Monthly Archives: July 2013

Shawne Merriman burst upon the football scene as the San Diego Chargers 12th pick in the 2005 draft.  The defensive end out of Maryland nicknamed  ‘Lights Out’  took the league and opposing quarterbacks by storm as he registered double-digit sacks in each of his first three seasons, garnering three straight Pro Bowls and 2006 All-Pro first team selection as a result.  Flipping a tattooed light switch on his forearm, his ‘lights out’ sack dance became his trademark as he became an instant fan favorite in San Diego.

Then the NFL turned his light out.

In the midst of a playoff run in 2006, Merriman was busted for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy for use of the anabolic steroid Nandralone. The Chargers would win all four games of Merriman’s suspension en route to winning the AFC West.  He finished the 2006 season and amassed 17 sacks over 12 games.  Merriman also has a successful 2007 season and in his first three season had 39.5 sacks.

Then the injuries kicked in.

In 2008 Merriman tore his PCL and LCL ligaments in his knee.

In 2009 Merriman was hampered by knee and foot injuries.

In 2010 the culprit was a nagging calf  injury.

In 2011, Merriman found the injured reserve list as the result of an ACL tear after signing with Buffalo.

It’s unknown how long it take for the physical advantage of steroids to leave the season after prolonged use.  For Merriman it took one more season. Over the rest of his career after 2007 Merriman only garnered six sacks.

Merriman retired in March, a star that prevented his own rise.

It was recently reported that Von Miller would be suspended for four games for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  It is unknown what substances the NFL is accusing Miller of using.  The Denver Post reported Miller tested positive for marijuana and amphetamines in his rookie season.  Last season was Miller’s second.  Until we know what substance the NFL is calling out Miller for, the first thought in this day and age will be PED’s.

Miller’s case is under appeal and will be heard around mid-August.  The facts are Miller’s career is on the same trajectory Merriman’s was seven years ago.

In their rookie season:

Merriman: 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 57 combined tackles (43 solo), 4 passes defensed.

Miller: 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 64 combined tackles (50 solo), 4 passes defensed.

Those numbers would be even closer if Merriman hadn’t missed a game due to a holdout at the beginning of the season.

In their second season:

Merriman: 17 sacks, 63 tackles (49 solo), 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovered, one interception, 8 passes defensed.

Miller: 18.5 sacks, 68 tackles (55 solo), 6 forced fumbles, one interception, 2 passes defensed.

Considering that was the year Merriman missed four games due to his suspension, Merriman would have beat Miller’s numbers across the board.

Still, the totals are eerily similar.

Now, heading into Miller’s potential four game suspension, we’ll see if his numbers continue to improve or tail off as Merriman’s did.  Merriman did have a successful third year with 12.5 sacks, 68 tackles (54 solo), 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and four passes defensed.  After that, the injuries kicked in and Merriman’s career fell off the map.  Miller’s potential suspension will occur at the beginning of his third season as opposed to Merriman who was suspended halfway through his second.

Whether Miller is using PED’s or not, he is guilty of using the wrong substances whether they’re performance enhancing or not. We’ve watched scores of promising players fall by the wayside because of their usage. Miller is on a path to become a household name in the NFL. It will be interesting to see  his performance over the next two seasons. Will he continue to improve or go the way of Merriman?

As Chargers fans, we all hope Miller’s production falls off, but because the Chargers offensive line is that good. The more stars in the NFL, the better for us as fans. The better Miller gets, the more it costs Denver to keep him.  The more money the Broncos, tie up in one player the better.  This will be an interesting story to follow over the next few seasons. Is Miller using PED’s or not? The numbers, more so than the player, will tell the story.

 

The Greg One

English1

 

 

Who will emerge as the big “sleeper” on the Chargers this year? Could be one of several different players. Could it be a rookie? Could it be a young veteran that has had the misfortune of being injured most of their young career? Could it be a seasoned veteran that has had high expectations  and a poor past couple of seasons? Could it be a seasoned veteran that has had a poor past few seasons and seems to be on a downhill slide? Could be one guy, could be a couple or a few, who knows.

These are just more questions that give reason to be excited about this year’s Chargers. In the Norv Turner era, we kind of knew what to expect; although many of us Charger fans were in denial. Deep down inside we knew it would be more disappointment.

