Monthly Archives: April 2015
It seems as if the San Diego Chargers are still tweaking the offensive line with the addition of tackle, Chris Hairston. The fomer fourth rounder and Buffalo Bill was a restricted free agent who was not re-signed.
At 6-foot-6 and tipping the scales at 330 pounds, Hairston will be one more addition to the offenisve line depth chart. The extent of depth is extremely important for the unit considering the line was the most injured group last year. Additionally, Hairston is versatile and has played both the tackle and guard position. His bulky size and physicality are great possessions to have in pass protection or run blocking situations.
Just before Tom Telesco added Hairston, the Bolts signed Michael Huey, a former guard for the Arizona Rattlers. The offensive line is starting to look like they will be heading into a highly competitive training camp. With only a 53-man roster, men will be fighting for a playing spot.
The signing of Hairston reunites him with current Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. He was also teammates with free agent aquisition and wide receiver Stevie Johnson for three seasons in Buffalo.
What do you think of Chris Hairston wearing lightning bolts? Let us know below.
Thanks and Bolt Up!
It’s that time of year in the NFL again. After the free agency frenzy dies every talking head in the industry gives birth to a mock draft in hopes of getting a few picks right. The reward for achieving such a task is getting to label themselves a ‘genuis’, ‘guru’, ‘svengali’ or other related overexaggeration. Getting a few no-brainers right makes one no more of a draft expert than picking the right Powerball numbers makes one a Numerologist. In the end, let’s call it what it is, guessing.
Not to be outdone, The Greg One is throwing his hat in the mock draft pool. The Chargers have a lot of holes to fill and GM Tom Telesco has shown himself very adept at filling those holes in the draft. This year will be no different. Below is my perfect Chargers mock draft. This isn’t my crystal ball of what the Chargers will do on draft day but what would happen if I were General Manager of the Chargers on draft day. Most of you will probably be glad i’m not by the end of this but it will make for a fun read and you can tell me how insane I am in the comments. Enjoy.
Cameron Erving, Center, Florida State
No position was hit harder last season than center. The Chargers played five centers last season, a major factor contributing to the overall instability of the offensive line. Rivers was hit more last season (37 sacks allowed, 75 QB hits) than the season before (30 sacks, 60 hits), causing multiple injuries. If the Chargers are going to maximize the remaining years on Rivers odometer (and they will, don’t listen to the Mariota hype) they need a legitimate starter now and for the future. Erving is a 6’6, 315 lb. giant that has all the tools to be the rock the team needs in the middle of the line. He is the best center in the draft and made all the line calls for the Seminoles last season as they contended in the inaugural BCS playoffs. As long as he can stay healthy, Erving has ten-year veteran and Pro Bowl written all over him. A talent like this won’t last into the second round so the Chargers need to pounce.
Jordan Phillips, Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma
The defensive tackle position is another area that hasn’t been addressed during free agency and while the players they have there are serviceable at best, they need a player that will solidify the nose tackle position the way Erving will on the other side of the ball. Phillips is a 6’5, 330 lb. space eater with massive upside. A reason he falls into the second round is the back surgery he had in 2013. Lauded for his athleticism, Phillips showed no decline in skill coming off that back surgery last season and would be a steal for the Chargers in the second round.
Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings
Ladies and gentleman we have ourselves a trade! The Chargers trade their third round pick to the Vikings for the rights to Adrian Peterson. This move shows the Chargers are committed to winning now, especially with the stadium movement underway. The Chargers need a name that will create a buzz in the community and Peterson is the name that can do it. With the picks the Chargers are using to solidify the lines, this will make the Chargers not only a playoff contender but a Super Bowl favorite. This works on a number of different levels.
1. Want to convince Philip Rivers to stay with the team even if disaster happens and they move to Los Angeles? Here’s AP to get you a Super Bowl ring. They sure won’t be contending for one in Tennessee any time soon.
2. Peterson gives the Chargers a legitimate three down back that forces defenses to commit eight men in the box. In turn, the Chargers tight ends, receivers, Woodhead and Oliver will all have favorable one-on-one matchups and the Chargers will ring up points at a rate they haven’t since the prime years of Ladainian Tomlinson.
3. After essentially having the year off last season, Peterson is going to come back healthy, angry and hungrier than ever. The Chargers can still draft a back to groom for when Peterson retires but i’d expect no less than three more productive years out of the All-Pro.
4. The Chargers are on Peterson’s short list of teams he wants to be traded to. He will allow Telesco to craft a deal that makes it possible to sign him without hamstringing the budget.
