San Diego…Y U No Be Consistent?

You’re killing me, Rivers.
The San Diego Chargers have always been an enigma to me.

From mid 2005 to 2010, they were on par with the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts. And then…they disappeared. 2011-12 were throw-away years for the Chargers, mostly at the hands of former head coach Norv Turner.

But for me, whenever I would try to predict individual team records for the season, the Chargers were one of the biggest challenges for me to guess. Why?

I’ve never been quite sure.

Most fans blame A.J. Smith for the failures
of the 2011 and ’12 Chargers squads.
Their quarterback, Philip Rivers, was quite often mentioned among the contenders for NFL MVP through the good times, showed true guts in the 2007 AFC Championship Game playing on a torn ACL, and was instrumental in leading one of the most feared passing attacks in the league. Their running back, Ladainian Tomlinson was a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, still producing at the top of his class, breaking the single season touchdown record for a running back in 2006. Their wide receiving corps was almost unparalleled in height and speed with Vincent Jackson leading the charge (pun slightly intended) along with Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee. Their defense? Quite impressive actually, with the likes of Quentin Jammer, Eric Weddle, and Antonio Cromartie sitting in the backfield, waiting to make the opportunities come their way, the team was a formulation of high end talent.

So you would think it would have been easy to just say they would win eleven games a year, hands down…right?

Computer says no.

2006 came around the bend, and we all said Marty Schottenheimer, then head coach, had passed his time in the league and wouldn’t be able to effectively turn this team in to a champion. What happened? They went 14-2 and almost beat the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.

2010, we all said they would be one of the teams to beat. What happened? They shat an egg and missed the playoffs…and so forth through 2012.

So now the Chargers are 4-3 and Philip Rivers is playing his best football since those hey days of MVP talk. What do I say they’re going to end up with?

I’m not even going to speculate. I wouldn’t be able to definitively say what their record will be at the end of the season. They’ve been a wild card for me, and not in terms of them actually getting a wild card seed in the playoffs. I mean I just don’t know with them.

Their defense seems to be playing solid football…I think. The running game is showing signs of life between Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead…I think. And their receiving corps is showing up with rookie Keenan Allen and the somehow-he-found-the-fountain-of-youth tight end Antonio Gates…I think.

It appears to me that the Chargers are screwing with us all, week in and week out. They show up in some parts of the game, pull out in other parts (and you never just pull out), and then they’re among the best in the league in other random parts.

San Diego, I just have this to say: Give me something here.
No caption necessary really.

Give me a signal as to whether or not you’re going to rock our socks off, or if you’re going to stink worse than a skating rink locker room. If I had to pick between you and the current version of the Denver Broncos circa-week 8…I’d say the good Chargers team would kick their asses, and the bad team would be decimated by a horrible pass defense.

But I don’t know. I hate you San Diego, but I love you.

Our relationship is like a bipolar patient, there’s no telling what flavor ice cream you’re going to want from one minute to the next.

For the love of god, just stick with the Oregon Blackberry, it’s a good flavor. Until then, you just sit there and think about what you’ve done and decide whether you want to be a good little munchkin, or a child with bad manners.

But in the end, give us something.
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