After Week 6 at Green Bay during the 2015 season, it seemed that Keenan Allen had finally put it all together. Allen was nearing the halfway point of his third NFL season and had just posted 14 catches for 157 yards. This was one catch shy of tying the Chargers’ record for most receptions in a single game…. The same record he did tie in the first week of the season against Detroit.
In fact, that was his third game with 10+ catches in the first six weeks of the season. Allen was on pace for 134 catches, 1,450 yards and eight touchdowns. Forget the Pro Bowl, those are numbers that get Offense Player of the Year consideration.
That stat line, though, is only what could have been, after he was injured in Baltimore on a leaping catch for a touchdown that ended in a landing where he lacerated a kidney.
After beginning the year with a torrid pace of 67 catches, 725 yards and four touchdowns, Allen would be forced to watch his team struggle to a putrid 4-12 record to finish out the 2015 campaign.
Now, the self-proclaimed defensive back “Slayer” is ready to make the same noise he started to make last year. He returns to old friend Ken Whisenhunt making a return as offensive coordinator, who held the same position during Allen’s stellar rookie campaign which saw him break a numerous amount of franchise rookie records and earn multiple awards from different media outlets.
The San Diego aerial attack will undoubtedly rely on Keenan Allen once more this season. While it seems like All-World tight end Antonio Gates is not aging, he most certainly can no longer bare the weight of being a No. 1 passing option week-in and week-out. His newly acquired replacement, Hunter Henry, is promising, yet unproven. Danny Woodhead along with the remainder of the wide receiving corps can only serve as a complement to Allen.
There is no question as to whether or not Keenan can continue to produce what he gave us a sneak peek of last year. As long as he remains healthy, Keenan Allen will be able to produce at a high level for the Chargers this coming season.
Combine Allen’s talent with the over-the-top speed of free agent signee Travis Benjamin, the versatility of Woodhead, and the craftiness from slot receiver Stevie Johnson, No. 13 should flourish once again with quarterback Philip Rivers knowing he has an incredible arsenal of weapons, namely Allen.
Do you believe that Keenan Allen be a top-tier receiver this year?
Let me know below or on twitter — @DefineRoyallty.
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With Eric Weddle leaving for the Baltimore Ravens, it was apparent the San Diego Chargers were going to have to address the hole at safety.
So they did. Sort of. Possibly.
After signing former Colts safety Dwight Lowery early in March, it wasn’t until the draft that the front office addressed the last line of the defense once more.
Technically, it was actually after the draft ended when San Diego acquired the only true safety during the most popular weekend of the NFL offseason.
Undrafted free agent safety Adrian McDonald agreed to terms with the Chargers on April 30 and will look to become a permanent part of the San Diego secondary.
Weight: 205 lbs*
40 Yard Dash: 4.62**
Bench Press (225 lbs): 10 reps**
*According to Chargers’ website
**Texans local prospect day
McDonald tallied 17 career interceptions, forced seven fumbles and recovered seven more. He ranked 2nd on his team in tackles during his junior campaign with 92, along with four interceptions for the University of Houston. His numbers did not go unnoticed as he was named first-team All-AAC, as well as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe awarded given to the best defensive back in college football.
There is no denying McDonald has a nose for the football as he consistently finds himself near, sometimes with, the ball. He is a solid tackler which not only is a defensive requirement but a special teams one, as well.
Showing value on special teams is most assuredly McDonald’s key to making the 53-man roster. His lack of ideal size and speed is what kept him from hearing his name during the draft, but he can make 31 other teams regret that decision by working hard to get an opportunity to showcase his talents.
With the Chargers ranking 19th in takeaways last season with just 20, players like McDonald are going to get a chance to bring such production to the Bolts’ secondary.
Here’s to hoping this marriage is long-lasting and beneficial to both sides.
Take a look for yourself at Charger hopeful, Adrian McDonald:
There is much debate over when the San Diego Chargers need to take a serious approach toward finding a replacement quarterback and prepare to move on from Philip Rivers.
