Monthly Archives: September 2014
Back in May, I said the keys to beating Buffalo were to “…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)” I am now 1-2 against my predictions.
Our Chargers did a good job of keeping CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and EJ Manuel contained. Jackson and Spiller were taken out of the game early with the Bolts building a lead. They only ran for a collective 59 yards. Manuel threw for only 238 yards, much of them coming as garbage yards when the game was already in hand. Sammy Watkins only caught two balls for 19 yards.
Chargers scored 20 of their points in the first 37 1/2 minutes before going into cruise control. With Ryan Mathews out, the running game was not as effective as we’d like it to be. Philip Rivers was efficient, going 18 for 25 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.
Malcom Floyd showed his value in the vertical game, catching two 49 yard bombs from Rivers. Ladarius Green had a bigger role catching four passes, tying him with Eddie Royal for most catches last Sunday.
The Chargers played into my pet peeve after going ahead 20-10 by taking their foot off the gas, this time offensively. One of these days, we’ll see a full 60 minute game on both sides of the ball.
All in all, there’s more to be excited about at this point. Green and Floyd showed their worth in a huge way. The defense played their butts off, led by Eric Weddle and Corey Liuget.
The injury bug took its toll again this week. Danny Woodhead, we know is done for the year with a broken leg and ankle injury. Mantei T’eo is out this week against Jacksonville with a fracture in his foot. Reggie Walker is out with an ankle injury. C Rich Ohrnberger is doubtful with a back issue, Doug Legursky is probably going to start at center, making the third to play that position already this year. Keenan Allen, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett were limited.
Chargers are already looking like a M*A*S*H unit and it’s only Week 4. Hopefully, this trend will stop before it gets to the point where the bye can’t come soon enough.
The week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is tomorrow at Qualcomm stadium. Thomas Powell and I are holding a tailgate party at J3 prior to the game and everyone is invited.
There won’t be too many raffle items, but there will be two hats and a Melvin Ingram jersey up for grabs.
Tomorrow is a great opportunity for the Chargers to win their third consecutive game in a row. The Chargers currently have the same record as their divisional rival Denver Broncos.
Many fans would like to say that tomorrow’s contest is a definite win prior to the game even starting. Jacksonville is 0-3 and will be fighting to earn their first victory of the season. The Jaguar defense has some good players in Paul Posluzny, Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.
Tomorrow rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will be making his first career start. Chad Henne had been receiving the starting snaps, but Gus Bradley has turned over the reigns to Bortles.
Defensive coordinator John Pagano will most likely throw the book and Blake and try to confuse him. The defense is hoping to snag their first interception of 2014.
Thomas, BoltUp O’sider and I are hosting what we think will be a great time for all Charger fans. We won’t have any DJs but we will have beverages and great company. Be sure to come by J3 and hang out with us and get ready for the Chargers to take on the Jaguars.
Before I begin…
This column is for entertainment purposes only. This column is not an endorsement of gambling, as gambling is highly illegal. That is, unless you’re in a licensed casino or other permitted gaming establishment, or playing small enough stakes it will never be noticed. (Office pools, home games, gentlemen’s bets etc..) On a side side note…no snitching. Bet responsibly. (That’s IF we were betting, which we’re not…) Bet only what you can afford, I don’t want anyone losing their homes and being forced to read my column from a shared computer in a Starbucks or something. That would be tragic.
There, that should take care of legal. On to the subject at hand.
The Las Vegas bookmakers are the go-to source for the odds to win in any sporting event. Like the casinos in Vegas, those brick and mortar palaces of overindulgence are built on the backs (and bank accounts) of visitors foolish enough to think they could out-think the ‘wiseguys’, more commonly known as the analytics gurus who set the betting lines. The house always wins and the wiseguys always win. Right?
Okay, well they’re right a majority of the time. However, Vegas has been wrong about the Chargers all season. If you had bet on the Chargers like a certain writer we all know who shall remain nameless, you would have beat Vegas and be in the midst of a three game win streak right now. How?
