Bolts Notebook: 11/8

Despite dropping a third consecutive game, the Chargers remain an optimistic bunch. The Bolts fared well against the top team in the NFL and have a chance for quick redemption with a Thursday game versus the rival Raiders. Unfortunately, that gives Norv Turner little time to address the issues that have caused this losing skid.

When assessing San Diego, outsiders tend to harp on Philip Rivers' regression to Rex Grossman territory. Rivers has thrown two or more picks in six of eight games. His carelessness was especially costly Sunday against the Packers, as he tossed three INTs for the first time in his career, including two that were returned for scores.

But quarterback is not San Diego's primary problem.

Injuries are neutering the offense. Ryan Mathews missed the Packers game with a groin injury. He is expected to start against the Raiders, but there is no guarantee he will finish. The receiving corps is dinged, as well, with Vincent Jackson (hamstring), Malcom Floyd (hip) and Antonio Gates (foot) all battling injuries.

The only healthy, contributing wide receivers are Patrick Crayton, who looks too old, and Vincent Brown, who is still too green.

The defense has a litany of problems, too.

The defensive front seven misses Shaun Phillips and Luis Castillo more than most care to admit. There is an outside chance Phillips can play against the Raiders, but he is more likely the following week against the Bears.

Then there is the secondary, which is in a state of flux. Marcus Gilchrist supplanted Antoine Cason in the starting lineup two weeks ago and has been a disaster, making it likely Cason will regain his starting status for this week's affair.

Safety Steve Gregory has also been underwhelming, too, meaning half of the starting secondary is in trouble.

San Diego's defensive backs may get a break this week versus Carson Palmer, who has thrown six interceptions in the last six quarters as he adjusts to Oakland's offense. Then again, the Chargers' secondary may be the ideal tonic for the struggling Palmer.

Lightning Quicks

--The list of walking wounded also includes Kris Dielman, who will miss a third straight game due to a concussion. Takeo Spikes (arm) and Antwan Barnes (calf) were limited during Monday's practice but are expected to play on Thursday.

--The Raiders went 6-0 in the AFC West last season. If they lose to the Chargers on Thursday, it will mark their third division loss in as many weeks.

--For the second time this week, Qualcomm Stadium figures to be filled with as many fans cheering the visiting team as there are rooting for the home team. No matter who the fans are cheering for, enough purchased tickets to avoid a local TV blackout.



What do you expect from Thursday's game? Discuss inside the message boards.




Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.


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