As for the Charger, Game 17 has one more chance to catch up – San Bernardino Sun

Yes, the Charger has backed itself into a corner. (Is that the origin of the phrase “back to the wall” that they seem to be using so often this week?)

And yes, not only losing but being blown away by the Houston Texans 4-11 last Sunday is inexplicable, even with a pile of rigorously tested positive COVID-19 tests. The “next man” theory. Remember, Houston’s roster has also been in decline.

But it’s been a tumultuous season throughout the NFL, and perhaps it’s in the Chargers’ favor now to have the 17th game on their schedule.

They are no longer in control of their playoff fate, but still have two weekends to tweak things instead of just one. At 8-7, the range of possibility occurs from wiping out the Broncos this week and the next Raiders and could climb as high as the 5th seed (which would require great number of help) lost both games and went home 8-9. But consider that other than AFC West champions Kansas City (11-4), no one else on the panel has won a playoff spot and the 12 contenders are still dreaming post-season dreams.

Chaos. It’s great, even if its main cause is much less.

When the NFL first started talking about an expanded schedule in the summer of 2019, one concept was introduced as an 18-game schedule with the provision that no player could participate in more than 16 games. Unless exempted from midfield, which obviously won’t go flying, footballers have never been particularly enamored with the concept of load management.

As it turns out, the tournament officially approved the 17-match schedule in March. COVID took care of the holidays.

But did the 17-match schedule change the league in another way, sending players out of rhythm and actually contributing to that chaos?

“I guess it’s going to be a factor next week” when Game 17 arrives, veteran defensive midfielder Linval Joseph said during Wednesday’s Zoom session. “It’s still new, so I’m just trying to learn how to adapt and how to handle things, and I’m just trying to be the best I can to help this team win.

“It’s a whole new league. Can you be a part of it or you can’t? That’s what it really boils down to. ”

Football players and coaches are creatures of habit and habit. Since 1978, they have played 16 seasons. Since 2001, the finale has always been somewhere in the New Year’s Day neighborhood. Now they’ve moved the finish line back.

But Chargers coach Brandon Staley insists that there aren’t many players in the league who match their way.

“It’s a really young league, so I don’t know if everyone has enough experience” to be dropped from the extra game, he said. “I know for sure that Linval (in 12) and Chris Harris (Jr., 11) will agree with you.

“I just think (for different people) the 17th game is going to impact them in so many different ways – financially, in terms of health, it makes a lot of sense. And for the players, for the coach, for everyone in the NFL, it just needs to sort through that. ”

Bottom line: If they say 17, you play 17 and you look to finish. And if that’s the trickiest part of the job this particular season, consider yourself lucky.

“You’re dealing with two different parts of your team, the trauma part of your team and then the COVID part of your team,” Staley said. “And the problem with both is that they can (change) in an instant.

“Most of the time you make a plan, you usually know who will be there, who will not. And then 24 hours before the game, an hour before the game, everything is changing. So all you can do is stay connected as a team, coach, player, staff… stay connected, stay active and do your best to figure it out. ”

It may be taxed. Joseph said of the Houston game “how it felt different. If you mean (lack of) energy, you mean lack of production, last week wasn’t our best week. … Just a combination of everything, you know? That’s when COVID really hit last week. It feels like every day there’s a new player, two players, on their team and our team, it’s just – it’s out of control, you know.

“This is the new normal. You know, you have to accept that now. You just have to keep moving forward. You have to give your best every week. I feel like we didn’t do it last week. And I feel like this week we have to make up for what we did last week.”

If feeling frustrated and confused on the field in Houston, imagine how Austin Ekeler feels watching at home using COVID protocols. As for the Charger, Game 17 has one more chance to catch up – San Bernardino Sun

Huynh Nguyen

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