San Diego Chargers: 6 "Successful" Years Followed by 1 Painful Preseason

Ross Warner@@Lucab12Contributor IIIAugust 30, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Melvin Ingram #54 of the San Diego Chargers is looked at by trainers during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on August 24, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Chargers defeated the Vikings 12-10. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

After his injury in last week's preseason game, Melvin Ingram told the Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken:

"That (spit) hurt."

Obviously, he didn't say "spit."

I’ve been a San Diego Chargers fan since 1979. I’ve been writing about them since 1995. I’m not trying to pull rank on you, but rather to give you an idea of my perspective.

If you’re not familiar with my work, I’m a frustrated fan who has lived his entire 41 years in the state of New York. To some Boltheads, I must be some grouch who can’t accept the fact that Nate Kaeding is still our kicker. 

To others, I must come off as the guy who blames everything on Norv. In my few months as a contributor here at Bleacher Report, I’ve already received a few comments as to why I seem so pessimistic by the inability of Jared Gaither to give a straight answer or get on the field.

You don’t need to call yourself a “long-suffering” Charger fan. Right now, there is no other kind. The pain Melvin Ingram felt from his deep-thigh bruise was inadvertently a summary of the feelings of many among "The Legion Of The Lightning Bolt" at this point.

While I don’t agree with the decision to retain Norv and AJ Smith (more for the lack of accountability it represents than their impact on the team), I applauded the moves the team made this offseason. 

Everyone blamed the 2010 season, the first non-playoff campaign in five years, on AJ Smith’s standoff with Vincent Jackson. However, retaining him was far from a no-brainer. The decision to let him walk this season and replace him with Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and an emerging Vincent Brown seemed like a good one.



But, Royal is yet to suit up, and Vincent Brown will now probably miss half the season. Jon Gruden shared an anecdote in the preseason opener about Norv Turner watching every one of Meachem’s receptions on his iPad while being on vacation with his wife. I was surprised Norv knew how to operate an iPad.

Meachem has yet to develop the rapport this summer that he had with Philip Rivers’ predecessor in San Diego, Drew Brees. Obviously, preseason is meaningless. But, signals that Rivers will be a different quarterback than the one we suffered with last year have been spotty.

I’d be a little less concerned about the passing game if I felt that a rushing attack would be there to complement Rivers. Although I was one of many kids who were drawn to the Chargers during the “Air Coryell” era, I now wish that they ran the ball more. 

Obviously, I’ve been spoiled by LaDainian Tomlinson. But, you need to have at least the threat of effectively running the ball to have even the most complex passing attack. Dan Fouts had one, but didn’t have the defense. 

If you look at the recent Super Bowl winners, they might not have run well enough to keep their coaches or fans happy. But, they did enough to keep the defenses off kilter just enough to exploit the matchups they wanted. 

The Chargers haven’t been able to run effectively since 2009. This year seemed to be the season they would re-establish the ground game. They still might, but Ryan Mathews’ injury doesn’t help matters. 



Philip Rivers wasn’t able to continue his brilliance in their last playoff game and still hasn’t found the touch entirely. Don’t throw his 2010 stats at me. I’m talking about meaningful plays in meaningful games.  

Now, Rivers faces the possibility of going into Oakland on opening night with a less-than-stable blind-side protector. The fact that Jared Gaither isn’t ready to play yet is disappointing. But, the soap opera that has surrounded it is pathetic. I feel like a passenger on Trans American’s Mayflower shuttle flight.

“Are you sure you’re not telling us everything?”

I hope that this is all a precursor to that one magical season we’ve all been waiting for. Usually, the Bolts wait until much later to let me down. But, when Melvin Ingram (the best thing about this summer and who thankfully wasn’t seriously injured on the play) described his deep-thigh bruise, he was speaking for all of us. 

He was describing the collective condition of being a Charger fan right now. Let’s hope that changes and that justice is finally coming.