Will McCafferty

Danny+Woodhead 2

 

 

Before you get out the torches and pitchforks and start hunting me down, allow me to explain how Danny Woodhead’s knee injury could actually be used as a positive from this point on. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Danny. He is a very good running back; extremely valuable as a runner, a receiver, and a blocker for Philip Rivers. He has had a fine career with the Chargers and I am sad to see him lost for the season. I know what you are thinking. “If he is so good, how can his injury be a positive for the team?” Allow me to explain.

 

With losing Woodhead for the season, Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will be forced to become better, more aggressive coaches. If you watched the week one game against the Chiefs, you saw that the play calling was completely differently in the second half than in the first. In the first half, the 2015 first round draft pick Melvin Gordon was given the bulk of the load and pounded the ball down the field. Twice he even got into the end zone. He looked like a completely different back than he was last year.

 

In the second half, Gordon’s role essentially vanished. Woodhead’s number was called upon for almost the entire second half. Why Woodhead? Because he is trustworthy. Coach McCoy remembers the fumble issues that Gordon had last season and did not want to risk a turnover in a game where the Chargers had a big lead. So, Gordon to the bench and Woodhead on the field; playing a role that does not suit him — the “every down back”.

 

Delayed draws out of the shotgun formation became the play of the half as they went with it time and time again. Although Woodhead was able to move the ball fairly successfully for much of the half, he was unable to punch it into the end zone. His presence did not make the defense fear the run, so pass coverage tightened up and pressure on Rivers picked up as well – a bad combination to say the least. We all know how that game turned out. McCoy and Whisenhunt played timid, cautious offense in an attempt not to lose. This plan did not work and KC made it all the way back to win the game in overtime.

 

Let’s move to last week’s game against what most people consider a team going in the right direction, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Again, Gordon started out getting the majority of the carries and punished the Jaguars’ defense play after play. Woodhead was doing what he does best. He was basically a third down back who can protect the quarterback and catch outlet passes out of the backfield. Unfortunately, one of those passes lead to his knee giving out, tragically ending his season.

 

Now what?

 

Melvin Gordon, that’s what! McCoy and Whisenhunt had no real choice but to keep Gordon in the game, even with a big lead, and letting him pound the rock. He continued his effective play and actually tallied his first 100 yard rushing game in his short NFL career. Oh, and by the way, he hasn’t fumbled yet! That second half should go far as to gaining trust from the coaches moving forward.

 

As long as Gordon stays healthy, there is no reason to believe that he cannot be trusted to keep defenses honest and take a lot of pressure off of Rivers. If Melvin continues to be as effective as he has started out, this could be a classic story of someone going from goat to hero in one season. A story that might never have been told if Woodhead was still there to allow McCoy and company to play it safe.

 

Of course this goes without saying, but Gordon can’t play every snap for the entire game. That would be asking to get him hurt. So who else can step in to give Gordon a breather? Let’s take a look:

 

Kenneth Farrow: Farrow had a very nice preseason and earned his way on the roster. With Woodhead’s injury forcing him on the field against Jacksonville, Farrow carried the ball four times for a total of 13 yards. Not an earth shattering debut, but it is a very small sample size. What fans need to remember is that the impressive numbers he put up in the preseason were against second and third string defenders; running vanilla game plans. If he gets the call, he would be facing the best of every opponent. The sledding will be a lot more difficult. Time will tell if the Bolts have a player in Farrow.

Andre Williams: Personally, I’m excited to see what this kid can do. He is a strong, bruising back who can get the short yards that are so important on third downs and late in the game. Last season his production tailed off significantly which is why the Giants let him go. Before that, however, he had a good rookie campaign. The team from America’s finest city is hoping that the Giants made a mistake and will catch lightning in a bottle.

Dexter McCluster: McCluster is the guy the Chargers brought in to replace Woodhead; capable as a runner and receiver. He is also a solid kickoff and punt returner. He is fast on his feet and so quick that he often makes people miss. Obviously, he has not played at the level of a Danny Woodhead, or he would not have been cut by the Chiefs and the Titans. My hope is that he will play as a full-time kick returner so that starting wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, can give up that position and avoid unnecessary collisions. With Keenan Allen out for the season, it is vital that Benjamin stays healthy.

This week, the Chargers play the league’s 32nd ranked defense against the run – the Indianapolis Colts. This is another golden opportunity for Gordon and company to get many carries and gain even more confidence. We have to face the facts: Danny Woodhead is done for the year. He is also on the last year of his contract, which means that there is a very good possibility he will not be back with the team next season. The Bolts need to learn how to call plays and win games without the trustworthy, scrappy Woodhead. If they can do that, his injury will go down as the reason San Diego left the ranks of pretenders and became true contenders.

Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments below, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Go Bolts!!

 

Will McCafferty

Woodhead1

 

Right now across the country, there are scores and scores of people working hard at setting their fantasy football lineup. These people are watching highlights, calculating and comparing statistics, reading injury reports and new reports and comparing their bench players to their starters. Many of these people have Chargers on their roster. You may not be impressed by the lengths that some will go to field the best team possible each week, and that’s okay. Impressed or not, I believe that deciding whether or not to start a Charger became extremely difficult thanks to last week’s schizophrenic season opener against the Chiefs.

 

For the average fantasy player it is not that difficult to make decisions on who should play and who should sit on your bench. Big named players generally start no matter how much they stunk the week before. Guys who had breakout games will normally start to see if one can catch lightning in a bottle. Players who are going up against a team that struggles against a certain position will also get a chance. The problem is that when considering what Chargers to start, one must look at last Sunday’s game as the proverbial tale of two halves.

 

You see, if the first half of the game, the Chargers looked like world beaters. They ran the ball with authority. They passed the ball down the field with relative ease. They scored at a pace that should have landed them in the 40’s by the final gun. Even the defense stepped up and was shutting down the Chiefs offense. Everything was great in Charger Country! You could not go wrong picking most players to start for your fantasy team. Heck, owners who had the courage to start Melvin Gordon were thinking they were going to be fantasy legends! Then it happened. Star wide receiver Keenan Allen blew out his knee and the Chargers lost their will to live.

