Know Your Enemy: San Diego Chargers, 2013 Week 3

When you think Chargers, you do not think “model NFL franchise”. You think “why don’t they wear powder blue all the time” or “that LT guy was pretty good”. I think “why does this team always pound the Titans into the dust”? The Chargers and the Titans are 1-1, and that’s one more win each than NFL experts predicted. Guess what, someone gets to go 2-1.

Let’s get to the questions. I have Jerome Watson on the horn, so to speak to talk from a Chargers point of view.

Did the heavens open up and the angels cry when the Chargers let Norv and AJ Smith go? Ha. If you were to interview any other member of Charger faithful, they’d answer the question with “absolutely”. Allowing AJ Smith to walk was more of blessing than allowing Norv to walk. Smith’s stubborness, un-adaptability and pride drove this team into the ground and put the organization in a tough spot (salary cap wise) going forward. As you know, from last year’s interview, that I’m one of few Norv supporters and felt like he just wasn’t put in a position to succeed. [Zach note: Call this Norvholm Syndrome.] He isn’t a coach who can make average players into good or great ones, he’s a coach who can take an already good group and make them better. After AJ stripped him of what made this offense churn (Sproles, Jackson), Norv couldn’t do the things he wanted and ended up becoming the scapegoat of the 2012 campaign. Through the turmoil though, he still notched 7 wins. Which I think was solid given the talent gap.

Philip Rivers is looking strong so far. Were we wrong to discount him as an elite NFL QB? No. You were wrong if you thought Rivers WAS an elite QB. Philip is awesome, Philip is a realllllllly good quarterback, but in reality, two elite years out of 7 does not make you an elite QB overall. Rivers has looked more comfortable, I agree there. But I’ve never put too much stock into one game, especially versus a defensive unit like Philadelphia’s. Houston and Wade Phillips caught on to what the QB was doing and you seen flashes of the Rivers we saw from 2011 and 2012. I love Philip though, I will back him as long as he’s here but I can’t lie to you and say he’s an elite quarterback. Each evaluator has their own checklist but I, personally, only see three true elite QBs and a few emerging ones. [Zach note: Matt Flynn, Blaine Gabbert and who else?]

Ryan Mathews. Discuss. 3. Underutilized equals underperformance. And I’m sticking to that. [Zach note: It says a lot when a new coaching staff comes in and uses a guy exactly the same way that the previous coaching staff did.]

(But to keep things in perspective, Ryan still has a problem with keeping two hands on the ball through the hole and two hands on it with approaching contact. Teams are gunning for the fumble when he carries it and he hasn’t grasped that. Kudos to the staff for sticking with him after the fumble though. That was refreshing and surely a confidence builder)

Do you take it personally as a big time fan of the team when there’s constant talk of blackouts and moving the team? In reference to blackouts, I don’t. I mean us natives aren’t going to pay 100 bucks to sit close to the flags with the Chargers fielding this type of talent. It’s crazy. When the Chargers were cooking and had a talent-laden roster, the Murph never had a problem selling out. As that roster diminished and losses became the norm, blackouts occured and I don’t blame the people one bit. [Zach note: I do enjoy the experience of being at a live game but the home experience is pretty sweet. Better beer, too.]

Moving wise, yes. I hate the uncertainity. I hate the year to year thing. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the Padres or what the Aztecs are building, but the Chargers are the heart of this city and it’s all we have. I’m a total homer and couldn’t see myself rooting for them should they move north. I’d have love for the players, yes, but telling someone my favorite team is the “City of Industry Chargers” is something I can not do, Mr. Zach.

Who do the Titans need to worry about when they’re on defense? Antonio Gates. Eddie Royal and Philip Rivers are the hot topic right now but Antonio has been nothing short of spectacular in the aerial game and surprisingly still improving in the route running department. [Zach note: Titans have improved on D, but they still can’t cover the TE.] It’s scary. He hasn’t scored yet but has 4 3rd down catches for 1st downs, 9 total catches resulting in firsts, which adds up 90% of his receptions being for first downs. I know that Titans D has been solid thus far and are coming into their own but the linebackers are young and it could be long day for them, ask Mychal Kendricks.

Why can’t the Chargers accept reality and go powder blue full time? Lol. Personally, I’d prefer the “Fouts’ color scheme over that; Balboa Blue and Yellow Pants, but I’m in the minority there. The people love the powder blue but I think exposing it only a few times a year makes it more exciting. Especially when they wear them versus teams who derive from the “AFL”.

What’s your bottom line on how the game will go? Unfortunately Mr Zach, I see a loss for the Titans. I predicted that the Chargers would lose the first two and notch their first win in this very game. I do think Tennessee is capable of keeping the game close but should the Chargers go up early or it somehow becomes a shootout, I don’t see Jake Locker winning the game without balance. [Zach note: Nobody I’ve interviewed so far believes in the Titans. It’s like they have a reputation for being not good.]

Hit me with some plugs, where people can find you. First, thank you for this. I always enjoy it and you are awesome. You can find me via twitter @SkinnyDuzIt and I’m a contributor for the Bolts From the Blue via SB Nation.

Thank you Jerome. I bet you enjoyed the Football Life with LaDainian Tomlinson.

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