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San Diego media already taking shots at Manti Te’o for girlfriend hoax

Manti Te'o combineJust when it appeared that the smoke from the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax may have nearly cleared, he went and began his career as an NFL linebacker. When the story first broke, the jokes were a dime a dozen. Some were hilarious and others were not all that creative, but Te’o was getting it from all angles.

The heckling has died down a bit, with more of the recent focus having been placed on his poor performance at the NFL Combine or what type of NFL prospect he really is. However, Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune has gotten things started again with his latest cartoon:

Not bad. As one NFL player mentioned last month, Te’o is bound to be the butt of a lot of jokes in the locker room. Apparently the media is going to get in on the action as well. Like we said before, Te’o had better develop some incredibly thick skin if he wants to succeed at the professional level.

H/T Eye on Football

Ryan Mathews ripped by teammates for saying Chargers were ‘complacent’ in 2012

Ryan-Mathews-ChargersLast week, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews made the mistake of saying some things on behalf of his team that could be viewed as criticism. During an appearance on “NFL AM,” Mathews said that he believed the Chargers got “complacent” under Norv Turner and may have taken winning for granted.

“I think he (Norv Turner) did everything he could to try to make us win, no doubt about it,” Mathews said. “I just think we really got complacent to where we were and what we were doing and thought we were owed to win games.”

Several of Mathews’ teammates took the comment personally, feeling that it was the fourth-year running back’s way of saying the team was not giving a full effort. On Monday, linebacker Donald Butler said he wishes Mathews would not have spoken for other people on the team.

“I just wish he would have spoken for himself,” Butler told U-T San Diego. “That’s all. Just speak for yourself. Don’t make generalized statements like that about the whole team. … I haven’t got a chance to talk to him, but I’m sure he knows that. It is what is. Just speak on yourself, and that’s it.”

Center Nick Hardwick agreed with Butler, providing a vivid description of how hard he worked before every game during San Diego’s disappointing 2012 season.

“Just from my own personal standpoint, I throw up before every game,” Hardwick said. “I know what kind of work it’s going to take to even get through a game, let alone to win a game.”

As Kevin Patra of Around the League pointed out, Mathews likely did not intend to insult his teammates or downplay their hard work. Instead, he was probably trying to make the point that firing Turner was the right thing to do and that it was time for a change. I’m sure he has learned a valuable lesson and will chose his words more carefully next time around.

Norv Turner: Chargers are far from being a playoff team

Many people consider the San Diego Chargers to be a team with talent that would be easy for a new coach to turn around. Norv Turner disagrees.

Turner was fired by the Chargers on Monday after six seasons on the job. Though the team made the playoffs his first three seasons, they went 24-24 and failed to reach the postseason over his final three seasons. He doesn’t think the team is as close to returning to the playoffs as many others do.

“Someone wrote a few weeks ago that this team is not that far away from the playoffs,” Turner said Monday, per Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “I would disagree. I know the things that would have to get done for that to happen. If this team comes next year and they get some things done to help them get better and are able to make the playoffs, I would hope it would be a surprise to all the Chargers fans, and they would be excited about it.

“I would hope it would not be the expectation starting in August because I think you need to give whoever the guy who comes in here and the group he brings in some time to get back this thing back to where it was.”

Turner apparently said he felt the Chargers were the most talented team in the AFC West his first three seasons on the job, but not his last three. He seemed to pin that problem on GM A.J. Smith.

“We’ve had too many changes,” Turner said. “We’ve lost too many people.”

The Chargers lost players like Mike Tolbert, Vincent Jackson, and Kevin Burnett in recent years, but they’ve also retained cornerstones like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Eric Weddle and Shaun Phillips. The team has been in a very winnable division and simply has not played well. That, to me, is on Turner. It would be a surprise if a new coach did not perform better than Turner.

Helmet smack to The Red Zone

Norv Turner, A.J. Smith reportedly will be fired after season

San Diego Chargers fans will finally have their wish. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Chargers will fire head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith at the end of the season.

