Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda...

The Raiders did crush the horrible Chiefs again today, just as the Chargers did two weeks ago, and the AFC West is not sending its best team to the playoffs. The Chiefs did try their best and came up way short, even if the playoffs had been on the line, I don't think the outcome would have been different. So...the Chargers can go into this offseason with the knowledge that had they been able to eek out a win against the woeful Bengals, they would have been in.

On the Chargers' scrimmage today in Denver, I think we found out that while Tim Tebow is a dynamic player, he still isn't a true NFL quarterback. He is inaccurate and telegraphs many of his passes. He can run, but judging by the number of times he got his bell rung today, that style won't last too long in the NFL.

We also did get to see the skills of Ryan Mathews on full display. The guy can break tackles and run. He showed flashes of improvement in reading his blocks and finding holes. He is still a fumbler though. I hope he spends all offseason with a football in his hands. If he can correct that one glaring problem, he will be great.

We also witnessed special teams coach Steve Crosby's retirement party. With another kickoff return for a touchdown, if they don't fire this guy, fans will (and should) dump all their season tickets for next year. The thing has to be fixed. Bring in a young, talented and hungry coach who can get the special teams fired up and playing at a high level. This used to be a major strength of this team.

Keep checking in this offseason. I'll keep the posts coming. Happy New Year to all Bolts' fans!

More Pre-Season Instead of Post-Season

Because the Chargers' post season hopes have been dashed, the final regular season game of the 2010 Chargers resembles a pre-season game more than anything else. With Mike Tolbert out, the most interesting aspect of this game will be in seeing how Ryan Mathews looks as "the guy" over the course of a whole game.

I think he will develop, barring injury, into a great back and worthy replacement of LT. He needs to develop his pass catching skills, patience, pass blocking, and his NFL field awareness for finding holes. He also needs to learn when to go down instead of contorting his body, taking extra hits, and risking fumbles in getting just one more inch in the grasp of three defenders. Greats like LT and Marcus Allen chose their battles wisely and took what defenses gave them. A big opportunity and step in this process begins today. If Mathews can become that great back, this team's fortunes will be much improved next year.

On the other side of the ball, the Chargers will find out if they should be worried about Heisman great Tim Tebow being at the helm of a division rival for years to come. In a comeback victory last week, pundits and retired coaches trumpeted that "this guy is just a winner." I think Tebow simply doesn't have, and won't develop, the very specialized skill an NFL quarterback needs in reading complex defenses on fly and delivering the ball to the open receiver. Being a big strong runner will help for awhile, but the NFL will wear him down, hurt him, and force him to become an effective passer.

It will be interesting to see how the Chargers deal with him today. Some big hits and a crushing defeat of Tebow would send a big message to the Broncos that they need to return to the drawing board in finding a franchise quarterback as well as a new coaching staff.

The Chargers have been talking this week of "finishing strong" and "playing for pride." I'm a little skeptical and worried about this as they didn't show much pride or strength in finishing the game last week. Their number one defense seemed to fold after the Bengals went up by two scores in the second half. Whatever the outcome today, AJ Smith will have to address some serious character and toughness issues on this team for next season.