Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/30/11

18 Apr 1998: Second overall pick Ryan Leaf shows off his jersey alongside Alex Spanos after being selected by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York. Mandatory Credit: Ezra C. Shaw

The Chargers have been the punch line to several jokes over the years. Whether it be for choking in the playoffs, drafting Ryan Leaf, or starting the season slower than a 200 pound poodle, the Chargers just never seem to be able to put it all together for an entire season.

This year is no different, yet this year is a new brand of buffoonery.

The 2011 Chargers got out of the blocks quickly, compiling a 4-1 record that had them looking like an AFC contender once again, but the good times didn't last long.

The Chargers have now lost 6 straight games after blowing a tenuous 4th quarter lead against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. The loss all but assures that their season will not end with a playoff birth. Norv Turner is looking more and more like a dead man walking, and Philip Rivers has been uncharacteristically careless with the football this season.

Rivers has thrown a career high 17 interceptions in 2011, and they've still got 5 games left to play. At first glance, the Chargers are an extremely talented team, but for whatever reason, they haven't been able to put that talent to use on the field this season. Unfortunately, help is not on the way for the Chargers.

Let's face it right now. Norv Turner is done in San Diego. His teams have historically underachieved, and this year is just a caricature of his tenure in San Diego.

If you're wondering how bleak it really is in San Diego, let me save you the leg work. The Chargers haven't lost 6 straight games since their woeful season of 2001, exactly a decade ago.

While help isn't coming for this Chargers team, it's not time to blow it up either. The talent level of this team far exceeds their level of play, and the quick fix may simply be a new coaching staff that can actually get more out of their players. The Chargers really are a great team, but they need better leadership from the top down.

Philip Rivers is more than a small part of this teams' struggles. As good as he's been in the past, it may be time to start considering life after Rivers. We all know that new head coaches like to have "their guy" as the starting quarterback. While the incumbent quarterback doesn't always get shown the door (i.e. Peyton Manning when Jim Caldwell took over), that is almost always what happens when the current starter is playing poorly.

The 2011 Chargers are a complete and utter disappointment. That's no secret, and there's no doubt that entire organization realizes as much. There's hope for the future, but as far as this season is concerned, the Chargers are history.

Follow @smaclemons on Twitter [follow]

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