Briana Soltis

Briana Soltis

Ap2

 

 

After a 1-1 start to the 2015 season, the Chargers travel to Minnesota to face off against the explosive Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.

In Peterson’s first two games this season, he has recorded 165 yards, while averaging 4.2 yards a carry; 134 yards were racked up in last week’s win over the Detroit Lions. If the Bolts plan to shut down AD, they will have to compete at a playoff-caliber level and finish flawlessly.

Currently, San Diego ranks 21st in the NFL in rushing defense. Unfortunately, this isn’t good enough to stop Peterson. In week one, the team gave up a huge run play as Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah went untouched making a 36-yard jaunt to the house. The question as to what the Bolts need to do in order to shut Peterson down is on the minds of all Charger fans.

Here’s the breakdown:

 

Tackling

Hasn’t this been a trending issue for years now? Either way, San Diego has to go back to fundamental tackling in order to shut down the running game. Defensively, the line must hold true and close all gaps that Peterson will try to attack. Linebacker Manti Te’o has missed 10 tackles in the first two games. That can’t happen Sunday. It’s inevitable that AD will break through the line of scrimmage, however, it’s the Bolts’ duty to make all necessary tackles, especially against the veteran running back.

 

Forcing Turnovers

The Chargers have forced two fumbles along with two interceptions. In order for them to keep the offense on the field, the defense has to force turnovers and convert them to points. The Vikings quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, is entering his sophomore season looking fairly confident. With veteran players such as Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, and Donald Butler on the defense, disrupting his play will prove fruitful. Having only one sack on the season isn’t enough, therefore, getting after Bridgewater is mandatory come Sunday.

 

Clock management

Time management is the name of the game in professional football. With Peterson’s running ability, Minnesota will look to manage the clock and tempo of the game. In order to obtain a win, Philip Rivers and the offense must maintain their composure and cause long-lasting drives, ultimately ending with points scored. Similar to what San Diego has done to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the team must keep Peterson and company on the sidelines. Traditionally, the Bolts win most of their games where they hold the most time of possession. The same blueprint should be conducted against the Vikings.

 

Limit penalties

Last game the offense hurt themselves with costly penalties. The same can be said about the defense, as well. Limiting the number of unnecessary penalties will help the Chargers move forward and complete plays. Additionally, having little to none on the defensive side of the ball will keep the Vikings from obtaining costly automatic first downs. Ultimately, penalties hurt progression which can’t happen in attempt for a win.

 

Overall, Adrian Peterson and company seek to also improve their record to 2-1, but the Chargers know it’s imperative to shut him down in order to limit the Vikings’ offense. With these four tactics, there should be no issue for the Bolts in advancing their record to two wins early in the season.

 

Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)

Malcom Floyd has entered his 11th season in the NFL at the impressive age of 34 years old. There were many questions swirling this last offseason regarding whether or not he would enter the 2015 campaign still capable of competing with more youthful opponents. The answer to those questions is clear, and last Sunday’s performance, coupled with a solid offseason with the team, gave a sneak peek of his relentlessness.

Floyd (M80) is one of those age-defying players. Less than two years ago, he suffered a season-ending neck injury during the second week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did he bounce back the following year, he prevailed. Now that he is approaching that time in his career where many consider retirement, the Chargers’ longtime wideout is still showing signs of excellence.

Since joining the team as an undrafted free agent back in 2004, Floyd has built a special bond with Rivers. In 2014, he recorded 52 receptions, logged 856 receiving yards, all while averaging 17.7 yards per reception; giving him one of his best seasons yet. The rapport between the two has given the Bolts hope in clutch conditions.

During last week’s comeback win against the rugged Detroit Lions, Floyd seemed to fly under the radar. Granted, the All-Pro Philip Rivers has more passing options this year, limiting the receptions Floyd would have seen in the past. However, the veteran wide receiver still notched a 29-yard reception in a critical situation. Although he only had one catch, it is worth noting that he did a solid job blocking in the running game from the wide receiver position.

