Monthly Archives: June 2013
I have been out of the Chargers writing loop for a little while because of some health issues but I’m back and I miss all my football friends and fans. Before I write my article, I just want to say that BoogaP/aka Dave Peters is one of the most knowledgeable, if not THE most knowledgeable Charger fan I have ever known. Dave and I have become quite good friends over the past year.
Dave and I have written for a couple of sites and we love the feedback so please let us hear your comments.
Having said that, now let’s talk football!
I know this article is a little late in coming but I wanted to get it out there anyway.
On June 10th, I had the pleasure of meeting several Charger players during the “Chargers Thank San Diego Day” on which several players traveled via the trolley to several locations. One of the locations happened to be right here at the Lemon Grove trolley station, about 6 blocks from my house. The only way I found out about this was that my son, knowing full well how much of a Chargers fan I am, made damn sure to call me and let me know having seen them as he drove by the big Lemon! I couldn’t get down there fast enough and I’m so glad I did.
Far too often, celebrities choose to be arrogant and do so most of the time. But not the Charger players I met on fan appreciation day. These guys are genuine people. Great guys. One of the Chargers, Kendall Reyes, was even nice enough to talk to Booga on my cell! Awesome!! So I would like to give a shout out to the Chargers, Cam Thomas (CAM SMASH!!) I’ll take some credit for the CAM SMASH idea I gave him. Just look at his @Baby_Zilla76 twitter profile page. Also, Kendall Reyes, Corey Luiget and Jarius Wynn (see the “boltblitz” pose he gave me!) were among some of the Chargers gracious enough to come out.
Here are a few pics…
In my latest interview I had the opportunity to talk with Dallas Walker. He is a rookie Tight End for your San Diego Chargers. I am guaranteeing that you are going to like this guy and root for him to make the team. Leading up to the interview I exchanged several direct messages with him via Twitter. He seems like a genuinely cool guy that is a hard-working man of strong faith.
Enough of me talking about it and onto the interview. Enjoy.
Booga: Let’s start the interview off by you giving the fans a short personal bio about you.
Dallas Walker. I’m 25 years old. I play Tight End and played college ball at Western Michigan. I went to high school at MRA, which is in the small town of Madison, MS. My wife of 1 year and I now live in Chattanooga, TN, where my Mom and three younger brothers live as well.
Booga: What did you learn from the game of football in college that has helped you earn the opportunity in the NFL with the Chargers?
Dallas: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years, especially through college ball, is that there are a lot of things that go on that you can’t always control, that’s life. Things on the field, as well as off the field may not always go the way you intend them to, but the main thing with that is to control what you can control– attitude and effort– and everything else will fall into place from there. Take advantage of every opportunity that’s given and make the most of every day that God blesses and entrusts us with.
Booga: You spent 3 years at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Having lived in Kalamazoo myself for quite some time, what is it that you’ll miss the most about the city and the college?
Dallas: I think anytime you leave a place you’ve been at for a number of years that you’re going to miss those close friends you made and teammates that you were close with the most. The city itself I liked because it was different…covered in snow most of the time ha. It was a nice city that was small but still had enough things to do and enjoy.
Booga: Prior to being signed by San Diego, you played in the Ultimate Indoor Football League for the Georgia Rampage. How is the style of the game different from that of the NFL?
Dallas: The style of arena football is completely different. The field is so much smaller, so naturally it changes depths of routes and all that stuff. I only played in 2 games with the team and the main thing with that was, in the event I got a shot with an NFL team, I didn’t want it being a situation where I headed straight into OTA’s/camp with a team after not having had a helmet or pads on and not competed in over a year. So I was fortunate enough to get involved with the UIFL team I was with, and be able to get a couple of games in.
Booga: Mark Bramblett, coach of the Rampage, was quoted as saying while describing you as a player, “He runs phenomenal routes and has really good hands.” Those are quite the compliments. How does that make you feel to have a coach say that about you after him knowing you for such a short time?
Dallas: It’s something that I’ve worked at hard and take pride in so it definitely feels good to have a coach say that about you, but at the same time I’m nowhere near where I want to be and feel like I can be so I’m just continuing to work and get better every day.
