SAN DIEGO -- With the San Diego Chargers all but mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration after a 33-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, team chairman Dean Spanos has to consider the long-term prospects of his franchise on the football field.
Yes, Spanos has his hands full dealing with the team’s potential move to Los Angeles in a few months. But with the Chargers mired in a six-game losing streak and showing no sign of pulling out of this spiral, Spanos also has to ponder if he has the right people leading the Chargers on the football side of the operation.
Once again, Chargers coach Mike McCoy said his team had an outstanding week of preparation. But we’ve heard this before.
San Diego looked anything but prepared as Kansas City easily disposed of the Chargers. Even worse, the Chargers had two weeks to get ready with a bye week, yet laid another egg in front of a rare, enthusiastic home crowd that mostly showed up to see LaDainian Tomlinson's No. 21 jersey retired at halftime.
Losers of 11 of their last 14 games dating back to last season, at 2-8 the Chargers were blown out of a game for the second time in the last three home games this year. San Diego also is 2-6 against the AFC West dating back to last year.
McCoy offered more platitudes after the loss, but no real, tangible answers to how he will turn things around. McCoy said his team teams plays hard and effort is not an issue. But that did not lead to an inspired performance against the Chiefs.
“We have got to find a way to win a football game,” McCoy said. “It all starts with coaching and we have to look at everything we’re doing, as a whole entire staff. We have to look at anything we need to change because obviously today was not good enough.
“We will evaluate the film. I communicate with the players all the time on if we need to change certain things. We look at that week in and week out [on] everything we do. You can’t just push a button.”
Player frustrations bubbled to the surface during the game, which included veterans Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates getting into a heated discussion on the sideline after a failed third-down conversion led to another Mike Scifres punt -- one of six on the day.
“What was said really doesn’t matter,” Rivers said. “Brothers fuss and fight, for any of you that have brothers. I love Antonio, and I think he will tell you the same thing.
“It’s two of probably the most competitive guys on the team, and we have been here as long as anybody, for the most part. And I think it’s just we are kind of at our last straw. I mean we are sitting at 2-8 and I think he and I both -- after being together for so long -- we’re like, ‘We got to figure this thing out.’”
It’s not only up to Rivers and Gates to pull the Chargers out of this funk, but Spanos to ultimately decide if McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco are capable of leading this franchise out of the doldrums and back to the postseason.
Both McCoy and Telesco have one more year on their contracts after this season, but so far have provided little evidence that things will be different in the future.
In Year 3 of the McCoy-Telesco era, the Chargers were supposed to be a playoff contender led by an elite quarterback in Rivers.
That never materialized.
Injuries are partly to blame. But they have nothing to do with a team that consistently does not compete on game days.
McCoy and Telesco have a six-week window to prove to Spanos that despite a miserable season, the Chargers are headed in the right direction.
Otherwise, all changes -- both on the coaching staff and in the front office -- are up for debate.
“It’s just being a pro at this point,” Rivers said. “Are you going to be a man and be a pro? Come to work every day and do your job -- I think that’s what it is. Yeah, you play for the guy next to you and all of those things -- that will always be a mantra of mine. But I think at this point it’s just being a pro, and just go.
“That ball is going to get kicked off next Sunday, and Jacksonville sure as heck isn’t going to feel sorry for us. If you want to keep getting embarrassed like this and lollygag around, then we will. Jacksonville will beat us just like this if we do have that approach. Or we can go out there and beat Jacksonville. Either outcome is possible. I don’t know if one is greater than the other.”