Silver Lining -- Just A Mirage

The San Diego Chargers are 2-8 and head to Cincinnati this week and before looking ahead, there is still the cloud that hangs over the Bolts to contend with. So much went wrong it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack to put any positive spin on things. That didn't stop Marty Schottenheimer from trying.

You know it must be Christmas time when there is so much praise for such a bad team. The players are well aware of their miscues and most willingly accepted the fate that goes with being 2-8.

Not Marty Schottenheimer, who sees things through his rose colored glasses. They must be so foggy right now it is debatable whether he can see at all.

After getting torched by the Denver Broncos, Sammy Davis was praised by the coach.

"Sammy Davis prepares as well as anyone I have ever had and that is why he improves. I sit behind him in the meeting; he is writing everything down."

Nothing against Davis – he will be a solid corner in this league and has shown flashes. He has also had bouts of inconsistency. This past week he looked pedestrian in coverage. Writing everything down has nothing to do with absorption. But can we blame this rookie? He may even be absorbing, but when the lessons are about soccer it is hard to excel.

The Chargers have yet to execute a gameplan this season. It is hard to believe this team does not have enough talent. That said -- it must be the lessons being taught. There is no urgency even in Schottenheimer's voice. He is providing the same monotone dialogue that has somehow continually given him coaching chances.

The team has not gotten pressure on the quarterback consistently this season. Fans sit on the sidelines waiting for adjustments to come and none do. Dallas on Sunday night brought ten people in on a rush. They got burned, partially by bad coverage, but it was one of the gutsiest calls a team has made this season.

Will there come a time when the reigns are taken off this team and they change their ways just to see if it will work?

There is no room for it. The Chargers have been named the top supporter of the conservative party. No money was even needed to garner the title.

Next Schottenheimer gave praise to an offensive lineman. Was he watching the game? Doug Flutie didn't have time to read the names on the jerseys of his own lineman they were being turned so fast. LaDainian Tomlinson barely had a chance to suck in a breath before going down. There was nothing.

"On the positive side, I have been pleased with the development of Van Buren. And when he knows what to do he is pretty good. He is getting better. The number of assignment errors has been reduced and continue to drop each time that you see him play. It is encouraging. He did a decent job on (Trevor) Pryce in pass protection."

Again, not to take anything away from Courtney VanBuren's progress – he has shown some potential, but let us be real here. This is a different team with Vaughn Parker on the right side and most runs are going left. Van Buren may be able to block one man, but when the blitz came to their side, which was often and should have been game planned and expected, there was no help and assignment errors were in abundance.

"You are looking for things, in the situation we are in, that are encouraging and he is pretty good."

After being totally dominated there is no silver lining. The problems are far too numerous to mention in twenty stories. Instead of looking at the positives, Schottenheimer needs to start fixing things and if he can't he should step aside and let someone who can in.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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