Monthly Archives: October 2015
Articles from Chargers.com:
- PHOTOS: Bolts travel to Baltimore
- Te’o, Franklin, Weddle and Williams out on Sunday
- VIDEO: Are you ready? Chargers at Ravens
- Pair of ILBs prepared to step up
- What is the “number one nemesis” on each side of the ball?
- Jacoby Jones looks to turn tide in return to Baltimore
Articles from ESPN.com:
- Te’o ruled out, Gates questionable versus Ravens
- Ravens over Chargers the popular pick
- Rivers and family welcome eighth child
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
The Bolts are 2-5, sitting in last place in the AFC West.
Some Chargers fans say it’s the lack of a running game or the inopportune turnovers. Others say it’s the penalties or the play calling. The biggest excuse heard all year: We have a lot of injuries.
Guess which teams in the NFL have injuries?
All 32 of them!
Just like bad calls (I am looking at you, Ed Hochuli), every team gets them. Good teams overcome them.
The Green Bay Packers lost their top receiver for the season, Jordy Nelson, in the preseason. They have four players out for the season and they are 6-0, despite losing some key contributors.
The Washington Redskins have nine players out for the season.
The Chargers have two. The players out for the season are guard Johnnie Troutman and defensive end Tenny Palepoi.
The banged-up offensive line has been hit with the biggest with injuries. Center Chris Watt has been on and of the field with injuries. Left tackle King Dunlap and Chris Hairston have also seen injuries this year. The loss of D.J. Fluker was huge.
Tom Telesco had to dig deep to build a new offensive line. The offensive line of third stringers, practice-team players and players released from other teams did alright against the Steelers and especially the Packers. They made it work.
It was brutal to see both Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd leave the game against the Browns with injuries. The Chargers had only suited up four receivers. Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich and quarterback Phillip Rivers didn’t let the injuries defeat them. They made some adjustments, using Danny Woodhead and Ladarius Green more often and got the win.
Do you know what is not a direct effect from injuries? Penalties, especially personal-foul penalties. The interceptions and fumbles are coming from Rivers and Gordon.
There have been no major injuries to the Chargers’ running backs, Gordon, Woodhead and Branden Oliver. The Chargers are ranked 30th in rushing.
The defensive line has not seen one injury this year. That should be the biggest concern. The defense is letting these games get away.
So let’s just drop the injury excuse. The Bolts, especially against the hated Oakland Raiders, have just not been playing good football.
Let’s hope that the loss to the Raiders pisses them off and they rally together and figure out how to win again.
Thanks for reading.
The Chargers have announced their weekly injury report for this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Although things on the injury front seem to be improving numbers-wise, the team will be without marquee starters at multiple positions.
- LG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
- ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
- FS – Eric Weddle (Groin)
- OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
- ILB – Denzel Perryman (Biceps)
- TE – Antonio Gates (Knee)
- NT – Sean Lissemore (Hamstring)
- CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
- RB – Melvin Gordon (Ankle)
- C – Chris Watt (Groin)
The Chargers’ offensive line will once again be without left guard Orlando Franklin, but it will be getting back center Chris Watt this week. Reserve center Trevor Robinson played well in Watt’s absence, and he could possibly force the Bolts to keep Watt on the shelf for one more game in order to ensure he gets back to full health.
Also on the offensive side of the ball, Philip Rivers could be without his favorite target, Antonio Gates, for the sixth game in 2015. Gates tweaked his knee on the final drive of the team’s loss to the Packers in Week 6. Should the future Hall of Famer miss the game on Sunday, Ladarius Green will once again be called upon to start at tight end.
Green, 25, has already set career-highs in receptions (26) and touchdowns (4), adding 304 yards receiving. The fourth-year veteran is only 73 yards away from his career-high in receiving yards, too.
While the offense is slowly getting healthier, the defensive side of the ball is not so lucky.
The Chargers’ defense will be missing inside linebacker Manti Te’o and free safety Eric Weddle for the second consecutive week. Te’o was one tackle behind Weddle for the team-lead prior to the two starters becoming injured. Weddle, nursing a groin injury, is missing consecutive games for the first since 2009.
