Monthly Archives: November 2015

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I recently pontificated about the woes of the Chargers’ offense. Now it’s the defensive unit’s turn in the barrel.  In seven losses, your unit has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in at least five of them.

John Pagano’s unit can’t use the excuse that they’re banged up, at least not as bad as the offense. Yeah, Manti Te’o is dinged up.  So are Eric Weddle and Jahleel Addae, but with Weddle there’s defensive depth that the offense lacks. Besides, you can’t hurt yourself that badly when you don’t tackle. Ask Antonio Cromartie about that. A lack of tackling is just one problem facing the defense. I’ll get into that in a moment.

John Pagano, I’m starting with you. You coach scared. You make play calls at crucial moments with the hope of not losing. The terrible last-second loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers epitomizes your excessive conservatism. Why on earth, when your defense played well for 50 minutes, would you suddenly go conservative? Where did conservative play calling get you? Brandon Flowers, more on him in a minute, got TORCHED on a crossing route that went 70 yards to answer a Charger touchdown.  Your conservative play calling also bit you where you sit late in the game in Green Bay when a defensive stand was needed.  I really don’t know if you have a split personality or just suffer from lapses of cranial rectal inversion.  We’ve seen enough to know it’s not just a matter of execution.

Johnnyboy, are you seriously going to tell me that Jason Verrett is the only Bolt cornerman who can cover Alshon Jeffrey?  Antonio Brown?  It’s not like you’re still hamstrung with Shareece Wright for crying out loud!  But you coach scared and play off of the receivers instead of getting physical with them.  Wake up and challenge these receivers!

Oh, and John?  You know that 3-4 you run?  Do you realize that a 3-4 begins and ends at the nose tackle position?  You think Lissemore is a NT?  He isn’t.  He gets shoved around like a rag doll.  He’s impeding the rest of the front seven!  Bench him.  Permanently.  Why don’t you start Ryan Carrethers?  He’s a big, run-stuffing specimen of a human being, but he rarely sees the field early in the game when teams are trying to establish the run.

Again, the Butler didn’t do it.  The Butler hasn’t really done it since AJ Smith paid him.  Seems the Butler has been invisible.  Does he have stuff over your head or are you playing him in the hopes of getting something for the money he’s being paid?

Brandon Flowers, what happened to you?  You get burnt more often than my toaster oven burns my English muffins.  You got torched against Pittsburgh.  You got torched against Green Bay.  Have you considered changing your jersey to #31?  You remind me more of Richard Marshall than you remind me of your Kansas City self.

Pet peeve time.

Tackling.  The aforementioned T’eo and Weddle jump out to me in the worst way.  T’eo is horrible at wrapping up tackles.  Ball carriers slip through his arms like water runs through a sieve.  You have to finish.  You can’t continue to let guys slip out of your grasp and run for additional yardage.  And you, Eric “I’m disrespected by my front office” Weddle.  Groin or no groin, nobody ever made a tackle while backpedaling.  Geez, stop contributing to opposing players’ YAC!

Overall, I’ve never seen the Chargers in such disarray.  At least when Ryan Leaf was drafted, the team just plain sucked, so it wasn’t shocking to see them play so badly.  This team isn’t nearly as crappy as their pathetic 2-7 record implies.

 

Mike Pisciotta

 

 

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The Chargers first game off their bye week is against the Chiefs (4-5) after their Kansas City’s win in Denver. Here are my three keys to coming away with a win on the day LT gets enshrined into the Chargers Hall of Fame.

1.) Get Melvin into the endzone
It has been nine games and Melvin Gordon still hasn’t gotten into the endzone. Whether that’s on him, or the coaching/system, it doesn’t matter. How ironic, or “cool” would it be for MGIII to get his first professional touchdown on the same game that LT gets enshrined? That’s my bold prediction for the week. So it is one of these keys.

2.) Keep Alex Smith in the pocket
Alex Smith is Mr. Checkdown. As long as he stays in the pocket, he is fairly simple to beat and figure out. The Bolts struggle versus mobile QBs, as Pagano as failed to adapt to it, and Smith is one of those QBs who is capable of killing opposing defenses with his feet. Force him to throw passes three yards down the field and WRAP UP.

3.) DO NOT PLAY CONSERVATIVE
Mike McCoy, you are a 2-7 team coming off a bye and you are now at home and *hanging on for your slim playoff hopes. Do not be scared to go for it on 4th-and-1 from your own 45. Do not be afraid to take a chance to score at the end of half and, most certainly, do not be afraid to blowout your opponent.