5. It’s a third round pick! Even for a proven commodity the Vikings are not going to get much better than a middle round pick in exchange for his services. Third round would actually be overpaying. The last time a player over 30 drew a high draft pick in exchange for his services was when the Oakland Raiders gave the Cincinnati Bengals their first round pick in 2012 and second round pick in 2013 for Carson Palmer. We all know the Raiders are the last team to be used as a measuring stick in the front office. Third round is going to be more than the Vikings will get from another team and it solves the void left behind by the departure of Ryan Mathews.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Cornerback, Oregon
This player will be a steal reminiscent of the Chargers getting Keenan Allen two drafts ago. Like Allen, Ekpre-Olomu is a first round talent who’s stock has plummeted because of injury. In the weeks leading up to the inaugural NCAA playoffs he suffered a serious knee injury and missed both of Oregon’s games. That injury, while healing ahead of schedule according to reports, will cause him to miss rookie camp, training camp and possibly some of the season. That alone will scare teams away and drop Ekore-Olomu into the middle rounds.
He is however, a ball hawk of the highest order. Although undersized at a hair under 5’10, he is a very physical corner with great instincts. An All Pac-12 selection for the past three seasons, Ekpre-Olomu finished his Oregon career with 18 takeaways (nine interceptions, eight forced fumbles, one fumble recovery) and was adept playing in press man or off coverage. He is solid against the run and the type of value pick Telesco covets. However, the GM may have to trade up in the round to get ahead of Ekpre-Olomu’s college coach, Chip Kelly and the Eagles, who pick four selections before.
Sean Mannion, Quarterback, Oregon State
With all the talk surrounding Rivers and his contract situation, it is time to seriously address the quarterback of the future instead of just finding a clipboard holder. Sean Mannion is one of the top five quarterback prospects in this draft class and has the potential to be very successful at the next level. Mannion is similar to Rivers in stature, standing at 6’5, 220 lbs. Among his other advantages is that he comes from a traditional pro-style offense at Oregon State, has above average grade in accuracy and a cannon for an arm.
The knocks on Mannion are his ball security (30 funbles and 54 interceptions in his four years at OSU), his immobility and handling pressure. A year or two sitting behind a franchise quarterback like Rivers will leave the Chargers well prepared moving forward after Rivers retires the same way Rivers benefited from sitting behind Drew Brees for three seasons.
Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver, Duke
Crowder was the speed burning ace of Duke’s receiving corps during his four years in blue. He will be another candidate to fill the slot receiver void opened by the departure of Eddie Royal. In his last three seasons, Crowder topped 1000 yards receiving and at least 76 receptions. Jamison is a threat to go the distance on special teams as well as he had four punt return touchdowns over his last two seasons.
The knock on Crowder will be his size. Standing at 5’9, 185 lbs., GM’s will wonder if he has the ability to withstand the rigors of playing in the NFL with his slight frame. This isn’t stopping teams from working him out as New England, Cincinnati and Houston are among the latest teams to bring him on for private workouts.
So there you have my mock draft. I’ve addressed the present and the future, strengthened the offensive and defensive lines, secondary and brought in a legend to get Rivers a ring now. You can feel free to tell me how awful I am below. I’m looking forward to attending the draft in two weeks to find out what the Chargers do in real time. In the meantime, it’s fun to speculate. What do you think? Good, bad or indifferent?
The Greg One
Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon? As great as they may be, Gurley and Gordon are far from the only quality backs in this year’s draft. How about Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman, TJ Yeldon, and don’t forget Duke Johnson. These are some of the names from what is expected to be the best running back draft class since 2005. Standouts from that year were Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams and Cedric Benson. Looks like some general managers will be salivating in a few short weeks!
Gurley and Gordon could conceivably be selected in the first round when the 2015 draft takes place in Chicago from April 30 to May 2. Both may very well be starters for whatever franchise chooses them, though Gurley may need time to complete the rehab from his 2014 knee injury. Of the approximate 74 college players who declared for the draft this year, eight might hear their name called anywhere from round two through round three.
So, if you think that Chargers GM Tom Telesco must pick a running back when San Diego is up at 17: I think you might need to reconsider. No question the Bolts need a power running back the likes of which hit the road when LT went to the Jets. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to a guy in round one. There are going to be many high-value players available in this draft.
San Diego Chargers fans – “Trust in Tom” will need to be the phrase once the Lightning Bolts are on the clock!
Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to your comments.
Even though the 2015 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, college prospects are still very busy visiting numerous clubs around the league.
There are many reasons as to why players visit NFL teams. Some team’s motives are intended to be a distraction, but others are exactly what many would assume they would be for – to visit a team that plans to select them in the draft.
