John Gennaro, editor of Bolts from the Blue, SB Nation's Chargers blog, met with BTSC editor Neal Coolong to answer a few questions about the Steelers' Week 14 opponent. While it's not easy to be optimistic about the 4-8 Chargers, losers of seven of their last eight games, his answers range from introspective to hilarious, and he drops a few names for potential coaching and general manager replacements in San Diego.
1. I'm sensing a bit of pessimism from Bolts from the Blue. Explain your opinion of benching QB Phillip Rivers
In short, the Chargers have no chance of making the playoffs and any wins now won't really help the next Head Coach or GM. In addition, the offensive line is in tatters (3 starters out and a few backups as well). The Chargers have experience with losing starting QBs to injury in meaningless games (see Brees' last play as a Charger) , and I don't see the point in chancing that again.
2. You realize if you guys sign every available free agent offensive lineman on the market, there won't be any left, right? The Steelers have had their fair share of injuries this year - and last year - and there's been plenty of debate on reasons for that (other than Marcus Gilbert's fat butt falling on prone limbs). Do you feel a lack of conditioning or the elimination of much of the hitting in practice is leaving players prone to injury?
We already signed two starting offensive linemen last year (Gaither and Hardwick). Vasquez, who has been the most consistent linemen since he was drafted, needs to be re-signed and Clary is under contract. So, in reality, the Chargers can only viable sign only 1 free agent offensive linemen.
As for the reasons, I don't have a clue. I'd probably start by blaming the team doctor, then move on to the front office's choices, before getting to conditioning and practice conditions.
3. Should we expect a new coach and GM in San Diego next year? Bill Cowher's name has been floated as a candidate (yes, floated by me and probably no one else). Do you have your eye on any potential replacements for Norv Turner and A.J. Smith?
Yes, there will be a new coach and GM in San Diego next year (or the stadium will be a burning pile of rubble). Bill Cowher will not sign with the Chargers due to his close friendship with Marty Schottenheimer and how the franchise treated Marty (this is info I got from a close friend of Marty's and Bill's).
It sounds like the Chargers are eyeing Jimmy Raye, the Assistant GM since AJ Smith became GM, as the new General Manager. I hope that doesn't happen. I haven't a clue which coach they'll bring in, but the most popular names seem to be college guys (David Shaw and Chip Kelly).
4. Excluding quarterbacks, which Steelers player would you want to take off their roster and place on the Chargers to play this one game?
From a pure need-talent perspective, Troy Polamalu makes the most sense. However, since the defense has actually been okay and it's the offense (and it's line) that has been the big problem, I'd probably grab Max Starks to protect Rivers' blind side.
5. Which player on the Chargers roster would you want to give the Steelers for this game?
Quentin Jammer! He's been a trainwreck this season. Between Plaxico Burress, who embarrassed Antoine Cason as a Jet last season, and Mike Wallace, who has speed that Jammer can't even begin to imagine competing with, the Steelers passing game should have no real problem on Sunday. I wish I could say the same for San Diego. I would at least be more confident about saying it if Quentin Jammer were trying to cover San Diego's No. 1 WR.