Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Hello, Charger nerds! The time has come to break down the 2014 schedule for those of us devoted to the Bolts this list will affect our fall and winter a lot more than most of us would like to admit. Let’s take a minute to break down the schedule in a serious way. Let’s look at this schedule from our point of view. You know the die-hard fans. The offseason is long, football-starved fans can resort to NFL game rewind. Hell, last offseason I trolled YouTube for Air Coryell era games because I was so starved for football.

We get so hungry for games we even resort to watching preseason games! But if you are a true football nerd and you love your Chargers you want to see the bottom of the depth chart. You’ll watch those preseason games because, maybe just maybe in week 13 when the back-up of the injured back-up comes in you can turn to your confused friend and say, “Relax, he made a crucial tackle in week 3 of the preseason.”

After this long season the NFL continues the torture of Chargers fans by putting our first game dead last of opening weekend again. Outside of 2011, when we had a home opener on a Sunday against the Vikings , we almost always have to wait till the bitter end. When half the football nerds have collapsed into beer induced comas we are just warming up.

I don’t claim to be Boltstradamus, but here is what I thought about the schedule. For the record I can’t help but say WE when I talk about the Chargers. I know I can’t get close to field without paying half of the money I earn in a week, but my heart is so tied to this team. So deal with it! This is OUR season. Get charged up!

 

Chargers Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern because on the west coast we are used to doing the math)

 

Week 1: Monday, Sep. 8, at Arizona, 10:20 p.m.

I’ve already complained about it. As an opening game goes it is a pretty good one. Bruce Arians has this team playing better than most AFC playoff teams. The good news is Rivers and crew get fired up on the road. The late start means that we play on national TV, yet only the west coasties will be awake. Last year the Bolts came out fired up but were not able to hang on. The east coast just assumed we beat the Texans. Let’s hope that the locker room has finally exorcised the spirit of Norv and we can hold on to beat up the Cards.

 

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 14, Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

Playing two NFC west teams is huge test at the start of the season. Four years ago this division was joke, now we have a great test playing the defending champs in week two. Thank the Football gods this one is in San Diego, a late season game would have insured 12th man Daygo vacations. So I’m glad it is week two, but our home opener still might have it’s share of 12th men and women. Last year the Bolts won a lot of stunners, and lost a few that were equally head-scratching. We can hope, right?

 

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 21, at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

No one wants say it is an easy game. I know Rivers and Hardwick point out that they play fine in the cold, and that has been true. That said, I’m glad as I am sure they are not going to be playing just east of lake Erie in December. The early start will force Bolts fans to set alarm clocks. Serious fans will have to annoy the not-so-diehards to remember the game is happening. The good news is that early starts have been good for the road dog Chargers.

 

Week 4: Sunday, Sep. 28, Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m.

This should be a fun home game. The Bolts were lucky to get the Jags last year before they started to gel. Gus Bradley should have this team playing better. Which big-ticket draft pick do we get to break in?

 

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 5, NY Jets, 4:25 p.m.

Two weeks in a row we get to sleep in and take our time getting ready for the game. The Jets should not be the mess that they were last year. It is important that we take care of this stretch. We need these wins in the bank.

 

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12, at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.

RAIDERS! Is there ever a bad time to beat the Raiders. I expect we will see a rookie QB. Whose career will they be ruining by this time?

 

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19, Kansas City, 4:05 p.m.

The Bolts have a pretty good streak against KC going. Who knows what KC will be like? Last year’s Chiefs winning streak was smoke and mirrors. They played about 42 back-up QBs last year. I only worry that the team will have their eye on Denver only four days later. Good thing this is at home.

 

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 23, at Denver, 8:25 p.m.

Last year’s Thursday night game in Denver was magic for the Bolts and us fans. I don’t think we can sneak up on them again. Can’t win them all guys.

 

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2, at Miami, 1 p.m.

So this will be a weird game. Last year the Bolts played their most frustrating game (in my opinion) and lost in that stadium. This is a weird one coming in between two off weeks. Can they bring energy? I think this will be the one we should win, but it will drive us crazy. We will lose this in some stupid fashion. Something in the vein of the 1 yard of doom against the skins last year, or the Nightmare before Christmas in Detroit a few years back.

