Monthly Archives: August 2014
Thomas Powell has been the subject of Fan Perspective before, but with his current success as the co-host of BoltBlitzLIVE, it seemed appropriate to bring him back. Now, new readers can get to know him, and long-time readers can see if his newfound celebrity has changed him. One thing for sure, if you get to know Thomas Powell, love him or hate him, you will have to agree that he is truly one of the most knowledgeable and passionate Charger fans on the planet.
So the readers can get to know you, please tell us a little about Thomas Powell.
Will: How long have you been a Charger fan?
TP: It was in 1981 after the Miami game. My mom took me to the stadium after the epic game to meet the team home. I loved everything about it. I started to follow them right after that.
Will: Why did you decide to become a Charger fan?
TP: I remember as a kid (about 12) watching them play exhibition basketball games versus the SD Police for charity. I met them close up and was hooked.
Will: What kind of fan would you consider yourself and why?
TP: Up until 2006, I was a raging pom-pom fan. I had my head in the clouds thinking every year we could win the SB and go 16-0. After the Pats loss in the playoffs I was devastated. I wanted to know everything about the team, all the ins and outs. I’m more of a realistic fan now. I take the positives and the negatives and come up with what I know now about football and the NFL to make a decision on how the team looks. It’s not all rainbow and ponies when looking at your team. You sometimes have to take your heart out of it to truly see what your team looks like. I now think with my mind, not my heart.
Will: What game or play in Charger history are you most proud of?
TP: The AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh. No one gave the Chargers a shot in that game. The only place at that time to get your coverage of your team was ESPN for 30 minutes at night and SI magazine. Both which ignored the Chargers at that time and to some degree still do to this day. MY team was going to the Super Bowl and I was so damn proud of that fact.
Will: What game or play in Charger history hurts the most to look back on?
TP: The 2006 game versus the Pats. That team was really good and the AFC Playoff teams were vulnerable. Everything was aligned for the Chargers to get to the Super Bowl. It wasn’t just McCree that fumbled that game away. There were several mistakes that I thought the team could overcome, but his was the icing on the cake. That loss hurt me more than any I’ve suffered through as a fan and that’s a lot of losses since 1981.
Will: Are you a big Charger collector, or “gear guy”? If so, what are your favorite items?
TP: Not at all. I don’t even get too much into jerseys and wearing them. I’m 42 years old, not 16. So it’s just awkward for me. Not saying anything against anyone else. I’ll wear a shirt or jersey on gameday, but I’m not into collectibles as a fan. I was huge into baseball cards as a kid. I’ve given my collection to my son since then.
Will: As a Senior Writer/Reporter for BoltBlitz.com, if you could ask one question to any former or current Charger (dead or alive), who would it be, and what would you ask?
TP: Tom Landry and Don Coryell were my favorite coaches growing up. I would ask Coryell if he had to do it over again would he focus more on defense. To hear his stories on the game back then, and how it’s changed, would have been amazing.
Will: On social media, you have a reputation of being a blunt-speaking realist which at times you’ve rubbed some Charger fans the wrong way. Now that you are co-hosting BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9 FM, do you find yourself becoming more politically correct, or are you still just letting your opinions fly?
TP: Yeah, If I haven’t told you you’re a $#@&-ing idiot yet, I don’t love ya. I’ve realized that not everyone lives, sleeps, eats Chargers football, and the NFL in general, as much as I do. Doesn’t make me any better or lesser of a fan, but I get frustrated at a lot of people’s ignorance. I try to be more patient now. But I am who I am, a very straight forward person. I say what I think and couldn’t care less how it’s perceived. That sometimes, well often, gets me in trouble. But I think over time people realize I really do know what I’m talking about and they see that now. The only thing that really drives me nuts now are the fans who try to judge the fandom of others. If you don’t think a certain way or talk a certain way you’re a fake fan. That is BS to me. Anyone who watches a Charger game is a fan. I’m not going to judge their fandom. Packer fans are the most critical fans in the NFL on their team yet considered to be the most loyal even by other team’s fans. If you love something, you get emotional about it. That’s football today. Nothing wrong with that if you ask me.
Will: Why should fans listen to BoltBlitzLIVE?
TP: Because we share the same passion as they do. I don’t have to sugarcoat crap because of what a player might think. We’re going to be upfront and give the best news and opinions that we possibly can. It’s a small station, but people are listening all over the world according to the demos we get from the station. Fans from the East Coast to overseas that can’t get info about their team are tuning in every Wednesday night. We take this very seriously and we want people to be a part of everything we do; hence the BoltBlitz slogan, ” A team that loves a team.” That’s what who we are and what we do. It’s like sitting in a bar for an hour with Charger fans talking Charger football. That’s what I want people to take from the show.
Will: You are close friends with the creator of BoltBlitz.com and host of BoltBlitzLIVE, Booga Peters. What is it about Booga that sets him apart from other Charger fans or members of the media who cover the Bolts?
TP: Who the hell is Booga? One thing is he had contacts in the front office and talks to players personally. He could sell himself out and learn MLB, NBA, Soccer and maybe get a job at 1090 or 1360. But, he just wants to talk Chargers. He’s doing it his way and so far it’s been successful.
Will: Okay, now some harder questions. How did the passing of Junior Seau affect you?
