Monthly Archives: May 2014
Espn released their first NFL power rankings for the upcoming 2014/2015 season. The Chargers come in at 16 after having been in the AFC Conference Semifinals against the eventual AFC Champion Denver Broncos. The Bolts won four straight to end out the regular season and qualify for the playoffs in a division where three of four teams were playoff contenders. Then, as we know, they beat the third seeded Cincinnati Bengals on Wild Card Weekend.
The Bengals are ranked 10th.
In fact, of the teams the Chargers played in 2013, which are currently ranked above them according to Espn, San Diego had a record of 6-2. The only two losses came to the same Bengals in week 13 and Denver in week 10. Of the teams the Chargers beat in 2013, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Denver, Kansas City, and Cincinnati all rank above them.
San Diego played Kansas City twice, as per usual, and won both contests.
Four of the fifteen teams ranked above San Diego did not make the playoffs. Chicago and Baltimore are two of those teams, and both went 8-8. Baltimore and Atlanta both finished third in their respective discussions, did not make the playoffs, and Atlanta finished the season with a record of 4-12. To repeat that, the 4-12 Atlanta Falcons are ranked two positions higher than the Chargers.
Understanding that this is a reaction to post-draft, post-free agency maneuvers by teams, it still makes little sense that the Bolts would be ranked below several of these teams. Adding three to four potential day one starters (again) through the draft alone, it’s puzzling as to why the rankings experts would slot the Chargers this low.
Playing the underdog won’t be an issue for this team, in fact, they’ll likely relish it. It’s a young team, and yes, somewhat unproven, but the achievements of 2013 should clearly warrant more praise than is being given.
see the rankings here http://espn.go.com/nfl/powerrankings
I have never done this before, but this post was a comment left by Nick Colonna on one of our articles on BoltBlitz.com. After checking with Nick, I’ve decided to post it so that more Charger fans get a look at what I find to be a very solid outlook on the Charger draft class. Enjoy.
I am guilty of making mock drafts way too early each year. Once the Superbowl is over, I dive straight into big boards, college tape, highlight reels, and start making my own mocks. I completed a full 7 round mock, addressing all 32 teams’ needs along the way. This made it pretty interesting after the real NFL Draft. I got to see where the Chargers’ talent was rated when I started doing mocks, and a final one a week before the actual draft. So to analyze, I’ll go through all our (Chargers) picks and a couple of undrafted free agents and say how they were ranked overall in comparison to all the guys coming out of college.
Chargers Draft 2014
Round 1: Jason Verrett, CB, 20th overall on my big board. I absolutely love Jason Verrett. His only knock is his size which is something he more than makes up for with his vertical, explosiveness, quickness, ball skills. I’ve always been a fan of Brent Grimes and Verrett reminds me of him. Short guy who plays big.
Round 2: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, 33rd overall on my big board. A pass rush specialist who gets to learn from Freeney, pretty happy about that. Freeney contract is up at the end of this year and Johnson is getting up there in age, this pick (as long as it pans out) will solidify our starting OLBs for years to come (That’s if Ingram stays at OLB of course).
Round 3: Chris Watt, G, 146th overall on my big board. This pick caught me off guard (no pun intended) only because I thought there was value with other guys at this point. However, Watt could potentially be the replacement for Hardwick when he retires or the replacement for Clary or Rinehart if/when they leave. Jerome Watson, whom many fans of the Bolts know, broke his tape down in a great article which convinced me that this pick was alright.
Round 4: Traded away but we kind of got it back with a certain UDFA. I’ll get to that later.
Round 5: Ryan Carrethers, NT, 113th overall on my big board. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I had Keenan Allen flashbacks in the 3rd round. I kind of feel as if the Chargers were waiting on Louis Nix to continue his fall and they’d snatch him up in the 3rd round. A 1st round talent with issues so his draft stock plummeted. When Houston picked him, they went ahead and grabbed someone else they had targeted. My personal theory during draft day, I could be (and probably am) completely wrong. When I saw that Carrethers was still on the board in the 5th, I knew he’d be the pick. A big, strong, hole-plugging nose tackle who was surprisingly productive in college.