 

Week 10: BYE

Re-connect with your family. Actually allow yourself to work on a Sunday. Relax and watch games without getting heartburn.

 

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16, Oakland, 4:05 p.m.

The only people happy to see the Raiders come to town are the bail bondsmen. The Faider nation will send a horde of fans who look like Gwar roadies. Many will get arrested in the gaslamp the night before leaving open seats in the stands. I think a well-rested Bolts will win this by 35. We’ll see Kellen Clemons in 4th.

 

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 23, St. Louis, 4:05 p.m.

The Rams will be improved and in many ways this is the game that starts the long hard stretch at the end of the season. Many of you will see this as the last Sunday where they can half-way relax. NFC west…don’t relax.

 

Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

The Ravens have been a tough team for years. I am not positive that they will be contenders at this point. As long as we don’t get white out snow I have a feeling we will be in good shape on this Sunday. Road dogs!

 

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7, New England, 8:30 p.m.

Huge game. The bright lights, Carrie underwood singing our boys out of the tunnel. This is an important game I expect this will have a lot to say about play-off seeding. Showing up and making the environment at the Q hostile is key. It’s on you, folks!

 

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14, Denver, 4:05 p.m.

Brady and Manning coming to our house back-to-back. Are you kidding me? I expect Rivers to shine, like he did when he played the Mannings back to back last year. This part of the year is when we will see the value of spreading the running load between D Brown and Mathews. I expect Bolts fans to be riding high after this one.

 

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 20, at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m.

This one scares me like a laxative. I have a feel this game is a buzzsaw. I think Charger fans will lose a lot of the amazing energy built up over the last couple weeks. The sky will seem to be falling. Thankfully the next game is…

 

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28, at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Ending on the road at Arrowhead would scare a lot of teams. Rivers has owned KC’s defense the last couple years. I think KC will be in freefall and basically shut down.

 

A Charger season will have highs and lows. What I feel best about is Rivers. I expect him to have the best year of his career. McCoy and Telesco had a great first year, and I only expect bigger and better things out of our bolts next year. We need it as we have the 4th toughest in the league. I’m fired up how about you? Show me your lightning bolt, people!!!!!

 

David Agranoff

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Yesterday, per a tweet by Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego, it was said that Bradley Roby is on his way to America’s finest city for a visit.  Despite a 2013 collegiate campaign that showed very frustrating tape on Roby, he has been mentioned by some to be the most athletic cornerback in this draft class.

 

 

Roby has the ability that NFL general managers covet in a cornerback.  That is, if they ignore the tape from 2013.  I am sure there’s a strong chance that Jared Abbrederis just beat him again.  Now, when you look back to his performance during the 2012 season, you see a guy that looked to be a prime candidate to be the number one corner off the board.

The need for a number two cornerback in Chargerland is real.  Shareece Wright is penciled in as the number one.  But the other starting spot is wide-open.  The team re-signed Richard Marshall and snagged former-Bengal Brandon Ghee in free agency to help supplement the secondary.  Additionally, last year’s fifth round draft pick, Stevie Williams, is returning from a rookie season that ended before it had begun.  Williams tore his pectoral muscle in the preseason game versus the Chicago Bears.

If the Bolts and Tom Telesco were to pull the trigger on Roby in the first round, I wouldn’t be overly upset.  The question surrounding Roby is whether you’re getting last year’s version or the 2012 player.

What are your thoughts?  What would your reaction be if the Roby is drafted by the Chargers?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.  Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

VanNoy

 

 

Everyone and their dog has a mock draft out these days. The Greg One is not one to be left out of the fun, so here it is, people. I’ll be adding one more to the ever growing list of seven-round educated (and not-so educated) guesses called a mock draft. I have been keeping an eye on prospects and listening to the talking heads on tv and radio for some perspective. Mind you, these are the same pundits who predicted the Chargers would finish at the bottom of the AFC West last season while your friend The Greg One correctly predicted the Chargers record within one game (my guess was 10-6) and the Chargers making the playoffs when none of the ‘experts’ would. Sometimes the best information comes from someone close, passionate about their team but also sees their team realistically. Suck on that ESPN!