So far, the Chargers have had eight pre-draft visits; including projected first rounder, Marcus Mariota from Oregon. Pump the breaks, though. What exactly does that mean to Bolt fans? Nothing.
Pre-draft visits are overrated, and here’s why.
A missed opportunity at the scouting combine
The NFL combine was established for college football players to perform various tests in front of league coaches, general managers and scouts. During the event, staffs attempt to preview every player on their radar. Yet, they don’t have the opportunity to run them through team-specific drills, ones that fit their team’s scheme. That being said, teams will have their players of interest visit before the draft, in order to gain a better understanding of each player on a one-on-one basis.
It is well-known that all college players do not get drafted. In fact, out of roughly 3,500 men, only about 250 are drafted. For the remaining players, they start their search for a job. However, there are players who are picked up right away as rookie free agents; ones that had previously conducted a pre-draft visit with that same team. For example, defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe had a pre-draft visit in 2014. That year, he went undrafted and was swiftly picked up and signed by San Diego. Pre-draft visits are not solely scheduled for individuals that NFL teams plan on being drafted.
The NFL is a business, and those in back office operations have to continuously play a game of poker. It’s almost like wearing sunglasses at a poker table. There are some general managers that do not want many people knowing who they plan to draft. So they schedule pre-draft visits with players that they truly have no interest in. Sneaky? Absolutely. And it is far more common than the casual fan would think.
Behind the scenes communication
Just because a player hasn’t visited a team for a private session, doesn’t mean that the club hasn’t been in contact with him. With advanced technology, communicating is now the easiest it’s ever been. Voice calling, text messaging, even Skyping are all ways coaches can converse with their college prospects. If you’re worried that your favorite draftees haven’t visited the Bolts yet, then you may want to reconsider the conditions.
Since a lot players that are drafted come from the same schools, it’s possible that a team will host a player just to obtain information on one of his teammates. The Bolts brought in offensive tackle D.J. Humphries of Florida, yet he is also the teammate of outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who had an impressive showing at this year’s combine. Even with San Diego needing a legitimate tackle to solidify the offensive line, they do have some gaps to fill at the linebacker position. It’s very possible that Fowlers’ name came up a few times during Humphries’ visit. That’s not to say this was the case, but it is surely a possibility.
Overall, pre-draft visits do not always indicate what they imply. College players are visiting as many teams as they can before draft day. Additionally, one should not get worked up about Mariota working out with Philip Rivers in America’s finest city. All rumors aside, teams already have a good indication of whom they would like to take with their picks this year, and these pre-draft visits are just the cherry on top.
With the growing number of modern stadiums in the NFL these days, one thing is becoming obvious. The days of tailgating in the stadium parking lot before the game are becoming extinct. It is a sad reality of what cities need to do to fund these modern day coliseums. With the recent rendering released by Councilman Scott Sherman, it is obvious that even if the Chargers stay in San Diego past 2015, fans will have to find a new location to bond before a game. The question is, will losing tailgating be enough to turn off nearsighted fans from supporting a stadium proposal? Well, if the fans want to see their Chargers stay in San Diego, they better figure out a new way to get a cheap buzz before the game and face reality.
Reality is that a stadium, by itself, on a property the size of the current Qualcomm site is a waste of potential profit. Although the $25 parking fee brings in some money, it is a drop in the bucket when trying to turn a profit on a stadium that will cost more than a billion dollars to build. Another revenue stream must be created to not only pay the bills, but to convince voters that there is actually money to be made for the city and county. Far more money that would be made from a lone stadium that was active 20 times a year and charged for parking.
Sherman’s proposal shows the new stadium in the North-West corner of the current Mission Valley site. There is a road that leads to the stadium and a parking lot beside the Chargers beautiful new home. The parking lot looks large enough to handle the player’s cars, the necessary team personnel, and maybe personalized spots for Dean Spanos and Tom Telesco. There is no way that there will be room for a bunch of Bolt-crazed fans who want to barbecue, drink and socialize before a game. That will have to be done elsewhere.
So what sits on the current parking spaces of the Qualcomm lot, as well as what will be the empty footprint of the old stadium itself? Money! That is a simplistic way of saying that the surrounding areas are filled with buildings that will create revenue for the city and county. Hotels, restaurants, apartments, a business center, some artsy stuff to make it look classy and a trolley line to cart all of the happy fans to and from each game or other event that the stadium hosts. Yes, Sherman has created ways to make big bucks from what is currently a playground for Bolt fans on Sunday mornings.
