Going into Week 13, the San Diego Chargers practically have a full team on injured reserve, placing 18 players on the season-ending list!
I am sure the Chargers can say there is not enough room on the airplane for the players on IR this season and actually mean it.
Here are the players on IR and the date they were placed on it.
May 16th: Brock Hekking (OLB): Charger fans have yet to see what talent this second-year linebacker has to offer. He missed all of 2015 with a foot injury and was placed on IR in 2016 with an undisclosed injury suffered early in training camp.
August 15th: Stevie Johnson (WR) Johnson suffered a torn MCL during practice on July 31st. The nine-year veteran signed with the Chargers in 2015 and had 497 yards with three touchdowns.
August 15th: Sean Lissemore (NT) Lissemore was hoping to come back in 2016 after hurting his shoulder at the end of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, he was not able to recover from the injury and was placed on IR.
August 22nd: Jeff Cumberland (TE) Cumberland had signed a one-year deal with the Chargers after playing six years with the Jets. The tight end suffered an ACL injury in the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
August 30th: Zamir Carlis (DT) The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rookie out of Stillman College suffered an ankle injury during practice. The severity of the injury is undisclosed.
August 30th: Donavon Clark (G) The 2016 seventh-round pick from Michigan State suffered a torn ACL injury against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason.
August 30th: Tyler Johnstone (T) The rookie from Oregon suffered an undisclosed injury during training camp.
August 30th: Branden Oliver (RB) Most of us watched Oliver tear his Achilles tendon in the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. Chargers were hoping to have the hard-hitting Oliver back after he missed half of 2015 with a toe injury.
August 31st: Javontee Herndon (WR/KR) The wide receiver suffered a knee injury on July 30th. He played eight games in 2015 and had 195 yards receiving. Herndon also was used in return duties.
September 12th: Keenan Allen (WR) After missing most of the 2015 season, the Chargers were excited to get top-ranked receiver KA13 back on the field. Then, much to the chagrin of Chargers fans and fantasy football players, he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the regular season. Six offensive plays into the 2016 season and your No. 1 target is gone for the entire year.
September 19th: Danny Woodhead (RB) After Chargers fans saw Keenan Allen go down in Week 1, they saw Woodhead go down in Week 2. The mighty back also suffered a torn ACL.
September 28th: Manti Te’o (ILB) Hoping to finally play a full season after suffering injuries in his first three years, Te’o only made it to the third game of the regular season. The team captain suffered a torn Achilles in the loss against the Indianapolis Colts.
October 7th: Jason Verrett (CB): Verrett suffered a partially torn ACL injury and was placed on IR after the fourth game against the Saints. Verrett was not able to pinpoint when the actual injury happened and therefore most likely continued to play despite the injury.
October 10th: Nick Dzubnar (ILB) The second-year undrafted linebacker from Cal Poly SLO also tore his ACL in week six against the New Orleans Saints. He had six tackles before his season-ending injury.
October 25th: Caraun Reid (DT) Reid tore his ACL in Week 7 against Atlanta. Reid was signed this year after his first two years with the Detroit Lions.
November 5th: Dexter McCluster (RB) If it wasn’t bad enough that so many players were going down on the field of play, McCluster got injured off the field. The running back, signed due to injuries, broke his arm at his home carrying furniture.
November 22nd: Brandon Mebane (NT) The veteran nose tackle, who played nine years with the Seattle Seahawks, made a huge impact on the defense. Sadly, he tore his biceps muscle in the hard-fought loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 10.
November 29th: Jerry Attaochu (OLB): Attaochu broke his foot against the Houston Texans in Week 12. The third-year linebacker had six sacks last year and two this year.
Here is a very scary thought: Nine out of the 18 players on the injured-reserve list have knee injuries, while six of them suffered ACL tears.
Injuries should never be used as an excuse for losing in the NFL but having 18 players out for the year is excessive, to say the least.
Let’s look on the bright side: despite a 5-6 record, the team has been in every contest this year. Each of their six losses have been by eight points or less. That says a lot about a team with so many key players on IR.
It will not be easy, but the playoffs are not out of reach for the Bolts… yet. I just hope they can stay healthy for the last five games, giving them a shot to earn an invite to the postseason.
Thanks for reading!