Also keep in mind that in my 2013 Chargers mock draft I was one pick away from being dead on. I had the Chargers choosing Alabama guard Chance Warmack as the Chargers selection and he was chosen one pick before the Chargers selected, going to Tennessee with the 10th pick right before the Chargers picked at 11. The Chargers took Alabama right tackle DJ Fluker and had a great season. Still, I had the position (offensive line) and even the school (Alabama) correct, which is more than Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay did. Now that I’ve built my pundit resume to impossible, only a dead on pick will do kind of level,  here is my Chargers seven round mock draft!

Round One: Louis Nix III, DT Notre Dame.  The Chargers have a gaping hole at defensive tackle after the departure of Cam Thomas this offseason. The Chargers are left with Sean Lissemore and the injured Kwame Geathers as the only nose tackles on the roster. There is no one of note left on the free agent market which makes this the biggest priority to fill through the draft, slightly ahead of the secondary. CB’s Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard and Bradley Roby will be long gone as will safeties Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Calvin Pryor. Nix is the best pure nose tackle in the draft and will be reunited with teammate Manti Te’o, easing his transition to the team. Renewing the chemistry they had in college will be an added benefit on the field.

Round Two:  Kyle Van Noy DE/OLB BYU. The Chargers are keeping a close eye on Van Noy, who has had a visit with the team and has said he would love to play for the Chargers. Van Noy is a high motor, disruptive force blitzing from the edge. His specialty is rushing the passer but drops into coverage very well and is solid against the run. Van Noy will be a great addition from a depth standpoint and has outstanding veterans around him to learn from. Even with offenses designing plays to go away from him, Van Noy logged 68 tackles with 17.5 for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and seven batted balls.

Round Three:  Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama. Kouandjio stock is dropping after a sub-par showing at the combine including a failed physical. His surgically repaired knee has received a clean bill of health from the esteemed Dr. James Andrews. The Chargers will most likely trade up, sacrificing a late round pick (6 or 7) to get high enough in the order to make the selection, but taking advantage of another first round grade talent will be too impossible to ignore. The Chargers again reunite teammates as Kouandjio becomes the bookend on the left side to D.J. Fluker on the right side of the offensive line.

Round Four: The Chargers trade their pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the rights to wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The troubled wide receiver was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft after two seasons as an All-American receiver for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Blackmon is currently suspended following his second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and was recently cited for a one-car incident when he ran his SUV into a guard rail  and landed in a ditch last month. Fortunately, there was no alcohol involved which would’ve lengthened his suspension. Blackmon can apply to be reinstated before the start of the 2014 season but chances are the Jaguars may be looking to rid the locker room of his presence.

A change of scenery and a fresh start with a new, contending team can be the perfect scenario for the 24-year old Blackmon. A bona fide deep threat, he will provide the perfect complement to Keenan Allen. Blackmon was only making 1.2 million so a new contract will be easy for GM Tom Telesco to negotiate.  If the opportunity is there, Telesco should make the deal.

Round Five: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon. Telesco wants to improve team speed and you won’t find many in this draft faster than De’Anthony Thomas. At Oregon’s pro day Thomas posted a 4.34 and 4.35 40 yard dash times. Thomas is electric in the return game as he had four return touchdowns for Oregon in his three-year career. Thomas was a standout member of Oregon’s track and field team anchoring the 4×100 relay for the team that made it to the 2012 NCAA Championships.  Thomas is a great 10-15 carries per game running back but does not have the body to be an every down back. He can be a specialty back in the vein of Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead as he is a great receiver out of the backfield and operates best in space.  Speaking of whom, Woodhead is on the second year of his two-year contract with the Chargers. Thomas would be a great insurance policy/heir apparent if Woodhead gets injured or leaves in free agency next season.

Round Six: Terrance Mitchell, DB Oregon.  Mitchell’s stock dropped at the draft combine when he ran  a 4.69 40-yard dash time. Mitchell is a little undersized at 5’11 but makes up for it with impressive ball skills and instincts. Mitchell stared 38 games for the Ducks and played in high-profile games against the best receivers the Pac-12 had to offer. Mitchell had five interceptions last season as a season-long starter. Mitchell’s excels in press coverage and knows how to use his hands and body in coverage. Mitchell is a playmaker who will also be a valuable contributor on special teams.