Te’o’s replacement, Denzel Perryman, is listed as doubtful for the game on Sunday, forcing back-up linebacker Kavell Conner into the starting lineup.
Conner was signed as a free agent from Indianapolis two years ago.
Though he won’t play against the Ravens, outside linebacker Tourek Williams returned to practice this week for the first time since August. Upon his return, he will be a welcome addition to the anemic pass rush in San Diego. He is also a prime performer on special teams.
This week’s game is a must-win for the Chargers. It is up to the players and coaches to get this thing turned around starting Sunday.
Should the team lose to the Ravens on the road, they can basically kiss goodbye to any opportunity to make the playoffs this year.
This Sunday marks the official halfway mark for our beloved San Diego Chargers. The season that began with so much promise has given way to despair and a 2-5 season record heading into a road game against the also woebegone 1-6 Baltimore Ravens. For those who have missed it, here’s a quick look back at how the season has transpired.
The Good: Franchise quarterback Philip Rivers is once again proving to all the doubters that he is an elite NFL quarterback. Through seven weeks he leads the NFL in passing yards (2,452), completed passes (215), attempts (311), yards per game (350), first downs (116) and trails only Tom Brady and Carson Palmer in touchdowns (16 to 15).
As a result, Keenan Allen has thrived and is set to destroy his stat line from last season. Allen accumulated 77 receptions for 783 yards and four touchdowns with a 10.2 yards per catch average. This season, Allen leads the NFL in receptions with 62. He is third in the league in yards (690), yards per game (98.6) and has three touchdowns. With eight catches against the Ravens, Allen will set the record for most receptions through eight games. Keenan is also in reach of the NFL single season receptions record of 143 set by Marvin Harrison in 2002.
Despite only getting 85 carries to date, Melvin Gordon is fifth in rushing yards for a rookie with 386. We’ve already seen flashes of brilliance as Gordon already has five runs over twenty yards.
Danny Woodhead continues to be Mr. Reliable for the Chargers. Looking even better than the 2013 version, Woodhead is second on the team in rushing with 49 rushes for 188 yards and in receiving with 39 catches for 407 yards. Surprisingly, Woodhead is the only Chargers running back that has a touchdown. Gordon still hasn’t found pay dirt and trails Woodhead by two.
The Bad: Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. The promise of a banner year headlined by the Gordon drafting, Rivers extension and excellent free agency signings is slowly slipping away. Before the season started the argument was what to do with the abundance of offensive line talent. Move Fluker to guard? Who starts at right tackle? Who is the second unit? Unfortunately, no sooner than the first game started did linemen start dropping like flies. As of this week, every offensive lineman has missed game action with the exception of Joe Barksdale. As a result, Philip Rivers has paid the price as he’s been sacked 18 times. That’s an average of almost three sacks a game. At that rate, not only the Chargers season but Rivers’ season is at risk.
The injuries are not limited to the offensive side of the ball. (By the way, the recently returned Antonio Gates is anticipated to miss games with a knee injury). The defensive side of the ball has been ravaged as well. Defensive captain Eric Weddle is out with a groin injury. NT Sean Lissemore, ILB’s Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman are all out. Cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers have missed game action throughout the season but are back on the field. OLB Tourek Williams will see his first regular season action after suffering a foot injury in the preseason.
As a result of the ongoing injuries, San Diego has not been able to stop the opposition. The Chargers rank 18th in total defense (31st vs. rush, 9th vs. pass), giving up an average of 28 points per game. The bolts have the top ranked offense in the league in terms of yards per game(430.7), but only average 23.6 points per game. That type of differential is not and will not win many games.
The Ugly: Special teams play has not been special at all. Special teams continually gives the opposition favorable field position and gains little for the San Diego offense. There’s only one fact you need to know to illustrate this point. The Chargers have played more games (7) than they have return yards (3).
Play calling has been a disappointment to put it kindly. Is there anyone that doesn’t see the first down inside handoff from their couch? The patchwork offensive line isn’t holding back defenders or opening running lanes for Gordon. We all expected a little more genius when the front office scooped the forward-thinking quarterback guru Mike McCoy from Denver. What we’ve seen is anything but progressive and forward-thinking.
