Before I begin with the optimism, I'd just like to send a small note to the NFL scheduling committee. The next time you'd like to screw the Chargers this hard with the scheduling, at least have the courtesy to buy the team dinner first. Having three divisional games in a row, especially when two of those teams are coming off byes, is beyond ridiculous. Then you end the three-game divisional stretch by sending the Chargers to Denver to face the Broncos on a Thursday night?
Out of all the scheduling straws that the Chargers could've pulled, the straw ended up being beyond minuscule.
But what's done is done and now the Chargers sit at 5-3 heading into their last game before their bye. With two consecutive losses both coming at the hands of rivals, many Chargers fans have sunk into panic mode stemming from the Norv Turner dark ages.
But the fans need to take a collective deep breath, and step back from a state of depression into one of cautious optimism. Though Chargers fans might reference past pains as justification for their reaction, there are a few reasons why this Chargers team is not like the ones of prior disappointments.
The Current Chargers Have Overachieved
Take a look at the number of starters and key contributors that are currently on the injury report:
- Jeromey Clary, Melvin Ingram, Nick Hardwick, Danny Woodhead, and Kwame Geathers are all on injured reserve (with Ingram being designated-to-return).
- Ryan Mathews, Manti Te'o, Jeremiah Attaochu, and Donald Brown have been out for weeks.
- Jason Verrett, Jahleel Addae, and Brandon Flowers have all been limping week-to-week.
That is an incredible number of starters and productive players to not have on the field every single week.
The offensive line is playing with a band of misfit toys and an undrafted rookie starting at running back. RICHARD MARSHALL STILL SAW THE FIELD (he was released this week, thank heavens.)
With all those lost pieces and the adversity, it is remarkable that the Chargers still stand at two games over .500; an incredible feat and illustrates the brilliance of the current coaching staff. Not to mention, Rivers has been playing brilliantly with only the illusion of protection.
Instead of being disappointed that the Bolts have dropped the last two games, fans should be ecstatic that this rag-tag group mustered up a 5-3 record.
The Chargers Have Time To Recover
The Thursday night game against the Broncos may have been a blessing disguised as a curse.
Yes, it is incredibly difficult to play back-to-back divisional opponents on a shortened week, but the Chargers now have those extra days to recover before facing the Dolphins, then they get an even longer break with the bye week following. The Chargers play just one game in a 23-day span.
Flowers will have some more time to nurse his concussion. Jahleel Addae will have extra time to heal from his
stinger concussion. And Ryan Mathews should have sufficient time to get back into the flow of the offense. With the injury bug plaguing the Chargers, the upcoming bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
Though these two reasons may be too few for some Chargers fans, for most it should give a feeling of optimism for weeks to come. The Chargers are currently tattered and bruised. This lightening in the schedule will give this team the ability to recuperate, and hopefully the Chargers will dispatch the Dolphins, heal up, and come out fresh against the Raiders.