TP: My favorite single moment was when he came running out of the tunnel in Miami during the Super Bowl. The Chargers became so irrelevant starting from the Coryell years all the way until Junior came along. He put the Chargers back on the map. Being a homegrown fan, he is to the Chargers what Tony Gwynn was to the Padres. He was and always will be the face of the franchise. It’s tough to lose someone you grew up loving as a child. It affects you in a different way and it did me. As a father, my thoughts on how he died is different. But as a player, he was the best Charger of all time IMO. To lose him, Jerry Coleman, Don Coryell and Tony Gwynn so close together was tough. But I truly think it has brought fans closer together in the grieving process.
Will: Do you feel that Coach Don Coryell should be in the Hall of Fame? Why?
TP: Of course. He changed the game and the way it was played. The Rams won the SB with Kurt Warner with the Coryell offensive blueprint. A team wins a SB 20 years after you coached and you can’t get into the HOF? It’s a travesty!
Will: In your opinion, does Philip Rivers have what it takes to lead a team to a championship?
TP: I do. Rivers is the best QB the Chargers have ever had. Nothing against Fouts, but Rivers can lead his team this team to a Super Bowl. A lot of things have to go in place, and he can’t do it by himself. But I truly believe the Chargers will win a SB with Rivers, McCoy and Telesco. Maybe not this year, but it will be done.
Will: What is your opinion on Ryan Mathews as a running back?
TP: I think he gets a bum-wrap from fans. Because he doesn’t do a lot of interviews on the radio and TV, fans have a harder time connecting with Mathews emotionally. They feel a separation with him from the other players. I said last year, after hearing how he changed his workout routine, how committed he was to being the type of RB fans wanted him to be. Fans want to love Mathews, but even when he does his part they still feel disconnected from him. It’s weird. I don’t get it.
Will: Move the franchise, or get a new stadium? What does the future hold for the Bolts?
TP: The city and the Chargers are at least talking now, and did so just a week ago. It looks like the downtown location and November 2016 is the vote. If it passes they’re safe in SD. If it fails, I’m 100% convinced they will take that vote and leave the city. It’s all up to the citizens of SD now. I think they need to get more business leaders involved and start selling it to people who are not Charger fans to get an approval. Charger fans alone can’t get this approved. It needs 51% of the vote for approval. I think they get it done, but not until the deadline. The vote is November 2016 and the lease is up at the Q in 2020.
Will: Okay, let’s lighten things back up. What is your prediction for how the Chargers will do this season?
TP: 10-6 to 9-7. This is a much better team than last year but the highly difficult schedule evens out the fact that the team has improved. Injuries will play a role like every other year, and every other team in this league. I think they get the wildcard this year again. I know this it’s going to be a fun year and exciting to watch how everything plays out.
Will: Do you see a Super Bowl Championship in the Chargers future?
TP: I can see them really challenging for the Super Bowl next year. They still have some depth issues and soft spots at some positions. But they’re getting closer than they have been in a long, long time. Yes, I think Rivers gets them there in the next 3-4 years.
Will: What will it mean to you if the San Diego Chargers win a Super Bowl?
TP: Hopefully it means I’m still alive. LOL. It would mean EVERYTHING to me. All the lows and the heart breaks have been cashed in for a SB trophy. It’s been a long road and this city deserves a Championship so badly. The fans are starving for it. It means that our 1 goal as fans for all these years was accomplished. Every player that ever played for this team in its history will be awarded knowing the Chargers have won a SB Trophy that has alluded them. As a fan, it’ll be amazing. Just to be with other fans that have shared the same experiences, ups and downs would be crying with joy that it has finally happened! God can strike me dead after that. I don’t care. Just give me 1 night with the Charger fans as Super Bowl Champions!
Will: On behalf of BoltBlitz.com, I want to thank Thomas Powell for taking the time to participate in this interview. His time is greatly appreciated.
Thank you, my friend.
First off, I would like to say it is good to be back. I’ve had a long break from writing due to starting a new job and getting Married (2 weeks ago). I’m glad it’s football season again and happy to see the site doing well. Now without further delay, lets get to the predictions.
Well I already know I am going to get a lot of people disagreeing with me here, but that’s half the fun. I went back and re-watched all the games and I have come up with 2 lists. What I would do if I was GM, and what I think will actually happen. Since I will explain everything below, lets jump right into it!
What I wish would happen What I think will Actually Happen
Offense – 25 Offense – 24
QB – 2 QB – 2
Philip Rivers Philip Rivers
Kellen Clemens Kellen Clemens
Quarterback was pretty easy for me. With the huge need we have for an extra body on both sides of the line, carry 3 QB’s doesn’t make much sense. With Sorensen’s preseason performance, he should be a safe bet to make it to the practice squad without getting picked up by another team, but even if he does, he obviously isn’t our future starter so in my eyes, not a big loss.
RB – 4 RB – 4
Ryan Mathews Ryan Mathews
Danny Woodhead Danny Woodhead
Donald Brown Donald Brown
Marion Grice Marion Grice
Running back is also pretty straight forward this year. The top 3 are a lock. The 4th position came down to Oliver and Grice. Grice, along with actually being drafted, did enough this pre-season to put himself ahead of Oliver and wins the final spot.
TE – 4 TE – 4
Antonio Gates Antonio Gates
Ladarius Green Ladarius Green
John Phillips John Phillips
David Johnson David Johnson
With no dedicated FB this year, we carry 4 TE’s. Gates is getting older and is a pretty terrible blocker, but he is healthy, can find seams better than my Vietnamese tailor, and catches everything. Green is due for a breakout season, and if Gates goes down to an injury, could wind up as a top 5 fantasy TE. Phillips is a football player and worth keeping. Johnson is a monster when used as a FB, and in my opinion, under utilized as a passer so he earns the last spot.
