Monthly Archives: January 2014
I am going to begin this post by making it crystal clear that I have the utmost respect for Antonio Gates and I do not, by any means, think that he is done. It is my belief that he has at least two more solid seasons left in him. And by the time his reign as one of the best tight ends to ever play the game ends, the Chargers have just the man in place to take over and make Gates proud to relinquish his throne.
His name is Ladarius Green. He just so happens to be 6’6″ and, as Philip Rivers once proclaimed, is the fastest player on the team. In 2014, Green will be entering his third season in the NFL. His rookie year didn’t afford him many opportunities to establish himself in the Charger offense. Some of that was due to a steep learning curve as Green was a fourth round draft pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette. His sophomore season in the NFL provided more chances but there is still a lot left to be seen. The former Ragin’ Cajun was a bit of an unknown as a collegian but made a statement on the national scene with a solid performance in the New Orleans bowl versus the San Diego State Aztecs in 2011. Take a look.
My apologies to the Aztec fans that had to relive those highlights.
As you can see from the video, Green has great speed and height for the position. Ladarius has put on some much-needed weight since his college days to thicken up for his blocking duties at the next level.
Although the bowl game highlights provide a bit of foreshadowing for the future, the Chargers and their fans really have just begun to see what the ultimate potential is for Green.
Before I drop a few stats and facts about Green’s performances during his short-lived Chargers career, here is another video but this one has plays from his NFL career.
Now that you’ve taken a look at a couple of videos, I’m going to throw out some tidbits about Ladarius Green.
– Of all the players in the NFL that had at least 17 receptions, he averaged more yards per catch – 22.1 – than everyone else.
– While recording catches in 9 different games, he managed to have a catch of at least 20 yards in 8 of those 9 contests.
– His 60 yard touchdown catch in week 12 versus Kansas City was the longest reception of the season by a Charger.
– Despite only 17 receptions during the regular season, 3 went for touchdowns.
– His first career catch was a 31 yarder versus the Titans as a rookie.
– In the first playoff game of his career he had 3 catches. One of which was an impressive jump ball TD from Rivers.
Knowing that Green has been learning his craft under future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates, Charger fans have a lot to be excited about. Though he is still incredibly raw in many facets of the game, he certainly has the right teacher in Gates. When adding in the mental part of the game with Green’s athleticism and playmaking ability, you have the makings of something special.
As I mentioned above, Ladarius will be heading into his third year this offseason. But due to allowing him time to develop, Green has yet to accumulate enough regular season starts to make up a full 16 game season. As long as Green is a patient man, he’ll certainly benefit from this. The sky is the limit for this future superstar. He has a lot to work on in the blocking department, but his predecessor has had his struggles with that as well. That guy seemed to turn out ok.
Note to the rest of the NFL:
Ladarius Green hasn’t even come close to reaching his ceiling. The best is yet to come and I’m glad that I’ll be there for the entire ride. So jump on the Ladarius Green bandwagon now while there’s still room. Because, come next season, there might not be anywhere to sit.
I think everyone would agree that the 2013 season was a success. Very few people truly anticipated our Bolts would finish 10-8, grab the #6 seed or advance to the AFC Divisional Round before finally having injuries catch up with them.
Philip Rivers is now deemed “fixed“. Rather, Philip adapted and thrived in the changes to the offensive scheme implemented by Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt and Frank Reich. Ryan Mathews ran harder and with more confidence than any other time in his brief career. More importantly, he overcame his label of being fragile and fumble prone. He played his best football with a high ankle sprain and he only fumbled twice, losing only one of those to the opposition.
Chargers #1 pick, D.J. Fluker got better as his rookie campaign progressed. He has a mean streak that I love and that has been lacking since the old days of Mike Goff, Kris Dielman and Nick Hardwick playing side by side. #2 pick, Manti Te’o also improved as the season went on, learning on the job after missing most of training camp with a foot injury. #3 pick Keenan Allen came out of nowhere and impressed the most jaded of fans and prognosticators. Last year’s #1 pick, Melvin Ingram made his presence felt when he returned from knee surgery in Week 13.
