Monthly Archives: August 2015
The Chargers have a good receiving corps with Malcom Floyd, Keenan Allen and the new additions of Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones. There is still one more spot open, and the Chargers need to figure out who’s going to fill that fifth spot.
That one guy, Antonio Gates, is pretty damn good, as well; albeit the tight end will miss four games due to suspension.
There is a player we have already seen in real game action, and that man is Dontrelle Inman.
Inman, the Virginia product, filled in nicely for Allen last season after breaking his collar bone. Inman was an undrafted free agent that originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. He had 12 receptions for 158 yards. While averaging 13.2 yards per catch, Inman’s longest play was 28 yards. He was only targeted 17 times. This means he caught 71% of the balls Rivers thrown his way. He also got the Chargers seven first downs.
Next we have Austin Pettis.
Pettis was drafted in the third round with 78th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. Pettis also has playing experience under his belt, while playing with the Rams. In his four years of playing with the Rams, Pettis started in 47 games. He had 107 receptions for 1,034 yards and averaged 9.7 yards per catch. Pettis’ longest play was 36 yards. He gave the Rams 62 first downs and 9 touchdowns.
Another good candidate is rookie prospect Titus Davis. Davis played college ball at Central Michigan. While playing there, he had 204 receptions for 3,700 yards. He averaged 18.1 yards per reception along with 37 total touchdowns. He also had 15 rushes for 113 yards, while averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
Next is Javontee Herndon.
Herndon is a second-year pro out of the University of Arkansas. In college, Herndon had 62 receptions for 910 yards. He averaged 14.7 yards per catch, adding touchdowns. He also had four rushes for 60 yards.
Finally, somebody that the team and media loves, Tyrell Williams.
Williams played at Western Oregon. He had the school’s all-time record with 156 catches. He had 2,792 receiving yards, and he was good for 21 touchdowns. He has a great size, while also being speedy.
All five of these guys have a solid chance, but only one will win that fifth spot. I strongly believe it will be Inman, considering that we’ve seen what he can do for the Chargers in the regular season.
Rick Reiff Jr.
Little did Chargers fans know heading into the 2012 NFL Draft, it would be the last one in San Diego for both head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith.
To say that fans were a bit perturbed with some of the player moves made by Smith during his tenure here is just polite.
We all recall the 2009 firing of Marty Schottenheimer after the best season the Chargers had posted in 30 years; letting players such as Darren Sproles, Michael Turner, and Vincent Jackson leave San Diego, only to succeed with new teams – the issue there being that viable replacements for those positions never came to be; and finally the Drew Brees’ situation.
Oh, and let’s not forget the 2004 draft which gave us quarterback Philip Rivers in that trade with the New York Giants! So far as Turner is concerned, he came close many times but just couldn’t get the team to the penultimate game.
But, enough about those days! Here is a look at the men who comprised the results of Smith and Turner’s final Chargers draft.
Melvin Ingram – OLB University of South Carolina 6’2″, 246 pounds
Ingram was 18th selection taken in the first round. Playing under Coach Steve Spurrier, Ingram was considered one of the top pass rushers entering draft day.
His rookie year saw him post 27 solo tackles, 14 assists, one sack and one forced fumble, participating in his only 16 game season. Since then, Ingram missed multiple games in the 2013 (ACL) and 2014 (hip) seasons while injured.
Upon returning to the lineup in those injury-shortened periods (2013-14), he produced a combined 25 solo tackles with 12 assists, logged five sacks and three forced fumbles.
This past offseason, he trimmed 20 pounds off his weight because “…I felt quick but I kept getting injured. The lighter you are, the less stress it is on your body, the less stress it is on your knees, your hips, your joints or your ankles, your toes — everything.”
Through two preseason contests, the former Gamecock has shown us that the lighter weight has benefited him because he is flying around, making tackles and pressuring the quarterback. He looks to be back to his rookie form, though obviously time will tell. Having had his fourth-year option extended this past April, high hopes abound that No. 54 will remain healthy, thereby helping lead the Bolts defensive attack into a group of thumpers. Grade: C
Kendall Reyes – DE University of Connecticut 6’4″, 300 pounds
Reyes was chosen in the second round at selection 49. A former three-sport athlete in high school (football, basketball, track and field), he was the highest-drafted lineman in the history of UConn.