 

Yes, it was shortly after the devastating injury to Allen that his team stopped being productive. Honestly, the second half was the polar opposite of the first. In fact, the loss to Allen seemed to affect everyone, including the coaching staff! It was like a completely different team. Players who dominated in the first half, laid down in the second half, or were effectively benched (see Melvin Gordon). Coaches who were aggressive in the first half were passive in the second. It was as if it were Week 5 of the preseason and the starters only played half of the game. The strange thing was that the replacements were wearing the same numbers as the starters! So how is one supposed to know who to start for their fantasy team? Let’s take a look at some key players and see how last week’s games will impact your decision.

 

Philip Rivers (QB): I would think that Rivers gets a pass (no pun intended). He put up very good numbers in the first half, with a touchdown and approximately 150 yards in the air. Two things about Rivers’ game that are somewhat disconcerting to fantasy owners are that two of the Chargers touchdowns were on the ground and that the offense completely shut down in the second half. The rushing touchdowns are a concern to fantasy owners because they showed that this perceived commitment to the run, that came to the team with the signing of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, seems to be reality. That means fewer touchdowns for Rivers. He also lost his second favorite target when Allen went down, so the run should have been used even more. The Bolts did try to throw the ball in the second half, but you could see that Rivers had lost his poise and had “happy feet” in the pocket. His accuracy was off as well as he missed a couple of key passes that would have moved the chains, and even more importantly, ran the clock. Now, fantasy owners have to wonder which Rivers they will get? The Rivers who throws the ball all over the field, or the Rivers who hands it off inside the 10-yard line? If you have a stud QB on the bench, you may want to start him until the Chargers figure out how they want to use their best asset.

Melvin Gordon (RB): I was one of the risky fantasy owners who chose to believe that Flash Gordon was back! In the first half, he knocked out around 50 yards and had two touchdowns! The Chargers built a nice lead and it was obvious that Gordon would pound the rock all day and rack up the yards and fantasy points. Then halftime came and apparently the adjustment that the Chargers brain-trust came up with was to sit Gordon on the bench, put Rivers in the shotgun and hand it off to Woodhead. I could not believe what I was seeing, despite having been a long-time Chargers fan. So what are we going to get from Gordon going forward? Will coach McCoy trust him for all four quarters? Hard to start a guy who may vanish at any time.

Danny Woodhead (RB): Always a solid player who can get you rushing yards as well as receiving yards. He is supposed to be the third-down back, but seemed to be the number one guy in the second half. You may want to give him a start, but beware that McCoy and Whisenhunt may learn from the past and actually use Gordon more this week. Tough call.

Antonio Gates (TE): Not a real exciting game for San Diego’s future Hall of Famer. Only targeted four times and he came down with three receptions for 20 yards. Basically a possession receiver who normally gets a shot in the endzone. No touchdowns last week. Maybe they are setting up the Jaguars for a big day for Gates.

Hunter Henry (TE): This kid has great hands and runs well. He appears to be the heir apparent to his mentor, Antonio Gates. In Week 1, he was only targeted two times and had one reception for 20 yards. Hopefully, he will become a larger part of the offense going forward. But again, there is no certainty for when he will break out.

Tyrell Williams (WR): Here is an interesting situation. With Allen out, Williams could become a larger part of the Chargers’ offensive plans. He was targeted five time but only had two receptions. Although his receptions per target numbers are down, he did gain 71 yards! Yes, both of his receptions were big plays that ate up large chunks of the field. The Chargers desperately need a big play option down the field. Will Williams fill the role?

Dontrelle Inman (WR): Another wide receiver who has had some big catches in his young career. He seems to be an obvious pick to become a replacement for Allen. That being said, he only had one catch on three targets for a grand total of six yards. Hardly encouraging. You could take a shot and pick this kid up, but I would sit him on your bench until he proves he can put up some points.

Defense/Special Teams (DEF/ST): Again, if the defense that came out in the first half shows up for four quarters, they will be worth a fantasy start. They held their opponent to three points and completely shut down the run. They even managed to get to the quarterback. Then came the second half where they allowed Alex Smith, a noted game manager, to throw for a total of 330 yards and gave up a respectable 83 on the ground. Running backs catching passes out of the backfield was the Achilles Heal for the Chargers all day. They simply could not stop the backs from getting key first downs through the air. As for special teams, they weren’t that special. The return game was non-existent. Place kicker Josh Lambo had a respectable game, but did miss one huge field goal that could be considered the difference in the game. I’ll cut him some slack though since that field goal was 54 yards. He had the distance, he just left it out to the right. It happens from that distance all the time. But what all this shows is that even the Def/ST can’t be trusted to perform for an entire game.

 

To be completely honest, and take away all fan loyalty away, there are no Chargers who should be a lock to start for your fantasy football team this week. Philip Rivers is probably your best bet as he routinely scores in the high teens to low twenties. Then again, the Jaguars defense only gave up 199 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers last week. Anything is possible, but unless the Chargers coaching staff decides to stay aggressive for all four quarters, fantasy dream games could turn into fantasy nightmares.

Good luck with your matchups this week. I hope you have a deep bench and didn’t rely on our Bolts to make the difference for you this week!

Please leave your comments below. I will answer all questions and reply to all comments.

Go Bolts!!!

Will McCafferty

GatesAllen1

 

Alright, saying this game is a “must-win” is a bit of an exaggeration. After all, it is Week 1 of a 16-week NFL season. A season is normally broken into quarters before teams are critiqued. Even if the Chargers lose in Kansas City (KC), there are three more games to be played in the first quarter of the season. I think we would all agree that a 3-1 record would be a very good start, no matter which of the first four games are lost.