Many would argue that the fourth preseason game is unnecessary and usually only features those players who won’t make the cut. Sometimes, though, a player makes a name for himself in that “meaningless” game. For the Chargers, that player is running back Kenneth Farrow.
The Chargers struggled last year in the running game. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon had a disappointing year. Danny Woodhead did very well as a receiving option out of the backfield, but is not an every-down back. Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the fans watched in disbelief as Branden Oliver suffered a terrible Achilles injury. He is now out for the season after he was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
In an attempt to fill Oliver’s position, the Chargers claimed Gus Johnson off of waivers from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. This move was made before Farrow was able to continue to show what he could do after missing the second and third preseason games.
Farrow was an undrafted free agent from the University of Houston. At 5-foot-9 and 219 pounds, the 23-year-old had a good college career, churning out 2,975 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. He was also the captain of the Cougars for his last three years of college.
In the first exhibition game, Farrow had a decent game. He rushed for 60 yards on 16 attempts, adding two receptions for 25 yards, including a 17-yard catch. This was a positive as the Chargers tend to us their running backs in passing situations.
Farrow surprised Bolt fans after a less-than-stellar performance by the ground game in the first half of the last preseason game. In seven attempts, he had 63 yards and one touchdown. The play which had the most excitement was his 44-yard run in the third quarter. He was tackled within the five-yard line. Then, on first-and-goal, he ran it in for a touchdown.
Farrow was playing against the third-string Niners’ defense, but he made some great moves en route to a solid performance. He showed confidence and made good decisions for a rookie. Farrow was able to beat out the aforementioned Gus Johnson to make the roster as the third running back.
As much as I will miss seeing Oliver in action, I am excited to see what the rookie has to offer. He is a little bigger than Oliver, so hopefully he can bulldoze through defenses and get those much-needed yards in the rushing attack.
With the addition of former Giant back Andre Williams, the Chargers should have a formidable running game as long as the offensive line can stay healthy and do its job.
It is difficult to know what Farrow’s role will be in 2016, but he will be called upon to contribute until Williams gets up to speed.
It would be great to look back on this article and realize that the Bolts indeed did find their next undrafted free-agent gem; this time at the running back position.
Thanks for reading!
The NFL regular season starts in just under two months. The 2016 schedule has the Chargers facing the AFC South, NFC South, the Miami Dolphins (AFC East) and the Cleveland Browns (AFC North).
Below is a breakdown of their 2016 opponents.
Week 1: @Kansas City Chiefs
2015 Record: 11-5, 2nd AFC West
Offense: 27th overall
Defense: 7th overall
The Chiefs started 2015 slow, losing five straight games. They ended the season winning 10 straight and won their first playoff game in 20 years. The running game should be solid for the Chiefs in 2016. Jamaal Charles is coming back from an ACL injury. Along with his fellow running backs, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, KC sports one of the best backfields in the NFL.
Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Record: 5-11, 3rd AFC South
Offense: 18th overall
Defense: 24th overall
The Jaguars had a less than stellar season, placing third in the worst division in the NFL in 2015. Jacksonville only won one road game last year. The Jags took to the draft to help beef up their defense by signing defensive players with their first five picks, including DB Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and LB Myles Jack from UCLA.
Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts
2015 Record: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 28th overall
Defense: 26th overall
The Colts had a 3-5 record in the first half of the 2015 season, losing starting quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 8. Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and journeyman signal caller Josh Freeman went 5-3 in the second half, but it still was not enough to win the division. If Andrew Luck can stay healthy in 2016, the Colts could make improvements on offense. They drafted a much-needed center, Ryan Kelly from Alabama, with the 18th pick overall.
Week 4: New Orleans Saints
2015 Record: 7-9, 3rd NFC South
Offense: 2nd overall
Defense: 31st overall
The Saints were a very lopsided team in 2015. Their offense averaged 403.8 yards and 25.5 points per game, but their defense allowed an average of 413.8 yards and 29.8 points per game. That is clearly not a recipe for success. The Saints should continue to have a stellar offense with veteran Drew Brees at quarterback.
Week 5: @Oakland Raiders
2015 Season: 7-9, 3rd AFC West
Offense: 24th overall
Defense: 22nd overall
The Raiders made some improvements last year in an attempt to have their first winning season since losing the Super Bowl in 2003, but fell short, again. Their 7-9 record was an improvement considering they have averaged only 4.9 wins a season in the last 13 years. The Raiders will probably continue to improve in 2016. They have a young team lead by third-year quarterback Derek Carr. Don’t sleep on the Raiders in 2016.
