Monthly Archives: March 2013
Every sports website seems to have a mail bag of some sort. I was talking to Nick Shepherd, staff writer here at Boltblitz.com, and we wanted to do one, but we both wanted ours to stand out. We didn’t want ours to be like everyone else’s mailbag.
The decision was made to have our mailbag be a bit more expansive than others. Ours will feature the fact that when you ask a question that isn’t specifically directed at one of the staff writers, then I will have myself and other staff writers provide their answer as well. Sometimes it will be 3 writers. Other times it will be one additional writer. It is possible that the question could be answered by the entire staff.
The questions can be about anything and everything Chargers. They can be about the actual staff members. It can also be suggestions about the site and/or the videos that we put out on BoltBlitz.com.
The name of our mail bag will be the BoltBlitz Team Mail Room.
You can submit questions two different ways. They are the following:
1) Email the questions to firstname.lastname@example.org .
2) Use the hashtag #BBTMR on Twitter and ask the question in a tweet. #BBTMR = BoltBlitz Team Mail Room
Another focus of our #BBTMR will be that we will answer far more questions than the other sites. Too many others only answer between 4 to 6 questions at a time. We will be doing at least twice that amount. Most likely 3-4 times that many.
The #BBTMR will take place every Saturday with questions being accepted all throughout the week. The day of the week is subject to change but that is what we are going to experiment with during the offseason.
I have put together a very knowledgeable, yet unquestionably opinionated staff. I say that because when you submit a question, you will most likely receive multiple responses that will tend to differ at times.
We look forward to fielding as many of your questions as possible!
Thanks a lot for reading.
One of the first roster decisions that Tom Telesco was going to have to make involved both of the starting cornerbacks from 2012 becoming free agents. Both Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer had completed the final years of their respective contracts
Cason is now an Arizona Cardinal. Jammer is still looking to find a home with an NFL team. Although there is a slim chance, darn near zero, that Jammer could return to San Diego, I don’t believe it will be as a cornerback.
Losing both Cason and Jammer left bigger holes in the positions themselves than the physical losses of the two members of the secondary. Though Cason was nowhere near as bad as the majority of fans believed him to be, he did not progress at a rate necessary to be considered an irreplaceable player. Jammer, albeit very physical against the run, had serious trouble keeping up with the speed of the receivers in the league.
The Chargers filled half the void at the corner spot by signing, former Jacksonville Jaguar cornerback, Derek Cox. This was a signing that I had been touting as one that I’d like to see happen. Lo and behold, Telesco pulled the trigger. Cox is a solid zone corner that is very strong against the run. He is not afraid to tackle and should be a solid addition to the secondary. He is an upgrade over both Cason and Jammer.
So where does that leave the other half of the issue? Where do the Bolts look to find a starter opposite of Cox?
Look no further than Shareece Wright.
Wright is entering his third year in the NFL. After a lockout shortened offseason going into his rookie year, Wright played primarily as a special teamer in his first year.
In Wright’s sophomore year in the NFL, he had a tremendous preseason. He showed his physicality and the ability to play both press-man coverage and zone.
Then came the first play of the regular season. Wright was injured making a tackle on the opening kickoff of the first game against the Oakland Raiders. He would return in October and finish the season with 17 total tackles, 2 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble.
The knock on Shareece Wright has been his inability to stay healthy. As a fan, and as the rest of you know as well, the Bolts have plenty of players that find themselves on the injured reserve more often than the playing field.
That being said, if Wright can stay healthy, a big if, I know, then I think he will have a very good chance of making a positive impact as a starter. He is only 25 years old. At 5’11” 185 pounds, he could still fill out his frame a bit by adding 5 to 7 pounds without losing much, if any, speed.
It is not set in stone that the team will choose to start Wright in 2013. However, I think that he could definitely come in and provide a spark to a position that surely needs it.
