Monthly Archives: April 2015

Telesco3

 

The 2015 NFL draft is here. Fans everywhere are as curious as ever to find out which players their favorite teams will be selecting. Charger fans are no different, as they know this year means so much in what will be the third year of general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy at the helm in San Diego.

Although the Chargers have needs at multiple positions, the team can fill most of their voids in today’s draft. Telesco has added a good amount of quality starters in his two years as the general manager of the Bolts. Fans can look for him to have another strong draft, adding players that supplement the roster in a way that gives you all something to be proud of over the next few days.

Without further ado, here is my mock draft for your San Diego Chargers.

 

17: R1P17
RB TODD GURLEY
GEORGIA
Generally, I am against drafting a running back in the first round. That being said, Gurley, in my opinion, is the best prospect in the 2015 draft class. He is the total package, a combination of speed and power that provides the Chargers with the best running back they have had since LaDainian Tomlinson. He is also a capable receiver out of the backfield, making him the most complete running back prospect to be drafted since Adrian Peterson went number seven overall to the Vikings. Gurley is the real deal, and worth being selected with the 17th pick.
48: R2P16
OG LAKEN TOMLINSON
DUKE
Though I would like to see a right tackle being selected in today’s draft, allowing DJ Fluker to move inside to guard, Tomlinson would be too difficult to pass on in the second round. The addition of Tomlinson would give the Chargers one of the bigger offensive lines in the NFL. Despite playing at a non-football powerhouse like Duke, his skill-set translates well to the NFL level.
83: R3P19
WR TYLER LOCKETT
KANSAS STATE
To put it quite simply, I have a man-crush on Lockett. It could be argued that he is the best route runner in the entire draft. Despite his lack of height, he high points the ball, attacking it at its highest point. Lockett possesses both speed and quickness coupled with solid hands. His return ability also makes him enticing in the third round. The only problem regarding the selection of Lockett is that he may not last until the third round. Regardless of where he is drafted, I believe he is the steal of the 2015 draft class.
117: R4P18
QB SEAN MANNION
OREGON STATE
Mannion is one of my favorite prospects in the quarterback group this season. Despite seeing his numbers go down as a senior at Oregon State, as a junior he was one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football. He has great touch on the ball, accurately finding receivers regardless of the route. I’m not sure why he hasn’t been given more attention throughout the draft process. Sitting behind Philip Rivers for three to four years would enable Mannion to succeed as the eventual replacement for Rivers.
153: R5P17
FS GEROD HOLLIMAN
LOUISVILLE
Holliman is a very underrated player in this year’s draft. He shows solid coverage skills while holding his own against the run. Having a year or two to soak in the knowledge that Eric Weddle imparts would certainly benefit Holliman. With Weddle showing him the ropes, Holliman could take the reins once every Charger fans favorite free safety decides to hang them up. In the short-term, Holliman could see time in sub-packages and on special teams.
192: R6P16
OLB GENEO GRISSOM
OKLAHOMA
When looking over the Chargers’ roster, it became glaringly clear that the linebacker position, both inside and outside, is in need of the infusion of some young talent. Grissom met with the Chargers during this offseason. His collegiate numbers don’t suggest that he will be more than depth in the NFL, and that’s exactly what the Bolts would add at this point. Solid against the run with good size and tackling ability, Grissom could be an asset as a weak-side linebacker.
Well, there you have it. Thanks for your patience while waiting for this mock to be posted. Now is the time, mere hours before the first round begins, to tear the “you know what” out of my selections. You can do so by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Booga Peters

 

Rivers Sad

 

 

It is safe to say that most of you have read Kevin Acee’s article about why trading quarterback Philip Rivers is the right thing to do. I must admit, I was hoping that the post would say more about why he believes that the trading of Rivers would make sense. Quite honestly, he doesn’t say much to support the idea.

I should have started this by stating how much I respect Acee. I have interviewed Kevin on multiple occasions, and I wouldn’t be out of line saying that he might be the coolest guy I have interviewed. Despite his large number of “haters,” I can assure you he has a good sense of humor and he really does know football.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, are you kidding me? Trade Rivers? Trade away arguably the best quarterback in the history of the Chargers’ franchise? Child, please.

I am just going to throw out a few names here to remind the fans what the Chargers’ quarterback situation has looked like in the past, prior to Rivers taking the helm:

  • Mark Herrmann
  • Babe Laufenberg
  • Billy Joe Tolliver
  • Mark Vlasic
  • John Friesz
  • Mark Malone
  • Gale Gilbert
  • Craig Whelihan
  • Moses Moreno

……… Ryan Leaf

It goes without saying that franchise quarterbacks do not come around all that often. Let us not ignore the misery of watching a team without a quality starter at the position.

Acee’s article, along with other speculation around the NFL, suggests that if the Chargers think Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the signal caller of the future for the team, Tom Telesco should pull the trigger on trading Rivers in an effort to draft Mariota.

Let me get this straight. Trade a proven commodity in Rivers for the opportunity to draft a rookie that has yet to play a down of NFL football? Sure, it is probably time to begin looking toward the future at the quarterback position in San Diego. But with Rivers under contract through the 2015 season, wouldn’t it be prudent to focus on doing all things possible to extend his contract and lock him up for the next three or four years?

Yes, Rivers has gone on record saying that he will play out his contract and see where it goes from there. But shouldn’t the Chargers go above and beyond to prove to Philip that they want no one else as their quarterback? That has not been the case, as the Chargers are working out Mariota, and they have worked out other possible incoming rookie options at quarterback this offseason. The visits have extended as far as Uncle Rico, per sources… In other words, the team is doing their due diligence when it comes to working on the next option at quarterback should the team move on from Rivers.

Let’s talk about Mariota. Then we’ll delve into the obvious reasons why the Chargers would be fools to not retain the services of Rivers.

