The Justice Files: September

Living in New York my entire life, I've found myself surrounded by Jet fans. Most of them resemble "Turtle" from the HBO series Entourage. Fortunately, I happen to be friends with the few exceptions to that rule. Last night, my friend Matt from Staten Island gave me a call. He told me he'd spent the Jets' bye week watching the Chargers game on his new satellite dish.

"The defense isn't half bad. But they really need to run some screen passes to Tomlinson."

I was thinking the same thing on Sunday. Nick Canepa of the Union-Tribune argued the same point in his column last week. It's not as if the Chargers haven't seen how effective a screen can be. Remember last year's game against Kansas City? How many times did Trent Green hold on to the ball just until the pass rush flooded the pocket and the offensive linemen were in position? At first, I'm sure the Chargers thought they were oh-so-close to a sack. But our former coach, Al Saunders, was simply scripting plays to get Priest Holmes the ball in the open field.

Is our offensive line remotely as good as KC's? Obviously not. That's why Holmes buys those guys Rolexes and plasma screen televisions every year. But LaDainian Tomlinson has become the best running back in football behind groups that were far worse than this year's. It's a crime that he's not utilized more in the passing game. However, for some reason there was a reported instance of the Chargers throwing the ball to Jesse Chatman on Sunday.

In the Sports Illustrated profile on Tomlinson, Lorenzo Neal revealed that opposing defenses were calling out the Chargers' plays beforehand last season. Is this year any different? How many runs into the center of the line can Cameron call? It takes guts to call the reverse to Dwight, I'll admit. But why are we attempting an option play instead of a sweep to LDT? Relying so heavily on Tim Dwight's feet wouldn't be so bad if he could have kept both in bounds near the end zone.

Of course, if questioned Schottenheimer will act like there's nothing wrong. The assistant coaches are forbidden to talk to the media, which is a sign of a disciplined team if the head coach actually has control of his players.

Maybe, Drew Brees is not be able to throw an accurate screen pass. It's no secret that his read progressions are painfully slow, which causes him to hold on to the ball too long. He has more passes batted down at the line of scrimmage than Doug Flutie. He's usually good for at least a couple one-hoppers a game and overthrew two wide-open receivers Sunday on would have been touchdowns. After the game, the Bunkos admitted that they were daring Brees to beat them and he couldn't do it. Brees responded by saying how that just fired him up to make teams pay. Denial, sweet denial.

Maybe Marty felt the heat from Phillip Rivers' extended camera time from the bench since Flutie's been dropped down to third string. Even Tomlinson, Brees' biggest supporter, admitted that the Chargers need more production at quarterback. Sunday was a game that they could have won. The defense played well and exposed Denver as a mediocre group. But you give any team that many opportunities and they will eventually convert. Osgood's penalty was another mental mishap from "Marty's Boys." I thought that we might escape with a "running into the kicker" distinction, but the refs punished our stupidity to the fullest extent. Not only did Ashley Lelie push off on the subsequent touchdown, but a MAMMOTH hold that kept Plummer from being sacked on the play. However, teams that bungle so many chances in one game have a tendency to get screwed on the calls as well. It would have been nice to see a few more blitzes from Wade Phillips, but the offense lost this one. Not only are Cameron's calls predictable, but they're generally wimpy.

Steve McNair may not be on the field on Sunday, but the Bolts know they let one get away in Denver. This team is stuck in quicksand with Brees at the helm. I feel like I'm always pushing for the next quarterback or the next coach to take over, but if the Spanoses made better personnel decisions in the first place I might not have to. As the Peter "Pinchas" Brady once sang, ‘when it's time to change, you've got to rearrange who you are into what you're gonna be.'


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