We’ll find out soon enough as to whether or not the organization agrees with me. The draft is less than a month away now. If the team were to draft a cornerback early, then I guess it would be clear that they don’t agree.
I look forward to finding out one way or the other.
Thanks a lot for reading.
In an article on NFL.com, http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000154634/article/remaining-salarycap-space-for-each-nfl-team?campaign=Twitter_news , all of the NFL team’s salary cap numbers are listed for Charger fans to look at and cry.
I’m just kidding. Although, I sure wish the Bolts had some more money to spend.
It is said that the team has $7,037,130.00 in cap space. Yet fans are still clamoring for the team to pick up some big name free agents. To put it quite honestly, they can’t.
The team is said to still be in the running for offensive tackle Eric Winston. If we were to bring in Winston, that would spell the end for Jeromey Clary. Charger fans are not going to lose any sleep over that.
So, as you can see, A.J. Smith did a great job of ensuring that this would not be a one year fix.
Thanks a lot for reading.
As I was cruising the internet to read up on what’s going on in the NFL world, I stumbled across the title, “NFL’s 5 weakest rosters….” on NFL.com.
I kind of laughed and then asked myself, I wonder if the Chargers made this list? Nah.
Well, I was wrong. They did make the list. Here is a link to the story: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000154500/article/nfls-five-weakest-rosters-jacksonville-jaguars-in-trouble
Below I have the excerpt on the Chargers that leads Chris Wesseling, writer for Around the League on NFL.com, to believe that San Diego has the fifth worst roster in the NFL.
5. San Diego Chargers
Where the team needs a massive rebuild is on the offensive line. Following Wednesday’s release of Jared Gaither, the Chargers‘ only semi-reliable starter on the offensive line is declining center Nick Hardwick. McCoy must also coax a comeback season out of an aging Antonio Gates while hoping no other team snatches up restricted free-agent wide receiver Danario Alexander.
The Bolts have several defensive building blocks in young linemen Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes to go with safety Eric Weddle and inside linebacker Donald Butler. The problem is depth. Previous general manager A.J. Smith left too many holes to fill in one year.
Draft Needs: The Bolts desperately need an impact offensive lineman with the No. 12 overall pick, and there’s a good chance they will get one with three top left tackle prospects and two elite guards in this year’s draft. General manager Tom Telesco might have to go back to the same offensive-line well in the middle rounds before adding depth at cornerback and linebacker.
Thanks for reading.
Well Charger fans, it’s been a rough few years for us. But, this is the time of year where everyone is optimistic. The NFL draft is right around the corner, Jared Gaither just got cut and offseason conditioning programs are about to start up. In an effort to inspire optimism, I’d like to share 5 reasons for hope for the Bolts in 2013. (Please note: The data below is from Pro Football Focus)
1. Kendall Reyes
We’ve all heard it…this guy is a beast. What surprised me is out of the 3-4 defensive ends who had more than 300 snaps (there were 17 of them), Reyes was ranked 2nd for pass rushing productivity. He was behind only one man, JJ Watt. This ranking looks at the number of sacks, hits and hurries in relation to the number of pass rushing snaps he played. Reyes got a sack, hurry or QB hit once for every 9.7 pass rush snaps he played. Incredible numbers for a guy who was on the field for 320 pass rushing snaps (Compared to JJ Watt who was on the field for 589 pass rushing snaps).
2. Melvin Ingram
Sticking with defense, another guy who we all expect big things from. Out of all 3-4 OLB with more than 173 passing snaps, Ingram ranked 8th out of 32 in pass rushing productivity. The formula is the same as above, examining sacks, hits and hurries in relation to the number of pass rushing snaps. When he rushed the passer, Ingram got a sack, hit or hurry on every 7.9 snaps. He ranked 7th overall with 29 hurries last year. With more experience and snaps this year, we should see big things from Melvin.
