However, I do disagree with Mr. Warner on a number of points. You are a winning coach, no question. Without you we would not have been 12 –4 last year. Without you Drew Brees would not have become the player he is today. Without you A.J. Smith might not be the genius he has become. We did not achieve that record by mistake or in spite of your efforts. You put together a tremendous staff, made the adjustments in your coaching style and approach, and had tremendous success. Mr. Warner cannot take that away from you.
Last year you made big changes in practically everything you held dear and believed to be true. You changed your practice style, you changed your interactions, you even changed the locks at the facility. The result was a stupendous year that culminated in the worst defeat in my 32-year history as a fan, a defeat that has stuck with me far longer than the ‘81 AFC championship game. Why did it happen? Because with all your changes you have stopped short of the one change that will allow you to win. It is time to complete the catharsis.
As Mr. Warner pointed out, you are revered for your interpersonal skills. You have shown yourself to be a hell of a human being, caring and considerate. This is where the change is most needed. On Sunday afternoons you have to change this one aspect of your personality. For three and a half quarters this year we have been the best team in football but when it comes down to the end, you go soft, you let up, you stop doing what brought you and start to dance with another guys date. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Killer instinct is what you lack. The ability to not eek out a win, but totally embarrass the opposition. The ability to go for the jugular, kick sand in someone's face, eat someone else's lunch and make fun of their mother while you do. In the last four minutes of a ball game you have to be bad, bad to the bone. Rip that victory from the other teams grasp and stomp on their faces as you run away with it laughing at them. Stop playing ‘not to lose' and start playing to win, exactly the way you play it for the first fifty-six minutes of every game. When we have a lead with four minutes to play we have the defense to win it, we have the offense to secure it, what we don't have is a coach willing to let it happen.
Check the record, the Chargers have not lost a game by more than four points in 21 games. That is almost as long as you have been the coach. Is it coincidence? I think not. Complete the Catharsis! Be mean! Be nasty! Kick Some Butt! You can do it!
Your ‘end of game' philosophy is to secure a win by not placing your team in a high risk situation and allowing a mistake to turn the game around.
How's that working out for you? It sucks for me.
Not a single loss by more than four points in 21 games! Something isn't working here. From now on, when the game is on the line do the opposite of what your heart tells you. Trust your team. The offense can complete a pass when they need to. The defense can stop a team when they need to. Last week one more first down ends the game without the need to score. One first down! But instead you use our last time out to set up a field goal. I can still see Matt Ware running with that blocked kick. First and second down are for advancing the ball, not for playing it ‘safe' and running into the teeth of a defense that has shut us down all game. It happened last year against the Jets, this year against the Cowboys, the Broncos and the Steelers. In the last four minutes you need to hit someone so hard that the pain becomes genetic. You have to smash their X-Box, bash their cars, steal their jewelry, make them cry out for mercy.
We are the best team in football for fifty-six minutes and we become the wimpiest team in the league for the final four. Compete the Catharsis and we will start to win. You have changed so much and achieved such great results. Trust yourself with the knowledge that one more change could bring you that Super Bowl victory that ‘playing it safe' has kept from you. Play to win, do not play ‘not to lose.' I have faith in you, the team and your combined capabilities. Complete the Catharsis.