Week 6: Denver Broncos
2015 Season: 12-4, 1st AFC West
Offense: 16th overall
Defense: 1st overall
The Broncos won the division — again — for the fifth consecutive season and went on to win Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning had his worst season, finishing with only nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 10 games. The stellar Broncos’ defense allowed an average of only 283.1 yards and 18.5 points per game. The Broncos are bringing back pretty much the same defense in 2016. The retirement of Manning brings veteran Mark Sanchez, back-up quarterback Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch fighting for the starting position. Rumor has it that Sanchez and Siemian are neck-and-neck in the fight to win the job.
Week 7: @Atlanta Falcons
2015 Season: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 7th overall
Defense: 16th overall
The Falcons started out the 2015 season hot, winning six of their first eight games. The second half was the exact opposite, as they went 2-6. One of the two wins in the second half was against their division rival, and eventual Super Bowl runner-up, the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons drafted strong safety Keanu Neal from Florida with the 17th overall pick to boost their struggling defense.
Week 8: @Denver Broncos
See week six.
Week 9: Tennessee Titans
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC South
Offense: 30th overall
Defense: 12th overall
The Titans looked like a sleeper team in Week 1 of the 2015 season, when they won 42-14 against the Tampa Bay Bucs, led by 2nd overall pick, Marcus Mariota, who had 209 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Despite Mariota’s success in Week 1, the Titans ended up with the worst record in 2015, averaging only 311.8 yards and 18.7 points per game. It will be hard to do much worse in 2016, but anything is possible.
Week 10: Miami Dolphins
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th AFC East
Offense: 26th overall
Defense: 25th overall
The Dolphins were led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who averaged 263 passing yards per game and had 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. While those numbers aren’t terrible, his offensive line could not keep him standing up, as he was sacked 45 times. The Titans could fare better in 2016 when it comes to sacks with the signing of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @Houston Texans
2015 Season: 9-7, 1st AFC South
Offense: 19th overall
Defense: 3rd overall
The Texans started the season off rocky, going 3-5 in the first half of the season but turned it around in the second half, only losing two games. The third ranked defense allowed only an average of 19.6 points for game and even had five games where their opponent only scored six points. The Texans liked what they saw when Brock Osweiler took over the quarterback duties for the Broncos and signed him to be their starter in 2016. This move could either make them or break them.
Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th NFC South
Offense: 5th overall
Defense: 10th overall
The Buccaneers should have had a better record in 2015 since they had a top-10 overall offense and defense. Stats don’t always show the big picture, especially considering their offense averaged 375.9 yards per game, but only 21.4 points per game. The defense allowed an average of 340.4 yards per and 26.4 points per game. The Bucs took to their coaching staff to bring change, naming Dirk Koetter as the new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith, along with Mike Smith as the new defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator.
Week 14: @Carolina Panthers
2015 Season: 15-1, 1st NFC South
Offense: 11th overall
Defense: 6th overall
The Panthers had an explosive offense in 2015, leading the league with 500 total points and an average of 31.3 points per game. Their offense, lead by quarterback Cam Newton, was not able to fare well against the best defense in the league and lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos, scoring only 10 points. The Panthers will be without DB Charles Tillman, who recently announced his retirement after 13 years in the league. They signed former Chargers punter Mike Scifres to a one-year deal.
Week 15: Oakland Raiders
See week five.
Week 16: @ Cleveland Browns
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC North
Offense: 25th overall
Defense: 27th overall
For the fourth straight year, the Browns were in last place in their division. The quarterback situation in Cleveland was their biggest downfall in 2015. The off-field antics of quarterback Johnny Manziel had the Browns switching the starting positions between the former first-round draft pick and Josh McCown. The Browns lost their best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, to the Chargers during free agency. They went to the draft in hopes of replacing him, drafting five wide receivers, including Corey Coleman from Baylor with the 15th overall pick.
Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs
See week one.
The Chargers only face four teams with a winning record last year, but two of the four of those teams are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face two teams with a .500 season and seven teams with a losing season in 2015, including the Oakland Raiders.
The schedule seems pretty easy — on paper — and I predict that they will definitely win more than four games this season. The Chargers play in a tough division and will need to win some of those games to be contenders in 2016.