3. Darrell Stuckey
Yeah..I’m going special teams here. We all know what a debacle it was two years ago, so this one really jumped off the paper. Out of 1038 special teamers that had a rating, Stuckey ranked 3rd overall (technically tied for 2nd). Now sure he only was graded on 7 games, but that almost makes this more spectacular. Some of the criteria they look at for the ranking includes: tackles, assists, missed tackles and penalties. In those 7 games, Stuckey had 10 tackles and 1 assist. Pretty solid numbers. We haven’t had a ST guy ranked this high, since Kassim Osgood was #11 back in 2008.
4. Rivers to Alexander
Perhaps it was AJ Smiths’ parting gift to Charger fans. The Alexander signing all brought us back to the days of VJ. Obviously, this may drop off the list if Alexander isn’t back with the team or can’t stay healthy. But this article is about optimism, so let’s keep it there. In looking at all WRs that had over 50 targets last year, Alexander was ranked #1 in one area. The rating of the QB when he threw the ball to that WR. Rivers QB rating throwing to Alexander was a WHOPPING 134.1. Out of his 54 targets, Alexander caught 37 of them for 7 touchdowns and only allowing 2 INTs. To put this in perspective, Vincent Jacksons’ best year he had 9 TDs to 2 INTs on 67 catches. Alexander did that in about half a season.
5. Eric Weddle
This one may seem obvious, and Eric has been a reason for hope for a while now. But he took a lot of shots from people saying he was overpaid. Well the haters can hate, but this guy is a gamer. In looking at ALL the safeties in the whole league in 2012, Weddle is ranked #1. This ranking comes from analyzing everything from tackles, penalties, pass rushing, # of receptions he allowed, INTs and everything in between. Not only was he ranked #1, but Weddle was also the only safety to have a positive rating in each of the five main categories: overall rating, pass rushing, coverage, run support and penalties. Weddle didn’t have ONE penalty last year. The guy is a stud, worthy of many a man crush.
Well Charger fans, I hope this gives you some hope for 2013 and beyond. There’s a great core of talent here, and that defense is only going to get better.
In a report by Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego, the Chargers have told Jared Gaither that he will be released.
Gaither has been a complete mess since his stellar signing at the end of the 2011 season. Big Lazy will no longer be San Diego’s problem.
When I interviewed Kevin Acee in December outside of Qualcomm Stadium, he guaranteed me that Gaither would not be a Charger in 2013. I have to admit that when Tom Telesco came out and said that “every player would have a clean slate,” I got a little nervous in regards to Gaither remaining with the team.
Props go out to Kevin for nailing this months ago.
Quite frankly, I am glad to be rid of him. He was a HUGE locker room issue. Another topic that was covered when I talked with Acee.
Good riddance Jared.
Thanks a lot for reading.
As stated in the title, today marks exactly one month since the beginning of BoltBlitz.com. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that has checked out the site or frequents it on a regular basis.
I am very proud of all of the hard work the staff has put in up to this point and we will continue to do our best to keep you informed and entertained.
In “honor” of our one month anniversary, I will be doing a contest giveaway tonight. I am even going to go as far as to give the people that are reading this article a head start.
Before I provide that head start, let me tell you what’s up for grabs.
In tonight’s contest giveaway, I’ll be giving away a $50.00 iTunes gift card. The best part about that prize is that I can email you the card information immediately upon winning the contest.
This is the first of many contest giveaways that I will be doing on the website. Those of you that have been following me since I wrote for that other site know that I do contests all the time. Prizes in the past have included Charger game tickets, jerseys, Charger fatheads, autographed Charger cards, and other Charger memorabilia.
Let’s get right to it.
For starters, go to the BoltBlitz.com home page and hit the subscribe button. What that does is allow you to have emails sent to you when any article is posted on BoltBlitz.com. Then, for those of you with a Facebook page, hit the Facebook like button on the homepage. Lastly, and this is two steps, follow me and all of the staff writers on Twitter. When you’ve done that, please send out a tweet that says something about BoltBlitz.com and be sure you “@ me,” so to speak. In other words, include at @BoogaP, my Twitter handle, in the tweet as well.