WR – 6 WR – 6
Keenan Allen Keenan Allen
Malcom Floyd Malcom Floyd
Eddie Royal Eddie Royal
Vincent Brown Vincent Brown
Dontrell Inman Dontrell Inman
Seji Ajirotutu Seji Ajirotutu
This is the last position that I think the team will do what I want. Allen and Floyd are the only “locks” here, however I think based on familiarity with the team/Rivers, keeps Royal and Brown here as well. Inman earned a spot here. He was the most impressive new WR on this roster. He was top 10 in the league this pre-season for Rec Yards and was 2nd in YPC for players with 5 or more receptions. The last spot was hard. I think Tutu takes the slight edge over Javontee Herndon due to size and experience. Herndon should be the first player they offer a PS spot too.
OL – 9 OL – 8
Nick Hardwick Nick Hardwick
DJ Fluker DJ Fluker
King Dunlap King Dunlap
Chat Rinehart Chat Rinehart
Johnny Troutman Johnny Troutman
Chris Watt Chris Watt
Rich Ohrnberger Rich Ohrnberger
Willie Smith Willie Smith
The first 7 players on each of these lists are pretty solid locks to be there in my opinion. Willie Smith won the battle over Mike Harris. Harris will likely be on a short list of people to call if an injury happens but his liability against speed rushers drops him off this list for the team. However I kept Mike Harris…for now. Clary is starting the season on the PUP and when he comes back we will need to let someone go. Harris is good insurance due to his time with the team but can be replaced with Clary when he comes back.
Defense – 25 Defense – 26
DL – 6 DL – 6
Sean Lissemore Sean Lissemore
Corey Liuget Corey Liuget
Kendall Reyes Kendall Reyes
Ryan Carrethers Ryan Carrethers
Lawrence Guy Lawrence Guy
Doug Worthington Tenny Palepoi
Again, the first 3 players on these lists are locks to make the team. With the injury to Kwame Geathers, Carrethers is a lock too. Lawrence Guy was injured but he makes the team based on past performance, and the lackluster performance of our new D-Linemen. Doug Worthington makes the team as the most experienced DT we have left on the roster, plus he looked solid in limited action. I have the Chargers keeping an extra D-Lineman due to injury concerns, so UDFA Tenny Palepoi makes the team.
OLB – 5 OLB – 5
Melvin Ingram Melvin Ingram
Jarret Johnson Jarret Johnson
Jerry Attaochu Jerry Attaochu
Dwight Freeney Dwight Freeney
Cordarro Law Tourek Williams
All of the first 4 players on both lists are locks. I am a little biased against Tourek, honestly I’m just not a fan. So I was trying to pick between Law and Keiser. Law won out for me for 2 reasons: 1) He is a better pass rusher (good bull rush, good hands) 2) He is better against the run. Keiser is better when dropping back in coverage, but Law will be used as a pass rusher when he is on the field so I’m not as worried about it.
ILB – 5 ILB – 5
Donald Butler Donald Butler
Manti Te’o Manti Te’o
Kavell Conner Kavell Conner
Andrew Gachkar Andrew Gachkar
Reggie Walker Reggie Walker
I think this is pretty well set. Not a whole lot of extra choices here and the team likes these guys.
CB – 5 CB – 5
Jason Verrett Jason Verrett
Shareece Wright Shareece Wright
Brandon Flowers Brandon Flowers
Steve Williams Steve Williams
Greg Ducre Richard Marshall
The first 4 are locks. The 5th CB was a hard choice for me. First off, I know the team has been experimenting with Marshall at S the last few weeks and I love that idea because it means Gilchrist is expendable. So I moved Marshall to the Safeties. That left the last CB spot down to Greg Ducre, Chris Davis, and Crezdon Butler. Butler is unique because he would be the only CB 6′ or taller on the roster, but in my opinion, Ducre and Davis outplayed him. Both Ducre and Davis had very good pre-seasons. Davis has the slight edge on special teams, but Ducre is a tackler, and this defense needs tacklers in a bad way. Ducre takes it the last spot and I cross my fingers we can stash Davis on the practice squad.
S – 4 S – 4
Eric Weddle Eric Weddle
Jaleel Addae Jaleel Addae
Darrell Stuckey Darrell Stuckey
Richard Marshall Marcus Gilchrist
Weddle and Addae are pretty well locked in. Stuckey earns a spot again due to his awesome special teams play and being decent on the field. If we have to start him at any point though, I will be slightly worried. I moved Marshall here due to the team trying him at S and his ability to also play CB. The team however, seems to really like Gilchrist so they will likely keep him at backup SS.
ST – 3 ST – 3
Nick Novak Nick Novak
Mike Scifres Mike Scifres
Mike Windt Mike Windt
All 3 of these guys are a given. Novak was VERY reliable last year, and seems to have more power this year after kicking that 55 yarder last night (which would have been good 2-3 more yards back) and his kickoffs look a little deeper too. Scifres is a beast, not going anywhere. Windt has been dependable at long snapper and keeps his job again.