Booga: After seeing you at the Super Regional combine in Dallas, the Chargers snagged you up awfully quick. What was that like and what was your first thought when you realized you were getting a shot in the NFL?
Dallas: It was a blessing from God is all I can say. I had faith that it would happen but it was really a matter of when, so I just ensured that when that time came, that I was in shape and was ready to show what I was capable of doing and that I can play. In my situation, after not getting a lot of exposure in the passing game my senior year in college, I kind of went unnoticed obviously, and didn’t get picked up anywhere. So after being out for a whole year and training everyday, you’re really just going off of faith at that point. I just thank God for allowing me to be in this position and the Chargers for giving me the opportunity.
Booga: What is it like being in a position group that includes Antonio Gates?
Dallas: It’s awesome man. Gates is a great player, great guy. Any time you get to come in as a rookie and learn from an All-Pro and future Hall-of-Famer, it’s pretty special and rare. It’s almost like having a second coach out there. Antonio has been around so long and been successful against so many different defenses… he’s seen it all and is able and willing to help out the other tight ends when we need it.
Booga: What is your favorite movie?
Dallas: Remember the Titans, without a doubt.
Booga: It has been mentioned that you have the ability to add a special teams contribution to the team. Talk a little bit about what you have to offer in that aspect of the game.
Dallas: Definitely. Special Teams is an area that I played in college and really liked and something that comes with playing the tight end position in general. Wherever the coaching staff feels like I can help and contribute in that aspect of the game, I’ll go at it with everything I’ve got.
Booga: What is your favorite part about being in San Diego? Not just on the football field but out in the city.
Dallas: I would have to say just being on the coast and the seafood. Growing up and living in Mississippi and Tennessee and then going to college in Michigan, you’re not around the ocean a whole lot ha. And the 75 degree sunny weather everyday isn’t bad either.
Booga: Has there been a Charger that has taken you under their wing, so to speak? And if so, what have you learned from them?
Dallas: I feel like with this team, everyone is pretty outgoing and social for the most part and willing to really take the new guys in. There have been multiple guys on the team that have reached out to me since I got there. Obviously, as far as guys in my position group, we all hit it off pretty well. If I had to pick one older guy in particular though, I would have to say Danny Woodhead. Even though he’s new to the Chargers, he’s already been in the league a few years and has been around a lot of stuff. I’ve been able to spend some time with him and his family outside of football since I’ve been in San Diego so far.
Booga: Training camp is sneaking up. What will you be doing to relax until that begins?
Dallas: Ha, not too much relaxing down here in Chattanooga. I took a day or two off after I flew in last week but really just training hard, getting in as good of shape as I can be in for camp so I can compete and be at my best, and studying the playbook. Outside of that, spending time with my family as much as I can before I take off.
Booga: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?
Dallas: Too much. I like a wide range of music…. I would say Christian or Country music is what’s on there playing the majority of the time.
Booga: What would it mean to you to make this team?
Dallas: It’s difficult to put into words man. It would be a dream come true and a blessing no doubt. It’s what I’ve worked for my whole life. It’s what you think about and work towards from that very first time you put on a helmet and grab a football as a kid.
Booga: When you make the squad, what do I have to do to get a Walker jersey?
Dallas: Ha, just say the word bro and you got it.
Many thanks go out to Dallas for taking the time to answer all of my questions. As I mentioned above, this is a guy that I truly hope makes the team. Whether it be the 53 man roster or the practice squad, I feel like he’s one of those guys you want on your team. In only two UIFL games he scored 4 touchdowns on 10 receptions. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow him, @DWalk_1, and thank him for letting us in on who he is as a person and a football player.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Although the rookies are still going to be put to work through Thursday, the veterans have been excused until training camp begins. In addition to camp battles at certain positions, there are other questions that surround the Chargers. I’ll leave the abundance of question marks for another article.
Here is an answer to what should be done regarding the usage of what will be a little bit of cap space when all is said and done. Find a way to re-sign Donald Butler this season. Allowing him to enter into free agency next year would be a huge mistake. It is my personal opinion that even the most novice of fans would agree.