So, where do the Chargers go from here? NT is sorely needed to protect Te’o and Donald Butler. They need a space-eating NT to keep the opposing offensive linemen off our inside linebackers. Second in line is CB. We need someone who can cover effectively. Eric Weddell and Jahleel Addae can only protect weak corners to a point. Derek Cox certainly wasn’t the answer, and I’m not convinced Richard Marshall is either. They’ll get Johnny Patrick and Steve Williams back, but will that be the answer?
After that, pass rush depth is needed. They need to cut ties with Larry English. Will Dwight Freeney be able to come back from his injury? Will the Chargers bring him back? The best way to help your secondary is with a strong pass rush and consistent pressure on opposing QBs. Depth along the OL is needed. We don’t know yet if Nick Hardwick will be back. Can King Dunlap hold up for an entire season? Can Rich Ohrnberger play 16 games at C if Hardwick does hang up the cleats? Who plays behind Ryan Mathews? Ronnie Brown isn’t the answer, they need to get younger here. WR depth is another concern. If Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd don’t return, who plays opposite Allen and who will command Rivers’ attention?
Tom Telesco and McCoy have their work cut out for them this spring and summer. I’m confident in what they will do in 2014 considering how they worked with what they had in 2013.
I know I’ve raised more questions than answers. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
With the Chargers season being over, Tom Telesco gets to oversee his second offseason in San Diego. Overall, it’s safe to say that he captained an organization that was in desperate need of a confidence boost. He made a great initial impression last year mainly due to a great draft and commitment to an overhaul in culture in San Diego. Due to those to things, there are fewer off-season worries than usual even with such a small sample size of what the new front office is capable of.
Obviously it is far too soon to grade Telesco. No matter how good or bad he is doing, right now it is still clear that there is definitely a fresh new breeze roaming the San Diego air which gives fans heightened sense of hope for the future of the organization. Not only has the GM come in and done well, but so has fellow first timer head coach Mike McCoy who led the team to a commendable 9-7 record and 10-8 overall including the playoffs.
Continuing the trend of “first-timers”, Keenan Allen cannot be ignored as a key part of the Chargers success this season. His 71 catches for over 1,000 receiving and 8 touchdowns had him as one of the top candidates for NFL’s Rookie of the Year. Additionally, 1st round draft pick DJ Fluker proved to be well worth the pick and was, perhaps, the best offensive linemen in the entire 2013 draft class.
In all, this season was a tremendous step forward for this team as it sets in place a different culture in the league. Many pieces who were “rookies” within the organization stepped up to the plate and answered when their respective moments came. There is definitely more room for improvement as others will have their time to shine while those who did this year strive to make it a habit.
After somewhat of a writing hiatus, I am now back to the grindstone after the Chargers were ousted from the playoffs by the Denver Broncos. This season provided many ups and downs. Considering what Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy and company had to work with the 2013 season can definitely be considered a success.
As you all know, the Bolts advanced past the first round of the playoffs and eventually fell to Denver. During that game, and many others throughout the year, San Diego’s flaws became quite obvious. In this post I’ll breakdown the team’s needs all over the defensive side of the roster.
Despite improved play in the secondary, it is clear that the cornerback position must be addressed during the offseason. The Chargers finished with the 29th ranked passing defense. That is not going to get it done. Shareece Wright played hard and was tough during certain stretches of the year. But he was a bit inconsistent. Richard Marshall played admirably but was not a guy that you want starting in your defensive backfield. I am very interested to see what this year’s fifth round pick, Steve Williams can do next season after tearing a pectoral muscle prior to the season. The Chargers may look to address this need in both free agency and the draft depending on how the feel the play of Wright progressed as a starter on the outside. Wright had his share of plays and he was also exploited by some of the better quarterbacks in the league.
Sticking with the cornerback spot, the addition of Derek Cox was, without a doubt, a serious disappointment to say the least. After multiple benchings due to poor play, Cox was relegated to special teams play or occasionally coming in when another corner was injured. It has been said by Telesco that the team will try to work with Cox. But it would not be a surprise at all to see him cut in an effort to save a little bit of cash toward the salary cap.
