Chargers Post Game Recovery

The mantra all week for the San Diego Chargers was to commit to the perimeter running game and stifle it. Too bad no one spoke about cutback lanes and tackling. Oddly enough, the defense was in position to make plays and simply missed tackles, or got fooled out of their shoes. <br><br> A sense of urgency is apparent in the locker room.<br><br> "I'm embarrassed, because I know that we are capable of better," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

Marty Schottenheimer should be embarrassed, he of the wordy verbatim that says the same thing week after week. Instead of talking, he needs to prepare his team better.

"I think it is reasonably evident that right now we are not playing very well," Schottenheimer said.

"On the defensive side, the rushing defense continues to be a major problem for us and in this league, if you cannot stop the run, you are not going to be very successful."

The team took poor angles in the tackling department and many players overpursued. Jerry Wilson had a clear shot at Clinton Portis in the first and could have limited a big gain, but he overran the play and with no help on the backside, Portis ran until he was pushed out of bounds by Quentin Jammer.

"I know what happened a week ago," Schottenheimer said. "We did not get people where they belonged. It was more of the same today. I look at third downs and they get 40% of those, we have them in couple of situations and you would like to think you can get them off the field and they find a way to make a play. There you sit, still on the field defensively."

Another play saw Portis start left, and when the Bolts clogged up the lanes, he cut back right where no defenders were providing containment.

"From my perspective, as I told our football team, we are the solution," Schottenheimer continued. "We are the solution. And what each guy has to do, player and coach alike, is they have got to get focused on how they can improve individually, so that we can improve collectively."

He is right on this one. The Chargers have now allowed over 130 yards rushing in eight of the past eleven games. Bring out the tackling dummies and get to work. The secondary will begin to make plays. With so many play fakes in the Denver game, it was evident the Chargers need to learn how to stop the run. Stopping the run eliminates play fakes costing the team big yardage in the passing game.

How many passes did the Chargers use play fakes on?

One that proved successful was the touchdown pass to Eric Parker. In total, they could not play action pass with the success Denver could since the running game for San Diego was not consistent enough. Forget the average LaDainian Tomlinson had, the team was behind and running was barely a real threat.

"We are a young football team, and generally young football teams don't perform well in the face of adversity," Schottenheimer said. "In the course of the last couple of weeks, we have created that adverse situation and we have not responded very well to it."

The situation has been created by a failure to stop the run. Every touchdown by the Broncos was off play action pass. Every single one! It sounds so simple.

"In two games in a row, what's happening to us is we're getting behind the eight ball early on and we're not really ready to play catch-up football," said Schottenheimer. "We're not good at playing catch-up football."

With two receivers going down, Reche Caldwell and Stephen Alexander, and David Boston missing the game due to his heel injury, it would be hard for John Elway to lead the team back. Kassim Osgood saw significant time in the rotation with only Parker, Tim Dwight and tight end Justin Peelle left available.

"In this league, guys get hurt, guys go down, guys get tired, there are substitutions," Drew Brees said. "It doesn't matter who is in the game, I have thrown to all those guys before. I have all the confidence in the world in them. My thought is: I don't care who is in there; I have to hit them in the chest."

Denver tight end Shannon Sharpe felt the same way. The only difference is his team was already up big and succeeding in their gameplan. "You get a system, you get guys who fit our system, one guy goes out, we don't miss a beat," said Sharpe. "Yeah, we're disappointed we lost those guys, but we're just going to keep chugging away, finding a way to get guys in there who want to play." They didn't get it done on either side of the ball again today and face another tough week ahead. Another loss to Baltimore and their season is on ice. It will be tough enough to come back from 0-2 and it will not get easier. The man who holds the single game rushing record, with 295 yards in one game, will be coming to town next weekend. Jamal Lewis will tear this team apart if the problems are not fixed quickly.

"You continue to teach and you continue to coach and they continue to learn and they ultimately have to get it done or you try and find somebody who can get it done," Schottenheimer bluntly stated.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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