Butler is an up and coming star in this league. He is now another year removed from tearing his achilles. Many have projected that he will be pushing for a Pro bowl nod this season.
One of the aforementioned question marks would be the need to add depth. This can happen with the proper cap-clearing cuts being made. The starting 22 is all but named in San Diego. The players that would be added are not going to be exponentially expensive.
Despite the fact the team should have re-signed him last season, to not do so during the 2013 season would be a mistake of epic proportions. He would have been cheaper in 2012. He will not be overly cheap to re-sign in 2013. But you can bet that he’ll command a much higher dollar amount if he is allowed to enter into the free agency market in 2014.
The bottom line is the Bolts need to sign Donald Butler to a long-term contract sooner rather than later. If they don’t, we will be watching another former Charger tear it up in the National Football league.
At this point in time the Chargers currently have two fullbacks on the roster in Le’Ron McClain and Chris Gronkowski. McClain was one of the disappointing signings made by AJ Smith during the 2012 offseason. His play last year left a lot to be desired. Gronkowski has been a journeymen of sorts after going undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft. He has spent time in Dallas, Indianapolis, Denver and now San Diego.
It is hard to say whether or not either will be a success in 2013. It’s even more difficult to see which of the two will be the starting Fullback for the Chargers this season.
That leads us to the poll question listed above. The Chargers are very likely to feature a run-oriented offense this year. If you go back and look at the playcalling of both Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt you’ll see far more running plays than I think most would expect. Upon further examination of the offensive line, most of the projected starters are better run blockers than pass blockers.
As I was saying, the question is, should the Chargers become players in the Vonta Leach sweepstakes? Leach has been an all-pro fullback each of the last three years. Additionally, he has been named to the Pro bowl in those three years as well. The team would obviously have to free up some cap space to add the veteran. A solid start to that could be obtained by releasing McClain and, perhaps, even Gronkowski. There are some other players that could be axed to make room for Leach.
It has been reported that he is currently in Miami right now being looked at as a possible addition to the Dolphins. Must be nice to have so much money.
What do you think? Let us know by voting on the poll and leaving a comment as to why you voted the way that you did.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.
When looking at the current state of the Charger roster, it is easy to see that the team is not lacking in options at the Wide Receiver position. The Bolts are currently equipped with 11 players to snag balls from Philip Rivers and the other Quarterbacks in camp. This turns out to be the deepest group on the entire ball club.
It is common knowledge that all 11 players will not remain on the team by the time the season rolls around. Let’s start by taking a look at them.
Danario Alexander – A lock for the roster. He will be the team’s number one Wide Receiver. Lots of excitement surrounding what he can do with a full offseason with Rivers. Not to mention a full slate of 16 games. Needs to stay healthy.
Malcom Floyd – Despite the thoughts of some “experts,” he isn’t going anywhere this season. He is splitting some starting reps. Floyd has only played 16 games once in his 10 year career.
Vincent Brown – He is the one sharing starting reps with Floyd. A healthy Brown is a huge addition to the Charger wide receiving corps. His route running and ability to attack the ball make him a serious weapon for the new Charger offense.
Keenan Allen – The third round pick out of Cal is expected to be a Charger for a long time. He’ll contribute, even as a rookie.
Robert Meachem – We all know why he’s here and will definitely be a Charger in 2013. Let’s hope he can make a few plays. Being that I was at the game in Cleveland last year, even typing his name makes me sick to my stomach.
Eddie Royal – This is the part where skepticism starts to wander into the equation. He could be cut due to numbers at the position. He has been starting in the slot. Royal is capable in both kick and punt return duties. Those traits could save his job.
Richard Goodman – He’s a solid Kick Returner and but return punts. His play as a Gunner on special teams might keep him hanging around. But the fact that he has been unable to play at Wide Receiver will not help his status on the team.
Mike Willie – He still has some practice squad eligibility. There is a chance he sticks for that reason. He has the build of a Rivers’ kind of target.
Deon Butler – The former Seahawk can fly. But it might be safe to assume that he is a training camp body. Probably will be cut at some point.