That is a huge head start. There will be a couple additional steps that will be included in the official contest giveaway article tonight. But those details will have to wait.
Thanks again for all of the support. It is greatly appreciated and we look forward to being your favorite Charger fan site sooner, rather than later.
Thanks a lot for reading and good luck in tonight’s contest!
P.S. Please forgive the picture. I thought it was hilarious. My apologies if you get creeped out by it.
We’re nearing the midpoint of free agency and the NFL Draft. To this point, the Chargers have only signed one bona fide starter in cornerback Derek Cox from Jacksonville. The signings to this point have been in the name of adding depth, strong competition and above all, speed and youth to this faltering team. Long tenured Chargers have been let go and a number still remain as unrestricted free agents. New GM Tom Telesco is not so subtly changing the Chargers from a team of grizzled thirty-somethings to a squad resembling a fresh out of college group of twenty somethings. Eager. Hungry. Fast. Smart. Exciting.
This is mt reasoning behind why Tom Telesco should consider signing James Harrison.
James Harrison is a cap casualty of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers asked Harrison to take a 30% pay cut of his 6.2 million salary and Harrison balked, thus his release. Harrison’s agent is leaving the door open to a return so the market must not be high on Harrison. Harrison will be 35 at the beginning of the season which screams in the face of what Telesco is trying to do. Why would Telesco sign Harrison when every other GM has not?
1. Leadership. Harrison might be new to the team but there is nothing on the field he hasn’t seen. Harrison has been the leader of the vaunted Steelers defense going on a decade. He motivates the people around him to play above their capability. With the Chargers cutting Takeo Spikes and Antwan Barnes the Chargers find themselves thin at linebacker. With Shaun Phillips and Quentin Jammer testing the free agency market who will be the team leaders on defense if they are both gone? Reyes, Ingram and Liuget make for a promising young defensive nucleus but there needs to be a veteran leading the charge, teaching the nucleus how to take pride in their work and leads by example. James Harrison could be that man.
2. Fear. James Harrison is still one of the most feared linebackers in the NFL. Harrison is always at the top or in the top three most hated players in the league. The reputation Harrison has as one of the most feared hitters in the game is well warranted. Fans from other teams and players from other teams view his play as dirty. There have been some warranted as well as unwarranted claims to that effect but the fact is teams game plan to go away from James Harrison. Receivers don’t want to go over the middle against James Harrison. Running backs cringe when they see Harrison coming through the same gap they’re trying to get into. James Harrison is a throwback to the smashmouth days of Dick Butkus, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary, John Randle. Players hate Harrison because they don’t like standing on the same field with a player who plays with such anger. Fear equals respect and Harrison has the respect of his peers.
3. Toughness. James Harrison and Commissioner Roger Goodell will never break bread together. Harrison feels he is a marked man by Goodell and has been fined more than any player in the league for his vicious hits. The only times Harrison misses games is when he’s been suspended by Goodell or has a freak injury such as when someone *accidentally* jammed his finger in Harrison’s eye and caused him to miss games a couple seasons ago. Harrison doesn’t take a play off and has to be dragged off the field, a trait every coach wants in their players. The young guys will look up to him, a multiple time Super Bowl champion, and he will have their instant respect. The offense has its veteran leadership. The defense does not. Sorry Jarrett Johnson and Demorrio Williams, you’re not it. Harrison is the classic example of the player you hate until he’s on YOUR team. Harrison could be the game changer on defense similar to the last player with the last named Harrison that donned the lightning bolts. You all remember Rodney, yes?
