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Three Bad Things From The Bears Game

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And a miserable season continues as the Bolts keep losing. Even to bad teams. On national TV. At home.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Being Able To Repeat Myself

I could pick out a few subjects that have made the 3 Bad Things list over the Bolts first 9 games and list them again right here, because we saw them again Monday Night.  The fact that we are still seeing stuff from this team that have been identified as problems 60 days ago, is yet one more damming indictment of the poor performance of Charger Management.  We have several options here, but none of them are good:

  • The coaches have been unable to identify the team's problems, or
  • The coaches do not know how to fix the situations identified as problems, or
  • The coaches cannot effectively communicate the proper fixes to the players, or
  • The players are not responding to coaching communication, or
  • The players are just not good enough to implement the correct fixes, properly communicated to them, which they are willing to implement.

I suspect that it is a combination of all of the above.  All but the last situation is on McCoy and the rest of the coaching staff.  And about the last situation...

If there is a deficiency in talent and ability, that is on the GM and the front office.  The only remaining players on this team from the former regime are ones that have been retained (often at top dollar) by the current GM.  I have already speculated that the current coaching staff is unable or unwilling to coach the team they have, but instead are coaching with the team they WISHED they had.  Of course, it could be that the GM, coaches, and most of the players just don't care and they are taking their cue for that from the very top of the organization.

Since the ownership is silent in this bye week about making the type of changes that have already been done in Miami and Tennessee, it is obvious that the Spanos family just does not care about the quality of the product they are putting on the field.  The fact that I can repeat myself in these columns is a fairly good indicator that the root cause for this organization's trouble is a deep seated dysfunction.  If the Chargers were a person, I would suspect that they need an exorcism, an enema, and some intensive psychological therapy administered simultaneously.

Scifres' End

For years, the Bolts have been able to depend on Mike Scifres giving them a significant edge in the field position battle.  That time looks like it has reached its end.  Far from being a player that helps the Bolts win the "hidden yardage" battle, Scifres is now an actual liability.  "Tex, you're exaggerating!"  Really?  OK, buddy, which team is dead last in the NFL for yards per punt?  That would be your San Diego Chargers.  So, unless you have seen somebody other than Mike Scifres punting, he is the worst "leg" kicker in the NFL.  (I did not take the time to examine the Net Yards per Punt when I wrote this article.)

The league average per punt is 45.5 yards.  The Chargers average yards per punt is 42.7.  With 36 punts so far this season, that means the Bolts have left 100.8 yards of field position out there this season, or 11.2 yards in every game.  That is just slightly more than a first down.  I would suggest to you that while the special teams have not committed the spectacular fails that cost the team so dearly in 2010, these special teams units may be just as bad as those units in their own "special" way.  The Bolts average starting field position is the 20.56-yard line (last in the league).  The opposition's average start is the 32.29-yard line (next to last in the league).

Gone are the days of Scifres winning games by pinning the other team inside the 5 (like the Oakland game last season).  I miss those days already.

Playing Soft

The Bears 4th round selection in the April draft was Jeremy Langford out of Michigan State.  He was off the radar for most teams, not sought after, but the Bears apparently saw something they liked and took him off the board.  In his first crack at being "the guy" he probably could not have asked for a better situation.  18 carries, 72 yards, and a TD made for decent night for the rookie...  It was the last play though that made my blood boil watching the game.

As the Bears took the lead 20-19, they (of course) went for two.  That would make the Bolts have to score a TD to win and keep OT as the outcome on a successful FG.  (We know at this point that the worry was unwarranted.)  As the Bears lined up for the conversion, Jay Cutler (on an apparent audible) checked out of whatever was called into a run right up the gut.  It was successful.  In a goal line defense, the most basic running play in football got the 3 yards it had to and the defense could not stop it.

That is playing soft and it just capped off a night of soft play by the team.   Indeed, that play capped off what has been a season of cream-puffery from a team that has in the past made noises about "imposing its will" and playing "physical" football.  More rubbish from a coaching staff that seems to be able to produce little more than clichés and sound bites as hollow as an unfilled cream puff.