The Chargers were +3 underdogs to the Arizona Cardinals in week one. The game was decided by one point. Win.
In week two, the Chargers were +6.5 point underdogs to the Seattle Seahawks. We know how that game turned out. Win.
In week three, the Chargers were +2 point underdogs to the Buffalo Bills. Another win.
For the gambling illiterate, when the underdog wins, the bettor wins more money than he wagered. In three games, three bets on the Chargers would have all resulted in wins. Vegas had not picked the Chargers to win a game and each week the Chargers have proven them wrong.
That is, until now.
The wiseguys have finally decided to favor the Chargers for the first time this season in their week four tilt against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Vegas has made the Chargers 14-point favorites. A betting favorite has to beat the point spread to win. There is a game the wiseguys think the Chargers can win! Stop the presses! Of course, for a bettor to make it to the pay window this week the Chargers have to win by 15 to get paid. To win by 14 would constitute a tie, or as its known in Vegas, a push. No one wins and your money is free to bet elsewhere. Now the question is not if the Chargers will win but will they win by 15 or more. Quite a different question as opposed to the first three weeks. Let me consult my Magic 8-Ball…
All signs point to yes…
Let’s hope the Chargers don’t start thinking like the wiseguys. Yes, the Chargers should be able to blow the doors off the Jaguars and their newly appointed rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, but they should not look past them. Just because they’re supposed to slaughter the hapless Jaguars doesn’t mean they will. The Patriots needed a final minute goal line stand to beat the Raiders last week. The Patriots were 14-point favorites to beat Oakland last week and they barely squeaked by 16-9. No one gave Cleveland a shot against New Orleans in week two but the Browns got the win.
The Chargers are entering a nice stretch of games where they will encounter the Jaguars, New York Jets, Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs in succession before they have their first clash with Denver in Mile High Stadium. Even Vegas is likely to favor the Chargers until they meet Peyton and company. The Chargers need to focus squarely on each of these highly winnable games (the Raiders, Chiefs, Jets and Jaguars are a combined 2-10 heading into week four) and collect these wins as they will be significant in the push to win the AFC West and make the playoffs.
The wiseguys aren’t dummies however. Although the placing varies, Vegas has San Diego as one of the top eight favorites to win the Super Bowl not in the AFC but in the league at 20 to 1 odds (pay one dollar, win twenty in return) or better. Depending on the which bookmaker you pick, its up to 12-1 odds.
Vegas is welcome to be right on that one. As for me, I always bet on 17.
The Greg One
Far be it from me to look past any team. I am well aware of the history of the San Diego Chargers and playing to the level of the competition. Losing games that they had no business losing, by snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory (see 4th and 29), or not getting up for a lesser opponent. But after looking at what is supposed to be the fourth hardest schedule in the NFL, I see the potential for the Bolts to have the playoffs almost locked up by the end of week 12! Am I guaranteeing anything? Absolutely not. Do I believe that the schedule has the Chargers set up for a serious run? Hell yes! Let’s take a look at each game between week four and week 12 and see if you agree.
- Week 4 Jacksonville (0-3): Honestly, the Jaguars are a hot mess. They are ranked dead last in total defense, defending the run, defending the pass, and points allowed (just under 40 per game). They are also among the league’s worst offenses as well! This week, the Jags have decided to run rookie quarterback Blake Bortles out there for his first career start. He played a half last week and threw for two touchdowns and had two picks. It does not appear that he will be a bad QB, just a very inexperienced one. I look for the Chargers defense to wreak havoc on the kid QB all day long. I see the Chargers continuing their modest win streak.
- Week 5 Jets (1-2): One should never look past the New York Jets! The Jets hold the distinct honor of knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs, in San Diego, on two recent occasions. They are not a great team, but they are not bad. So far this season, they have stayed in all of their games and even looked like they could win. The problem has been that the Jets cannot get out of their own way! Calling timeout that negate game tying touchdowns, getting careless penalties in the red zone that cost them touchdowns, and having a very raw quarterback who seems to be allergic to throwing from within the red zone. I believe that the Chargers are the better team in this matchup, but they better beware. It’s games like this where Head Coach Mike McCoy can show that he knows how to prepare a team mentally for all opponents, not just contenders.