Coming from a spread offense at Oregon, you won’t find many plays in which Mariota took snaps from under center. His collegiate numbers, especially last year, showed that he excelled in Oregon’s offense, throwing 42 touchdowns against only four interceptions. He also rushed for 770 yards and 15 touchdowns. We are not talking about Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning or John Elway; quarterbacks that were, indeed, a sure thing when it comes to their collegiate efforts translating to success in the NFL. Although he is very athletic, what can he do in an NFL offense? It is difficult to say whether or not he would be comfortable being a drop-back, pocket passer.

When watching tape on Mariota, his collegiate numbers aren’t exactly the best representation of how he’ll perform in the NFL. He keeps his eyes locked onto his primary read, neglecting to go through his progressions and find other options. Even if quarterback guru Mike McCoy were to work with him in helping to adapt his game, Mariota would most likely resort to locking onto his first read when under duress. I don’t see him as being able to function properly in the pocket of an NFL offense. Although he is capable of making plays with his feet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be able to move around in the pocket and deliver the ball accurately. Mariota may very well turn out to be a solid NFL starter, but I don’t see him becoming the caliber of player that Rivers is.

Speaking of quarterbacks who can work in the pocket, let’s talk about Philip Rivers. Despite his lack of mobility, he is incredibly crafty in the pocket. We all may like to poke fun at the way he runs when he scrambles, but he handles the pocket as well as any other passer in the league.

Rivers has one of the most awkward deliveries of any quarterback that I have ever watched throw a football. That being said, he is as accurate as they come. Fans outside of San Diego, and some that cheer on the Chargers, like to complain about the way that Rivers reacts when things don’t go his way. Quite frankly, I love it. His fire and passion can be misconstrued as being whiny. Each and every play means the world to him. He holds every player accountable down to the most intricate of details. To put it quite simply, he makes everyone on the team better due to the way he carries himself. He was born a leader and that is not denied by those in the know.

Trading Philip Rivers for the chance of drafting Marcus Mariota sets this franchise back a few years, at a minimum. The team already knows what they have in Rivers. The same can’t be said about Mariota. There is nothing but guesswork involved when it comes to prognosticating whether or not Mariota can fit into an NFL offense. McCoy has made some pretty poor quarterbacks look serviceable; Jake Delhomme and Tim Tebow immediately come to mind. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Rivers is the heart and soul of the Chargers.

Going into this offseason, the Chargers knew that they needed to surround Rivers with a better offensive line and more playmakers via free agency and the draft. The first portion of the process, free agency, saw the team do just that, and the draft tomorrow can help finalize what should be an improved offense.

The Bolts upgraded their offensive line with the addition of Orlando Franklin. It looks as though the team is happy with second-year player Chris Watt manning the center position for the forseeable future. If the team were to draft an offensive lineman in the early rounds of the upcoming draft, the big boys upfront would possibly form the best line the Chargers have had in quite some time. It goes without saying that Johnnie Troutman is not the answer at right guard, so expect the team to draft a starter at the position in round one or round two. A line featuring King Dunlap, Franklin, Watt, DJ Fluker and a highly selected rookie should certainly provide Rivers with confidence in the fact that the front office worked to improve the hogs up front.

When looking at the receiving corps, the additions of Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones give Rivers two more weapons at his disposal. Keenan Allen will be entering his third season in the league, and hopefully some pressure will be taken off him. Although Malcom Floyd is entering the latter stages of his career, he has a solid rapport with Rivers. He is still considered a deep threat after averaging a team-high 16.5 yards per reception. It goes without saying that Antonio Gates had a fantastic year in 2014, leading the team with 12 touchdowns. Additionally, tight end Ladarius Green is primed to see more time on the field this upcoming season. The receiving corps is stocked and ready to roll. Rivers must be salivating while thinking of all of these receiving options.

After losing Ryan Mathews to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, the team is left with Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown at the running back position. Although Telesco has said that he is happy with the ball carriers on the roster, do not be surprised if the team adds a back in Thursday’s draft. The return of Woodhead will be huge for the Bolts. He provides so much versatility to the offense. As an undrafted free agent rookie out of Buffalo, Oliver was a pleasant surprise, making the 53-man roster. He may not fit the bill as a bell-cow back, but he does give the team a solid option at running back. Though Brown was a disappointment in his first year with the Chargers, the team seems to believe that he can get the job done. He may not ever live up to the contract that he signed during the free agency period prior to the 2014 season, but he is capable as a third option. If a ball carrier is drafted, Brown may be on his way out of San Diego.

Even if the Chargers aren’t willing to say it right now, they have the opportunity to keep Philip in 2016 via the franchise tag. Of course, he could refuse to agree to that option and sit out the season or retire. But wouldn’t it behoove him to remain with the team if there is an option to collect a top-dollar quarterback contract? I believe it would. I guess it would boil down to whether or not he believes in what Telesco and McCoy are building with the Chargers. It says a lot that he has said that he won’t sign a long-term deal at this point, opting to play out this year and see where things go from there.

Getting rid of Rivers would be a huge mistake. The team hasn’t had a franchise signal caller since the days of Dan Fouts. Although I was a bit young to truly appreciate the ability of Fouts during his playing days, an argument could easily be made that Rivers is the greatest quarterback in Charger history. If one was to look at the numbers, and take into account the weapons provided to each quarterback, it is fair to say that Rivers has passed up Fouts.

For all of you Oregon fans that would love to see Mariota in lightning bolts, I implore you to recall the fact that Rivers has played the part of Superman, overcoming numerous injuries to ensure that he would never miss a game since being given the role of starting quarterback in San Diego. He is an upstanding member of the community, involved in many charities that benefit America’s finest city. The focus should remain that, in my humble opinion, he gives the team the best chance to win for the next few seasons. Should the team ignore the obvious and take a chance on replacing Rivers with Mariota? Again, child, please.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

qb

 

Listen to all the draft coverage on any network and you will hear the same thing coming from a different mouth. The two best quarterbacks in the draft are Jameis Winston of Florida State and Marcus Mariota of Oregon. All signs indicate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select the man they see as the best quarterback, Winston, with the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

As they have been throughout their team’s history, Tampa Bay will be wrong.

