Monthly Archives: June 2015
For the second year in a row, BoltBlitz.com will be covering the LT5K. We are very excited to be a part of such an awesome event hosted by one of the greatest Chargers of all-time, LaDainian Tomlinson. For the next 48 hours you can save $5.00 on your registration by using code FLASH5.
Below are some details on how you can participate.
Four of the five longest tenured San Diego Chargers will suit up this season, likely for their last time together. Quarterback Philip Rivers, safety Eric Weddle, tight end Antonio Gates and Wide receiver Malcom Floyd all are in their final year of their contract and it’s likely one or more will not be playing football come this time next year.
Now entering his 12th season as the face of the franchise, record-setting quarterback Rivers is the undisputed leader of the team. Recently, Rivers softened on the stance of not being interested in playing for the Chargers if they leave San Diego. There’s no doubt the team will throw as much money as necessary to keep him in lightning bolts. Rivers took a beating last season behind a patchwork offensive line resulting in back and rib injuries. GM Tom Telesco was busy this offseason re-signing and bringing in players to solidify the offensive line and keep Rivers upright. A new deal should be imminent.
A couple interesting milestones are worth following for Rivers this season. The biggest one is with three passing touchdowns, he will pass Dan Fouts into first place in that category. That record could fall in the first game. Rivers needs five fourth quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives to pass Fouts into first place in those categories as well. Considering those specific feats could happen simultaneously, it will be a curious event to track.
Rivers favorite target, Gates, is entering his 13th season as a pro. Rivers and Gates are the number one quarterback/tight end touchdown tandem as they have compiled 72 touchdowns together. One of the leagues greatest undrafted free agent success stories, Gates is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer for his achievements on the field. Coming into the league after leading the Kent State basketball team into the Elite Eight of the 2002 NCAA tournament, Gates helped revolutionize the tight end position. Using his size, speed and basketball instincts to his advantage to win jump balls and create space over the middle, gates showed tight end can be more useful than just being an extra blocker that occasionally catches passes.
There are two huge milestones within reach for Gates this season. He has 99 touchdowns receptions for his career. You can be in the stands when he catches number 100. The Chargers begin the season at home against Detroit. With 13 touchdown receptions, Gates will be the all-time touchdown leader for a tight end, passing Tony Gonzalez who has 111. To his credit, he will achieve these milestones in three fewer seasons than Gonzalez. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. Gates had 12 touchdowns last season. Gates is likely to ride off into the sunset after this season, handing over the tight end reins to understudy Ladarius Green.
Malcom Floyd is entering his tenth season as another fantastic Chargers undrafted free agent signing. The gold standard for possession receivers, Floyd can claim the second-highest first down percentage in NFL history. In 2011, 41 of 43 catches went for first downs for a whopping 95.3%. At present, Floyd is eight all-time in receiving yardage (4,989). With 593 yards this season, he will pass Anthony Miller into seventh place behind Air Coryell great Wes Chandler. Last season, Floyd led the Chargers in receiving with 52 catches for 856 yards and six touchdowns.
The player Bolts fans lovingly refer to as M80 has stated that this season will most likely be his last. In a recent interview he intimated he wanted to spend more time with his wife and four children. He stated he will decide for sure after the season but the timing looks appropriate being in the last year of his contract.
Eric Weddle is another Chargers lifer who has made the most recent headlines in his quest for a contract extension. He has made his displeasure known and feels ‘highly, highly disrespected’ that the front office has told him they will not pursue a contract extension this season.
Weddle is the defensive captain and locker room leader. Now in his ninth season and just crossing the age of thirty, Weddle has shown no signs of slowing down but of improvement. Statistically, Weddle has improved each of the past three seasons. He’s been voted into the Pro Bowl three of the past four seasons. While feelings between Weddle and the front office are contentious, I expect the All-Pro safety to remain in lightning bolts whether the Chargers extend his contract during the season or franchise him after the season.
These four have been the staples, the hallmarks of the franchise for over a decade. Along with punter Mike Scifres they are the five most senior home-grown Chargers on the roster. They deserve our support and our thanks for their long years of continued service to our favorite team. I implore every Chargers fan to come out to at least one game and voice your appreciation for this amazing group of talents and enjoy as they play together.
One last time.
The Greg One
I read an article by Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune where he writes about the youth at the outside linebacker position in San Diego. Former Chargers Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney came up often in the article. By the time I finished reading it, I was smacked in the face by how young the position group truly is going into the 2015 season.