Tackling has been atrocious. The bad tackling can’t be attributed to injuries but it can be attributed to bad coaching and a lack of fundamentals. Have the players tuned out the coaches? Are the players going into business for themselves and playing to add to their highlight reel when other teams begin calling their agents?
The Outlook: Over the last three weeks, the Chargers have lost two games on the last play of the game and were destroyed by the Raiders, of all teams. With the exception of the Raiders and Vikings games, they have played well enough to win despite all the inconsistency, injuries and lack of production from special teams and the running game. The reality of it all is they did lose. They are 2-5. You have to wonder how the morale in the locker room is right now. Something has to change if San Diego is to make the postseason and it has to happen NOW. My suggestions would go as follows:
Abandon the running-back-by-committee. Melvin Gordon has been ‘worked in slowly’ for long enough. It’s time to take the reins off the racehorse and give him twenty carries a game and let him show what he can do. I have already detailed my thoughts on this subject in my last column here. Get Melvin a fullback and watch him go!
Bring Javontee Herndon up from the practice squad. The special teams needs a boost and Jacoby Jones is not providing it. Fresh legs like Herndon could be just what the unit needs. The unit can’t get any worse.
Open up the playbook. There has to be more creative plays in the arsenal than an inside draw from the pistol formation. There are ways to get Melvin in space where he is dangerous. Run some reverses with the speed receivers. Mix in a flea flicker. Rivers is one of if not the best deep ball passer in the league and he doesn’t air it out nearly enough. Part of the reason for that is the Chargers don’t have a receiver with the straight line speed to take the top off a defense but the extra time generated from a gadget play can make up for that deficiency and open up the middle of the field for big gains with Green or Gates.
San Diego has a favorable schedule for the rest of the season. There’s five division games remaining and winning those alone puts them in the hunt to win the AFC West. Their non-division schedule includes Jacksonville, Miami, Chicago and Sunday’s Ravens game. The Chargers have a better team than any of their out-of-conference opposition talent-wise and are just as good or better than their in-division rivals. The bolts can go on a 8-1 or 7-2 run to finish the season in the playoffs.
The question is are the willing to make the changes needed to do so. There’s nothing left to do but go all-in and show the team and the fans that the team hasn’t thrown in the white flag on the season. What do you think Bolt Nation? Do you still believe? Post your comments below.
The Greg One
The Chargers (2-5) travel to Baltimore (1-6) on Sunday to take on the Ravens in what is a must-win contest for the Bolts.
With the Denver Broncos currently sitting atop the AFC West at 6-0, the Chargers are resigned to shooting for a wildcard spot, seeing as surpassing the Broncos is highly unlikely.
San Diego entered the 2015 campaign with high hopes. The free-agency period seemed to be a success; with general manager Tom Telesco signing the player he coveted in offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, wide receiver Stevie Johnson and offensive lineman Joe Barksdale, to name a few.
Other free-agent acquisitions that have started games include safety Jimmy Wilson, offensive lineman Chris Hairston and cornerback Patrick Robinson.
It could be argued that Robinson has played the best out of all of the team’s pickups, making the greatest impact of the bunch.
While Franklin and Johnson have missed multiple games due to injuries, Barksdale has been reliable and steady for the Bolts, starting all seven games this season.
Once the NFL draft came, Telesco moved up two spots to select running back Melvin Gordon, an electrifying runner out of Wisconsin.
Needless to say, Gordon has not gotten off to the start that either he or the team would like, being benched due to fumbling issues. The first-year ball carrier has struggled mightily, posting only 328 yards on 85 carries with no touchdowns. In the receiving game, Gordon has tallied 13 receptions for 86 yards. The stat that sticks out the most for No. 28 is the fact that he has fumbled four times, losing three to opposing defenses.
Enough about the offseason. Let’s fast forward to present day.
The Chargers have lost three consecutive games and five of the last six.
If the season were to end today, San Diego would have the eighth selection in the first round of the 2016 draft.
But helps comes along in the way of the next four games, including Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens.
The Chargers’ next four opponents — Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City and Jacksonville — have combined to win four games in 2015. The team’s next opponent’s sole victory came in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If the Chargers are to turn around their season, it starts this Sunday. Losing this game would not make it impossible to make the playoffs, but it certainly wouldn’t seem very likely if they fall to 2-6.
