Stepping Backwards

Looking more like the LA Clippers than a Championship caliber team, the San Diego Chargers need to refocus and bring a winning attitude from the start of a game. Against Baltimore, the Chargers were in the game for the first half of football, but that is like taking the last two minutes of a basketball game off.

There is already locker room discontent that says Marty Schottenheimer is running them too hard on Fridays before a game.

Three games into a season, that is even hard to believe. Regardless of what transpired before game one, the team has needed all the practice it can get. The team is not good enough to warrant any easy days when there is so much to work on.

The players and coaches are equally to blame. Someone needs to light a fire under Schottenheimer and tell him how important it is to the future of the San Diego franchise to win. He is nonchalant about losing right now and his "we are getting better" comments leave much to be desired.

There are rumblings from above that say the coaching staff may have a noose around its neck. This was, and still is a critical year for a team trying to get a new stadium in San Diego.

In the cellar of the AFC West, it is getting harder to believe the Chargers can win on any given Sunday. Two home games lost, the Bolts are traveling until October 27th. Maybe they need to get away from home and the distractions it imposes. Maybe that is why they went to Carson, to win on the road.

The Chargers still practice at Murphy Canyon and sleep in their sound beds. One has to wonder just who is sleeping through the night. Heat needs to be applied. Right now, they are being cooked and the steps backward are evident everywhere.

It is time to call the leaders of this team out. Instead of the "young mans" and "getting players where they belong", Schottenheimer needs to address the veterans of this team and tell them how it is. Play better, play with passion, and play to win.

More importantly, the Bolts need to play for the entire game. No more of this half a game here, half a game there.

Late in the game against Baltimore, it looked like the Chargers weren't that excited about trying to tackle Jamal Lewis anymore.

"Oh, yeah" Lewis responded. "That happens during the duration of a game, especially with a back weighing 245 pounds getting downhill and attacking the secondary. They don't want it any more. That's where the big runs come from. That's what I thrive on. I thrive on wearing the defense out, so late in the third and fourth quarter, the game is in my hands."

Instead of backing down, the team needs to start rising to the occasion. Any occasion will do. Management has already gotten rid of all the players they can. The coaches are not far behind.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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