The Chargers need a break.
They need time to get healthy, time to rid themselves of the bad taste in their mouth from the five-game losing streak, time to reset and refresh.
Wednesday, they’ll get it. At least for five days.
The Chargers will not prepare for a game this week. They won't lose or win. Instead, they will enjoy their bye week, a respite from the physical and mental toll of a long and sometimes arduous NFL season.
Some players will stay in San Diego, resting and rehabbing and stopping by the facility for regular treatment. Others will fly home, taking advantage of the fact they don't need to return to San Diego until Sunday.
The bye is much needed.
Physically, the team has been hit with multiple injuries at nearly every position. The offensive line is still missing left tackle King Dunlap and left guard Orlando Franklin. The defense is without linebackers Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman, as well as defensive tackle Corey Liuget. Tight end Ladarius Green is banged up, as is tight end Antonio Gates, who played through pain Monday and was limited in lateral movement because of an MCL sprain.
And then there’s wide receiver Malcom Floyd, who is “day-to-day” after suffering a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the Bears game. It's unclear whether Floyd will return to the field at all.
“The main thing is, come back and be ready to go Monday with the right mindset,” head coach Mike McCoy said. “I want every player to get away from [football] and enjoy some friends and family time … but come back with the right mindset of what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Added safety Eric Weddle: “We need to get a break and get out of here, get away from football, get away from losing, get away from everything.”
Their record will still be there when they return, unchanged, a 2-7 red "X" in a season marked with high expectations. Players understand that -- while disappointed -- they can't let it define them.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of,” quarterback Philip Rivers said after Monday’s loss. “We just didn’t do it. I don’t think it’s because of a lack of preparation or lack of wanting to. Either we’re not good enough to make those plays right now or they’ve just outplayed us. I think it’s probably a little bit of both. I don’t know that we’re good enough to make some of the plays that we’re trying to make. We keep trying though.”
Rivers, too, will use the bye to regroup. It’s been a tough stretch for the QB, who’s thrown for more than 300 yards in five of the last six games and is the reason the Chargers have had a chance in every match.
“It’s usually kind of fun to watch football if you have a winning record and you’re rolling,” Rivers said, when asked if he would watch games during the bye. “You want to watch as much of it as you can because you’re feeling pretty good about yourself.
“When it’s like this, you kind of want to just dig a hole and hide for a little while.”