A fact that has recently emerged regarding Tampa Bay sheds a little light on that statement. In the history of the Tampa Bay franchise, they have never signed a quarterback they drafted to a second contract. Every quarterback the Bucs have ever drafted has washed away or drifted off to another team. As a result, the team has to reset the position with the frequency of a Presidential election, every four years at best.

Of the 32 men who have been quarterbacks for Tampa bay since their inception in 1976, only 5 have played four or more seasons in Buccaneer Orange. Their frugality in contract talks have cost them players who went on to greater success and Super Bowl rings with other teams. (Steve Young, Doug Williams, Joe Flacco). Now they’re primed in the top spot of the draft to choose the new face of their franchise at the quarterback position.

The best quarterback is not Jameis Winston. Not by a long shot.

The measurables for Winston look great. He has a NFL build. He played in a pro-style offense at Florida State that everyone sees as the dividing line between him and the man who really is the best quarterback available, Marcus Mariota. Winston is a proven winner who won the Heisman Trophy his freshman year. Despite putting up better numbers than Winston, Mariota didn’t win the Heisman until last season, his junior season.

There are few positive metrics that Mariota does not beat Winston. Last season, Mariota was better than Winston in completion percentage, passing yards, rushing yards, passing and rushing touchdowns, yards per completion and quarterback rating while leading the fourth highest scoring offense at Oregon to the tune of 45 points per game. Winston led Mariota in one category, interceptions, with 18 to Mariota’s 4. He completed one pass more than Mariota (305 to 304) but it took 22 more attempts to do so.

To the eye, Winston looks much bigger than Mariota. In reality they’re practically the same. Both players stand 6’4. Winston (225-230) outweighs Mariota (215-220) by 10-15 pounds depending on how much indulging on crab legs he’s been doing lately. Winston does carry a spare tire around his midsection where Mariota has a more slender, athletic frame. Both men have rifle arms and show great pocket presence and escapabilty. Mariota gets the nod in the speed department after posting a 4.5 second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

The single knock on Mariota is the system he played in. In Oregon, he was the maestro of the spread offense. He operated out of the shotgun and Oregon ran a play an average of every 20 seconds. Pro pundits debate whether that system of play will translate to the NFL. That stands as the only reason Winston is considered a can’t-miss NFL prospect while Mariota is seen as a project. The Oregon QB hasn’t ran a play from the under center since high school.

Any quarterbacks coach should be salivating over the possibility of having a prodigy such as Mariota to mentor. A three, five or seven step drop is not rocket science to teach. As Mariota gets comfortable operating under center he’s going to get better with each season as the drops become second nature. Look at his tape and Mariota goes through his progressions quickly, not just deferring to his first read as many have said. He has an above average release time and is adept at reading defenses.

Winston comes with a lot of red flags. All of his misadventures at FSU are well documented and it should force a GM to reconsider using the highest draft pick on one with such a questionable moral code. The quarterback is the leader of the football team, the face of his university. It could be argued that Winston has damaged the reputation of Florida State as much as he has enhanced it. Mariota has no such character issues.

Immaturity does (or should) play a role in the decision making process. If Winston makes such bad decisions when he’s a poor college student, what is he going to do with his free time with millions of dollars in the bank? How will he behave when the gold-digging groupies of the NFL come after him? What are the odds Winston will be able to keep his nose clean his entire pro career, help his team win games and be the first person the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ever signed to a second contract? Things can always change but I wouldn’t bet he will.

Both quarterbacks are the top of their class. Mariota has unlimited upside while Winston enters the league at the height of his powers. This is shaping up to be the millenium edition of the Manning/Leaf debate. In my view, Mariota is trending to be the next Steve Young or Cam Newton (another spread quarterback) while Winston looks like the next Byron Leftwich or Jamarcus Russell. (All the raw, physical tools in the world but lacking the self-discipline to put it all together).  A quarterbacks’ most important weapon is his brain and I trust Mariota to be the film room junkie, first one in, last one out of the facility type of athlete that becomes a Hall-Of-Famer. Four years from now we’ll all look back and wonder how it was even a question.

Sorry Tampa, you got it wrong. As usual.

 

005

It’s that time of year again. Yes, we know it’s time for the draft in less than 36 hours. What I’m referring to is what has become a yearly tradition since year one of BoltBlitz, my annual Oakland Raiders mock draft. For the uninitiated, refer to the BoltBlitz archives for the previous editions. There’s always no time like the present to lay the beatdown on the Raiders. Even with a high draft pick every year, they will find a way to screw it up. I take all the guesswork out for the Raiders and make their picks for them.

 

Round One

miley

Miley Cyrus, running back

One hot mess deserves another. Ms. Miley is already Raiders ready looks-wise. Mohawk? Check. Attitude-wise she is  spoiled, entitled and about five more years from a Behind-The-Music special. Sounds like the Raiders front office. She instantly makes an impact on offense as a tailback. She can distract the defense with her high pitched caterwauling or she can teach the offensive line to twerk in hopes of gaining yardage because the opposing defense is on the ground, holding their sides in laughter. Just win, baby.

 

Round Two

kool-aid

The Kool-Aid Man, fullback

Picture the scene at the podium as the Commissioner reads the pick. As he scans the room, you can all of a sudden feel a rumbling both audible and vibrating underneath your feet. As the tension reaches its nadir, the Kool-Aid Man bursts through the NFL Draft backdrop yelling his trademark OH YEAH. The 6’6, 300 lb. specimen is so elated he can’t control the cherry flavored juice spilling out of his dome, ruining the Commissioners suit. The hard part is going to be finding a set of pads that will prevent breakage but the Raiders feel he will be invaluable in short yardage and goal-line situations.

