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Tag:Juan Castillo
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:57 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:12 pm
 

Eagles will keep Castillo, hire Bowles

CastillorBy Josh Katzowitz

All along, it’s been pretty obvious that, whether Eagles coach Andy Reid kept his job (and it was always pretty clear he was going to do so), Juan Castillo would be out as defensive coordinator. After all, Philadelphia struggled for much of the season with its wide-nine scheme*, and there were rumblings that in order to keep his job, Reid would have to fire Castillo.

Reid denied it at the time, and it looks like he was telling the truth, because according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Castillo will remain as defensive coordinator.

The team also announced that former Dolphins interim coach Todd Bowles -- who was a head coaching candidate for the Raiders after leading Miami to a 2-1 record after the Tony Sparano firing -- will take over as the Eagles secondary coach.

*This is what happens when you hire an offensive line coach to be your defensive coordinator.

Clearly, this wasn't all Castillo's fault. The wide-nine scheme was Reid’s idea -- in fact, there was speculation that Reid hired Castillo for the defensive coordinator job because he couldn’t find a suitable DC who actually felt comfortable running that scheme -- and it took a while for Philadelphia’s personnel to make it work.

Add that with a flurry of offseason acquisitions -- including Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- and you can begin to see that not all the defensive inefficiencies could be blamed on Castillo.

"We've just got to continue to work with it," Reid said in October after the Eagles started 1-4. “Listen, anything new you've got to work with and work out the wrinkles and get it right."

"Players, they have to learn it, coaches have to learn it, particularly the new coaches. So it's a joint effort there."

And actually, the Eagles played better defense than you think. According to Football Outsiders, they were the 12th-most efficient defensive unit in the league, and in yards and points allowed, they were a top-10 squad. In the final four games of the year -- all Philadelphia wins -- the Eagles allowed an average of 11.5 points per game.

So, obviously the defense did improve. Based on that, maybe it’s not surprising Castillo was retained in the first place.

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Eagles bring back Reid, coaching changes his call

Andy Reid and Michael Vick will get another shot in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

This isn't a huge shock, but the Eagles are bringing back Andy Reid, the NFL's longest-tenured coach, for at least one more season.

Jeffrey Lurie, Eagles owner, announced as much (in a lengthy fashion!) during a press conference Tuesday.

"I want to see our team coached by Andy Reid next year and I can't wait," Lurie said. "If our goal is to win title, Andy Reid is our guy."

Lurie also added that any coaching changes are "up to Andy" -- the most obvious decision everyone's wondering about is the possibility of changing defensive coordinators. Juan Castillo was, arguably, more embattled in 2011 than any head coach in the NFL and it won't sit well with the locals if he remains the defensive coordinator, particularly with ex-Eagles coach Steve Spagnuolo now on the free-agent market.

Of course, the Eagles defense was substantially better down the stretch in 2011, but don't think Lurie didn't notice the schedule they had.

In his press conference, Lurie pointed to the Eagles strong close to the season and said that to hold onto a four-game winning streak against teams that didn't make the playoffs would be "fool's gold."

"I think there was a miscalculation of implementing scheme changes in a post-lockout season," Lurie said when pressed about Castillo's status. "Anyone who's known Juan Castillo knows he's an incredibly impressive man. Was he put into a tough situation early? Tough to say."

But Lurie added that the decision to keep or not keep Castillo was completely up to Reid. The only difference, based on Lurie's comments Tuesday, is that Reid would be wise to get his team motivated to play before December this season, otherwise 2011 won't go down as the "most disappointing" season of his career.

Next year will.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Casserly: 'Strong sentiment' for Caldwell return

Caldwell appreciates the Colts trying to save his gig. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

There's a lot of chatter about potential coaching changes around the NFL, with Black Monday looming in less than 24 hours. Jim Caldwell of the Colts, Norv Turner of the Chargers, Andy Reid of the Eagles and Steve Spanguolo of the Rams are all considered on the proverbial hot seat.

