The Justice Files

HEY NOW. Welcome to another installment of "The Justice Files: Strong Island Bureau." It's been one hell of a week since we spoke. On Saturday, the ashes of the late Hunter S. Thompson were shot into the skies of Woody Creek, Colorado. Earlier that day, apparently, Antonio Gates was frantically trying to catch a flight to San Diego. He and his agent claim that this is what caused him to miss the 12:30 PM deadline that The Organization had set.

How credible is this account of the events? I have no idea. Why Gates wouldn't communicate his intentions to the Chargers before it became too late is baffling. I assume that, despite his claims to the contrary, he wanted to see if A.J. Smith would back down.

He didn't and the Chargers carried through on their threat to put Gates on whatever list will make him ineligible to play in the next three games. I assume that Smith felt he needed to do this to maintain credibility for this and future negotiations. The preseason games aren't troubling, but it sucks that Gates won't be able to play in the season opener against Dallas. The Cowboys will be a hell of a lot better than last year. Parcells has too much pride and much better players to allow them suck that badly. They showed that they could score against Seattle.

All that being said, the Chargers should beat Dallas even without Gates. Last year, we beat all the teams that we "should have" and lost mostly to playoff caliber clubs. I don't think that will necessarily be the case this season. I don't want to see us ever drop a game to a lesser opponent, but I would like to see us rise to the occasion against the better clubs. That's why a 10-6, but more battle tested, team could go farther than last year's team.

Longtime JUSTICE IS COMING reader David Graham echoed this sentiment:

Hey Ross,
Hope all is well in the 'burbs. I read your last article as a nice training camp primer. I didn't see the GB game, but listened for a bit on SD Rock 105.3. I guess the big worry from that game was our young kicker. It was good to see him get the monkey off his back in the Rams game. He should be fine going forward. I was quite concerned that AJ didn't really dip into the free agent market to shore up the secondary (B. Jue excepted). I guess our hopes rest on Jammer's post-Lasix eyes. From what I saw in the Rams game, it was same old Jammer, but we will see.

Man, the first half of the Rams game was fun to watch. I also caught the Chargers Training Camp on the NFL Network this week. What struck me most was the level of enthusiasm and desire to win in that locker room. My initial skepticism was that it was unlikely that they could repeat the 12-4 record. Given the brutal schedule, it still may be unlikely, but even with fewer wins they will still be a better, hungrier team in 2005 which will serve them well come playoff time.

Go Bolts!
David Graham

P.S. I put a few shekels in the JIC coffers since I read it weekly...It's better than my SI subscription!

As my site says, any financial contribution to the site goes back into keeping the domain name and I always send you a shirt. Just remember that I make those shirts one at a time by taking the design to a photo store and that it costs me twenty bucks every time. So with the postage, I essentially break even on the merchandise. But I like doing it. Incidentally, Pete Christopher and I will work on some new shirt designs for the coming season.

The 'burbs don't have NFL Network, but I was able to hear the Rams game on SIRIUS, with the 105.3 broadcast. Hank Bauer and the new guy were great. I loved the "Anchorman" sound bytes. I hope Dave & Busters is paying Bauer well, because he must have mentioned that he was going there to party about ten times. He said that Jammer "had a pretty good season" last year, but then described Quentin once again have no idea where the ball was against St. Louis. I think I read that John Parrella is on the Rams, but I didn't hear his name on Sunday. I saw another quarterback "controversy" article this week, in Thursday's USA Today. That story won't play out until the end of the season as I said last week. I liked A.J. Smith's comment that he builds the team one year at a time. When the season ends, he starts over. That's the best approach with the cap and free agency.

I know that Peelle will play against Dallas, but I liked Krause in that KC game. Of course, their defense blew. I won't be able to catch the next two preseason contests because I am going away with Sam for our two-year anniversary and I am seeing Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby in Central Park on the night of the 49ers game. There's also an Alice Cooper/Cheap Trick show lodged in there.

It goes without saying, but this installment of "The Justice Files" is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Herrion.

Enjoy the Minnesota game,
-RLW


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