In his rookie season with the Bolts, Reyes led his teammates with 19 quarterback pressures and 15 QB hits, nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks – the most by a Chargers rookie in 26 years. ESPN.com gave him All-Rookie honors for his performance.
Pegged to start opposite of Corey Liuget in 2013, Reyes collected five sacks to go with his 34 tackles.
He has started all 48 games since being drafted, totaling 94 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Those look like good numbers, however, his play has dropped off in comparison to his stellar debut.
In the final year of his rookie contract, Reyes arrived at camp in better shape. He has flashed some of that rookie moxie in both preseason games, yet the question lingers: will he be given an extension when 2015 is done, or will he become a free agent? Grade: C-
Brandon Taylor – Safety LSU 5’11”, 205 pounds
Selected in the third round, Taylor was considered an NFL-caliber safety who could become a starter early on at the next level. His physicality and refusal to back down against his opponents was something that the Chargers secondary needed.
He debuted in December that year and played four games before tearing his ACL against the New York Jets, ironically his best game, as he was credited with half a sack and three tackles.
Taylor spent time on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list until August of 2013, but never saw the field again. He was eventually waived in June of 2014 and is still a free agent. Grade: F
Ladarius Green – TE Louisiana-Lafayette 6’6″, 240 pounds
A fourth-round selection, Green has long been perceived to be the heir-apparent to Antonio Gates.
Green had a breakout sophomore season: played all 16 games (10 starts), collecting 17 receptions for 376 yards along with three touchdowns.
Through 34 games, he has racked up 658 yards on 40 catches and three scores.
It was anticipated that Green would continue 2014 where he left off the previous season. Green managed to grab 19 throws from Philip Rivers for 226 yards and zero touchdowns.
With Gates serving a four-game suspension this season, Green is locked in as the starting tight end. Despite all his talent, and the rear-view window perhaps closing in on Gates, 2015 looks to be a make it or break it year for Green, as this is his last year under contract with San Diego. Grade: C
Johnnie Troutman – G Penn State 6’4″, 330 pounds
The fifth round, 199th selection, Troutman was instrumental on a Penn State offensive line that allowed only 12 sacks the entire 2010 season; No. 13 in the nation for fewest sacks allowed.
Entering the draft, he was considered a much better run blocker than pass blocker who could make explosive blocks once he met his man, but also getting overpowered when having to move to the second level or dealing with a quicker defensive lineman.
Troutman tore his pectoral muscle two weeks prior to the draft, thus beginning his professional career on the “Reserve/Non-Football Injury” list.
He competed for the starting left guard position in 2013; in 2014 named starting right guard after Jeromey Clary was placed on the PUP list after undergoing a second hip surgery in three months.
As mentioned above, Troutman struggles in pass protection. Although run-blocking is his strength, it is still nothing to write home to Mom about. Grade: D
*The team had no picks in the sixth round
David Molk – Center, Michigan 6’1″ 298 pounds
Selected in the seventh round, Molk played 12 games for the Bolts on special teams and in short yardage situations. He was placed on IR in December of 2012, and subsequently released in August of the following year. Presently on the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles. Grade: F
Brad Sorensen, 27, was picked by the Chargers with the 221st overall pick in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. Sorensen, the Southern Utah product, has never started a game in his career. It is tough to start a game when you are working behind an elite quarterback such as Philip Rivers.
Sorensen has played in every preseason game since being drafted, but his most impressive outing was against the Arizona Cardinals on August 22 of this year.
Sorensen was 13-25 with 122 yards and an interception. Those stats may not sound amazing, but he showed that he could lead the Chargers down the field.
