Welcome to San Diego, a place called paradise, and where bling really falls from the sky?
“It feels pretty heavy,’’ said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. “I forgot to give it back to him.’’
McCoy is here to get the Chargers a Super Bowl ring, but he was juggling a sparkling necklace after a recent camp practice.
It was ripped from wide receiver Keenan Allen during a drill, and while McCoy is green, he knows gold. It found the grass only briefly, before landing in McCoy’s right pocket.
With what third-round picks like Allen command, this jewelry isn’t fool’s gold.
What say you, Chargers?
Will this season break a string of three playoff-free campaigns? Or will it delivery another load zoconim?
It’s a new era at Chargers Park, with general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner escaping the landscape, like those hot air balloons dotting the North County summer sky. There’s a line there about the balderdash those two dispensed, but we’ll leave that for another day.
Instead it’s general manager Tom Telesco and McCoy on the bridge, and please excuse if we call them the West Coast’s version of Gang Green. Both break the seal on their respective jobs and won’t this be fun.
The roster, which produced the team’s first losing season since 2003, was shook like a dusty old rug. The coaching staff wears “My name is” tags. The personnel department sports numerous fresh faces.
The team still calls Qualcomm Stadium home, so the main thing it longs to change remains status quo.
But different rules supreme as August arrives and might its hot nights produce some solid football? Come Thursday against the Seahawks, the Chargers trot out under the lights and what we don’t know is what we don’t know.
Make sense? Yes and no.
The Chargers are a mystery, but there are red flags, which can’t be ignored:
+ Can quarterback Philip Rivers regain his mojo?
+ Is the rebuilt offensive line better, or merely an upgrade from mud to dirt?
+ This run of shoddy Chargers football is traced to the lack of a consistent running game. Is Ryan Mathews a big tease?
+ The defensive line is sweet, but so is a doughnut and that’s what it resembles. The ends, Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, are keen, but there’s a hole in the middle answering to Cam Thomas.
+ Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney is headed to the Hall of Fame. But on the way, will he produce like one or as a has-been? His declining numbers are just that, and the Chargers hope he’s not another old guy coming to San Diego to retire. Inside linebacker Donald Butler is good; not sure about undersized rookie Manti Te’o.
+ Every secondary has four members. Few will have three new starters, as will the Chargers’.
Soon answers to these questions will come based on games, even if they are of the exhibition variety. They aren’t legit, but like a flashy fake necklace, they get your attention.
After not selling out half their home games last year, the Chargers are trying to get relevant again. They’re hopeful they’ve changed course, with their new coach being the real McCoy.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM each Monday and Friday morning. He can be reached at email@example.com
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports