Free Fall Continues

Just where do the Chargers go from here? The answer is Jacksonville, but it's more complicated than that. The reeling Chargers face the Jaguars on Monday night, traveling cross country with an overhead bin filled with disappointment and doubt.

The Chargers have dropped six straight games for the first time since losing nine in a row across the 2002-03 seasons, and they'll try to snap that streak against Jacksonville. But with every loss, the confidence the team once had decreases, and the chatter increases that coach Norv Turner and/or general manager A.J. Smith will have their roles seriously evaluated at season's end.

San Diego (4-7) trails the Oakland by three games in the AFC West with five remaining. Short of miracle, the Chargers will miss the playoffs for consecutive seasons.

"Until we're mathematically out of it, we still have a chance," safety Eric Weddle said. "We're down, but we're not out, and I think the character will come out in these guys, and we'll just have to keep working and believing in each other because that's all we can do at this point."

Hard to believe, but at one time the Chargers were in first place, had a 4-1 record and a 21-10 halftime lead against the Jets.

They let that advantage slip away, and little has gone right since.

"It's just snowballed out of control," quarterback Philip Rivers said. What grows is the fans' discontent with Turner, not a popular choice when he replaced Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season.

"He didn't miss the throws, he didn't miss the tackles this season," Rivers said. "The games we've lost the last six games, we've been put in a position to make the plays, and we just haven't made enough of them to win. It's just tough."

Rivers said the thrill of being a professional trumps any losing streak.

"There is nothing I can say to make it sound good, it's about as rough as it gets," he said. "But we get to play on 'Monday Night Football' in the NFL. You have to find a way to get excited about that. Nothing matters except us trying to go beat Jacksonville and make sure we make the best of every day as individuals first. You have to control yourself first. Then as a team, you keep fighting."


LINEUP WATCH: It looked as if offensive lineman Steve Schilling's rookie year would be spent on the practice squad. However, because injuries have ravaged the line, Schilling, a tackle at Michigan, has been thrust into a starting role at left guard. Schilling was running with the third string, but after Pro Bowler Kris Dielman went on injured reserve with a concussion and Tyronne Green was sidelined with a hand injury, Schilling got into the mix. He made his first career start Sunday against the Broncos, and he could be in the lineup again Monday in Jacksonville.

TRENDING: Jacksonville awaits with the knowledge that San Diego has lost four of five road games this season, continuing a disturbing trend that started last year when the Chargers dropped five of eight road games. It's not a good sign that three of the Chargers' remaining five games are away from Qualcomm Stadium. The other road games are at Detroit and at Oakland.


--OLB Shaun Phillips (foot) is looking to play in his second straight game after missing four games. Phillips had four tackles in his return.

--WR Malcom Floyd (hip) could be in jeopardy of not playing in his fifth straight game. He might try to practice later in the week.

--DE Luis Castillo (leg) is estimated to miss another two weeks.

--CB Marcus Gilchrist (hamstring) has a chance to return this week after not playing Sunday. Gilchrist is the team's top backup at his position.

--LT Marcus McNeill (neck) has yet to be cleared to return to practice. McNeill has suffered two neck injuries this season; he had neck surgery in 2009.

--RG Louis Vasquez (ankle) has a chance to play this week after missing the past two games.

--OL Scott Mruczkowski was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion in the game at Chicago.

Which coaches are on the hot seat? Talk about it inside the message boards.

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