I have been very vocal on the #FireMikeMcCoy bandwagon – heck, I’ve been driving the mule-team.
People remind me, however, that it’s not McCoy‘s fault that Melvin Gordon fumbled twice in critical moments late in games. Or Hunter Henry…Or Drew Kaser…Or all the injuries…or…or… And while I acknowledge that players have made mistakes that cost Chargers in critical moments, those events keep occurring.
When things keep happening, it shifts the blame from the player to the coach. On Colin Cowherd’s radio show, The Herd, a guest said recently, “Coaches are either coaching it or allowing it.” McCoy is allowing these collapses.
The Chargers are talented. They are deep. And their offense is as dangerous as any in football. The Chargers are averaging nearly 29 points per game. But after getting early leads, McCoy and the Chargers will get especially conservative and predictable late in the game. They’ll run vanilla rushing plays up the middle on first and second down despite not showing the ability to do that effectively when it’s not predictable.
Philip Rivers is one of the most prolific passers in the NFL. McCoy needs to keep the offensive pressure on and continue to throw the ball around even when they have a 10-plus point lead. This isn’t LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2006 Chargers team that could run the ball whenever they wanted. When the team comes out in the 4th quarter with an 11 point lead, throw the ball. It’s what they do best.
Some specific thoughts on Thursday’s game:
I was very impressed with the Chargers’ kicking game. Drew Kaser averaged 47.4 yards per punt on five punts and placed four of them inside the 20. Only two of Josh Lambo’s kickoffs were returned and he was 4/4 in field goals and converted his only extra point attempt. Now the punt-return team on the other hand…Travis Benjamin, I believe, is a good addition to this roster. But I think he is getting desperate to make a difference, and in doing so, makes mistakes he wouldn’t normally make. I like the switch to Dexter McCluster as the primary punt-returner. Also, I don’t blame Kenny Wiggins for his gaff. Wiggins isn’t a hands-guy, he did the best he could in a role he’s never prepared for. It was a great call by the Denver staff.
How about Jatavis Brown? Has any fifth-round pick done better this year than Brown? In six games Brown has amassed 35 tackles, three sacks, four passes defended, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Brown combined with Denzel Perryman and Korey Toomer for a heck of a game in the middle. I don’t say this disrespectfully, but Manti Te’o’s days as a San Diego Charger are done.
Having lost Jason Verrett for the season and missing Brandon Flowers due to a concussion and Jahleel Addae with a broken collarbone, I thought the Broncos might be able to exploit the Chargers secondary. I was reasonably impressed with how they played Thursday night.
All in all, I think this was a very big win for the team, but I do not think the win should save McCoy’s job. Teams rarely go 0-16. You can almost win a game or two by accident. McCoy coached this game into a closer margin of victory than it should have been.
On a different note, I want to send out prayers for and “get well soon” wishes to Russell Okung, who left the stadium on a stretcher with concussion-like symptoms (early rumors hypothesize that this may be related to overheating).
Thanks for reading.