Then again, this game may not be a must-win, but it is very important. The Chargers have been through many changes this offseason, and have a lot to prove to the skeptics, — the “experts” — the rest of the league, their own fans, and themselves. All of that, on top of having to find a way to prove to the city of San Diego that they are worth keeping, is NOT an easy task.

So, why is this game so important? There are a litany of reasons. Here are 10 fairly obvious reasons unveiled in a completely random order.

  1. A Fast Start: The Chargers have long been thought of as a team that doesn’t start a season ready to play. That has changed a little in the last couple of years, but the importance of getting that first win under your belt is real, and could go a long way toward building a real sense of belief across the fan base, as well as the team itself.
  2. Building a Winning Culture: A large percentage of this team has never played together before. They have never gone into battle knowing what to expect from the guy next to them. They do not know how the team will react in a pressure situation. In fact, even the players who have been on the team for a couple of years do not know these things, as the team has been decimated by injuries and there has been a revolving door at many positions. To go into KC in Week 1 and beat a very talented Chiefs team would go a long way toward building the team’s confidence and creating a winning culture.
  3. No Excuses: Most of Mike McCoy’s time in San Diego has come with a built-in excuse for losing. Not that it was ever really used as an excuse in a press conference, but there has always been an understanding that it is difficult to win when you have multiple key injuries on both sides of the ball. Coach McCoy and the Chargers have been given a pass by many who understand the importance of team play and continuity in the ultimate team sport. Going into Week 1, the Chargers have not listed anyone as “out” on the injury report. That means for the first time in recent memory, the Chargers are taking the field with a healthy team of starters who are supposed to be of high quality. No one wants to hear that it takes time to learn to work together. That is what preseason and training camp are for. These players need to go out there and prove that the excuses of the past were warranted rather than lame.
  4. Divisional Game: Okay, this one is pretty obvious. The Bolts are playing the Chiefs. The Chiefs are also in the AFC West. This is one of the greatest rivalries in all of football. Going into this season, the two teams have met 111 times, with the Chiefs holding a slight advantage in wins with a 56-54-1 record against the Bolts. If they can’t get up for this game, there is a real problem. As you all know, the Chargers finished 0-6 in the division last season.
  5. Melvin Gordon: We need to be honest. No one is happy with the stats that the Chargers’ No. 1 draft pick put up in 2015. Not a single touchdown to his name was the largest red flag. One would think with an offense that gained just shy of 5,000 yards in the air, Gordon would have at least found the endzone one time! But, no. So far, in the preseason, Gordon has looked like a different back. He scored on a long running play as well as a long pass. He is running with the confidence that he had back in college. Perhaps it is due to having a healthy offensive line. Perhaps it is because he is more comfortable with the offense. Perhaps he is just a slow starter. Finally, perhaps his injured knee that was repaired in the offseason was bothering him during the season and that was kept from the fans. I don’t know what the truth is and, honestly, I do not care. The only concern I have is that he is confident right now and a bad game Week 1 could allow doubt to creep back in his mind and further delay his progress.
  6. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: Much of the blame for the lack of run production and scoring on last year’s team was piled on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Well, Reich has been let go and replaced by fan- favorite Ken Whisenhunt. Coach Whisenhunt promises to bring power football back to San Diego. Yes, this year’s Chargers will announce their presence with authority, if Whisenhunt has his way. A welcome change from the one-dimensional team that graced the field in 2015. A solid running game should open up many options for quarterback Philip Rivers, as well as keep the defense guessing, rather than pinning their ears back and targeting Rivers.
  7. Mike McCoy: It is said that McCoy’s backside is sitting in a very hot seat. We are supposed to believe that if the Chargers do not make a significant improvement this season that McCoy will be run out of town faster than Mayor Faulconer at a Save Our Bolts rally. Personally, I have my doubts. Let’s face it, Norv Turner was on the hot seat longer than anyone believed possible. It was almost as if ownership didn’t want to eat his contract. Surely, that is not reality, though. Winning comes first! (wink)
  8. Healthy Players: As of the Friday before the game, there is not a single player “out”, or even “doubtful” on the Chargers injury report. That is an unbelievable stat when considering last year’s injury report looked more like the guest list for a popular Gaslamp club on any Saturday night. If the Bolts can’t win with these guys, they are in trouble.
  9. Kansas City Hurting: With Justin Houston out and Jamaal Charles and Tamba Hali hurting, now is the time for the Chargers to take advantage of another team’s injuries for a change. If the Bolts struggle to move the ball against a defense that is missing their top pass rusher and has their next best on a bum wheel, then playoff hopes are perhaps nothing more than the dreams of the eternally optimistic.
  10. #VoteYesOnC: Let’s face it, if the Chargers don’t have a good start to their season, the casual fans will abandon them. They need all the votes they can get in November if they are going to get a new stadium downtown. It won’t take too many losses to turn off those who really don’t follow the Bolts too closely. This team needs to light up the scoreboard, earn some dominating wins while showing this town that they can be a winner.

So, is this a must-win game for our Bolts? No. That being said, in the eyes of the players, fans and voters, the team must find a way to get off to a hot start, enabling the community to rally behind a team who could be on the move.

Please leave your comments down below in the comment section and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Thanks for reading and Go Bolts!!!

Will McCafferty

Pete 1

In this time of worry over the location of the 2016 Chargers, it is nice to see that some Bolt fans remain loyal to the team no matter what. Allow me to introduce John P. Schell. John and I have been friends since the ‘70s and despite traveling the world with the United States Army and finally settling down in Minnesota, his loyalty to the boys in blue and gold remains strong. We will start off with a brief bio of John followed by some questions and answers designed to help you get to know him better.

Will: Okay John, give me a brief background of who you are and your life experiences.

John: My personal goal in life is to be a better person than I was the day before. As a husband, father, son, uncle and friend to others, loyalty and leadership describes my personality when working, playing, or just hanging out with people. I had the privilege to serve in the U.S Army for 10 years as an Armor Crewman on the M60 and M1 series main battle tanks. If you saw the movie Fury with Brad Pitt, being a Tanker was the ‘best job I ever had”!

