New city, but same old Chargers

In 2004, the San Diego Chargers selected Eli Manning with the first pick in the draft, but he never played a down for them.

Eli was adamant he wouldn’t play for the Chargers so they traded him to the Giants, who gave them Philip Rivers, the player they drafted with the fourth pick.

Not much has changed for the Chargers except they moved to Los Angeles to share a stadium with the Rams since then. They haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl since 1994. It was their only appearance and they were routed by the 49ers.

Eli went on to win two Super Bowls for the Giants, while Rivers put up a lot of good numbers but never made it to the Super Bowl.

This is some history that Justin Herbert needs to study and understand that if he spends his career with the Chargers, he will probably be like Rivers. Put up good numbers but never make it to the Super Bowl. There is even a word for the Charger mishaps – “Chargering.” The Spanos family has a history of falling short.

After the 27-0 meltdown against the Jaguars and the decision to keep Coach Brandon Staley, it is obvious the Chargers are still spinning their wheels. They only fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, the grandson of Vince, and quarterback coach Shane Gray. They should have cleaned house and gotten rid of Staley and GM Tom Telesco.

It should have been obvious after two years that Staley isn’t a good fit for the Chargers. To start with, he’s a defensive coach and they should have an offensive guru with an asset like Herbert.

And Staley’s management of the game is suspect. He tends to go for it too often on fourth down and last year his timeout with 38 seconds left in overtime of a tie game against the Raiders in the season finale when a tie would have put both teams in the playoffs helped hand the Raiders a win and knock them out of the playoffs.

This year, he played his starters in a meaningless season finale and lost Mike Williams for the Jaguars game when he broke a bone in his back.

 And Daniel Popper in The Athletic detailed all the mistakes they made on both sides of the ball once they got the 27-0 lead.

With less than three minutes left they had a 3rd and 1 at their 27 and Lombardi sent in two plays – an interior run or a jet sweet if the Jaguars were stacked against the run. They were so Herbert called the jet sweep. Lombardi sent it in even though they had a negative 21 yards using it four times in the past. They also had a backup at the position who missed the switch in plays and wasn’t looking for the ball. The exchange was fumbled and the Chargers had to punt and the Jaguars scored to make it 27-7.

In the second half, the Jaguars used a dozen no huddle plays compared to three in first half and the Chargers didn’t adjust. The plays averaged 10.5 yards a play and three completions of 20 yards or more including a 39 yard touchdown pass against a busted coverage.

Then there was the undisciplined play as Joey Bosa was called for two unsportsmanlike penalties. He threw his helmet after the second one when officials missed a false start by Jawaan Taylor as Trevor Lawrence threw a touchdown pass. Bosa’s second penalty gave Jaguars a chance to go for two and Lawrence jumped over the top for the conversion and the Jaguars won with a field goal on final play.

In the end, the Chargers lost despite having a 5-0 edge in turnovers. Teams with that margin were 142-4-1 since 2000 and yet the Chargers lost.

Staley seems to be almost oblivious to the way it looked at his Wednesday press conference.

“I have a lot of confidence in the way we’ve done things for two years,” he said.

Huh? Is he serious?

Meanwhile, Herbert has to think about whether he should stay with Chargers. Unless they give him a Deshaun Watson contract — $230 million for five years – he should make a Kirk Cousins move and get franchised a couple of times and then leave as a free agent and sign with a team that has a Super Bowl shot..

As long as the Spanos family owns the team, Herbert is likely to be the next Rivers in a town in which the team plays second fiddle to the Rams.

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