On a high note regarding the secondary, the emergence of strong safety Jahleel Addae just might have eliminated the need to fill that spot in the upcoming draft or free agency. It is also seemed that Darrell Stuckey, who began to see the most defensive snaps of his entire career, is a solid backup. Oh, and there’s that one guy Eric Weddle. He’s pretty damn good. Adding a little depth to the safety spots wouldn’t hurt but the future there seems to be bright.
Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, we’ll work our way to the linebacking spots. Beginning with the inside backers, it is paramount that the team re-sign Donald Butler. He is a leader on this team and, despite a dip in play this year, he is a top 7 inside linebacker in this league.
Next to Butler is the highly talked about Manti Te’o; who it turns out has a real girlfriend, by the way. After missing the first three games due to injury, Te’o had a rough beginning to his rookie campaign. He had some issues adjusting to the speed of the NFL game and his inability to shed blocks was still the same issue he had in college. All of that being said, his play did improve over the season.
The Bolts have Reggie Walker, who plays both the inside and outside spots, Andrew Gachkar – special teams standout – and Bront Bird for depth at the inside linebacker position. Walker had a good year making plays when called upon. It might be necessary to upgrade over either Gachkar, Bird or both.
The outside linebacker position was hoped to be one of the strengths of the defense with Melvin Ingram entering his sophomore season and the addition of Dwight Freeney in free agency. The team already had a dominant edge-setter in Jarret Johnson as well. Then on May 2nd, the team’s second day of OTAs, Ingram tore his ACL.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Freeney was lost for the year during the week 4 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The Chargers were then starting Johnson and rookie sixth round draft pick Tourek Williams. As mentioned above, Johnson is solid against the run and constantly disrupting running lanes to the edge, but he is not what one would consider to be a threat as a pass rusher. Despite the high-motor play of Williams, he was a rookie making the transition for collegiate defensive end in a 4-3 to an NFL outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The learning curve appeared to be steep at times for the former Florida International product.
Without being certain what the future will hold for Freeney, the Chargers could look to add a future stud to the outside linebacking corps. Although Freeney is under contract through the 2014 season, there is no guarantee that he won’t retire or the team could even decide to part ways with him due to age and injury concerns.
Now on to the final portion of the Charger defense. Going into the 2013 season the defensive line was thought to be the strongest segment of the entire team. Although this would be the first year that Cam Thomas would be used as a starting nose tackle, he had the benefit of being flanked by both Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes.
The defensive line was a bit of a let down, as a whole, for a good portion of the year. Liuget had a good year and seemed to be playing through injury in the first few games of the season. He did begin to turn out it on and wreak havoc in the opposing team’s backfields as the season wore on. He put up respectable numbers for a 3-4 defensive end but 2013 showed that he needs better support from his linemates.
Thomas had a tough time making his mark and was bullied at the point of attack at times. The 2013 season could have been the last year that Thomas will be in lightning bolts. Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego has already been on record saying that he doesn’t anticipate Thomas will be re-signed by the Chargers.
The importance of a dominant nose tackle in a 3-4 cannot be overstated enough. For the 3-4 to be successful, you must have a space-eater that can take on double teams and win while collapsing the pocket. At this point, San Diego does not have anyone on the roster capable of doing a sufficient job at the position.
Then comes the play of Kendall Reyes. After seeing his outstanding play in 2012, this season was a let down of sorts for Reyes. He didn’t seem nearly as explosive and I didn’t see the same tenacity when engaging at the point of attack. He was able to make some plays but much more was expected of him. Again, this could be the lack of an impact made by Thomas in the middle. The hope is that we’ll see a rejuvenated Reyes in 2014.
In conclusion, the needs on the defensive side of the football seem to be obvious and the most prominent of those are at nose tackle and cornerback. There are some depth needs at inside and outside linebacker. The team may also need to look at adding another safety to the mix for depth purposes as well.