This is, without a doubt, a must-win game for the Chargers if they have any hopes that extend past the regular season.
San Diego’s inability to establish the running game on offense and stop the run defensively will be placed under the microscope once again in Week 8.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is on pace for a career-year, throwing the ball an inordinate amount due to the team’s poor rushing attack. Rivers is set to break NFL records for both completions and passing yards in a season.
Should the offense again be unable to get it going on the ground, it will be up to Rivers and the passing attack to carry the team to victory over Baltimore.
The Ravens are ranked as the 25th defense overall in yards given up per game, placing 11th against the run and 28th against the pass.
Considering the aforementioned stats, the passing offense of the Chargers should be able to carve up the Ravens’ secondary. That being said, it sure would be nice to see San Diego establish some semblance of a running game.
On the other side of the ball, the Bolts rank 18th overall in yards given up, placing 31st against the run and 9th against the pass. The Ravens come in with the 14th ranked offense, 12th in passing and 18th in rushing.
Defensively, the Chargers have to limit the production of running back Justin Forsett and wideout Steve Smith Sr. Both weapons could give John Pagano’s unit fits if they are allowed to get hot early.
Flying east is never easy for a west-coast squad. The Ravens have won 11 of their last 12 against west-coast teams at home. Their one loss came last year by none of than the Chargers.
The Week 8 game is going to say a lot about the Chargers and their coaching staff. Do they have what it takes to get things turned around, or is this team doomed to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season?
We’ll find out on Sunday.
Articles from Chargers.com:
- VIDEO: The Chargers’ mindset at 2-5
- Tourek Williams’ return gives Bolts a boost
- Kyle Emanuel shares rare tie with new LB
- PHOTOS: Wednesday Ravens week
- Mailbag: What areas need most improvement
- Film breakdown of two key Ravens
Articles from ESPN.com:
- NFL believes progress has been made on stadium in San Diego
- Keenan Allen producing at historic levels
- Mark Fabiani booed by Chargers fans at public hearing
- Chargers focused on getting off to a fast start
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
It is looking like the desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures scenario has arrived in San Diego this past Sunday.
The most-hated division rival, the Oakland Raiders and their fans, first took over Qualcomm Stadium, and then proceeded to deliver a knock-out punch to the Chargers that had not been seen in, well, maybe forever.
What ever game plan Mike McCoy and Frank Reich had in place, it went sideways very quickly.
How could that happen?!
The team was wearing its powder blue jerseys and, as superstition goes, that beat-down should not have happened!
What I and many other Bolts fans, witnessed, whether at the stadium or watching on television, was a thorough implosion.
I am not going to rehash this too much, it still makes me sick to think about the situation as a whole.
Mike McCoy became the Chargers head coach on January 25, 2013. He was 40 years old then, and the youngest head coach in the NFL.
At one of his initial interviews, after being named Norv Turner’s replacement, McCoy stated that he planned to hire an offensive coordinator.
Perhaps that seemed unusual since it was one of the reasons why he was being pursued. After all, this is the guy who everyone knew had worked with Tim Tebow, helping him to change his mechanics, ultimately leading the Broncos to a playoff win with the now-unemployed quarterback at the helm.
Let us not forget that under McCoy and former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt managed to help Philip Rivers get his mojo back after he appeared to be losing his touch.
What transpired that year for Rivers was him being named “NFL Comeback Player of the Year” in 2013; a distinction that the signal caller did not quite understand as he had not missed a game since becoming the starter in 2006.
Former offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2008 until 2012, McCoy began his tenure there with journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton. Under McCoy’s direction, Denver’s offense ranked seventh in passing and Orton was fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game in 2010.
McCoy revamped the offense for Tebow in 2011 by inserting more running plays into the game plan. The former Heisman Trophy winner (2007, the first to win as a sophomore) responded by rushing for 660 yards and scoring six touchdowns. At the end of the season, he had a passer rating of 72.5, based on an attempt/completion record of 126/271 (46.5%), seven TDs and was picked off once. Tebow led Denver to six straight wins and the team went into the postseason having won seven of their last eight games.
