September 14, 2010
I don't think it's going to change the approach of the Chargers' front office any, but last night's loss to the Chiefs could not have more clearly illustrated that the Chargers need -- need -- holdout wide receiver Vincent Jackson(notes).
What happened was pretty simple. The Chiefs said, "We're going to do everything we can to take away Antonio Gates(notes), and if Malcom Floyd(notes), Buster Davis, Legedu Naanee(notes), and Randy McMichael(notes) can beat us, then go ahead, B-team. Beat us."
Beat them, they could not. In the second half, when the Chiefs put two defenders at the line of scrimmage with no other instructions than "molest the bejeezus out of Antonio Gates," the Chargers struggled. There were drops. Throws were missed. Opportunities went unclaimed. The Chargers offense was a car with a pound of sugar in their gas tank.
If they'd have had another legitimate weapon on the field, someone who could get consistently get open, provide a deep threat, and hold on to the football, it would've made a significant difference. Vincent Jackson, it just so happens, fits that description perfectly.
And please, don't see this as any slight to the Chiefs at all. The defense they put on the field was better than the offense they faced, and that's the end of the story. Romeo Crennel had the gameplan, and his young whippersnappers were prepared and motivated. They were the team with the emotion, aggression and enthusiasm.
The Chargers were the team that was one weapon short of a productive offense.
Again, I feel pretty certain that this won't change the approach of Chargers general manager A.J. Smith. His pillow will not be wet with tears tonight because he misses Vincent Jackson. He will not wake up today and prostrate himself at the feet of Jackson's agent, and beg him to take a giant pile of money. A.J. Smith will give Marty Schottenheimer a full-body hot oil massage in a room filled with aromatherapy candles and ambient nature sounds before he'd even consider admitting that he was wrong and he should've paid a disgruntled player.
And hey, maybe that's the right approach. Maybe it's a better long-term strategy to be unbending and inflexible on such issues. Maybe six weeks from now, Buster Davis and Malcom Floyd will have grown as players, A.J. Smith will look like a genius, and Vincent Jackson won't be missed anymore.
But last night, he was missed. A lot. The Chargers receiving corps was like Weekend Update, right after they went from Norm McDonald to Colin Quinn. There were shoes that just couldn't be filled. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Vincent Jackson's presence would have made the difference between winning and losing last night's game.
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