The season is still very young along with many players, but M80 hasn’t showed signs of stopping. Heading into Week 2, the Bolts travel across country to Cincinnati face off against the Bengals. Last week, the Bengals held the Oakland Raiders to a lousy 183 passing yards, while the Chargers notched 388 yards against Detroit. Floyd and the receiving corps has their work cut out for them, but certainly have the opportunity to advance their record to 2-0.

 

Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)

Steve+Johnson+Buffalo+Bills+v+New+York+Jets+lWNgoOBc3fwl

 

As the Chargers entered this year’s offseason, there was concern as to how Tom Telesco will address the lackluster receiving corps. Granted, injuries crippled the team last year, however, it was evident that there were not enough weapons or speed surrounding Philip Rivers.

Free agency opened this last February and top free-agent receivers were being signed at a rapid pace. Former Charger Eddie Royal was not re-signed and made his way to the Windy City. These factors alone triggered San Diego fans to grow anxious each week as Telesco took his time to lock up a game-changing wideout. Then there was Stevie Johnson, former Buffalo Bill, and most recently San Francisco 49er, who was signed to a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bolts.

There was no doubt that Johnson had some success in Buffalo. He proved to be a clutch receiver all while recording career numbers. From 2010 to 2012 he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards, averaging over 13 yards per reception in each season. Yet, his decline in the last couple of seasons is very debatable. Some say it’s his age, however, it’s far from it; it certainly has been the personnel throwing to him.

Rivers is easily a top-five quarterback, so it’s only natural he makes those around him better. The twelve-year passer has been building a rapport with Johnson this offseason; which has subsequently elevated not only Johnson’s receiving ability, but the receiving unit as a whole.

Yes, the backfield struggled severely last season, but the receiving corps didn’t even break the top ten. This year will be different with what has been brewing at Chargers Park.

Johnson enters a new season, with a new team, but with an exceptionally seasoned quarterback. He has the tools and resources to make this his best year yet. The Rivers and Johnson duo will, without question, make strides in ’15.

 

Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)

football

 

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been over six months since we have had football consistently on the television every Sunday. It makes you wonder how one even managed that long without it. Well, we can all finally say that the 2015 NFL season is upon us, and boy is it long overdue.

It has been a very noisy offseason for San Diego Charger fans with stadium location chatter and player contract discussions. For Bolt fans, it’s pure entertainment considering thirty-one other fan base’s sat around twiddling their thumbs while watching lousy baseball highlights for the last few months. Speaking of baseball, sorry, Padres, Chargers football is back.

Back to football – how can you not feel the excitement? It’s the season for pumpkin spiced beer, autumn weather, and tailgate parties. I get all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it. As a fan of a west coast team, I thoroughly enjoy waking up early on Sundays to start my football prep: breakfast and adult beverage time. That being said, it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

This Sunday kicks off the 2015 preseason when the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings go head to head in the NFL’s Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. This is also the game where the great Junior Seau, former Charger and current Hall of Fame inductee, will be featured in the enshrinement ceremony. After all the hype, it turns out that Seau’s daughter, Sydney Seau, will in fact be speaking on his behalf. A big thank you to the NFL for getting their ducks in order on this one.

So, even though this weekend is a complete tease for all football fans across the nation, it’s something to remind us that we are so close to the season opener and another great year of trash talking, name calling and all around good fun.

‘Tis the season, everyone. I just hope you are ready for it!

 

Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)

TGC-McCoy-and-Telesco

 

 

Even though the 2015 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, college prospects are still very busy visiting numerous clubs around the league.

There are many reasons as to why players visit NFL teams. Some team’s motives are intended to be a distraction, but others are exactly what many would assume they would be for – to visit a team that plans to select them in the draft.

So far, the Chargers have had eight pre-draft visits; including projected first rounder, Marcus Mariota from Oregon. Pump the breaks, though. What exactly does that mean to Bolt fans? Nothing.

Pre-draft visits are overrated, and here’s why.

