These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Moving on (Last Week: Not Ranked). Did something happen on Tuesday? Hmm. Can’t recall (literally). But like a Bill Belichick press conference, these rankings are moving on to the Miami game this Sunday. Next question. Answer: Sticking to sports this week. On to Miami. Next question. Answer: (Hits play on late-1990s Will Smith jam) Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami.
2) Melvin Gordon (Last Week: 2). Mel was a beast in last Sunday’s 43-35 win against Tennessee, with 196 rushing yards and 65 more receiving. ESPN’s statistics department notes that Gordon is second in the league in yards after contact this season. And he’s starting to get Comeback Player of the Year buzz, though that award confuses me a bit. When it comes to comebacks, I think of injured players or Johnny Manziel. If he ever makes another NFL roster (or the Padres), go ahead and give him that award.
3) Philip Rivers (LW: 3). Quiz time: Did you know that Sunday’s win was the first game-sealing kneel-down for Phil this year? It was. (Though, only because Kellen Clemens got the honors in the Week 2 thrashing of the Jags.) Prediction time: El Capitan will do it for a second time this week, when the Chargers down the Dolphins, 30-13.
4) Brandon Flowers (NR). The veteran corner suffered a concussion in Week 3 against the Colts, making it one in each of his three years with the Chargers. That’s scary. And yet, after four weeks off due to that injury this year, Flowers seems to have regained the form he showed in 2014. It’s a reminder of the professional pride that goes into these players simply taking the field, much less racking up a pick-six and five tackles.
5) AFC West teams on the road (NR). The Raiders are on a bye week. Meanwhile, the Broncos travel to New Orleans and Andy Reid’s Chefs play in Carolina. Could this be a week where the Chargers gain some ground in the division? Of note: Kansas City has won 17 of its last 20 regular season games. That stat is kind of astonishing.
6) D.J. Fluker (NR). I call BS on his unnecessary roughness penalty in the first quarter on Sunday, when the big right guard smoked a Titan trying to get Gordon to the ground. There are no flags for being a good teammate in my world. You’re all right with me, Fluke.
7) Korey Toomer (NR). It’s probably good to be Korey Toomer right now. Of course, if he keeps it up, he’ll be getting paid in the future so then it’ll be REALLY good to be Korey Toomer. But going from a practice squad to starting linebacker on a competitive team is living the dream. Good work, KT.
8) Joey Bosa (LW: 5). Everybody’s favorite rookie has his work cut out for him this week, as the Dolphins actually have a pretty good offensive line. (Laremy Tunsil, potential Chargers draft pick, is playing left guard for them.) His streak of a two-sack game every other time out was snapped last week against Tennessee, so I’m expecting a big game from Joey B.
9) Dontrelle Inman (NR). Speaking of living the dream, the former Toronto Argonaut is quietly getting it done this year with injuries to the Chargers wideouts. If Travis Benjamin can’t go on Sunday, he’ll probably play an important role in the San Diego victory.
10) Next Opportunity (NR). Ryan Tannehill, ranked 23rd in quarterback rating this year, is not good. Will the Dolphins want to pay him the roughly $18 million he’s owed each of the next two years? I wouldn’t. You’re not going anywhere with him. He’s just good enough to get you a few wins over the Browns and Jets, and that’s about it. He’s the Kia Optima of quarterbacks.
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). If Dean-o is indeed intent on diving back into the San Diego stadium pool after the season, he and the team need an image makeover. The Chargers public relations have been atrocious. With a vote needed for any new stadium proposal, there are several hurdles. One is to figure out how to use the least amount of public money possible because there is a bloc of voters with whom public money is a non-starter. Second, there is another segment of San Diegans that simply don’t trust the Spanos name. This organization needs to start winning some hearts and minds. If Dean can’t do it, someone with a Spanos surname needs to because a hired hand won’t suffice at this point. It’s possible to win people back, but it will take an effort that the Chargers haven’t grasped yet.
2) Commercial-kickoff-commercial (NR). The bane of my existence. Roughly 16,497 hours of my life have been wasted thanks to this nonsense. Hey, networks, I don’t need to see that guy put his Raiders koozie over the Chargers can again.
3) IR/PUP list (NR). If you were doing a team-building exercise (that obviously doesn’t involve physical activity), you could split the Chargers up into offense (25 players), defense (25) and IR/PUP/specialists (21). Nearly a third of this club is in the tub (takes a bow; thank you, thank you). Clearly, though, trust falls are out of the question (potential for injury). But a scavenger hunt always works. I like the idea of Mike McCoy calling off practice and getting the guys together for an off-campus activity, Michael Scott-style. “The fundaMENTALS of Football. Because you’re mental if you don’t have a good time.”
4) Wide receivers with names that sound like “Jeremy” (NR). With injuries hitting the wide receiver room like a Monday morning tequila hangover, the Bolts picked up Jeremy Butler off waivers last week. He got injured on his first play (though not on IR!) Say hello to Geremy Davis, acquired off the Giants’ practice squad. Stay safe out there, Ger.
5) Chargers playoffs odds (NR). This hasn’t been a great week for projections, but there are some metrics out there that give the Chargers a 1% chance of winning the AFC West, with only slightly better odds to make the playoffs. This is the spot where I could make the joke about “stat nerds” or say “suck it, Nate Silver,” but a peek at the standings reveals the postseason is indeed a tall order (and that’s IF the Chargers go on a serious win streak). The Bolts need some help, folks.
6) Mike McCoy (LW: -6). I want Mike McCoy to surprise me, like the once-every-five-years occasion when my grandma used a curse word. “What’s this? McCoy is going for two in the first quarter? OK, Mike, I see you, buddy.”
7) Dexter McCluster (NR). Unfortunately, Dexter’s time in San Diego will only be remembered for him getting injured moving luggage. He’ll also go on the list of “baseball” injuries by football players. Liked him as a punt returner, too. (He won’t be around next year because the Chargers will be drafting Donnel Pumphrey in the third round, which will be awesome.)
8) Hawaii fans (NR). It sounds great in theory: Fly out to the mainland, watch the ’Bows play San Diego State on Saturday and then catch native son Marcus Mariota in the same stadium the next day. Whoops. SDSU shut out Hawaii, 55-0, and Mariota made crucial turnovers to cost the Titans on Sunday. Also: The San Diego teams combined for four defensive touchdowns last weekend. Let’s hope those Hawaii fans grabbed a few local IPAs while they were here.
9) Saying a player is smart because he went to Harvard (NR). Enough of this, football announcers. I’m sure Ryan Fitzpatrick is a smart guy off the field, but he makes really dumb plays as a quarterback. Fitzgerald is a butt-fumble away from being the backup in Jacksonville next year.
10) Next Opportunity (NR). Sunday against the Dolphins is a must-win because 10-6 might not get into the playoffs this year. And if you lose to Miami, you don’t deserve the postseason, now do you?