Round Seven: Michael Sam, DE Missouri. Sam was the story of the day for about a week when he came out, making him the first openly gay player to take the field in the NFL. However, the story didn’t do anything to his draft stock and he has been forgotten amidst all the draft hoopla. Sam would be a fantastic bargain here as the Chargers are woefully thin all across the defensive line. Like Te’o the year before him, San Diego will provide shelter from the harsh media scrutiny of other NFL cities and allow Sam to thrive.

The Chargers most likely won’t have a seventh round pick. I expect the seventh round pick to be used in a trade up scenario or in the Blackmon trade. Similarly, a team like the Ravens or Steelers will take Sam in an earlier round. However, he will be a late day three pick if he gets chosen at all. If he’s there the Chargers will take him but if he’s gone and the pick is not traded the Chargers will more than likely stash a quarterback like they did last season with Brad Sorensen.

I only took one defensive back because the Chargers will also gain the services of defensive back Stevie Williams, who was chosen with a fifth round pick in last season’s draft. Williams missed all season with a torn pectoral muscle.

The (mostly) unintentional coupling of past teammates will only serve to improve team chemistry and provide a mentor-like relationship in the cases of Fluker and Kouandjio; Te’o and Nix. The team adds valued speed with Blackmon and Thomas and the defense gets much-needed depth with a handful of blue chip prospects.

 

What do you think Boltfam?

 

Bolt Up!!

 

#TelescoMagic

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Brown

 

 

To say that the 2013 season was a disappointment for Vincent Brown might be an understatement.  Or was it?  After being selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, Brown has had a tough time making his mark. Despite flashing great ability, on a team that has hoped he would be a major contributor, Brown has yet to make a major impact in the NFL.  And without sounding like I am piling on the former Aztec, he had a few issues on route progressions as well.  It has appeared, at times, that he is not on the same page with San Diego’s favorite son, Philip Rivers.

When Brown was selected by AJ Smith I must admit that I was stoked.  He came into the league as a solid route runner with great hands and an ability to high point the ball and attack it with his hands.  Brown’s route running more than makes up for his lack of blazing speed.  The question remains whether or not Brown can be a consistent and effective number two wideout in the league.

As much as I would like to continue to believe in his potential, I must be honest and cognizant of the fact that the “P” word will get your ass sent out of the league in a hurry.

That being said, I expect Vincent Brown to have a breakout year in 2014…… Say what?!?!?!

I have expressed my opinion regarding the need for Brown to step it up, and I expect him to do just that.

“Wait a second, Booga.  You have made it clear by taking a wide receiver in the first round of your mock draft that wide receiver is a huge need??”

Yup, it is.  But who the hell am I?  I still have hope that Brown will be the PERFECT compliment to the 76th pick in last year’s draft.  But how much stock should I put into my own beliefs?  I tend to think that I have a decent grasp on the NFL and its workings.

I’ll leave the question to you.  Do you think Vincent Brown will rebound in 2014?  Let me know by voting and supporting your vote while leaving a comment below.

 

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Booga Peters

 

 

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With the NFL draft fast approaching – and it can’t get here soon enough – we here at BoltBlitz.com are preparing to add to our team to ensure the most Charger coverage possible.  Although I am always looking to add talented writers, now is the time for us to make a push to bring on between 5 and 10 people who would like to write about your San Diego Chargers.

If you are interested in being a member of the staff here at BoltBlitz, please email me a short writing sample to boogapeters@yahoo.com.  These are all unpaid positions as we don’t currently do any advertising or make any money.

We have a very good staff here but I want to make sure that we are giving you as much information and coverage as possible.  For those writers that are more experienced than others, there is an opportunity among the 10 spots to be added as a Senior writer.  The only thing I ask of the Senior writers on staff is that the produce at a higher rate than the staff writers.

I always love doing this because it’s really cool to get a chance to read pieces from Charger fans all over the world.  I am really looking forward to talking with all of you and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions that you might have regarding the process.  You can get a hold of me on Twitter, @BoogaP, in addition to sending the email.