Notice that I haven’t once mentioned his stats. That’s because Harrison’s intangibles outweigh his stats. Want stats? In nine years in one of the most brutal positions in the game, Harrison has only missed 14 games, some of those being suspensions. Over that span, he has been in on 617 tackles, 456 of those tackles SOLO. He’s amassed 64 sacks, 29 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries and 5 interceptions. Those are just his regular season stats. The numbers are higher when you mix in his postseason stats. Who can forget the 100 yard interception return of Kurt Warner on the last play before halftime that swung the 2008 Super Bowl in the Steelers favor? Harrison comes up big in big games, especially in the postseason. That’s experience the Chargers can believe in. Tom Telesco would be doing his defense a tremendous service bringing James Harrison to the team.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Agree or disagree?
One of my favorite Chargers of all-time happens to be Leslie O’Neal. The man was an absolute beast. He played both defensive end and outside linebacker for the Bolts. After spending 9 years with the Chargers, he finished his career by playing 2 years with the St. Louis Rams and 2 years with the Kansas City Chiefs.
O’Neal’s accolades started to pile up from the very beginning of his NFL career. As a rookie in 1986, he won the AP defensive rookie of the year. He went on to play in 6 pro bowls throughout his career.
If those numbers aren’t impressive enough for you, he is tied for ninth in NFL history with 132.5 career sacks. He holds the ninth spot with none other than Lawrence Taylor.
Yeah, he was pretty good. Heck, he was really, really good.
Being a diehard Charger fan for my entire life, one of my favorite commercials was the McDonald’s commercial on the 91’s. It included players such as Leslie O’Neal and Bryce Paup. Both players wore the number 91 on their jerseys. The only reason I liked the commercial was due to O’Neal’s inclusion.
So all of that being said, this leads us to the question, why isn’t Leslie O’Neal in the Charger Hall of Fame? It’s absolutely preposterous, in my opinion.
Far be it from me to act as though something might have happened that I am not aware of at this time. But, if he did, or said, something that has kept him from being inducted, get over yourselves, and put him in already.
The most recent vote for the Charger Hall of Fame included Darren Bennett, Natrone Means, and Anthony Miller. The vote was also left up to the fans.
Personally, I voted for Bennett and he went on to win the honor. That being said, had O’Neal been on the docket, I would have voted for him immediately. I truly had to struggle choosing between Means and Bennett. And “A & M” had a good Charger career, but come on.
The bottom line is Leslie O’Neal deserves to be in the Charger Hall of Fame. It’s ridiculous that he is not. For all of you fans that had the privilege to watch him play, please leave a comment on your feelings about Leslie O’Neal and the fact that he is not in the Charger Hall of Fame.
Below I have a chart that shows all of the players that have been inducted into the Bolts Hall of Fame.
Thanks a lot for reading.
|1976||Jacque MacKinnon||Tight end||1961–1969||38|
|1977||Lance Alworth*||Wide receiver||1962–1970||19^|
|1978||Ron Mix*||Offensive tackle||1960–1969||74|
|1979||Paul Lowe||Running back||1960–1968||23|
|1980||Barron Hilton||Majority owner||1960–1966||–|
|1980||Keith Lincoln||Running back||1961–1968||22|
|1981||Ernie Ladd||Defensive tackle||1961–1965||77|
|1985||Gary Garrison||Wide receiver||1966–1976||27|
|1985||Sid Gillman*||Head coach||1961–1969, 1971||–|
|1986||Earl Faison||Defensive end||1961–1966||86|
|1993||Charlie Joiner*||Wide receiver||1976–1986||18|
|1994||Don Coryell||Head coach||1978–1986||–|
|1995||Russ Washington||Offensive tackle||1968–1982||70|
|1995||Kellen Winslow*||Tight end||1979–1987||80|
|1996||George Pernicano||Minority owner||1961–present||–|
|1999||Gary “Big Hands” Johnson||Defensive tackle||1975–1984||79|
|2001||Wes Chandler||Wide receiver||1981–1987||89|
|2002||Bobby Ross||head coach||1992–1996||–|
|2003||Louie Kelcher||Defensive tackle||1975–1983||74|
|2008||Fred Dean*||Defensive end||1975–1981||71|
It’s probably one of the most talked about topics over the past two years. What’s wrong with Philip Rivers? Some have claimed it was injuries, others say it’s the lack of offensive weapons or a bad O-line. Some even insinuated that Rivers had too much going on at home with such a large family. The more likely culprit: a combination of things, none of which involve Philips’ personal life.
