The word ‘progress’ generally comes with optimistic connotations of improvement and thus a better record in the NFL. Unfortunately that’s not the case for the San Diego Chargers as they currently sit at 4-6, or in other words the same record they had after 10 contests a year ago. So why would new general manager Tom Telesco (TT) be thinking this team has shown progress?
In an interview with XTRA Sports 1360 radio that’s exactly what the first-year GM said when asked about his team. According to TT:
“Obviously at 4-3 at the bye week I was much more encouraged then. I’m a little disappointed now at 4-6 — disappointed but not discouraged because we’re seeing progress here on both sides of the ball.”
It’s hard not to agree with him given the fact that the Bolts are still ranked as the No. 4 ranked passing offense in the league with 287.9 yards per game on average. They have dropped to No. 7 in terms of total yards with 399.4 per game on average, but the area where they need help the most is actually scoring points. Despite these lofty numbers offensively the team still manages just 22.8 points per game.
One big reason for that has been the ongoing struggles in the red zone to come away with touchdowns rather than field goals. TT even pointed this out saying:
“If our biggest problem on offense is scoring touchdowns in the red zone, that’s something we can work on during practice on the practice field.”
But this has been an issue in San Diego dating back well before Telesco’s arrival with new head coach Mike McCoy. The previous regime would often times march deep into opposing territory only to come away with a measly three points. Exchanging field goals for touchdowns is a sure way to end up on the wrong end of the final score as the team has painfully found out in a number of close contests this season.
Of course the team has to play defense too, and Telesco said that he has been upbeat about this unit as well. Despite surrendering mountains of yards through the air (No. 27 against the pass, 275.5 yards per game), these Bolts have only given up 22.2 points per game which is good enough for the No. 11 spot in the league. What the GM was quick to point out is that this unit too needs to clutchify itself with some better play at all three levels. He said:
“I think as a whole we need to get consistent really at all three levels — the front, the linebackers and the secondary.”
Consistency really is the prevailing theme with this team and has been for the better part of the past decade. The promise of better performances is obvious, but for some reason the Bolts always fail to deliver on those big expectations when it comes to the crucial moments of games. It’s unfair to characterize this team as the same as the previous squad under Norv Turner’s direction, but at 4-6 through 10 games that’s the reality of the situation. And if these Bolts don’t make a late season run to cover up some of these failures their final record may actually be worse than of those squads that Norval oversaw.