The Justice Files

When Denis Savage asked me back in March to bring JUSTICE IS COMING to this esteemed site on a weekly basis, I was understandably skeptical. For the last ten years, I have been chronicling the exploits of the San Diego Chargers through the very singular perspective of someone who is clearly obsessed with them. Add in my almost equally strong love of the Grateful Dead, tequila and all things pop culture and you have a kaleidoscope of opinion that isn't suited (or intended) for everyone.

But Denis assured me that his site would channel readers from all the major sports outlets and that I would surely find new FAITHFUL READERS as result.

I am happy to report that Denis was right and that he has never once tried to curb or censor my insanity. Here is some proof of his foresight and wisdom:

Hi Ross,
I wanted to drop you a note and say I enjoy your "column" when I see it on Yahoo (a syndication partner of I am an 11-year season ticket holder and an avid Bolt fan. I included a photo of my auto for your amusement. If you are ever at the Q give me a shout, I got a cold beer waiting!

Noel Gilchrist

Noel's car appears in the space to your left. Since Sammy and I hope to make it San Diego this year, I may very well take him up on that beer. I also appreciated his use of quotes around the word column. I admitted to him that it's hard to come up with a weekly topic at this time of year, but that JUSTICE would be in full swing in the fall both here and at its permanent home at

Last week, I tried to pinpoint ways in which the Chargers (and Marty Schottenheimer) could improve against playoff caliber teams, which were their bane last season. God knows there are enough on them on this year's schedule. I've mentioned in the past that if you really respect your opponent, you need to carry a chip on your shoulder sufficient enough to defeat them.

Most of us agree that the Bolts looked a little timid when they came out against the Jets. My friend Mike, whom I mentioned last week, even admitted to me on Friday that the Bolts really were the better team going into that game.

There was a great thread on the message board entitled "WHAT SCHOTTENHEIMER CAN DO DIFFERENTLY TO WIN BIG GAMES."

I won't bother regurgitating the whole thing, since you can see it for yourself. But it really emphasized a lot of the points I've been struggling with. The overall theme was that the Bolts need to approach these contests as if they're facing the Traitors. They need to come out aggressive, possibly with even a trick play, and not tighten up as the game progresses. They need to concentrate, and not be to easily deterred from, getting the ball to the guys who can do something with it.

I was sorry to Jesse Chatman get the ax this week. He was always one of Sammy's favorites. But Darren Sproles is supposedly just the sort of playmaker we need for these tough games.

The discussion thread also made a good point about the importance of road games. Many of our most difficult games this season will be away from San Diego. Coming out strong (not stupid, like a Mike Martz team) will be especially important on the road. Sproles seems to be just the sort of guy we need.

Luis Castillo was also signed this week. It was nice to see him come to terms with The Organization without the aid of a reality show on the Spike network.

Drew Brees has also been popping up a lot lately as the cornerstone of the team's marketing campaign. There was an article in the L.A. Times that suggested it was odd for the team to be using a player who may not be around next season to promote it. I don't think so. The Bolts are putting the team in Drew's hands this year. If he can show that he can truly lead, he will be resigned to a long contract.

I know that Rivers might be hard to deal if he has no experience as an NFL starter. But struggling teams are always in search of the next great QB. We know that better than anyone. There will be suitors for Philip Rivers if that's how this thing plays out. If Brees proves himself, A.J. Smith won't deal him out of fear of finding a home for Rivers. He knows how long the Chargers have struggled to find the quarterback of the future.

That's it for this week. Next Monday would have been Jerry Garcia's 63rd birthday. August 9 will mark the ten-year anniversary of his death. I'm sure I'll wax a little nostalgic when we meet again.


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