These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Philip Rivers (Last Week: 3). Through two weeks, Rivers (82.2) ranks fourth on ESPN’s Total QBR list (behind Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger). As a further statement of fact, here are the AFC West check-down artists masquerading as quarterbacks: 9) Derek Carr (77.4); 26) Trevor Siemian (51.6); 29) Alex Smith (32.6).
2) Mebane-Slauson Effect (LW: Not Ranked). (Named for Brandon Mebane and Matt Slauson). A theory whereby a void is filled by a proven producer, thereby rendering the former void null while also providing positive results in a trickle-down manner to nearby producers. Statistics: The Chargers rank third in the league in rushing yards (152.5 per game)! And are seventh in rushing yards allowed (76.0 per game)! Science is cool, kids.
3) Melvin Gordon (LW: 5). Against Jacksonville, Mel had his first 100-yard rushing game since the 2015 New Year’s Day Outback Bowl against Auburn, when he went for 251 yards in an overtime win for Wisconsin. At least he got paid for this one.
4) Danny Woodhead (LW: 6). Hopefully, this is the last week the No. 4 Good Ranking goes to an injured Chargers player out for the season. Third downs won’t be as much fun without watching Woodhead somehow, once again, get wide open.
5) Antonio Gates (NR). The record watch is on. Gates began the season with 104 career touchdown catches, seven behind Tony Gonzalez for the most ever by a tight end. A good time to break that might be Week 15 vs. the Raiders, against whom Gates has tallied 12 of those TDs (in 25 games).
6) Chargers color rush uniforms (NR). The Chargers front office gets a lot of things wrong. A LOT. But if someone over at Chargers Park had a hand in these, nice job. Or maybe it was an NFL employee. Or Nike. Give that person free parking for the season. While most of the other teams simply took a team color and sprayed it all over the usual uniform, the Chargers will have sweet-looking, throw-backy, mostly-blue threads. Look for them on Thursday, Oct. 13. Or buy a jersey, so Nike can make back some of the billion it spent for exclusive rights.
7) Joe Barksdale/Chris Hairston (NR). Each Chargers offensive lineman raised a fist into the air during the national anthem on Sunday. These are small gestures, but the topics they represent are incredibly important. (The shooting in Tulsa on Friday was a terrible reminder). Additionally, a great opportunity to learn more or get involved comes this weekend at Politifest 2016 (at UCSD and San Diego State). Topics range from police violence to the Chargers stadium measure.
8) Travis Benjamin (NR). On Sunday, the Jaguars got caught in a blitz with a linebacker (Paul Posluszny) on Benjamin. Even the homeless guy who advised the Browns to draft Johnny Manziel could’ve recognized that coverage (and probably most of Cleveland’s quarterbacks from the last three years). But still, it’s gotta be fun for Trav out here in San Diego.
9) NFL blowouts (NR). Hey, the Chargers finished off an opponent (a notable achievement, indeed). And while the Jags looked really Jags-y on Sunday, they have a few talented players (and experts always like their drafts). Since 2002, the most common margin of victory is three points; while a 24-point win happens somewhere around 3 percent of the time (the Jags must account for a good chunk). Blowouts are fun and let you talk to your friends in the fourth quarter. Or get started on that Sunday nap.
10) Gambling (NR). The Chargers may, officially, be 1-1. But many of you readers know this team is 2-0 ATS (Against The Spread). Week 1 was due to the Overtime Outcome, when the favored team (-7) wins in overtime but doesn’t kick the extra point. Thanks, Chargers!
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). Doesn’t have the worst hair among owners of Southern California professional football teams. Also: Wanted (wants?) to move the team to Los Angeles.
2) Fred Maas (NR). Speaking of L.A., the team’s stadium point man threw out the old “measure X or we move” card on the radio last week. Maas was responding to former G.M. A.J. Smith saying inside sources assure Smith the Chargers have almost no options outside of San Diego. Meanwhile, Maas and the team took yet another unconciliatory tack in the stadium process. Classic Chargers P.R.! “We might really do it this time, you guys. Seriously.”
3) Chargers options (NR). San Diego will probably call the Spanos bluff this fall. Nobody believes the Chargers want to be the J.V. team in Los Angeles (Smith said the league even thinks as much). Las Vegas is out. So is San Antonio. St. Louis is an option, maybe. Or, you know, they could also try a different, not hastily thrown-together deal here in San Diego.
4) Mike McCoy (LW: -3). Has started 1-1 in each of his four seasons as a head coach. Lost in Week 3 twice.
5) Drew Kaser (NR). Not ranked last week, but should’ve been. He bounced back in Week 2, but the shadow of successful San Diego punters looms. Still just a rookie, but consistency is important at a position that has no backups on the roster.
6) Referees or announcers that use verbiage different from what every fan says (NR). Like saying “foul” instead of “penalty. For instance: “The try was successful” instead of “the kick is good.” Also: On a change of possession, it’s OK to state the team’s name. Rather than “intercepting team” or “returning team” just say San Diego or Chargers. Thanks.
7) Safeties (NR). The hard-hitting Jahleel Addae (likely out for some time due to injury) doesn’t always inspire a lot of confidence in coverage, but what does that say about his backups? A position to watch in the coming weeks.
8) Joey Bosa (LW: -8). Wasn’t missed against the Jags on Sunday. Missed games count: 2 (and counting?)
9) Jaguars fans vs. Blake Bortles fantasy owners (NR). Are these people ever in the same room together? (Jags fans are few and far between, for lots of reasons, so probably not). Bortles basically built his fantasy reputation on blowouts like Sunday’s game, so owners are openly rooting for 21-0 halftime deficits. One can only guess what’s in the mind of Jacksonville fans.
10) Coaches (Sean Payton, Ron Rivera, Mike Shanahan) in that “undercover” NFL Ticket Exchange commercial (NR). Uh, guys, it may be the “official” ticket site of the league, but it sets a floor of the original ticket price. So those fans in the commercial you chastise for using a shady way to buy tickets are just looking for more affordable tickets on a secondary market the NFL is looking to squash. Don’t be a jerk to your fans, super-rich coaches!