Originally posted on Justice is Coming  |  Last updated 10/3/11

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Sorry I couldn't add much more to last week's post besides my interview with Marty Caswell.  There were even some topics that got left on the cutting room floor.  I asked about Ryan Mathews, who seemed like he was ready to take over the game at New England before Tolbert's fumble.  You remember, FAITHFUL READER.  You could see Mathews pushing defenders backwards while his legs kept moving.  Then Norval decided to go with his "safe" back, who promptly fumbled the game away.  Marty did confirm that Norv is raving more and more about Mathews, who obviously got off on the wrong foot this year.  But last week it was obvious to all that every time Mathews would make a big gain and leave the Bolts with 3rd and short that Norv's balls would crawl back into his body and he would send Tolbert or Hester in.  OK, I admit that I was calling for the draw (that went to Tolbert a couple of seasons ago) as a solution to our short-yardage woes.  He ran it to Hester last week and it clearly wasn't the answer.  But when Hank Bauer was calling for a Charger to fly over the top after that fourth down in Foxboro, I highly doubt that Mike Tolbert was the guy he had in mind.  I am sure a few of you saw my Tweets concerning the ludicrousness of Turner's call last week.  Yeah, it was a touchdown.  But Tolbert's "fumble" was just a reminder that Mathews is clearly the "safer" call at this point.  His upside is obvious.  It was his 3rd down run that iced the game against Miami.  Now if only Norv could actually let him do it earlier in the game instead of running guys who clearly cannot get those yards when the defense knows what's coming.

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I said during the game that Mathews had no excuse for putting the ball on the grass but that he got his facemask pulled earlier on the play.  I guess I was right even though I haven't seen anyone else comment on it.  I haven't found a similar shot of Jackson doing the LT layup after his touchdown, but I've seen it on highlights so I know it wasn't just me.  USA Today pointed out that Jackson's touchdown gave him more yards than LT as a Charger.  However, I would be surprised if Jackson knew that a 55-yard bomb would put him past Tomlinson and that was why he did the celebration.  Otherwise, don't do that **** unless it's against the Jets.  But don't do it unless you want him to sign with your team again.  Looked what happened after Shonn Greene did in the playoffs.  I was also a little put off by Spikes' booty shake, but liked that he calls Marcus Gilchrist "Cookie."  It's also in that USA piece I linked. 

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I'm still more than a little concerned about Antoine Cason.  Marty mentioned something about him having a broken hand in the past and wondered if it had anything to do with his recent troubles.  Then she singled out that possibility.  Gilchrist looked good in his first start, but I don't think we should be getting too far ahead of ourselves.  The same goes for Larry English.  Yes, he had 2 sacks.  However, let's see him do it in a meaningful spot against a good team.

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Yes, I know we can only play the teams on our schedule.  I wondered on Twitter during the game if the football gods decided that for once the Bolts wouldn't start slow but that they would look as bad as possible while doing so.  This way we would be forced to suffer the maximum amount for our desired result.  We all talked about last December that we could actually drop a December game or two (as we did a season ago) if we didn't start 1-3 or 2-3 every year.  Obviously, the Bolts won't beat any team that isn't in the collective 1-11 the way they've played.  Even they seem to understand that.  But it also seems they are focused on getting one more win before they play some of those teams after the bye week.

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I loved JIC Godfather Daniel Chang's suggestion that we start calling Novak Nick "The Kick."  My wife is a huge Bachelor Party fan, so it works out perfectly.  People can ask him if that kick was 47 yards and he can say:

"and then some."

The two best things I read in the North County Times today was Norv's suggestion that Mathews needs to get from 16 carries a game to about 24-25 and Spikes' response to the Traitors' coach guaranteeing the AFC West for Oakland. 

"I'm not worried about the AFC West," Spikes said. "I came here to win it all. You can write that however you want to."  I was happy to hear him say that and then I remembered that Luis Castillo mentioned that we had bigger goals when we last won the division and that he'd simply put that gray baseball hat somewhere in the closet.  After we suffered through a first-round homefield implosion in '04, '06 and '09, I posthumously bought a Division Champs hat thinking that I might one day want to wear it.  I never have.  The only division title shirts I ever wear are the '07 and '08 (as well as '92 and '94) editions because we didn't piss those opportunities away.  When asked about our difficulties scoring in the red zone, Mike Tolbert responded.

“I have no earthly idea what’s going on,” running back Mike Tolbert said. “It seems like we just shoot ourselves in the foot.”

