The Last Word

The San Diego Chargers offense was under fire from the Kansas City Chiefs defense all day long. Receivers dropped passes with regularity, but that didn't stop Marty Schottenheimer from defending them and the gameplan.

"Reche Caldwell is a good receiver," said Marty Schottenheimer. "Reche Caldwell had a bad day like all of us have from time to time.

"It hurt us yesterday and compromised our ability to win."

No kidding? You think?

"He has given evidence, in my view, and the coaches' view, that he can be the kind of receiver we need to win with."

When? Caldwell has admitted in an exclusive with Jim Trotter of the Union Tribune that, "He wasn't studying (his) playbook, and a lot of times would just go out there and make a lot of mental errors." Read the story if you haven't, or refresh your minds:

Reche Caldwell Story

That was regarding last year. Did Caldwell suffer mental lapses out there on Sunday? The ball was thrown his direction 10 times. He was even open on a number of those and only had two actual receptions. He just didn't make the catches. Don't make excuses coach when the receiver isn't making any for himself. He still has that going for him.

Marty went on to say he expected to get David Boston in on five or six plays a game. Five or six plays for your number one receiver…was his heel bothering him?

"He indicated to me that he was doing ok. I think David would tell you he was not 100% percent.

"I didn't expect David Boston to come in here and have 8 or 10 catches after the first game. You have a passing game offense that involves a lot of different things, not the least of which is the protection. We didn't do a good job in protection and that had an impact on everything we did."

Maybe you should have told the fans who are drooling with anticipation to see the receiver who caught balls for over 1,000 yards in his non-injury seasons. Even last year, before injuries, he was on pace for another 1,000 yard receiving year. Two seasons ago he had 98 receptions, or just over six per game. How do you not get him the ball as much as possible?

"We don't game-plan with one guy in mind," Schottenheimer said. "We don't simply try to pick out one guy and keep throwing it to him."

"Everybody's read the stories and heard about his size and all the weight he's put on and all the speed he supposedly still has," said Eric Warfield. "Honestly, I didn't see it. I saw the weight he had and the so-called big pipes he has, but he didn't have the speed to go along with it... We were prepared for a physical battle today."

The thinking here is his heel is an issue. He had trouble off the line and fell down a couple of times trying to make cuts and make a push at the line. Boston is still feeling the effects of the heel problem and it is making it tough for him to drive off the line and make clean cuts. Don't tell fans he is not in the gameplan for more than 5-6 plays. Let's be real, you invested $40 million in the man, act like it.

Finally Schottenheimer conceded one point:

"What we're interested in trying to do is throw the ball effectively because we believe, ultimately, that we have to do that if we want to do where we want to go. Two of the areas that have to function effectively to do that, didn't.

"Offensively, we couldn't catch the ball," Schottenheimer added. "I thought we threw the ball extremely well. But you have to catch the ball, simple as that. We were physically beaten on a couple of occasions. It is difficult to play in a place where everyone knows you are going to throw the ball."

"I had to get used to the crowd noise," offensive tackle Damion McIntosh said. "He had some good get-offs. I finally settled down a little more in the second half, but it was too little, too late."

Schottenheimer did applaud one effort, that of Drew Brees:

"The way he played yesterday, we will win a world championship with the guy. That guy was outstanding yesterday."

We can all agree on that. Brees was phenomenal.

What about the calls that netted a loss on third and fourth and inches?

"It certainly is not acceptable," said Schottenheimer. "You have to win up front these days."

"It was sick to play in it, especially the first half," Tomlinson said. "The first half was like nothing went right. It was really frustrating. The second half was like trying to build back that confidence, but overall it's still disappointing, especially that first half where we really stunk up the place."

Even LT can face the reality. Does being in denial hurt the team? A question best left unanswered.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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