In search of an analyst, a psychiatrist, someone with a gift card for therapy — the San Diego Chargers and their fans need all the help they can get as they grind their way to another non-playoff season.
With three weeks left in another disappointing campaign, the Chargers seem poised to clean out the second floor of the fortress, including the offices of General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner.
Or are they?
Just when you think all hope is lost for the once-elite franchise, they pull off a stunning punch-in-the-mouth win in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.
A team that had gone eight quarters without a touchdown, with an error-prone and battered quarterback, puts 34 points on the board against the once-proud Steel Curtain defense.
A struggling young defense designs blitz packages that nearly topple the former Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Special teams kicked field goals and kept pinning the Steelers deep in their own territory.
Instead of the annual beating in Pittsburgh where they had gone (0-14) in the regular season — they got a win.
It was only one win, but now there is a reality check coming.
They could, with that type of effort, beat Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers this coming Sunday. They could surely win in that circus atmosphere where the troubled New York Jets play. And there is no doubt, they will smash the lowly Raiders, who have a league-record 109 losses in their last nine seasons.
Ever seen a franchise with the type of insane asylum mood swings as the Chargers?
And now after getting as much counseling as possible comes this multiple choice exam of questions.
What if the Chargers run the table and finish with a 4-0 mark here at the end of the season?
What if they finish 8-8 and you have seen growth and improvement in what have been trouble spots on the roster?
Do you re-think eating the $7 million in contracts you would owe Smith and Turner if you fire them?
Do you rationalize that they have fixed the franchise, there is confidence and the arrow is pointing up?
Or do you view the big picture in San Diego — this is the same season like the last bunch of seasons with no playoff spots, dreadful losses, terrible losing streaks and wins against the garbage-can part of the schedule?
If you elect to make changes, would you promote from within, as rumored, and name 17-year veteran scout Jimmy Raye as the new general manager?
If Raye stays and you like what you have seen from the growth under the assistants coaches, might you stay the course and promote from there, too?
Is Rich Bisaccia, the special teams coach, ready for a head coaching job? Is he the next John Harbaugh, who went from special teams guru to head coach with the Baltimore Ravens?
If you keep Bisaccia, then maybe you can continue to polish the defense under John Pagano, whose young troops have gotten better and better the more and more they played.
The fans and the media will spin you names like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher and other hot assistant coaches like Mike McCoy or Bruce Arians.
This will be fascinating to see if the Bolts make a run to finish the season with a bunch of wins. The off-season promises to be more interesting than this disappointing 2012 season for sure.
What would you do? Keep Norv and A.J.? Make a run at the biggest name possible –Gruden, Chip Kelly? Or promote from within?
When treatment is completed and the decisions are made, when the multiple choice exam is over, it will be interesting to see what the Chargers do and who they wind up with.