Round 6: Marion Grice, RB, 173rd overall on my big board. A TD machine who can do damage in the return game. This pick and the Donald Brown signing (ESPECIALLY the Donald Brown signing) felt like the beginning of the end for Mathews. It’ll be interesting to see how Grice is used with Brown, Mathews, and Woodhead already in rotation. Once injuries arise, he’ll be a key asset.
Round 7: Tevin Reese, WR. 246th overall on my big board. A speedster who will more-than-likely be fielding returns during OTAs and the preseason. If he can work on his catching, he could be a nice deep threat. He is very raw and needs work. Much like all late round picks, low risk, high reward.
Jeremiah Sirles, OT, 257th on my big board. If Dunlap/Harris can’t stay healthy for all 16 games, the Chargers are going to need another tackle to hold down the position. He has the size (6’6″, 315 lbs) but lacks fluid movement and explosiveness. NFL.com’s draft profile notes he “takes to coaching and is an extremely hard worker;” something the Chargers organization wants out of football players.
Alden Darby, SS, 218th on my big board. I love Jahleel Addae at SS but the Chargers could always more DB help (much like the o-line situation). Darby can play any DB position making him extremely versatile. He’s overcome a lot of adversity (grew up in a very bad neighborhood) and has continued to. He works extremely hard, was a team leader, had the honor of wearing the Pat Tillman jersey in practice (hard work and leadership) and has make-it intangibles that could resonate with a coaching staff and inspire a locker room (NFL.com).
Chris Davis, CB, 115th overall on my big board. This guy is the 4th round talent I was talking about. Most know him for his game against Alabama. He’s a very talented punt returner. According to CBSsports.com, he has “very good balance, elusiveness and vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hands as was evidenced in his kick-six return to beat Alabama.” Not only that, Davis can excel in the defensive scheme the Chargers run. He’s not a man-to-man guy, but can be great in a zone heavy scheme. I will be watching him a lot this offseason on TV and at Chargers Park during open practices.
Thanks go out to Nick for contributing this post to the site. He doesn’t know it yet, but he won the Manti Te’o autographed picture for his comment and allowance for the site to use it as a post.
In my last article we looked at some of the UDFA’s and try-out players that could contribute to the team. Following up with that, I had the chance to get one of my favorites, Gustave “John” Benthin, on the phone.
My first impression is that this is a guy who loves football and is excited for the chance to prove himself. He know’s he has an uphill battle but relishes the challenge.
As I mentioned in the last article Benthin comes from Western Oregon University, a D-2 school in the Great Northwest American Conference (GNAC). He put up very good numbers at his pro-day including 36 reps of 225, 35″ vert and 9’3″ broad jump at 299lbs.
He played against lesser competition in the GNAC but he consistently beat that lesser competition as he should have. John was extremely disruptive in the backfield with double digit career sacks and TFL. He was productive from every position on the defensive line in various fronts.
Now without taking up any more of your time with introductions, here is the interview:
Matt – How did it feel getting a call to come try out for an NFL team coming from a Division 2 school in the GNAC?
John – “It felt good ya know, I’m just thankful for the opportunity. as you know a lot of guys from D-2 don’t get the chance to prove themselves So I’m really thankful for a chance.”
Matt – The Chargers are in need of d-line depth, best qualities you have
John – “I feel like my physical play is the best quality I have. High motor. I like to show that I’m not afraid of contact.”
Matt – I noticed you looked kind of like a bully, like you like to throw offensive linemen around. Is that something you take pride in? that mean streak?
John – “I definitely think thats something I take pride in, I like to go out there and show them I’m here to play and I’m not going to give up no matter how many times they come at me. When they come at me hard, I just come back at them harder and show ’em I’m not stepping down for no one.”
Matt – What are one or two things you think you may need to work on?
John – “The small technical things like my hand speed and movement and more diverse moves overall. I came from small schools so I have never had an opportunity to learn from top of the line coaches so I’m excited to add that to my game.”
Matt – I saw that you wrestled in high school. Do you feel that gives you an advantage on the d-line as far as creating leverage for yourself, etc?