Practice Squad – 10
2 Released players from other teams
All of these guys deserve PS spots, and I wish I could find them spots on the active roster. I think we bring back Nick Becton who was released in the 1st round of cuts, if you follow me on twitter you know I really like him. I also think we bring in 2 other players, likely a LB and either a DL or OL. If we don’t grab 2 outside players, the last two spots would be Tevin Reese and Chas Alecxih
If early preseason returns are any indication of what’s to come in the 2014 regular season, don’t expect defensive backs to play too aggressively. The NFL is really putting the screws to defensive pass infractions. Consider this: through two preseasons in 2013 (65), there were 18 flags for “illegal contact” and 38 for defensive holding. Through preseason so far this year (49 games), there have already been 84 “illegal contact” infractions flagged and a staggering 146 flags for defensive holding. That’s 170+ more flags than last year’s preseason games, kids. Hell, there were only 54 illegal contact penalties called during the regular season last year!
If you’re a cornerback or a safety, that means you’d better bump your man quick and know where that five-yard barrier exists. And don’t you dare grab the receiver’s jersey! Don’t even think of “incidental” contact while the receiver is running his route unless you’re an Oscar-winning actor. Early indications are that those yellow hankies will continue to fly, slowing down the game that the league has been attempting to speed up.
If you handcuff a defender further, you dilute the game as it has been played all in the name of scoring, scoring, scoring. Why you ask? Because our instant gratification, short attention span society can’t appreciate a good slobber knocking, defensive battle. It won’t keep the average person’s attention for the entire game. The same is happening in baseball. Everything is about scoring more runs and hitting more dingers. Can you hear Gil Byrd agreeing with this? I think not.
Look, I’m all for scoring points. I’m all for a clean game where defenders have to follow the rules in coverage, but this is just plain insanity. Why not just put mittens on the defender’s hands so they can’t grab any cloth. What’s next?
Yesterday was a special day with the USAA, MCAS Miramar, the Marines on the base and the San Diego Chargers as they held a team walk through, and Play 60 event for the military kids in attendance, for all of those which were present. There were plenty of highlights and one that stuck out to me was meeting Ryan Mathews on the field.
After seeing Ryan finish up a couple of autographs, I decided to go meet the man who fueled the Charger running attack last season. I walked up to Mathews, I introduced myself as Booga Peters of BoltBlitz.com and BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9. I then thanked him for donating his Batman autographed cleats to our last BoltBlitz Meetup. It was then time to extend my hand and get a handshake from the man himself.
My hand is still sore. I am not kidding, it really is sore. Wow, what a grip.
I have talked on air, and posted on social media, that I believe that Ryan Mathews is set for a career year. Now it’s time to write about it.
After watching him during the 2013 campaign, he proved to be one of the most physical runners in the NFL. He bulldozed for 1,255 yards and finished 7th in the league in rushing. He also showed that long runs can now a part of his repertoire after having a career-long run of 51 yards. He twice topped his previous career-high runs during last season.
So why is it that I have the gumption to state that Ryan will have the best year of his career, you ask?
The answer will take a bit for me to explain. But, that being said, by the time I’m done with this article, some of you haters may get back on the “Ryan Mathews’ bandwagon.”
I hope you didn’t end up on crutches as you prematurely jumped off said bandwagon due to things you thought you saw while sitting on your couch.
I have been on record stating the fact that Mathews has turned the ball over less than 1% of the time during the last two seasons. Stop with the nonsense about fumbling problems. As I mentioned in my last article supporting Ryan, what are you doing at your job to secure and earn a 99% success rate in all that you do while at work?
Don’t answer that. Unless, that is, you’re willing to admit that you were unaware of the numbers and were speaking out of frustration and/or lack of knowledge about the game of football. I can always handle a misinterpretation of the facts once those involved are prepared to hone up and admit they were wrong.
But, let us move on and talk about why Mathews is set to explode.
When looking at the ball-control offense of last year’s Chargers, grinding out the clock via the ground game, accompanied by a short, quick passing plan, such factors allowed the team to keep opposing offenses off of the field. San Diego led the NFL in time of possession last year.
Additionally, the Bolts had the highest offensive third down conversion percentage of all 32 teams. When you have a running game that is capable of putting the offense in third-and-short situations, it allows the offense to convert at a much higher rate.
Do you think the running of Ryan Mathews had anything to do with that? I do. And you should too.
There seems to be many obvious improvements in Ryan’s game from year-to-year that deserves praise from the fans in San Diego. But, being an active member of the social media circus, it would appear that the lack of appreciation from the fans comes from those of you that might be reactionary, unintelligible and pathetic, at times.
Sure, there are countless supporters of the former Fresno State Bulldog running back. But, when I read a Facebook post from a so-called “social media expert”, stating, “I HATE that guy,” I get sick to my stomach. Talk about nauseating. How incredibly unprofessional and ignorant. So, you hate someone you’ve never met, can’t do 1/100th of what he does when on the field and you decide to run your mouth? You, sir, are no expert.
Mathews is not only a bruiser of a runner, but a solid receiving threat out of the backfield. He’s no wide receiver, but he has very dependable hands and Philip Rivers trusts him as an option in the passing game. His receiving touchdown against the Texans in week one of 2013 showed athleticism, concentration and the ability to make a difficult catch. Chalk up six for the Bolts as Ryan torched the linebacker for six.
Despite the fact that Jeromey Clary is not eligible to return until week seven of the regular season, there is still a solid amount of cohesion among the offensive line. Minus Clary, the group taught by Joe D’Alessandris is returning 4 starters from last year. When looking at NFL rosters, regarding the offensive line, that is quite the feat to have under your belt. This type of continuity will only benefit number 24. He’s looked impressive, aggressive and like a man ready to have opposing defensive coordinators losing sleep during game weeks while gameplanning for Mathews.