Some believe the time is now, while others contend that Rivers still has a few solid years left under his belt.
Whether you agree or not, one fact rings true: Rivers turns 35 at the tail end of this season.
This is not to suggest we dump him on the street right this instant, but to recognize all great things must come to an end.
There is a trend of less and less QB talent entering the draft each year. Couple that with the threat of having to start a sub-par signal caller if the front office does not act soon, and you would think Tom Telesco should be proactive rather than reactive.
This year, where a FCS QB is thought to be the first selected at his position, Cardale Jones could be the diamond in the rough that the Chargers could use.
Weight: 253 lbs
Vertical Jump: 36 inches*
*Top performer at his position at the Combine
Jones brings a championship pedigree to the table. His first three starts for Ohio State were all post-season contests that led to winning his first College Football Playoff Championship.
Many people knock his leadership, but teammates and coaches alike refute those arguments. Jon Gruden also commented on how he immediately took a leadership role in his first game against Wisconsin which resulted in a 59-0 victory.
His size is an obvious strength, as he has no problem seeing over offensive lineman. His 250+ lb frame also helps him absorb hits and bowl over defensive backs when he uses his other strength…
He may not look like it, but Jones can move. He can evade pressure in the pocket and get a throw off or leave the pocket all together and get good yardage.
His weaknesses are correctable. He has such great arm strength that he has a hard time completing short passes that require some touch. He consistently looks for the big play instead of taking what is given to him. He sometimes gets flustered with complicated defensive schemes.
Although Jones only has 11 starts at the collegiate level, he is a great talent who will only get better with reps. He is the definition of a project-QB, who can blossom into a starter in the NFL with time, proper coaching and hard work.
For more on Cardale Jones:
Jarvis Royall (@defineroyallty)
With Eric Weddle as good as gone via free agency, there is no question the San Diego Chargers must consider searching for his replacement this offseason. That brings us to the draft. There is a certain talent in this year’s pool of NFL hopefuls that could help make the post-Weddle era as smooth as possible: Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey.
Weight: 209 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.41 sec
Vert: 41.5 inches*
Broad Jump: 135 inches*
*Best combine result among his position
Athlete. That is the first word you think of when you see this kid’s tape. He will blow you up with a big hit, he will wrap you up for the sure tackle and he will display some of the best cover skills you could ask for from a rook. He has top-notch speed and athleticism, allowing him to make play after play in coverage. One thing that stood out to me was how smart he looked on the field. There are certain plays where you can tell he spends some time in the film room and puts it to use on gameday.
One of few knocks against his game is why he’s being considered as the third player taken in the draft. While he played mostly as a corner in college, many scouts believe he’s better suited as a safety in the pros. He must still work on his hips, as well as showing a little more leadership on the field.
Ramsey is a prime-time athlete who has rangy ability to make plays on any level of the field. He just needs a little bit more of a nasty streak to bring some aggressiveness to a defense that has lacked that trait for some time.
For more on Ramsey:
This article is not (just) to remind you that Melvin Gordon is a rookie. Even though most people are already passing judgment on him after only a few preseason appearances and one official NFL game. Am I defending 14 carries for 51 yards? Never. But here’s my point: Stop blaming Melvin.
“Cool, so which offensive lineman should we hate? I had a feeling Orlando Franklin still had some Bronco in him!”… It’s not the O-Line’s fault either. Point fingers at the inadequacy of the coaching staff.
Check this out.
Since 2010 (the first season without LaDainian Tomlinson), the Chargers have only finished with a top-10 rushing statistic TWICE and they were both in the attempts category. In 2010, they were 9th with 457 rushing attempts which was the first year sans LT. In 2013, they ranked 6th with 486 carries in McCoy’s first season. The carries also did not translate to any success in the run game as San Diego finished 22nd (4.0) and 21st (4.0) in yards per carry in respective seasons.