The trio of Melvin Ingram, Jerry Attaochu and Tourek Williams was the focus of the piece. Their ages are 26, 22 and 24, respectively. Although all three are aggressively attacking the offseason in an effort to make a bigger impact this year, it is hard to say whether or not all of that hard work will pay off. Ingram has slimmed down from 265 pounds to right around 245 pounds, changing his diet in the process. Attaochu seems to be focused on developing additional pass-rush moves in order to create more pressure. Williams has changed his eating habits, like Ingram. He has also cut his hair for the first time since the third grade.
So how does all of this translate to wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks?
I have no clue at this point.
As I mentioned above, Johnson and Freeney were mentioned frequently in Gehlken’s post. Johnson retired from the NFL this offseason. More than anything, his leadership will be missed considerably. Freeney has been patiently waiting for the right situation as an available free agent. The 35-year-old finished last season with 10 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, one pass defensed and one fumble recovered.
It goes without saying that Freeney will one day be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His 111.5 career sacks rank 20th of all-time. He may not be a first-ballot HOFer, but he’ll eventually have a bust in Canton, Ohio. His patented spin move is one that defenders can attempt to emulate, but will fall short of perfectly duplicating.
Tom Telesco has already gone on the record stating that the team is not interested in re-signing the veteran pass rusher. But should he reconsider that?
A contract for Freeney at this point in his career would be very reasonable. His leadership in the locker room, film room and on the field would certainly continue to benefit the young group of outside linebackers on the team. Additionally, rookie Kyle Emanuel, although his inside counter-step off the edge is solid, could learn a lot from Freeney, and perhaps add another pass-rushing tactic to his arsenal. Not to mention, he could help Emanuel with the transition of having his hand in the dirt as a defensive end to standing up as an outside linebacker.
Due to being long in the tooth, and having a promising group of youngsters in front of him on the depth chart, Freeney would not be expected to play that often; thus driving down the amount of his contract. Defending the run has never been one of his strong suits, but he can still get after opposing signal callers. As long as he isn’t called upon to play too often, he can still make an impact while helping to aid the development of others in the group.
Telesco may stick to his words, or he may “change his mind” similar to what he did as far as contract negotiations with Eric Weddle. But we’ve written about the saga plenty of times on this site.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of bringing back Dwight Freeney? Please let me know by leaving your comments below.
Eric Williams of ESPN.com has an article about Donald Butler acknowledging his poor play last season.
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com talks about Mitch Unrein’s history with head coach Mike McCoy.
Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune takes a look at the youthful outside linebacker position.
Michael Smolens of The San Diego Union-Tribune examines the odd relationship between Jan Goldsmith and the Chargers.
The Salt Lake Tribune chronicles DJ Fluker’s path from being homeless to the NFL.
It is getting to a point where I might have to consider changing the name of my website to WeddleBlitz.com. With all of the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Chargers, speculation is running rampant all over social media.
Many fans are taking the stance that Weddle should be at Chargers Park working out with his teammates, preparing for the upcoming season. Other fans understand and share the frustration that he has with the organization regarding the fact that there will be no contract talks during this season.
Personally, I would feel just as Weddle does…. highly, highly disrespected. After all, he’s been a leader for this team for the better part of a decade. I won’t waste your time talking about all of his accolades on the field and his reputation off of it. That type of information is common knowledge and known by all fans, yet, intentionally ignored by far too many.
But I digress.
The 30-year-old appears set to finish out his contract with the Bolts and then test free agency in 2016. There is no doubt that he will be in high demand once the bidding begins. I cannot imagine, based on their lack of effort in contract negotiations up to this point, the team spending the exorbitant amount of money that will be on the table once other clubs get involved in the process.
But this article isn’t about what I think. This is where you chime in.
Below is a poll question. Place your vote and then leave a comment stating why you voted the way that you did.
Thanks a lot for reading, voting and commenting.
Panic and disbelief quickly spread through the San Diego Chargers fanbase Monday when the report surfaced that the Chargers would not extend All-Pro safety and defensive captain Eric Weddle this season. Weddle is in the final year of his contract and sat out voluntary minicamp as his form of protest for being ‘highly, highly disrespected’ by the Bolts’ front office.
The perennial Pro Bowl selection has a legitimate beef. He’s made three of the last four Pro Bowls, his production has increased each year over the past three seasons and right now he’s at the top of his game. Other players around him are getting their deals extended before the expiration of their contracts. On the same day the news broke about Weddle, it was also revealed that the Chargers are, as quickly and quietly as possible, finalizing an extension for defensive end Corey Liuget. Disrespected indeed.
Or is it?