He. Is. Set. To. Blow. Up.
Now, this is just the opinion of a blogger/Radio host that played the game of football for 12 years, officiated it for 4 years and coached youth football for 4 years, as well.
I am not, by any means, saying I know better than those of you that are skeptical regarding the opus I’ve written above. But, be sure to take the time to evaluate what you’ve done other than attend games live or from the comfort of your own home. We all have opinions that should have some value based solely on the love that is shared for the San Diego Chargers. But let us all be clear, we are NOT, regardless of aforementioned factors above involving my football experience, a part of the Charger organization. Or any other NFL organization for that matter.
Mathews is one of the major reasons, in addition to Rivers playing very efficiently at a high level, and a new offensive playcalling scheme, the 2013 Bolts managed to sneak into the playoffs and win a very tough game on the road in Cincinnati.
Everyone knows the result in Denver the following week after the victory over the Bengals on the road.
Mathews had already been battling an ankle injury and he forced himself to fight through it while grinding it out in the Denver playoff game. He was unfortunately unable to finish out the game.
This is where I stop stating my case and I give you my stat predictions for Ryan Mathews for the 2014 season.
Stats for Ryan Mathews for the 2014 season:
Yards gained on the ground – 1,341
Touchdowns via the running game – 8
Receptions – 31
Yards receiving – 287
Receiving touchdowns – 2
For those of you that believe these are lofty numbers for Mathews, while he is in a contract year, I suppose we should all wait until the end of the season to question my predictions.
That being said, there is a comment section below for you to agree or disagree with me. I look forward to any and all comments.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Editor’s Note: In this piece Peter Silberberger breaks down the defensive battles per position. Due to injuries along the defensive line, other spots on the defense may suffer cuts in order to supplement needs up front.
Tom Telesco has not ignored the need for help at the cornerback position. In fact, depending on health, it may now be a strength for the Chargers. While we haven’t seen any glaring dominance, what we have seen is how teams and players are reacting to San Diego’s rotating defensive back units.
A few things stand out. Richard Marshall was given snaps at safety during the San Francisco game. This action likely speaks to some final roster thoughts. Carrying any more than three full time safeties would cut into the other needs of depth for the team. Addae, Stuckey, and Weddle are all locks, and having part-time corner Marcus Gilchrist and a veteran like Marshall able to fill in occasionally makes the defensive backfield strong and flexible.
Teams seem more than willing to throw at Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall, but not so much toward Verrett or Flowers. Granted, the two starters from last year’s squad are labeled poorly when it comes to 2013 pass defense rankings, but with the two new faces around, it looks as though John Pagano will have plenty of options. It should also be noted that neither Flowers or Verrett have seen much playing time as of yet, but their reputation and speed respectively seem to affect the number of attempts thrown their way.
Steve Williams and Crezdon Butler have both had a rough go with actual game speed and play calling. Chris Davis, however, has been all over the place throughout training camp and on game tape. If today was 53-man cut down day, Davis would be getting the nod over both other reserves.
Brandon Ghee had seemingly disappeared completely during preseason, and found himself on the chopping block during first cuts, which finalized Tuesday. Marcus Cromartie was sent to injured reserve on Tuesday, as well.
These moves leave the door open for either Steve Williams or Chris Davis, but likely not both with Gilchrist around. The team will likely total seven cornerbacks, including Gilchrist, which is a lot already. Don’t expect there to be eight.
Defensive Line/ Outside Linebackers:
At first glance, it appears that Pagano’s traditional 3-4 defense has some definite holes to fill in prototypical positions. The defensive tackle position is shaky at best, and the end depth is thin. Questions of how and where Dwight Freeney will be best utilized are still relevant, and there’s a lot of unproven talent walking around.
The team released reserve DE Damik Scafe and lost rookie prospect DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe for the year to an ACL tear. Telesco, doing what he does, pulled in two cuts from around the league in Doug Worthington and Joe Kruger. Worthington projects as a 4-3 lineman and Kruger mostly the same, although a more athletic frame may allow him to dabble in a standing position.
All of this maneuvering seems to overlap with the theme of this roster build, and its versatility. It would appear that Mike McCoy’s nature of playing the schemes which best fit his personnel has caught on with his coordinators. That being said, any personnel being brought in this late will have to be adaptable. Guys like Worthington, Kruger, and other roster hopeful Cordarro Law will have to be able to fit into multiple positions in order to make the team. This could, perhaps, be unfortunate news for a guy like Thomas Keiser.
Although noticeably productive, Keiser is viewed as a bit of a one-trick pony. It’s not that the Bolts don’t need pass rushing outside ‘backers, it’s that they already have those guys for those specific sets. Ingram, Attaochu, Johnson, Tourek Williams, and even Reggie Walker can all fill that role easily. If guys like Worthington, Kruger, or Law make this roster over Keiser, it will be because of their ability to play in multiple defensive sets, as well as contribute on special teams.
The defensive tackle position is a different story entirely. Kwame Geathers and Sean Lissemore have been at the top of the depth chart for some time. That being said, Lissemore is battling an injury and Geathers was sent to injured reserve on Tuesday, ending his season. Enter rookies Ryan Carrethers and Tenny Palepoi. Both have the prototypical build to anchor the traditional 3-4 line, but both are very young. They’ll collectively get all the snaps they can handle, which is great for their growth process. Suddenly, however, the team lacks playable veteran mentors at the position.