You could argue there was no talent in these post-LT years and I’d point to the fact that Ryan Mathews (2011), Mike Tolbert (2013), and Darren Sproles (2014) all went to Pro Bowls. While only Mathews represented the Chargers in his Pro Bowl appearance, they all were awarded the honor by filling the same role they were known for in San Diego for their respective teams.
Five years. Two different coaching staffs. Same results.
I’d sum it up to the fact that the formula for running the football has not been found in San Diego. Melvin Gordon is not good enough to change that himself, nobody but Barry Sanders is. It will take a concerted effort by coaches and players alike for him to become a premier running attack.
I say all of that to get this point across: Have patience.
San Diego obviously knows how much better their run game needed to be with the way they built the offensive line this offseason and spent TWO draft picks on what should be a top-talent at running back in Gordon. It will not happen overnight, but I do have faith it will happen.
The bottom line is, cut the kid some slack. He’s going to be just fine.
You just #ReadTheBlitz
Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown. As of right now, these are the only running backs, barring a trade or release, guaranteed to be a Charger at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Without needing to say much, it is alarmingly apparent that none of these ball carriers are the answer when looking for a bell-cow. This draft has many a talent at the running back position and it would be hard for San Diego avoid snagging one this year. One of the names many hope to see in powder blue is Boise State HB, Jay Ajayi.
Projected 40-Yard Dash: 4.57
*All Pre-Combine unofficial estimations
Jay Ajayi had a monstrous 2014 campaign. He put up 1823 yards along with 28 touchdowns with 347 carries which totals just about 5.3 yards a pop. Though this was his best season as a Bronco, this was not his breakout season. The year prior, as a redshirt sophomore, Ajayi toted the ball 249 times for 1425 yards and 18 touchdowns, which is a pace of 5.7 yards a carry. In 2014 he also showed his ability to catch out of the backfield as he posted career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns with 50/535/4.
Ajayi has a great body for a running back, which can be seen via his beefy build. Do not let that fool you though, as he is very deceptive with quick feet and great burst. What I like most about Ajayi is the combination of power and pad-level he has, making him a nightmare to tackle, and almost impossible to push backwards. What I do not like about Jay sticks out like a Raider at a Pro Bowl, he does not run well inside the tackles. Matter of fact, he rarely runs between the tackles at all! He bounces a lot of runs outside looking for the home run which is a trait that will not lead to success at the NFL level. Another concern is his mileage. Ajayi has touched the ball over 750 times in 38 games. That’s 20 touches per outing which has led to minor, but numerous, injuries. He’s fast, but not breakaway fast and gets hawked down pretty often. He also has a few character issues with a couple of misdemeanor run-ins with the law in 2011, and banned from a bowl game the same season, as well as the season opener in 2012.
Ajayi could be an every down back, but in my eyes, his career would last much longer if he was to take on a role similar to that of all the running backs on our roster so: complimentary. While I do not hate on his game, I am turned off by his college usage and inability to succeed inside. Lead Writer and Editor, Booga Peters, has him in the first edition of his mock draft here.
To douse any burning curiosity of who this prospect is, take a look at the highlight tape below:
Thank You and stay tuned for many more draft profiles on 2015 NFL Draft prospects!
Thank God for the Oakland Raiders. While the San Diego Chargers did get healthy over their Week 10 bye, it seemed as if that was the only thing they did. The Chargers were able to start off their seven-game stretch with a hard-fought 13-6 win at home. With a whole week to prepare for an 0-9 team, this may have been one of the worse post-bye performances since a 2012 Week 8 loss to the 1-6 Cleveland Browns. The Chargers did not score a touchdown and lost 7-6. But that is all behind us. The Bolts are 6-4 and back in the hunt for the postseason. Nothing will come easily as the remaining opponents hold a record of 38-22 (.760).
The road starts with the dangerous St. Louis Rams. They may only be 4-6, but they are one of the scarier teams as three of those wins have come against teams that made the final four of the 2013 NFL Playoffs. One of their wins came in Week 11 against the AFC West leading Denver Broncos. The Rams completely dominated the Broncos by a score of 22-7. The Broncos’ lone score coming from a miscommunication in the secondary during the second quarter. The poor play/injuries from the Charger offensive line should have some fans concerned as the Ram front-seven is very talented They are led by Robert Quinn who has six sacks on the season.
