On Monday another crushing blow to the Chargers 2016 campaign occurred when it was announced that Danny Woodhead would be lost for the season. Compounded with the loss of Keenan Allen last week, a huge void has been created in this offense.
Enter Dexter McCluster who the Chargers wasted no time finding as a solid replacement for Danny. Formerly with the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, he is a capable and dangerous weapon who could be the best in-season pickup the Chargers have had in a long time.
Dare I say this – McCluster may be a better weapon for Rivers then Woodhead was. That’s only if McCluster has the same speed and shiftiness he had in KC/Tenn. The best part of this signing is Dexter knows Whisenhunt’s offense since he played for him in Tennessee. McCluster should easily be a situational player who has the versatility to make an impact in the running game, passing game and a return specialist. The Bolts haven’t had this kinda flexibility since the days of Darren Sproles.
To some, there might be some concern as to why he was on the free agent market. In Tennessee, he was third on the depth chart behind DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and thus he was released on September 2nd. A tryout with the New York Jets and 18 days later, the Chargers timing seems fortuitous as they inked him right away.
With his adaptability to fit into any role, it is anyone’s guess as to how McCoy will utilize the 28-year-old. Clearly he has huge shoes to fill in replacing a player like Woodhead, but perhaps with the right coaching staff and supporting cast, his career and usefulness could get a major jump. So far in his career, since being drafted by Kansas City out of Mississippi, he has not been “the guy” to build a team around. However, he appears to be a self-aware player who believes he can make an impact in any role he is given. All he needs is open space and the rock in order to showcase his speed and elusiveness.
If you’re not familiar with Dexter, here’s some highlights of his years with KC and his last year with the Titans. Enjoy!
Thanks for the read
In order to help fill the void in the San Diego running back group due to the season-ending injuries of Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver, the Chargers are set to sign former Tennessee Titans running back Dexter McCluster, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
To help replace Danny Woodhead, Chargers plan to sign former Titans and Chiefs RB Dexter McCluster, per source. https://t.co/zihxSgd4zt
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2016
McCluster, 28, has experience playing with Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who coached him in Tennessee. Due to his time with Whiz, he shouldn’t have a hard time getting the playbook and his duties on track very quickly.
During his six years spent with the Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, McCluster has rushed for 1,040 yards and two touchdowns. As a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot on some occasions, the seven-year veteran has tallied 229 receptions for 1,957 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has solid experience as a returner, returning three punts for touchdowns over his career.
Though he is not Danny Woodhead, McCluster provides a decent fill-in for the 2016 campaign.
This signing would give the Bolts this depth chart at running back: Melvin Gordon, Andre Williams, Kenneth Farrow and McCluster (I must admit that it really hurts not typing in Woodhead and Oliver there).
Dave Booga Peters
After losing wide receiver Keenan Allen to a torn ACL in Week 1, the Chargers have additionally lost running back Danny Woodhead to the same injury, a torn ACL in his right knee, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
#Chargers RB Danny Woodhead has torn his ACL, source said. His MRI just came back. He’s out for the season. Bad blow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2016
This comes as a huge blow to the San Diego offense, who has already lost the aforementioned Allen, veteran wideout Stevie Johnson, running back Branden Oliver and tight end Jeff Cumberland.
Though the team trounced the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 38-14 on White Hot Sunday, the loss of Woodhead adds to the litany of injuries this offense has already suffered.
In 2015, Woody led all NFL running backs in receptions and receiving yards. He was also San Diego’s leader in both categories.
Woodhead, 31, missed most of the 2014 season with a broken fibula. Entering what will be his 10th season in 2017, Danny has rushed for 2181 yards and 15 touchdowns, while catching 267 passes for 2,498 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also averaging 6.1 yards per carry prior to the injury.
The staff at BoltBlitz.com would like to extend its thoughts and prayers to one of our favorite players of all-time, Danny Woodhead.
Get well soon, Woody!
Dave Booga Peters
I was at the joint practice between our San Diego Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium Tuesday night. Just before it started, it was announced on social media that Cardinals’ head coach, Bruce Arians, had been taken to the hospital experiencing stomach pains. Best wishes to him in his recovery.
The practice started with special teams drills (yawn). Then it was time for 1-on-1 drills, consisting of wide receivers versus defensive backs that were much more exciting. Brandon Flowers was burned for several deep passes. His days as an outside cornerback are hopefully over. Jason Verrett also struggled early trying to cover Larry Fitzgerald.
After good coverage caused Philip Rivers to be unable to connect with Keenan Allen twice, the duo started lighting up the Cardinals secondary. First, with a deep bomb over coverage from Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals top defensive back. Allen looked unstoppable all night, catching nearly everything thrown his way, and getting open early and often.
Travis Benjamin made several nice and difficult catches where he used his quick twitch speed to change direction and come back to perfectly placed balls from PR17. Rivers later said that he and Benjamin “needed” that type of connection in practice. The duo looks to be gelling nicely.