 

Round Three

commish

Roger Goodell

The Raiders picked a punter in the first round in 2000. That makes it evident that no one in the building is safe when the Raiders are on the clock, including the Commissioner. At 56, the Commissioner seems to be a bit old to be playing professional football to which a Raiders staffer replied ‘Look at Brandon Weeden, that guy is two years away from a mid-life crisis.’ Touche. They make a good point. Weeden does have a bald spot you could land the Space Shuttle on but Weeden is not on trial here. By securing Goodell, the Raiders aim to use his powers to swing games into their favor by issuing arbitrary rules during the game. I.E. ‘Andrew Luck is not allowed to pass in the fourth quarter.’ If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. It’s the Raider way.

Sources confirmed that the only thing more shocking than reading his own name on the Raiders draft card was the fact they took until the third round to pick him. ‘I’m already your best offensive player’, Goodell was overheard saying over a mic that was still hot. The above picture documents he offered a dollar on the spot to any rookie in the room to take his place on the Raiders roster. No one accepted.

 

Round Four

emmet

 

Emmet, Wide Receiver

Just one name like Madonna, Cher or Prince. Emmet. Emmet can catch anything thrown  his way and never fumble with his specialized kung-fu grip. (Now, to get the Commissioner to pass three inch footballs on gameday…) Emmett serves another just as important task as he automatically becomes the one person capable of building the Raiders a stadium! Everything is Awesooooome!

 

Round Five

doc2

Doctor Octopus, Quarterback

The Raiders break their arms patting themselves on the back when they select Doctor Octopus to be their quarterback of the future. Said a Raider executive, ‘The man has six arms! We could score 42 points on one play! Wheeeeeeeeee!!!’ That quote says two things: the Raiders still can’t do math but maybe they have a point. If he can beat Spider Man he should be able to beat Peyton Manning.

 

Round Six

jackson

Phil Jackson, Coach

The Raiders continue to push the envelope now by drafting people from other sports as they welcome former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. No one in football seems to want to coach the Raiders so why not basketball? Jackson has eleven rings and would be the perfect man to restore ‘The greatness of the Raiders.’ That’s if the Raiders played basketball. Good luck running the Triangle offense on a football field…

 

Round Seven

westbrook2

Russell Westbrooks’ wardrobe

Two words. Alternate uniforms.

westbrook

If the players on the field aren’t distracting enough, a blinding new uniform should stun everyone’s eyeballs long enough to ensure easy touchdowns. As long as the Raiders are wearing the uniforms, they don’t have to look at them. Genius.

 

There you have it. Seven picks that will pan out better than what the Raiders will actually pick during draft weekend. Rest in pieces you face-painted, spike wearing, parking lot jumping, Darth Vader wannabes.

 

 

Bolt Up!!

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

#TelescoMagic

draft

 

There are less than three days remaining until the offseason day we’ve all been waiting for aside from the start of free agency. The NFL Draft will commence with the Tampa Bay on the clock and a whirlwind of speculation surrounding our beloved San Diego Chargers. I will be there in person to see the events unfold and write of it in the days thereafter. After ingesting all the rumors and speculation of the last couple months, I have a feel for the way things go and I am brave (or stupid) enough to put them in print. Without further adieu. here are my top ten fearless predictions.

1. Philip Rivers will NOT be traded. Chargers GM Tom Telesco knows how valuable a commodity he has in Rivers and he’s simply not for sale. Not for Mariota. Not for Winston. Not for a handful of magic beans. No trade. No way. No how.

2. Adrian Peterson WILL be traded. To my chagrin, I have come to the realization that he will not be traded to the Chargers as dearly as I want that to happen. The Vikings know there is no chance in hell Peterson will ever suit up in the Purple and Gold ever again so on draft day he will be gone to the highest bidder. I will stand by my projection that the best they will get is a third round pick and maybe a late round throw in but their first round asking price will not happen.

3. Marcus Mariota will be the second pick in the draft but he will not play for Tennessee, who own the second pick. Not coincidentally, it leads to my next prediction…

4. Marcus Mariota and Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly will be reunited in Philadelphia. All the talk of a Mariota-for-Rivers deal has to make the Eagles happy because they have been largely forgotten in the equation. This will turn out exactly the way we expected it to at the end of the National Championship game. Chip Kelly wants Mariota to run his offense the same way he did at Oregon. Kelly knows there is no one better to run his offense than Mariota. Kelly will get Mariota.

5. To get Mariota, Kelly will trade off his offseason acquisitions. We all thought Kelly traded off his best pieces if he wanted to trade up to get Mariota. The Eagles sent former rushing champion LeSean McCoy packing. They traded away a strong quarterback in Nick Foles. What they did was overload their skill positions in order to make a deal the Titans would want. Let’s examine the facts. They now have DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles as running backs. They now have Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Tim freaking Tebow in their five quarterback stable. Kelly is going to give the Titans the quarterback and running back of their choice AND their first rounder to get the Titans spot and claim Mariota. Book it.

6. Eight household name players will change addresses during the draft. Expect at least five veterans to get traded on day one and more on day two as Peterson comes into play. Chip Kelly will be responsible for three of those names alone. More will come.

7. The Chargers first round pick will be a running back. Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon will be the man depending on who’s available.  Florida State center Cameron Erving will be the selection (as I indicated in my recent mock draft) if both are gone. Offense will be the order of the day in the first round. Telesco has not addressed the running back issue at all in the offseason and contrary to what has been said, don’t expect him to stand pat with Donald Brown, Branden Oliver and  Danny Woodhead. A top two running back will be drafted.

8. Only two quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round but three will be traded. Among those names, expect Robert Griffin III to be one of them.

9. The bidding war for Adrian Peterson between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys will be won by….New England. The Patriots will give the Vikings their first, second and fifth round picks to secure Peterson as Belichick shows why he is still the smartest person in the room. Hear that sound? It’s Bill Belichick dropping the mic.

10. Telesco will go against formula and trade down on day two to recover the seventh round pick he dealt last year. He’s saving one other bombshell for day two that lands the Chargers the services of.. disgruntled Bears feature running back Matt Forte. You heard it here first. A big name veteran will end up with the Chargers by the end of the draft. Telesco has a plan and its going to jolt Bolt Nation.