 

Booga Peters

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After hearing the news that Malcom Floyd is expected to begin practicing with the team when it begins some of its voluntary team workouts, I must admit that I was seriously torn by the announcement.  I suppose that I should have prefaced that statement by saying that I’m neither a doctor nor do I play one on television.  ( Sadly, I truly find myself to be funny.  My apologies.)

Despite the obvious need for a solid wide receiver opposite of Keenan Allen, I must admit a certain bit of trepidation about Floyd returning to the NFL in any type of playing capacity.  Perhaps my worry is completely unfair.  It’s also a safe bet to remind everyone that I am a blogger, just in case you were unaware of that fact.  But, let’s be real, neck injuries are nothing to be taken lightly.  I guarantee that I am not the only fan of the Bolts that hated hearing about how slow the recovery process had been going for the acrobatic wideout from Wyoming.

When looking at Floyd’s career with the Chargers, he has only been able to play in 16 games once ( 2009).  When adding in a serious neck injury, the expectation level for him to participate and play a 16 game season should be considerably tempered.  To say that his career has been riddled by injuries is an understatement.

Going into the 2013 season, the hope for Floyd to emerge as a possible Pro bowl talent was high.  Prior to the injury of Danario Alexander, the team had the workings of DX on one side with Floyd on the other.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the drafting of a particular receiver out of Cal by the name of Keenan Allen.  I was ecstatic looking at the wide receiving corp.  Add in Eddie Royal and I was drooling all over my notes and laptop.  And then the inevitable injury to DX prior to the preseason and Floyd would suffer his neck issue in the victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was a scary scene on the field when Malcom went down.

I am not one to question a person for doing something they love.  It really isn’t my place.  I’ve just always respected Floyd and looked to him as one of my favorite Chargers.  I’d hate to see him come back and suffer an additional injury that could, perhaps, be career-threatening or even worse.

How do you feel about the return of Malcom Floyd?  Please leave a comment below and get the conversation started.  Thanks a lot for reading.

 

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

Fuller

 

 

With less than three weeks until the NFL draft, draftniks everywhere are beginning to tighten up their mock drafts in a futile attempt to prognosticate where each future NFL player will end up come May.  The latest edition of my Chargers 7 round mock draft will be out in a few days.  ( Ahem)

Without sounding disrespectful to myself or others that enjoy doing mock draft work, it’s all a total crapshoot.  The same can be said for the “experts” in the NFL.  The actual success rate for anyone that participates in mock drafts is generally very low.  That being said, I am very hopeful that the mock in question for the purpose of this post is right on the money.

In a two-round mock draft by Bucky Brooks of NFL.com, he has the Chargers electing Kyle Fuller in the first round and then following it up with the second round selection of Louis Nix III.  How would that make you feel, BoltFam?  I have no problem admitting that I would be ecstatic.

It is my opinion that Kyle Fuller would be a great fit in San Diego.  He might even be my favorite corner in this draft.  Fuller has the size and skillset to be highly effective in John Pagano’s defensive scheme.  And it goes without saying that the cornerback position is certainly in need of an upgrade opposite of Shareece Wright.

As far as the Nix III choice is concerned, if he were to actually fall that far into the second round, there’s a solid chance that he will be the best player available; one that just so happens to fill another huge need for the Bolts.  When watching tape of Nix III, you really need to start with the 2012 game footage to get a better idea of what he is capable of on the field when healthy.  The 2013 collegiate season showed a player hampered by injury issues.  Again, the value of Nix III at the 57th pick would be a no-brainer for San Diego.  I can’t say that I would be incredibly disappointed if the Chargers felt the need to pull the trigger on him in the first round.  But adding him in the second would be the ideal situation in the drafting of Nix III.

Well, this is where I ask you for your opinion!  Please leave a comment below to tell us how you would feel about Fuller and Nix III in lightning bolts.  Thanks a lot for reading and I look forward to your comments.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

Merriman

In a post by Wrestlezone.com, it appears that Shawne Merriman is signing a deal to join the WWE.  The former San Diego Charger linebacker is rumored to have been flirting around with the idea for a bit and has already had ties to the WWE.