And then along came Peyton Manning in 2012.
McCoy and the playbook evolved once more to accommodate Manning’s potent hurry-up offense. With “The Sheriff” as their leader, the Broncos had a 13-3 record in spite of a 2-3 start. They won their second consecutive AFC West title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. McCoy and Manning were defeated in double-overtime by the Baltimore Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl. Offensively, the team ranked fourth in total offense, fifth in passing offense and 16th in rushing. Manning was ranked sixth with a completion percentage of 68.6, a TD/INT ratio of 37/11 and threw for 4,659 yards on 583 attempts.
That same year, Rivers ranked No. 17 among QBs. He was 338 out of 527 for 3,606 yards (64.1%), had 26 passing scores with 15 picks. The Bolts were in the bottom offensively: 31st in total offense, No. 24 in passing and 27th in rushing.
Ironically, the 2015 season to date reflects a curiously unusual status between the two competitors and their teams: both have flip-flopped in most categories other than the penultimate: wins and losses.
Manning’s Broncos are 6-0 while Rivers and the Chargers are sitting at 2-5. Through the first seven games (Denver was on bye last week) the statistics look like this: San Diego is first in total offense with 430.7 yards per game versus 325.8 and the 29th slot for Denver. The Bolts also have first place honors in passing offense (343.6), while the Broncos are 18th (240.8). Both AFC West rivals rank in the bottom in rushing, back-to-back in fact. San Diego is 29th (87.1) with Denver at 30th (85).
As for the signal callers themselves?
Rivers is first in the NFL with 2,452 yards, adding TD/INT ratio of 15/7. Where is Manning? Well, his 1,524 yards, seven TDs and 10 INTs put him in 17th place.
There are many people who are trying to figure out why the future Hall of Famer is in such a predicament. Is it the new head coach, Elway’s old friend and teammate Gary Kubiak, who is also calling the plays this year who should be to blame?
I don’t think I heard “Omaha” when I watched the Broncos-Chiefs game.
Adam Gase, the offensive guru in Denver for the last little stretch, followed previous Broncos coach John Fox to Chicago. Or is the health and age of good ol’ boy no. 18 in the navy and orange truly declining? I mean, after all, Peyton is 39 years old. He’s been playing football for a long time!
Perhaps the bottom line is that McCoy is a better offensive coordinator than head coach. Maybe for now the short-term fix is for him to start carrying around a sheet, a couple of markers and starts calling the plays himself.
This might relegate Reich to QB coach again, essentially, but if that is what it takes to win, so be it. This team is better than its record reflects; there are many men on the roster who are fighters and can help lead this group on its course. We the fans need more than the same-old, same-old that McCoy reiterates each week because not only is that old news, it just truly sets my teeth on edge.
Whatever “it” may be, this pretty much says it all: “We got outplayed and outcoached in the first half,” McCoy said. “It’s very difficult to have success when you start the game like we did, whether it’s turnovers or giving up seven straight scores. That starts with me as the head coach. We’re not going to sit around and dwell on this.”
Yeah, we know, Coach. What we want to know is: what are you going to do about it?
Thanks for reading!
Articles from Chargers.com:
- NFL to host public hearing in San Diego
- VIDEO: Game time: Denzel Perryman
- Ravens thoughts on Chargers as a hard-playing, vicious group
- Scouting report: Chargers at Ravens
- Chargers sign ILB Joe Mays; release C J.D. Walton
Articles from ESPN.com:
- Players point finger at themselves for 2-5 record
- Chargers in race for No. 1 pick in 2016 NFL draft
- Branden Oliver part of the solution to Chargers’ rushing woes
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
When the San Diego Chargers did not address the vacancy at running back during free agency, it was obvious that would become one of the top priorities in the 2015 draft. Most of the Chargers’ faithful cheered when the front office moved up two spots, selecting Wisconsin Badger Melvin Gordon with their No. 1 pick.
Telesco and company found it paramount to give up their fourth-round pick in ’15 (big surprise) and fifth-round selection in ’16 to ensure that no one received the right to signing the electrifying Gordon other than the Bolts.