The third-year signal caller had pressure all over him, but he kept calm in the pocket and threw with a great deal of poise. He also showed that he could make quick decisions by hitting his target on time with the pass rush all around him. That is something that Rivers might have taught him along with having quick feet inside the pocket. He seemed to be able to read defenses well, attacking their weak spots. That is pretty impressive for only being in the league for two years. Now that Rivers got his new four-year contract extension, he can learn so much more from him.
Sorensen has done a solid job learning from Rivers. With some time and effort, the 33-year-old might be able to turn Sorensen into a future option at quarterback once No. 17 hangs up his cleats. He has four years to learn all he can from Rivers. That should be plenty of time to learn the position, and learn it well.
He can also learn a lot from offensive coordinator Frank Reich and head coach Mike McCoy. Reich was a quarterback for the Bills, Panthers, Jets and Lions. McCoy has had experience making sub-par quarterbacks such as Jake Delhomme and Tim Tebow into winners. As we all know, he also worked with one of the best passers in NFL history, Peyton Manning.
With all this help, Sorensen could be a great fit as the successor to Rivers. He still has plenty of time to develop, which could mean bad news for the other teams in the league. Don’t be surprised if after Rivers retires that the Chargers organization announces that Sorensen will be the new quarterback of the team.
Only time will tell.
Rick Reiff Jr.
As the Chargers entered this year’s offseason, there was concern as to how Tom Telesco will address the lackluster receiving corps. Granted, injuries crippled the team last year, however, it was evident that there were not enough weapons or speed surrounding Philip Rivers.
Free agency opened this last February and top free-agent receivers were being signed at a rapid pace. Former Charger Eddie Royal was not re-signed and made his way to the Windy City. These factors alone triggered San Diego fans to grow anxious each week as Telesco took his time to lock up a game-changing wideout. Then there was Stevie Johnson, former Buffalo Bill, and most recently San Francisco 49er, who was signed to a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bolts.
There was no doubt that Johnson had some success in Buffalo. He proved to be a clutch receiver all while recording career numbers. From 2010 to 2012 he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards, averaging over 13 yards per reception in each season. Yet, his decline in the last couple of seasons is very debatable. Some say it’s his age, however, it’s far from it; it certainly has been the personnel throwing to him.
Rivers is easily a top-five quarterback, so it’s only natural he makes those around him better. The twelve-year passer has been building a rapport with Johnson this offseason; which has subsequently elevated not only Johnson’s receiving ability, but the receiving unit as a whole.
Yes, the backfield struggled severely last season, but the receiving corps didn’t even break the top ten. This year will be different with what has been brewing at Chargers Park.
Johnson enters a new season, with a new team, but with an exceptionally seasoned quarterback. He has the tools and resources to make this his best year yet. The Rivers and Johnson duo will, without question, make strides in ’15.
Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)
The 2015 San Diego Chargers are coming in motivated after ending a disappointing 2014 season with a 9-7 record. Despite a 6-1 start, the team was not able to overcome a plethora of injuries all over the roster. The running game was practically non-existent, and Philip Rivers needed to do too much to keep the Bolts in games.
They have upgraded their team tremendously, bringing in two new starting offensive lineman (Orlando Franklin and Joe Barksdale), a slot receiver (Stevie Johnson), an elite returner (Jacoby Jones) and a possible starting safety (Jimmy Wilson). The Chargers also drafted a starting running back and one they hope will be a star (Melvin Gordon). However, the main guy that the team needs to stay healthy and produce is outside linebacker Melvin Ingram.
When healthy, Ingram is a difference maker for this defense. During the seven games that Melvin missed, the defense gave up an average of 235 passing yards per game with 1.9 passing touchdowns allowed per game. During the nine games that Melvin played, the defense gave up an average of 212 passing yards per game and 1.2 passing touchdowns allowed per game.
As you can see, the former Gamecock is a big part of defensive coordinator John Pagano’s defense. He is the one guy who can get constant pressure on the quarterback and can take the double and triple team off of Corey Liuget. Not only is Ingram very important to Liuget, but he is a leader on the field. He can also pass on what he learned from Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney to help the development of Jerry Attaochu and this year’s fifth-round pick, Kyle Emanuel.
