The San Diego Chargers are close to being from playoff contention because the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. This would be the third season in a row that San Diego misses the playoffs.
San Diego has to win their last three games, needs Cincinnati to lose their last two games, needs the Pittsburgh Steelers to finish the season 1-2 and needs the Cleveland Browns to lose a game. This appears to be unrealistic, but would create a three way tie for the last wild card spot.
The only thing that San Diego appears to have left to play for is their active streak of avoiding a losing record for the season. San Diego has a 5-8 record this season. The last time that San Diego had a losing record happened during the 2003 NFL season when they were 4-12.
The Chargers have to find a new general manager, a new head coach, work on their offensive line problems, improve in their punt return game, improve their rushing attack and improve their pass rush.
This is the 10th season as general manager of San Diego for A.J. Smith and the sixth season as head coach for Norv Turner. I do not see Smith or Turner returning for another season with the Lightning Bolts.
There are only five teams that have allowed more sacks than San Diego’s offensive line this season. San Diego averages 6.7 yards per punt return which ranks 30th in the NFL.
San Diego averages 3.7 yards per rushing attempt which ranks 29th in the league while their 25 team sacks are tied for 23rd with the New Orleans Saints.
There will be names tossed around to replace Turner such as Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden. San Diego should select an offensive lineman in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Ryan Mathews could return to form next season as a borderline star running back and Micheal Spurlock could be the answer to improve San Diego’s punt return game.
I expect major changes to happen during the off-season, but only time will tell if the right moves are made.