John – “Yeah definitely. I feel like thats one of the ways I know how to get past the offensive linemen is cause all of wrestling is about balance and getting the other guy off balance and how to use my momentum to get through them.”
Matt – Did you get calls from any other teams?
John – “Yeah I had a few other teams call with try-out offers but the Chargers were the first ones to call so I stuck with them.”
Matt – What have you been up too since the season ended?
John – “I’ve just been training and my pro-day was obviously a big day for me so there was a lot of training leading up to that. Basically just a lot of training trying to stay in shape and get better physically.”
Matt – I saw you lined up all over the place on the defensive line at Western Oregon, some at NT some split out at DE, some at DT in a 4 man front. Did you have a favorite position on the line?
John – “Well I just really like to play football and hit guys so I told them ‘wherever you want me to play I’ll play. My favorite spot was probably the 3 or 1 tech but I really like to play everywhere. The 1 tech was probably my favorite because it’s the quickest route to the QB ya know?”
I would like to thank John for his time and invite all of you to wish him luck in his tryout for our Chargers!
The schedule’s been out for about a month. The draft has come and gone. I like what our boys did in this year’s draft. In the interests of full disclosure, I was wrong last year. I said 7-9 from the beginning, and the Chargers definitely exceeded my expectations. That said, here’s my prediction for the 2014 season:
Week 1 (@Cardinals): NFC West isn’t the toughest division in the league just because of San Francisco and Seattle. Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald. Secondary has their work cut out for them. Philip Rivers against a Cards’ secondary including Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers and Antonio Cromartie. Cards’ weakness is probably in their pass rush and running game. 27-24 Bolts. (1-0)
Week 2 (Seahawks): Arguably the team to beat in 2014. With Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and company, they just have too much for the Chargers at this point in time. 28-17 ‘Hawks. (1-1)
Week 3 (@Buffalo): Stop Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, stop the Bills. Sammy Watkins drafted to replace Stevie Johnson is really the only weapon I see in the pass game for EJ Manuel. Their front 4 looks tough with Mario and Kyle Williams, but not tough enough. 37-17 Bolts. (2-1)
Week 4 (Jaguars): Can you say doormat of the NFL? Chad Henne is a pedestrian QB at best. No more MJD? Not that he’s the player he was a few years ago, but he was their most potent weapon. Toby Gerhart will never be confused for MJD. Their pass rush is getting old (Jason Babin 10 years and Chris Clemons 11 years). Because our boys have a habit of playing to the level of the competition, this game will be closer than it should be. 27-17 Bolts (3-1)
Week 5 (Jets): Geno Smith or Michael Vick? How soon before New York has yet another QB controversy? CJ2K won’t really upgrade the Jets run game, newcomer Eric Decker further enhances a good corps of receivers and Rex Ryan will never field a bad defense. Dee Milliner is coming off a good rookie year at CB and their LB corp are anchored by Calvin Pace and former Bolt Antwan Barnes. I give this one to the good guys in a close 24-21 affair. (4-1)
Week 6 (@Oakland): The Raiders upgraded this offseason, and the pressure’s going to be on GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Dennis Allen to show progress in exchange for continued employment. Key acquisitions include Justin Tuck, Lamar Woodley, Matt Schaub and MJD. Schaub is not as bad as he showed last year. MJD is an upgrade simply because he’s a tad less fragile than Darren McFadden. Drafting Khalil Mack was huge for them. Hold on to your pom poms folks! We drop this one on the road 28-24. (4-2)
Week 7 (Chiefs): Honestly, I respect the hell out of Andy Reid, but I thought KC played over their heads last year. Their defensive front is still a unit to fear with Dontari Poe, Mike De Vito and Tama Hali, but keep them at bay and their secondary, short of Brandon Flowers is nothing to be afraid of. On offense, the WR corps begins and ends at Dwayne Bowe. The loss of Dexter McCluster in the pass and return game left a big hole. Stop Jamal Charles and stop the KC offense. Bolts 38-24 (5-2)
Week 8 (@Broncos): This offense won’t miss Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker that badly. Peyton Manning still has a TON of weapons at his disposal: Demaryius and Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball, et. al. The future first ballot HOFer, however, has had some of his worst games against the Bolts and Philip shines in the spotlight. I think we fall short this time 24-21. (5-3)
