After absorbing a black eye in the Black Hole, the Chargers might be getting blacked out.
Monday’s game with the Indianapolis Colts is attractive for a number of reasons. But for just as many, it’s not.
The Chargers, fresh from getting mugged by the Raiders, swing open the Qualcomm Stadium gates for the Colts. But they do so while seeking a lucky horseshoe, one that makes a corporate sponsor appear and buy enough tickets so Monday’s game is shown on TV.
Maybe someone will as a “Monday Night Football” affair hasn’t been blacked out since 2000. Then again, maybe the wobbly Chargers aren’t ready for prime time.
The Colts offer exciting quarterback Andrew Luck.
The Chargers counter with a four-leaf clover and a roster, which should be sponsored by Home Depot — hey, maybe it can present its credit card at the box office.
The Colts arrive with a 4-1 record, sitting atop of the AFC South.
The Chargers tee it up at 2-3, traveling in the AFC caboose.
But just maybe, the Chargers are riding the rails to respectability and a guy can dream can’t he?
The man in charge of fixing the Chargers’ mess isn’t from FEMA. Instead his credentials read “Indianapolis” with Tom Telesco wearing the NFL’s version of a Hazmat suit.
Telesco’s a rookie with the Chargers, a peach-fuzz type of a general manager. But he got this gig because of what he did in Indianapolis, helping a franchise get right after it was lapped during a 2-14 season.
The Chargers aren’t headed there, and here’s where we say grace for upcoming games against the Jaguars and Giants. But it’s clear the Bolts are undergoing a transformation, and those thinking otherwise believe, someday, linebacker Larry English will sack a quarterback.
So the Colts’ resurgence is a plus for them and the Bolts. It shows what keen thinking can do when rebuilding a team, and if Telesco went all Home Depot there, why can’t he do it here?
He can, but it’s going to take time. Time for an offensive front line to be cast, a secondary to improve, a pass-rusher to stay on the field and out of the trainer’s room.
They are few quick fixes in the NFL, and the Chargers are proof positive. That’s why it was funny, after their win against the Cowboys, that people starting putting the playoffs in front of hard evidence.
A snapshot of the Chargers reveals a team restructuring its foundation, not reaching for the postseason. A digital portrait is clear in that the Chargers’ blemishes are such that expectations need to be kept in the dark room.
In the light of day, the Chargers are missing an offensive line, a running game, a package to put heat on quarterbacks and defensive backs able to prevent completions. Add someone being a head coach at any level for the first time; a tepid home-field advantage.
Cram that in a blender and what pours out is a concoction urging one to look ahead.
The Chargers aren’t underachieving, just under construction. The Chargers have a decent passing attack, but it takes Philip Rivers being nearly perfect for it to equal a win.
A good football team beats you many ways — offense, defense, special teams, even coaching.
A good read on the Chargers reveals that they prevail when Rivers is keen. Otherwise, the defense is suspect and the special teams is average — at best.
The coaching? Learning on the job is just that.
So put the playoff chatter in the quiet room. Place the “I can’t believe we lost to the Raiders” balderdash in a dumpster. Place your faith in Telesco, and if seeking additional evidence, cheer that the Colts — his old team — are doing well.
Since going 2-14 in 2011, the Colts are a horse of a different color.
But save some green arriving at the ticket window, many Chargers fans won’t witness what Telesco helped develop.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM on Monday and Friday mornings. He’s also the Wednesday morning co-host of “Hacksaw and Company.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @jparis_sports.