The Giants Tom Coughlin is much-maligned in New York too, but CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported on Sunday that Coughlin's gig is safe ("he will be back") regardless of whether or not the Giants make the playoffs this season.

Casserly also broke down the status for the other guys -- Reid is the safest of the bunch by far.

"I expect Andy Reid to be back as head coach of the Eagles next year," Casserly reported on The NFL Today. "As far as defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, as of yesterday, no decision had been made. However, it is Andy Reid's total decision."

That could make for an interesting in-house argument in Philly. So could Caldwell's status as head coach, according to Casserly.

"There's strong sentiment in the building to bring him back because of how hard the Colts have played this year," Casserly told James Brown.


That's pretty shocking. The Colts have won two games in a row and are looking for three against Jacksonville but even the late-season run seemed like a classic case of too little, too late. Apparently Caldwell's still got a shot at saving his gig, which would be ironic, considering he'd probably have to lose out on Andrew Luck to do so.

Not having a shot? Spags and Norv, according to Casserly.

"I do not expect [Turner] to be back as head coach [of the Chargers], however, I look for him to get many opportunities as an offensive coordinator in the league," Casserly said.

One of those spots could be with the Jets, as we noted earlier when talking about Rex Ryan's candle-lighting that Norv's a candidate to replace Brian Schottenheimer, depending on how the dominos Sunday.

Spags is in a similar boat, Casserly reported, as he'll be out as head coach and chased by several teams as a coordinator.

"In St. Louis, expect changes to be made and Steve Spagnuolo to be out as head coach," Casserly said Sunday. "However, he will be a highly sought-after defensive coordinator next year."

To sum up: heads are going to roll in the offseason (just like every year). The question is just how many.


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Posted on: December 27, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Could Steve Spagnuolo join Andy Reid in Philly?

Spags was a defensive assistant under Reid from 1999-2003. (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Come Monday, there will be plenty of teams looking for head coaches. The Dolphins, Chiefs and Jaguars have already parted ways with Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Jack Del Rio, and the Rams, Colts, Chargers and Buccaneers could pink-slip their respective coaches by next week.

So it won't come as a surprise if St. Louis decides to move on from Steve Spagnuolo. In three seasons, Spags has gone 1-15, 7-9 and is 2-13 as the Rams enter Week 17. In fact, there's the distinct possibility that St. Louis could have the first overall pick for the second time in three years.

On Monday night, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee reported that Jon Gruden might be tabbed to replace Spagnuolo in St. Louis, and CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirmed through two sources and Gruden indeed was looking to get back into the NFL.

Overlooked in Acee's story: Spagnuolo could be reunited with Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

"League sources also said this week that it is all but certain that Spagnuolo will join Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator."

That means curtains for Juan Castillo, the longtime offensive assistant hired as the defensive coordinator prior to the season. There were reports earlier this month that Reid's future in Philly was contingent on parting ways with Castillo. (Reid later denied it.)  Of course, Castillo could return to coaching the offensive line, a position he held from 1998-2010 in Philly. As for Spags' imminent arrival, there are some logistics to take care of first.

He's certainly qualified for the job -- Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator when they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl four years ago -- but the Eagles also have Jim Washburn as their defensive line coach. Washburn came to Philly from Tennessee and he brought the "wide nine" with him. It's a scheme built on getting pressure from the front four and involves little blitzing. Spags was a zone-blitzing maniac during his DC days.

As Philly.com's Sheil Kapadia points out, there's also the matter of Spags being available (likely), the Eagles willing to move on from Castillo (also likely), and Spags' interest in the defensive coordinator's gig in light of other potential offers. And then we can begin the Dream Team talk in earnest (that's a joke).

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:37 pm
 

Eagles' Reid says job not tied to firing Castillo

Is Reid's future in Philly contingent on dumping his defensive coordinator? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Last Thursday, the Eagles were outclassed by the Seahawks. The loss dropped them to 4-8, and in the process raised more questions about head coach Andy Reid's future in Philadelphia.