One thing most know about Tom Telesco is that he is never without options. The opportunistic GM will be closely watching the waiver wire as teams trim rosters to 75 this week. If he sees a bargain, he’ll certainly grab it.
Another option is long time NFL veteran free agent Ryan Pickett. The ex-Packer lives in San Diego and has expressed interest. The good there is clearly the wealth of experience and ability to teach, as he once did for Packers DT B.J. Raji. Pickett would almost certainly have to see veteran minimum salary as a must in this situation, which is also team friendly. The bad is likely his 34 year-old physique may not be what the Bolts are looking for.
It’s more in Telesco’s nature to find a second or third year guy who couldn’t squeeze onto a roster somewhere else in the league. In order to keep the talent level high, Telesco will likely wait and watch the final week with the guys already around. This will serve two purposes. One, it will give every snap available to the two rookies for invaluable experience in real-time. Two, it will allow for Telesco to wait for the perfect guy to add when final 53s are announced by Friday. There are tough decisions being made all over the league this week, and teams such as the Patriots and Broncos could be cutting some serious talent on the defensive line.
By the end of this week, Lissemore and Carrethers will be Chargers for sure, but don’t be surprised if Palepoi is challenged by a Telesco find. If that were the case, the battle for the roster spot could take place during the final preseason game. If not, and Tenny struggles, he may very well lose his spot to a more trusted veteran come Friday.
With the versatility of guys like Reggie Walker and Marcus Gilchrist, the inside linebacker and safety positions seem to be sewn up. So, while watching Thursday’s game, it’s D-Line, outside linebacker, and cornerback where the 2014 San Diego Chargers will be focused on finalizing the roster.
Can Chris Davis keep his momentum going in his duel with Steve Williams? Will newly added athletes in the front seven push Thomas Keiser out? Will there be another addition to the defensive tackle position by Wednesday afternoon? The final game of the pre season is supposed to be practically unwatchable to the average football fan. Good thing Charger fans are anything but that.
Per the Chargers official website, Chargers.com, San Diego has made the 5 necessary moves to drop the roster count down to 75. The following 5 transactions were made just moments ago.
Placed on reserve/injured:
– CB Marcus Cromartie
– DE Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
– NT Kwame Geathers
Placed on reserve/PUP list:
– G/T Jeromey Clary
– CB Brandon Ghee
With the exception of placing Geathers on IR, none of these moves come as a surprise. Though Tjong-A-Tjoe had a strong shot at the practice squad, once it was announced that he had suffered a torn ACL which everyone knew would end his year.
Losing Geathers is a serious cause for concern. In typical Mike McCoy fashion, the injury was initially downplayed as not too serious. I actually like that about him, by the way. I am sure there are very few of you that agree with that.
The injuries and lack of depth along the defensive line are certainly an area that must be addressed. All 32 NFL teams are about to have to trim their rosters to 53 players this Saturday on August 30th.
You better believe that Tom Telesco and company are ready to mend a unit that is in dire need of such help.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Here are some quick thoughts on Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Corey Liuget was an animal. He could not be stopped and he was everywhere. Corey put a ton of pressure on the 49er offense, tipped balls, tackles for losses, forced fumbles..etc. Clearly he was the all-star on the stout first-team defense.
Ryan Mathews is a monster. Doubters and haters, where are you now? Booga Peters nailed it and this game may help show that he will have an even better year in 2014 than he did last season.
Jeremiah Attaochu showed glimpses of greatness and why we as Bolt Nation are so happy he is here. I was excited that they put him in earlier than later because I wanted – NEEDED – to see him in action. He did not disappoint. He has a long way to go to be a Pro bowl player, but you can see that his speed and pass rushing ability will translate well to the NFL.
The first-team run Defense was masterful. Lanes were closed and pursuit was swift. In fact, the whole D-Line was very impressive as Kaepernick was under a ton of pressure and felt the Bolt presence. Pagano did a nice job putting pressure at the right time.
Danny Woodhead is needed in this offense. ‘Nuff said.
Secondary looked good and was part of the cause for Colin looking frazzled. Wright was all over his guy and looked solid. Most of the completed passes and first downs by San Francisco were short passes. There were hardly any shots taken down field.
Punt returners – Was I the only one that held his breath everytime a punt was kicked by the 49ers? There are a few things teams and fans dislike more than a solid defense series, excited about getting the offense back on the field, then to have a shaky return man bobble the ball or muff the put and give it back to the opposing team. It appears that Eddie Royal will man the punt return duties during the regular season.
The Chargers do not need to keep three quarterbacks. In remembering the article written by Booga and Thomas Powell about their 53-man roster, this was one glaring difference. Though the team seems to like Brad Sorensen, there are too many other needs on this roster to allow the Bolts the luxury of retaining 3 signal callers. He saw a lot of time against San Fran and finished 11/21 with 84 yards pass and two interceptions.
On offense, 3rd (and 4th) and short was dismal. Playcalling needs to be more creative. The offense works hard to move the chains and with one or two yards to go, we need to be able to punch it forward – especially in the red zone. Yes, the playbook was kept under lock and key due to the fact that San Francisco is on the regular season schedule. However, we do not see them until week 16. Meaning, they are going to see 14 regular seasons games of film on San Diego anyway.