In an announcement on a podcast that features John Layfield an Michael Cole, Shawne Merriman will be “joining the WWE family.”

In an instragram picture that was posted by Rey Mysterio Jr., the wrestler was posing with Merriman and included the hashtag, “future WWE star.”

According to the report by Wrestlezone, Merriman made a special appearance in 2008.  He was also recently on a pre-show panel for Wrestlemania 30.  Additionally, he had a tryout with the WWE back in October but was not signed then.

Although I used to try to watch the WWF as a child, I haven’t really paid any attention to wrestling for quite a while.  That being said, I wish Merriman nothing but the best.  I think it’s really cool that he’s going to have another career to focus on.  I have enjoyed watching him on NFL AM and other various shows that air on NFL Network in which Merriman has been a part of since his playing days in the league.

Despite the tumultuous end to what began as a brilliant NFL career, I hold no ill will toward Merriman.  I know that lots of Charger fans do, though.  I would ask that you take a moment and think about some of your mistakes and indiscretions. Though many people look up to NFL athletes as heroes, it’s extremely important to remember that these athletes are people just like you and me.  It just so happens that they are incredibly athletic and their God-given physical prowess is most likely far better than most will ever achieve.

 

 

Again, I wish Shawne nothing but the best and I have little doubt that I’ll try to catch a match or two of his to support him and his next venture.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

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So far we have introduced you to several of the people who cover the Chargers for the media. Let’s take a look inside at some of the people you don’t hear about in reports on the team. Jesse Arroyo was the photographer for the Chargers for 10 years. Many of the photos you have seen in the LT and Merriman era were done by Jesse. So, let’s get to know Jesse Arroyo.

 

Tpowell: How did your love of photography and football come about? How and when did you become a fan of the Chargers?

Jesse: Love for football definitely came first.  I remember at 4 years old in Minnesota watching Vikings football at home with the family.  I was an inquisitive kid and wanted to know all about the rules and structure of the game.  I loved the way football incorporated all kinds of athletes from the strength of the O and D linemen to the speed of the receivers and defensive backs.

The move to photography came about by accident.  I sold Apple computers, film scanners, and Photoshop software to photographers.  When photography went digital it fell right into my lap because I knew all of the back-end digital processing.  I bought a digital camera to enhance the web pages I was designing and at the time more people were interested in digital photos than web pages, including my boss at the Chargers where I was interning at the time.  Soon after I was doing both photography and intern assignments and then eventually moved over exclusively to photography.  Photography is my art and my expression. In many respects it’s a dream job.

I became a Charger fan when my family moved to San Diego during the Air Coryell years.  Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler, John Jefferson, and Chuck Muncie were among my favorite players.

Tpowell: What were you responsibilities when you were the photographer with the Chargers?

Jesse: I was listed as an associate photographer and handled miscellaneous assignments from several departments.  I helped start the fan photo sections in the Tailgate Times and the Chargers.com website.  I shot community relations and PR photos of Charger special events such as the Gatorade kids camps and Charger training day at MCAS Miramar.  During training camp and game days I shot football action, cheerleader performances, VIP field visits, sponsor signage, a little bit of everything.

Tpowell: What kind of access were you given?

Jesse:  Technically I had access to all areas except locker rooms, but every once in a while I’d receive an assignment that would take me into locker rooms as well.  The only place I’ve never been into is the visiting team’s locker room.

Tpowell: You were working during the Marty -AJ era. What was that time like? The overall majority of the fans believe it was all AJ fault. I don’t believe this to be true. Seemed both men had their flaws in the relationship. How was it for you to be around and observe that dysfunction?

Jesse: The Marty – AJ era was one of the most exciting times in Charger football.  The famous 14-2 season in 2006 was the peak of my time with the team.  AJ and Marty both deserve a lot of credit for helping turn around a team that at one point was 1-15 under coach Mike Riley.  Of course not everything was perfect.  I saw and heard enough to know that even before the media blitz came, that Marty and AJ were reaching a boiling point.  One thing is to read about it in the paper, another is to observe it in front of you and even be an unlikely participant of a spirited discussion with one of them.  Both men are very intelligent, had strong characters and had masterful knowledge of football, yet both had similar flaws.  They both could have benefited from being more flexible on their stances.  I highly respect both men and believe that they both shared equal part of the blame.  Ultimately it was not that either was not a good football person but rather they were just not compatible professionals.  I supported Dean’s decision in releasing Marty in spite of the 14-2 season.  Heated debates at the top have a resonating effect throughout the organization and has an effect on morale and production.  The following season under more easy-going conditions the team was able to pull off their first playoff wins of the era and nearly captured their first trip to the Super Bowl.