It is no surprise the Rams own the 27th ranked passing attack as they have no great talent at the quarterback position. They have also recently switched from Austin Davis to Shaun Hill as their signal caller. Hill was 20/29 for 220 yards and a touchdown in his first complete game this season in the victory over Denver. Their mixed backfield puts defenders at a disadvantage as it is hard to know what type of runner to adjust to and prepare for prior to the snap. Yet, it had not made a difference as they just cracked the 1,000 yard rushing mark in Week 11 and are listed as the 21st best run game in the NFL. San Diego is no better at running considering they have the 29th ranked rushing attack with 856 yards rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the year. San Diego will also enter the game with the #14 passing offense. Both defenses will come in near the bottom of the barrel as San Diego is rated 18th and St. Louis is rated 24th overall on offense respectively.
This is, by all means, a winnable game. But it is also one that will take a concerted effort to achieve a victory. The Rams are a team the Chargers need to beat as well as a team that can beat them. It will come down to will power and the needed desire to win. This will be a huge push toward the playoffs. Without a victory in week 12, the Bolts are certainly on the outside looking in when in comes to making it into the playoffs for what could be a second consecutive year.
With a tough, ugly loss on Sunday, the San Diego Chargers fell to 1-1 in the division. The contest against the Chiefs, to me, was the worst performance of the season. First off, the Kansas City Chiefs absolutely dominated time of possession; they had the ball twice as long as we did. The Chiefs took it to us on the ground, running the ball for 154 yards on 39 carries, led by Jamaal Charles (22 att/95 yds/1 TD) which was a huge factor in helping them play keep-away from the hand of Philip Rivers and his offense.
While most of the Kansas City drives produced little to nothing on the scoreboard as they kicked three field goals to two touchdowns, it made our offensive possessions that much more precious and important; especially when the Chief defense forced the Chargers to kick two field goals of their own. The Chargers posted a 30% 3rd down conversion rate which showed our inability to keep drives going in order to put points on the board.
Other than Week 3 against Buffalo, the Chargers have not won a game scoring less than 30 points. This is not necessarily a defensive issue, rather it illustrates how potent San Diego’s offense is and allows the defense the luxury of not having the spotlight on them. The defense was front and center on Sunday and showed their inability to get the necessary stop. John Pagano’s unit was exhausted after being on the field for so long.
A 1-1 AFC West record is not bad, but it makes Thursday night against the Denver Broncos that much more important. The Broncos hold a 1-0 record in the division, the Chiefs tie the Chargers at 1-1, and every win the Raiders have this season is as many as they have in the division. The AFC West will be all knotted up in a 1-1 tie if San Diego can prevail on Thursday as the Chiefs cannot improve their division record against the Rams on Sunday. Beating Denver will be no small task.
Peyton Manning and crew will come into this game with a great offensive rhythm as their offense has averaged 38 points since their Week 3 loss in Seattle. During this streak, Manning got the “monkey off his back” by throwing his NFL all-time leading 509th and 510th career touchdowns.
While Denver owns the 14th ranked total offense, they boast a top-10 passing game (7th) with Manning putting up a league leading 118.2 passer rating and 19 touchdowns, second to Tony Romo in completion percentage, and 9th in yards. The run game is what has been weighing this offense down. They rank 29th overall with only 571 yards on the season. Much can be accredited to the Montee Ball project not being as successful as expected this season with only 172 yards and a fumble through four games before being hit with a groin injury that has kept him out since. Ronnie Hillman has been serviceable over the past two weeks posting 174 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries.
The Chargers will have a tough time getting back on track offensively as Denver has allowed the second least amount of yards this season. Specifically, the Broncos will put out the 7th rated passing defense and the 2nd stingiest run defense in football on Thursday night. This will surely test MVP candidate Rivers and rookie sensation Branden Oliver. Our own defense will have to play in prime form. With many injuries to choose from, when you talk about Manning it is significant to point out we will be without our #1 corner in Brandon Flowers and possibly rookie Jason Verrett.