Thanks a lot for reading and in the next day or so I’ll be breaking down the needs for the Charger offense going into the 2014 offseason. This team overachieved in 2013 but it has a solid foundation to build upon for the future. I have complete faith in Telesco to do what it takes to bring the Chargers back into the upper echelon of the NFL. Hopefully he can get the Chargers back to the promised land and San Diego may bolt into the Super bowl and bring back the Vince Lombardi trophy to America’s finest city.
Only time will tell.
Touch screen nacho delivery? An app for ordering your beer? An app to find the closest parking spot?
It may sound crazy, but technology is infiltrating the NFL. The Eagles and the Patriots have already set up in-stadium Wi-Fi systems so that fans can connect their mobile devices to the network to Snapchat, tweet and Instagram as they’re watching the games.
The CIO for the NFL, Michelle McKenna-Doyle, told CiteWorld that Wi-Fi vendor Extreme Networks will now be able to gather analytics from NFL fans while they’re plugged-in at their favorite team’s games. Technology is developing so quickly today; that the possibilities for getting fans connected is nearly endless.
“Certainly a full stadium is the best fan and game experience so we do need to focus on making sure that happens,” said McKenna-Doyle. “Keeping it compelling and special will help us sell tickets.”
Of course, there is something to be said for sharing your experience with your social networks– you can always find me on Twitter or Instagram during Charger games. But what about actually taking the time to watch the game with your own eyes, instead of watching it through the lens of your iPhone? Some could argue (and I would) THAT is what creates the compelling experience.
We live in a world where we can give and receive information in an instant with just the click of a button (even buttons are becoming obsolete due to touch screens), and the NFL is trying to keep up with our ever-changing world.
McKenna Doyle also discusses the possibility of bringing technology to the sidelines, with hand-held tablets displaying the various play options for coaches. It seems to me that could lead down a slippery technological slope for what is and what is not allowed on the sidelines!
Whether it be sharing photos with your social networks, or ordering an ice-cold beer with a new app, technology is constantly evolving into new ways to get plugged in.
Tweet at me: @Mahryeuh
The Chargers lost their Divisional Round game in Denver as we all know. They were out played and out coached in all aspects of the game, losing 24-17. The game wasn’t as close as the score might imply.
I’m not going to get into the game here, and why I think they lost.
Even though the season is now over for our Chargers, let’s not forget they exceeded most expectations. I know a lot of people, myself included, who never expected to see Charger football continue into January. From that standpoint, let’s consider this season, the first under Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy a success.
Telesco and McCoy took over a royal mess from A.J. Smith and Norv Turner. They turned over half the roster and got younger at most positions. They made tough decisions like cutting ties with Jared Gaither. They had very little salary cap space to work within.
Overall, their top three draft choices paid dividends, especially Keenan Allen whom they STOLE in the THIRD ROUND. He broke John Jefferson’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie at 1,046. He spent the better part of the first two games on the sidelines until Malcolm Floyd got hurt. For the most part, D.J. Fluker and Mantei Te’o held their own, steadily improving week after week.
Philip Rivers looked like the Rivers of old, throwing for 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions. Ryan Mathews came into his own this year as well. Mathews ran for 1,255 yards, topping his previous high of 1,091 yards in 2011. More importantly, he fumbled only twice and only one resulted in a change of possession. He also toughed out an ankle injury that didn’t sideline him until the Cincinnati and Denver playoff games.
Given the success the team had this year, with all the holes they had, this offseason is going to be exciting. I look for Telesco and McCoy to be far more aggressive in free agency this winter and spring. I look for our Bolts to rebound from the disappointing loss in Denver and come back in 2014 contending for the division title and a deep run into the post season.
As most of you know, I scour the internet to find the best of the best when it comes to adding to the most significant of #BoltFam members. Well, lo and behold, I was fortunate enough to find a fan that might, just might, rival even MY love for your San Diego Chargers. Sit back, relax and take a second to soak up what this extreme diehard has to say about our team.
“I’m pumped, let me get a blindshot on Brady!” -Preston
Booga- For starters, when and why did you become a Charger diehard?