- Week 6 @Raiders (0-3): Thus far in the 2014 NFL season, the Raiders are still the Raiders. Despite seemingly upgrading their team in the off season, they are still an undisciplined team that no longer strikes fear in any opponent. The amazing thing about this year’s version of the Silver and Black is that they are playing soft. The once dominant bullies of the NFL are now a shell of their former selves. They have one of the worst offenses in football and the second to last run defense. The only area they appear to be doing well in is pass defense, as they are ranked number nine in the league. That number may be misleading as it is based on yards allowed. Why pass against a team that allows just below 160 rushing per game? If the Chargers can remember that you can never look past a rival, look for them to have a big day in the Black Hole. They must, however, meet or surpass the intensity of their arch rival in order to win this game. Last year, they took the Raiders lightly and got thumped.
- Week 7 Chiefs (1-2): The definition of a “trap game”. Yep, if KC is playing below .500 ball coming into San Diego. It would be very easy for the Bolts to start looking ahead to Peyton and his Broncos. Kansas City is coming off of a big win in Miami. Before that, they lost a hard-fought game in Denver, and had a poor showing in the opener against Tennessee. This rivalry goes back for over 50 years and neither team has shown dominance over the other. The Chargers do hold a slight all-time edge on KC (54-52-1), but should remember the narrow victory against the Chief’s second string at the end of last season. This is far from a “gimmie”. That being said, I believe the Chargers are the better team and should be playing some inspired football at this time of the season, assuming things are working to plan.
- Week 8 @ Denver (2-1): Here we go! This is a big time game! If both teams continue to impress throughout the first seven weeks of the season, this will be an epic matchup in the mile high city. Denver is the place where the Chargers shocked the world last season and defeated the eventual Super Bowl runner-up at home. Look for the ball to be in the air all day for this one. Neither the Chargers nor the Broncos have been very impressive running the ball this year. The Broncos will rely on Manning and company to keep pace with Rivers and his Bolt offense. Rivers should be able to take advantage of a Denver secondary that is currently ranked 31st. No one is calling their shot on this game, but it has the makings of a classic.
- Week 9 @Dolphins (1-2): Do you want to know if the 2014 Chargers are for real and have what it takes to separate themselves from past Chargers teams? Watch this game. The Chargers have lost the last seven games in Miami. The long flight and early hour of the game may have something to do with it, but whatever it is, that is a long drought. In fact, the last time the Charger won in Miami was the Epic in Miami, back in January of 1982! That being said, this year’s Chargers are certainly a better football team than the Miami Dolphins. Even last season, the Chargers moved the ball freely against the Fins, but just couldn’t punch it in. Settling for field goals is rarely a formula for success. Another opportunity for McCoy to show that he can mentally prepare his team to play anyone, anywhere.
- Week 10 BYE: This will be the most anxiously anticipated bye week in Chargers history. A chance to heal from injuries and come down off of some very emotional games. If the Chargers record is what it could be by week 10, this bye week will also be used to get mentally ready for a stretch run that could (should) lead to a playoff berth. The tough times are ahead!
- Week 11 Raiders (0-3): One would think that being in the hunt for the playoffs and having two weeks to prepare would be a huge advantage for the Chargers in this game. Personally, I feel that once again this game will be decided by which team comes to play. If the Chargers think they can just throw their helmets on the field and win this game, they could be sorely disappointed. If they come out fired up and ready mentally, I see no way for Oakland to win.
- Week 12 Rams (1-2): This game will be a good test for the offensive line of the Chargers. The Rams do possess a solid pass rush and are not afraid to use it. Look for Rivers to attack the Rams with the short passing game and to keep the Rams honest by giving them a large dose of whatever running backs are still around by then. The Rams are not good against the run, so whoever is toting the rock should have some success. Like all games, this is not a sure thing, but it is a game where the Chargers should go in favored at home and walk out with another victory.
