These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Relegation (Last Week: Not Ranked). Sure, bringing relegation to major American professional sports is totally unrealistic (especially football). And yes, scarf-wearing soccer bros can be annoying, especially when cribbing purely European customs (really “Real Salt Lake?”) … BUT, relegation has its merits. It would give fans of crappy teams a reason to watch. And just think of how the nepotism-drenched Chargers front office would finally be forced toward something resembling real motivation. That is, if the Spanoses wanted to keep those first-division NFL checks coming (and you know they do). Forced to move down, this ownership would either get serious or soon be in the NFL’s version of League Two (that’s basically the Mountain West; check your handy English soccer pyramid). Then, after years of losing money, Dean and Family might finally lose interest and sell the team. See how that works? Or, you know, they could just continue to waste the career of …
2) Philip Rivers (LW: 2). Philip didn’t do himself any favors by throwing a couple picks on Sunday, but he continues to get pressured behind an offensive line that’s league-average on a good day. There’s a good chance the Book of Job in his personal Bible is fairly dog-eared.
3) Travis Benjamin/Tyrell Williams (NR). These guys share this ranking because they both had 117 receiving yards in Sunday’s 34-31 loss to the Raiders. In fact, along with Hunter Henry, each had a 50-plus yard reception. This passing game can be fun!
4) It could be worse (NR). The Chargers are just one of eight NFL teams with a single win (don’t forget: the Browns are winless!) The Panthers are down there so that bandwagon must be pretty empty about now. The Saints feel sort of Chargers-y, what with a good QB and bad defense. The Dolphins, 49ers, and Bears have a special sort of ineptitude (and bad ownership). And the Jaguars and Browns are the teams you always to try find in survivor pools. … Feel better now, San Diego?
5) Joey Bosa (LW: -8). That was a helluva debut. Five tackles, including two sacks and another for a loss. Makes you wonder what could have been. Think Mike McCoy would’ve liked to see him play in those first four games?
6) Jatavis Brown (LW: 6). Picked up his second career sack against the Raiders. He’s had at least six tackles in every game this year except Week 1 at Kansas City.
7) Damn the torpedoes (NR). At 1-4, it’s time to start going for it like crazy. And not just fourth down. Think: Boise State at the Fiesta Bowl. No punts on the other side of midfield (Drew Kaser is bad anyway). Work in some onside kicks. Go for two after touchdowns. Statue of Liberty plays. Triple reverses. C’mon, let’s get crazy, Mike McCoy. … Of note: “Damn the Torpedoes” is a naval saying originating from the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. It’s also a late 1970s album by Tom Petty with some solid songs. Lessons for the kiddos.
8) Josh Lambo (NR). Outside of a missed extra point, he’s been reliable this year, going 8-for-9 on field goals (his only miss was from 50-plus yards). Oh yeah: Television cameras caught him laughing while off running off the field on Sunday. So what. If everyone on the team did their job like him, they’d be laughing after victories.
9) Expanding NFL rosters (NR). The current NFL roster size is 53, with a 10-man practice squad. Also: Only 46 players dress each Sunday. This means, mostly due to injuries, there’s a lot of roster churn throughout a season. It would be better for all involved, teams (continuity), players (more jobs) and fans (better quality of play) if rosters were increased and more backup players stuck out of training camp. For instance: Steve Williams returned to the Chargers last week. Wouldn’t it be better for him and the team to not have been waived by the Chargers, and then the Rams, already this year?
10) Auto-correct (NR). It’s nice when your phone knows exactly what to fill in while texting. Think of all the time being saved! Of course, it’s a knife that cuts both ways. Pay attention, or that text meant for the ex goes out to the wrong person late in the second half of a Chargers game. Careful out there, everyone.
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). Is Dean mad that Mark Davis is getting a new stadium before him? The way this yacht club fraternity works, yes, most definitely.
2) Thursday night games (NR). These games are trash. The TV tag line could be: “Thursday Night Football: Preseason quality. Regular season implications.” That Cardinals-49ers thing last week was garbage. Made even worse by the fact that Carson Palmer could’ve played if the game was on Sunday. Just let the MAC have its Thursday night MACtion (those games are infinitely better). Also: It was better when you could turn in your office pool picks on a Friday.
3) Drew Kaser (NR). Muffed snap: Check. Worst gross punting average in the league: Yep. Second-fewest punts inside the 20 among all regular punters: You got it.
4) Front office (NR). So, Joey Bosa played well against the Raiders. Both validating the No. 3 overall draft pick and the stupidity of the front office’s month-long silent period during his holdout. This team gives all the lip service of wanting to win, with about half of the action.
5) Mike McCoy (LW: -5). He’s probably a league-average coach (with sub-optimal press conferences, which don’t really matter, but hey, communicating with the fans is OK). If things fall into place, your team gets into the playoffs and wins a game (his first year). If general roster turnover and a slew of injuries hit, your team misses the playoffs and maybe has a few terrible seasons (last year, this year).
6) AFC West (NR). The last Chargers victory against an AFC West team was a 13-6 win against the Raiders at the Murph on Nov. 16, 2014.
7) Firing coaches at midseason (NR). This is generally a bad idea. If the decision-makers thought McCoy was the right guy after last season, what’s happened to change their minds? The close losses and injuries in 2016 are basically a carbon copy of 2015. If six more games are the sample that proves the last straw, perhaps the front office process is flawed. ... “Sending a message” is stupid; these are professionals (if they aren’t, that’s a bigger problem). And if firing the coach is in any way linked to a stadium election, the front office is spineless.
8) Melvin Gordon (LW: -4). Another game, another lost fumble. That makes it now eight fumbles (six lost) in 19 career games.
9) Announcers that talk about a team’s “culture” (NR). The worst kind of jargon. If an announcer talks about how a coach has “come in here and changed the culture,” they really mean the team started winning for any number of reasons (a new quarterback helps! So does turnover margin!) You can really only say this about the extreme outliers in sports. And it’s not just a single coach, but an organization over an extended time, like the Patriots and Spurs. Or, you know, Baylor.
10) Playoff chances (NR). Since 1990, six percent of 1-4 teams have made the playoffs. But, hey, two of those eight teams were Houston and Kansas City last year. So there’s a chance?