I know this was “just” a preseason game, but I felt that the Chargers showed a little more of what they are and what they can be. There is great talent and impressive depth on this team. They took on the starters of the ‘9ers, who many say is the 2nd best team in the NFL, and shut them down while the first-team units were in the game.
What are your thoughts and what did you take away from this game? LET ME HEAR YA, CHARGER FANS!!!
“PEACE….and Boltness forever” – BWK
After three preseason games, there’s been a lot of panic and, to be honest, even more crazy talk on social media about our beloved Chargers. Let’s keep things in perspective, folks, and not be so quick to jump.
Here are some of the things I’ve read on social media after three preseason games:
- Trade Ryan Mathews and keep Branden Oliver. The Chargers did Oliver a major disservice when they issued him #43. Oliver had seven carries for 64 yards and a touchdown against what is hardly a cream of the crop defense. OK, so he’s under six feet tall. Doesn’t make him look like Darren Sproles. It doesn’t help that Ryan Mathews lost the ball in an attempt to go over the top for a score. Mathews is not a fumble machine. The hit was textbook with the defender putting his hat right on the ball. Granted, Ryan should have had two hands on the ball, and I’d bet he would be the first to acknowledge that. But Mathews is not a fumble machine. He lost the ball four times over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Four times. Mathews is not a fumble machine. His 1,255 rushing yards last year placed him seventh last year. Let’s be real, folks. Like it or not, Mathews earned the right to be top of the depth chart this year. It’s his job to lose. By the way, Oliver followed that performance with nine carries for 14 yards against Seattle and three carries for 12 yards in San Francisco.
- Start Kellen Clemens over Philip Rivers. What???? While Clemens is 19 of 27 for 283 yards and two touchdowns this preseason, he is a career backup. He started nine games last year for the Rams when Sam Bradford went down. Eight touchdowns against seven interceptions and seven fumbles. Do you really want him as your starter? Oh, but Mike, he led two touchdown drives against Seattle two weeks ago! That doesn’t make him a starter. He is a career backup, kids. Philip Rivers has more pass attempts in two seasons than Clemens has in his career (which is only two years shorter than Rivers’).
- Manti Te’o is a bust. The most ridiculous thing I heard after Manti was drafted was that somehow he was the second coming of Junior Seau. Why did people say this? Because he’s a Pacific Islander. So, what do pom-pom fans do? They call him “Teau” instead of T’eo. PUHLEEZE! Yes, he was drafted too high. No, he’s not going to be a Junior Seau or Mike Singletary. Does that make him a bust? Not really, unless that’s what your expectation of Manti is. His rookie season was, shall we say, pedestrian? He missed the preseason last year with plantar fasciitis, so the regular season was on the job training. T’eo is a good linebacker. He is an above average linebacker. But a bust? Not so fast. He’s only a second year pro.
- Mantei Te’o is injury prone. The man sustains a foot injury again and he’s injury prone just like that? For a second year pro, this is an unfair label. It’s virtually impossible to play through a foot injury and be effective. Last week showed that. That doesn’t make a player deserving of the injury prone label.
- The defense sucks. Seattle exposed weaknesses in the defense, no question about it. We saw a lack of discipline last week from the defense. We saw blown assignments. We saw school yard tackling. This defense is probably the most talented group John Pagano has had to work with since taking over as defensive coordinator. The defense has one (huge) hole at nose tackle. I wrote previously that this was my biggest concern. The front seven has been pushed around. Someone in this “committee” of NTs has to step up and be a true NT. Pagano and the defense will compensate for this weakness, but this was never to be looked at as a top-ten defense. Philip Rivers and company will continue this year to be the best defensive weapon for the Chargers, but sucks is an over-used and inaccurate term to apply to this defense. The first team defense played considerably better against the 49ers.
- Fire John Pagano. Let’s hold off on this one until the end of the season. Let’s give him time to implement his new tools (Jerry Attaochu, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett) before we head down this road. I still say it’s time for Pagano to put up or shut up. My vote is on put up.
We, as fans, always want to see our team win. We hate when our team is dominated or made to look bad. This is only Tom Telesco’s and Mike McCoy’s second season. Let’s not assume this team is going to look bad until week 6 like happened so often with the previous regime. Remember, the preseason isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about evaluating the talent in camp to assemble the best possible 53-man roster given the salary cap restraints they’re working within.
Philip Rivers is probably sitting back at his house with his 7 kids, and his beautiful wife, just beaming about the amount of wide receiver talent that will be at his disposal this year. Tom Telesco has done a great job leaving no stone unturned in his search for outstanding talent with an emphasis on great character. Right now we are going to take a look at all of the weapons at the wide receiver position that we can look forward to seeing suit up for the San Diego Chargers during the 2014 NFL season. Before I get into this evaluation, I only expect there to be 5 wide receivers on the Bolts this year.
Eddie Royal jumped out to a very fast start in the 2013 season by scoring 5+ touchdowns in the first handful of games last year. He used his great physical tools to make catches and create yards after said receptions. Additionally, he displayed a gritty toughness despite missing practice most of the year with a foot injury and still managed to play in 15 of the 16 regular season games. Look for a healthy Royal to continue to make an impact on this offense.