Dan DePalma – He is an interesting guy. When with the New York Giants, the team used him to simulate Wes Welker in their preparation for the Super bowl against the New England Patriots. The question is whether or not he has any practice squad eligibilty left. He was picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2011 by the New York Jets. I don’t think he was ever on either team’s 53 man roster. That would mean he would have a third year of eligibility on a practice squad. ( I am waiting to hear back from Kevin Acee regarding his eligibility for practice squad.) Having Wes Welker in the division would make DePalma a nice piece to keep on the PS seeing as how he has studied Welker extensively.
Luke Tasker – He is the son of one of my favorite non-Chargers of all time, Steve Tasker. If he is even half of the special teamer that his father was then I expect him to stick on the PS. Not sure how much work he’ll have at wide out, if any at all.
The Wide receiver group will be an interesting one to keep an eye on. The four major contributors seem set in Alexander, Floyd, Brown and Allen. Additionally, as mentioned above, the team will see what they can get out of Meachem. But after that it’s all up for grabs. The team has less than a half-a-million in salary cap space. It is safe to say this group will be evaluated closely to see where some savings could be had.
How many weapons at the Wide Receiver spot should the team keep? Who do you think will get the almighty axe and be cut prior to the season?
Let us know in the comment section below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
After a 2012 offseason free agency spending spree of sorts, how much money was left to re-sign the players that were already Chargers? ( I’ll be touching on the need to re-sign Butler in the near future) The players that it would make sense to lock up? I had been on record multiple times talking about how I thought that the Chargers should have locked up Louis Vasquez for the long haul during the 2012 season. Knowing that he was a poor run blocker, I was hoping that portion of his game would improve. But his run blocking leaves a lot to be desired. He is not successful at getting to the second level. Yet, despite his flaws, I was calling for his re-signing for one reason, and one reason only.
The Chargers were looking at the possibility of having to replace four out of five offensive linemen during the 2013 offseason. That kind of task seemed fairly daunting, to say the least.
But I fell into the trap of wanting to keep a player for the wrong reason. For that I am guilty.
The Denver Broncos paid above the premium for Vasquez. They had obvious reasons for signing him and it is fair to assume that the Broncos will be passing the ball quite frequently in ’13.
The bottom line is that despite having an already dire need on the offensive line at multiple positions, Tom Telesco was not willing to overpay for a guy that was not destined to remain America’s finest city. He was replaceable and I was a little bit late to the party.
Were you, or are you still, one of the people who fell into the same trap? As football fans, we are allowed to change our minds. We are prone to making poor decisions, at times. But the fact of the matter is that Vasquez is gone and he is now a Donkey. Let it go. I did a day or two after his signing with the Denver. You should too.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The Chargers are now at the point where each and every member of the “starting 22” is on the roster. Despite the fact that the starters have yet to be named, it is difficult to see them bringing in anyone that would truly compete for a starting role. If the team were to make any additions it would be to add depth. Which, by the way, I expect the team will sign a couple of players just for that reason.
As we’ve covered here on the site a couple of times, the Chargers have been fairly active in free agency. Many additions and subtractions have been made thus far in the 2013 offseason. Many signings were made to create competition at some of the starting spots on the team. There were additions that were brought in to San Diego to provide some quality backup play as well.
So the question is this. Which of the Charger free agents will have the biggest impact in 2013? Will it be Dwight Freeney? Is having Max Starks at Left Tackle going to help turn this sad offense around? Perhaps it will be the play of the former Jaguar, Derek Cox? And let’s not forget that the Bolts signed Danny Woodhead to come in and have an impact offensively.
As posted in the title, this is a poll and I will leave the answer to this question to you. Please place your vote and let me know why you voted the way that you did in the comments section below.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.
There has been a lot of moving and shaking going on at Chargers Park this season, thanks to new General Manager Tom Telesco. The moves he has made with roster additions and cuts have surrounded the Chargers with a palpable buzz that even has the NFL media outside of San Diego talking. A lot of that talk is centered around second round pick Mantei Te’o but the important thing is people are taking notice. That being said, the extra attention only brings the noisemeter to a 3, compared to the zero offseason attention the Chargers usually get.