Preston: It all began in the 80’s. Where I lived, in Charlotte, NC, we didn’t have a team. That playoff game versus the Miami Dolphins where Kellen Winslow was carried off the field cemented my love and appreciation for the Chargers. I was only 7 years old and what child does not appreciate or dig the presence of a lightning bolt?
Booga: What has helped you sustain your love for the Chargers considering that you’re on the opposite coast of your favorite NFL team?
Preston: Hmmm. I have never looked back. Before the internet, I didn’t have much to go off of besides the boxscore in the newspaper. I was fortunate enough to have a Sports Illustrated subscription. So I was able to follow the Chargers from afar, but I refused to allow that distance to hinder my ability to support the team that I truly loved.
Booga: Who is your favorite Charger of all-time and why?
Preston: In North Carolina, there is a full-circle notion. When in North Carolina, what could be finer than to live in Carolina. My twist on that has become what could be finer than a Charger from Carolina. The finest example of such, is none other than Natrone Means.
Booga: If you were to have been able to attend any game in Charger history, what game would it have been and why?
Preston: That would have to be the AFC Championship at Three Rivers Stadium versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is simple, that was the one game that sent our San Diego Chargers to our first, and only, at this point, Super bowl.
Booga: What was your initial reaction to that game and our first Super bowl berth?
Preston: Oh man, like I won the lottery. Like all was right in the world. It felt like I was dreaming.
Booga: What was your feeling behind the firings of both Norv Turner and AJ Smith?
Preston: To be honest, it was the SECOND greatest day, for me, when it comes to being a Charger fan. I realized that it was time for Norv to go when it was easily predictable what the next play was going to be. I lost my full confidence in his ability to call plays successfully. As far as AJ is concerned, minus the allowance of Buster Davis being drafted, seeing him battle with Vincent Jackson for a long-term contract left a lot to be desired.
Booga: What is it that you expect out of the 2013-14 Chargers going forward?
Preston: I would tell you this…. we’ve experienced good, we’ve experienced great, but we have yet to experience that special, elusive trophy. It feels as though THIS is the time for the fans of OUR San Diego Chargers to feel the necessary love and redemption of that final piece of the puzzle. That trophy named after VINCE LOMBARDI!
Booga: Regardless of your diehard status, what is your final prediction for tomorrow’s game?
Preston: Danny Woodhead has his biggest game of his NFL career and the Chargers handle their business with a 31-20 victory.
P.S. Melvin Ingram will knock Peyton Manning out of the game in the third quarter. Some call it an injury; I call it THUNDERSTRUCK! Pay close attention to my predictions. If they aren’t accurate, blame Booga.
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it! This man was as serious about his love for the Chargers as anyone that I’ve ever met. His passion and love for the Bolts is not only to be admired, it is to be replicated by those of you that might have any doubt regarding this team.
I’d like to thank Preston for taking the time to do this interview. I have no doubt that the #BoltFam will truly appreciate and love the opportunity to read about this diehard from the other coast! Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter, @pdiddu!
To the ladies of the world that love our great sport of football, on the behalf of the men of the world, we salute YOU! Ask any sports loving, red-blooded American male and we will all tell you, there are not nearly enough of you. After what seems like a lifetime of dating, pretty close to eight out of ten women rolled their eyes at me when the subject of conversation turned to football or sports in general. At one point about a decade ago, I even forsook the entire regular season for a woman. She wanted us to be together on Sundays and her idea of a fun Sunday was craft fairs, going antiquing or playing with her cat.
My fanaticism with the Chargers began when I was 7, so I was a full blown Chargers addict by this time. At the time of this romance, the Chargers were in year four of the Ladainian Tomlinson era. I fooled myself into thinking she was more important than football. It took those regular season months and the growing withdrawals I was suffering to realize the importance of common interests. We liked very different things. I realized that no degree of hotness makes up for a year without football. A year without football leaves a void inside that must be filled. Antiques are just old stuff. And I hate cats. By the end of December this experiment was over but I rejoined the party too late. The Chargers won the AFC West by going 12-4, (of all the seasons to sit out) then Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding forgot how to kick and missed three field goals in a 20-17 loss to the Jets in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The football gods had smote me for my insolence and taken my team out of the Super Bowl mix for good measure.
