If there's one blogger I turn to for San Diego Chargers' info, it's Rob from Bolt Hype. Rob was kind enough to answer some of your questions about this weekend's game. Without further ado...
Last year, Philip Rivers had much success by just not making mistakes. Is he on his way to becoming an elite QB in this league, or just a "safe" pick at QB for the Chargers?
Philip Rivers is going to be just fine. In weeks one and two, he struggled a bit with turning the ball over at inopportune times. Not that there is ever a good time to throw up an interception, but having your first pass in the game puts you behind the eight ball. Rivers bounced back with an excellent showing up in Green Bay, and he'll continue to get better. Let's not forget that he is only a second year starter. His receivers are different than last year and the running game has struggled to move the ball. Rivers might not make the Pro Bowl this season with the talent the AFC has at QB (Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady), but he is certainly on his way to becoming an elite quarterback.
Do you think the players aren't responding to the new coaches, the schedule or is it a new system, basically who's to blame for the slow start from what many say is the most talented team in the league?
The blame falls on the entire team, both coaches and players. The Chargers have a giant bulls-eye on them; LT is the reigning MVP, Shawne Merriman is both loved and hated among NFL fans, Gates is the best Tight End in the game, etc etc etc.
The Chargers need to get back to being humble and playing one game at a time. Something that Marty Schottenheimer was excellent at was keeping his players in check. He respected them as men, but he wouldn't let their heads get big. Looking past the upcoming opponent was not allowed on Schottenheimer's team, and I think the Chargers have bought into the buzz that they are Super Bowl favorites. I'm not saying they thought they could coast right into the playoffs, but they might have taken getting into the playoffs for granted. They need to take it one game at a time, and that starts with the Chiefs.
What was the general feeling when Marty got sacked? Do they miss him? Is there resentment towards the G.M.?
I get asked this question a lot, so I'll give you the general spiel:
The fans had mixed feelings about Marty. He was a likable person who truly loved his players, and was a character on the sidelines. He certainly seemed like a coach, even if he wasn't calling the plays. But he had such a stigma about him; a conservative coach who played not to lose instead of playing to win. He was a guy who could build up a team by instilling discipline and work ethic in his players. But his teams seemed to always hit a ceiling. Marty could only take a team so far. It was his nature to almost handcuff his Quarterback. Our defensive backs played timid under Marty; they seemed almost so afraid to make a mistake that they rarely took gambles and as a result never put up impressive interception numbers.
Certainly fans appreciate what Marty did for the Chargers, but it was clearly time to go in another direction. This is why its so fitting that Norv Turner is now the head coach. Coach Turner has never been one to build a team up from nothing, and luckily he doesn't have to do that in San Diego. Coach Turner doesn't need to establish a winning attitude in San Diego; he doesn't need to rid the locker room of malcontents and he doesn't need to stock the roster with players who can play in his scheme. He is going to be asked to do what he does best, and that's command an offense; the same offense he established in Tomlinson's rookie year. The Chargers have firepower that exceeds what Turner had in his Championship years in Dallas. All he needs to do is steer the ship.
However, so far the team has started 1-2 and there is a growing sense of concern. Winning these next three division games is of the up most importance, so it'll be interesting to see if the coaching staff can prepare the team with good game plans which are executed at the level the Chargers are capable of. If not, then we could be in for a long season…
How has Booger Davis looked thus far? Does he have a better future than our own LSU receiver, Dwayne Bowe?
Booger? Ooooh, you mean BUSTER. Buster has been looking real good. He has excellent route running abilities and makes all the catches. The team seems to be bringing him along slowly, but I expect his opportunities for balls is going to increase as the season progresses. I'm not in the position to say Davis is going to be better than Bowe, but I will say that Davis fits what our team needed more than Bowe did. We need a stretch-the-field type guy who can get deep and provide speed down the sidelines. Bowe seemed more of an endzone, over-the-middle type guy who is big and strong. Between Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, he have plenty of that already on the team. Both players seem to be helping their teams, and that's a testament to the talent level that LSU is putting out in the NFL.
What are your impressions of the Chiefs so far this season?
I really enjoyed the Hard Knocks show and in a way got intimately familiar with a team I would have never otherwise cared so much about. I am particularly impressed with the young defense being built in Kansas City. There is a lot of speed on that team and that's going to be a great unit in a year or two. I can sympathize with the struggles at QB and its obviously a huge factor on a team's ability to be successful. It'll be interesting to see if the Chiefs stay committed to Brodie Croyle next season. There is plenty of good college quarterback prospects for them to scout this year.
Overall, I don't think the Chiefs are in a position to win the division so long as Denver and San Diego maintain their ability to win consistently. But the Chiefs seem to always be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot and having Larry Johnson in the backfield is always going to make the Chiefs competitive.
Thanks again Rob. Don't forget to check out Bolt Hype for the latest Chargers info and analysis.