During 11-on-11 drills the Chargers got the best of the exchanges on offense and defense. Melvin Gordon had several nice runs through the middle of the Cardinals’ defensive front seven. The Cardinals’ defense had trouble covering Tyrell Williams, because he is a beast.
Melvin Ingram looked like a man on a mission. He set the edge on back-to-back run plays to the outside with tackles for a loss or no gain. Early, Arizona was running almost every play to the outside, no doubt from watching the Chargers get gashed by the Titans on Saturday. With Ingram in the backfield on almost every run they changed the plays.
Casey Hayward looked very good; he had tight coverage on several plays resulting in pass breakups. In my opinion, Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward need to be the starting outside cornerbacks this season. Dexter McCoil ran stride-for-stride with Arizona receivers and had a great pass break-up in the end-zone.
Something interesting I saw during linebacker interception drills; both Manti Te’o and Jeremiah Attaochu had balls clank off their hands and land on the ground. As soon as they got to the huddle they were told to bust out push-ups in front of everyone. I personally love this kind of accountability. I have heard that this has happened before in some practices this year. In those cases, the whole front seven had to do push-ups during a practice when the unit was not getting enough pressure on the quarterback.
Hunter Henry had a nice toe-tap touchdown, he looks to be a better red zone weapon than Ladarius Green was.
No major injuries to report. The “no-tackling” practice was competitive but not combative.
Quickly, I will give my thoughts on that sorry excuse for a preseason game that was played on Saturday between the Titans and Chargers:
Obviously it was great to see Ken Whisenhunt getting the Bolts’ offensive linemen coming forward on run plays instead of skating backwards. It was great to see Melvin Gordon finally get in the end-zone on a long catch-and-run. Gordon looked more confident and decisive. Not much bad to say about the first team offense. A low-light on offense was too many penalties on the line (coaching); hopefully they can get that cleaned up before they play Arizona on Friday.
The defense was terrible. They picked up right where they left off last season with not being able to tackle and giving up big plays in the run game. Of course this shouldn’t be a surprise because it’s been like this for five years now. John Pagano is still the defensive coordinator, and his defense still looks like they have no clue what they are doing with tons of missed assignments.
Now, I’ve heard people say it’s the first preseason game. Tackling across the league is bad right now since these players haven’t really tackled in 7-8 months. Okay, but this defense was missing it’s assignments, shooting the wrong gaps, and looked woefully unprepared. All of which is coaching. They have a lot to clean up.
One of the few bright spots on defense and special teams was Dexter McCoil. He blew up a Titans’ returner on a special teams play that caused him to lose about ten yards. He’s big, fast and can cover and tackle. He also had a fumble recovery. He needs to be one of the starting safeties. The kicking game and punt game both looked good. That’s all for now, thanks for reading.
Time to talk a look around the web and see what others are writing about the team from America’s Finest City. The San Diego Chargers have been in the headlines more than usual this offseason. Here is a quick look at what the fuss is about.
Associated Press writer Bernie Wilson posted a piece on Yahoo Sports on Joey Bosas’ first day of minicamp. Read it here:
Ricke Henne from Chargers.com has a great piece on how the Bolts managed to keep the selection of Bosa a secret. Read it here:
Chargers beat writer Eric Williams has a new piece on ESPN.com on Derek Watt and the one thing he does better than his Pro Bowl brother J.J. Read it here:
How is CFL transplant Dexter McCoil looking in camp? Williams covers that topic also. Read the latest on the hybrid safety here:
Finally, it wouldn’t be a complete day in San Diego without the latest stadium speculation. San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee asks if Mayor Faulconer will be a help or hindrance in the movement to build a new stadium for the Chargers. Read it here:
Thanks for stopping in and checking out the news of the week as we bolt around the interwebs. Stay bolted up and locked in to Boltblitz.com for all the Bolts news and upcoming events!
The Greg One
According to Eric Williams of ESPN.com, the Chargers waived center/guard Michael Huey on Thursday.
The team has yet to confirm the move as of yet.
Per NFL transaction report the Chargers waived C-G Michael Huey.
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) May 12, 2016
Huey, a former three-time Arena League champion with the Arizona Rattlers was picked up last year as a project along the offensive line. He has yet to play in an NFL game.
The Chargers recently signed offensive lineman Matt Slauson to a two-year contract, making Huey expendable in the eyes of the team.
I know, I know, Chargers fans.
“Why in the heck didn’t they release Trevor Robinson?”
Quite frankly, they must not feel comfortable about third-round draft choice Max Tuerk getting 100% healthy prior to the start of the 2016 regular season.
Robinson graded out as the worst center in all of the NFL in 2015, per Profootballfocus.com; further prompting fans to ask why he is still on the roster.
The Bolts may still cut ties with Robinson before the season begins. If they were to do so, the team would save $2.3 million in salary cap space.
Thanks a lot for reading.