San Diego Chargers Report Card

None of us care if the team is getting better. More empty words. The ugliest win in the world will do right now. This past weekend against a Baltimore team that had to travel to San Diego early because of a Hurricane and lost their star corner to disciplinary action were in prime position for a letdown game after a record setting performance by their running back. The Chargers were not interested in all that and lost, 24-10. <br><br> The grades:

QUATERBACKS:

Drew Brees completed 62% of his passes but could not thread the needle when the big play was needed. Three interceptions, no matter what day it is, will not be enough to win, unless you are Jake Plummer. The biggest mistake Brees made was being late on a few throws. He had men open often enough, he just could not get them the ball. Brees also looked for his dumpoff to Tomlinson a few times too many.

Grade: D+

RUNNING BACKS:

Finally, Tomlinson is back. He went over the century mark for the first time as the team was able to stick with the running game. Tomlinson had 105 yards on 23 carries, and showed Baltimore, not with words, but with his game. Add in a team high eight receptions and he was effective.

Lorenzo Neal had some nice chip blocks in the backfield to push ends and linebackers outside and was popping Raven defenders every chance he got. He converted three separate short yardage situations and caught a few balls.

Grade: B+

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Receivers were open much of the day and David Boston hauled in a tough catch or two. Eric Parker was also open, while Tim Dwight could not expose the underneath routes as expected. Grant Mattos made a rookie mistake at the goal line that was intercepted. He slowed his route down and even if he went all out into his break, the ball may still have been picked.

Grade: B-

TIGHT ENDS:

Justin Peelle had four receptions and lines up in the backfield as a blocker. He was unable to release downfield and get open for big gains and dropped a pass.

Antonio Gates played very well in the running game. He had some nice blocks and really opened things up for Tomlinson.

Grade: C

OFFENSIVE LINE:

The line, riddled with injuries, came out and played well against a tough Baltimore defense. Brees was sacked once, after a turnover, but had time to throw most of the day.

The unit had a good push in the running game and opened some holes for Tomlinson to run through. Nothing gaping, but they produced their first 100 yard effort of the year and controlled the clock.

Penalties against the unit on their home turf are inexcusable.

Grade: C

DEFENSIVE LINE:

The line was unable to pressure Kyle Boller and Jamal Williams was a no-show. Jason Fisk had the best day among the linemen and Adrian Dingle caused a fumble, the only play he was a factor in. The unit was not consistent enough to get the job done as another rusher gained over 130 yards against them.

Grade: D+

LINEBACKERS:

Zeke Moreno is getting better in his reads and Donnie Edwards played well despite the lingering effects of a groin injury. They were slow to get to some plays and could not shoot enough gaps to stop Jamal Lewis. The tackling here must get better as they repeatedly tried to arm tackle Lewis. Ben Leber got caught up in the line and had one of his worst games as a Charger.

Grade: D

SECONDARY:

Quentin Jammer got beat by a tight end and only looked up to find the ball when it was too late. The unit did a solid job on Travis Taylor and the receivers in general. They did not face many pass attempts this week versus a young quarterback.

The secondary was terrible in run support and often look scared to make tackles. The primary responsibility may be to contain the pass, but they were slow to see running plays and fooled often, dropping back into coverage when a running play was called.

Grade: D-

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Steve Christie misses a field goal, they pooch punt another ball in field goal formation and kickoffs are short. Darren Bennett was strong, but punters rarely win games. Minus one long punt return by Parker, the return game was stifled and the field was lengthened. The coverage units were solid, especially against punt returns.

Grade: D

COACHING:

Marty Schottenheimer says the team is getting better and the fans state the facts, "Win and we will believe they are." Let's not even get into the playcalling…QB Draw? Schottenheimer's words, too, appear to be wearing thin. He better be careful here -- he might lose this club if he can't lead them to a win in short order. He fashions himself a teacher and now is being put to the ultimate test. He has yet to teach them how to stop the run, how to commit fewer penalties or how to win. Lesson closed.

Grade: F

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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