Chargers Week Nine Report Card

Another dismal offensive performance led the San Diego Chargers to another loss. At 1-7 the plusses are few and far between. Not scoring in the first half was the first of many woes. This team would be hard pressed to make the BCS. <br><br> The grades of the week and injury notes:

QUARTERBACKS:

To quote last week's line, "Drew Brees was dreadful", again. His misfirings are well documented. Worst of all, he is losing respect from his teammates who are more than whispering for Flutie to start. Doug Flutie was a fireplug. It just came too late. He led the team to its only score and was 8-11 on the day. Had he played more than one quarter, the Bolts would have had a chance to win.

Grade: D

RUNNING BACKS:

LaDainian Tomlinson touched the ball twenty times. Some may think that was not enough, and you would be right. But the Chargers only ran 45 plays. Considering eleven went incomplete, Tomlinson got the rock for more than 50% of its positive plays. He didn't have a chance to get the ball more when the team only converts two third downs. He missed two short yardage chances at converting on third down.

Grade: B-

WIDE RECEIVERS:

How do you a grade a unit that is open but has no receptions? Is it their fault that their quarterback cannot deliver them the ball? Did anyone notice Tim Dwight getting passes thrown his way when Flutie entered the game? Has he been open all this time? Dwight did miss one pass and inexplicably cut his route short on another – ending up misjudging the ball and it caroming off his fingertips. Could be why Brees never throws to him. David Boston was open a few times as well, although he appears to have Randy Moss syndrome when the ball does not go his way.

Grade: C-

TIGHT ENDS:

Justin Peelle showed some soft hands, when Flutie was in. He and Antonio Gates are not enough of a threat to even be an outlet receiver and it is hurting the team. They do well in run blocking, but that is no longer enough.

Grade: D

OFFENSIVE LINE:

They were not dominant in run blocking. Short yardage on both the left and right ends failed to generate a push. Courtney VanBuren held up nicely, as did Phil Bogle, although each was flagged with a penalty wiping out first downs. Remember way back when – when Buddy Nix said Kelvin Garmon was the best O-lineman in camp? Right now he is. Damion McIntosh must not remember this is a contract year as his leaks continue on the left side.

Grade: C-

DEFENSIVE LINE:

Keeping Anthony Thomas to 3.6 yards per carry was nice. Allowing third and short to become first and ten was not. They had more support in run defense this week than ever before with run blitzes. A veteran such as Chris Chandler will continue to make plays with time. Rarely was this unit generating pressure and for all of Wiley's talk, he should watch his own back in regards to replacing him at end.

Grade: D+

LINEBACKERS:

Ben Leber was solid in his gaps with a quiet five tackles. Donnie Edwards was around the ball, but got dragged through the mud on several runs by Thomas. Zeke Moreno made tackles, but they were seldom noticeable. The underneath coverage of this unit, and ability to take away the middle of the field in passing downs was commendable.

Grade: C+

SECONDARY:

This unit gave away too much sideline yardage. Playing zone the help over top was too far inside to take away the big play that they forgot the sidelines can generate. Terrence Kiel looked slow covering tight ends. Kwamie Lassiter continues to underperform.

Grade: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Coverage teams eventually doomed the team as they were in the midst of an emotional lift when R.W. McQuarters made his fourth quarter return. A low Daren Bennett punt did not help. What was Eric Parker thinking when he did not call for a fair catch on that punt Charles Tillman clobbered him on? Parker had a day to forget as he got injured on the play and fumbled another return that ended up back in his hands. Tim Dwight has been bad on kickoff returns and Leon Johnson replaced him, looking better. A Christie field goal was blocked.

Grade: F

COACHING: When Brees nearly cost Reche Caldwell his life, he should have been pulled. Schottenheimer did not do a good job of recognizing Brees was off his game from the beginning. Tough challenges ahead with the locker room closely eyeing the QB situation. Not getting the ball to Tomlinson in the second half was another gaffe on the growing list.

Grade: F

Injury report:

On Reche: "He is fine, that was a scary moment, but he is fine."

On Parker: "Eric Parker is going to have surgery on his shoulder and it will put him out for the year. He had an injury in college and it is one that we wrestled with, it went out on him again (Sunday). Eric won't be available.

"Jamal Williams has got a mild calf strain, but we are hopeful he will be available.

"Alexander will do a little bit of work this week. I am not sure he will be ready to go."

"We've got Vernon Fox back and Reche is fine."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

SD Super Chargers Top Stories