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A look at this week's practice report so far reveals that, yup, the Chargers are still super injured. Here's a list of guys that have missed a day, or at least part of a practice, this week:
- King Dunlap
- Orlando Franklin
- Jacoby Jones
- Craig Mager
- Chris Watt
- Tourek Williams
- Jahleel Addae
- Ladarius Green
- Brandon Flowers
- D.J. Fluker
- Jason Verrett
Yikes. Depending on your feelings on "returner" being considered a position, but that's 9 starters out of about 26 potential positions. Or, to simplify, more than a third of the Chargers starters are still injured.
There's a chance that this Chargers roster isn't healthy enough to beat anyone in the NFL. They've certainly looked that way in each of the last two games.
I'm not so sure that there's not something wrong with the Chargers QB, and I don't (necessarily) mean his health.
Remember those last few years of Norv Turner's time as the team's head coach when Rivers seemed to get worse as time went on? It was very much like he was regressing from his time as an Pro Bowl QB.
Rivers seems to be regressing once again, although (like during Norv's final years) a lot of it can certainly be blamed on the offensive line (or lack there of) in front of him.
Think about this stat:
Philip Rivers has turned the ball over at least twice in six consecutive regular-season games. The last time that happened? 2011, right in the middle of the season. It resulted in a record of 1-5 then, and it has resulted in a record of 2-4 this time around.
It's not as if Rivers has had a great offensive line since 2011. In fact, when Ken Whisenhunt was here in 2013, the offensive line didn't have much talent, but the offense was built in a way to hide that fact and to protect the QB. Frank Reich is not doing that same thing over the last 6+ regular-season games, and Rivers is basically guaranteed to turn the ball over twice and hurt their chances to win (rather than helping it) each game.
He's in his own head as much as he's ever been. He could easily give this game away.
Not only will the San Diego Chargers players be going against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon, they will be going against their own head coach.
I know that seems crazy, but it's not untrue.
Mike McCoy does not give his team the best chance to win. In fact, he often gives them the best chance to lose. His conservative approach on 4th downs, his ridiculously bad clock management, and his overall approach all seem to be finally catching up to him. The team's talent can no longer make up for his deficiencies on game day.
This is exactly the kind of game, against an opponent with a below-average offense in a must-win scenario, where the head coach should come out and be very aggressive. There should be a ton of blitzes on defense, punting should be a last resort only on offense, and it would help if the Chargers ran some sort of no-huddle as much as possible to get the offense more plays and more chances to score points.
Of course, McCoy will do none of those things. He and Frank Reich will run Melvin Gordon on 1st down. If that doesn't work, they'll run a draw on 2nd down. If that doesn't work, they'll throw it right into the teeth of the defense (which won't have to account for a deep threat and will be going against a swiss cheese offensive line) on 3rd down. Then, everyone will look mad.
If the Chargers think that their coach will help give them an advantage to win this game, they are wrong. There is a reason that they haven't had a first quarter lead since Week 12 of last year. There's a reason that the Chargers have trailed by 9+ points in nine consecutive games. That reason is Mike McCoy, and he'll be there on the sidelines, ruining things again, against the Browns.