 

A missed opportunity at the scouting combine

The NFL combine was established for college football players to perform various tests in front of league coaches, general managers and scouts. During the event, staffs attempt to preview every player on their radar. Yet, they don’t have the opportunity to run them through team-specific drills, ones that fit their team’s scheme. That being said, teams will have their players of interest visit before the draft, in order to gain a better understanding of each player on a one-on-one basis.

 

Post-draft planning

It is well-known that all college players do not get drafted. In fact, out of roughly 3,500 men, only about 250 are drafted. For the remaining players, they start their search for a job. However, there are players who are picked up right away as rookie free agents; ones that had previously conducted a pre-draft visit with that same team. For example, defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe had a pre-draft visit in 2014. That year, he went undrafted and was swiftly picked up and signed by San Diego. Pre-draft visits are not solely scheduled for individuals that NFL teams plan on being drafted.

 

Decoys

The NFL is a business, and those in back office operations have to continuously play a game of poker. It’s almost like wearing sunglasses at a poker table. There are some general managers that do not want many people knowing who they plan to draft.  So they schedule pre-draft visits with players that they truly have no interest in. Sneaky? Absolutely. And it is far more common than the casual fan would think.

 

Behind the scenes communication

Just because a player hasn’t visited a team for a private session, doesn’t mean that the club hasn’t been in contact with him. With advanced technology, communicating is now the easiest it’s ever been. Voice calling, text messaging, even Skyping are all ways coaches can converse with their college prospects. If you’re worried that your favorite draftees haven’t visited the Bolts yet, then you may want to reconsider the conditions.

 

Teammate insight

Since a lot players that are drafted come from the same schools, it’s possible that a team will host a player just to obtain information on one of his teammates. The Bolts brought in offensive tackle D.J. Humphries of Florida, yet he is also the teammate of outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who had an impressive showing at this year’s combine. Even with San Diego needing a legitimate tackle to solidify the offensive line, they do have some gaps to fill at the linebacker position. It’s very possible that Fowlers’ name came up a few times during Humphries’ visit. That’s not to say this was the case, but it is surely a possibility.

 

Overall, pre-draft visits do not always indicate what they imply. College players are visiting as many teams as they can before draft day. Additionally, one should not get worked up about Mariota working out with Philip Rivers in America’s finest city. All rumors aside, teams already have a good indication of whom they would like to take with their picks this year, and these pre-draft visits are just the cherry on top.

 

Briana Soltis
(@BrianaSoltis)

635568731752943181-AP-Cincinnati-Miami-Football

 

 

It’s no secret that the Chargers offensive line still needs some work. Arguably, the 2014 season may have had better days with a healthy, yet talented line. In order for the team to see the playoffs in 2015, Tom Telesco needs to address the offensive line first and foremost.

With less than five weeks until the 2015 NFL Draft, fans are becoming increasingly more vocal as to who their favorite team should draft in the first round. For the Bolts, the first round pick should be reserved for offensive tackle like Ereck Flowers.

 

Measurables*:

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 329 lbs

40-yard dash: 5.31 sec

*Combine Results

 

Analysis:

What’s not to like about this guy? First off, he is huge. Standing at 6-foot-6, his height alone fits the mold of what San Diego needs to block for Philip Rivers. His 40-yard time wasn’t the best at this year’s Combine, but it definitely wasn’t the worst. He has broad shoulders and a low stance which adds to his run blocking talent.

He has quick feet and the ability to scramble if beaten. The speed he possesses off the line allows him to power and drive through blockers. Additionally, he has played both tackle positions. The diversity and ability to play more than one position is what Telesco seems to be looking for in players lately.

Flowers’ run blocking is exceptional, however his pass blocking needs work. He has the talent and quickness to be a high performing tackle in the NFL, yet has some balance issues. He tends to get beaten by smaller defensive ends due to poor stance and balance.