But wait! The profits do not end there. If there is no tailgating, what will fans do before a game? How will fans loosen up and bond with fellow fans in a way that only tailgating has been able to accomplish in the past? The most obvious answer is that the fans will do their partying indoors at local restaurants and bars. Yep, pick your favorite Chargers bar, have some wings and a few drinks and then hop on the trolley to the game. That will create more profits for local business owners and perhaps keep drunk drivers off the road. Hopefully, the $10 beers in the stadium will deter most people from drinking too much more during the game so they are able to drive home from the trolley parking lot after the event. That will not work for everyone, but neither does tailgating, so it seems to be a good enough solution. No matter where tailgaters go for pregame festivities, there will be money to be made off of them.
So, all of this information begs the question; will losing tailgating be enough to lose your vote? Being totally honest, there are many who tailgate on Sundays and do not even have a ticket for the game! They pay their parking fee; bring in their own food, drinks and entertainment and just party all day, right through the game. All they want is to have fun and be a part of the atmosphere on game day. Although their passion and support of Chargers football is inspiring to a point, there is very little money to be made off of these stadium squatters. San Diego would be much better off forcing those fans to spend their Sunday at a local sports bar and hope that they are smart enough to call for a cab ride home.
Finally, if you have looked at the rendering submitted by Councilman Sherman and find yourself getting angry about losing tailgating. Think long and hard before you decide to boycott games or not vote for the stadium. The only people you are hurting are your fellow fans and yourself. Take advantage of what is likely the last year that you will be able to tailgate and have some fun. Take your kids and create some fun memories that they can tell your grandchildren someday. Whatever you do, just remember that it is better to lose tailgating than to lose the Chargers. It is not like the city will open up the parking lot on Sunday mornings after the Chargers are gone so you can drink a couple of cold ones. More likely, the stadium will be demolished and the entire site will be turned into a business and residential center just like the rendering shows, minus just two things; the Chargers and their new stadium.
So what do you think? Are you devastated at the idea of losing such a great tradition as tailgating? Or, do you completely understand why it must go and support the new plan as long as the Chargers stay?
Please add your comments below and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading!
The Chargers have exercised their fifth-year option on outside linebacker Melvin Ingram on Tuesday, according to the UT San Diego. The fifth-year option is worth $7.751 million. Ingram was formerly the 18th pick of the 2012 NFL draft by the Chargers.
Despite Ingram not putting up the sack totals that most fans hoped for from a first-round selection, his ability to create havoc in the opposing team’s backfield is worthy of note.
After suffering major injuries in two of the last three seasons, Ingram has recorded 78 total tackles, six sacks, seven passes defensed and four forced fumbles. His lack of stats in the boxscore give fans the opportunity to heckle and demean the fourth-year linebacker out of South Carolina and his ability to make plays.
Ingram, 25, still has a lot to learn. As stated by myself, and other writers on this blog, he is the team’s leader in “almost plays.” He seems to get just close enough to disrupt the opposing team’s quarterback by penetrating the offensive line. But, his sack totals would suggest otherwise to fans of the team. Ingram had a team-high 29 quarterback hurries in 2014, adding a career-high four sacks.
NFL rookies have been subjected to fifth-year options since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. It is up to the team, after the player agrees to the contract, to exercise said options. The Chargers decided that exercising such an option was worth it regarding Ingram, despite hip and ACL injuries, plus a steep price tag.
Multiple reports state that the team is counting on Ingram and second-year outside linebacker Jerry Attaochu to be the long-term answers at the outside linebacker positions for the Bolts moving forward. Only time will tell regarding what their production will be in future seasons.
Ingram has started 12 games out of 23 played in his three-year career.
Thanks a lot for reading.
In 2014, general manager Tom Telesco traded his fourth-round pick to trade up in the second round and select a linebacker, again. He traded a fourth-rounder to Arizona to move up and take inside linebacker Manti T’eo in 2013. In last year’s case, Telesco moved up in an effort to draft linebacker Jerry Attaochu out of Georgia Tech.
He got his desired linebacker for the second year in a row.
As a collegian, Attaochu put up solid numbers, totaling a Georgia Tech record 31.5 career sacks. His collegiate sack total ranks fifth in ACC history.
But how does that ability translate to the NFL?
Attaochu played in 11 games as a rookie in 2014. The linebacker was limited to 10 total tackles, two sacks, one pass defensed and one forced fumble in his first season. He added a blocked punt on special teams in the Chargers’ week one loss to the Cardinals. In his defense, he missed some games due to injury.
There is no doubting what he was able to do in college football. But, the 2015 season will call for far more from the second-year linebacker than he accomplished as a rookie. Attaochu struggled against the run in his first year. He was unable to force his way behind the opposing team’s line of scrimmage.
