Chargers have No Game

You look for something to build on. Some small spark that will be the difference between a win and another loss. <br><br> What will motivate this San Diego Chargers club? What will make the team stay focused through the rest of the season. Will contract years play a part in certain unrestricted free agents play? <br><br> What is the consensus from the staff? After Thanksgiving dinner, do they even realize Kansas City is coming to town?

"There is no magic…," Marty Schottenheimer began.

Not even Flutie Magic?

"…there is no mystery…"

Why no receiver besides David Boston stepped up? Why the team can't tackle? Why the defensive line does not pressure the QB? Why the defensive gameplan has not changed since the first miserable performance in week one?

"…about our game."

Put those sentences together and Schottenheimer is right. The team stinks. No magic will help them. No mystery about how bad they are and they don't have any game.

The truth about a winning coach is seen in the following statement:

"The thing we know as we get ready to go to San Diego is it's always tough," Dick Vermeil said.

He knows that he can take nothing for granted.

The Chargers are so focused on their losing ways that they have become introverts, not even seeing who they are about to play.

"We've lost three out of the last four football games there," Vermeil continued. "Last year we went out there and lost 34-35; we defied the odds by being plus three or four in turnovers."

Vermeil is aware of the classic letdown game. The Chargers have not had to worry about games like that. Every game is another in a series of lows.

They can't stop the run or the pass on defense and the offense has seen so many injuries that the receiving corps is down to a trickle of talent.

Funny thing is the Chiefs know what this game is all about. They are not scared, but they are well aware of the Chargers. A 10-1 team thinks the Chargers will be a challenge!

"San Diego is a division game," Priest Holmes said. "That is going to bring out its own difficulties as far as trying to run the ball and pass the ball."

Maybe the Chargers will give San Diego a test. Maybe they will rise to the challenge behind Schottenheimer. The troops will rally and see the light. The emotional drain of losses will reach its zenith and players will play for their lives.

Or they could continue the downward spiral that has the fans thinking the team has lost respect for its coach.

"I don't think Marty Schottenheimer is capable of losing a football team emotionally," Vermeil said. "He's capable of losing football games just like I am, but he's too strong a person himself. Most of those terms, ‘losing teams emotionally' and all that come from depressed players and/or media that are looking for reasons to explain some things that aren't going well. But Marty Schottenheimer is too strong a leader to lose anything. He may lose some individuals who deserve to be lost, but sometimes you don't find out what individuals are all about until you put them through severe adversity."

Depressed players – the whole team should be depressed after the effort they have shown. If they won't play for the coach, they need to start playing for themselves. Saving next year starts today.

"We're not going out there with a mindset of allowing the San Diego Chargers to rejuvenate their season and kick-start going into the next season with some momentum," said Vermeil. "I know a lot of you say that's a coach's cliché. Maybe it is, but I know this: last week the four top teams in the AFC, three of them had to come from behind to win. One of them had to break a tie right here in this stadium to win. All this against teams that did not have winning records."

The sign of a good coach. San Diego could only be so lucky.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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