Liuget is one of the 25-and-under nucleus of talent Telesco is ensuring stay in San Diego for years to come on defense, avoiding contract hassles down the road. Donald Butler received a new seven-year deal last offseason. Manti Te’o, Jeremiah Attaochu, Tourek Williams, Ryan Carrethers and the new draftees are under contract for at least the next two years. The team also exercised their fifth-year option on Melvin Ingram for 2016. Fifth-year options are not guaranteed, and it serves the purpose of keeping him in place on the roster in a position where he has to perform to earn a lucrative second contract. For once, the defensive line will be a place of stability and consistency with young, hungry players unable to rest on their laurels.
Back to the All-Pro in question: Would Telesco actually let the season end without extending Weddle?
He can. He will. Here’s why.
All the leverage is in Telesco’s capable hands. Yes, Weddle is auditioning for 31 other teams now. If he gets to the offseason without an extension, every other team is going to back up the Brinks truck to his door to court him.
The problem is, he isn’t going anywhere.
Telesco has the power of the franchise tag in his back pocket. A player can be franchised a maximum of two times. In essence, Telesco can ensure Weddle will remain in lightning bolts for the next three seasons. Weddle is ensured he will be paid on par with the top-10 safeties in the league. Telesco has the leeway to use the tag as much or as little as he likes knowing that Weddle is essentially playing three one-year contracts. The Chargers get the best safety in the game at the height of his powers. If he suffers a debilitating injury, or there is a decline in his skills, the GM can cut bait any time he sees fit. Feathers get ruffled, but, in the end, everybody wins.
From a management standpoint, Weddle is over 30. Traditionally, that’s the age where skills start going downhill. The wear and tear of season after season takes a toll. Players that once couldn’t get past you now can. Telesco is keeping a watchful eye of this happening. Regardless of whether or not the fan base or the player likes it, it’s the safe play and it’s what’s best for the team. How many times have we heard, ‘The NFL is a business’? Weddle knows. Everyone in the locker room knows. We as fans know.
What’s the downside?
If Weddle gets vocal and demands a trade, Telesco could see fit to deal him rather than let the saga drag out through the media. Teams would still have to pony up a great deal to get Weddle out of San Diego knowing that the GM doesn’t have to do anything. The Chargers get beneficial pieces or picks in return.
Will this affect players re-signing with the Chargers after watching this episode play out or stop free agents from coming in? At the end of the day, every player is out to take care of himself. You can stand up for your teammate, but if management is willing to break open the vault for you, your teammate takes a back seat. We know the shelf-life of an NFL player is four to five years. That’s a short amount of time to make money and get out with one’s health intact. As we’re seeing now, it all comes down to money. Someone has to take it and in the next few seasons San Diego will have a lot to give.
Simply put, there is no downside.
We may balk at how Weddle is being treated, but we’re not seeing the big picture. When this season rolls around and he’s at his All-Pro best, all this will be forgotten as we’re swept up in the jubilation of another NFL season. We’ve praised Telesco for reshaping the team and bringing back excitement after the unceremonious dismissal of the previous regime. This is arguably the first move that has been widely panned by the fan base. But in reality, he’s done more to make sure Weddle stays on the team by getting the core players to surround him for the next few seasons as opposed to pushing him out the door.
The Greg One
Although things could change prior to the beginning of the regular season, running back Donald Brown is still a Charger. Tom Telesco has said that they expect Brown to rebound after a disappointing first year with the Bolts. Despite Telesco’s endorsement, the media has done everything but bet large sums of money guaranteeing that Brown would end up being a casualty. Many in the media speculated that Brown could fall victim to a pre-June 1 cut.
For the time being, Brown remains in lightning bolts. After averaging 5.3 yards a carry in 2013 with the Colts, the 28-year-old managed a paltry 2.6 yards per carry in his debut season with the Chargers. Brown was also unable to score a touchdown last year. But what may have been his most negative mark in 2015, a missed block on the punt team ended with punter Mike Scifres on the injured reserve with a broken collarbone.
Early reports out of OTAs suggest that Brown is looking explosive and shifty thus far. As Telesco’s prize free agent signing last offseason, he has to find a way to make each and every opportunity count. Now that the Bolts have rookie Melvin Gordon to assume the role of the workhorse ball carrier, Danny Woodhead healthy and ready to go and Branden Oliver looking to build on a surprisingly active rookie season, Brown has his work cut out for him to make the roster. The club is counting on the 2013 version of Donald Brown to show up this year.
-Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Brown has put up some decent numbers since coming into the league in 2009, rushing for 2,600 yards on 636 carries with a yards per carry average of 4.1 and 17 touchdowns. He has also managed to record 112 receptions for 978 yards with two touchdowns receiving over his career.