Summary:

With his huge frame and competitiveness, there’s no reason why Flowers can’t become a starter in the league. Some of his downfalls can easily be improved upon by some advanced coaching. When it comes down to it, the Chargers still have some gaps to fill on the offensive line. If the Bolts draft Ereck Flowers, the line will finally look like a contending unit.

 

 

 

Briana Soltis
(@BrianaSoltis)

O Line

 

 

After Tom Telesco was brought in as the new general manager in 2013, one of his priorities was to improve the offensive line. That year he drafted right tackle, D.J. Fluker out of Alabama. Although it partially aided the right side, the addition wasn’t enough.

In 2014, injuries plagued the offensive unit into oblivion. Philip Rivers went without veteran center and longtime teammate, Nick Hardwick, after he spent almost the entire season on injured reserve. By the end of the year, Rivers was on his fifth center. According to Pro Football Focus, San Diego ranked 27th in pass blocking, and 26th in run blocking at the end of last season. If things are going to change in 2015, Telesco needs to make ascendant transactions.

As the team made its way into the offseason, Bolt fans questioned how the Chargers will find the talent needed to fix the offensive line. Telesco started off by re-signing left tackle, King Dunlap, this year’s respectively best free agent in his position. Shortly after locking up Rivers’ stud blocker, the young general made great strides by signing former Denver Bronco’s guard, Orlando Franklin to the roster. In addition to securing Dunlap and Franklin, Telesco also re-signed center Trevor Robinson. These transactions alone have brought the Chargers’ very mediocre line to a contending unit.

So, have the Bolts done enough to fix the offensive line? The answer is almost. According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Tom Telesco stated that Johnnie Troutman, as of right now, is the team’s starting right guard. Considering Troutman has been far from impressive, that’s extremely alarming. WalterFootball.com reported that Johnnie Troutman and Chad Reinhart were the worst guard duo in the league in 2014. Franklin replaces Rinehart, but that still leaves a frightening breach at right guard.

There has been a lot of talk about shifting Fluker from tackle to guard this offseason. He has no experience in the position. Not in high school, and not in college. Yet, let’s say he is moved, it still leaves a gap in the tackle position. A potentially effective way to address the matter would be to swing Fluker to the inside, and find a tackle in this year’s draft. Even though San Diego needs a running back after the departure of Ryan Mathews, this year’s draft class is loaded with talented running backs. It’s not an outrageous option to think about taking a offensive lineman like Ereck Flowers in the first round.

A solid offensive line has proven fruitful for some clubs in the NFL. Since 2011, the Dallas Cowboys have drafted three offensive linemen in the first-round: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. The other two, Ronald Leary and Doug Free, were undrafted free agents. Last season, the Cowboys finished with the 4th best pass blocking, and the 2nd best run blocking in the league. If the Chargers want those type of results, it would have to be from following Dallas’ blueprint.

As of today, the line lists as follows: LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG Johnnie Troutman, and RT D.J. Fluker. Not bad, but not stellar. If the Bolts plan to contend for a playoff appearance in 2015, they will need a comprehensive offensive line. An upgraded line will upsurge Rivers’ productivity, plus adding some life to the lackluster run game. With less than five weeks left until the 2015 NFL Draft, fans will have to continue to wait and see what the Chargers organization plan to do with their six picks.

 

Should the Chargers draft a offensive lineman in the first round? Vote your opinion below:

 

 

Should the Chargers draft an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft?

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Briana Soltis
(@BrianaSoltis)

Mitch+Unrein+Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers+v+Denver+rF2JLuh36JFl

 

 

Former Broncos reserve defensive lineman, Mitch Unrein visited the Chargers today, per source.

As Tom Telesco continues to fly under the radar during free agency, he still is working diligently to find players that can add depth value to the roster.

Unrein, an undrafted free agent in 2010, spent some brief time with the Houston Texans and participated in their training camp that year. A few months later, he was signed by the Denver Broncos and spent 11 games on their practice squad.

In 2011, he spent 14 games as a reserve defensive lineman before playing all 16 regular-season games for the Broncos in 2012.

