Schottenheimer Treading Lightly

There could be nothing worse than standing on the sideline, week in and week out watching your team lose. For a successful head coach, seeing first-hand that his grasp on what could be a career in coaching could be coming to an end.<br> <br> In San Diego, Marty Schottenheimer is teetering on the proverbial fine line and he acknowledges he is only to blame, when responsibility for the Chargers 0-5 start is discussed.

While internal discussions center around the disappointing play of the team, Chargers owner Alex Spanos and General Manager A. J. Smith do not appear fully ready to pull the plug on the veteran head coach of nearly 18 seasons.

A high profile player told us today, "I believe in Marty."

Despite their record, evaluations conducted by the personnel department and coaching staff lead the group to believe that this team is improving and inexperience could play a critical role in the development of the team.

Make no mistake, the thin ice is cracking that Schottenheimer stands upon.

According to those close to the team, Schottenheimer's heavy-handed approach to coaching and discipline have worn on a San Diego team that entered the 2003 season full of promise and hope. Within the past week, no less than two veteran players have spoken with the front-office, either to voice their thoughts on the situation with the team, or to ask for a trade or release.

Entering into their bye-week, the San Diego coaching staff is preparing and evaluating as they normally would for an upcoming opponent. In fact, as of Wednesday morning Smith talked with Schottenheimer and it appears that no change will be made with the head coach in the immediate future.

As one member of the San Diego Chargers organization stated to The Insiders today, "Pushing him (Schottenheimer) out of here right now may make some people happy, some players satisfied, but when you get down to it, the options six weeks into the season are limited. Our best chances may lie with Marty (Schottenheimer) right now."

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