“Supa-Mel”, as he likes to call himself, is the Chargers best pass rusher from the outside linebacker position. I do think he is poised for a breakout season. With the muscle he gained and the weight he lost, he just needs to show it on the field.
Ingram, 26, has only played in 13 games over the last two seasons. Flashing the ability to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks at times, the four-year veteran knows that he has to stay on the field to prove that he was worth the first-round selection in the 2012 draft.
Over his career, Ingram has recorded 78 total tackles, six sacks, seven passes defensed and four forced fumbles.
Look for a big year from this defense if Ingram stays healthy for all 16 games. Don’t be surprised if he registers a double-digit sack total in 2015.
Who do you think is the x-factor for the Chargers’ defense this season?
Let me know in the comments below!
Articles from ESPN.com:
Articles from Chargers.com:
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Now that training camp has wrapped up, and the Chargers are entering their second preseason game of the offseason, the 53-man roster is starting to sort itself out.
Although the team seems to be stacked at the wide receiver position, there is one young player worth keeping an eye on: Second-year wideout Javontee Herndon.
Here’s a little background information on him prior to joining the Bolts.
Herndon attended the University of Arkansas from 2010-2013. During the 2012 college football season, he appeared in every game. A junior at the time, he finished the season with 21 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns. As a senior, Herndon eclipsed the numbers he achieved the previous season by registering 31 receptions for 437 yards with four touchdowns. Over his four-year collegiate career, the former Razorback totaled 62 receptions for 910 yards with seven receiving touchdowns.
The 24-year-old went undrafted in 2014. He was then signed to an undrafted free-agent deal with the Chargers. He unfortunately did not crack the 53-man roster and spent last year on the practice squad. Now with the 2015 regular season on the horizon, the possibility of Herndon making the roster is once again up in the air. But I’m telling you that he can surely make it.
Despite only returning seven punts while in college, he impressed with some solid returns against the Dallas Cowboys in the first preseason game. Herndon had a nifty 30-yard punt return to the middle of the field. He also had a few other returns that really tell me that he wants to prove to the NFL world that he belongs on a roster.
In his presser to the media on Friday, head coach Mike McCoy spoke about liking Herndon’s work ethic.
“I think he’s worked extremely hard, all last year…on the practice squad,” McCoy said following Thursday’s preseason contest. “The success he had last night in the return game didn’t surprise me at all.”
As you can tell, McCoy is taking notice of Herndon’s approach to making an impact. As a head coach, it would be really difficult to not notice his effort to make the squad. The fact that McCoy wasn’t surprised by his play last Thursday shows that the youngster has caught the eyes of the coaching staff.
As mentioned above, this is only his second year in the NFL. Meaning, he is still eligible for the practice should he not make the roster.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we’re witnessing with Javontee Herndon. I will be rooting hard for this kid.
– Richie Farley
The 2014 season finished in what can be accurately described as “disappointing” for the Chargers. The team started 6-1, were No. 1 and on top of multiple power rankings to start the season. Philip Rivers was getting consideration for the league’s Most Valuable Player and they were being thrown around as a possible Superbowl team.
Then, injuries happened.
Danny Woodhead broke his leg. DJ Fluker played through half the year on a hurt ankle. Ryan Mathews played in six games. Keenan Allen missed the last two games with a broken collarbone. Rivers played with a back injury that limited his ability to throw and move. It goes without saying the playing five different centers makes it difficult to build cohesion on the offensive line.
As you can tell, the Chargers played beat up and with a lot of back ups and third stringers. But they finished the season 9-7, and one game shy of the playoffs.
Just how good are the Chargers when healthy?
As everyone knows, the Bolts added some playmakers this season. They upgraded many areas of their team and they are also coming off a very disappointing, yet not terrible season. The offseason has been a disaster, however, from the talks of relocating to Los Angeles, to Eric Weddle not being extended which then lead to a brief holdout and then the biggest bomb of them all, future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates being suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs.
So why the optimism?