Malcom Floyd is an imposing figure at the WR position standing 6’5″. As most of the diehard Charger fans know, Malcom missed 14 of the 16 regular season games after suffering a horrific neck injury that left most fans fearing that we had seen the last of M-80 in a Chargers uniform. For the record, I was an advocate of his comeback from the very beginning. I had no doubt that he was going to rehab harder than anyone could imagine to get back on the field and go out of the game of football on his terms. Unfortunately for M-80, health has been a major concern for his entire career; only playing a full 16 games 1 time in his 11 year career. There is no denying his ability when he is on the football field. He can out-jump most defensive backs. Floyd is a true deep threat. I’m hoping that he will stay healthy all season long and terrorize defenses until they have trouble sleeping at night.
After almost quitting the NFL, an injury gave Allen the chance that he needed and he took the opportunity and ran with it. Keenan outperformed every single receiver that was taken in the NFL draft last year leaving the other general managers not named Tom Telesco in a state of self-evaluation. Keenan quickly formed a great rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers and became his favorite target throughout the course of the 2013 season. This offseason, Keenan dedicated his time to improving his speed, which adds another element to his all-around game. Allen is the number 1 receiver on this team. Fans should look for big numbers from him this year.
The reason that Seyi Ajirotutu is going to be on this ball club this year is because he has more than one facet of his game to offer to this team. Not only is he great friends with Philip Rivers, he also is a stand out performer on special teams. Most of you will remember the fantastic touchdown catch that Ajirotutu made last year in the 4th quarter to win the game against the Chiefs. That ended up being one of the highlight reel plays for the Chargers last season. I don’t foresee him on the field too often as a receiver this season, but more of a special teamer.
Dontrelle Inman is going to be on this football team. He’s gone out there in training camp and earned his position. A CFL football player last season, signed by Tom Telesco after an open tryout last December, Inman has worked his tail off during this offseason and his work has been noticed by the coaches. I expect him to make an impact for this team this year. He has the prototypical wide receiver body at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.
I like Vincent Brown a lot. I thought he had a lot of talent but health never allowed him to put it all together. As of now, he seems to be headed towards the PUP (Physically unable to perform) list alongside guard Jeromey Clary. I liked what I’ve seen out of Javonte Herndon in the preseason, seems to have good speed and good hands a potential practice squad member. I also believe that Rookie 7th round pick Tevin Reese is headed for the practice squad. He started off training camp on a good note, but has since declined showing a lack of knowledge of the routes and unreliable hands. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my very first article for Boltblitz.com and I hope you enjoyed it.
Before we can talk about the importance of Donald Brown in the Chargers backfield, I need for Chargers fans to step back in time. I know you don’t really want to think about January 12th 2013, but we need to at this point. I think the best way to weigh Donald Brown’s role on the team this year, is imagine what it would have been like to have him last year.
Going into the 1/12/13 game, the Chargers had won 5 must-win games in a row. They went on the road twice to beat previously undefeated at home teams like Cincinnati and, of course, the Thursday night shocker at Mile High.
The Chargers had every reason to feel confident, right? Only two major problems ended up explaining why the San Diego scored as many points as I did in the first half of the game. Let’s start with the Denver weather. The fact that the Chargers are a warm weather team has never been an issue for Rivers and company who have as respectable a winning percentage in December as anyone. What was an issue, weather-wise, was a super strong wind that was whipping the flags around like crazy prior to the game.
What does this have to do with Donald Brown? Calm down, I’m getting there. The corner store of the Bolts revamped offense in the first year of the Mike McCoy era was the short passes with high completion rating on 3rd down. The man who bulldozed us into that position all year was Ryan Mathews.
It is not a question of toughness. Watch any Ryan Mathews highlight reel from last season and you will see a monster wreck defenses. Most importantly, he got the Bolts into those shorter 3rd down plays consistently. So, when Ryan Mathews went out on the field January 12th, he was gutting it out with a high ankle sprain. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like walking to the bathroom let alone playing in an NFL game on that kind of ankle.
The team had no back-up or relief for Ryan Mathews. Woodhead can’t make the same kind of plays and Ronnie Brown didn’t have the power. I believe Tom Telesco was thinking he needed a second bruiser as he watched that game, and he found a solid solution.
Donald Brown was a former first round draft pick of the Colts (out of the University of Connecticut ) which means he has worked with Frank Reich before who was Peyton Manning’s QB coach when he was drafted. Tom Telesco was not the GM but very involved in the scouting process and drafting in Indianapolis. Brown is a 5’10” and 207-pound running back who signed with the Chargers for a three-year contract after playing five seasons in Indianapolis. He had 551 carries for 2,377 yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry. His 83 career receptions for 767 yards and two touchdowns are nothing to sneeze at either. He also was a great pass blocker for prolific passers like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and, of course, the great Curtis Painter.
Donald Brown brings experience and big playmaking skill, but doesn’t have the normal wear and tear a full-time featured back would normally would have. The greatest way to project his impact would be to imagine him being on last year’s Chargers and being able to come in and play in the Denver playoff game. Had Donald Brown come in, not Woodhead at the one yard line, the Chargers likely would have won the game at the Redskins and the end of the would not have been as nerve-wracking or grey hair inducing for Bolts faithful.
Would Mathews have hurt his ankle still? It is impossible to know, but he would not have had to rush back out on the field in the KC game, and would have been more likely to contribute to the playoff game in Denver. Mathews and the grind down the clock running game was how the team beat the Broncos last time in Denver. When the Chargers only lost by 7 stinkin’ points it is impossible not to ponder how would have been different if Donald, not Ronnie Brown, had come into the game.
Brown doesn’t seem like the lynch pin to a contender, but he is one piece the Bolts needed when they were 8 points from the AFC title game.