SAN DIEGO -- Here is a number to consider when evaluating the San Diego Chargers: 11.
That is how many projected starters from the beginning of the regular season were still in the game Monday night as the final whistle blew on San Diego’s fifth straight loss of the season, sending them to a 2-7 record. They have missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons and now have no reasonable hope of making it this season.
General manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy believed that in their third season together the Chargers had the most depth on their roster during their time here, and good teams can withstand injuries.
Still, it’s hard to expect the Chargers to function with any type of consistency when they continue to lose impact players each week. On Sunday, receiver Malcom Floyd (shoulder), and cornerbacks Jason Verrett (groin) and Patrick Robinson (neck) joined San Diego’s ever-growing injury list.
Eight days earlier the Chargers lost their most productive receiver, Keenan Allen, for the season because of a lacerated kidney.
"We can make a long list of reasons, but ultimately we’ve had a chance to win all of these games," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "We had a chance to beat Green Bay. We had a chance to beat Baltimore and we had a chance to win this one. And we just didn’t make the plays. And there’s nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. We didn’t do it."
The Chargers have lost 10 of the team’s past 13 games dating back to last season. In the midst of a five-game skid, San Diego is mired in the longest losing streak during the McCoy era.
McCoy said he’s going to continue to focus on what has worked for him in the past to get his team out of this slump -- hard work, relentless effort and better execution.
"Don’t complain. Don’t explain. Find solutions," McCoy said. “That’s our job as coaches and players -- find solutions and find a way to win. And that’s all we're going to do. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re going to show up and work our tails off."
Those are admirable attributes and certainly keys to winning for any successful team, but some changes could be in order during the bye week -- either in the starting lineup or on the coaching staff -- in an attempt to shake things up and give the Chargers a fresh perspective.
The Chargers are 2-7 and going nowhere. They need to evaluate talented, young players on the roster such as defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers, receiver Tyrell Williams and offensive lineman Tyreek Burwell to see if they can be long-term solutions at their positions.
How about handing the ball off to first-round draft pick Melvin Gordon 25 times to see if he can get into a rhythm?
And the Spanos family has to consider if the Telesco-McCoy tandem can put together a sustainable winner that can compete for a Super Bowl, whether it’s in San Diego or Los Angeles.
Rivers says he will leave those decisions to the Chargers’ brass and focus on his role on the field.
"Much like anything I don’t control, I just help us try to win," Rivers said. "As a quarterback I feel I take a great deal of responsibility in us winning or losing. And certainly I’m sick over plays I didn’t make or could have made that maybe would have helped us win games. So that’s where I look. I think we’ve just got to keep going.
"There’s been a lot of factors, and I don’t think that’s the magic answer."
As for the bye week, Rivers plans on getting in plenty of family time with wife Tiffany and his eight children, including newest addition Clare, born two weeks ago.
"I’m not going to touch a football," Rivers said. "When you lose five in a row it’s pretty sickening. When it’s like this you kind of want to dig a hole and hide for a little while."