There you have it. My expectations for the draft. There’s always a few surprises, a few head scratchers but it will always be entertaining. Look for me on Thursday wearing my powder blue lightning bolted jersey of the quarterback who won’t be traded.

 

 

Bolt Up!!

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

#TelescoMagic

BoltBlitz-800x450

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: With all of the uncertainty regarding the stadium situation in San Diego, we here at BoltBlitz.com thought it would be helpful to request and obtain an interview with Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the Chargers. Mr. Fabiani was kind enough to agree to the interview. BoltBlitz reporter Thomas Powell asked some very difficult questions, and Mr. Fabiani did not shy away from answering any of them in a very blunt and honest manner.

 

Thomas Powell: In your meeting with CSAG in January, they said your position on the location of a new stadium was “agnostic”. Many people believe the Chargers favored downtown for a variety of reasons. What do you believe led to the miscommunications, if there were any?

 

Mark Fabiani: One of many problems created by meetings that aren’t public, and that aren’t transcribed in any way, is that people can come out of those meetings and say whatever they want about what occurred in the meeting – and there is simply no way for the public to sort out what actually happened.

That’s why, right when I appeared before CSAG, we made public the text of my testimony. That testimony can be read in full here: http://www.chargers.com/news/2015/02/16/chargers-remarks-stadium-task-force-extended-version. I’m sure that fair-minded readers will conclude that the team’s position is made very clear in this testimony.

Indeed, over the last 14 years, we’ve made our position on various sites extremely clear. We have spoken regularly with the media and with the community at hundreds of public events. And over all of that time, our position hasn’t changed: What’s most important is finding a funding solution that works for the public, the elected officials, the Chargers, and the NFL. Once you figure out a mutually acceptable financing solution, the exact site chosen is of secondary importance. Remember, over the last 14 years, we have carefully evaluated sites in Chula Vista (two separate sites), National City, Oceanside, and Escondido as well as several in the City of San Diego.

Of course, having worked on this for 14 years, we have our own strong views – formed with the help of people who we’ve hired and who we believe to be the best experts around – about which sites are financeable and which ones aren’t.

Now, CSAG has said that it believes that the Mission Valley site can be financed in a publicly acceptable way, and we look forward to reviewing the plan when it is released in May.

 

Thomas Powell: Eric Grubman is the NFL executive VP for the NFL. Tony Manolatos is the CSAG spokesperson. Tony accused you and Grubman on an LA Radio Sports Station of being in a bluff scheme regarding the Carson stadium issue. I found his statements to be damaging to the process of getting a deal done here in San Diego. Tony said on the show, The Beast 980am, “We do think that Carson was collectively a big bluff, if you will, built around PSL’s. Mr. Fabiani used to be a consultant for Goldman Sachs. Mr. Grubman used to work for Goldman Sachs. So, there are many existing relationships there. We are not surprised that Goldman stepped up and said, ‘we’re going to be involved.’  I wanted to give you a chance to respond to Tony’s comments here.

 

Mark Fabiani: I can’t explain why the Mayor’s Office and CSAG chose to hire the spokesperson they hired, and why they apparently agree with his continuing efforts to criticize NFL officials, the Chargers, Carson elected officials, and Goldman Sachs. That’s really a question for the Mayor’s Office and CSAG.

 

Thomas Powell: In an article in the San Diego Reader on April 3, 2015, by Matt Potter, questions were raised about Jason Roe. Jason is Kevin Faulconer’s top political consultant. Now the city is negotiating with Delaware North, a food and beverage service contractor for sports’ venues. They have been rumored to have an interest in replacing Centerfield as the Padres’ main concessions provider. Roe has a new lobbying firm that was retained to provide support for Delaware North taking over said contract. What concerns do you have, if any, about Jason Roe and his relationship with the Mayor Faulconer?

 

Mark Fabiani:  On February 17, we sent a letter to the Mayor asking what we thought were reasonable questions about Mr. Roe’s role. A copy of that letter can be found here. The Mayor chose to not answer those questions. Since then, although the Union Tribune has religiously avoided any critical reporting on this issue, other media outlets have launched their own inquiries. Take a look here http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/city-council-deal-could-pump-millions-into-an-endangered-qualcomm/, or here http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/apr/16/ticker-could-feds-be-prowling-mayors-qualcomm-DEAL/.

 

Thomas Powell: Many fans wonder, as it relates to the Carson and Inglewood projects, why are the Chargers so active in Los Angeles, yet so quiet here in San Diego? What message can you relay to the Charger fans in San Diego regarding this matter?

 

Mark Fabiani: Quiet in San Diego? I don’t think I agree with that assessment. On the contrary, ever since the Mayor announced in January that his task force would deliver its results in October, we have been extremely public about the need to speed up that timetable. And since then we have been extremely public about the concerns we have about how the entire task force process is unfolding.

But even before January, take a look at the last 14 years. We’ve made nine separate proposals. We have made available $400 million in funding from the Chargers and from NFL loans. To date, spanning 14 years, these are the only serious proposals that have ever been made, and ours is the only serious money that has ever been pledged to the project.

 

Thomas Powell: The Carson City Council just voted to enact the stadium initiative sponsored by the Chargers and the Raiders. What does that mean for the prospect of a new stadium in Los Angeles – and for San Diego’s prospects?

 

Mark Fabiani: The Carson City Council vote puts the stadium site in Carson on exactly the same footing as the proposed Inglewood stadium site. Both sites are now fully entitled, with financing plans in place and NFL teams committed to the sites if the teams cannot find solutions in their home markets. Ultimately, it will be up to the owners of the NFL to make the final decision, and the matter will only come to the owners if a team (or teams) submits a relocation application for Los Angeles. That would start a formal review process by NFL officials that would eventually culminate in a vote of the owners.

At the same time, both the Chargers and the Raiders have made clear from the outset that their first priority is to find solutions in their home markets. And both teams have made clear from the start that they intend to respect the decision of the NFL owners.