How many times has that expression been used in relation to the Bolts?  Try Googling "Chargers" and "Groundhog Day" and see how many matches you get.  Week One I read in the Union-Tribune about how Tolbert is a touchdown "vulture" because he steals opportunities for scores away from the other Chargers.  Then I read about how the reporters in the locker room in Foxboro are vultures because they want to focus on his critical mistakes.  Look, I love Tolbert, but didn't AJ draft Mathews because he is infinitely more skilled?  There was a great skit on SNL's season premiere called "Who's On Top?"  The premise was to pair two obviously heterosexual males and decide which one would be more dominant.  I think we've always assumed that AJ would be on top of any member of The Organization.  So why does Mathews seem to come out when his talents are seemingly needed most?

OK, that's enough of the "ranting" the weekly posts promise.  On to the rambling.  I have no problem with Antonio Gates sitting until after the bye.  That's not suggesting that the Chargers are taking the Bunkos lightly.  It's just the best plan for possibly using when it will matter most.  McMichael has not only been fantastic, but impressed the hell out of me by coming back in with an injury.  Besides his two runs, Rivers appeared to be rolling out a bit to open things up.  We used to do that with Brees way back when.  It was a relief to see PR go interception-free for the first time this season.  Jackson was SO open that Rivers almost overthrew him.  That, along with his other big grab, was a fantastic catch.  There aren't too many guys who can do it.  I understand why people want AJ to sign Jackson immediately, but if it ain't broke don't fix it.  As soon as we signed him, he'd probably go right out and get himself arrested.  I certainly don't think we should let him walk, but let's see how the year turns out first.  No one should know that better than a Chargers fan.

Speaking of the habitual disappointment, I was ecstatic to see Kevin Acee suggest in his "Male Sack" that Nick The Kick's (see, I'm already using it) contract is for 2 years and that he would be the kicker "going forward" even after Tweety returns.  A lot of Twitter followers weren't familiar with my calling him that.  I'm glad I didn't refer to him as The Great Gazoo, then.

Since it's clear that Rivers is not going to have his full weaponry again this year, we need to come up with a contingency plan.  I don't want to hear the same excuses as last season.  If Jackson, Floyd and Gates are all going to be hampered it might be good to keep improving on the ground.  I'm not sold on our blocking, especially from the guards, but teams don't win close and meaningful games by being one-dimensional.  Even the Packers mixed in some runs last year with Starks.  There was a time where it seemed like Norval was constantly trying to keep the opposing defense on its heels.  I think we might all agree that there were times where he got a little too "cute," and over thought things.  But it often looks like there isn't much of a plan other than just run up the gut and throw on 3rd.  Let's not get lazy on the playcalling. 

I don't think there's much of a chance of this team thinking it's better than it really is at this point.  It's not like they've beaten these "lesser" opponents convcingly enough for that to happen.  However, we do have to be grateful that they are 3-1.  That includes me, whos been pointing out their numerous flaws every step of the way.  They lost early games to Seattle and St. Louis in the early stages last year.  But I don't need to remind you of that.  I thought that Gilchrist not only did a nice job at cornerback last week, but also returning kicks.  But now that he might be starting another game this week, will Norval decide that he's "too valuable" for special teams?  We're all grateful that there hasn't been a punt blocked yet and all, but how about a long runback?

Lastly, I do have to point out the strong play of Donald Butler.  One year after he missed the entire season with the Achilles injury, he's showing why AJ drafted him.  Will he be able to do it against stronger competition?  I think that's the question we ask about this entire team.  But that won't be answered on Sunday.  The Bolts seem to understand that the wins will be a lot harder to come by after the bye, so they are focused on not falling apart in Denver.  I am sure we'll hear all about how Rivers' only loss in Denver was the Hochuli game.  But he hadn't lost to Oakland or December until last season.  The Chargers could barely win their "Norv Says It's Important" game in December.  They had better Bolt The **** Up on Sunday.

In closing, I'd like to share that my father-in-law finally seems like he's on the road to recovery after surgery for colon cancer.  It was also a big week for popular culture with the acquittal of Amanda Knox and the death of Steve Jobs.  But the biggest news in my world was the announcement that Arrested Development will finally return.  If that can actually happen, maybe the Bolts can actually get out of their own way and see how far they can go.  Do they actually have a team that can finish what those more "talented" groups started?  Are there too many holes with this group?  I would be nice to find out and not do to ourselves what our opponents are supposed to.

Franklin will rise again,

RLW

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