I think we know who some of the up and comers are including Vincent Brown, Donald Butler, Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, to name a few. I’m talking sleepers. You know, a player or players that no one expects to shine, at least not right away.  I’ll throw out some names and you make an educated guess. The numbering on these players does NOT denote any sort of rank or favorite, it’s just a way of keeping this article uncluttered.

#1. Dwight Freeney

Much of the Media isn’t giving Freeney much of a chance to shine. They’re saying he’s done.

#2. Brad Sorensen

Could Sorensen beat out Whitehurst  for the backup QB spot?

#3. Edwin Baker

Still somewhat of a question mark at running back. Maybe he’ll dazzle in camp.

#4. Ladarius Green

Didn’t see much of Green last season. 4 receptions for 56 yards. Just another player that Norv Turner under-utilized.

#5 & #6. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal

Not sure if I would refer to these guys as sleepers but they’re close after a dismal 2012 season.

#7. Johnnie Troutman

A big question mark with Troutman after missing all of last season. No one knows how this kid will play yet.

#8. Larry English

Kind of tired of talking about English and waiting for him to live up to expectations.

#9. Marcus Cromartie

Cromartie is a familiar name at Chargers park. You’ll remember what is older cousin, Antonio, did in his second year as a Charger. He made NFL history by setting a record that will never be broken. (109 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown) Maybe the talent will run in the family. (Shhhh…don’t say family around Antonio)

#10. Jahleel Addae

Two time defensive player of the year for Central Michigan. Has sleeper written all over him!

 Let’s hear your “sleepers” and opinions. Who will be the big surprise this year?.

 

Randy Mainwaring

As we continue to countdown the days to the beginning of the new football season, a now annual question again emerges.  Should the NFL move to an 18-game season?  There is no doubt that football is America’s game.  No sport is mourned more upon its completion than the NFL.  The basketball and baseball seasons go on seemingly forever. You can go to a game or watch on TV any day of the week.  The playoffs take months.  By the end of the season you’re already tired of it.

The NFL is the opposite, all your viewing is limited to two nights a week.  Three if  you count Thursday night football on a channel half of America still can’t get once Thursday night football begins a quarter of the way through the season.  It’s a reason to gather with friends.  It’s must see TV.  It’s a reason to make the expedition to the stadium to watch in person.  We get more out of one day of football than a week of basketball, baseball or hockey.  No five months are more celebrated than the five months of the NFL season (six if you count preseason).

Sixteen games accounts for a fantastic season, a roller coaster featuring win streaks, losing streaks, worst to first stories, breakout players and the best trade deadline action in all of sports.  Why the need to push for an 18-game season?  One word.

MONEY

Make no mistake, this is not a movement fueled by what the players want.  This is what the owners want.  The NFL is sports golden goose and the content and excitement we get as fans is the golden egg.  The fervor for the game we fuel the sport with even during the offseason has cash registers ringing in every owners ears.  The NFL does the best job of promoting its rising stars and incoming stars via continuous build up leading to and through the NFL draft.

A longer season means more money.  Stadium revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, food, parking and season ticket revenue would increase if more games are added.  That’s really not even the tip of the iceberg.  The real money is coming from the mega millions garnered from TV deals that get split equally among every team no matter how bad they are.  More games equal more TV time which equals even more money.

If you polled the players, its doubtful the truly want to add another two games to an already arduous regular season.  They may say they do to appease their fans and tow the company line but privately, how would they truly want that? teams that can get through the season without a rash of injuries are a rarity and adding two games to the regular season would only weaken teams as they head to the playoffs.

At what expense  are the owners willing to put our favorite players at risk?

Will the owners then eliminate two preseason games?  We all know the preseason games are nothing more than live practices although the owners still charge the full price to attend them.  Leaving preseason at four games and still adding two games is completely unnecessary.  Taking out two preseason games and starting the regular season in August makes more sense if it were to happen.  Why would players agree to this?  One word.

MONEY

We all know the shelf life for the average NFL player is four years.  Four years to make the NFL’s millions.  More games mean a few hundred grand more, maybe a million or two to a rookie deal, a few million more to a veteran deal. There’s a reason raising the games in a season hasn’t been changed since the NFL went to a 16 game regular season from a 14 game regular season in 1978.  The game is a lot faster and more violent.  Players have better training, better facilities, nutritional advantages and plain knowledge of the game that wasn’t available to players 35 years ago.