It was at that point I decided I would never let a woman keep me from my Chargers again. Football was added to the dealbreaker list. Thankfully, I will never have to deal with that problem again.
My beautiful wife Dawn is as fanatic a football fan as I am. She knows the entire team roster. She knows each player by just their number. Her commentary on the game is better than the announcers on the broadcasts. She can give you her team’s history going back to her childhood. That alone was enough to make me fall in love with her. The only problem is, her favorite team is the Denver Broncos. Great… Division rival. Opposite ends of the couch twice during the regular season. The Broncos are the toast of the league this season and now to make matters even more interesting our teams are on a collision course Sunday for the right to advance to the AFC Championship.
There will not be opposite ends of the couch for this one. Separate buildings on the opposite ends of town is the plan for this trilogy game.
Many have asked me, ‘What’s it like to have a wife that’s a Broncos fan?’ She is the mirror image of me. She roots as hard for them and yells at the TV more and louder than I do! (That’s saying something…) She is ready to defend her team with facts and stats at the drop of a hat. Same as I do. She endures my Chargers fanaticism as I do her Broncos fanaticism but there’s no doubt looking at each others’ colors burns our eyes.
We are insufferable when it comes to our teams, which is the way it should be. We both hate the Raiders with the fire of a thousand hells. Again, as it should be. I will say this. As beautiful, charming and awesome as she is all around, if she was a Raiders fan there is no chance we would have even dated! Talk about dealbreakers, that caveat was at the top from day one! If you’re a Raiders fan its just proof you don’t make good life decisions! She takes losses harder than I do but the Broncos haven’t lost much this year, just three times.
As a long suffering Chargers fan, we’ve become accustomed with the Chargers finding new, excruciating and imaginative ways to lose over the last four years. She scours Twitter (@dawnwilliams83) to find injury reports and news. Ask anything about any Broncos player and she knows. She’s like a female John Clayton. I admire that.
I can only imagine what it must be like for her having to endure this rivalry from the opposite side. Instead of me speculating, I am going to turn over the keyboard to her and let her tell her side of the story on what it means to be married to a herald of the rival team. Enjoy.
First off, I can’t believe my husband gave up a football season, for a woman. I dated a European guy once, who knew and cared nothing for American football. Well that was just too damn bad, cause I watch football on Sunday. He endured the bars with me a couple times, and he once, even tried to cuddle up to me during a game. Are. You. Kidding. Me? The conversation went, in a nutshell: “Don’t fucking touch me while I’m watching the game.” I guess you see why that relationship failed!
Greg is correct, I do know my roster almost top to bottom, and I refer to them by their first names, and sometimes by nicknames of my own imagining IE Derek Wolfe is “Big Sexy.” What? I’m AM a woman! I am definitely louder than my husband while watching a game, and I can be exceedingly vulgar. During the Patriots game, I was at work, and I can’t believe I didn’t get in trouble for screaming that Tom Brady was a “Sissy fucking whiner.” Good thing I work at a sports bar 🙂
I am from Oregon, and people ask me CONSTANTLY why I am a Bronco and not a Seahawks fan. People who believe you can only be a fan of your local team drive me bananas. It’s simple, my dad was born and raised in Denver, he’s a been a die hard fan since childhood. I was raised in a house where you were a Bronco fan, or you could go live somewhere else. The son of a family friend once tried to walk in our door with a Raider hat on, my dad snatched it off his head and lit it on fire. Does that explain it well enough? And just for the record, my mom was a Chargers fan before she met my dad, albeit mostly because she had gone to school with Eric Castle, but I will forever find it funny that my dad converted her, but Greg will never turn me. I got my Bronco tattoo in 2003, and I will forever wear it proudly.