Well, the Chargers are good. REALLY good. Tom Telesco has altered the o-line as one of the best in the AFC, gave Rivers another weapon in Stevie Johnson, got more physical defensively with the signing of Patrick Robinson and Jimmy Wilson and made the return game something teams fear with the signing of Jacoby Jones.
Is it enough?
The schedule this season is very favorable. Early on in the year is the toughest stretch, with games in Cincinnati, Minnesota and Green Bay and games at home vs Pittsburgh and Detroit. I mention these five games because they seem to bring the toughest competition to the Bolts.
Early in the season, it is not that big of a deal to drop a game or two to a team of that caliber. Win two of those five and you’re set up perfectly for the stretch run. The notable games after the bye week (week 10): Home/away versus the Chiefs, home/away versus the Broncos and home against the Dolphins. These are very winnable games and with the depth and offensive line that Telesco has provided, the Chargers should be able to compete and win at least three of these five games mentioned.
That leaves you at 5-5 through the toughest stretches of the schedule. The remaining games are at home versus the Browns, Raiders, Bears and on the road against Raiders, Ravens and Jaguars. Five of the six just named are extremely winnable with the Baltimore game being winnable, but a difficult game, nonetheless (and Chargers have experience winning there as they did it this past season). That leaves the Chargers final record at 10-6 or 11-5 and should be enough for a wild card berth and a potential AFC West division title.
The key to the playoffs is health (also, having an elite QB in Philip Rivers doesn’t hurt either) and the Chargers have depth, but will they stay healthy? Head coach Mike McCoy has been doing a great job trying to keep everyone healthy during training camp. That won’t change during the regular season.
On paper, this is the most talented team the Chargers have had since 2009 where the Bolts went 13-3 and snatched up the second seed in their conference. The AFC doesn’t seem to have that one Superbowl favorite team that you know will dominate the conference. It is wide-open, and the way Telesco has built this roster, the Chargers very well could end the year in Santa Clara playing in Superbowl 50.
Do you think the Chargers have what it takes to reach the Super Bowl? Let me know in the comments!
Earlier this summer, Malcom Floyd announced that he is considering retiring after the 2015 season. This will be the final year of his current contract. Floyd will turn 34 at the start of the regular season. While still young enough to keep playing, Floyd worries about injuries limiting his ability to be there for his four children.
Floyd’s first touchdown catch was special! Not only because it was his first career catch, but it was also Phillip Rivers’ first career touchdown pass. It makes you wonder who got to kept that ball! It appears that his last career touchdown pass will also come from Rivers.
Chargers fans will never forget the moment in 2013 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when he laid on the ground for several minutes after a big hit on an incomplete pass. The players from the Chargers and the Eagles circled around him before he was put on a stretcher due to a serious neck injury. The injury happened in week two and kept him out for the rest of the season.
Coming off the injury from 2013, Floyd played all 16 games in 2014 and had the best season of his career. He totaled 856 yards and six touchdowns. M-80 is a crowd favorite since he has played his whole career with the San Diego Chargers. At 6’5″, he has made some incredible catches with only one fumble throughout his career. He is a mentor to the young receivers on the team, like Keenan Allen. Much of his Floyd’s success in 2014 came without the benefit of a solid running game. Danny Woodhead and Ryan Matthews were sidelined with injuries throughout the season. Rivers had to take to the air more and Floyd, along with the core Chargers wide receivers, responded well to the challenge.
With the drafting of rookie running back Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead being healthy, the running game should be improved over last year. The team should be able to run more and not leave it to Rivers to get it done in the air. Floyd may not have the numbers he had in 2014, but his presence will still be felt on the field and in the locker room. He will be a great mentor to Keenan Allen, who is entering his third season.
As a 12-year veteran, Floyd will help prepare Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones, who both signed with the Chargers this summer. Johnson was lost in the shuffle last season in San Francisco but had three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Buffalo from 2010 to 2012. Jones is a veteran wide receiver from the Baltimore Ravens who was was mainly drafted for return duties. The Chargers have not had a return for a touchdown since 2012.