Okay, there are the next nine weeks in a nutshell. I’m not saying that the Chargers will emerge from this stretch at 10-1 and in possession of first place in the AFC West. What I am saying is that if the Chargers can get up for every game and play the kind of football we have been seeing thus far (with an improved run game), they SHOULD have at least eight or nine wins by this time of the season. Therefore, since most “experts” believe that 10 wins should make a team a lock for the playoffs, I believe the Chargers should be in a great place moving forward. Why is this hot streak important? Take a look at the last five games.
- @ Ravens (2-1) Playing as a team despite media distractions
- Patriots (2-1) They find a way to win games
- Broncos (2-1) Glad it’s at home, but never count out Peyton
- @49ers (1-2) Slow start, but did make NFC Championship game
- @Chiefs (1-2) Rivalry game in a very tough venue
I don’t know about you, but I do not believe the Chargers would be well served to need three or four wins to make the playoffs with that stretch coming up. Three road games, five perennial playoff contenders, two arch rivals, and two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game all show up for the home stretch. These games are winnable, but hardly pushovers. As for the previous eight games? Only time will tell, but in my humble opinion, the Chargers should be able to build up a record that should have them somewhere between 8-3 and 10-1 after all are said and done. If they can pull that off, the playoffs should follow. Then it’s whoever gets hot and wins the tournament. Enjoy the games!
Hey, kids. I took some time off, and had surgery and other stuff going on, but I never stopped being a fan of, or paying attention to, our Chargers. This article started out to be about the Chargers, but I found it to take a turn toward something I would like to address.
They (you know who “they” are) say that during the NFL season the average percentage of domestic violence goes up. I can see how the football season can affect some people who don’t have much self-control. In light of the latest controversy dealing with, but not exclusive to, Ray Rice, the domestic violence issue has been a huge deal, as it should be. I don’t know if you noticed but one thing stood out to me that doesn’t seem to be mentioned is that after Rice punched his then fiance’ square in the face, he seemed to be very calm as he picked up her limp body and dragged her out of the elevator as if this was a common occurrence for him.
I just wonder what goes through a man’s mind when he does something like that. The other controversy is that how the league seemingly is trying to downplay the incident. Really? I understand trying to protect the players, but not when it comes to domestic violence. Leave the hitting for the field.
Say goodbye to your multi-million dollar career, not to mention all the money you could have made in endorsement deals. Now you’re going to be viewed as a villain. I’m sure Ray Rice is probably a great guy but when you hit, punch, sock, whatever you want to call it, a woman it is so sad and pathetic. I myself have encountered the same and I WALKED AWAY. It’s a sad situation that it takes something like this to be reactive.
Mr. Goodell..let’s be proactive instead.
Fans of the NFL tend to know who their favorite quarterback is with the likelihood that his name is tattooed somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine. Whether it’s his outstanding stats, playing for their favorite team, or just because they jumped on the bandwagon, most have their favorite golden boy already selected. Yet, for the San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, it’s no secret that many fans dislike him – often using the term “hate”. The odd part about their aversion is that they never seem to have a reason for their opinion. Opinions are often like (well, you get it)…and we know the rest, but why so many for El Captain? The answer might surprise you.
During the 2004 NFL draft, it was already established that Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers. With San Diego having the number one first round draft pick, they still chose him anyway. However, there was a significant behind the scenes deal made with the New York Giants to send E. Manning to New York, trading for Rivers – who was the number four pick in the same round. Did this give Rivers a bad taste in his mouth? It absolutely did. His frustration stuck out like a sore thumb his first few seasons in the NFL. Much of that left fans, spectators, and me wondering how a professional football player, who had just joined the league, could be such a cry baby. It wasn’t until the 2006 season that Rivers capitalized on his opportunity to prove naysayers, and haters from all over the league, wrong.