Questions

 Will:  Do you, or have you ever lived in San Diego?

 John: I was born and raised in San Diego (Clairemont Rules!) in the late 60’s, 70’s, and half of the 80’s. After finishing my military commitment, I returned to San Diego for my post High School education, achieving my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and off I went into the business world and never looked back.

Will:  Now that you live in Minnesota, how hard is it to find fellow Chargers fans? Are there any Chargers sports bars nearby?

 John: In 2003, I had a great promotional and career changing opportunity with my company to live and work in the state of Minnesota. All I knew about Minnesota at that time was cold, snow, Vikings, Twins, and Prince. I accepted the challenge and moved my family to the Frozen Tundra in 2003. After 12 full winters (I count winters, not years here) in the beautiful state of Minnesota, it was a great decision all around. I miss my friends, authentic Mexican food, yes the warm weather after sub-zero degree weeks in December/January, but I mostly miss my Chargers on Sundays during the NFL season. I’ve searched all over the twin cities for Charger backers, clubs, bars, and fan clubs, but to no avail. When I wear my bolt (which is all year long) out in public, many Minnesotans say; “I like the Chargers, especially when they had Fouts, JJ, Winslow, Joiner, Chandler, and Muncie. Your team song San Diego Super Chargers is catchy as well.” Minnesota is an NFC town, so I have yet to hear any Charger haters, which is awesome!

Will:   As for being in the military; First of all, thank you for your service. Second, did you have any other Chargers fans stationed with you? How much opportunity was there to keep up with the NFL?

John: Yes, my Army buddy was from Chula Vista. We met on the plane from San Diego on our way to Ft. Knox, KY for basic training. He is a diehard Bolt fan, and we drove all the other soldiers crazy when we saw them on TV or heard we won. I think we may have roughed up a few Raider, Chief, and Bronco fans along the way as we had to represent our Bolts! When stationed at Ft. Knox during the 85′ and 86′ seasons, finding the Charger game on TV was difficult being that these were two poor seasons (8-8 and 4-12 respectively) and the Chargers wouldn’t be the national game televised on Sunday. Had to wait for the halftime highlights to get updates (no internet, no smart phones, no satellite TV then). Overseas in Germany, it was pretty much the same with no visibility to watch the Chargers on the Armed Forces Network. My brother taped some of the games and I’d watch them on my $500 VCR a few weeks later when they arrived in the mail. Always loved seeing the shots of Charger fans with all the blue and gold in the stands and hearing the loud cheers.

Will:  How long have you been a Chargers fan?

John: I have to say 1974 was the year I became a Charger fan for life. The names I’ll never forget were Jessie Freitas, Dan Fouts, Don Woods, Bo Matthews, Gary “The Ghost” Garrison, and Ray Wersching kicking field goals.

Over the next few years while in elementary school, the Chargers would send a player to come speak to us for an assembly (I remember Carl Mauck/Center talking to the kids and giving away a team photo). I also remember when we did have rainy days in San Diego during school; we would watch Charger highlight films instead of playing outside. That was fun! In my little league baseball days, Charger linebacker Ray Preston was a coach for one of the teams. What a treat that was to have a professional NFL football player from the San Diego Chargers helping out as a coach for that year.

((Will, this has to hit home for you too.))

Will:  What was your most painful memory as a Bolt fan?

John: That’s simple for me. 2006 season, 14-2, No. 1 seed in the playoffs with home field advantage, divisional playoff game vs. the Patriots. We lost 24-21 and I was depressed for a long time. Still hurts, just not as much.

Will:  What was your favorite moment?

I was very fortunate to be invited to the 1980 playoff game between the Bills and Chargers. First game I ever went to, and it was special. Great game up to the final minutes when Dan Fouts hits Ron Smith for a 50 yard touchdown pass to win the game. The crowd was electric and the feeling was unforgettable that game!

Will:  Do you collect Chargers gear or memorabilia? If so, what is your prize possession?

John: The same brother that sent me Charger game tapes when I was in Germany gave to me an autographed authentic Junior Seau San Diego Charger helmet that sits next me at my desk. By the way, my brother worked at Seau’s the restaurant in the 90’s and really got to know Junior. My brother introduced Junior to me at his restaurant and it was amazing to spend a few minutes with him sharing his stories about San Diego. Great memory!

Will:  Who is your favorite current Chargers player? How about all-time?

John: Favorite current Charger is Antonio Gates. He just gets the job done, he’s tough, all about the team, and seems to be a respectful man off the field.

All-time favorite Charger(s) is not one person, but a group. I loved the late 70’s defensive line known as the Bruise Brothers consisting of: “Big” Louie Kelcher, “Mean” Fred Dean, Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, and Leroy Jones. They were a unit that performed so well and excited Charger fans with their teamwork.

Will:  Who is your pick for the best Chargers quarterback of all-time? Why?

John: No doubt, Dan Fouts. He showed leadership, skill, results, heart, winning, making others better and most of all his toughness. We all remember the severe hits he took, bloody noses, limping around on bad knees, yet he always showed up and competed with one purpose, to WIN!

Will: What position(s) do you feel needs to step up in 2015 in order for the Chargers to be true contenders?

John: Offensive Line needs to step up. Replacing Nick Hardwick is huge. O-Line needs to protect Philip and open the holes for the RB’s.

Will: How do you feel about the possible move to LA/Carson? Will you still be a fan?

John: I don’t even like the thought of this move happening. It would hurt all of us loyal Charger fans and the city of San Diego in a huge way. Yes, I’d still root for my Chargers just as I do for the Clippers and Rockets in the NBA who moved out of San Diego.

I’d like to thank John P. Schell for his service to our country, for taking the time to answer my questions and for his undying support of the San Diego Chargers. If you have any comments or questions for John or myself, please leave them below.

Tom Telesco

With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.

Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.

Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.

Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.

2013 Draft

Rd           Player                   Position                College

1              D.J. Fluker           OL                           Alabama

Still on Team:  Yes    Starter: Yes         Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)

Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.