 

Thomas Powell: Speaking of NFL owners, the Chargers met this week with the NFL’s Los Angeles Committee, which is made up of some of the most influential owners in the League. Tell us about those meetings.

 

Mark Fabiani: Yes, on Wednesday afternoon at NFL headquarters in New York City, the Chargers and Raiders made a joint presentation to the LA Committee of owners. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve been before the Committee. Previously we have presented, with Goldman Sachs, the financing plan for Carson, along with our strategy for securing entitlements and initial architectural renderings of the proposed Los Angeles Stadium.
At this week’s meeting, our goal was to update the owners on the progress that has been made in Carson, unveil new LA stadium renderings that are the result of two months of close collaboration between the Raiders and Chargers, and update the Committee on the situations in each of our home markets. So the Chargers provided an update on the San Diego market, and the Raiders did the same thing for Oakland. Since Eric Grubman and Chris Hardart of the NFL had visited both cities just last week and had already reported back, I don’t think we added much that was new to the League about our home market, but we appreciated the opportunity to offer the update and to answer questions that the owners had.

 

Thomas Powell: Have the Chargers changed their stance at all regarding controlling the naming rights to a stadium and a revenue-sharing program? Is this a possible negotiating tool after the financial plan is announced in due time?

 

Mark Fabiani: As I made clear in my February testimony to CSAG, the only reason for any team to have a new stadium is to allow the team to remain financially competitive with the other teams in the NFL. If the stadium developer needs to take all of the stadium revenues to pay for construction, then the team would receive no stadium revenues and would be in a dramatically less-competitive financial position than the team is in its current stadium. And, throughout the NFL, teams generally receive the revenues derived from naming rights. So if the Chargers are going to be financially competitive over the long term in San Diego, the team needs access to the same revenue streams – including naming rights – that other teams receive in their home markets.

 

Thomas Powell: I would stand behind a special election in early 2016 on a stadium vote. Do the Chargers have a position on a possible special election?

 

Mark Fabiani: A special election will not lead to a successful result. The turnout in special elections is always extremely low, and the voters who do turn out in special elections in San Diego are inclined to vote against major public projects such as this one. Our only hope for success at the ballot box would be a high-turnout, general election – and unfortunately the next one of those elections is in November 2016.

 

Thomas Powell: Have the Chargers considered moving forward in San Diego just as you are doing in Carson, with the so-called “citizen action” strategy: Gathering signatures, qualifying a measure for the ballot, and then asking the City Council to adopt the measure as is once the signatures are certified?

 

Mark Fabiani: Yes, we have looked closely at this option for San Diego and concluded that, unfortunately, it is not likely to succeed here. Simply put, in San Diego, the stadium question is going to end up on the ballot, one way or the other.

That’s because any action taken by the City Council is subject to the referendum process. Opponents of the Council’s decision can gather signatures and demand that the Council’s decision be placed before the voters. Once that happens, everything stops and the Council’s decision is effectively nullified to allow the voters pass judgment on it. Generally, that would occur at the next regularly scheduled election.

We are seeing this process play out right now in San Diego around the One Paseo development project. After six years, the project finally emerged from the entitlement process, at which point opponents started to gather signatures to put the entire project on hold until voters can decide its fate at the next regularly scheduled election. And the exact same process is playing out now statewide, as opponents of the California legislature’s plastic ban bag qualified a referendum and so put a halt to the law’s implementation. Here is a good explanation of what happened to the legislature’s plastic bag ban law: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-plastic-bag-ban-20150223-story.html

So, what would happen with a controversial City Council vote on the San Diego stadium project is that opponents would likely qualify a referendum – and the whole matter would end up on the ballot in 2016 anyway. That’s why, under these circumstances – if you have the time – you always try to put your project’s initiative on the ballot yourself, so that you can control the precise wording of the measure and the timing of the election.

 

Thomas Powell: There was a proposal to the Mission Valley site regarding the river walk presented by councilman Scott Sherman. You have studied the Mission Valley site for years. It seems to bring up a lot of potential obstacles that could aid in the effort to fund a stadium. What is your heart-felt message to the voters and Charger fans in San Diego? Have the Chargers communicated an opinion on the river walk proposal?

 

Mark Fabiani: We have a great relationship with Councilman Sherman, and we welcomed his recent involvement in the process. Councilman Sherman is exactly right when he says that the parking lot at the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley could be put to a much more productive and better use, including by creating a riverfront park.

This was the exact premise of the proposal we made to the City in 2004, which would have required the Chargers to finance the entire project (including a river-front park) in return for the City providing 60 of the 166 Mission Valley acres to the team. As you know, the City at the time refused to support our proposal.

What we encountered in 2004, and what Councilman Sherman’s press conference participants encountered more recently, are questions about what kind of density can be supported in Mission Valley in light of all of the other development that has occurred there in recent years. These issues are vital to the residents of Mission Valley, and they potentially create huge infrastructure improvement costs that must be added on to the cost of any project in Mission Valley.

One way or the other, though, as Councilman Sherman said, these issues will have to be dealt with at some point in the future, either as part of a stadium development or as part of a new use for the entire Mission Valley site.

We have promised to evaluate carefully CSAG’s Mission Valley proposal when it is made public. We look forward to doing that.

 

Thomas Powell: Are you okay being labeled the villain in all of this? Some view you as the most negative influence in all this, and the main reason there is so much friction between the Chargers and City Hall. Do you care about your reputation in San Diego? Or are you just focused on doing your job and being a good soldier? Basically, for the people who don’t know you, who is the real Mark Fabiani?

 

Mark Fabiani: If it were easy to build a new NFL stadium in Southern California, several new facilities would have been built a long time ago – in LA, in San Diego, in Orange County. This is very difficult stuff. And when you try to do difficult things, there’s inevitably going to be controversy. And then there’s the old saying: Incoming fire is evidence that you’ve been hitting the right targets. So that’s pretty much how I look at it.

