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The Acee Report: Week 8

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, and the fine city of San Diego, fills in for Darren Smith and speaks with U-T columnist Kevin Acee following the Chargers' bye week.

I want your skulls. I need your skulls. Misfits? No. OK.
I want your skulls. I need your skulls. Misfits? No. OK.
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

With Darren Smith off in Paris communing with hippies at Jim Morrison's grave, Lee Jenkins took the reigns for the show's weekly spot with U-T columnist Kevin Acee.

One would think that there wouldn't be much to talk about coming off a bye week but if one were to think that . . . one would most definitely be a moron. On the heels of the PR nightmare known as "Chill Pills" and allegations of sticky handed cheating where would the two men begin?

Let's take a look.

Following a similar format to last time, I'll give you the question (from Lee Jenkins) in block quotes followed by a bullet point summation from Kevin Acee. I will then provide my not-so-expert analysis on the topic.

Sticky Towels

Is this serious? How much concern do you think there is over this (Stickum) at Charger Park?

  • There's not really any concern.
  • Journalists get lied to frequently, both publicly and privately, but KA doesn't think there's anything to it.
  • They have way bigger problems right now and they involve what happened during the last two games.

AJM's Analysis: It doesn't sound like an issue now. In many ways it's like when people called into question whether or not Barack Obama was even born in the United States. Maybe that's not a good example.

How Fragile Are Our Psyches?

Besides playoff losses, does anything compare to the last week, or is this the worst?

  • This is the low point of shame in a confined period of time. Superbowl losses and playoff losses are terrible but in terms of humiliation this has to be the lowest point.
  • It is low, not so much for the players though. Their issue is that they allowed 35 unanswered points.
  • They've got a glass jaw and they have to fix it. That's the players concern right now.

AJM's Analysis: Other notables with Glass Jaws: Eric Lindros coming down center ice and Jake Peavy in a playoff game. I really liked both of those guys. And their glass jaws.

Vaya Con Dios, Nate Kaeding

Reports were last week that Kaeding was getting better. Why do you let him go now?

  • The choice was Nick Novak.There's a differing of opinion -- factions within the Chargers.
  • Nate Kaeding is the most accurate in league history but he's had some "lousy" games in the post-season.
  • He couldn't have kicked this week against Cleveland. He might have been ready in 2 weeks but they can't keep going with two kickers. They need the roster spot.

AJM's Analysis: The last Chargers game I attended was on January 17th, 2010. Thus endeth my analysis.

Do you think it was the right call or is this a John Carney situation all over again?

  • KA doesn't think it was the right call.
  • KA has a lot of confidence in Nate Kaeding. Lousy in some playoff situations but he's also had some good games. For a team that needs to get back to the playoffs, Nate Kaeding's my man.
  • Nick Novak is a great story. And I don't think this was a bad move but I thought Nate Kaeding was the guy.

AJM's Analysis: Nick Novak is a good story. Nick Novak is like Homeland on Sunday nights. I love Sunday nights. They have a habit of erasing my dreadful Sunday afternoons.

The Injury Front

Gaither and Shareece Wright practiced today. Do you think they'll both play in Cleveland?

  • Yes to Gaither.
  • Shareece Wright, not positive, but it is my understanding that he'd be ready after the bye. he'll play and this will shake things up. He was supposed to be the starting nickle-back. He's gonna push Marcus Gilchrist and eventually Antoine Cason. Maybe Gilchrist moves over and begins to push Cason.

AJM's Analysis: Both of these pieces of news make me happy. I'm easy. Easy like Sunday morning evening after Homeland.

Will The Chargers Recover After What They Did To The Bed Last Week?

It's been a week since the debacle. They're pros. Do you think it's ancient history at this point in their minds or do you think it's one of those losses that can linger?

  • The bye week was a good thing. A lot of the guys, including Philip Rivers felt like they needed to get away. Philip needs a win as much as anyone.
  • They have a lot veterans: the type of guys that can move off of this.
  • The Chargers found out last year that 2 games can become 3, 3 can become 4, and so on and so forth. They know they need to get a win. This season could easily topple under its own weight.

AJM's Analysis: The Browns are terrible. If this continues to snowball I will fly to Cleveland on BFTB's dime and set Lake Erie on FIRE! Assuming it isn't already burning.

What Will Sapnos Do . . .

What in your mind constitutes "turning it around"? Is there a number? It must be a massive difference between 8-8 and 10-6 or are we gonna be left in the same limbo as last year?

  • "If the Chargers don't make the playoffs there will be no limbo."
  • Dean Spanos is at the point after 6 games this year that he was at after 10 games last year. Spanos is ready to make a move.
  • If they make it to the playoffs with a 10 win season and get a win however, Dean Spanos will find every reason to keep Norv Turner. If they make the playoffs he keeps his job. And the majority of fans will be unhappy with that.

AJM's Analysis: Haha. I just wanted to type "Sapnos". Fire him!

A Change In Philip Rivers?

You've covered Philip for a long time. He's probably one of the best guys to deal with in our business. Has there been any change in him? He's in the prime of his career right now and it's not going going quite like he expected. What's he like now as opposed to three years ago?

  • I don't see how it can be any better than Philip Rivers.
  • But does he shut it down a little bit quicker? Is he around the locker room less when it's open to the media? Are his press conferences as forthcoming? No they're not. He doesn't like losing and he doesn't like answering the same questions.
  • On the field: He's not the same guy at certain times and those times are becoming more frequent. His line has been an issue. The pressure gets to him. And his mechanics look like they're off.
  • He's not playing elite right now but I won't be surprised if we're talking about this in the past tense in 6 weeks.

AJM's Analysis: I want that last bullet point to be true almost as much as I desire a fissure in the Earth beneath the San Francisco Giants' locker room tonight. Alright, I want them equally.

The AFC Playoff Picture

The AFC is a mess right now. Everybody has 3 losses or more except for Houston. The schedule is still pretty favorable. What do you think? Are they a playoff team?

  • I'm going to say yes. Norv Turner, the veterans, and Philip Rivers will get them at least 9 wins. 9-7 should get you a Wildcard in this year's AFC.
  • Win your AFC games and hope you match up well head-to-head.

AJM Analysis: The AFC does suck. Personally, I have no problem with sucking, making the playoffs, and then winning it all. We could be like the St. Louis Cardinals. Or The New York football Giants.

Beyond Chill Pills and Stickum

What do you think is the biggest one [problem] they need to solve right now?

  • Tangibles: Offensive line. Give Philip more time for the offense to develop. And give him more confidence too.
  • Intangibles: Finish. A. Game.

AJM's Analysis: Finish! A! Game! I am more emphatic than Kevin Acee. It's all in the punctuation.


May your/our Sunday be filled with a Chargers win and a phenomenal follow-up to last week's thrilling episode of Homeland.

Kudos to Marty Caswell for continuing to bring in top notch guest hosts as Darren visits far flung places wearing only a beret and the three day stank of an absinthe bender.