2              Manti Te’o          LB                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes      Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)

Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.

3              Keenan Allan     WR                         California

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)

Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.

5              Steve Williams                 DB                          California

Still on Team: Yes    Starter: No    Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)

Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.

6              Tourek Williams                              DE                           Florida International

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.

7              Brad Sorenson                  QB                          Southern Utah

Still on Team: Yes (PS)   Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.

2014 Draft

Rd           Player                                   Position               College

1              Jason Verrett                     DB                          TCU

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)

Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.

2              Jeremiah Attaochu         LB                           Georgia Tech

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)

Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.

3              Chris Watt                         OL                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.

5              Ryan Carrethers                               DT                           Arkansas State

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.

6              Marion Grice                     RB                           Arizona State

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.

7              Tevin Reese                       WR                         Baylor

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.

So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.

How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.

Qualcomm-Stadium

With the growing number of modern stadiums in the NFL these days, one thing is becoming obvious. The days of tailgating in the stadium parking lot before the game are becoming extinct. It is a sad reality of what cities need to do to fund these modern day coliseums. With the recent rendering released by Councilman Scott Sherman, it is obvious that even if the Chargers stay in San Diego past 2015, fans will have to find a new location to bond before a game. The question is, will losing tailgating be enough to turn off nearsighted fans from supporting a stadium proposal? Well, if the fans want to see their Chargers stay in San Diego, they better figure out a new way to get a cheap buzz before the game and face reality.

Reality is that a stadium, by itself, on a property the size of the current Qualcomm site is a waste of potential profit. Although the $25 parking fee brings in some money, it is a drop in the bucket when trying to turn a profit on a stadium that will cost more than a billion dollars to build. Another revenue stream must be created to not only pay the bills, but to convince voters that there is actually money to be made for the city and county. Far more money that would be made from a lone stadium that was active 20 times a year and charged for parking.

Sherman’s proposal shows the new stadium in the North-West corner of the current Mission Valley site. There is a road that leads to the stadium and a parking lot beside the Chargers beautiful new home. The parking lot looks large enough to handle the player’s cars, the necessary team personnel, and maybe personalized spots for Dean Spanos and Tom Telesco. There is no way that there will be room for a bunch of Bolt-crazed fans who want to barbecue, drink and socialize before a game. That will have to be done elsewhere.

So what sits on the current parking spaces of the Qualcomm lot, as well as what will be the empty footprint of the old stadium itself? Money! That is a simplistic way of saying that the surrounding areas are filled with buildings that will create revenue for the city and county. Hotels, restaurants, apartments, a business center, some artsy stuff to make it look classy and a trolley line to cart all of the happy fans to and from each game or other event that the stadium hosts. Yes, Sherman has created ways to make big bucks from what is currently a playground for Bolt fans on Sunday mornings.

But wait! The profits do not end there. If there is no tailgating, what will fans do before a game? How will fans loosen up and bond with fellow fans in a way that only tailgating has been able to accomplish in the past? The most obvious answer is that the fans will do their partying indoors at local restaurants and bars. Yep, pick your favorite Chargers bar, have some wings and a few drinks and then hop on the trolley to the game. That will create more profits for local business owners and perhaps keep drunk drivers off the road. Hopefully, the $10 beers in the stadium will deter most people from drinking too much more during the game so they are able to drive home from the trolley parking lot after the event. That will not work for everyone, but neither does tailgating, so it seems to be a good enough solution. No matter where tailgaters go for pregame festivities, there will be money to be made off of them.

So, all of this information begs the question; will losing tailgating be enough to lose your vote? Being totally honest, there are many who tailgate on Sundays and do not even have a ticket for the game! They pay their parking fee; bring in their own food, drinks and entertainment and just party all day, right through the game. All they want is to have fun and be a part of the atmosphere on game day. Although their passion and support of Chargers football is inspiring to a point, there is very little money to be made off of these stadium squatters. San Diego would be much better off forcing those fans to spend their Sunday at a local sports bar and hope that they are smart enough to call for a cab ride home.

Finally, if you have looked at the rendering submitted by Councilman Sherman and find yourself getting angry about losing tailgating. Think long and hard before you decide to boycott games or not vote for the stadium. The only people you are hurting are your fellow fans and yourself. Take advantage of what is likely the last year that you will be able to tailgate and have some fun. Take your kids and create some fun memories that they can tell your grandchildren someday. Whatever you do, just remember that it is better to lose tailgating than to lose the Chargers. It is not like the city will open up the parking lot on Sunday mornings after the Chargers are gone so you can drink a couple of cold ones. More likely, the stadium will be demolished and the entire site will be turned into a business and residential center just like the rendering shows, minus just two things; the Chargers and their new stadium.

So what do you think? Are you devastated at the idea of losing such a great tradition as tailgating? Or, do you completely understand why it must go and support the new plan as long as the Chargers stay?

Please add your comments below and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading!

Go Bolts!

philip_rivers_2010_12_12

When scanning the debates on Chargers related social media outlets, one topic that always brings heated discussion is: Who is the best Chargers quarterback (QB) of all time? As you can imagine, this argument goes back and forth and at times borders on the ridiculous! Let us take a look at this question and see if there is one definitive answer, or if it is truly open to interpretation.

First or all, in order to answer the question, one must understand the guidelines set forth by the question. We are deciding the best “Chargers” quarterback of all time. Not the best quarterback who ever played for the Chargers. If we were looking to find the best quarterback who ever played for the Chargers, the answer would arguably be Johnny Unitas. Unitas played one season with the Chargers before hanging up his high-top cleats. He only started four games and had a record of 1-3 with San Diego. But his lifetime record of 118-64-4 puts him far past his nearest competitor, not to mention his Super Bowl championship in 1970 against Dallas. Although Unitas was undeniably brilliant as a quarterback in the league, he did almost all of his damage for the Baltimore Colts, not the San Diego Chargers. Therefore, he is not a viable candidate for best Chargers QB in history.

