About the only positive that can be drawn from the San Diego Chargers first half of the 2011 season is that they play in the second worst division in the NFL and that will serve to give them life with the Super Bowl XLVI odds. The Chargers have split their first 8 games and have looked worse each week. The biggest concern of all has been the regression of quarterback Philip Rivers who threw 3 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, against the Green Bay Packers in a 45-38 loss.
The three interceptions were a career high in a game for Rivers and he has now thrown a NFL-worst 14 for the season. About the only saving grace for San Diego head coach Norv Turner is that he is supposedly a good offensive and QB coach but that is looking less to be the case as the Chargers are playing rotten football and Rivers is a big part of the problem. In their game at Kansas City prior to the Packer loss, Rivers fumbled a snap from center as the Chargers were set up for a short range game winning field goal attempt. The inexplicable botch was emblematic of the season.
Part of Rivers problem is that the surrounding cast has gotten far worse than when the Chargers peaked with a 14-2 season in 2006 under then coach Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired after a fluke playoff loss to New England in which the Chargers fumbled away a game clinching interception. General Manager A.J. Smith hated Schottenheimer, who was a strong and independent leader and thinker and hired Turner as his compliant puppet after Turner was fired for being a big loser in head gigs with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders.
Smith has been in a horrible slump as perhaps there is karma with the falling out with Schottenheimer. Smith has had woeful drafts in recent years that have not produced an impact player.
A major example of Smith’s poor management has been at the running back position where there are no solid players to take the heat off of Rivers. With production having fallen off to record levels of ineptitude, Rivers has faced the pressure of having to carry most of the offensive burden which goes a long way towards explaining his recent slump with interceptions and why the Chargers may be doomed to miss the playoffs.