The changes made have been in the Chargers key areas of need. Offensive line first and foremost, cornerback, linebacker. Depth still needs to be added and that will occur with the crop of undrafted free agents and draft picks that found they were going to be playing in America’s finest city. Telesco has been Johnny-On-The-Spot, finding valuable unnoticed or underappreciated players such as cornerback Derek Cox and running back Danny Woodhead as well as working out sweetheart deals with free agent defensive end Dwight Freeney and offensive tackle Max Starks when they were demanding a much higher dollar from their previous teams.
While the holes look to be plugged as well as can be expected right now, one area still deserves one more look. Running back. The buzz with the new coaching staff is of a departure from a traditional to zone blocking scheme. We all know the offensive line was the key component in the failing of Philip Rivers and the Chargers to a sub-500 record for the first time in over a decade. In the same breath, it is also a big reason the running game NEVER got off the ground last season.
Anyone who has been following my writings here knows my patience in Ryan Mathews ran out long ago and Mathews numbers back my reasons for jumping ship on #24. Each season his touchdowns have declined. Seven in 2010. Six in 2011. One in 2012. Frequently injured. Yet to complete a full season. Mathews has missed 8 of 38 games to date, 21%. That’s one of every five games. Not a good trajectory. That’s not even considering the games he does play and puts lousy numbers on the board. In those 30 games, Mathews has only ran for over 100 yards five times. Once his rookie season and the other four in 2011. Of the other 25 games, he only eclipsed 90 yards twice. Hence, my frustration with Mathews.
As I said before, the patchwork offensive line may have been a big reason for Mathews troubles and I would side more to that end IF it weren’t for the fact that he is so injury prone. Mathews has had lots of knee, ankle and collarbone issues. Those aren’t injuries you get by getting planted by defensive tackles. Those are injuries you get because you train the wrong way, don’t know how to train or are just plain fragile. Not every man who makes it to the NFL is created equal. Mathews injury issues go back to college where he missed half his sophomore season due to injury.
With the new regime in place and Mathews horrid three-year body of work, this is his make or break season and this is his contract year. Perform now or lose any real chance to become a starter on any team is the way he should view this season. That could definitely work out to the Chargers advantage. With the beef Telesco has added to the offensive line and the new blocking scheme, this is his best shot to prove himself. Will he?
Who else is there?
Danny Woodhead is the new safety valve. Woodhead is also the anti-Mathews. Woodhead played every game last season and over the same three-year period, has only missed 3 out of 51 games. Woodhead averages almost 5 yards a carry and over 10 yards per catch. For all intents and purposes, Woodhead could be the biggest acquisition of the offseason. Still, Woodhead is not a every down back. He will be all over the field. He will be in the slot one play, in the backfield the next, split at wideout the next. His presence will have to be respected by defenses or his unexpected speed will burn you. Here’s a fact I bet most don’t know. Woodhead ran a 4.38 in the 40 on his pro day at Chadron State and a 4.4 at the combine in 2008.
Ronnie Brown is a serviceable running back who was the best playmaker out of the backfield last season but his best days are far behind him. Le’Ron McClain was brought in last offseason to be a blocking back for Mathews but he only saw game action in seven games, never got more than two carries in a game and his high in touches was six in game one. Hopefully, Mike McCoy will find better use for McClain, who is only four seasons removed from being a running back in the PRO BOWL.
Behind them you have Edwin Baker, who only saw game action from the sideline. Fozzy Whitaker was brought over from offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt’s former team the Arizona Cardinals. Whitaker has not seen a down of NFL action having missed last season with a knee injury, suffered in his last season at Texas. Michael Hill is an undrafted free agent from Missouri Western State who won player of the year in his Division II conference.
Running back has plenty of depth but the Chargers will not carry all these players onto the active roster. Do you feel confident about this squadron of players? Some will get relegated to the practice squad while others will get cut. Frankly, a everydown back such as free agent Ahmad Bradshaw would be welcome. Bradshaw is a name that has been bandied about by Chargers faithful for a while. While has a better body of work than Mathews, Bradshaw is just as injury prone.