Look no further than the pending concussion/brain injury lawsuit by the former players that grows by the day.  They claim the NFL knew of the dangers of the game and kept it from them while reaping the monetary benefits.  Players now have that knowledge.  Research into head injuries and on field doctors to watch for such circumstances are in place.  Better equipment is being developed, a notion that wasn’t even entertained in 1978.

Thirty five years ago the average NFL salary was $90, 102.  Today, the minimum rookie salary is 390k.   A larger talent pool has led to more teams with more revenue streams, more expense to owners which led to the building of more grandiose stadiums and inflation across the board.  Now with the NFL at an all time high in popularity the players and owners are in full cash grab mode and in the end the fans will suffer for it.  Here’s why:

More injuries/wear and tear. Two more regular season games gives two more games of risk for your favorite player or your team’s franchise to suffer a serious injury.  The end of season battle between division rivals for a playoff spot gets longer and whether you’re on the winning or losing end, could be detrimental on both sides.  Two more games

Playoff competition will suffer.  That team that would have made it after 16 games could end up missing the playoffs to a less deserving team because of injuries or because a healthy bad team beat a contending injured good team. Lots of division races are not completed until the last two games of the season and many times it comes down to not if a team wins but another team losing.

Most importantly is a reason owners neglect but fans shouldn’t.

Adding two games will shorten a player’s career by two years.  In today’s culture of freakishly gifted athletes, behemoth offensive and defensive players and the increased violence of the sport.  All those extra games and the beating the players will take increase the injury toll whether it’s on the injury report or not.  Each injury diminishes a player’s maximum effectiveness.  On a team that makes the playoffs it adds and additional three to six games.  Those two extra games add an extra fifty carries (and fifty tackles) on a feature back. It’s an extra 60 passes on the arm of a quarterback.  It’s sixty snaps per game of pounding for linemen.  It’s a potential season ending injury that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

An expanded regular season should not happen but my feeling is enough money will be dangled before players to make it happen.  This writer, as much as I love every week of the NFL (except the Chargers bye week) votes NO.

When it does happen I hope these provisions are made:

Additional bye week. It would make sense to aid players health by adding a second bye week at the expense of a third preseason game.  Preseason is nothing more than a chance for the fans to see their teams play half speed in uniform in a meaningless scrimmage.  We have that already.  It’s called the Pro Bowl.  An additional bye week near the end of the season will aid the players and lessen the chance of players aggravating already existing nagging or serious injuries.

Extend training camp. Preseason games are not needed.  If anything, more fans would enjoy watching televised practices between teams.  Teams will need to get in live action practice time and that’s the best way for it to happen.  Each week of training camp teams will go to another city and play that team.  They can keep score but play can be halted for coaching purposes.  The behind-the-scenes look would be infinitely more interesting than preseason games.

Move up the draft and the beginning of free agency. The Super Bowl was Feb 2nd.  Free agency began March 12th this year.  The draft was April 25-27.  Move free agency to the end of February to allow a month of free agency and move the draft to the beginning of April to allow another month to sign draftees.  June will be for OTA’s and ‘voluntary’ minicamps.  Training camp starts at the beginning of  July.  This allows the players over two solid months off to recharge, three extra weeks of training camp to audition rookies and undrafted free agents and get the team in sync.  By the time scrimmages begin in August you will already have a set team and a sharper team come week one of the regular season in the middle of August.

These provision make a more seamless offseason for players and fans while keeping the NFL in the news year round and excitement at close to the same level it was at when it ended.

 

What do you think Bolt fans?

 

Bolt Up!

 

The Greg One

“I just threw up in my mouth three times when I read that.” – Booga Peters, Editor of BoltBlitz.com

(This is a direct quote of Booga Peters after reading an article by Bill Williamson on ESPN.com stating the fact that Robert Meachem carries the NFL’s 11th highest cap number at the Wide Receiver position.  Booga is no longer available for comment due to nausea, heartburn, indigestion and an upset stomach.)

 

Sources have confirmed that he is recovering just fine. But he darn near followed that up with a heart attack when he heard that a Charger player was carted off of the field at today’s training camp practice.  The same source confirmed that when Booga heard it was Jonas Mouton, a deep sigh of relief was let out by the intestinally-challenged blogger.

What’s good, BoltFam and Fantasy Footballers?  As promised, this year I am hosting a Fantasy Football league that will be sure to peak your interest.

The buy-in is $50.00 and the accepted form of payment is via PayPal.  If you are selected as one of the 12 teams, you will want to know the information listed below.

