San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Yet Another Disappointing Season for Thechargers

The smoke and mirrors that were present during the San DiegoChargers 4-1 start have finally disappeared. After dropping theirlast five games by a combined score of 149-49, it is clear that inJanuary this team will be at a place it is very familiar with: Lastin the AFC West.

Realistically, the Chargers never had a chance to make theplayoffs. Sure we got excited when they went 4-1 and stood atop theAFC West, but an NFL team that can’t move the ball on offense willeventually fall — and the Chargers have fallen hard.

While most teams field an offense to score touchdowns; theChargers seem happy with the occasional field goal. They possess apower running back in Natrone Means who has yet to discover an injuryhe doesn’t like. In his prime, the fans would hold up signs that read”Natrone Means Business.”

Now Natrone means absence.

When Means was healthy earlier this season, he was only averaging2.6 yards a carry. While he is not the player that he used to be, hisproduction has more to do with an ineffective offensive line.

With studs such as Aaron Taylor, John Jackson and Vaughn Parker onthe offensive line, you would think this would be the strength of theoffense.

Think again.

The offensive line has failed to consistently open holes for therunning backs, and the pass protection has been spotty. Theineffectiveness of this group is a part of the reason that theCharger quarterbacks have struggled.

The other part is that they just aren’t very good.

Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer have combined to throw a league high19 interceptions. Both quarterbacks have failed to move the teamconsistently, and they don’t show the poise in the pocket which isexpected from veteran quarterbacks.

With the horrible play at quarterback, I think that it is time forthe return of Ryan Leaf. He can throw interceptions just as well asHarbaugh and Kramer. At least with Leaf you know that after a losshe’s good for at least two obscenity-laced verbal tirades on histeammates or the media. Leaf’s antics would temporarily take thefocus away from the fact that the team is losing.

Case in point: Leaf is currently serving a four-game suspensionfor conduct detrimental to the team. Word on the street is thatgeneral manager Bobby Beathard found out that Leaf was telling liesto the strength and conditioning coach about not having to dolower-body exercise, on the advice of his doctor.

After being confronted on this, Leaf threw a temper tantrum andwas suspended without pay. The quarterback has been a disappointmentever since he cashed that 11.25 million dollar signing bonus.

Another disappointment has been the play of the wide receivers.Newcomers Jeff Graham and Chris Penn are average receivers that don’tstrike fear into defensive coordinators. Michael Ricks and tight endFreddie Jones have not lived up to their potential, and Charlie Joneshas yet to develop into a reliable deep threat.

All of this offensive ineptitude has caused the defense to carrythe load. But the last three games have indicated that the load isbecoming too heavy, and the defense is slowly starting to break down.

In the loss against the Denver Broncos, rookie running backOlandis Gary rushed for 108 yards. This was the first time in 27games that San Diego allowed a 100-yard runner. Against the OaklandRaiders, the defense gave up 417 yards of offense. The Raiders gained173 of those yards on the ground as Tyrone Wheatley and NapoleanKaufman ran through and around the Chargers’ offense.

Last Sunday, the windy city Bears blew into town and ripped theChargers for 432 yards of total offense. Chicago’s top two receiversaveraged 20.3 yards per reception.

But wait, things don’t get any easier for the Chargers.

Four of their final six games are on the road — at Minnesota,Seattle, Miami, and Denver — and they look like they will be theunderdog in each game. They are currently in fourth place in the AFCWest and only one-half game ahead of a Bronco’s team that is playinginspiring football as of late.

With the emergence of Gary, and the return of tight end ShannonSharpe in the next couple of weeks, Denver is sure to add to theirwin total. At best the Chargers will win two of their remaininggames, which will leave them with a record of 6-10 and last in theAFC West.

Looks like another disappointing season for the Chargers.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Yet Another Disappointing Season for Thechargers