Recently, we kicked back and enjoyed some fine chianti and fava beans, and chatted about the upcoming Bears versus Chargers contest on Monday Night Football.
You can check out BFTB's version of this post HERE.
Thanks, John, for hanging out with us.
1- The front office of the Chargers has the Spanos family (Owners/ President), Tom Telesco (GM) and Mike McCoy. How is the fanbase feeling about the front office?
The Spanos family is public enemy #1 because of the ongoing issues with stadium negotiation and their attempt to relocate to Los Angeles. Tom Telesco is having about as bad of a year as a GM can have, with nearly every single signing and pick made by him coming up lame with an injury or simply with a lame performance. Mike McCoy, who was already despised by the media and the fans for his arrogance, is now seemingly despised by his players as well after throwing them under the bus for the last few weeks.
1a- Mike McCoy was one of the most coveted assistants-ready-to-be-head coach candidates in the league three years ago. Has his struggles been self-inflicted, or tied in to the front office?
John: Depends on who you ask, but I think they're self-inflicted. Since the days of Marty Schottenheimer this team has failed to develop or capitalize on any talent acquired via the draft, and McCoy has been no different. His conservative approach (learned from John Fox) has cost the team games, and his "bad cop" routine eventually wore thin (to the point where he's now trying to reverse course by crying at postgame press conferences).
In short, there's not a lot of good to look at from McCoy's tenure in San Diego outside of the fact that he brought in Ken Whisenhunt for a one-year audition in 2013 and that was nice.
2- Which rookies should Bears fans keep an eye on Monday night? What about 2nd year players?
John: I guess Melvin Gordon? Although he has been far and away the worst rookie RB in the league this season (among the ones getting regular touches), many are still waiting for him to have a "breakout game" and play significantly better than he has to this point. Keep an eye on that, I guess. The kid definitely has the athleticism to make big plays, so the potential is there.
Jason Verrett is a second-year CB who missed much of his rookie season with a shoulder injury. He's the best player on the defensive side of the ball for the Chargers, and will likely follow Alshon Jeffery around the field all night and making his life hell. If you like watching shutdown corners, Verrett is an absolute treat.
3- This is Philip Rivers' 12th year in the league-- 10th as starting QB-- and to date has never missed a single game in his career. Is he a future Hall of Famer? Is he the greatest Chargers QB of all-time?
John: He's probably a future Hall of Famer. The next 5 years will go a long way towards determining exactly that, with another playoff win helping his cause a great deal. There's a chance, if his play completely falls off a cliff, that he could narrowly miss the Hall, but it's worth noting that teammates and media members love Philip Rivers as a person more than any other player I've ever seen. That will earn him some extra votes.
He is definitely the greatest Chargers QB of all-time, but at this point he's not leaps and bounds ahead of Dan Fouts. They were both great, Rivers has been a little bit greater.
4- In order for the Bears to beat the Chargers, they'll have to figure out a way to keep pace with Rivers and the Chargers offense. Assuming Jay Cutler and the offense is clicking, how can they find success against San Diego's defense?
John: Here's a guaranteed-to-succeed gameplan for scoring points against the San Diego Chargers defense. Are you ready for it? I probably shouldn't even be giving you trade secrets like this, but I like you and trust you so here we go:
Take possession of the ball, aim the front of your body towards your opponents' end zone, and move forward.
That's about it.
This team is awful at scheming, has no pass rush to speak of, can't (or won't?) tackle, and will allow you to throw deep passes to any wide-open receiver that you want as long as he's not the guy being covered by Jason Verrett. So far this season, the defense has allowed 28, 24, 31, 30 (Browns!), 24 (Michael Vick!), 27, 37, and 29 points. That's not by accident.
If the Bears' offensive line can protect Cutler for a few seconds, Chicago should be able to put up somewhere around 30 points.
5- The Chargers have been on the cusp of being a really good football team the last few years, but just haven't' been able to take it to the next level. This season seems to be worse than the last several. How can the Chargers get back on track?
John: They need to blow it up. All of it. Possibly the stadium in San Diego, definitely the roster, and most certainly the coaching staff.
The good news (I guess?) is that a lot of their issues are probably a result of these things being ready to be blown up already. Team captains Eric Weddle, Antonio Gates, and Malcom Floyd are all likely gone at the end of the season. Barring some sort of miracle, I expect Mike McCoy to join them. The players know this, they see that no amount of success this year can be "the start of a dynasty", especially with a potential move to Los Angeles looming, and their effort level as a result has been predictable.