It's an odd situation for Reid; he's in his 13th season as the Eagles' coach and he's won 60 percent of the time. Only twice previously has he had a losing record. Eight times the Eagles have won at least 10 games, and that includes seven division titles and one conference championship.

But now, after assembling the Dream Team only to watch Philly lose twice as often as it wins, Reid's job security is tenuous. He hired longtime Eagles offensive assistant Juan Castillo to be the defensive coordinator (that experiment has somehow gone worse than you could ever imagine) and according to a report over the weekend, the only way Reid keeps stays in Philly is if he cans Castillo.

On Wednesday, Reid was asked about the "It's you or Juan" report.

“Nobody has approached me on it,” he said, according to Philadelphia Sports Daily. “My mind is to continue to get better as coaches and players. My mind goes no further than that. That’s where I’m at. We’re right in the middle of this thing and we have to continue to get better; that’s what we have to do.”

Reid added that he is in frequent contact with owner Jeffrey Lurie and team president Joe Banner and while the season has been full of frustrations, everyone's on the same page.

On Monday, Reid said that he hadn't had time to think about his future, but did offer an explanation for the Eagles' struggles this season.

"If you stay in one place long enough, age catches all players no matter how great they are; they're going to outplay their career and you've got to rebuild it," he said on his radio show, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McClane. "We're going through that. You look down the middle of our defense and we are young, young.

"People perceive us to be an old football team, but we're really not an old football team. We're one of the youngest teams in the [NFL]. That takes time."

On the one hand, Reid's right: the Eagles are the sixth-youngest team in the league (average age: 25.8). On the other hand, if he's going with that defense, how does he explain this: the Eagles made the playoffs last season with the fourth-youngest roster, according to ESPN's Mike Sando. (Note: Sando's list is from July 2010 and includes undrafted free agents and unsigned draft choices. Given that most of those players are in their early 20s, it artificially lowers the average. But assuming that each NFL team, on average, cuts the same number of these players before the regular season means that the Eagles were still one of the NFL's youngest organizations.)

McClane writes that the Eagles players still support Reid, including quarterback Michael Vick.

"We've had our bad breaks, games that we should have won . . . and just couldn't pull it out - whether we did it on offense or defense," Vick said. "Honestly, I just don't think Coach Reid had anything to do with that.

"We all have watched the games, we've all seen it, we were all a part of it, we know the reasons why we didn't pull them out, and it wasn't coach's fault. To hear that, it kind of upsets me."

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 11:53 am
 

Report: Reid could keep job by firing Castillo

Does Reid stay around if he dumps Castillo -- the guy he hired in the offseason? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Eagles are the most disappointing team of 2011. This is not up for debate. In August, they were the dream team. Now, 13 weeks into the season and sitting at 4-8, they're a nightmare. It's gotten so bad that head coach Andy Reid, who has won 60 percent of the time during his 13 years in Philly, could be out of work in January.

One way Reid could save his job: a league source tells ProFootballTalk.com that Reid will need to dump defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. (Also known as the former long-time Eagles offensive assistant and the guy Reid inexplicably hired to replace Sean McDermott as the team's defensive coordinator.)

"Reid’s future will hinge on his willingness to admit that it was a mistake to shift Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator," PFT.com's Mike Florio writes. "If Reid concedes that he erred, and rectifies the blunder by firing Castillo, Reid will stay. If he refuses, Reid will be gone. "It’s an easy way for Reid to get out with a buyout, if he chooses to dig in his heels. And we’ve seen other head coaches refuse to fire assistants, setting the stage for a termination."

It's an amazing turn of events for Reid, whose team looked primed for a deep playoff run just three months ago. Now, with key players injured (Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jeremy Maclin) or underperforming, and the defense getting outplayed on a weekly basis, the Eagles are in last place in the division behind the hapless Redskins.

