I just wanted to watch casually.
Finally, a league in which an NFL die-hard is able to relax and enjoy a game with no stress or real preference of who wins. Or so I thought. Being a Los Angeles Chargers fan, taking my talents to Fleet for mid-February was a no brainer. On paper, it looked so great. We took Josh Johnson with the first overall pick, signed former college standout, Bishop Sankey, there were rumors Donnel Pumphrey was going to be joining the team, and at the helm was a proven NFL coach. What could go wrong?
How naive of me.
This is a San Diego sports team. When has that ever worked out (ok, fine, other than the Gulls)? San Diego and sports simply don’t go together. I suppose the gods would see it as “unfair” had we possessed the weather, diverse culture, and great sports teams.
Regardless, I entered week one of the Fleet season very excited, and here’s what I came away with:
The Mike Martz Experience Is Already Torture
From my understanding, we were going to be led by an offensive guru, the “Greatest Show On Turf” maestro, the Super Bowl champion Mike Martz. Yet, in a developmental football league, he failed to lead the Fleet offense to even a single touchdown. And some of the formations the Fleet found themselves in were horrendous. For example, watch this video of the most important play of the game and attempt to make sense of the formation:
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 10, 2019
Following a 30+ yard gain, I had to witness our quarterback line up under center while his running back was three yards to left, rendering him useless for the play. Just from the formation, you can tell there is zero organization or sense of security within the offense. And it’s not like this formation was a one-time thing, Martz utilized this multiple times throughout the game. I was waiting for him to run play action out of it.
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The Play Calls
Also, (referring to the clip above) this play call should have never even happened. The smart move would have been to either take your field goal and go for the 4th and 10 possession recapture or run the ball and see if your great running back could break loose. After all, Ja’Quan Gardener, who you neglected the entire game was averaging 6.9 yards per carry. But no, instead we shall send too many wide receivers, leaving our quarterback(s) out to dry. Then, when the quarterback loses confidence because he’s getting blasted after two seconds every other play, we shall pull him out of the game entirely and put the replacement in. the whole offense just made zero sense today. Our run game was extremely effective, so we instead continued to rely on a more than shaky passing game. It honestly feels like Martz is trying way too hard to get cute with his play calls like he’s Doug Pederson rather than utilizing what’s working.
From the training camp notes I received, Kameron Kelly was supposed to be the skeleton key for this team. For the first few days, I was receiving reports that he was an absolute ball hawk at the safety position and was going to be a game changer. So much to the point where he was then switched to wide receiver where his hands could be properly utilized. Then, for the remainder of camp, I received reports of how polished a receiver he was. Today, he had one catch for five yards on three targets. Again, I know it’s just one game but this is a whole article of overreactions and this was way too obvious.
The Punter’s Our Best Player Again
Goddamnit… it happened again. For any that remember a not so brief period in Chargers history in which punter, Mike Scifres, was our most effective player, we are once again entering the same situation. Ryan Winslow. Remember the name. He’s now the official face of the Fleet franchise. five punts for 220 yards with three ending up inside the opponents 20-yard line. I truly can’t believe I’m about to watch a full season of a team whose best player is on the field five times per game. Unbelievable.
With that said… All Hands On Deck (I guess).
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