The Chargers enter the 2015 season with quarterback Philip Rivers as the team’s signal caller. This will be the ninth consecutive year with Rivers at the helm. Despite all of the offseason trade talk surrounding him, the veteran passer seems primed and ready to lead this team going forward. Backing him up is Kellen Clemens, entering his second year with the Chargers and tenth season in the NFL. Brad Sorensen, a seventh-round draft choice in 2013, is back for the 2015 offseason with the team. Sorensen spent time on San Diego’s practice squad in 2014. The fourth and final quarterback currently on the roster is the recently acquired Chase Rettig.
Clearly, there is no positional debate at the quarterback spot in San Diego. But let’s take a look at what each player brings to the table.
The undisputed leader of the San Diego offense, Rivers has held himself and his teammates accountable to the highest of standards since taking over as the team’s starting quarterback. After battling behind some underwhelming offensive lines in recent years, Tom Telesco has added quality pieces and depth to the line to ensure that No. 17 has the necessary time to scan the defense and go through his progressions. When given an adequate amount of time, Rivers is as good as it gets.
Last year, and in years past, the running game has struggled without having a true homerun threat at running back. That is no longer the case with the Chargers having drafted Melvin Gordon. The former Wisconsin Badger has great speed, quickness and size, giving the offense a significant boost via the running game. A healthy Danny Woodhead will definitely be a sight for sore eyes. Acting as a safety valve for Rivers, Woodhead changes the dynamic of the Charger offense; not only in the running game, but especially in the passing game.
Already owning a good number of San Diego passing records, Rivers is on the precipice of obtaining a few more in 2015. If the offensive line and running game have improved as advertised, he’ll do just that. Being given more and more control over the play calling in the last few seasons, adding in the aforementioned aspects of the improved o-line and backfield, the 33-year-old should be able to have one of his best seasons to date.
The only concern I have entering the 2015 season regarding Philip Rivers, is whether or not the team re-signs him to a long-term contract extension. The hope is that will happen prior to the regular season beginning.
A journeyman of sorts at the quarterback spot, Clemens can be considered as a reliable backup signal caller if called upon to finish out a blow-out, or, God forbid, Rivers goes down for a game or two.
Clemens, 31, has been in the league since 2006, playing for the Jets, Texans, Rams and now the Chargers, starting 21 games over his career. As long as circumstances don’t force him into an extended number of appearances or starts, Clemens is a decent option as a backup to Rivers.
Sorensen still has a lot to learn about playing quarterback in the NFL. The 2013 seventh-round draft pick has spent some time on the practice squad in San Diego. Sorensen impressed some during the preseason of his rookie year. The problem with that is he was going against third- and fourth-string defenders. The 27-year-old — yes, he’s already 27 — would have to blow the minds of the Charger coaching staff in order to take over as the team’s reserve quarterback. That being said, he may be able to impress just enough to latch back onto the practice squad.
Not long after this year’s draft concluded, the Chargers signed undrafted rookie free agent Cole Stoudt out of Clemson. Sadly for Stoudt, he was released and replaced by quarterback Chase Rettig. Formerly an undrafted rookie free agent with the Packers, Rettig was a star at Boston College as a collegian. It is possible, due to Rettig having practice-squad eligibility available, that he could beat out Sorensen for a spot on the practice squad in San Diego. But he will find that a difficult road to travel, as Sorensen was drafted by Telesco.
Obviously the Chargers are set at quarterback. Rivers is primed to have a solid season with a better offensive line, running game and weapons in the passing game. Health all over the 53-man roster is paramount in this team’s success in 2015.
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com interviews Dontrelle Inman about what he is focusing on heading into the 2015 season.
Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union-Tribune talks about the maturation process of wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Also of The San Diego Union-Tribune, Kevin Acee writes that had Fred Maas been involved in the process of getting a new stadium for the Chargers in San Diego, the team would be more likely to stay.
Eric Williams of ESPN.com states that the Chargers like what rookie Darius Philon has shown up to this point.
FoxSports.com believes that now is the right time for the Chargers to move on from San Diego.
Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune addresses the possible allegations of the Chargers quitting on the stadium effort in San Diego.
Chargers.com has the video from Antonio Gates being selected as one of the members of the NFL’s Top 100.
Scott Lewis of The Voice of San Diego reveals that the City Attorney pushed to gag the Mayor’s task force.
Eric Williams of ESPN.com writes about how time is running out on keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
Williams also posts about the NFL owners getting set to discuss Los Angeles relocation options.