In this reporter’s humble opinion, there are only four quarterbacks in Chargers history who would even garner a vote; Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers. Honestly, I only put Brees on this list because he is still loved in San Diego and many have still not gotten over the Chargers letting him go. In fact, Brees would give Unitas a run for his money when it comes to the best QB to every don the lightning bolts. Let’s take a look at these four QBs and see who has the most legitimate argument for being named the best Chargers quarterback of all time.

Dan Fouts: Fouts played his entire career for the Chargers. He came up as a rookie in 1973 and retired as a soon to be Hall of Fame inductee in 1987. He started 171 games for the Bolts, with a career record of 86-84-1. His career record may surprise you. Most would not honor the work of a QB who barely had better than a .500 record. Well, the fact is that the defense in those days carries a lot of the blame for the Chargers losses. Fouts put the points up, but the defense gave them right back. Fouts also led the Chargers to the post-season on four occasions with a career post-season record of 3-4.

He had a three year span (1979-1981) where his offense, masterminded by legendary coach Don Coryell, was unstoppable. He amassed 13,599 yards in those three seasons with a record of 33-15. Yardage numbers like Fouts was running up were unheard of at that time. In his career, Fouts totaled 43,040 passing yards. Many would argue that Coryell and Fouts laid a blueprint for the future of the NFL and what offenses have become today. Although his touchdown to interception ratio is not that impressive (254:242), one could argue that the wide open style of offense that “Air Coryell” offered was so risky that interceptions were destined to happen and not that big of a deal. The payoff would simply have to come on the next drive.

Stan Humphries: Humphries played six of his eight NFL seasons with San Diego. He played his first two seasons with the Redskins and then was brought to the Chargers in 1992. Good things were starting to happen in San Diego with a stout defense and solid running game needing one key ingredient; a quality starting quarterback. Since Fouts stepped down, the Bolts went through nine quarterbacks in just four seasons, before finding Humphries. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Humphries came in and was effective right away. He led the Bolts to an 11-4 record in his first season at the helm of the offense. In fact, his record was over .500 for his first five seasons with the Chargers. His only blemish was a 3-5 record in his injury shortened and final season in 1997. Statistically, many may argue that Humphries does not belong on this list. He only threw for 16,085 yards with a touchdown to interception ratio of 85:73. But stats do not include everything when it comes to judging a leader. The fact that Stan Humphries is the only quarterback in Chargers history to go to a Super Bowl makes him number one in some fans eyes.

Drew Brees:  Brees is the lightning rod in this debate. Some would argue that it was preposterous that Brees was let go after receiving a career threatening shoulder injury on the last game of his expiring contract in 2005. Others would argue it was too big of a risk to keep a QB with an injured shoulder when you had Philip Rivers under contract and ready to start. Still others would argue that the injury had nothing to do with the dismissal of Brees. In fact, it was simply a power-play by then General Manager A.J. Smith to get Rivers on the field after he paid him $40 million to hold a clipboard for two seasons. Honestly, in regards to this question, why Brees left in irrelevant. The fact is that his numbers as a Charger were rather pedestrian compared to some others. Not to say that he would not have led the Bolts to glory as he did the Saints! We will never know what would have transpired if he had stayed. All we know for sure is that he didn’t stay and when considering whether he was the best Chargers quarterback in history, none of his Saints stats should be considered.

Taking a look at Brees’ stats with the Chargers you see that he had a record of 30-28 along with a touchdown to interception ratio of 80:53. Brees also accumulated 12,348 passing yards in his time with San Diego. Respectable numbers, but still not stellar. Brees did lead the Chargers to the post-season one time when he and the Chargers were upset by the underdog Jets. By most, Brees was given a pass on that loss due to a missed field goal by rookie kicker, Nate Kaeding.

Philip Rivers: Rivers, like Fouts is another lifetime Charger. He joined the team in 2004 and is still leading the offense today. In fact, he has not missed a start since he took over the reins from Brees in 2006. His numbers are undeniable. In his tenure with the Bolts, Rivers has amassed 36,655 yards passing with a 252:152 touchdown to interception ratio. His won/loss record with the Charges is a respectable 88-56. He has led the Chargers into the post-season on five different occasions with a record of 4-5.

In his younger days, Rivers was believed to be the chosen one who would finally lead the Bolts to the Promised Land. So far, that has not been the case and Chargers fans are growing impatient. Adding heat to the fire is the recent talk that Rivers will let his contract run out after the 2015 season and test free agency. Some call it leverage, other a smoke screen, still others say it is his way of saying, ‘If the Chargers are going to Los Angeles, I’m not going with them.’ Time will tell on that issue, but the fact is that current controversy aside, his numbers speak for themselves.

Well there you have it! Now who do you think the best Chargers QB in history is? Make your voice heard by answering the poll below.

Thanks for reading and participating! Go Chargers!

Who is the best Chargers QB of all time?

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Gates

 

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates had a bit of a resurgence in 2014. Although his receptions (69) and total yards receiving (821) went down from the previous season, his touchdown total skyrocketed past his 2013 total. In fact, with his 12 touchdowns in 2014, he eclipsed the previous year’s mark by three times! That impressive stat shows that Gates is still the go-to guy for quarterback Philip Rivers in the redzone.  But can he keep producing at such a high level in 2015? To answer that, one must consider what makes him so good to begin with. Does his skill-set require youth to be effective?

Answering the aforementioned questions in reverse order, I would say that Gates’ skill-set does not require youth to make him effective. In fact, it is his experience and savvy that makes him so great in the redzone. Gates has always had a knack for getting open. You cannot watch a Chargers game on television without hearing the announcers talk about how he played college basketball. He helped revolutionize the tight end position by blending his basketball skills with his football talent. He still has the ability to, “box out” defenders and position his body in such a way that only he can get to the ball. Gates has also learned to read defenses and take what they give him. He can still figure out where the open field is and get there. His connection with Rivers is so strong that he can break off his pattern and Rivers will still find him. It takes time to build that kind of chemistry.

