The Justice Files

About a month ago, when the Chargers were 3-4, I spotted a discussion thread on the message board here with the heading "Justice Is Coming?" The first few posts (after the initial one) were from fans who had no idea what that meant. The picture that accompanied my column last week was a shirt design I made from the "Tombstone" movie poster. The film, which premiered on Christmas Day, 1994 was promoted with the tagline "Justice Is Coming."

The poster, on which I superimposed the heads of Humphries, Ross, Beathard and Seau, shows the Earp brothers advancing over the horizon to drive the Cowboy Gang out of town. The slogan and imagery originally appealed to me because it was the perfect example of the good guys rising up and fulfilling their destiny. As I sat in the stands on that January Sunday in 1995, I knew once the Bolts hit the field that they were deserving of this mantra.

But this year's team was not. At the beginning of the season, I wrote that 10-6 would be an admirable record with the difficult schedule. Man, did that come back to bite me in the butt. Of course, I thought 10 wins would get us into the postseason. But this team failed several critical tests this year. People can point to the losses in fall, but the Chargers' defining moments came (as they should) in December. If they had won some of those early ones, they might have dropped other contests. But they still had a chance in the season's last month. But they came out flat against Miami and simply dead last Saturday. No matter what Marty Schottenheimer says, this time DID underachieve big time. Fortunately, I'm not the only fan that thinks so:


Your "Justice Files" are great!

Unfortunately the Chargers aren't...

Wish I didn't care...Headache

The Chargers have strengths to build on. I hope AJ sees the problems with the secondary for what they are. Otherwise, we could have an "emperor's new clothes" scenario. Brilliant player moves in all other areas are offset by really poor drafting and free agent moves (or lack thereof) in the secondary. Fletcher, Hart & Kiel give good depth--now get some starting corners and safeties. Is this organization incapable of putting together a championship secondary? When they do it will be first time ever.

How about an OT? Why are we cheap in this key position? What happened to the line in run blocking? Injuries, coaching, talent? What happened to LT the last five weeks? Injuries to him? To the O line?

Brees disappeared again against KC. Is he the man?

I guess we will have Marty for another year or more but Phillips might be more valuable and he appears to be gone.

You probably don't read this stuff but I feel better having written it. I live in Daytona, where no one else cares about the Bolts.

One good thing came out of this season--Tangarita's Just mix tangerines (freshly squeezed), Patrón and Cointreau.


Mike V.

Obviously, I do read every e-mail I get. I feel better not only after my own venting, but reading the screeds of others. Mike, I am sorely disappointed with Drew Brees' performance in the second half of the year. He really screwed us when we needed us the most. His poor performances lost the Miami and KC games and should have lost the games in New Jersey and Washington. Some might argue that he won the Colts game for us, but I maintain that Shawne Merriman and Michael Turner helped Drew out of his own mess. His accuracy was off, his pocket awareness was sorely lacking and I didn't see the leadership that propelled us to the postseason last year.

One thing that Marty Schottenheimer WAS right about was that this year's team had more talent. In his crusade for a long-term deal, Brees has said that the interceptions are an easily fixable area. Then why didn't he do something about it when it mattered? I don't know what Philip Rivers is capable of and neither will any other Charger fan after Saturday. But his disappearance during the stretch run have caused me to withdraw my support for Drew.

Unfortunately, he played just well enough to tempt The Organization to keep him. The same goes for Schottenheimer, who I obviously don't think gets the most out of this team. Why was Merriman off the field for the 3rd and long play that became the winning score on Saturday? Quentin Jammer also played well enough this season to make A.J. Smith consider retaining him. He actually made a few plays, but I think he just looked good in comparison to the horrid performance of Drayton Florence. I've read that the cornerbacks were really hurt by poor safety play. Nonetheless, we need to upgrade in the secondary. Please send Jammer packing.

As for the O-Line, they were simply manhandled in the season's second half. LT had no room to run. I'm not sure how bad his ribs were, but he's not a great North/South runner (compared to his insane lateral ability) to begin with. Like Merriman, Turner proved in Indy that he was more than capable. Schottenheimer's stubbornness kept him on the sideline in Arrowhead.

I'll save the rest of my vitriol for next week. The Chargers will once again be televised nationally in a game that should have meant something. Unfortunately, it will just be the official start of the season of regret. Pittsburgh and Jacksonville got stronger when the chips were down for them and we just folded. That's what makes me sick.

But I won't let it ruin my New Year's. I'll see this season off in style. I hope you all do the same. Mike, I will get back to you with my results with the Tangarita recipe.

Until '06,


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