 

Thomas Powell: Some fans were deeply hurt by the team’s decision to negotiate with Carson over the past 9 months in private, and the mutual announcement with the Oakland Raiders. Why was that decision made, and do you have a message you’d like to deliver to the fans here in San Diego? If so, please do it here.

 

Mark Fabiani: We explained the Carson decision on the day it was announced, and that full explanation can be found here: http://www.chargers.com/news/2015/02/20/chargers-and-raiders-join-forces-carson-community-group-support-new-los-angeles-nfl/.

And, of course, we understood that fans would be upset by this decision. That’s why we waited 14 years to make this decision; we did everything we possibly could do over that time to avoid making an announcement such as the one we made in Carson. So we hope people in San Diego will keep that in perspective as they evaluate all of this.

We also hope that fans understand that the steps we have taken in Carson have only been taken as a last resort – taken only after 14 years of inaction here in San Diego and only after an aggressive move by another NFL franchise to take over the LA and Orange County markets.

 

Finally, and most important of all, we hope fans will remember what we have said again and again: Our first priority remains to find a solution in San Diego in 2015, and the Carson option will be exercised if only if we fail to find such a solution.

 

We’d like to thank Mr. Fabiani for taking the time to do this interview. This was not our first interview with him, and hopefully it won’t be the last.

 

Crying Chargers Fan

 

The San Diego Chargers find themselves between a rock and a hard place. With the words of franchise quarterback Philip Rivers ringing in their ears, they know they have a choice to make.

To paraphrase, Rivers said he’s going to play out his contract, which concludes at the end of the upcoming season, and what happens next happens. He has no interest in playing in Los Angeles and he’s simply going to focus on this season. His decision to play any further for the Chargers rests on what happens with the stadium issue and relocation to Los Angeles.

What’s a front office to do?

The rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of the Chargers possibly trading Rivers to Tennessee in exchange for the number two pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, affording them the ability to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to be the new quarterback of the Chargers. Other rumors are circulating about Rivers being dealt other places and for any combination of picks and players but that’s all they are, rumors.

Would the Chargers front office really trade Philip Rivers?

We all know football is a business before all things. No player is untouchable. Anyone can and has been traded. All-time legends of the game like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Franco Harris, Ronnie Lott, Deion Sanders, Brett Favre and countless others all saw phenomenal careers end in a jersey other than the one they were drafted in. The Chargers are well within their rights to do their due diligence in searching out options in case Rivers decides to leave if the Chargers relocate.

Obtaining Mariota with the second pick and then a game changing running back like Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley with the 17th pick has to look attractive on many levels. It’s a hyper speed rebuild with the intent of keeping up with the Joneses (Denver) at the same time. The Chargers would be taking two of the most dominant players at their position in college football over the last four years, rolling the dice and hoping to come up roses.

Here’s the problem. They’re still rookies. It’s still too much to ask them to take on such a huge task and expect immediate results. Quarterback and running back are arguably the two most difficult positions to come in and be the day one starter. There will be growing pains. There will be flashes of brilliance some days and startling ineptitude in others until they adjust to the game at the NFL level and some gifted players coming out of college never do. Ask Johnny Manziel how easy it is to go from being a big shot quarterback in college to playing against NFL defenses.

That is the very reason San Diego should not entertain the thought of trading Philip Rivers.

Rivers is the face of the franchise. He is the Captain, the undisputed leader of the team. As he goes, the Chargers go. No team feeds off their quarterback more than San Diego. Rivers has been the consummate team player. Seemingly every offseason the Chargers revise his contract to free cap space to sign players and he does so without complaint. He’s the first man in the facility and the last to leave. Rivers is the player every man in the locker room, rookie or veteran, can look up to and draw inspiration from. Philip Rivers is the heartbeat and the soul of the Chargers and the San Diego fan base.

In the San Diego county, Rivers has made himself at home and become a pillar of the community. He is a role model. Never do you hear of him getting into trouble at the club, getting arrested, bashing media or rival players in social media or falling prey to any other trapping of success afforded to a multi-millionaire athlete. Rivers began a humble son-of-a-coach and has stayed that way. He comes with a blue collar mentality. A true grinder in every sense of the word, he shows up with the traditional lunch pail and hard hat in hand, leaves it all on the field and quietly goes home to his family at the end of the day.

If only more players would follow his example….

I feel a strong connection to Rivers on a number of levels. Being born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina I literally grew up on the N.C. State campus. I saw all of Rivers games at NCSU. There hadn’t been a successful quarterback out of N.C. State since Roman Gabriel back in the 60’s. Logically, Rivers became my favorite player and I was elated when the Chargers fleeced the New York Giants in the Eli Manning fiasco to bring Rivers to my favorite pro football team in 2004.

Few players are more fun to watch than Rivers. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He feels the way we feel sitting in the stands watching the action unfold before us. We live through him. Ironically, I have to admit, Marcus Mariota is my favorite college player since Rivers. Mariota shows the same poise, accuracy, score at any moment capability Rivers did in college. All eyes stay on him and he does not shy away from the big stage. Mariota is going to be an amazing pro and the Chargers have every right to wine and dine him and work him out. That being said, I don’t want Mariota if the cost is Philip Rivers.

It is alarming the Chargers haven’t made significant strides to assure the fan base that Rivers isn’t going anywhere. Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. GM Tom Telesco has said he wants to do everything to make sure Rivers retires a Charger. We’re all wise to front office speak by now and what happens at the draft will speak volumes.

I will be attending the draft in person with my Rivers jersey on as it is every year on day one. A nightmare scenario will be hearing that the front office pulled the trigger and sent Rivers to Nashville. Soul crushing would be the phrase that comes to mind. I grew up a Chargers fan. I bleed Navy and Gold. I thought nothing would ever change my allegiance to the one team I hold on a pedestal above all others regardless of sport.

However, I find my faith has been shaken. I’ve honestly had to sit down and reevaluate my allegiance to the Chargers if a trade were to happen.

