Score to Settle

The San Diego Chargers have a score to settle....<br><br> The bottom line is that last season the Chargers started 6-2, then collapsed finishing 8-8. The finish of the season was fitting as it was similar to the finish of a Charger game. Off to a great start, in the lead, then something happens and everything falls apart. Game over. Season over. Another reason for the experts to pick you to finish last in your division.... again.

What was that something that happened? What was that something that caused a defense to blow a lead, over and over?

I don't know. I don't know if anybody does. If you know Marty Schottenheimer like I do, which is not much at all as his media speak is likely different from his game speech to players, then you know that he and the Charger brass have analyzed this situation inside and out.

You don't trade perennial pro-blowers and faces of your football team without doing some serious analyzing and breaking down.

You don't release players of Rodney Harrison's caliber without thinking it through to no end.

Knowing that releasing fan favorites like Junior Seau and The Hitman would be an unpopular move, they did it. They didn't do it because they can't play. They didn't do it because the Chargers were craving attention.

After a trip to the Super Bowl in the 94' season, The San Diego Chargers made it to the playoffs the following season, only to be ousted in the 1st round. And the decline began.

The rest of the Bobby Beathard era was marred by depleted team talent, bad draft picks, and a revolving door at the head coaching position. To his credit Bobby is the one responsible for obtaining the talent that led this team on a most memorable Super Bowl run.

A change was eventually made and the late John Butler was brought in as General Manager. His first season was one of analyzing personnel. From the players to head coach Mike Riley, he would leave no stone unturned. He sure kicked over that stone that Ryan Leaf was hiding under.

After a 5-11 record, Butler felt that Mike Riley wasn't the guy, so he was out and Marty Schottenheimer was in.

The Chargers approach has been process of elimination. New General Manager. Coaching change...

After thinking things over after last season the Chargers may have felt that after all these changes, the problem must lie in the overall attitude of the team. Simply put, if you don't believe you are going to win, you won't win. Period.

After so many losing seasons and blown leads it's possible that the Chargers grew accustomed to it. Like some Tony Robbins, "if you believe you can, you can" stuff.

There's a saying that goes, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".

So rather than hiring Tony Robbins to conduct a seminar for Charger players (this would count too much against the cap), the Chargers may have come to the conclusion that a breath of fresh air was needed.

A hard hitting strong safety was released, and a fierce pro-bowl linebacker was traded to a team with an aquatic mammal on their helmet.

These are two hard working warriors and it's a shame it had to go down the way it did, but nonetheless, it had to go down. It's not that the two had bad attitudes more than the team needing new attitudes. Then there's always that salary cap.

If you attend Charger practices you will often hear Marty say: "Come on men, we got to finish, let's finish".

That's what this is about. Finishing. Marty must teach this team to finish. He has a reputation as being a teacher first, so the difficult task has fell into capable hands.

It's kind of ironic. Some would say that you could apply that saying to Marty, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". He is from the old school you see.

When hired as the Chargers head coach, I remember hearing Marty say that he would like to coach a team with a potent passing attack before he retires.

The basis for Martyball is being a ball control offense with a solid running game and an attacking defense. The Chargers already have a solid running game, but the defense finished 30th in the league last year. One could assume that a big free-agent pick up on defense would be made.

Instead of signing a stud linebacker or defensive lineman, the Chargers set their sites on freak of nature WR David Boston. This addition opens the flood gates for a chance at a dominant offense and potent pass attack.

Marty will always rely on what got him to where he is today, which is Martyball. But this old dog may be learning new tricks.

Maybe we'll see the attitude of a team change in synergy with the philosophy of it's coach.

And maybe next season, those experts won't pick the Chargers to finish last.

If all else fails, there's always that Tony Robbins guy. I heard he'll be a free agent.

-Will Mortensen

Will can be reached at

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