My husband and I share the same sentiment about Raider fans, and while we’re at it, the Chiefs. But since the Chargers are the lesser of the evils, I made an exception when I met Greg, and I’ll never regret it. This Sunday, it was MY idea to be separate. Mostly because I want to strangle Greg while watching our teams play, in a regular game. I’m not into starting a marriage challenging fight during the playoffs. I’ll be at my bar, where there is a large contingent of Bronco fans, probably with my phone off. And if, IF my boys fall through, I may consider staying with a friend, for a couple days. You think I’m joking. I am rabid, faithful and beyond passionate.
That being said, I am also not blindly faithful. I know Denver’s defense leaves a LOT to be desired. The run D has been seriously lacking since we lost Big Sexy, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the field Sunday. Whatever neurological ailment befell him, seems to be stumping doctors. And NOBODY has a clue as to why Wes Woodyard hasn’t been seeing a lot of snaps. It’s a mystery of epic proportions. I can only hope that the world becomes right on it’s axis again, and he starts tomorrow. Everybody knows what it takes to beat the Broncos. Don’t let them have the ball. Which is why the Chargers were able to beat them in December, the above mentioned horrendous run defense. That being said, losing to the Chargers might be the best thing that could have happened to the Broncos. Now there will be no bravado (you hear me Ihenacho?), there will be no underestimation, there will be no slack. There will, however, be focus, determination and, I imagine, a whole lot of fire. Bring it, San Diego, we’re waiting.
So, what’s it like to be married to the enemy? Well, I am hot tempered when it comes to my team, so it sucks. But usually only twice a year. Obviously this is uncharted territory, and nobody knows what the outcome will be. Also, sleeping with the enemy is pretty awesome 😉
Afterthought: I hereby swear that I won’t rub the loss into my husbands face, too much, for the first 48 hours.
There you have it friends and neighbors, the most awesome football loving wife on the planet! This game is definitely going to be a test of faith. Our emotions are affected by our teams. Neither one of us will be able to look at the other without thinking of this game because these are the playoffs! One of us will be happy next week. The other will be swearing under their breath because we know the other person’s team caused our favorite team’s exile from the playoffs. It may take all offseason to get over the result of this game. Lest we not forget, the winner will have bragging rights until the first head-to-head matchup next season. There is a LOT riding on this game and neither one of us wants to lose!
So to answer the question it is tough, challenging, intense, competitive and passionate being married to the archrival of your favorite team. I am and always will be a Chargers fan. She is and always be a Broncos fan (unless I find a way to convert her. Impossible or not, I will try!) In the end, I can always brag to other guys (psst…my wife knows who the mike linebacker is…) How many guys can say that?! My wife’s eyes light up when I mention going to games which is a uncommon response among the general populous of women. Don’t believe me ladies? Ask the guy next to you. I lucked out finding her and I will forever love her for that.
If we lose I will hate her for a few days because all I will be able to see is that damn Broncos head in my mind’s eye and she will understand. As will I. It’s gameday.
Til death do us part.
Can any of you smell that? That’s the smell of playoff football in the air. Having our San Diego Chargers be a part of that postseason-aroma is incredibly satisfying. But is it enough? Is just being in the playoffs enough after missing the dance the previous three seasons?
To answer that question quite simply, no. Sure, I did not view this team as a playoff-caliber squad back in May. Despite predicting a 7-9 team with the capability of sneaking out a victory or two on top of that and sneaking into the postseason, I was certainly leaning toward the 7-9 mark.
What a difference a season makes.
The Chargers just so happen to be the team that many experts are proclaiming as the team no one wants to play. Although they came in as the sixth seed, the Bolts are perhaps the hottest team still going, save San Francisco. As we all know, the Chargers travel to Denver for their third contest of the 2013 season. The teams split victories in the regular season. But it wouldn’t have mattered to me if the Broncos had swept San Diego in the regular season had the Chargers still made the playoffs. This is the game that counts. This is the game where the Bolts can get one step closer to that ever so elusive Super bowl appearance.