Week 9 (@Miami): We all remember this from last year. Make no mistake about it, Miami has weapons on both sides of the ball. The addition of Knowshon Moreno upgrades their run game, assuming Miami can get their OL in order. With the disarray last year in the locker room and on the offensive front, I don’t see where they’ve upgraded that unit. Defensively with Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan, their secondary is tough. Ryan Mathews should have a big day in this one. Bolts get their revenge from last year 30-21. (6-3)
Week 11 (Oakland): The hated Raiders after a bye week. Doesn’t get much better than that! No sweep for Al’s ghost. We win this one handily 42-24. (7-3)
Week 12 (Rams): The weak link in a very strong NFC West. So far, Sam Bradford hasn’t translated to the NFL, partially due to lack of protection and weapons. Zac Stacy came out of nowhere last year in the running game. Tavon Austin was their biggest draft pick, and will upgrade the Rams’ WR corps. The defense will continue to improve in Jeff Fisher’s second year with James Laurinaitis at LB and Alec Ogletree coming off a strong rookie campaign. Watch Janoris Jenkins in the pass game and Rivers and co will be just fine. 33-21 Bolts (8-3)
Week 13 (@Ravens): Still one of the more formidable defenses in the defense dominated AFC North. They have gotten substantially younger in the secondary and that might be their Achilles’ Heel. Combine that with the enigma that is the Ravens’ offense and you have a close ballgame. Too much Ravens defense for my liking. 24-21 Ravens. (8-4)
Week 14 (Patriots): Sunday Night Football comes to San Diego. Philip Rivers vs. Tom Brady. Danny Woodhead playing against his old ‘mates. The despicable hoody-clad Bill Belichick. Will anyone have a big cardboard cutout of “Marsha Brady” like they did last year with the “Sheli” cutout? Adrenaline wins this one 27-24 Bolts. (9-4)
Week 15 (Broncos): Chargers and Broncos talent-wise are far apart. Heart won’t be enough. 27-24 Broncos (9-5)
Week 16 (@49ers): 49ers are damn good on both sides of the ball. The addition of Stevie Johnson adds to an already talented WR corp of Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Jon Baldwin. Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore make a strong backfield. Colin Kaepernick has a ton of weapons. Defense isn’t too shabby either with NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks. Aldon Smith? Who knows? Too many weapons on offense for the Bolts to overcome. 34-27 ‘9ers. (9-6)
Week 17 (@Chiefs): We sweep this divisional rival (34-21) to go 10-6 on the year.
Now, will it be enough to earn a playoff berth? 10-6 should contend for both a wild-card berth and the division title. Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco have done an outstanding job considering the salary cap restraints they’re under.
Look for Keenan Allen to continue to grow and become the team’s unquestioned #1 WR. Ryan Mathews will have another outstanding season and Philip Rivers will continue to thrive in the no-huddle, quick decision and release balanced offense McCoy has put together for him. It’s going to be an exciting season. What’s your prediction?
2011 Draft grades
So it is a long story but life got in the way of my Chargers coverage. The same weekend Tommy Telesco and the Bolts selected new players I was super busy. The draft was held the same weekend as The World Horror Convention which is the Super bowl of my profession, so I couldn’t break down the draft like I normally would. Then I got to thinking, if you listen to most football experts they will tell you over and over that you can’t grade a draft class for three years.
I know this is like asking a Charger fan to open a long scarred over wound, but I thought I would grade the 2011 draft class overseen by AJ Smith and Norv Turner. I am super happy with the first two drafts by McCoy and Telesco, but we are still rooting for a team put on the field in part by Norv and AJ. So How did they do?
Corey Liuget, 1st round, 18th overall, DE
What they were thinking:
AJ and his team had not yet found anyone to replace Jamal Williams who really push the line, stop the run and take up a double team on the front. Liuget played on a bad Illinois defense, but his highlight reel was impressive.
Liuget’s best game was probably in 2012 on the road against the Jets. The defense set a franchise record that day. Liuget and Reyes abused Jets starter that day Greg McElroy. I am not surprised the dude retired from the NFL the next year, I am surprised he didn’t in the 3rd Quarter.