At the University of Wisconsin Gordon rewrote the NCAA record books. In 2014, Gordon led the Nation in rushing (2,587 yards), yards from scrimmage (2,740 yards), rushing touchdowns (29), touchdowns from scrimmage (32), rushing attempts (343) and yards per attempt (7.8). Gordon was a unanimous selection for All-American and All-Big-Ten First-team honors, as well as winning the Doak Walker Award given to the Nation’s best running back.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Gordon was the picture of durability during his days at Wisconsin. After receiving a medical redshirt for suffering a groin injury during his freshman year in 2011, Gordon did not miss a game due to injury the remaining three years he spent on campus. A stellar 2014 season was capped by an Outback Bowl MVP award, additionally earning him second place in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
All of the hype surrounding Gordon upon his drafting by San Diego was well-deserved and well-received among most Chargers fans. To anticipate big things from such an elite collegiate running back was to be expected.
The reality of his pro career through seven games has not been as rosy.
Contributing factors to Gordon’s limited success can be traced to multiple things; an ankle injury has limited his effectiveness in games. The Chargers have been slowly working Gordon into the offense with a running-back-by-committee approach alongside Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver. The Bolts’ offensive line has once again been decimated by injuries. Ball security has also affected his playing time. To date, Gordon has fumbled four times, losing three. In three years at Wisconsin, he fumbled 12 times, losing seven. Gordon had 631 carries during that time. In San Diego, he’s carried the ball 85 times, yet still putting the ball on the carpet at an alarming rate.
It goes without saying that the college game and the pro game are two completely different animals. The defenses are faster, the players hit harder and the game is played at a much higher level.
Nonetheless, fundamentals, like ball security, don’t change. In college, it equated to one fumble every 53 carries. In the pros, it’s an alarming one fumble per every 21 carries. Gordon’s recent fumble issues, and nagging ankle injury, are the most likely reasons why he didn’t enter Sunday’s Raiders’ game until midway through the third quarter.
Despite the growing pains of being a high-profile draft pick in the NFL, Gordon is fifth among rookies in rushing with 328 yards. The Chargers find themselves with a 2-5 record, clinging to slim playoff hopes after an embarrassing home loss to the Raiders.
How does San Diego right the ship and get Gordon on track?
Two simple changes can achieve both purposes.
Abandon the running-back-by-committee approach
Gordon has shown he is capable of being an every-down back at the collegiate level. Let him prove he is capable of being an every-down back in the pros. To achieve this, Mike McCoy and those responsible for the gameplan on Sundays must to be willing to give Gordon the ball. In the last two games, Gordon has carried the ball seven times each. He has averaged 14 carries over the five previous games.
Gordon has to do his job and step up his game in respects to ball security, pass protection and route running. McCoy and offensive coordinator Frank Reich have to fully commit to the running game, giving Gordon twenty-plus carries, allowing him to be the punishing running back that he was in college.
Any running back will tell you being in on every down allows them to get into a rhythm, which helps them run better. Woodhead and Oliver can still be inserted on passing downs to spell Gordon when he needs a rest.
The second solution is presented in the form of a question.
What did Gordon have during his record-breaking seasons as a Wisconsin Badger that he does not have in the pros?
Get Melvin a capable fullback
Gordon accomplished all the gaudy records mentioned above — and a lot more — playing in a traditional Big-Ten power-running scheme. The Badgers almost exclusively ran I-formation with a fullback leading the way, opening the first crack in the defensive line. Gordon was able to use his explosiveness to get through the crack and accumulate yardage at an astounding clip. No back in NCAA history has more than Gordon’s 7.9 yards per carry average over his career. Using that scheme, Gordon is the fastest running back in NCAA history to 2,000 yards. He did it in only 241 carries.
If it ain’t broke…
With the Chargers, Gordon has been the single back on most of his plays.
We’ve watched as he’s shuffled his feet at the line, waiting for that first crack to open. It has been tough sledding for the rookie behind a patchwork offensive line struggling to open running lanes. As a result, Gordon is only averaging slightly above 40 yards per game.
After three-plus years of not having to wait, he’s getting stopped at or behind the line because his downhill running style isn’t conducive to waiting for a lane.