Rivers’ first NFL start was on September 11, 2006 against the Oakland Raiders. He ended that game with a QB rating of 133.9% and a score of 27-0. Shocking? Hardly. He then handed a big loss to the former Super Bowl Champion Pittsburg Steelers, with a game-ending score of 23-13. This was just the beginning of Rivers’ success; however, fans still continue to hold onto their dislike for him. It certainly couldn’t be his career statistics: combined total yards of 33,147; 227 touchdowns and a QB rating of 96.3%. We all know the San Diego Chargers are not “America’s Team”, so the reason behind the dislike of so many fans is that he has a burning desire for competition and ambition to win, which is often misinterpreted.
Have you ever found yourself fired up, flush in the face, and unknowingly raising your voice during an innocent game of wall ball with those half your age? Well, that’s the feeling Rivers has every time he steps on that football field. Many will agree that they feel uncomfortable when an overly competitive person ruins the fun for everyone. Yet, in the NFL, winning the game is not for fun, it’s the reason for playing. Philip’s single and sole purpose is to win games, and he will do anything to accomplish that. If fans were to take their love and passion of their favorite team, and compare it to his desire to win, then many would come to understand Mr. Bolo tie.
Competitiveness cannot be taught; it runs through your veins from birth and unintentionally flows heavily into your daily activities. As the heart races, the feeling cannot be tamed to cater to those most insulted. Most will take that obsession negatively, but Philip Rivers doesn’t care. He will still continue to piss off any opposing player, offend any referee, and most importantly, he will still find a way to win – regardless of your dislike.
Últimamente, varios equipos de la NFL han sido victimas de un alto número de lesiones en jugadores, siento estos vitales para las escuadras y estrategias de su equipo. Podemos estar de acuerdo que los Chargers, metafóricamente, se encuentran en una nube de lesiones serias en sus jugadores; algunas de estas dejarán a miembros del equipo sin poder jugar por el resto de la temporada.
En las primeras tres semanas de la temporada regular, San Diego ha perdido a Nick Hardwick y Danny Woodhead, con lesiones que los pusieron en la lista de reservas por el resto de la temporada. Ryan Mathews y Manti Te’o sufrieron lesiones en la segunda y tercera semana respectivamente, pero se estima que regresen para las últimas semanas de la temporada regular. Otros jugadores lesionados incluyen Melvin Ingram y Jeromey Clary.
Siendo este la inesperada situación de miembros de la escuadra lastimados, se comenzaron a crear estrategias por parte de Tom Telesco y Mike McCoy. El resultado fue un alto número de adquisiciones y terminaciones de varios jugadores. Entre la lista de adquisiciones se encuentran:
RB DJ Adams
Adams regresa a San Diego después de ser cortado por los Chargers en Junio de este año. Regresa al equipo después de estar con Dallas por un par de meses, siendo cortado el 29 de Agosto. Adams tuvo éxito en sus años de Fútbol Americano Universitario, con 11 touchdowns y 239 yardas corridas en 9 partidos con la Universidad de Maryland. Adams estará en la escuadra de practica.
RB Shaun Draughn
Un movimiento en la escuadra que ha dejado a fanáticos comentando es la adición de Shaun Draughn. Su año novato fue con los Redskins de Washington en el año 2011, demostrando un buen trabajo con 391 yardas y 2 touchdowns corridos. Sin embargo, después de ese año, solo ha tenido 2 yardas corridas. A pesar de no tener grandes estadísticas durante los últimos 2 años, Draughn parece estar listo para apoyar de cualquier forma al equipo y se muestra durante las sesiones de práctica Martes y Miércoles. Shaun está como uno de los 53 miembros de la escuadra oficial para partidos. Será interesante ver, si es que lo vemos jugar este domingo, su desempeño en el campo.
ILB Kevin Reddick
Reddick, anteriormente con Nueva Orleans, tuvo un buen año novato en el 2013. Con 12 tackleadas de equipos especiales y un fumble (balón suelto) forzado que resultó en un touchdown, Reddick es un jugador apto para la escuadra. Estará su segundo año en San Diego como parte de la escuadra de 53 hombres. Sin embargo, se estima que Reddick será parte de la unidad de equipos especiales, particularmente para el juego del domingo.