A-. Sure, Liuget has yet to make a pro-bowl but he has been a key contributor on our defense in moments when things are going right. He is often inches from making plays in the backfield, hopefully this year the draft of Carrethers at NT and Attaochou on the edge will open up the blocking and we will see him dragging down some quarterbacks. I also think it is important to note what happened last year in the preseason game with Chicago. For three plays in a row Liuget was brutally abusing Chicago’s line and Jay Cutler. Liuget was pulled from the game and we didn’t see him until the Monday night opener. We have now learned he played the entire season with a shoulder injury. That tells us that the man has big heart, and the play we saw in the 2013 campaign might have been affected.
Marcus Gilchrist, 2nd round, 50th overall, CB
What they were thinking:
Gilchrist is a player that the Bolts needed. He played both safety and cornerback during his time at Clemson. I think the versatility was the main draw, but his football IQ and ball hawk skills were important too. Remember we were still living with Jammer on one side and Cason on the other.
Gilchrist has been a big contributor, some standout moments include an amazing sack of Peyton Manning during our Thursday night upset in Denver. Another was a key interception against KC in Arrowhead. If you go further back he intercepted the first pass ever throw his way. He did have some negative plays most notably dropping a game-ending interception against the Titans.
B. Asked to play CB his first two years he has been playing a lot safety and cover of slot receivers. Is he elite? No, but his play has been solid and important.
Jonas Mouton, 2nd round, 61st overall, LB
What they were thinking:
College Totals – include 44 games played and 34 starts, 264 tackles, 18 tackles for loss (-56 yards), three sacks (-28 yards), four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and seven passes defensed. This was the start of the Bolts trying to get young at the linebacker position.
Crickets, that is what you hear.
Vincent Brown, 3rd round, 82nd overall, WR
What they were thinking: After all the headaches with AJ had with VJ no one expected VB to be the VJ, but he was a key wide-out. The third all-time leading receiver in San Diego State history with 209 catches and 3,110 yards. Youth, speed and play making ability.
During his rookie campaign Brown averaged 17.3 yards per catch,. He finished his rookie season with 19 catches for 329 yards. He burst on the scene with a Thursday night perform in Oakland, he caught two touchdowns, that involved amazing catches and he had to really fight for the ball. Last year he started the season strong with a great Touchdown against the Texans. It was an effort play with fantastic Yards after the catch, stretching out to pylon. After Week Two Phillip Rivers raved on the Darren Smith show about a heads up play on 3rd and 2 that VB stepped and converted the play they never practiced before. Rivers was impressed that VB stepped up in the moment just after Malcolm Floyd was knocked out of the game.
C. Hard to say since his first year was affected by the lock-out, his second was lost to IR and last year was his first full year. VB disappeared in the second half of the season. He was a ghost during the two play-off games. This is an important year for him. At this moment he is not looking like a good pick.
Shareece Wright, 3rd round, 89th overall, CB
What they were thinking:
AJ was clearly worried about the Cason and Jammer combo. Wright finished career with 127 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, one interception and 13 passes defensed. Also important in this draft he had 24 career special teams tackles and one blocked field goal.
Picking off Eli Manning never hurts when winning the hearts of Chargers fans.
C. Wright certainly played better than Free Agent Derek Cox, and improved his play throughout the final stretch 2013. I know it started out rough.
Jordan Todman, 6th round, 183rd overall, RB
Less than zero.
What they were thinking:
Norv defended this pick on the radio often. Todman racked up 200 all-purpose yards against Pitt in a game Norv watched. Apparently Norv’s son was working for PITT or something like that. The idea was that he would be the new Sproles.
F. Bustola. Ended up with the Vikings mid-season after a week or two on our practice squad, they eventually released him too. Desperate Jags finally gave him snaps.
Stephen Schilling, 6th round, 201st overall, OG
What they were thinking:
I have no idea why AJ took Schilling at this point. This was before our O-line started it’s meltdown.