So, what should fans expect from the 22-year-old in year number two?
Well, the pressure is on the young man, regardless of whether or not the team finds another pass rusher in the 2015 draft. Although it is far more likely that Melvin Ingram will be asked to set the edge against the run on the other side, Attaochu must improve against the run, while providing a serious threat from the outside as a pass rusher. A lot of his performance will hinge on what new linebackers coach Mike Nolan can teach the youngster about the facets of playing the linebacker position.
The future may be bright for the Nigerian-born linebacker, but it will be interesting to see how he is used going forward with the Chargers.
Thanks a lot for reading.
In what may have been a surprise to all but the San Diego Chargers, Dr. Christopher Wahl, the current head team physician, is resigning. He has been providing care to the players since early 2013 after he was hired to fill the vacancy left by Dr. David Chao. Dr. Wahl cited personal reasons and the ongoing stadium issue as reasons for his departure. The team is in search of his replacement. This will be the third team doctor in three years. It is anticipated that Wahl would be with the Bolts through the upcoming April 30-May 2 draft. As Chao did with him two years ago, Wahl will transition his successor through the spring workouts.
Dr. Wahl was also Associate Professor and Chief of Sports Medicine at UCSD during his tenure with the Bolts. Because of a two-year non-compete clause (imposed by the University of Washington) which prevented his joining a medical group providing care for the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, Wahl and his wife came to San Diego. The present stadium situation here is like opportunity knocking at the door. If the Chargers move; the likelihood of them looking for another physician is possible. Dr. Wahl stated his wife would support him no matter what but “in her heart of hearts I know she would really like to be back in Seattle”.
Thank you, Dr. Wahl, for the time you spent in San Diego, giving the Chargers’ players the care they required. Best of luck in Seattle!
What will a joint venture between the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego mean to the Chargers? To begin with, it does is alter one bone of contention – the vote. Or does it? Secondly, it paves the way for the two entities to (hopefully) meet on mutual ground in the bid to keep the Bolts in San Diego. Third, it perhaps gives the team, and its fan base, hope for the future. Finally, it may prove that the deal in Carson is what many believe it to be – a bluff rather than reality.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Thursday that the city and the County, behind Supervisor Ron Roberts, will be splitting costs in the hiring of attorneys, consultants and other experts to assist with the impending issue. Each side will present its findings/proposals by the May 20 deadline. It has to be fair to all the involved parties – the city, the county and the team. Keep in mind that this undertaking not only affects Chargers football but that of San Diego State in addition to other events which provide revenue.
Does a new stadium need to be voted on? Since the City and County are pledging to work together, it does not appear that the two-thirds vote is going to be needed. However, Mayor Faulconer has indicated that even if a ballot measure for that two-thirds approval is not required, he feels it is mandatory for San Diego voters to have a say. The likelihood of a “yay” vote occurring in the sole circumstance of the City voting is like paddling your canoe upstream against the current. This team has fans that trek not just from downtown but also fans that travel from inland North County and the coastal communities as well as from East County and South County. Do you see where this is headed? Why should only those registered voters in downtown San Diego be responsible for making a decision that will ultimately affect those who reside outside its boundaries? Let us not forget what has been common knowledge for quite some time: the city coffers are not in the best financial state. Enter the county which is in a better position to assist. To best serve the San Diego Chargers and their many devotees, a county-wide ballot must be proposed, as it was back in the day when San Diego/Jack Murphy/Qualcomm stadium was initially presented in 1964.
The team has tried for many years to gain approval for a new home in San Diego. The city hasn’t always wanted to play ball even though its former mayors had stated that they would help facilitate such a project. Now, at the nth hour with Los Angeles becoming a mecca as it were, the timeframe is tightening. The facility that the San Diego Chargers currently play in is decrepit, falling apart, outdated and before long will not be a viable venue for anything. So, while the City and the County of San Diego each hire and task their chosen attorneys, advisers, and specialists with searching for a plausible, cohesive plan to make dreams reality, Dean Spanos and his special counsel, Mark Fabiani, will continue to pursue Carson, CA as an alternative.
Bottom line, it is do-or-die for Mayor Faulconer, Supervisor Ron Roberts, and the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group.
Thank you for reading! Please share your thoughts below.
Now that the draft is slowly approaching, we are looking to ramp up the staff here at BoltBlitz.com. We want to make sure that we are providing as much coverage of your Chargers as possible.
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We hold meetups, fan get-togethers, every 6-8 weeks. These events bring in anywhere from 100-250 people. Although it isn’t mandatory for the staff to attend, it is encouraged.
I look forward to reading your submissions and I wish you the best of luck.