diego Chargers this year, compared to last year:
- General Manager
- Head Coach
- Offensive Coordinator
- Special Teams Coordinator
- Quarterbacks Coach
- Wide Receivers Coach
- Offensive Line Coach
- Secondary Coach
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Starting LT
- Starting LG
- Starting RG
- Starting RT
- Starting NT
- Starting OLB (Freeney)
- Starting ILB (Te'o)
- Starting CBs (Wright, Cox)
- Starting safety (Gilchrist)
That doesn't even take into account backups, assistant coaches, the training staff or any changes that Tom Telesco made in the scouting department since taking over.
What's my point? That much change takes some adjusting to, and teams aren't allowed to practice as much as they used to. The idea that it might take a few weeks for everyone to get on the same page with each other isn't a crazy one, and I imagine the process would look an awful lot like what we've seen so far (blown halftime leads, denied changes to the inactive list, inconsistent spurts of success, etc.).
It's certainly not time to lose hope yet. Not on the future and not on this season being a successful one. Let's all be optimistic, imagine that they're close to ironing out all of the wrinkles that come with this much change, and remember that the 2012 Denver Broncos were 1-2 after the first three weeks of last season before going 12-1 the rest of the way.