His rookie year however was when the O-line started melting down. Schilling ended up at ground zero on a Thursday night against the Raiders. That night we had so many injuries even die-hard Charger fans who actually watched week four of pre-season were wondering who was protecting Rivers. He played an important role in stabilizing the line.
B-. Some of you are scratching your heads. That is a high-grade for a 6th round offensive guard. That is just it. He did fantastic from where he started.
Andrew Gachkar, 7th round, 234th, LB &ST
He has not had a ton of key plays but has been a solid back-up.
What they were thinking:
Honorable mention All-Big 12 by league’s coaches as senior…Missorui’s Special Teams Player of Year as freshman in 2007…finished career with 208 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles, five recoveries and two interceptions.
A-. Drafted 173 picks after Mouton, he played in 44 more games him. Drafted to be special teams player but filled in at Linebacker. Mixed results but still a value pick.
B-. I almost gave a C grade, but if you consider 5/7 of the picks have become role players and are 4/7 are still on the roster I feel like this is a good but not great draft for the Chargers.
David Agranoff is the wonderland award nominated author of three horror novels including Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich. A die-hard Chargers fan who can be followed on twitter @DAgranoffauthor
Although I’m always looking for solid writers, I am wanting to ramp it up as the preseason slowly approaches. I am looking for people who truly want to write and have the availability to do so. I am not asking for folks to be Sports Illustrated-quality writers. I am looking for individuals that want to take the time and effort to be a part of something that is truly about to take off. And if you live in San Diego, that’s a huge plus.
If you have the time and capability of doing one or two posts a week, please email me a small piece of your work. You can email it to email@example.com.
We already have a very diverse staff of writers from all over the world. But I am seriously interested in adding a large number of writers prior to the preseason. There is plenty of time for those that are interested to submit a piece of their work. I am especially interested in adding a few more female writers to the site.
I love and respect my staff to the highest degree. But real life happens. I need people who are willing to produce and be a part of all of the excitement that this site has in store.
I am not, necessarily, looking for people with prior writing experience. I am looking for writers that love the Chargers and have good content.
I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you that have been waiting to have your opinion posted on a larger scale than the comment section of our blog and/or other sites.
If you think you have the time and knowledge to join this team, send me a short piece of your work to take advantage of the opportunities at hand.
As most know, giving out draft grades before pads are even put on is quite silly, after just one year it is still difficult to grade a class, yet there is at least a sample of NFL production to lean on. Keep in mind Telesco’s first draft class, as good as it has started off, can get even better as CB Steve Williams has yet to play at all due to being sidelined all season with a pectoral injury. This will just be an evaluation of my opinion of the top two talents the San Diego Chargers brought in via the draft and how I believe them to contribute to the team. It just so happens that the two guys I like the most, were the first two names Telesco sent for in the 2014 draft.
We will start with Jason Verrett. Verrett was the first name I associated with the Chargers 25th pick as soon as we were officially slotted there. Verrett, as everyone knows by now, is short. At 5’10” the TCU graduate is not ideal height for his position, but there was a reason he still went in the first round. Jason led the nation with 30 passes defended and 8 interceptions which shows he plays taller than his height indicates. The path he took is also a commendable story as he was not a highly scouted recruited out of high school, forcing him to go to JUCO and later committing to Texas Christian University. His height coupled along with the lack of recognition his talent received while maturing on the gridiron was the chip on his shoulder in college and is what I believe what will be why he will be a great corner for years to come in San Diego.
Jeremiah “Jerry” Attaochu was one of my favorite players in this entire draft, let alone the Chargers’ draft class, which is why I had him mocked to us in the third round way back in March. While I did not think too highly of trading up for him I still love the guy and can not be any happier that he will be donning powder blue. At 6’3″ 252 lbs, Jerry brings in versatility in the pass rush which was heavily needed. At the very least, he comes in and pushes Ingram to play his best football in order to win playing time. But as a second round pick we traded up to get, Jerry will be asked to do more than just challenge for a spot, I am sure he will start as a “situational” rusher and earn his playing time via progress on the field, not just practice.