Thanks for reading!
Roger Staubach once said, “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry.”
General Manager Tom Telesco drafted rookies and signed veterans in free agency who have ties to each other. If he did not do this on purpose, then he got very lucky. Players who already have chemistry might be the best thing Telesco has done in the offseason.
The Chargers drafted Joey Bosa of Ohio State with the 3rd overall pick of the draft. As the NFL world was discussing this shocking pick, the Chargers drafted Joshua Perry with the 102nd overall pick. Perry, a 6-foot-4, 254-pound linebacker, was also a Buckeye. Bosa and Perry already have chemistry from playing defense together at Ohio State. This should help them both transition into the Chargers’ defense.
During free agency, the Chargers signed wide receiver Travis Benjamin from the Cleveland Browns. With the 175th overall pick, the Chargers drafted OLB Jatavis Brown from Akron. This pick will not only boost the Chargers’ defense, but also reunite childhood neighbors. Although Benjamin is four years older than Brown, they knew each other because they lived only two houses away from each other in Belle Glade, Florida. Not surprisingly, Brown looked up to Benjamin and he became his idol. Benjamin, in turn, had followed Brown’s high school and college career, becoming one of his biggest cheerleaders. The 2016 Chargers’ offseason brought these two together to play on the same team and they couldn’t be happier about it. This is chemistry that is rarely found in the NFL.
Last year, the Chargers shocked the fans by letting kicker Nick Novak go, replacing him with undrafted rookie Josh Lambo from Texas A&M. This year, the Chargers shook up the special teams again with the release of punter Mike Scifres.
Scifres will go down as the best punter in Chargers’ history! The replacement for Scifres, Drew Kaser, was drafted with the 179th overall pick. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound punter also played for Texas A&M. Kaser will have big shoes to fill, much like Lambo did last year. Lambo, already having a relationship with Kaser, will be able to help him get acclimated to the NFL during his rookie year, as Lambo can share his experience being the new guy replacing the “really good old” guy!
Last year’s first-round pick, Melvin Gordon, had a less than stellar rookie year. Gordon never reached the endzone and was benched a couple of times after multiple fumbles. Many would argue that Gordon would play better during his rookie campaign, and much like he did in college, with the addition of a fullback. Not only did the Chargers draft a fullback, but they drafted Gordon’s fullback from the University of Wisconsin. With the 198th overall selection, the Bolts selected 6-foot-2, 236-pound fullback Derek Watt. This will be the best pick regarding “chemistry” of the 2016 draft. Watt, although a rookie, will bring motivation to Gordon, who is probably still feeling defeated following the 2015 season. Gordon is a workhorse and will do whatever it takes to have a better season. Having Watt as his fullback will lessen some of the load. This fullback-running-back combo is one to watch this season.
Staubach was right about consistency and chemistry being the ingredients to building a great team. Consistency, though, is the key to achieving that chemistry on a team.
The Chargers have added some new unique chemistry via free agency and the draft. The football gods just need to show the Bolts some mercy and allow the team to have a season without the plethora of constant injuries.
Telesco is a smart man. These ties to other players do not seem to be a coincidence. He definitely thought about the impact of having players that already have some chemistry to help individual transition into the NFL.
Let’s hope this science experience, of sorts, helps turn around the 2015 4-12 team in the 2016 season.
The San Diego Chargers drafted tight end Hunter Henry with the 35th pick in the 2016 draft. General manager Tom Telesco appeared to be drafting what the Chargers need rather than the highest-rated player in the draft. The Chargers lost Ladarius Green to the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Antonio Gates, while one one of the greatest tight ends to play for the Chargers, is probably playing his last year of football. Henry is a much-needed addition to the team.
Hunter Henry played for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Henry is is 6’5 and 253 lbs. In three years with the Razorbacks (38 games), he had 1,661 yards and nine touchdowns. He won the John Mackey Award for the best tight end in the nation during the 2015 season. He was also a 2015 Consensus All-American, along with the Chargers third overall pick, Joey Bosa of Ohio State.
Henry has been regarded as the best tight end in the draft. He did not drop a single ball in his junior year at Arkansas. His receiving skills are impressive along with his route running. Experts are comparing him to Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten.
Henry brings good run blocking to the team, which was has not been a strong part of the tight end corps of the Chargers in recent years. Melvin Gordon is looking to improve his performance from 2015 and this will be a huge help.