He was also the only defensive lineman in Broncos history to catch a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning vs. Tampa Bay (12/2/12).

Ultimately, Unrein would be a backup to Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes. With how common injuries occur in the NFL, along with an injury stricken team last year, he’s worth taking a look at.

 

Briana Soltis

Tom Telesco

 

 

Amid all the hype that occurred last week after the official opening of free agency, Tom Telesco has remained undercover. Since last Tuesday, only four players have been signed: Orlando Franklin, Jacoby Jones, Jimmy Wilson, and most recently Stevie Johnson. The addition of these men fill huge roster holes, yet many say it’s not enough. To Telesco, it’s right where he wants to be.

Telesco came to the Chargers organization with a rich history of back office transactions and an impressive draft bloodline. Under the wing of one of the NFL’s most successful executives, Bill Polian, he learned the virtue of patience and the futility of free agency. Polian spent time with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2011 where he acquired future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, and won Super Bowl XLI as Team President. He was also the Buffalo Bills’ general manager from 1986 to 1992 when the team appeared in three consecutive Super Bowls.

Phillip B. Wilson of IndyStar said Polian admits he took heat for not spending on free agents, “but too often I believed I wouldn’t get a good return on the financial investment. So, despite the criticism, I took a very conservative approach to free agency, abiding by a list of do’s and don’ts that helped my teams maintain a high level of success in both the short and long-term.”

No matter how you cut it, free agency isn’t what it’s worked up to be. Fans have become so accustomed to seeing their favorite teams sign big name players that they expect those same transactions every year. For Telesco, he doesn’t need those big names, he wants fruitfulness and longevity.

According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Telesco waited 10 days after the start of free agency to sign current running back Danny Woodhead. The young general manager continues to do his homework, working tirelessly in selecting the right guy, but ensuring he is best fit on the field and in the locker room.

There’s no reason for Telesco to sign players like Greg Hardy or even Percy Harvin. Yes, he has plenty of salary-cap space and leeway, but it’s not how he wants to play the game. The draft is where all talent acquisitions ascend, and that’s a mindset a lot of NFL personnel are moving towards.

Teams like the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks build their Super Bowl teams from the draft. In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, he too reiterated the necessity and desire to build from the bottom up. Has he signed some big hitters so far? Yes, but what Kelly is attempting to do is restructure the team via free agency in a single season, then continue to build a team from the draft thereafter.

Tom Telesco came to San Diego with the desire to build a Super Bowl contending team via the NFL Draft. So far, he has filled roster voids with a small amount, yet much-needed free agent acquisitions. He plans to continue his legacy come April 30th in Chicago. Reminding all of you that it’s only the eighth day of free agency, there is still plenty of time left on the clock.

 

Briana Soltis

Steve+Johnson+Buffalo+Bills+v+New+York+Jets+iWDnh5xNjjUl

 

 

It’s only the seventh day since the start of free agency, and Tom Telesco hasn’t stopped conducting business just yet. Today, wide receiver Stevie Johnson has signed a three-year contract with the Chargers, according to source.

After Eddie Royal signed a 3-year contract with the Chicago Bears last week, the Bolts found the need to find a replacement. Johnson brings size to the team’s receiving unit, standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 207 pounds.

Johnson was selected out of Kentucky by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He finished his Bills career with 499 receptions, 3,832 yards, and 47 touchdowns during his six seasons with the team. Last year, he caught 35 passes for 435 yards with three touchdowns during his one season stint with the San Francisco 49ers.

The veteran wide receiver adds the catch-and-go ability to the receiving corps. With Philip Rivers now throwing to him, look for a lot more productivity out of the 8th year player.

This marks the fourth transaction made by Tom Telesco in a week. Orlando Franklin, Jacoby Jones, and Jimmy Wilson have all been locked up, while retaining King Dunlap, Brandon Flowers, Trevor Robinson, and Ricardo Mathews.

 

Please welcome, Stevie Johnson to the San Diego Chargers.

 

Briana Soltis

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