Despite having been to the big game once before, this Charger squad seems to me to have a much better chance at advancing, and perhaps, bringing home the hardware that everyone in the league works so hard for throughout the year. If you haven’t guessed it yet, my expectation for our Chargers is for them to make us the most proud that they ever have in all of their years as a football organization. It is an expectation that carries on this week to Mile High. Like the venue for the game, my expectation is, indeed, a mile-high.
If this team is the team of destiny that we all keep hearing about, then perhaps that trophy with the gleam will be hoisted in New York by the boys from San Diego. And what a feeling that would be. I am not sure I can even imagine it. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t have to imagine it. Perhaps we will all get to be a part of history. But that all starts by getting this win in Denver on Sunday.
When the Bolts selected Manti Te’o with the 36th overall pick in the second round of last year’s draft, the Notre Dame linebacker came into the league with a dark cloud hovering above his head. Widely considered a top-5 draft prospect heading into his last season with the Irish, strange off-the-field happenings took place during that season that undermined his draft stock. Te’o turned out to be a victim of a relatively new social media scam called “catfishing”. This occurs when a scammer assumes a persona, creates an entire false identity and then uses it to swindle unsuspecting victims. Manti believed he had met a special young lady online in 2009 and, in turn, fostered a relationship with her though internet posts, texting and phone conversations. In September 2012, Te’o was informed that this “girlfriend” had passed away suddenly. He then used this “tragedy” as fuel during his final collegiate campaign. When the truth of the scam became public, many began to question whether Te’o was in on the scam all along. Some thought he had used the fake death as a way of garnering nationwide sympathy and support in his push for Heisman Trophy votes. (For a detailed timeline of all of these events, follow this link: http://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-manti-teo-girlfriend-hoax-story/story?id=18268647) Te’o has continually denied any involvement in the bizarre tale, but there are plenty of people out there who still hold the whole debacle against him. Te’o says that he uses that distrust as motivation to excel in the NFL. As far as I’m concerned, I feel bad for the guy and want to see him succeed on the field…period! He’s a San Diego Charger now and that means he’s one of us.
When asked about his impressions of Manti after drafting him, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco replied, “We did a lot of work on Te’o and I’ve seen him for a number of years. He loves football. He’s passionate about it. He loves to practice. He loves to play.” It was clear that the organization was excited to be adding Te’o to the mix. The preseason, unfortunately, was unkind to Te’o. He suffered a foot injury just a few plays into the first game, sidelining him for the rest of preseason. No games and, more importantly, no practices. There is a lot to learn as a rookie linebacker and Manti did his homework mentally, but nothing prepares a player better than being out on the practice field going through the motions- physically- with his teammates. This would set his development back significantly. Once the foot healed and Te’o was cleared to play, expectations were sky-high in San Diego. Fans expected to see him jump in and make an immediate impact. That didn’t happen. Te’o was routinely out of position, unable to disengage from blockers and looked lost in pass coverage. The lack of preseason work had taken its toll. Four or five weeks into the regular season, it was commonplace to read tweets from disgruntled fans proclaiming Te’o a “bust” and a wasted draft pick. As a coach myself, I know how important training camp is in any sport- but especially football. I held out hope that Te’o could, and would, pull it together. Secretly, however, I began to wonder if the adversity he was facing was simply going to be too much for him to overcome. Time would tell.
During the final four weeks of the regular season, throughout the Bolts’ improbable playoff push, I began to notice Manti disengaging from blockers much better. In some cases, he would put a little side-step on the incoming blocker allowing himself the ability to slide right past the block entirely. He was attacking more now and seemed in better position more of the time. Sure, there are still plays when it is obvious that he’s still a rookie out there getting his feet under him. In Sunday’s playoff win against the Bengals, however, I saw Te’o taking on 322 pound lead blocker Domata Peko with no fear! I witnessed him take the big hit from Peko, slide underneath and grab the ankle of BenJarvis Green-Ellis. Add a tackle-assist to his game log. More importantly, add a ton of respect from an excited Chargers fan base…
The future is never certain and things can change in a heartbeat, but right now- I am very excited to watch Manti Te’o continue to grow and mature into the All-Pro linebacker that Tom Telesco envisioned him to be last April!