If you are a fan of the San Diego Chargers long enough, you will realize that nothing comes easy for this franchise. The team has a long history of playing to the level of their opponent. Getting smashed by a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team one week, and playing the Green Bay Packers tough on the road in another week, is just an example of how maddening this team can be to support.
The Chargers always seem to play that way. Right when you think you have them figured out, they do something that completely makes you rethink your beliefs on this team. I might have been the only person to think this, but I believed they had a shot this past weekend in Green Bay. The team showed up and played well, but ultimately fell short of their goal. My philosophy with this team is to do a complete 180 of what should happen. The Chargers should have gotten run over in Green Bay, but of course they play the team tough and stay with them all game long. I truly believe this team can play with any team in the league, but at the same regard they can drop an easy home game to a win less team.
Sitting at 2-4 the Chargers desperately need a win at home this weekend against their division rival Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are coming off their bye and had plenty of time to scheme for their match-up with the Chargers. The Raiders will come out fired up as they intend to show they are no longer the doormat in the AFC West. Expect a tough game, as the Chargers are still battling injury issues.
Injuries are part of life in the National Football League. Every season teams have to move forward after losing key players to their squad. The game of football is a brutal sport and unfortunately players put their bodies on the line for the sport. There is an old adage in football. Next man up. The Chargers have had to use that mantra much of the season in an attempt to keep their sanity.
This year was supposed to be the year the Chargers had a dominant offensive line. That still might be the case eventually this season but the group as a whole has been annihilated by injuries. Only Joe Barksdale has managed to stay healthy the whole season. He is the only starting offensive lineman to not miss a game yet this season. D.J. Fluker (ankle), Chris Watt (groin), King Dunlap (concussion), and Orlando Franklin (ankle) are arguably the best lineman on the team but each has had a significant injury this year.
The injuries have not been limited to just the offensive line as Steven Johnson and Manti Te’o have both missed time recently. Jason Verrett, Brandon Flowers and Joseph Addai have also been injured and missed time earlier this season. The latest injuries are to Eric Weddle, Keenan Allen and Tourek Williams. All are dinged up and could miss time. Early indication is Allen will be alright for Sunday’s match-up against the Raiders, but Weddle could be missing his first game in six years.
Despite all these injury issues and the four game suspension of Antonio Gates, the Chargers still remain confident that the team will turn the corner. In all reality they have a very favorable schedule ahead of them. Only the Denver Broncos have a winning record out of the 10 games they have left on their schedule (home games against the Bears, Raiders, Chiefs, Dolphins and Broncos and road games against the Ravens, Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs and Jaguars). If the team can go 8-2 against these 10 opponents they will have a 10-6 record and be in great shape for the playoffs. Going 8-2 is no easy task, especially for this inconsistent Chargers team. It is still very possible though. So way too early to give up on this team.
The play of Philip Rivers despite a banged up offensive line is a real bright spot. He continues to get better with age like fine wine. His ability to audible and make in-game changes and adaptations is probably second to none. The fiery spirit in which he plays is contagious and you can be certain players will put it all on the line for their quarterback. If Rivers can get a healthy line in front of him, his numbers could even get better. But is that humanly possible?
With a healthy line, the running game should finally get on track. Rookie Melvin Gordon has struggled to find the holes and be consistent. A healthy line will go a long way towards Gordon being more consistent with his play. There are still 10 games left in the season, and to cal him a bust this early is being way to presumptuous. Gordon does need to hold on to the ball or he will never be given an opportunity to play. His two fumbles in Green Bay are a concern and he definitely needs to improve in that area. With a solid running game Rivers numbers could easily get better as defenses cannot continue to attack him with blitzes.
The 2-4 Chargers are not what fans envisioned when the season started. However this team has plenty of time to get back on track. There have been many injuries and off field issues that have plagued this team in 2015. The off field issues remain, but slowly the health of the team is improving and with that, the consistency in each game should improve. Stay positive Chargers fans, you all know nothing in the life of a San Diego Sports fan is easy. This team still has plenty of fight left in it and plenty more times to break our hearts.