It could be worse, however; Reid could be Norv Turner.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:04 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:11 am
 

Eagles defense stop Giants when needed most

E. Manning takes the sack against Philadelphia's defense (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Vince Young couldn’t do it on his own, and without Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin dressed because of injuries and with Young making his first start in a Philadelphia uniform, the Eagles defense was going need to be special Sunday night. Considering Eli Manning is in the middle of a career resurgence and with the Giants playing well enough to take over the NFC East, the Eagles defense had a tough task in front of them.

And despite the high-priced offseason acquisitions -- I don’t need to list them; you already know who I’m talking about -- Philadelphia’s defense had been decidedly mediocre this season.

But with a 3-6 Eagles squad desperate to stay alive in the playoff race, no matter how slim its chances are, Philadelphia’s defense was superb, limiting the Giants running game to 29 yards (Giants coach Tom Coughlin called that pathetic). Though Manning threw for 264 yards, the Eagles also forced him into two turnovers that led to a 17-10 victory and killed the Giants chances to win on their home turf while keeping their lead in the NFC East.

Instead, the Eagles gained ground on New York, and though Young (23 of 36 for 258 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions) was more than solid -- especially on that final 18-play drive in which he helped convert six third downs -- the Eagles defense was just as important to the victory.

After holding the Giants to just three points through three quarters, the Eagles went into the final period with a seven-point lead. But the defense gave up two big completions from Manning to Victor Cruz, including a 24-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 10-10.

Young responded to give the Eagles the lead again, and this time, with 2:39 to play, it was incumbent on their defense to stop Manning once and for all.

Manning completed a 17-yard pass to Hakeem Nicks on a second and 20, but on third down, the Eagles blew a coverage against Giants receiver Victor Cruz, and Cruz turned a simple catch into a 47-yard gain to bring the ball to the Philadelphia 21-yard line.

Suddenly, Manning had plenty of time to try to tie the game. But on the very next play, one of those high-priced acquisitions made one of the biggest plays of the game. As Manning looked to scramble, defensive end Jason Babin blind-sided him and forced the fumble that the Eagles recovered to seal the game.

“I got extended,” Babin told NBC after the game, “and I kept hustling.”

Which was basically what the Eagles defense accomplished all game. Philadelphia hustled and it played hard and it fought for the right to continue a season on the brink of irrelevancy. And for a night, defensive coordinator Juan Castillo could celebrate what worked rather than ruminate about what didn’t.

“We’re going to go back and watch the film, and figure out whatever it is (the Eagles did well),” Babin said. “We’re going to bottle it. We’re not going to sell it. We’re going to keep it. There was something special with us tonight.”

Yes, one could say the defense was almost Dream Team like.



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Posted on: November 15, 2011 10:00 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

Posted by Ryan Wilson

David Reed, Billy Cundiff - Ravens

See if this makes sense to you. Three weeks ago, the centerpiece of the Ravens offense, running back Ray Rice, was on the sidelines with the Grand Schemer, Cam Cameron, as quarterback Joe Flacco was winging the ball all over the yard against the god-awful Jaguars. By the time it was over, Rice had just eight carries, and Flacco ended up 21 of 38 for 137 yards and Baltimore lost to Jacksonville, 12-7.

On Sunday, it was an encore performance; Rice had five carries, Flacco threw the ball 52 times … and the Ravens loss to the Seahawks. But Cameron isn't solely responsible for what happened in Seattle. The brunt of the blame falls on kick returner David Reed, who had not one but two fumbles, both recovered by the Seahawks and converted into six points.


“I was kind of hoping that it would go like this, where they wouldn't feature [the run] as much [and] they wouldn't be balanced out,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “We got up enough and at halftime, they decided they were going to throw the football, so that we didn't see much of the running game at all. … I thought that helped us a little bit."

To recap: Cameron played right into Carroll's (!) hands. Let that sink in for a moment.