TE David Paulson
Siendo parte de la escuadra de práctica para los Chargers (por ahora), Paulson jugó sus años universitarios en Oregón, antes de ser seleccionado en la 7ma ronda del Draft de 2012 por Pittsburgh. Sus estadísticas en sus dos años como Steeler incluyen 13 recepciones con 153 yardas recibidas. Sin embargo, tuvo 2 balones sueltos en sus 2 temporadas, perdiendo uno. Igualmente será muy interesante ver de qué forma apoya en la escuadra de práctica.
OLB Colton Underwood
Underwood jugó futbol universitario con Illinois antes de ser parte del equipo de San Diego en Mayo 2014 como un agente libre, después de no ser seleccionado en el Draft de la NFL. Tuvo un poco de experiencia como Charger en la pretemporada, haciendo su debut contra Dallas. En el partido demostró potencial, con un sack a QB novato Dustin Vaughan en el último cuarto, definiendo el final del encuentro (con SD ganando). Después de la pretemporada, firmó contrato con Filadelfia como miembro de la escuadra de práctica. Tres semanas después, regresa a San Diego en la misma posición. En lo personal, pienso que Underwood demostró un buen desempeño en la temporada, si sigue practicando y dando su mejor esfuerzo, si puede llegar a entrar al grupo de 53.
Se hicieron un total de 10 movimientos por el equipo de Tom Telesco y Mike McCoy, y se estima que nuevas estrategias y planes de ataque hayan sido elaborados simultáneamente. El efecto de estos nuevos movimientos se verá durante las próximas dos semanas, cuando los Chargers se enfrenten contra Jacksonville y Nueva York, ambos partidos en territorio relámpago (Estadio Qualcomm) Lo único que podemos hacer como fanáticos es esperar y apoyar a nuestro equipo para obtener dos victorias más.
¿Qué opinas tu de los movimientos hechos por los Chargers? ¿ Tendrá algún impacto este domingo contra Jacksonville?
Comparte tus opiniones en Facebook y Twitter @JoeLovesMusic24 #BoltBlitz
José “Joe” Martínez
Charger fans all over the world are incredibly hyped about the Bolts in 2014. The new regime is turning around the mess they were handed and making this team into a true competitor. There is plenty to be excited about regarding this team. The Chargers are shooting up power rankings around the media, and rightfully so.
For the fans here in San Diego, let’s talk about the best ways to support your team while attending the games at Qualcomm stadium. Here’s a list of important things to keep in mind.
– When the Charger offense is on the field, shhhhhh!! Be quiet. Celebrate the plays after they’ve been made, but don’t get loud and scream while Philip Rivers is trying to orchestrate the offense. This is so important.
– When the San Diego defense is on the field, get LOUD. Save your effort while the team is on offense for when the defense is out there. Crowd noise can be a huge factor in the game. Teams all around the league pump in crowd noise during practice to allow the players to get themselves acclimated to a loud environment.
– Don’t pick fights or engage with fans from the other team that are hostile and looking for a brawl. Don’t end up on the news for the wrong reason. You’re not supporting the Chargers by being belligerent and stupid. Who cares? There is no reason to engage a moron from the opposing team’s fanbase. Leave it alone and celebrate a victory.
– No one likes the wave. Don’t do it. Save your energy. If you want the wave(s), go to the beach. There is no longer a place for it. Stop!
– Save the party for after the game. I am the last person to talk about partying. That being said, if you really want to show other fans how to do it right, party after the game. The team needs you at your best during games.
– Be respectful of the Charger fans around you while in the stadium. We all react differently to individual plays and players. There is no reason for fan on fan hate or criticism. They paid for their ticket, just as you did. Allow them to enjoy their experience. You don’t know what it took for them to get to the game. No hate, just love.