When the Chargers found Malcom Floyd as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in 2004, his height and acrobatic catching ability brought a certain excitement to San Diego. Well, at least for those of us that were even a little bit familiar with Floyd as a Wyoming Cowboy. During his senior year of college he put up 63 receptions for 834 yards and 6 touchdowns. Solid numbers from a program that lacked solid quarterback play.
Floyd, formerly number 13 as a rookie, has graduated to a player that has had a very positive impact on the field when healthy. Unfortunately, his health has been his biggest issue. The man has had some terrible luck and, what some may consider to be, a fragile frame. As a lengthy wideout, that may get up off the ground even when not needed, Floyd has suffered a litany of injuries throughout his career. The Charger wide receiving corps is in need of a reliable number two opposite of second-year wideout Keenan Allen. The hope, after not taking a wide receiver until the 7th round of the 2014 draft, is that Malcom might be fully recovered and position himself as San Diego’s number two. That is where he is best fit.
Floyd, again, when healthy, has been a favorite and trusted target of Philip Rivers. Rivers has built a rapport with Floyd that would include 17 throwing jumpballs up to the more-than-able receiver. More often than not, M80 has been able to come down with most of those balls.
When it comes to Floyd playing in 2014 and beyond, my true concern only has to do with life after football. HIs neck injury was incredibly scary and his rehab could easily be described as slow-going. The last thing that I would like to hear regarding Malcom is that his insistence on returning to the field ends up with him not being able to carry on his life off the field in a “normal” manner.
Let me make this clear, Floyd is one of my favorite Chargers in the last 10 years. His ability to make the big play when it counts is something worth watching. I understand that the doctors would not clear him unless he was physically capable of doing so. BUt, life happens. The sports we love and adore is unpredictable and violent. I am not the type to tell a grown man what he should, or shouldn’t do. But I must admit that I have a bit of trepidation regarding M80 returning to the field.
My opinion is just that; it’s my novice opinion. But I am a compassionate person that looks at situations as the father I am. I can’t imagine watching my son or daughter return to the game after suffering countless injuries, much less one as serious as the one he suffered against the Eagles last year. His time down on the field had me extremely concerned.
The NFL is full of players that are incredible athletes with the ability to recuperate at an unimaginable rate. So, far be it from me to act as though I know what these men should do. All I can hope is that they do what is in the best interest off themselves and their families.
What are your thoughts on M80 returning to the field? et me know by leaving a comment below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
In the first year of the new regime in San Diego, the Charger offense came to life. It was clear that this was a team that was going to pound the rock in the running game and get the ball out quickly in the passing game. San Diego used its rushing attack to grind out the clock and wear down opposing defenses. Although the redzone scoring as a running offense was lacking, the team proved to be adequately efficient churning out yards on the ground.
The aforementioned ground-game was led by Ryan Mathews, who had a career-high in rushing yards in 2013 with 1,255 yards. Mathews managed to stay “mostly healthy” during the regular season but was banged up in the divisional round loss to Denver. His absence was a major factor in the Chargers losing that game. That and a weak offensive gameplan that tried to attack through the air far too late in the contest.
When watching Mathews last year, you saw a runner that was physical and tough. He managed to finish his runs with authority and bring the wood to deliver the blows as opposed to absorbing them. He still needs to work on his patience in finding the hole and making the last guy miss. Additionally, he has to find a way to become more effective in the redzone, as hinted at above.
Through four seasons, Mathews has yet to score more than 7 touchdowns in a single season. Look for Mathews to continue to improve in what is his contract year with the Bolts. But that’s not the only reason to expect Ryan to have continued success. He’s got help in last year’s big free agent addition in Danny Woodhead and the team’s only major free agent signing during this current offseason, Donald Brown.
The signing of Danny Woodhead paid major dividends for the Chargers in a lot of ways. One of his most underrated attributes is his ability in pass pro. Danny is very intelligent at scanning the defense before and during the play to find the man that he is responsible for picking up when Philip Rivers drops back to sling it. To say that he is a receiving-threat out of the backfield is an understatement. Woodhead’s speed, quickness and above average hands allow him to create mismatches against linebackers and other defenders. Despite only two rushing touchdowns as a Charger, Danny managed to haul in 6 receiving scores during his debut season in lightning bolts. Equally as impressive as his six scoring receptions, Woodhead managed to tally 76 receptions on the year. He is a great asset to the San Diego offense.