Here's something else we don't understand: Rice fumbled early in the Jags game and found himself on the bench. He's probably one of the most important players on the roster. Reed fumbles … and head coach John Harbaugh sends him right back out there. And he fumbles again. Reed might be the 52nd or 53rd most important player on the roster.

Carroll: "Tell Jim I said hi!"

“You can’t turn the ball over,” Harbaugh said. (Just ask Ray Rice, who was benched against the Jags.) “I mean, hey, this is the NFL, and you’ve got to protect the football. He knows that. And he will, he will. David Reed’s a tough guy, he’s a competitive guy, he’s been there before. I’ve got a lot of confidence in David, a lot of respect for David. He’s one of our guys.”

Kicker Billy Cundiff also honked two field-goal attempts, a 50 and 52-yarder. Yes, those are long-range opportunities and it's hardly shocking that he missed them both. But Baltimore signed him to a five-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, the type of money you pay guys to make tough kicks.

Finally, as our CBSSports.com colleague Will Brinson pointed out in his weekly Sorting the Sunday Pile column: this is unfortunate for Ray Lewis, his knees, ankles and all 10 toes.


Upside: We applaud Ray-Ray for his impromptu Carlton homage. Didn't see that coming.

Juan Castillo, Nnamdi Asomugha (but mostly Castillo) - Eagles

The dream is dead, the team is done and Philly should probably spend the final seven weeks of the season figuring out who's worth keeping around for 2012. To borrow one of Emmitt Smith's favorite words, the latest debaclement came against the lowly Cardinals, who showed up at the Linc for the Kevin Kolb Bowl -- without Kolb -- and proceeded to beat the Eagles with the mighty John Skelton.

We found out Monday that Michael Vick suffered a few broken ribs during the game and that my explain why the offense sputtered, but the defense has been a disaster all year. Some might say that this is what happens when you promote your offensive assistant to defensive coordinator.

Recapping Week 10

But presumably Juan Castillo doesn't teach his players to blow coverages, miss tackles or avoid contact altogether. At some point, the players have to, you know, execute. Which brings us to Nnamdi Asomugha. He's not the Eagle's biggest problem (far from it, in fact), but he came to Philly as one of the league's best cornerbacks with reputation for shutting down the opponent's best receiver.

This season, he's been miscast (which we can blame on Castillo). Brinson likes to say the Eagles want Asomugha to be Charles Woodson 2.0 when it makes much more sense to let him be the original Nnamdi. In the fourth quarter of Sunday's Cardinals game, Asomugha lined up offsides (seriously, how does that happen to veteran defensive back?) allowing Arizona to convert on third down. He also dropped a fourth-quarter interception.

The biggest crime, however, was that he wasn't super-glued to Larry Fitzgerald all day. And that again falls on Castillo.

"It would've been nice to be on him in that situation," Asomugha said. "I've done it before. With him. With others. Done it before. Chase guys. Follow guys."

Not Sunday. Instead, Castillo's gameplan seemed to involve letting Fitzgerald get open, which happened seven times for 146 yards, including two touchdowns.

One score came in the second quarter when Castillo got the bright idea to cover Fitzgerald with … rookie linebacker Brian Rolle.

Then, in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald snagged a ball that deflected off Joselio Hanson's hand's and he walked into the end zone for the game-tying score. On the game-winning drive, rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett was in coverage on Fitzgerald on two of his receptions.

Asked after the game why Jarrett -- and not, I don't know, Asomugha -- was covering Fitzgerald at that point in the proceedings, Castillo said "Because I gotta do a better job."

This is the sort of answer you expect from an eight-year-old who forgets to take out the trash, not a grown man in charge of coordinating up a defense that happens to have a legit shutdown corner at his disposal.

Ryan Pontbriand, Phil Dawson -- Browns

It's not really fair to blame the Browns' latest loss on two of their best players, Ryan Pontbriand and Phil Dawson. But the fact that two of their best players are a long-snapper and a kicker tells you all you need to know about the current state of the franchise.