Veteran Antonio Gates will have at least one year to mentor the young tight end. Henry being able to learn and play alongside Gates will not only teach him how to be a better player but also, how to be a great team player. Henry said in an interview, “Growing up, I watched the Chargers quite a lot so just being able to to see him [Gates] throughout his career and the progression he’s made and all the success that’s come his way, and he’s so deserving of it, it’s going to be really cool to be able to work with him.”.
Henry does not have a whole lot of weaknesses. Some experts feel that he does not have the best hands, but he did go through all of 2015 without a single drop. His biggest weakness is that he gets grabby during run blocking. He had holding calls in 2015 and it will only get worse in the NFL if he does not work on it. He will also need to work on his speed after receptions so that he can expand the the field more.
Some might disagree with drafting a tight end with the 35th pick but the Chargers did not want to miss the chance to take the best tight end in the draft. He most likely will be a starter and should make an impact on the team, especially in the running game.
Welcome to Sunny San Diego, Hunter! Go Bolts!
How can Dean Spanos win back his fans? It really depends on which fans he needs to win back.
There are die-hard Chargers fans. These fans buy season tickets, have cars decked out in Chargers gear and sport their gear wherever they go. These are the fans who were upset about the relocation drama yet are morely likely to follow the team to LA or the moon. They are all about the Chargers!
Then there are the San Diego city fans. They too are die hard. They attend games, buy season tickets, watch their beloved team on TV and deck out their cars with Chargers gear. They are fans of the Chargers because they are the team in San Diego. Some of these fans would gladly welcome the Raiders with open arms if they ever came to San Diego. They are all about the city of San Diego!
Lastly, is the casual and somewhat fair-weathered fan. They might go to a game but probably will just watch it on TV. If the team is having a bad year, they might not follow as closely. They like the Chargers but would not be upset if they leave. They are all about just rooting on a team.
The hardest fans to win back are the city fans. The die-hard Chargers fans are upset but willing to believe that Dean Spanos is genuine in his claim to want to stay in San Diego. The city fans will be more skeptical. They are still upset about the team wanting to up an leave their beloved city.
One way to win fans back is to fire Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani. Fabiani was been with the Chargers since 2002. He was the hated man in this crazy relocation roller coaster since he was basically of the voice of the Chargers. The chances of that happening is very unlikely, but he has been MIA in the last week.
Dean Spanos needs to be the one to make the statements and to address the media. As much as fans hated Mark Fabiani, more fans are upset that Spanos let him do all the talking. Dean needs to show that city and the fans that he wants to stay by being vocal and visible. Spanos has never been a very public person but being public is very critical to gain the respect of the fans.
The Chargers need to look at both options, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego and weigh all the options. The city needs to allow Spanos to take charge of the negotiations. If Spanos is in charge, he will work harder to get it done. His approach would be more sincere to the fans.
Dean Spanos needs to work with Tom Tolesco on improving the team. The fair-weathered fans are not going to vote for a stadium if the team is having losing seasons, like the the 2015 season. It’s a harsh reality of the city of San Diego. If the team isn’t playing well, the citizens can find plenty of other things to do on a Sunday. A winning team, with a chance to make the playoffs in November, could sway some voters to approve public money for a new stadium.
Dean, along with Mark Fabiani, need to make an apology to the fans. It needs to be heart felt and sincere. They need to assure the fans that they do matter to the Chargers as much as the Chargers matter to the fans.
Lastly, the fans need to forgive Spanos and realize how hard this has been for him and the organization. It is not easy to be defeated. It is even harder to come back to the ones you might have wronged and try to mend the relationship. Dean Sopanos and the Chargers need to see that the fans are still upset but have not given up yet.
Let’s hope 2016 is not the roller coaster ride like 2015. Save our Bolts!
Whenever a team goes on a bye week, it allows players to get some rest and relaxation. Players with minor injuries can use the respite to try to get healthy. The players also can spend time with their families. The bye week also provides the opportunity to reflect on the previous weeks and look into the weeks ahead.
The Chargers will use this week to get that extra rest, relaxation and to reflect. Hopefully, this will be a bye week of a different sort for the Bolts. They need to say, “Bye, Felicia!” to a lot of the issues that have the team at 2-7.