*although playoff chances may be dead already.

Let me know your keys to victory down in the comment section.

Go Bolts!

Zak Darman

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The story of the San Diego Chargers season just continues to go from bad to worse. Here we go yet again, back to the “next man up” philosophy. What else could derail this train?

Chargers fandom was rocked when the story broke that third year wideout Keenan Allen had sustained a lacerated kidney, and subsequently undergone surgery. The rock cracked a bit, as the team later announced that the 23-year-old pass-catcher was being placed on season-ending injured reserve. Tough to swallow because Allen was having arguably the best season since his 2013 rookie year.

That rock is now almost smashed because that plague called injury just will NOT give the Chargers any respite.

The Monday night home game against the Bears saw the ever-reliable and the Chargers own man of some acrobatic catches, Malcom Floyd, go down with a left shoulder injury late in the second quarter. As the game went on, it was announced that he was in sweats on the team’s sideline. Again, the Bolts suffered a huge loss to its arsenal of wide receivers – M80 has a torn labrum. This is so horrifically indicative of the way 2015 has thus far proceeded for San Diego – jinxed.

Word is that Floyd is going to rehab and try to play with the injury. In his final season wearing lightning bolts on his shoulders, Floyd wants to finish on his own terms, not those dictated by injury. If you recall, last year cornerback Jason Verrett tried to play through a labrum torn in three places during the Oakland game. He ended up having surgery and being placed on IR. Will this be the case for M80? We will all know more as the bye week comes to a close and the team monitors his pain level approaching the Kansas City game on November 22.

In the meantime, what will that decimated unit look like going forward? With Floyd’s status day-to-day per Coach McCoy, here is what I anticipate seeing on the field:

Stevie Johnson

Signed in the offseason, the free agent speedster sat out games against Pittsburgh and Green Bay due to a balky hamstring.

From the time he stepped onto the field at Chargers Park, he and Rivers developed a chemistry which Johnson described after an early August practice. Said Johnson, “Phil is great, man. We’ve linked together as brothers, and it’s only four (actually five) days. He makes our job easy. Even when we make a mistake, he can clean it up just with his touch, with his savvy and how he plays the game. He just makes the game easier for receivers.”

Bolts signal caller Rivers and Johnson are going to have to expound and further rely on that rapport as now Johnson will be the go-to guy. He may not have the speed he once had, but he has great hands and is the only veteran receiver left on the roster. Through seven games Johnson has tallied 31 receptions (47 targets) for 351 yards plus two scores. That translates into a 50.1 receiving yard per game percentage (183 total after the catch) that the team desperately needs at this point of their schedule. Here’s hoping Johnson provides much-needed leadership to the young receivers and produces more than the proverbial smack to the forehead when he makes a crucial first down.

Dontrelle Inman

At 6’3″, 205 pounds, the undrafted free agent wideout from Virginia is a former player of the Toronto Argonauts (CFL), who won the Grey Cup in 2012.

Inman signed a reserve/futures contract in January 2014. In his first preseason game as a Charger, he had three receptions for 107 yards against the Dallas Cowboys, including a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Inman secured his spot on the 53-man roster with another impressive performance in his last preseason game, leading receivers with three receptions for 54 yards. He would finish the season with 12 catches for 158 yards (13.2 yards per catch) in two games.

Asked recently about how it felt to see more playing time, Inman responded: “Once you gain the confidence of your quarterback, your game elevates ten times. A receiver is nothing without his quarterback. I don’t care how good you are, you’ve seen many great receivers not make it in this league just because they didn’t have a good quarterback.”

To date, the second-year pro has suited up for eight games, collecting 170 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions. As with the rest of the self-nicknamed “Aliens” receiver corps, Inman must step up his game. I have no doubt that he is up to the task, based on what he has already shown.

Javontee Herndon

The explosive Herndon will be able to make something positive come out of the long weeks sitting on the Bolts’ practice squad. The 6’3, 194-pounder out of the University of Arkansas was pegged a starter after seeing fellow wideouts Keenan Allen and Jacoby Jones exit the 53-man roster last Tuesday with Allen going to IR and Jones being cut.

The hope is that Herndon will be able to do what Jones could not and create that missing spark in the return game.