The West Coast offense isn't suited for the Rust Belt, especially when everybody knows what's coming (we talked about this phenomenon plenty last week). It was more of the same against the Rams, but the Browns, trailing 13-12, had a chance to take the lead with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Instead, Dawson shanked a 22-yarder. Replays showed that Pontbriand's snap his the foot of left guard Alex Mack, causing the ball to skip back to holder Brad Maynard, throwing off Dawson's timing in the process.


Browns football, everybody!

“This is one of the lows of my career,” Maynard said, via the Columbus Dispatch.

Pontbriand added: “I pretty much cost our team the victory. I’m pretty numb right now.”

Four years ago, Pontbriand earned an honorable-mention nod as one of Cleveland's top-five athletes. And that probably still holds. It's just that he had an off-day Sunday. Most amazing, perhaps, is that it hasn't happened more frequently. This is Cleveland after all.

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington

Last week, John Beck got the nod in this space. And we suspect that whoever head coach Mike Shanahan starts next week will end up here, too. The takeaway isn't that Grossman and Beck are bad (they are), it's that the Redskins organization is a complete and utter disaster. This comes as news to exactly no one, except maybe Shanahan, who somehow finds a way each week to look more exasperated than when we last saw him after the previous loss.

The latest demoralizing setback came in Miami against the Dolphins, a team that won its first game of the season last week. Miami notched win No. 2 Sunday against the Skins. Grossman finished the day 21 of 32 for 215 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. And the offense consisted of three Graham Gano field goals. Not exactly reminiscent of those heady Shanahan days in Denver with John Elway.

“It’s the same thing each and every week,” wide receiver Jabar Gaffney lamented, via the Washington Post. “That’s what’s really, like, frustrating. We work on it, think we have it controlled and figured out. Then we come back out and we still have the same problems.”

Shanahan decided to reinstall Grossman as the starter after Beck went winless in three games, citing some nonsense about injuries and Beck's inexperience.

“You go with more of an experienced guy that has dealt with these situations,” Shanahan said in explaining his switch to Grossman. “I didn’t want to put John in a situation where we had a number of guys down, and with his experience, especially over the last two weeks, I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.”

Uh huh.

We said it last week but it Bears repeating: the Redskins could lose out. They're that bad. But they're also cursed and/or unlucky -- even if they go 3-13, they ain't getting Andrew Luck because there's no way the Colts are winning three games.

Defense, San Diego

For once this season, Philip Rivers wasn't the reason San Diego lost. Last Thursday, Rivers was adequate (which is an improvement over his recent performances) but the Chargers' defense -- their run defense, in particular -- was a no-show.

This might be understandable if Darren McFadden was in the backfield wreaking havoc. He was not. Instead, Michael Bush did the heavy lifting, rushing 30 times for 157 yards and a score, and hauling in three passes for 85 receiving yards.

If the Chargers don't get better, they can expect more performances like the one Michael Bush put on them last Thursday.

The Raiders' offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, Bush took full advantage, and ultimately, Carson Palmer was the beneficiary.

San Diego's now 4-5 and tied with the Broncos (!) for second in the AFC West. Credit to Rivers for taking the glass-half-full approach.

“We’ve been worse,” he said after the Raiders loss.

Safety Eric Weddle was more direct in his assessment of what happened.

“We got our butts kicked. Every facet of the game. They ran the ball at will. We gave up too many deep plays.”

It gets more depressing. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee wrote Friday that only 18 times in Chargers history had they surrendered more yards than the 489 the Raiders had in Week 10.

Can San Diego get it together and make a late playoff push like they do every year?

“You know, every man can say they messed up here and there, didn’t play the way they’re capable of playing,” Weddle said. “And that’s what’s going to happen, you’re going to get a beat down like we did.”

So you're telling me there's a chance?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com