Bye, Felicia #1: Injuries
It is just mind-boggling how many players have been injured this year. The team suffered thirteen injuries against the Ravens. Losing Keenan Allen for the year was the most devastating.
Something needs to be done to help reduce the injuries. What though? Better conditioning? Less fragile players? Better depth to alleviate injuries that arise?
Maybe the football gods will take mercy on the Chargers and lessen the constant injuries to this team. In the case of cornerback Jason Verrett, making a big play, like a pick-6, just to get injured on the next play is just cruel.
Bye, Felicia#2: Penalties
Mike McCoy and the other coaches need to instill more discipline to the players when it comes to avoiding penalties. When Marty Schottenheimer was the head coach, those players knew that they’d get an earful from him if they committed stupid penalties. They were one of the least penalized teams during his tenure.
Penalties are taking points away from the scoreboard as we saw last week against the Chicago Bears. The Bolts can no longer let that happen. Mike McCoy needs to get pissed about these stupid penalties. No, they didn’t need more plays! They had the plays and are giving them away due to dumb penalties.
Bye, Felicia #3: Losing at the end
The offense, with Phillip Rivers giving 1,000%, has been unable to get last-drive wins against the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
The defense, again with Rivers giving 1,000%, could not secure wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Can we say, “Goodbye, Felicia,” to these close games and get some legitimate wins. Our hearts and nails can’t take much more of these last-second losses.
Bye, Felicia #4: Missed plays
The defense needs to force turnovers. There have been a lot of dropped interceptions this season. Although Eric Weddle recovered Jay Cutler’s fumble last Monday night, at times, forced fumbles have not been recovered by John Pagano’s unit despite multiple chances.
The offense needs to eliminate some dropped passes and recover fumbles. They need to protect Rivers and not allow him to get sacked or hit as often.
The special teams just needs to figure out how to play! All facets of the third phase of the game have struggled mightily this season.
Bye, Felicia #5: Home field advantage for visiting team
The Chargers got embarrassed on a Monday night when the whole country witnessed the invasion of Qualcomm Stadium by Steelers fans. Two more home games, another one on a Monday night, show a stadium full of opposing team’s fans. Fans of the Raiders and Bears filled at least half of Qualcomm.
The home field advantage, especially against Pittsburgh, has been largely nonexistent, with the Q being overtaken by fans of other NFL teams. It is hard to win on the road, but even harder to “win on the road” at home.
This one is for the Bolts fans! Fans need to buy the tickets. Season ticker holders need to make sure that when they sell their tickets, they are only selling to other Chargers fans, no matter what!
Can we just say, “Goodbye, Felicia” to all those fans of the opposing teams? San Diego is America’s finest city, so people from all over the world want to come and visit. Well, they can visit and not invade our stadium during their vacation.
The Bolts are 2-5, sitting in last place in the AFC West.
Some Chargers fans say it’s the lack of a running game or the inopportune turnovers. Others say it’s the penalties or the play calling. The biggest excuse heard all year: We have a lot of injuries.
Guess which teams in the NFL have injuries?
All 32 of them!
Just like bad calls (I am looking at you, Ed Hochuli), every team gets them. Good teams overcome them.
The Green Bay Packers lost their top receiver for the season, Jordy Nelson, in the preseason. They have four players out for the season and they are 6-0, despite losing some key contributors.
The Washington Redskins have nine players out for the season.
The Chargers have two. The players out for the season are guard Johnnie Troutman and defensive end Tenny Palepoi.
The banged-up offensive line has been hit with the biggest with injuries. Center Chris Watt has been on and of the field with injuries. Left tackle King Dunlap and Chris Hairston have also seen injuries this year. The loss of D.J. Fluker was huge.
Tom Telesco had to dig deep to build a new offensive line. The offensive line of third stringers, practice-team players and players released from other teams did alright against the Steelers and especially the Packers. They made it work.
It was brutal to see both Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd leave the game against the Browns with injuries. The Chargers had only suited up four receivers. Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich and quarterback Phillip Rivers didn’t let the injuries defeat them. They made some adjustments, using Danny Woodhead and Ladarius Green more often and got the win.
Do you know what is not a direct effect from injuries? Penalties, especially personal-foul penalties. The interceptions and fumbles are coming from Rivers and Gordon.
There have been no major injuries to the Chargers’ running backs, Gordon, Woodhead and Branden Oliver. The Chargers are ranked 30th in rushing.