So what makes Gates so good? The veteran tight end attributes his rebirth of sorts to an injury he suffered in 2010. While standing on the sidelines, Antonio made it his business to study defenses and learn how to exploit them. Being the consummate professional, he refused to mope on the bench. He studied his craft and became a better player. Being able to teach that lesson to younger players is reason enough to keep Gates on the team. Of course, it does not hurt that he is an incredible talent as well.

So, can Antonio Gates put up similar numbers to 2014 in the last year of his contract? There is no reason to believe he cannot. His receptions may be down. His yardage total may continue to shrink. But the fact remains, when a first down is needed, or the ball is near the goal line, Gates finds a way to get open and his hands are as good as ever. Look for him to have another solid season, in what could be his last with the Bolts.

Whether Antonio Gates retires after the 2015 season, or continues playing, look for him to eventually end up in Canton, Ohio at the Football Hall of Fame.  Personally, I believe he will also be the last Chargers player to ever don the number 85.

Tell me your thoughts on the matter. Can Gates do it again in 2015? Will he retire at the end of the season? Or, is it time to move on? There is no right or wrong answer, just opinions. Please leave your opinions in the comment section below. I will be sure to get back to you.

Thanks for reading!

 

Go Bolts!

Philip+Rivers+San+Francisco+49ers+v+San+Diego+lRZyCfM9hITl

On March 13, 2015, a ripple of concern and suspicion began when the Chargers announced that they would be bringing in quarterback (QB) Marcus Mariota for a private workout. Why bring in a QB who is expected to be drafted far before the Chargers first round pick at 17? Are the Chargers really looking to sign Mariota just to have him sit behind Philip Rivers for the next three years? Is Tom Telesco just playing pre-draft games with the other general managers? Or, are the Bolts actually considering a change?

As time went by, the ripple gained momentum and grew to the size of La Jolla Shores breakers. Social media outlets began throwing out conspiracy theories that were mostly shot down as, “crazy talk”. But as the days wore on, more and more twists were added to the plot. A trade with Tennessee for the number two pick in the draft was being discussed. At number two, the Chargers would have whomever the Buccaneers did not choose between Florida St. quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. To old school Chargers fans, this scenario makes them squirm as they recall the weeks before the 1998 draft when the Bolts picked second and assured themselves whoever was left between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Not to say that Mariota will suffer the same fate as Leaf, but that is the thing about the draft: you just never know.

Well, those breakers became the size of Hawaii’s Bonzai Pipeline, when more and more dots were connected by the local and national media, along with sports talk radio, as they started digging around. Now the complete hypothetical plan was laid out and it actually seemed plausible! Rumblings from Chargers fans ranged from, “If they trade Rivers, I’m done”, to “Now it’s obvious that the Chargers want to move to Los Angeles”, to “It’s all talk! The Chargers will never trade Rivers!”

Just when you think it is safe to go back in the water, a tidal wave hits the shores of San Diego. Kevin Acee, of the UT San Diego, interviewed Rivers and received some discouraging answers from the Pro Bowl quarterback. When asked if he was working with the Chargers on extending his contract past 2015, Rivers said that he was not. He vowed to honor his contract and play out the next season in San Diego, but would not commit to re-signing with the Bolts for the future. Rivers went on to say, “I guess things could change, but with all the uncertainty in many aspects, I don’t see it changing before camp gets here, and when camp gets here I’m even more certain to play it (his contract) out.” He went on to say, “The good thing is that I’m not under contract in a year where we’d potentially be in Los Angeles.” That does not sound like a player who is locked into playing out his career with the Chargers.

So what are those, “many aspects” that Rivers is referring to? To figure that out, all one has to do is take a look at the current situation with the team, the stadium, his family, and yes, the future of the quarterback position for the San Diego Chargers. Not to get ahead of ourselves, let us take a look at the scenario that has been painted by the media, and fans, that might explain why there is so much speculation about the Mariota workout and the upcoming draft.

The current version of the Rivers trade theory is that he will be traded to Tennessee for the second pick in the draft. With most around the NFL believing that Tampa Bay will pick Winston number one, Mariota would then go to the Chargers at number two. This trade would work for a few different reasons. One, Rivers said that there are “many aspects” to consider before signing a contract to keep him in San Diego past 2015. One of those aspects would certainly be if the Bolts were staying in San Diego, or bolting to Los Angeles (LA). Perhaps Rivers does not want to leave his home in San Diego just to move his wife and seven kids to LA.  If he is going to move anywhere, it would make more sense to move to the South, near where he grew up in Alabama. Tennessee is far closer to Alabama and the lifestyle is far more similar to Alabama than LA.

Furthermore, a trade to Tennessee would reunite Rivers with his former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the current head coach for the Titans. Rivers has one of his best years as a pro with Whisenhunt leading the way. Rivers would already know the offense and should be able to step right in and feel comfortable running the show.

Finally, there is the aspect of money. Rivers did not have a great year, by his standards, in 2014. Now would not a beneficial time for him to talk extension. If he plays one more season, with a vastly improved line, he may put up career numbers and be able to demand more money. Yes, Rivers is a nice guy, but even nice guys want to get paid. He does have seven mouths to feed after all.

Okay, all of that actually makes sense for why Rivers would look to leave. How about the Chargers? Why would they entertain the thought of trading away someone who is arguably a future Hall of Fame QB when he certainly has productive years ahead? Well, there are some reasonable answers to those questions as well.

First of all, Rivers is 33 years old and has never taken the Bolts to the Super Bowl. Two other quarter backs in the same draft class, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, have won rings. Now football is a team sport, so you cannot put all of the blame on Rivers for that, so that cannot be the problem. Next, the Chargers have had trouble protecting Rivers and all the hits he has sustained have definitely taken a toll on the aging QB. Perhaps bringing in a mobile QB, like Mariota, will enable the Chargers to sustain drives when the offensive line breaks down. Then again, with the signing of Orlando Franklin and the opportunity to draft a lineman in the first round ahead, the line should be greatly improved. Finally, perhaps the Chargers feel that Mariota has a skill set that will give them a true franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years, while saving cap space by getting out from underneath Rivers’ contract.