Tpowell: Being up close with the players as you were, What do you feel some of the misconceptions are about some of the players in the NFL?

Jesse:  Probably the biggest misconception is that many overly critical people think that many pro football players are just thugs who hang out at late night spots and do bad things.  Many people who make this claim do not interact with the players and have never been to the late night spots they mention.  My work takes me frequently to late night spots and well as community and charity events.  I see who is there and what people do.  The vast majority of players are not troublemakers.  They are family men and all around great guys.  Many are strong in moral character and spirituality.  Many fund and participate in charitable causes that improve the neediest areas of the community.  We need to give more media attention to the good guys rather than just tear apart the very few bad guys who are by far a small percentage in the NFL.

Tpowell: You were on the field when LT broke the single season TD record. What was that moment like and what did it feel like to be so close while watching history take place?

Jesse:  The advantage of studying hard and becoming familiar with the team, the players’ tendencies, and the game of football in general is that I can, in certain situations, anticipate a play.  When I received my assignment to take up a position on the field’s edge and be ready to shoot the record-breaking TD I chose the back of the end zone by the goal post.  I anticipated that LT was going to jump over the Bronco D line and into the end zone.  My vision was to capture LT flying through the air towards me.  Sure enough Lorenzo Neal and LT both lined up in the “I” formation and at the snap they began to run straight ahead.  As LT took the hand off from Rivers the play hit a snag.  Neal stumbled and fell to the ground early.  The play was technically broken but LT, being the gifted athlete he was, cut to his left and raced towards the left pylon and in for the TD.  I didn’t get my dream shot but was super happy that LT got his record-breaking TD.

Tpowell: You were up close and personal with the players. You saw the injuries that they deal with that teams either hide or the players hide. Given that, what do you  think of the new rules to make the players safer? Do you think it’s gone to far, not far enough or right amount of rules for today’s game?

Jesse: The players, especially the stars, are what drives the NFL.  Making sure they are upright is in the best interest of everyone.  although I like to watch bone crushing hits just like anyone else I do see and support the need for player protection.  Some of th e head hunting and bounties being paid to severely injure an opposing player is deplorable.  Hopefully technology will enable sports companies to design better protective gear to properly protect players from injury but until then the longevity and integrity of the came must be protected so that we can see as many of our stars on the field as possible.

Tpowell: You wanted Mike McCoy all along. I’ve learned the Chargers thought they had no shot at McCoy because Denver was probably going to beat Baltimore in that Playoff game. When he became available they pounced. What do you think of the job he’s doing along with Telesco? What attracted you to him? Sure seems night and day from AJ Smith would you agree?

Jesse: McCoy was on my short list of coaches to replace Norv and after I heard some of the results of the interviews McCoy was moved to #1 on my wish list.  There’s a saying in Rome where popes are elected, that a fat pope usually follows a skinny pope.  The saying highlights leaders of two extremes where one is brought in to remedy the shortcomings of the other.  Chargers head coaching hires have followed a similar pattern.  Hard core Kevin Gilbride was replaced by easy-going Mike Riley, who was replaced by hard-core Marty Schottenheimer, who was replaced by easy-going Norv Turner.  What the team needed is a balanced leader.  McCoy is a strong leader who is also flexible.  He understands that along with a solid playbook there needs to be a positive working environment.  He saw the benefit of incorporating the strengths of various coaches and players around him and worked to orchestrate a winning team based on what everyone does best while moving at the tempo of the QB.  This was a stark difference from AJ and Marty who seemed to just push their own agendas, which at times conflicted with each other.  Many people didn’t buy into McCoy and Telesco at first but I believed in McCoy and gave Telesco the benefit of the doubt based on the success of the Colts the year before and his long history working with Bill Polian. I predicted a 9-7 season with a 6th seed playoff appearance.  My prediction was right on, for once.  LOL

Tpowell: You don’t seem to be a big fan of the Media in sports. Are your disagreements with more national reporters or local alike?

