RB LaDainian Tomlinson (Jamie Squire/Getty)
LaDainian Tomlinson is as surprised as everyone else about the Chargers' winless start, and how a team that was going to breeze through the AFC West and finally make another Super Bowl is in the division cellar.
How the Chargers, after two weeks, are looking up at the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.
But that's where the Chargers sit after being on the wrong end of a 39-38 verdict in Denver on Sunday that included two head-scratching calls which might have changed the game.
But there is no change coming and that has some Chargers followers very concerned -- for no reason.
That's LaDainian Tomlinson take in wake of the second heartbreaking loss in as many weeks.
"This is the deal," Tomlinson said, matter-of-factly. "We're 0-2. Obviously when you are 0-2 people start to panic, it's human nature. Even we start to panic -- but guys it's a long season, we have four months."
Tomlinson is right, but so are those concerned about the Chargers. Yes, referee Ed Hochuli had some strange calls Sunday.
But it's no mystery the defense is taking one round house after another. The run defense is marginal -- at best -- the pass rush is non-existent and the play in the secondary is cover-your-eyes bad.
Still, Tomlinson preaches patience. And with the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins up next, he may be on to something. And the Chargers did spit out a 1-3 start last year to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Then again, if the Chargers don't get a few things fixed quickly, those next three games will be challenging as well.
"Were in the first quarter of the season," he said. "I promise you it's like I told you last year -- you can take this to the bank.
"This team is a like a quarter horse and at the end it will come running. I guarantee it."
-- Running back LaDainian Tomlinson said he isn't sensing that his toe will ail him over the next three-to-four weeks. He was restricted to 10 carries on Sunday. "No, no, no, I'm not sensing that at all," he said. "I'll be very surprised if I have to deal with this to injury for another three weeks."
-- Quarterback Philip Rivers said this season's start look all too familiar.
"We're going to find out about us," he said. "Last year we were tested at 1-3 and 5-5, and we found out and fought through it. We're back in it again, with what I think is a tougher stretch coming up."
Actually the next three are against the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins. But after that it's the Patriots, Bills, Saints.
--The Chargers have allowed a combined 40 points and 600 yards in the first halves of the opening two games.
-- Cornerback Antonio Cromartie let his emotions get the best of him when he was flagged for four penalties. "It wasn't frustration," he said. "It was more showing too much emotion. I gave up a lot of key stuff in the first half and had a lot of penalties I don't normally have."
--Coach Norv Turner has voiced his displeasure with Sunday's officiating and has sent plays into the league office to be reviewed. But there's little he, or the Chargers can do except turn the page. "Maybe they will give us one down the road somewhere," linebacker Shaun Phillips said.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
-- SS Clinton Hart underwent hand surgery Monday to repair a fracture. But he said he doesn't anticipate missing Monday's game against the Jets.
-- CB Antonio Cromartie, whose play Sunday was substandard, remains sore with a hip injury.
-- TE Antonio Gates (toe) reported being sore. Gates had four catches Sunday but he remains compromised with his injury.
-- SS Eric Weddle, in his second year and first as a starter, has been unable to deflect a game-winning pass in consecutive weeks. But his job is safe.
-- C Nick Hardwick (foot) will increase his practice load this week. He could return for the Raiders game on Sept. 28.
-- LT Marcus McNeill (neck) could return to practice this week; the team will know more Wednesday.
-- OLB Shaun Phillips is nursing a sore groin. He's yet to record a sack this year.