A quick way to find the source is to look at the stats. Not just interceptions and touchdowns, but digging deeper into where he was throwing the ball, how far, and to whom. Before we dive in, the assumption is that the years 2008 – 2010 were the golden era to date for Rivers. While 2011 – 2012…ehhh not so much.
Premise: Throws over the middle have worked in the past
While the Chargers don’t throw the ball over the middle a lot, over the last 4 years these throws have made up roughly 13% of Rivers total yardage. The more glaring stat is the success in which they’ve made such throws. From 2008 – 2010, throws over the middle averaged 10.29 yards. In 2011 – 2012 they averaged just 6.92 yards. Rivers success has also been affected. His quarterback rating on these throws from 2008 – 2010 ranged from a low of 94.1 to a high of 140.9 on an average of 66 throws. Over the last two years, the QB rating dropped to 85.7 in 2011 and just 68.7 last year on an average of 65 attempts.
Analysis: Who here thought Eddie Royal was going to be a middle of the field threat? I know I did. Clearly this was something that worked in the past. Whether it was weapons or play calling, something wasn’t working over the middle the past two years. How many times do I have to watch Tony Gonzalez run a 10 yard hook and think, yep…Gates can do that.
A lot of people talked about the lack of a deep threat really hurting the Chargers last year. That losing Vincent Jackson was going to really hurt the Chargers. Without a deep threat, maybe those underneath throws have become all too predictable. But in reality, throws under 10 yards have always made up the majority of the Chargers offense.
Premise: Rivers deep ball isn’t the best throw he makes
In reality roughly 35-40% of Rivers yardage comes from throws under 10 yards. In both 2009 Rivers threw 233 passes under 10 yards and had a QB rating of 109.4. In fact the further down the field he threw it, the worse his QB rating got. In 2011 and 2012, throws under 10 yards were Philips’ worst. He threw a combined 12 interceptions (he threw 6 on all throws in 2008) on throws less than 10 yards and had QB ratings of 83.8 and 84.8 respectively. Now you may be thinking well that’s because he didn’t have a deep threat. In actuality, in ’11 and ’12 Rivers best throws were 11-20 yards. The semi-deep ball was working.
Analysis: The loss of VJ definitely hurt and that was well known. But there’s much more to it than that. It seems in 2010 when the Chargers had a lot of moving parts due to injury, they kept it simple and found success doing just that.
There are of course countless stats we can analyze. But when we point to what has happened to Philip Rivers, there are contributing factors to the decline in stats.
Losing Tomlinson – He was a double threat. Both running and receiving. Hard to replace a Hall of Famer
Losing Vincent Jackson – He takes the top off a defense, opens up everything underneath
Losing Sproles – This is the underneath guy that absolutely made things happen
Losing Dielman and McNeil – This can’t be understated. Two Pro Bowl lineman in one year and you see Rivers get sacked 49 times
Antonio Gates Health – Probably the biggest beneficiary of the throws over the middle. When he’s at his best, not many are better
Playbook – It seems to always takes WRs a while to learn the Norv Turner route tree. This made it hard for young guys to contribute early
A Struggling Running Game – Without the threat of a running game, teams can play Rivers differently
Looking at that list, it’s kind of a bummer. But with all of those things happening, it’s no wonder we’ve seen the decline in stats. It’s also what gives me hope with Mike McCoy. I’m paraphrasing, but hearing him say, what do our players do best, we’re gonna do that. It’s simple, and maybe that’s just what the Chargers and Philip Rivers need.