Simply put, this is a huge game if the Chargers have any hopes of capturing the AFC West crown this season. Going 1-2 in the division, and 0-1 against Denver, could give San Diego a tough hill to climb going forward.
After a sloppy, yet impressive, win in Oakland, the Chargers will come home for the last time until Week 11. The week upcoming could not be more important. After an AFC West showdown against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday, the San Diego Chargers will have to gear right back up and visit Peyton Manning and the Broncos at Mile High on Thursday night.
With Kansas City (2-3, 0-1) taking off Week 6 with a bye, one can assume they will come into Sundays contest against the Chargers (5-1, 1-0) well prepared. While I am always nervous about division games, the Chiefs share something with Oakland this season that makes me slightly more nervous for this matchup. Kansas City will arrive in San Diego with no division wins. As I stated in my previous article, nothing makes a rival’s day more than to ruin a division opponents record. San Diego stands undefeated in the AFCW. But they’ve only played one game.
While Kansas City only holds a 2-3 record, they have looked impressive at times, with their best win of the season being against the New England Patriots. There are some good and bad things to consider when you look at their team. Kansas City ranks 5th in total defense with 1709 yards allowed so far this season, yet they rank 14th in yards allowed per game. This can be a result of their rather early bye. Kansas City also boasts a “middle of the pack” run defense with a ranking of 13th, yet they are only one of two teams (Buffalo) that have not surrendered a touchdown via the ground game.
With a hot Philip Rivers under center, Chargers fans should be rather pleased to see Kansas City this week. The Chiefs rank toward the bottom of the league (23rd) in opposing QB passer rating. The Chiefs also only have two interceptions on the season and allow 7 yards per pass completion. I see another big day for the MVP candidate.
The Chiefs own the 15th rated rushing attack along with the 31st rated passing game. The Charger 8th rated defense should fare well against their western foes.
With a monumental week ahead, the Bolts will have to play some of their best football twice within a 5-day span. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn confident they will. I look forward to seeing where we stand in the division after Thursday.
Like most, if not all, of Charger Nation, I am thoroughly impressed with the first 5 weeks of football the San Diego Chargers have produced. I won’t even mention how we are only a 2nd half performance against Arizona away from being undefeated. …Oops. But, nonetheless, San Diego is playing great football and they will have to continue that trend for the next four weeks in order to actually enjoy their Week 10 bye.
Of the next four games, 3 of them will be on the road, 3 of them will be against our AFC West counterparts in the next three consecutive weeks. Throw in a Dolphins matchup and that makes all four games versus AFC opponents. In my opinion, I think we will look at this four game stretch as a reason for making or missing the postseason.
As I mentioned before, the Chargers will play their first, second, and third AFC West games over the next three weeks, and will only draw one home meeting against the Chiefs in Week 7.
There are no guaranteed wins in the NFL, but there are favorites and heavy favorites. After that there is the Chargers against the Raiders to start our first AFC West action of the season in Oakland. The Raiders will host their first opponent under interim head coach Tony Sparano. With a “fresh” start, no wins, and a division rival coming to town, there could be no sweeter feeling than beating a rival for the first win, which would also give them a better record than us in the division. These are the things 0-4 teams look forward to during the season.
I can bet my job here at BoltBlitz that the Raiders will give us their best shot, which means we must come with the mindset that they are 4-o as opposed to the reverse. The question is, how good is their best shot? Enough to beat us at our worst I say. When the Chargers play bad, it is really bad. But if you asked me do I doubt my team this week, I’d preface my statement with the cliché “Anything could happen” and proceed to tell you that with the way we have played so far, I like our chances.
As the week 6 game approaches, I will go into further detail about the remaining matchups. As for now, I hope the Chargers go into this game with the mindset that are not guaranteed anything. Right now it is Raider week, and unlike the opponent, getting this win is of the utmost importance.