 

  • Payment must be received by me, via Paypal, within 48 hours of being accepted into the league. No ifs, ands or buts. Only want serious people involved
  • The 12 of us will have a night where we will all vote on the rules ( Date of this to be determined shortly after all teams accepted )
  • I would prefer to do this league on ESPN.com but if the majority votes against it then so be it
  • The draft will be on the night of September 1st
  • 3rd Place wins $50.00
  • 2nd Place wins $150.00
  • 1st Place wins $400.00
  • If you are new to Fantasy Football this is probably not the league for you
  • May the best team win… and I plan on it

 

It is that time of year again.  This is when people truly start to do their homework for the upcoming Fantasy Football season.  I am really hyped and I plan on winning.  Here’s how you can let me know you’re interested in joining:  send me an email at boogapeters@yahoo.com, send me a direct message on Twitter @BoogaP or friend me on Facebook (Booga Peters) and send me a message there.

Thanks a lot for reading and I look forward to kicking all of your asses in this league.

 

BoogaPeters

Rivers8

 

 

In the eyes of a San Diego fan, the Charger’s 2013-2014 regular season schedule certainly provides both reasons to be excited as well as reasons for concern. With only two home games total between October and November, the Bolts must buckle down and try to alleviate the mid-season woes of the Norv Turner era and pick up some essential mid-season road wins. If the Bolts can make it through those two months with even a .500 record, there is reason to be thrilled about the final five games of the season in which four will take place at Qualcomm. The combination of Rivers’ phenomenal December record and the home crowd advantage should prove to result in a strong finish for the Bolts.

When looking at each match up and analyzing their potential implications, I am most intrigued by the first game of the season at home on Monday night against the Houston Texans. The Texans are coming off an AFC South Division title and impressive regular season record of 12-4. With a blowout loss in the divisional round of the playoffs at New England to end their Super Bowl dreams, the Texans will surely be out to prove that last year was not a fluke and that they can continue to be a force in the AFC.

The matchup against the Texans really grabs my attention for two reasons. The first reason revolves around the fact that the Chargers over the past three years, have not made the postseason or really had any wins against any championship caliber competition. A win against the likes of Houston would not only get the train out of the station, so to speak, but it surely would make many of the doubters realize that the Bolts truly do have the talent and core pieces in place to compete with anyone.

Furthermore, the second reason the week one Houston showdown is so interesting to me is that our preseason roster weaknesses are going to truly be put to the test. For starters, there have been many questions as to whether the remodeled secondary will be able to improve the less than impressive pass defense statistics from last season. The matchup of Derrick Cox on Andre Johnson and Shareece Wright on presumably explosive rookie DeAndre Hopkins will truly be a test of our secondary’s abilities. If we can contain Houston’s aerial attack, our top ten rushing defense should be able to contain Arian Foster enough to give our newly designed offense a chance to win the game. Moreover, our offensive line continues to be an area of concern even after changing four of the five starters from a season ago. What better way to gain confidence in our front five than if they could contain the likes of reigning defensive MVP J.J. Watt and the underrated Antonio Smith?

Overall, while it may be cliché to choose the first game of the season as the matchup I am most looking forward to, I honestly believe our performance in this game win or lose, will truly lay the foundation for the rest of the season and how we perform against other top teams in the league.

Thanks for reading and please comment below with your thoughts!

MikeyT

Recently, BoogaP asked the writers at BoltBlitz.com what we thought of the 18 game schedule. He then asked us to write our opinions for the fans to comment on. Here’s my perspective.

American football was founded way back in August, 1920 as the American Professional Football Conference, which one month later changed names to the American Professional Football Association (APFA). Two years later the name changed again to the National Football League. The rival American Football League was established in 1959 and began playing in 1960 until 1969 when they merged into what is the NFL of today.

During the 1950’s, the National Football League had grown to rival Major League Baseball as one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the United States and has gained more and more popularity over the years to be the most popular American sport. To try to keep up with the gaining popularity, the NFL added 4 more games to the regular season schedule and soon after began scheduling preseason games in foreign countries to get the NFL more exposure to different cultures. They did this not only to meet the demands of football fans worldwide, but to also increase revenue. Another move was to increase the number of games in 1978 from 14 to 16 regular season games.

Well it worked folks because the NFL football is the most popular sport in the world. Now there is talk of increasing the number of games by 2 to an 18 game schedule. Let’s look at some of the pros and the cons of this move.

