Chargers Week Eight Report Card

At 1-6 the San Diego Chargers are searching for hope. They came into the season with high hopes and now players are calling each other out for a lack of fire. The defense has played better of late and the offense gave this one away five or six different times. <br><br> The grades of the week and injury notes:

QUARTERBACKS:

Drew Brees was dreadful. Chants of "Flutie! Flutie!" were heard throughout the Arizona landscape. Brees threw three picks on the day, two being his fault. One was terrible timing, while the other was thrown behind an open Boston in the end zone. His limited height has balls being tipped at the line and may have him throwing a second late as he sees the field. As the general, he takes the blame for all the offensive woes and fans across the globe are already whispering Eli Manning's name and perhaps deservingly so.

Grade: F

RUNNING BACKS:

LaDainian Tomlinson did all he could. There were no holes to scamper through and he did his best cutting this way and that to try and make his own holes. His biggest contribution came off the eleven receptions he had.

Grade: B

WIDE RECEIVERS:

David Boston led the Chargers in receiving yards and caught five balls. Eric Parker was the only other receiver to have a reception, and he had two. Tim Dwight was a no show, again. Boston was terrible in the blocking game. He missed blocks by miles.

Grade: D+

TIGHT ENDS:

Antonio Gates was manhandled against some better competition in the blocking game. Jason Taylor easily held his ground on Gates most of the day and threw him off whenever Tomlinson made his move upfield. Josh Norman had two balls bounce off his hands and has not progressed to a point where the team can have confidence in him despite getting open.

Grade: F

OFFENSIVE LINE:

The unit allowed six sacks on the day and countless other pressures. They could not move the Miami line to save their lives and were simply overmatched. Four of the six Chargers penalties came against this unit, three on left tackle Damion McIntosh.

Grade: F

DEFENSIVE LINE:

The unit did a solid job plugging up holes on the interior and had their best game from a run support standpoint. Their play helped the linebackers have lanes to shoot. There still is not enough pressure as DeQuincy Scott is the only player getting pressure consistently, and he plays part time.

Grade: C+

LINEBACKERS:

This was perhaps the linebackers most active game. Donnie Edwards forced a fumble that led to a score. Ben Leber had his best game of the season and Zeke Moreno played considerably better than in previous games. They even played well covering Ricky Williams out of the backfield as he did not have much space to make plays.

Grade: B

SECONDARY:

On one series the unit was exploited for playing too far off the line in man coverage. Kwamie Lassiter also missed a tackle that turned a 15 yard gain into a 49 yard gain. They played reasonably well otherwise. Take away the one big play and they kept the passing game to nothing but small gains, the biggest of which was 14 yards.

Grade: B-

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Crossing your fingers on Steve Christie's 51 yard field goal apparently helped. He had plenty of distance on the kick and it ended up hitting the left upright and going through. Tim Dwight has been terrible on kickoffs all season long. He has yet to show the moves to make people miss. The kickoff return coverage was decent, but they did give up one long return. Mike Scifres becomes the first Bolt kicker to hit one to the goalline on the year. Not bad considering it is only week eight of the season.

Grade: B-

COACHING: The offense was in the red zone four times and came away with nothing. The playcalling of Cam Cameron continues to be suspect as the Chargers are the worst red zone offense in the league. Not throwing a Hail Mary at the end of the half was a bad move by Schottenheimer. His job is to motivate and teach, right now the Chargers are playing hooky on his lessons.

Grade: F

Injury report:

"Sammy Davis with an ankle, he was able to continue playing. The others we will have to wait till the week unfolds," said Marty Schottenheimer.

"Justin Peelle with an ankle.

"(Jason) Ball the ankle from last week.

"Those we have to monitor more closely."

On Caldwell: "It is quite possible he may be ready. He was close last week, but he still has his cast and he will have to wear it for another week or so. It is just going to be a matter of how he practices during the week."

Notes:

On why Schottenheimer did not go for it at halftime:

"We had gotten sacked two of the previous three plays," said Schottenheimer. "It was a fourth down situation and I looked at the clock and saw there was an opportunity, there was a number there that we could run the clock out. I just decided there was no reason to put us in that situation. Let's just go in and evaluate it."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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