Now I’ll move on to how to carry yourself on social media.
– If you have never seen a player play, don’t claim the team should sign them. Don’t be THAT fan. Sure, if you’ve watched a couple of games from a certain player you may like what you’ve seen. But have you watched their entire career? Have you broken down tape and looked at how this player plays, or how he fits into the system run by the Chargers? Probably not. Just because you recognize the name on the back of the jersey, it does not constitute a signing by San Diego. Stop it.
– Be realistic when talking about your team. No team is likely to go 16-0. The parity in the NFL is at an all-time high. The often used phrase, any given Sunday, is useful and applies to the league each and every week. Quit thinking the Bolts are going to win every game.
– If you don’t know, ask! There is no reason to talk out of your ass and pretend to know. It’s ok. There are people who can help. Both Thomas Powell and I have a strong understanding of the game. Hit us up. There are tons of options that can give you inside information. As far as learning the game and how it works, I played, officiated and coached the game that you love. I can help everyone. All it takes is a question and I’ll provide the answer. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll be honest and upfront. I’m not above being wrong. Therefore, if I can’t give you what you need, I’ll direct you to someone who can.
– The Charger fanbase should look at itself like a family. Sure, there’s that crazy uncle, or two. Additionally, fans need to be willing to support one another. There needs to be a cohesiveness among the fans. Why, you ask? Because this truly is a family affair. Don’t be too critical of your fellow fans. They may not know what you know, but that doesn’t mean you should be tearing them down. Be cool.
Those pointers listed above are only a guide on how to conduct yourself at Qualcomm and on social media. I’m sure I’ve left some out. Are you doing it right? Are you that fan that breaks or refuses to support the Bolts in the best way possible? Reassess what you’re doing and make it better. It is all up to you.
During training camp I continued to hear the mantra “Next Man Up” from players, coaches and front office executives. The cynical side of me thought perhaps it was just another slogan that could be splashed on a t-shirt and sold. Or perhaps a cool saying to put on an edited picture. I took this catchphrase and used it for my selfish benefit; as a tool in raising my enthusiasm about our Chargers. After three weeks of the regular season, I feel that I might understand and value what McCoy and Telesco were really referring to and where this motto came from.
Rewinding a little – After I cleansed my cynical ideals about the phrase, I sat back and thought about it open-mindedly. With early injuries to Clary and season-long injuries to Freeney and Ingram last year, it would make sense to employ this theory. I felt perhaps the dunce cap was coming off and now I was able to leave the corner of the room. I felt relieved, and a honestly a little dimwitted. I realized it was not just a commercialized statement. It actually had meaning. However, I had not yet fully grasped the concept.
Going back even further now – back to the 2012-2013 season. The New England Patriots clinched the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs with a 12-4 record. They would lose to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Ravens, but they had the same motto – Next Man Up. All season long they had dealt with adversity, injuries, suspensions….etc. The coveted phrase would have to prove itself in the AFC divisional playoffs. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski re-injured his surgically repaired forearm and a certain running back injured his thumb within the first ten plays of the game. The backup RB, Shane Vereen, scored three touchdowns and amassed 124 total yards. The running back who injured his thumb, was none other than our own Danny Woodhead.
Early in 2014, and more specifically last Sunday’s win against the Bills, I saw……no!…I felt what was happening. It’s not just about being ready to play at any moment with no excuses, it also means producing on the field. I know this might sound muddled, but hear me out. Last season there were no Charger defenders who won “Player of The Week.” Rivers and Peyton Manning played seesaw for the first four weeks with Manning eventually winning the “Player of The Month.” In 2012, we had one Charger win this honor – Donald Butler in week 4. This year, we have had back-to-back winners – Gates and now Liuget. Next Man Up. If Liuget is off his game, perhaps Reyes will pick up the slack and become the fierce warrior. Antonio Gates might have shined in one game, but perhaps Eddie Royal will step up and take a few to the house. Because of this team, this family, this translucent mantra, every player feels that they are next. They believe in this team, this motto, and they want to be a part of it. There is something in the air out in San Diego, an aura of great confidence. Can you feel it?
