Lost Cause In San Diego
When they hired Kevin Gilbride to be their coach 21 months ago, the Chargers thought they were getting an imaginative offensive mind who could build confidence in his players. That's the kind of coordinator Gilbride had been in Jacksonville and earlier in Houston, where quarterback Warren Moon and a group of free-spirited receivers led by Haywood Jeffires were inspired by Gilbride's positive thinking.
In San Diego, however, Gilbride has been a dour, glass-is-half-empty guy, and he almost certainly won't make it out of a tailspin that has seen his team lose 12 of its last 14, including a horrendous 7-6 decision to the undermanned Raiders on Sunday. Chargers quarterbacks Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan combined to complete 10 of 24 passes for 97 yards with three interceptions. San Diego lost to a team that, playing without quarterback Jeff George, connected on 31% of its passes and rushed for 18 yards.
Afterward Chargers strong safety Rodney Harrison was asked if the players still had confidence in Gilbride. After a 20-second pause Harrison said, "Put it like this: We still have confidence."
"We still have confidence," Harrison said.
Home Crowd For New Browns
The expansion draft to help stock the Cleveland franchise will be held on Feb. 9 at the Civic Center in Canton, Ohio, down the street from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, instead of in a sterile hotel ballroom near league offices in New York City. That means Browns followers will be able to fill the place. " Cleveland fans are as loyal as any team's, and they'll show it that day," says Otto Graham, one of the original Browns.
Each of the league's 30 established clubs must leave five signed veterans unprotected, and the Browns must take from 30 to 42 players (no more than two from any club). This process did not exactly yield a treasure trove of talent for the Jaguars and Panthers in '95. Only Carolina's wide-out Mark Carrier and nickel back Rod Smith are still making significant contributions.
The Mind Games Never End