Acee says Chargers President Dean Spanos began thinking about a month ago that Turner’s time as head coach was ending. In the past, Norv was able to hang onto his job after the team rallied late in the season. This season they have lost four in a row and are now 4-8.

Many people have similarly called for AJ Smith aka the “Lord of No Rings” to lose his job for years. Smith infamously sparred with the Manning family and took a hard-lined stance against franchise legend LaDainian Tomlinson. He had a great eye for drafting talent, but his abrasive personality has long been a source of controversy.

Current Chargers Director of Player Personnel Jimmy Raye is expected to take over as the team’s GM. There is no word on who might become the team’s next head coach.

Acee reports that the team is keeping Turner for the rest of the season because of the minuscule chance they can still make the playoffs.

Turner has long been criticized for constantly underachieving in San Diego. In 2010, Tony Dungy said Turner was responsible for some of the team’s problems. In 2011, Rex Ryan said he would have won Super Bowls with the talent the team possessed.

Though he is a great offensive mind, we never felt Turner should have been hired as the team’s head coach. He should have been fired a long time ago, and it seems silly for the Chargers to keep him for the next four games if they’re planning to fire him after the season.

Turner has coached three different teams and is 111-121 in his career. He is much better suited as an offensive coordinator. It’s about time the Chargers came to their senses.

Chargers LB Jarret Johnson: ‘We just don’t know how to win’

The San Diego Chargers had a tremendous chance to remain in the playoff hunt on Sunday, but once again they failed to get the job done. For Norv Turner’s team, that is certainly nothing new. But this loss may have stung a bit more than some of the others, as San Diego forced the Baltimore Ravens into a 4th and 29 situation with less than two minutes remaining, only to let Ray Rice pick up 30 yards on a miraculous catch-and-run.

There are few teams who could blow a game like the one the Chargers blew to all but eliminate themselves from the wild card hunt, but they have turned it into an art form. As linebacker Jarret Johnson put it, San Diego just isn’t a winning team.

“It’s just really frustrating because we’ve shown we can play,” Johnson said according to the North County Times. “I’ve been on bad teams, riddled with injuries, bad guys, dysfunctional. This team is every bit the opposite of that … We’ve shown we’re a talented team, offensively and defensively. And at the same time, we’ve turned around and proven time and again that we just don’t know how to win.”

Whether it be Philip Rivers throwing a crucial interception, Ryan Mathews putting the ball on the ground or the defense letting up a 4th and a million, the Chargers seem to be better than any team in the league at finding new ways to lose. I’d be shocked if this isn’t the year that it costs Turner his job.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Chargers could lose draft pick for illegal use of Stickum

The San Diego Chargers are being investigated by the NFL for the potential use of a banned substance, and they reportedly are facing a fine or lost draft pick as penalty.

FOX NFL reporter Jay Glazer first reported on Sunday that the team was being investigated for their use of Stickum during last Monday’s loss to the Denver Broncos. Glazer says a line judge saw San Diego’s equipment man hiding the illegal substance and giving it to players. The judge had the substance confiscated and sent to the Broncos and the league.

Stickum and similar adhesives were banned by the NFL in 1981 with the “Lester Hayes Rule,” which was named after the famous Oakland Raiders cornerback who frequently used it.

UT San Diego says the Chargers are facing a fine or the loss of draft pick(s) as a potential penalty.

The new information makes me think blowing a 24-0 lead on “Monday Night Football” was karma for the Chargers trying to cheat.

H/T Daily Jolt

Who is the Favorite to Reach the Super Bowl from this Year’s Mediocre AFC?

This has truly been a strange year in the NFL.  Granted, every year is strange in the world of professional football.  We have teams that start out smoking hot and finish the season 6-10.  We have others that start out 1-4 and scratch and claw their way into the playoffs.  This season, however, seems to be more of a mystery than ever — particularly in the AFC.  The Packers are the clear-cut favorite to win the NFC and the Super Bowl at this point, but what about the rest?  With the AFC up for grabs, here’s a look at the teams that are in the hunt. We start with the least likely to play in Indianapolis on Feb. 5 and end with the most.

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