That brings us to the stadium issue, which could possibly be the main reason the Chargers would entertain the thought of trading away the face of their franchise. Although team president, Dean Spanos, continues to say that he would like to keep the team in San Diego, there have been few signs that he is interested in working with the recently created Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG). In fact, twice the Chargers have had Carson related stories come out on the same days when CSAG members have held events in San Diego. Perhaps the thinking is that if the Chargers move to LA, they want to be the, “new look” Chargers, and Rivers is too closely associated with San Diego for that to happen.

So is it a good idea to get rid of Rivers? Not a chance! With Rivers, you are not only talking about the face of the team, but also the emotional leader. You are talking about a guy who gives players hope. How many times have you heard, “As long as we have number 17, we have a chance?” You will not get that kind of leadership from a rookie QB. Mariota may have a successful career in the NFL, or he may not. There are no guarantees (see Ryan Leaf). Many experts feel that he will be a work in progress at the next level. He needs to learn how to lead a huddle and take snaps from under center; two things that he did not have to do in college. Yes, these are teachable skills, but do you want your starting QB to be learning the basics while in live action? Seems like an awfully big risk for a team that has a viable answer for the position for the next few years.

Finally, trading Rivers would be a poor PR move. That would be “public relations”, not Philip Rivers. The Bolts have long been known for treating their veterans poorly. Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Vincent Jackson are all examples of players that were shown the door without so much as a, “thank you”. If the new leadership of the Chargers wants to break that cycle and be embraced by the community, they need to handle situations with class and show star players that they appreciate them. It seems a team that may need a large percentage of citizens to vote for a stadium would not want to anger their fans. That is unless they do not really want to stay in San Diego. Even if they do let Rivers go, trading him now is not the answer. Let him play out his last year and see what happens.

What do you think? Is it time to look toward the future? Or, is 2015 a must-win season so that the city will embrace the team and vote for a stadium? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.

Go Chargers!

 Tom Telesco

Alright, Chargers fans, everyone take a deep breath, in through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. Now, repeat those steps as many times as it takes to get you to a relaxed state. That exercise will do you, and all of us who read your social media rants a lot of good.

Yes, I’m talking to those Chargers fans that after four days of free agency have already lit their torches, sharpened their pitchforks, and began the trek to Chargers Park and Tom Telesco’s (TT) office. Take a breath, people! Let the man do his job. Let’s be honest. If you or I know more about running a professional football franchise than the team’s General Manager (GM), the team is in worse trouble than we knew!

I read all the complaints about how TT is letting Bolt fans down and he is not going after top-notch players. If these fans had their way, Telesco would have signed DeMarco Murray, Ndamukong Suh, Dwayne Bowe, Terrance Knighton, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Darrelle Revis, and so on down the line of big names to contracts that would still have left us room under the cap! Well here are a couple simple facts for all fans to remember:

  1. There is a salary cap in the NFL. Teams can only spend up to the cap, whether they have more needs or not. If you spend a large chunk of your cap space on one player, you may not be able to fill other holes that you have. I’m sorry, but the Chargers have many holes to fill.
  2. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Okay, that is a little cliché, but it fits. Tom Telesco and the Chargers staff have been trying to dig out of the hole that former GM A.J. Smith left them in ever since they took over a couple years ago. The team was a mess. There were some key guys to build around, for example, Rivers, Gates, Weddle, and Hardwick, but not very many quality supporting players. Telesco has brought in some quality players via the draft, trades, and free agency, but it takes time to build a football team from (almost) scratch.

On the flipside, I understand that we live in a win now, must win society. No one likes to go to work on Monday morning and hear about how their team lost, or didn’t make the playoffs. There is nothing worse than listening to your co-worker brag about how his team has three rings and your team has none (you know who I’m referring too). So, you are mad as hell and you aren’t going to take it anymore? Well, unless you are going to jump on another team’s bandwagon, you don’t have much choice.

Now, every year we run into this kind of drama, but this year seems to be worse than normal. Why do Bolt fans seem so desperate? I have two reasons for their panic:

  1. The new stadium. Let’s face it; this could be the last season for the San Diego Chargers. Fans want to see their team win a championship for their city, not Los Angeles or Carson, or anywhere else. How did Los Angeles Rams fans feel when the Rams took off to St. Louis and then almost immediately win a ring? That had to sting. No one wants that in San Diego. Not to mention, if the Chargers could win the Super Bowl this season, the odds on obtaining the necessary votes to build a new stadium would greatly increase.
  2. The Padres. This may be a little more of a stretch, but perhaps watching the Padres spend money and seemingly sign whomever they wanted in the offseason got the emotional Bolt fan worked up. “Why can’t we sign guys like the Padres did?” Well I’ll tell you why; because of the salary cap. A.J. Preller, the GM of the Padres, was given permission to spend and spend a lot. He worked his magic and brought more talent at one time than any San Diego franchise has ever been able to bring in. But let’s face it; the Chargers do not have the ability to spend as much as they want on players. They are limited by rules that do not apply in Major League Baseball.

So do yourself a favor and sit back, relax and enjoy the process. Don’t expect more than is possible to deliver. Tom Telesco is trying to build an entire team. Remember, it takes two to Tango. You may have heard that he was the highest bidder to court Andre Johnson and Johnson decided to take less money to play in Indy. That is not Telesco’s fault. These things happen and he has to move on to the next guy on the wish list.

One last thing to remember, when building a team, the GM has free agency, the draft, and camp signings that are often after week 3 of preseason. The team you see today is not the finished product. Give Telesco a chance to prove he knows more than we do. Keep the faith! Go Bolts!

So how do you feel about the job Tom Telesco is doing so far? Is there any certain player you want him to sign? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.

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