Jesse: I wouldn’t say that’s entirely true.  I am a big fan of sports media.  I grew up reading news articles and listening to sports talk on the radio.  Much of what I learned about football I attribute to sports media.  I still enjoy sports media to this day.  My beef is that it seems in recent years some reporters have a hidden agenda to look for dirt on a player or a team and exploit it. This practice compromises the integrity of the game and the league, and cheapens the fan experience.  The other issue I have is when journalists are overly critical of a team without doing the correct research on the topic they are criticizing the team on.  It leads to disseminating improper facts and misguided opinions.  This misleads the fans and creates unnecessary anger towards the team.  During the Charger games I spent a lot of time working directly with the fans and spent a great deal of time clearing up misconceptions they had of the team.  Local writers and national writers both have their strengths and weaknesses.  I don’t think either is to blame more than the other.  I do give props to those who are straight shooters, take the time to do the proper research, and tell it like it is.  Good or bad.

Tpowell: Your profession has now taken you on your own as a photographer. You’re also mentoring my daughter in her modeling career. I thank you. You’ve established yourself as one of the most popular photographers in San Diego. I’ve seen your posts at weddings, concerts, and many events. Take some time to promote yourself. What are you doing mostly now?  If a Charger fan is in need of your services, how can they find you?

Jesse: My web address is www.ArroyoPhotos.com.  People can contact me there regarding photo and video services and to check out samples of my work distributed via social media.  After my time with the Chargers I signed on with UT San Diego.  Now I shoot all around the county during all times of the year.  I also have my own freelance practice and team of assistants.  We do mostly company events, weddings, and other special events.  It was great working with you and your daughter for her prom photo shoot and I look forward enjoying the upcoming football season with you and your family.

 

Editor’s note:  On behalf of BoltBlitz.com, I’d like to thank Jesse for taking the time to do this interview.  In the past, his unique perspective is certainly something that we can all take and learn something from.  We wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors while no longer covering the Chargers.  

 

 

Qualcomm

 

 

Yesterday the NFL released the preseason schedule for all 32 teams in the league.  As much as some fans do not enjoy preseason games, I actually love having the opportunity to see some fresh faces get out there and earn their lightning bolts in an effort to better this franchise.

The preseason will kickoff with a rematch of Super bowl XXV between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants in Canton, Ohio. That was the game where Scott Norwood pulled what would have been a  game-winning field goal wide to the right.

 

 

When looking at the preseason opponents for the Chargers, the thing that sticks out immediately is San Diego will be facing three different teams in both the preseason and regular season.   This seems to be very uncommon but I look at it like I do inclement weather during a game; both teams have the same advantages and disadvantages.  Here’s a quick look at the preseason schedule for the Bolts.

 

Week 1:

Dallas at San Diego

( Two years ago the Cowboys and Chargers faced off in the preseason at Qualcomm.  Vincent Brown broke his ankle on a TD. )

Week 2:

San Diego at Seattle

( Coming off of a Super bowl championship, Pete Carroll and company are a common preseason foe for the Chargers. )

Week 3:

San Diego at San Francisco

( I was really hoping the 3rd game would have been at home due to starters see their most playing time. Worth a trip to San Fran? )

Week 4:

Arizona at San Diego

( At this point the roster will be pretty much set in stone.  There shouldn’t be any flux in the naming of the 53 man roster. )

 

After the team opens up the preseason at home, they go on the road until the final week where they return home to play their last game.  Despite the fact that the final score in preseason games counts for practically nothing, I do like the fact that the Chargers play solid teams.  Organizations like the Seahawks and 49ers are those that the Bolts should be taking notes on and the more exposure they have to them, the better.

Again, it’s just the preseason but that almost means we’re getting that much closer to the games that count.  Year two of this new regime should be very exciting as the team will look to make an even deeper run in the playoff in 2014.

 

Booga Peters

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