Here is where we talk about what was considered to be a controversial free agent signing in Donald Brown. I was very pleased with the add. But to say that it left many fans puzzled is an understatement. The supporters of the team were far more concerned about improving either the nose tackle, cornerback or wide receiver spots via free agency. And I understand that line of thinking as well. But, again, let us not forget what happened when Mathews went down in the Denver playoff game. The addition of Brown showed that Tom Telesco didn’t forget.
Donald Brown is a versatile back that one might say was misused in Indianapolis. Although he flashed some ability early on, the team decided to trade away a 2014 first round pick for the underwhelming/under-performing Trent Richardson. That move has initially looked incredibly poor at this point.
The Brown signing is also insurance for the expected departure of Ryan Mathews following the 2014 campaign. Although I believe that he should be re-signed if he has another showing like 2013, the team is rumored to be content with re-signing Woodhead and watching Brown fill out the last two years of his freshly inked free agent contract following the upcoming season.
To top off what may end up being a four-running back stable for the Bolts, Telesco selected Marion Grice in the sixth round of this year’s draft. Grice is an all-around threat out of Arizona State. His multitude of abilities must have been appealing to the organization considering the backs that were already on the roster. Marion is a serious threat down in the redzone having scored 39 touchdowns as a runner during his last two seasons at ASU. It is said that he has the best hands out of any running back taken in the 2014 draft class. He also has some ability to play special teams as the team might take a look at him as a kick returner.
The Chargers are a team on the rise. After a strong draft class in 2013, the team seems to have added speed and toughness during this year’s draft. Not having much room under the salary cap this offseason caused for Telesco to be very frugal. But the 2015 season should allow him to truly survey the available free agents and make a move or two that we have not seen in San Diego in quite some time.
I look forward to watching this stable of running backs grind out yards and help this team control the clock. More importantly than just controlling the clock, the offense must be completing these drives with touchdowns, as opposed to field goals. The current running game should be able to do just that.
Thanks a lot for reading.
In what came as a bit of a surprise to many, the Chargers and Tom Telesco traded the 57th pick and a 4th round selection to move up and snag Jeremiah Attaochu in the 2nd round with the 50th pick. Despite making the same type of trade in the 2013 draft to grab Manti Te’o, the skeptics were already forming a line to criticize the move.
After finishing off a solid career at Georgia Tech, many draftniks had slated Attaochu as an option to be taken in the 1st round. When Telesco and company saw him drop to the 5oth spot, they made their move. Jeremiah forged quite the pass rushing reputation while in college. Known for his quickness and speed for both the outside linebacker and defensive end positions, he has played in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. The versatility it takes to stand up or put your hand in the dirt and get after the quarterback provides the Charger defense with options as far as how to use the Nigerian-born player.
Attaochu left Georgia Tech as Georgia Tech’s all-time leading sacker with 31.5 sacks. Numbers like that showed his ability to make plays all over the field. Using a host of pass rushing moves, Jeremiah utilizes his ability to bend while getting around the edge. In 2013 he was named All-ACC First team privileges while posting 12 sacks coupled with 15.5 tackles for loss.
The Chargers currently have 3 outside linebackers that could be considered starters in Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Adding another OLB puzzled some fans in Chargerland. When you look forward to the 2015 season, the futures of both Freeney and Johnson are in doubt. Freeney’s contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. Johnson is under contract for 2015 but he’ll carry a $5 million cap hit. It’s not likely that either will be back after this season.
To estimate the impact that Attaochu will have as a rookie is difficult. It’s hard to say how often he’ll be on the field. I would imagine that John Pagano will have to manufacture ways to put him in the game on passing downs. The good news is that he has the privilege of learning from guys like Freeney and Johnson. It’s safe to say that those two gentlemen are quite the resource for the young sack machine.
As hinted at above, Attaochu’s rookie campaign is definitely worth keeping an eye on in 2014 but his production, stat-wise, may be limited. The bigger impact looks to be fully realized in the future. Here’s to hoping it’s sooner, rather than later.