Fast forward to the here and now. As many NFL teams have experienced thus far, injuries are attacking without any remorse. San Diego is no different. From small irritant injuries to long-term injuries to possible career ending ones, our beloved Bolts have taken a beating….literally. Mathews went down. Insert Donald Brown and Branden Oliver. Woodhead went down. Insert DJ Adams and Shaun Draughn. Melvin Ingram goes down (again) and insert Cordarro Law. What can we expect from them? Only time will tell. In the past, I would have become pessimistic and hopeless watching our starters go down. This year, even with our brutal schedule, I am not panicking. I am not worried, and I am not giving up hope. Why you ask? Because….the Next Man is up.
“Great going, kid! Don’t get cocky.”- Han Solo, “Star Wars,” 1977
Now that the Chargers have returned from Buffalo and roster spots have been filled after the losses of Danny Woodhead and Manti Te’o, it’s time to re-focus and ask, “Who’s next?”
The answer: the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes, those Jaguars. You might remember these are the same Jaguars the Chargers beat in their backyard last year, 24-6. No, it wasn’t even that close.
It would be easy to ignore the Jaguars and start thinking ahead to the Sunday after next when the New York Jets come west on October 5th. After all, the last six meetings (including the playoffs) are even at 3-3. The Jets will bring with them the traveling fans that the Jaguars don’t obviously have. In fact, by the time this article is posted tomorrow, fans will know if they’ll have to make alternate plans on Sunday afternoon.
We’ll address the blackout issue in another post, but let’s look at what’s coming to Qualcomm this Sunday.
The Jaguars have handed over the offense to rookie quarterback, Blake Bortles. He was drafted third overall from the University of Central Florida. He is big at 6’5″ and 232 lbs. The tape on Bortles is limited to second-half action against the Indianapolis Colts when the Jaguars were already down 30-0. The rookie did throw for 223 yards on 14 of 24 passes with two touchdowns and 2 interceptions. This Sunday will be his first start.
Along with a rookie quarterback, the Chargers face a backfield that combined for 105 yards against the Colts (among four running backs).
While the Chargers have been emphasizing a renewed focus this week, I’m sure Philip Rivers is secretly drooling at the prospect of facing the Jaguars pass defense. This same pass defense was taken apart by Andrew Luck and the Colts for 390 yards on 31 of 39 passing and four touchdowns. The Chargers will likely use this weakness to their advantage considering there isn’t one dominant receiver on the Chargers side. Experts think that the Jaguars won’t know who to cover and, barring any dropped passes, Rivers and the receiving corps may have a field day.
The Chargers defense will be without the services of Te’o who leads the team in tackles (19). He suffered a fractured foot last Sunday against Buffalo.
The poor Jaguars run defense is dead last yielding 160 yards per game. This defense is probably just the remedy the Chargers run game needs as it goes into its second game with Donald Brown starting. Branden Oliver will get a chance to pick up the slack left when Woodhead was lost for the remainder of the season.
Based on the intel I’ve presented, you might think of one thing: blowout. The game might be over by halftime, am I right? Maybe a double-digit slaughter in which a fan may bet the over? Sports books have the Chargers as 13.5 point favorites with an over/under of 44.5 points. The odds are not in the Jaguars favor. However, I urge fans to exercise caution because the Chargers have gone into similar games only to underperform or play down to their opponent’s level.
The main thing I cannot emphasize enough to everyone who plans on watching Sunday’s game to do is be cautious. Fans had high hopes against Arizona only to be disappointed.
The Chargers cannot take the field and think about the weeks ahead of them. Especially since these games are against teams that are as weak as Jacksonville (the New York Jets and on the road with the Raiders). If the team can focus on what’s on the field this Sunday, it’s a three game winning streak. San Diego can’t sleepwalk through this game. Anything can happen on any Sunday. That’s what makes the NFL the nation’s most popular league.