First of all, not only will it give the fans more football to watch and make the season longer but it will increase revenue for the teams. The talk is to remove 2 preseason games and replace them with regular season games. Most fans hate the preseason games especially when they find themselves paying top dollar for tickets that aren’t even regular season games.

Problems: It’s difficult to evaluate young players unless they’re in a live game situation. Another problem is injuries. With heightened awareness of player safety presently, player safety is of the utmost importance. Another problem that may come up is the scheduling. It seems complicated already. Why muck it up even more?

Here’s my opinion, and feel free to comment. One idea might be to reduce the pre-season by only one game because I thing 4 games is too long but 2 games might not be enough. 3 games would be perfect and it would extend the season 1 more week. Another idea, and I’ve heard this has already been talked about is to deal with the injuries, there would be an increase in the number players on the roster, AND during the 18 game season, each team would have to limit each player to only playing in 16 games total during the season, ie, holding out a player from any 2 games during the season so that he is only playing in 16 of them.

I like the idea of a 3 game pre-season and the 18 game regular season. They just need to figure out the best way to deal with the injury issue.

Just need to get all the owners on board.

Randy Mainwaring

Hi guys!

I’m Joe and I’m a 24 year-old from the far side of the world (for most of you) straight outta Compton Manchester.

I got into the following the NFL as a student at university in around 2007 as a result of many late nights drinking and coming home to find American sports on the television. I was naturally attracted to the Chargers because of the pale blue uniforms (my ‘soccer’ team is Manchester City who play in sky blue!) and the fact that at the time they weren’t half bad! I can’t profess to be extremely knowledgeable about the entire history of the franchise, but I know the current (and last couple of seasons) rosters fairly well inside out. I’m really quite interested in the finances of the game (hence why most of my articles revolve around the salary cap).

Outside of writing for the site I have quite a few other interests. I play a lot of instruments and I collect vinyl records. I like to write sitcoms and scripts for movies and generally be quite creative. I’m an incredibly big fan of craft beers (a lot of our fine american brews in fact) and I’m also a vegan (just thought I’d throw that in there).

Thanks for reading and as always I look forward to hearing from you all on the site and Twitter!

Joe Clarke

There has been a good amount of talk over the past couple of years regarding the expansion of the NFL season from its current 16 game format to a longer season of 18 games. There are several factors such as player safety, preseason implications, as well as player compensation to take into account when looking at the cost/benefit analysis of this proposal. Many have proposed that the preseason would be reduced to 2 games (instead of the current 4) if the season were to be expanded to 18 games. As it is, one would presume that the fans, at least, would be in favor of two more “real” games as opposed to the scrimmage/tryout  type of game that preseason conforms to.

Player safety is a big concern of those in the discussion expanding to a longer season. Two additional games may not seem to a be a greatly increased workload, but when one thinks about the injuries that are sure to pile up towards the end of the season, it changes the potential roster makeup as teams try to get to the playoffs. The injuries from the added two games could have serious repercussions to potential playoff favorites, or even teams that are just on the bubble.

Players and the NFLPA are sure to be against the idea of an expanded season, especially if there is no increased monetary compensation. The NFL executives argue that if the games are “essentially” the same in number (removing two preseason games and replacing them with 2 regular season games), than player contracts/salaries may not be affected. However, the players will surely argue that 2 extra games at the end of the season are much more taxing on their bodies than in an exhibition environment.

Time for you all to weigh in: Would you, as a fan, be in favor of 2 extra games at the risk injury to some of your team’s best players?

I would like to see an 18 game season, but they would have to change a few things to make it work.  To get there they would have to raise the roster size from 53 to probably 63 or so.  Active game day roster up from 45 to 55ish to allow more substitutions to keep players more fresh.  They would have to raise the salary cap due to extra players on the roster.  I also think because of the increased roster sizes they could keep at least 3 preseason games, possibly all 4.  The final change to make this more appealing to the NFLPA would be adding a second bye week.  With all of these changes an 18 game season MIGHT be possible.

As far as who the opponents would be for the 2 extra games, I think they should be inter-conference games (AFC vs NFC).  This would increase the possibility of the Super Bowl being a rematch of a game earlier in the season, and help supplement the NFC vs AFC battle for supremacy to allow getting rid of the useless Pro bowl.

 

Matthew Stanley

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