You might have expected that a bye week would keep me from doing a column this week—after all, the view from the Q would be pretty empty without any actual “football” to watch. But, given the recent organization changes with the Bolts, I figured I’d drop a little fresh quality knowledge on your brains. As always today’s column features uncredited and unappreciated insight from Ryan “Leaky Pipes” Thies, JJ “I Listen To All Kinds Of Music” Fiddler, Matt “No Relation” Guardabascio, Angie “Webmistress” Yen, Paula “Don’t Put My Name On The Internet” Anderson, and Shar “My Wife” Higa.
1. I haven’t enjoyed a day of football this much since last season. Why? Pathetically, it’s because my two favorite teams, the 49ers and the Chargers, both had bye weeks. At a combined 5-11 at the halfway point, and without both of them winning on the same Sunday, it’s been a very, very long season. At least this week for the first time in 2008, neither of them lost.
2. Pipes, Fiddler and I debate the Rivers/Manning trade. They were split on who got the better deal, and I’m torn myself. I feel that Rivers is a better QB, and certainly in the stats he is, but…Eli’s a Super Bowl MVP. I’m going to stop thinking about that.
3. So, to get to it: Ted Cottrell, Chargers defensive coordinator, was fired last week. I’ve heard a lot of opinions about it, and, honestly, I don’t know how I feel. Is our defense terrible this season? Nearly as bad as it gets—28th out of 32nd bad. And I know it’s AJ’s policy to blame somebody when things are going wrong, a policy that’s not necessarily as irrational as it sometimes seems (firing a coach after a 14-2 season, for example). But Cottrell was behind the brilliant performance of the D last year, and it’s hard for me to blame bad tackling and the absence of the defense’s best player on a coordinator. Hopefully things will get better under new coordinator Ron Rivera, but frankly, I’m not optimistic.
4. Seriously, how are the Niners and Bolts 5-11? I was sure they’d be.500 at least.
5. Rivera. Obviously, a long list of qualifications—he was the coordinator for the Bears from 2003-2006, and ran the D that took them to the Super Bowl in 2006. Then he was hired by the Chargers…to run the linebacking corps. That’s a step backwards you don’t often see, leading most to believe he’d shortly be the D. Co for the Bolts. A season and a half later, he is. Rivera is a blitzing, pressure kind of guy, which is good news because obviously a lack of pressure on the quarterback is our defense’s problem. But in the 3-4 without a great pass-rushing linebacker, I’m still not really sure what Rivera will be able to do. I guess we’ll see.
6. It was a really great day of football, with big plays almost as numerous as political commercials…Packers/Titans was a great game in the morning, I loved watching the Cowboys fall apart in the afternoon, and Colts/Pats in the evening was entertaining, even if it wasn’t the clash of powerhouses we expected it to be in the preseason. I mean, those teams are only a combined 9-7, how much more underwhelming can you get? Oh, wait…
7. Seriously, if there’s a silver lining about my Niners, and about the Bolts, it’s this: Thank God they’re in the West. I mean, the Niners are 2-6, and only THREE games out of first place. The Bolts, at 3-5, are only a game back of the Broncos. First half’s over, everybody’s rested and as healthy as they’re going to get—let’s do this, boys!