The defensive line has not seen one injury this year. That should be the biggest concern. The defense is letting these games get away.
So let’s just drop the injury excuse. The Bolts, especially against the hated Oakland Raiders, have just not been playing good football.
Let’s hope that the loss to the Raiders pisses them off and they rally together and figure out how to win again.
Thanks for reading.
The Chargers have lost four of their first six games. The last two losses came at the very end of the game. The Bolts did what they needed to win three of the four games just to end up losing.
Before getting into this season, let’s look at another season that they were really good at losing.
The 2000 season!
Yes, that was the year that the Chargers went 1-15. San Diego had a horrible offense and a solid defense. The offense was “led” by Ryan Leaf, Jim Harbaugh and Moses Moreno (oh yeah, that guy). Not exactly a high-quality trio of quarterbacks. They were unable to secure wins, partially due to 30 interceptions, 53 sacks of the team’s quarterbacks, eight missed field goals and only 31 touchdowns scored.
The defense, led by the great Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison, kept them in the games with a total of 16 interceptions, 39 sacks and four touchdowns.
The Bolts had three blowouts that year, but they were never shut out. In fact, nine of their 15 losses were by 10 points or less. An even crazier stat, six of their losses were by three points or less. Let that sink in!
So here we are in 2015, and the Bolts are pretty much the exact opposite of the 2000 Chargers. They have a great passing offense, which is ranked 1st in the NFL, led by Philip Rivers and his 2,116 passing yards. While it is great that the Chargers rank first in total offense and in passing yards, they are ranked 29th in rushing. The offense is just not balanced with the lack of a good running game. Being balanced is more important than passing for a lot of yards.
The defense is also unbalanced. They have shown some good plays but also some stuff that has Chargers fans throwing their arms in the air in anger. They are ranked 14th overall thanks to their pass defense, which is ranked 7th. The rush defense, on the other hand, is ranked 29th.
So as you can see, they can’t run the ball on offense, and they can’t stop the run on defense.
The second game of the season against the Bengals was the first game of the year that the Chargers “did a good job of losing.” Keenan Allen muffed the punt return on the Bolts’ first drive which lead to a Bengals’ touchdown. Down 7-3 in the 1st quarter, the Chargers recover a fumble by running back Jeremy Hill just to have Rivers fumble the ball on 3rd and 2.
Two more opportunities were given to the Chargers with a missed field goal by Bengals’ kicker Mike Nugent and another fumble by Hill. San Diego answered those opportunities with a field goal and a missed field goal. In typical Rivers’ fashion, Philip threw 20 straight completions in an attempt to take the lead and the win. Down 19 to 24 and 1:09 left on the clock, No. 17 threw an interception to end the game in a loss.
The Chargers got beat fair and square by the Vikings, so there is no need to look at that game as a missed opportunity to secure a win. They deserved every second of that beating in Week 3.
In Week 5, the Chargers hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was out with a knee injury and Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates was back after a four-game suspension. The Bolts came out strong, scoring a touchdown to No. 85 on their first drive in under three minutes.
The first half ended up being a little boring, as the Chargers kept a small lead of 7-3.
The pass defense kept back-up quarterback Michael Vick one-dimensional and the rush defense was able to keep them out of the end zone in the first three quarters.
A pick-six by Antwon Blake put the Steelers ahead and the home team answered with a field goal to tie the game. The 4th quarter came and the Bolts took at an early lead with another touchdown to Gates.
Vick was having a terrible passing game until his 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton once again tied up the contest.
The Chargers then took the lead with a finger-crossing 54-yard field goal by Josh Lambo. The game was put in the hands of the defense with just a little over two minutes left. The defense then allowed them to drive 80 yards. Fans watched is utter disbelief as Le’Veon Bell got the tip of the ball to cross the plane just as the time ran out, giving the Steelers the victory.
Another game that the Bolts should have won but somehow found a way to lose.
The team from America’s finest city traveled to Green Bay in Week 6, making the trip as the underdogs to a 5-0 team led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The first quarter was ugly. The Packers were leading the 17-3 after a 65-yard run by running back James Starks. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball in that quarter, but the offense was able to recover it and get a field goal.
On the next drive they got into the red zone and went for it on 4th and 3 on the Green Bay 12-yard line; a gutsy move by a usually conservative Mike McCoy. They were unable to score.