One man is not bigger than the team but Philip Rivers is the embodiment of the San Diego Chargers. A move like this would make me question the decision making of the front office. Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees. Ask the Browns, Jets, Cardinals, Rams, Titans, Raiders how hard it is to find a quarterback you can rely on day in day out, year in year out. Once you get out of the top ten quarterbacks in the league every team remaining would give anything to have a signal caller as great as Rivers.

To trade Rivers means they have given up all hope on keeping him even if they have signed and sealed documents confirming a move to L. A. sitting on their desk. It means they’re not willing to exhaust all avenues to convince him to stay. I know a lot of this rests on Rivers shoulders also, he is not without blame in this. Philip has painted the Chargers front office into quite a corner. However, aside from Rivers himself coming out and telling the world through TV, newspaper or radio that he is asking to be traded will I be able to forgive the Chargers brass for letting him go.

What are the Lakers without Kobe? Nothing. What would the 90’s Chicago Bulls have been without Michael Jordan? Nothing. What are the Patriots without Tom Brady? Nothing. What are the Chargers without Philip Rivers?…

Would YOU remain a Chargers fan if Rivers gets traded Thursday?

After long thought on the matter I arrived at this conclusion: I have been a Chargers fan since day one and that was three and a half decades ago. The Chargers are part of who I am. I have seen them all come and go both ceremoniously and unceremoniously. I have seen good, bad and inbetween. Without the Chargers I am a man without a country sports-wise. There’s no NBA team, no baseball team, no college team aside from my Alma Mater, N.C. State, that I root for nearly as feverishly. Leaving my Chargers would be like losing a family member.

I’ve been in the trenches with this team too long. I’m past the point of no return with this team. I want my casket to be in Chargers colors and the date(s) we win the Super Bowl to be inscribed upon it. Love won’t allow me to leave but I understand more practical, less emotionally invested fans leaving the Chargers ranks over a move like this. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that.

 

Bolt up!!

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

 

#TelescoMagic

 

Mariota Heisman

 

Wondering whether or not Tom Telesco has the name “Marcus Mariota” inked on the white board for draft day? Let’s take a look at what his being on the Chargers roster could provide.

Measurables:

Height: 6’4″
Weight: 218 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds

Analysis:

Marcus Mariota is currently projected as one of the top-two quarterbacks entering the 2015 draft. While at the University of Oregon, he primarily worked out of the shotgun formation. The shotgun formation is one that Philip Rivers likes and the Bolts presently utilize most. Combined with his ability to run for yards, the former Oregon Ducks quarterback could be a dual-threat in San Diego’s offense for many years to come. His speed will be something that defenses will need to take into account, as it helps him escape from the pocket.

In his 41-game college career, Mariota threw for 10,796 yards, and had a touchdown to interception ratio of 105:14. For his final season, he had 4,454 yards passing with four picks and 42 touchdowns (a 68.3 completion percentage), while leading the Ducks to a 12-1 record in 2014. Additionally, he rushed 117 times for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Summary:

Regardless of what team drafts Mariota, he will most likely need to sit behind a veteran QB for a bit while he learns to better read defensive schemes, identify pre-snap blitzes and recognize when he should step up into the pocket rather than attempt to escape from it.

The NFL comparison for Mariota is Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. They are of similar stature, though at 233 pounds and almost 6’5″, Kaepernick is a bit bigger. Even their college statistics are comparable, despite the Niners’ signal caller having more rushes (600), yards (4,112), and touchdowns (59) over four years of collegiate play versus Mariota, who is entering the draft as a junior.

Three of Mariota’s many awards in 2014 were the Heisman Trophy, the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year and being chosen as the Offensive MVP of the 2015 Rose Bowl. He was the first player from the University of Oregon to win the Heisman trophy.

 

 

It will be interesting to learn if or when he fits into the big picture for Telesco and company. What do you want to see happen? Please leave your comment below.

Thanks for reading!

#BoltUp!

Cheryl White

ShaqThompson1

 

Exit, Reggie Walker…enter Shaq Thompson?

Walker was a versatile linebacker for the San Diego Chargers who lined up inside, outside and on special teams. He
signed with the Denver Broncos in the offseason. There’s always a need for another defender. Could Thompson fit the bill?

Measurables:

Height: 6’0″
Weight: 228 pounds
40 yard Dash: 4.64 seconds

Analysis:

Thompson was a triple threat player at the University of Washington. As a defender, the former Huskie compiled 81 tackles and four takeaways (all returned for scores). He is aggressive, agile and instinctive. His vision and ability to read action quickly make him effective as a blitzer, even though he is not an explosive hitter. Offensively, Thompson toted the ball 61 times for 456 yards and two touchdowns.

Summary:

Shaq Thompson received the Paul Hornung Trophy for being the most versatile player in the nation in 2014. Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano, who likes to mix up his schemes, could use Thompson in a hybrid linebacker-safety role. No matter where he lines up, he will be fun to watch.

What are your thoughts on Thompson trotting out onto the field in lightning bolts? Share your comments, please, and thanks for reading!

#BoltUp!

Cheryl White

Tom Telesco

With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.

Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.

Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.

Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.

2013 Draft

Rd           Player                   Position                College

1              D.J. Fluker           OL                           Alabama

Still on Team:  Yes    Starter: Yes         Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)

Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.

2              Manti Te’o          LB                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes      Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)

Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.

3              Keenan Allan     WR                         California

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)

Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.

5              Steve Williams                 DB                          California

Still on Team: Yes    Starter: No    Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)

Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.

6              Tourek Williams                              DE                           Florida International

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.

7              Brad Sorenson                  QB                          Southern Utah

Still on Team: Yes (PS)   Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.

2014 Draft

Rd           Player                                   Position               College

1              Jason Verrett                     DB                          TCU

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)

Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.

2              Jeremiah Attaochu         LB                           Georgia Tech

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)

Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.

3              Chris Watt                         OL                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.

5              Ryan Carrethers                               DT                           Arkansas State

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.

6              Marion Grice                     RB                           Arizona State

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.

7              Tevin Reese                       WR                         Baylor

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.

So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.

How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.

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