The Chargers are 5-5 but all is not lost. All together now Chargers: "Thank God for the AFC West!"…
Bolts Report Card
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- It's hard to figure out the way the coaching staff is using LaDainian Tomlinson. He had just 16 rushes for 62 yards -- that's nearly a 4.0-yard average but the team isn't bent on proving it can run on a consistent basis. Tomlinson did get five touches in the passing game and spit out 93 yards. The offensive line, according to the head coach, isn't as stout as it was last year.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- The unit was hit for two touchdowns, one in which Antonio Cromartie was burned. Still missing in action is the pass rush, which was so ferocious last year. The team led the NFL with 61 sacks last year but has but 19 to date. David Garrard was coming off a three-game absence from an ankle sprain, but the Chargers couldn't get to him once for a sack. FS Marlon McCree is still having a difficult time with his angles and tackling.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus -- It was Fred Taylor, and not Maurice Jones-Drew, who gave the Chargers the most trouble. Taylor rushed for 85 yards while Jones-Drew collected 33 yards and a score. Overall, the Chargers run defense -- which used to be a strength -- was hit for 122 yards. The sporadic play of CB Quentin Jammer (hamstring), who is usually solid in run support, was among the factors.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Darren Sproles had trouble fielding a kickoff and his overall game was light years away from the previous Sunday, when he brought a kickoff and punt back for scores. He averaged 7.5 yards on two kickoff attempts and just 5.7 yards on three punt returns. The coverage units gave up a 25-yard punt return by Dennis Northcutt and a long of 26 by Jones-Drew. P Mike Scifres averaged 44.8 yards with a long of 63.
COACHING: F -- Do the Chargers get it? Another week of inconsistent play, another week of the Chargers not playing up to their potential. Some interesting play-calling from Norv Turner - two carries too many by FB Lorenzo Neal -- and the defense continues to play passive. What's more telling is some of the team's biggest stars -- Tomlinson and Merriman -- are not questioning the commitment of the team. That is a big-time red flag that can be traced to the team's leadership. If the players won't listen or respect Turner and his staff, they need to listen to the leaders on the club. Time is running out.
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