This writer would love to see San Diego crowd favorite Michael Turner return. Turner is a lot more durable, not missing a single game in 4 of his last five seasons and is as sure a thing from the goal line as there is today. Turner has posted double-digit touchdowns every season since he became a starter in Atlanta five seasons ago. While it looks like Mathews will get his last chance to be the every down back in San Diego, this position could still warrant one last look from Telesco.
What do you think Charger Nation?
The Greg One
Now that the June 1st deadline has passed, the Chargers have gained $4.5 million in salary cap room. It has been reported that roughly $2.5 million of that will be used to sign the team’s first round draft pick, DJ Fluker. It is looking like the Chargers will have a little over $2 million left to add depth to certain position groups on the team. This is prior to the anticipated cuts of a couple of players that are currently on the roster.
There have been rumors that both Eddie Royal and Le’Ron McClain could be shown the door in an effort to create some additional cap space. Not to mention the fact that they are no longer needed. The Chargers have a plethora of wide receivers. The Bolts signed Chris Gronkowski to play fullback for the team. Royal and McClain highlight a 2012 free agent class that leaves a lot to be desired. If the team were to cut them both it would free up a little over $3 million.
Those cuts, coupled with the already available space, provide the team with approximately $5 million to play with regarding the near and foreseeable future. You never want to strip the salary cap cupboard bare going into a regular season. You should play it safe and carry at least $2 million into the season in the case that there are injuries. This is the Chargers. There will be injuries.
There will be other cuts as well as the regular season draws closer and closer.
So that leaves us to the question. What position, or positions, still need to be addressed in free agency? Below is a poll for you to vote on this very subject. At this point, the team is most likely only trying to further our depth via free agency. There may be some camp battles but the starters for 2013 are most likely already on the team. Please feel free to state why you voted the way that you did by leaving a comment below the article at the bottom of this page.
Thanks a lot for voting and be sure to tell us why you voted the way that you did below in the comment section.
Going into the 2013 offseason the Chargers, and their fans, knew that they had to address the vacant starting cornerback positions. The decision had been made to allow both of the starting corners, Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer, to walk out of town without signing them to new contracts. The former Bolts landed in Arizona and Denver, respectively. Neither of the two will be missed much for their play on the field.
The team’s first attempt to address the need at corner was to sign free agent Derek Cox. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has proven to be more than capable when healthy. He is very solid against the run and has a good stat line versus the pass as well. As you’ll notice from the numbers below, the issue with Cox is his inability to stay healthy.
At 6’1″ 195 pounds with a 4.39 second 40 yard dash time out of William & Mary, Cox has the size and speed to man up on the opposing team’s number one wide receiver. He’s only 26 years old and entering the fifth year of his career. His best football is in front of him and it’s up to the coaching staff to put him in the best position to make plays. Look for Cox to play the left cornerback spot.
So what would the Chargers do to fill the void at the other spot opposite Cox? Who would they bring in? The answer is no one. The Bolts would find their answer in house.
Shareece Wright, a 5’11” 182 pound Colton, California product, is getting the reps at the right cornerback position and the sky is the limit for the former USC Trojan. Wright is also 26 years old and has shown solid promise during his first two years in the league.
Despite very limited regular season action – he has yet to start a game in the NFL – Wright has shown a tenacity and physicality that any team would love to have out at corner. Couple that with his speed and ball skills and you certainly have something to work with. Wright was off to a fantastic start while having a great 2012 preseason. He saw his season derailed on the opening kickoff of the regular season on a tackle versus the hated Oakland Raiders. Shareece came back and showed a lot of promise during the latter weeks of last year. In weeks 11-13 he notched a total of 12 tackles and a forced fumble. He has some footwork issues to clean up but shows a lot potential to be a difference maker if given a starting opportunity.
Both players are former third round picks and share the same age. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing at all. But what we can hope they share is success in 2013 and beyond. If the front seven of the Charger defense, with the help of some aggressive play calling from John Pagano, can get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks then I expect the duo to more than hold their own.
Only time will tell if either of the two are answers for the Chargers. The team could surely use an upgrade at both spots from previous years. I can’t recall a time where the Chargers truly did have solid corner play on both sides. Perhaps the time begins now.
Thanks a lot for reading.