We’ve also seen that when he’s able to turn the corner along the sidelines he has a phenomenal second gear, along with the ability to accelerate for huge gains. Sadly, those moments have been few and far between. It will remain that way until the offensive philosophy changes.
The fullback is a dying breed in the NFL. There are no great fullbacks left, but you don’t need a great fullback to achieve the desired result.
There are plenty of free agent fullbacks who would love nothing more than to sign for the veteran’s minimum (approximately 800-900k depending on years of service) and run into the defensive line looking for contact. Henry Hynoski, Frank Summers, John Conner, Zach Boren and Jed Collins are all experienced fullbacks who would welcome the opportunity for an NFL paycheck.
Establishing a running game takes pressure off of quarterback Philip Rivers.He has already taken a beating this year. Rivers has been sacked 18 times. The Chargers have the No. 1 passing offense and the 29th rushing offense in the NFL through seven weeks because the coaches won’t commit fully to Gordon. A solid running attack keeps Rivers healthy, opening opportunities down the field with play action. But the running game must first be established prior to play action making sense, much less being viable in tricking the defense into deciding whether or not to commit to one or the other.
Forcing Rivers to throw 123 times in the last two games is an indictment of the lack of a consistent, effective running game. Continuing to force Rivers to shoulder that heavy a load will result in fans seeing the same beaten, battered QB we saw limping around at the end of last season.
The Chargers need to do no more than look east of the Mississippi at Gordon’s draft-class counterpart, Todd Gurley, to see what the reward could be. Many considered Gordon better than Gurley. The difference is that in St. Louis, Gurley is getting 19 carries per game and has garnered 442 yards in the four games he’s played. The Rams trust their workhorse, and San Diego needs to do the same.
The window is still open for a turnaround and postseason run with an (on paper) easy remaining schedule, including five division games on tap. The window will shut fast if no change is made soon.
At this point, there is nothing left to lose.
It’s time to release the Kraken. Get Gordon a fullback, let him carry the rock, stacking wins.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One
After missing most of the 2014 season, running back Danny Woodhead has provided the Chargers’ offense and Philip Rivers with that safety valve it sorely missed last year.
Suffering a broken fibula against the Bills during Week 3 last season, the offense relied on undrafted rookie Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and former Charger Ryan Mathews to fill the void due to the absence of No. 39.
Oliver ended up leading the team in rushing in 2014 with 582 yards on 160 carries and three touchdowns on the ground, adding 27 receptions good for 271 yards and one scoring catch.
I am not going to get into the production, or lack thereof, of the other two backs; though Mathews is setting career-highs this season in multiple categories with the Eagles as a back-up ball carrier, but that’s none of my business. At least he is active on game days for his new team (cough, cough, Donald Brown).
Woodhead may not be lighting the world on fire as a ball carrier, totaling only 188 yards on 49 carries (two touchdowns), but he has made a significant impact in the passing game. His 11 receptions in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders was a team-high, as were his two receiving scores in the waning moments of the game while the team battled back to make the final score respectable.
It is the pass that he was NOT thrown that has received the most attention from the Green Bay game.
For the year through the air, Woody has registered 37 receptions (second on the team to Keenan Allen’s league-leading 62 catches) for 407 yards and two touchdowns, giving him four TDs in 2015, tying him with Ladarius Green for the team-lead in scores.
Many media members during the offseason wrote that the team was essentially signing a major free agent in getting Danny Woodhead back on the field. Members of the Chargers’ organization voiced the same sentiment, including the ball coach, Mike McCoy.
The short, yet NOT small, running back has made the most of his seven games back thus far through the 2015 campaign.
Can any of you reading this imagine what the team’s record would be without Woodhead on the field?
I prefer not to think about that.
With Melvin Gordon struggling, working through fumbling issues and ineffectiveness, along with his relegation to the bench, Woodhead will continue to make a favorable impact for the Chargers.
Fans may be tired of seeing him forced to run that inside-zone play out of shotgun, but the former Chadron State hero will have a lot to do with whether or not this team can turn around its season.
No pressure, Danny.
Quite frankly, it’s nice to see a Chargers’ player give it their all week in and week out, doing whatever he can regardless of the circumstances at hand.
We salute you, Danny Woodhead, and expect nothing less than greatness each and every week.