If this is indeed Floyd’s last season, he will continue to play with heart and passion. He was plagued with injuries throughout his career. In his eleven years with the Chargers, Floyd has only played all 16 games in 2009 and 2014. Since 2009, excluding the 2013 season, he averaged 804 yards, 17.5 yards per reception and five touchdowns.
Floyd will be on pace for 800 yards and four touchdowns again this year. Hopefully the injury bug does not come back to bite him again in 2015. This fear lead him to his retirement consideration. He would be a huge loss for the Chargers. If he ends up with another season like 2014, he just might reconsider his decision. If not, the player lovingly known as M-80 will forever be in the hearts of Chargers fans.
The end of the 2015 NFL Draft saw general manager Tom Telesco pick up an undrafted kicker in Josh Lambo. Current placekicker Nick Novak re-signed with the team in 2013 on a four-year, $6.6 million deal. Yet, I wondered, why a kicker?
We all know that Novak is one of the top players at his position. The only place it appears his game is lacking is on kickoffs. So then I decided to do some quick research on kickers and/or touchback specialists who are close to Novak in age and entered the league around the same time.
Here is what I found:
Novak, 34, has four place-kicking rivals, and they are all great at what they do. Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears, age 33), Shaun Suisham (Pittsburgh Steelers, age 34) and Mike Nugent (Cincinnati Bengals, age 33) are from the 2005 draft class. Rounding out the list is Josh Scobee (Jacksonville, age 32). Only two were drafted – Scobee in the fifth round of 2004 and Nugent was chosen in the second round of the ’05 class. As of right now, Gould and Suisham are among the most accurate top-20 kickers on a list that also has six other active individuals in a minimum of five years. Mike Vanderjagt is the number one all-time, and former-Charger Nate Kaeding appears as the third. Kaeding and Gould could generally be found in the top-three during the regular season in terms of accuracy.
Looking at field goals, Novak is 120/147 and 81.6%. Gould: 243/284/85.5%; Suisham: 231/275/84%; Nugent: 190/235/80.8. Scobee (80.7%) has made the most attempts with 291, but has missed 56 of them.
When it comes to touchbacks, though, the competition is clearly different. For 2014, Nugent and Scobee both had 37; Suisham 32; Gould 21 (through 12 games) and Novak only had 10. In 2013, they were well ahead of him by 18, almost 2 to 1. While in 2012, they were all about the same and only Gould was over 30.
One other comparison I looked at was there were eight placekickers added after the 2015 draft. Four of those actually went on to sign with an NFL team: Justin Manton (rated number one) to the Baltimore Ravens, Kyle Brindzia (108 career touchbacks and who broke John Carney’s single-season scoring record at Notre Dame) with the Detroit Lions, Ty Long chosen by the Washington Redskins, and Lambo.
So let’s get back to that guy that Telesco signed as an undrafted free agent..
Lambo is 24 years old, 6’0″ and 220 pounds. He was a walk-on at Texas A & M, playing just two years for the Aggies. During his tenure there, he was their most accurate kicker going 111/112 extra points and 21/25 field goals, giving him a career field goal percentage of 84% (a new record for Texas A & M). In 2014, he nailed all 59 of his field goal attempts. However, Lambo’s kicking duties were strictly extra point/field goal attempts, as he only kicked off twice.
While at the Combine, Lambo was 11 of 15 on field goals and showed great distance and hang time. He can be become a dangerous kicker from 40+ yards at the NFL level. The fact that he is a former MLS goalkeeper (FC Dallas from 2008-2011), as well as former US Under 17 and Under 20 soccer player with what sounds like a big leg, might be why he caught Telesco’s eye. Or, he could just be a camp body.
Time will tell.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles had one kicker for kickoffs and another for field goals. It’s not likely that the Chargers go that route. I believe, overall, they are happy with Novak’s performance. Lambo has looked impressive on kickoffs during training camp and in the team’s first preseason contest. But can Lambo’s strong leg force the Chargers to carry two kickers on the 53-man roster?
What are your thoughts on this choice of Telesco’s? Please share your them below.
Thanks for reading and Bolt Up!!