A second fumble by Gordon in the second quarter, recovered by Green Bay, put a stop to the Chargers’ running game.
The Air Coryell days were back with Rivers taking to the air, trying to win the game. The Packers had no answers for Rivers’ passing game even with a sketchy offensive line. The Chargers defense did alright, allowing the offense to have 38 minutes of possession and forcing a Packers field goal to make the score 27-20. San Diego’s signal caller was having a hell of a game, carrying the team on his back and once again found the red zone.
The upset of the year was in the making with the Chargers with a first and goal on the Packers three-yard line with only 33 seconds on the clock. The Packers defense that had allowed Rivers to pass for 503 yards without an interception, stopped the Bolts from getting into the end zone on four downs.
A defeated Rivers laid on the field in disbelief. We would never know if the Chargers could have won the game in overtime. San Diego once again had shown most of the country how to lose in the final seconds of an NFL game.
There are a lot of factors that lead the Chargers to lose games that they could/should have won. Interceptions and fumbles by the offense never help in securing a win, and neither is not gaining points when the defense causes a turnover. Missed field goals, missed tackles and missed opportunities from the defense leave a lotto be desired, negating any positive work done by the offensive side of the ball.
The season is still early, and the Chargers have the easier part of their schedule coming up. If the Bolts can eliminate stupid penalties, turnovers, cause turnovers and find some semblance of a running game, they could win their next five games.
The hearts of the fans are always beating at such a rapid pace at the end of these games. Save our hearts and secure these wins early.
Thanks for reading.
As all of the NFL world knows, rookie running back Melvin Gordon has yet to reach the end zone. Going into Week 6, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to see his first touchdown. The game in Green Bay at Lambeau Field might be the perfect venue for Gordon to get it done.
Gordon was drafted in the first round. The Chargers traded with the 49ers to move up two spots from 17th to 15th to assure the pick. Many would argue that drafting a running back, and moving up to do so, in the first round was a bad idea. Tom Telesco knew what he wanted, a solid running back after releasing Ryan Matthews, and did what he felt was needed to get Gordon. It is too early to determine if the pick was worth giving up their fourth-round pick in 2015 and the fifth-round pick in 2016.
The former Badger has some big shoes to fill. The Chargers had one of the greatest running backs to ever play the position, LaDainian Tomlinson. LT spent nine years with the Chargers between 2001 and 2009. Tomlinson had 12,490 rushing yards with the Chargers and 138 rushing touchdowns. Ryan Mathews was drafted in 2010 to take the reins from Tomlinson. Mathews was a decent running back registering 4,061 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns in his five years with the Bolts. Unfortunately, he seemed to always be injured and was not re-signed during the 2015 offseason.
It seems a little unfair to expect Gordon to be the next Tomlinson or to pick up where Mathews left off. Tomlinson had one of the best offensive lines in the league during his tenure with the Chargers. He also had workhorse Lorenzo Neal at fullback. With with exception of last year, Mathews also had a decent offensive line. Gordon has been playing behind an offensive line pieced together with duct tape after early injuries this season.
Gordon was not the only rookie back selected in first round of the 2015 draft. The St. Louis Rams drafted Todd Gurley out of Georgia with the tenth pick overall. Due to an injury that had yet to heal, Gurley missed the first two games of the year, and played sparingly in Week 3. In the last two games, the rook has gained 314 yards. Gordon only has 270 yards through five games.
The Chargers also have Danny Woodhead who is getting a majority of the snaps at running back, especially in the red zone. Gordon had his best chance to get into the end zone on a 1st-and-goal against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. Unfortunately, he was not able to get reach the end zone. The bottom line is that he is a rookie and still getting used to the playbook and the speed of the NFL.
Sunday’s game in Green Bay will be a homecoming of sorts for Gordon. He was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha is about three hours from Lambeau Field. He also played for the University of Wisconsin. Gordon will have a lot of his friends and family in attendance. He told ESPN that his grandmother will be able to attend this game. He added that it would be too hard for her to fly to California to see him play.
It feels like the perfect scenario for Gordon to get his first touchdown in his home state. While it’s always better to get a first touchdown in front of the home crowd, getting it in your home state with friends and family present is a very close second.
If he does get his first touchdown, maybe the fans will let him do the Lambeau Leap? Probably not, but crazier things have happened!
Thank you for reading.