I gotta admit, as cynical as I can get about the Chargers that I was glued to my TV at 10:00 PM like everyone else. One of the things I’ve been asked the most lately about DRUNK ON SUNDAY is how much of it is true. Almost all of it, to be honest. The fictionalization was really in the way the story was told. That’s what makes it an actual story, as opposed to whatever it is I’ve been doing in this space since 1995. But the one thing that is not exaggerated is my obsessions with the Chargers and what I have come to refer as the Justice Is Coming House Band. You can’t make that shit up.
So when the Chargers get even a half of an HBO series about them, I can’t help but be excited. Sure, I haven’t watched hard knocks since the inaugural season with Tony Siragusa singing Skynyrd and Todd Heap preparing for his rookie year. Forget the fact that the Jets, Browns, and FUCKING RAIDERS have been on the show. Once I saw Anthony Lynn looking into his laptop, I was hooked. To quote Lt. Frank Drebin, this is our hill and these are our beans.
Even Sam, who has been beaten up beyond belief by her last six months working at Elmhurst Hospital, said “I’m in.” That says something considering how much the Chargers have taken from her over the last 21 years since we first met. It was additionally cool to see the after show this morning.
It’s shallow, I know, but it’s also a treat to see two attractive ladies chat about the Bolts. Smith, an avowed Deadhead, among other things, stuck to the tequila. Again, gotta love it.
So what did learn about the Chargers? Obviously, Lynn hadn’t revealed that he had COVID. Was that because HBO needed it to be a big “reveal?” for the first episode? I wouldn’t be surprised. Nonetheless, it was weird to see the team without Rivers. I have watched every Backstage Chargers episode over the last two years and no one has been “mic’d up” more than Phil. Nonetheless, it was time for him to go. I get why people get hurt seeing Rivers in his Colts uniform. I sold my LT ball when he went to the Jets and even gave a friend my Junior Seau autographed hat when we let him go. But in the case of Rivers, this was absolutely the right call. When I see many Boltheads complaining that we didn’t bring Phil back, I can’t remind each and every one that the money that went to Bosa was beyond smart. I have no doubt that the Chargers entered 2018 expecting Phil to retire a Bolt. He wanted to play in the new stadium and I believe The Organization did as well. But Rivers was a big reason we had the #6 pick in the draft. I know all about how shitty the blocking was. But Rivers was an interception machine more than ever last season. Other teams would have benched him during the season. When you hear Lynn say he wants to run the ball and protect it more, you don’t think he wanted that last season as well?
The season turned in Oakland and against KC. If the defense (I’m looking at you, Gus Bradley) had kept Jacobs out of the end zone against the Raiders then maybe the game in Mexico goes differently. But it was time. Taylor is serviceable until Herbert is ready. By not throwing 3 interceptions a game and being able to avoid a sack or two, Tyrod is an improvement in 2020.
And what about Justin Herbert? I know that cameras can make anyone look good and I learned from the aforementioned after-show that it was an intentional move to film the net on his final throw. Nonetheless, how could you not get excited watching him? He seems pretty humble, especially as he has to explain who he is on the way in to meetings. I understand why Taylor should start, especially with the lack of a preseason, but they drafted this kid for a reason.
If we hadn’t signed Bosa I would dreading every second he was on the screen and telling myself we weren’t going to sign him. Like a revealing sit down interview of any major figure, I am sure we learned more about him than the usual sound bytes often show. But it was nice to see how much the contract seemed to mean to him and his dad. We want these guys to be all about Bolting Up for life, but I’ve accepted the photo of Keenan Allen in the Raiders hat given all he has done for the Chargers. Defensive ends, like receivers, can be all about themselves without hurting the team. I’d be lumping running backs in there, but Melvin Gordon seemed to hurt the team after playing great in Oakland. Everyone assumed that the Bosa Family would somehow want to free themselves of the Chargers, a la the Mannings. Well, we all thought wrong. He’s as all in as can be right now. I don’t know if I needed to see his thigh tattoo sleeve, but it was interesting to see him contrasted with Jalen Ramsey. Cornerbacks are another position where you can be a diva and still win. Sadly, we all know what happened when Deion signed with the Niners. But Ramsey does seem kinda whiny. I have no doubt you’ll see Chris Harris talking shit after making a play on the field. I only really bring up Ramsey, not just since he was clearly contrasted with Bosa on Hard Knocks, but because the Chargers were always considered a landing spot for him. He’s obviously tight with Derwin James, and Charger fans have always wanted him. Last season, coming off their Super Bowl appearance, the Rams traded for him as so many Boltheads wished Telesco did. Again, the “Chargers are cheap because Dean is stupid” mindset creeped in to all of our heads.
There is no doubt that Snead and the Rams were aggressive all through 2018 on. They saw their window and tried to maximize it. Will they be fiscally punished due to it? Telesco didn’t give Melvin Gordon an extension. After 2018, I wanted them to. If he had lit shit up after coming back last season, he still might have. He had his opportunity. Telesco had Bosa in mind in terms of how much money the team would have this year. I can’t complain with the results. People are unhappy Phil is gone? How would you feel watching Bosa hold out or be on another team. After Jamal Adams was traded, I worried we’d be forced to move Bosa. Even though you wore the neck gaiter despite recent medical evidence (I know the episode was filmed a while ago), you deserve some serious praise, Tom Telesco.
Now I am wondering if we can frame Sam Tevi for shitting in the Rams’ port-a-potty and get him shipped out. We’d still have Scott and Scofield, but after reading about the SoFi Stadium moat, I think I have an idea what to do about them. I’ll be back with you next Wednesday, since there are no preseason games to force myself to watch. Until then.