The young guy wearing number 81 on his back considers Malcom Floyd his mentor and a player he wants to fashion himself after.

When asked about the similarities of Allen and Herndon and how their playing opportunities came about, Floyd said “I’m sure it’s tougher when you get your opportunity (when a teammate gets hurt), but I don’t think it’s tougher once you get out there. Your opportunity’s the same. I’m sure they hate it had to come at the expense of one of their buddies, but they are excited to get their chance. But I don’t think those two comparisons are parallel in the sense of expectations. We believe in Javontee, but I don’t think we should be thinking this will be like the Keenan of 2013. That’s not fair to him. I’m sure Javontee is fired up, but hates that it happened because Keenan can’t play. But once you get going, you’ve got to go.”

Said Herndon on his upcoming debut:

“I have more experience as a punt returner, but at the end of the day it’s about just going out there and making the play,” he said. “I don’t have as much experience at kickoff return, but if I get the chance, I’ll just go out there and run. The coaches told me just run north and south. Just get some yards. We need some yards. It’s about the field position, and that’s what I’m going to try to do my best to get.”

Herndon had one kick return go for 24 yards plus a solitary 12 yard catch after he was pressed into more playing time once Floyd went out of the game.

Tyrell Williams

Could the divisional game against the Chiefs see the young wideout (6’4″, 204 pounds) take the field? Since signing with the team in May as an UDFA from Western Oregon, the talented rookie has spent his time on the practice squad, with the exception of an appearance against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason.

At his pro day he ran the 40 in 4.38 and 4.42 seconds, which would have been fifth best if he had been invited to the NFL Combine. He has prototypical size, a mean streak as a blocker and great quickness when setting up defenders and making a move. He also possesses great hands, especially when in traffic and on jump balls. He has a wide catching radius and an impressive vertical (39.5″) to go up and get footballs. After the catch, he is a load to bring down. For the Wolves, Williams played both as outside and slot receiver and his 164 career receptions are a Western Oregon record. In his senior year, he hauled in 56 passes for 950 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his college career with 165 catches for 2,792 yards and 21 touchdowns.

All in all, this group looks like they could rule from goal line to goal line. However, as we have all seen thus far, looking good on paper doesn’t necessarily translate to the playing field. The first and second options will be on the sidelines, watching second stringers and practice squad guys play in their place.

What started with such promise has pretty much crash and burned, and it’s only week ten. Disheartening, certainly. Yet this team has shown us over the years that they have gumption. Whether they manage it this time around is anybody’s guess. With a 2-7 record it appears the best the Chargers can do is focus on the future and a top ten pick in the 2016 draft.

Maybe the retiring of LT’s No. 21 jersey on November 22 will be the catalyst the Bolts need to kick butt the rest of the way.

When all is said and done…I just hope the bleeding of the blue and gold comes to a stop pretty damn quick.

Thanks for reading!

Cheryl White

#BoltUp

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The San Diego Chargers emerge from their bye week with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The 2-7 Bolts look to finish strong after a dismal 2-7 first half of the season. In the first two seasons of the Telesco/McCoy regime, San Diego finished with identical 9-7 records. In this third season they would have to run the table in the last seven games to finish with that mark.

The Chargers have five division games remaining, (they have lost one game to Oakland already), and two out of division games against Miami and Jacksonville. The odds of running the table are miniscule. Finishing with a .500 record is just as improbable. A top-10 selection in the NFL draft is more than likely barring a catastrophic turn of events.

A message will need to be sent if for no other reason than to show the fan base that such an outcome is not acceptable. Whether they stay in San Diego or move to Los Angeles, hope must be rekindled for this team and they way to do so will be with fresh faces calling the shots. Seats are getting hot in America’s Finest City. They will get hotter with each loss and hottest if the Chargers miss the playoffs. At this point, the playoffs are nothing more than a pipe dream.

Heads will roll. Here’s a look at the prime suspects and the temperature of their seat right now:

 

COLD

Dean Spanos. Rarely does the owner abandon ship on his team. He will point the finger of blame at his staff and remove the pieces he sees fit. Eyes do deserve to be on him for his frugality. If his miserly ways start to impact the NFL’s bottom line (dollars), he could be ‘nudged’ out the door. Spanos is well-liked among the other owners so the probability of that happening right now is less than zero.

Something radical would have to occur such as local fans boycotting the games to the point where it becomes painstakingly obvious when games are shown live. This approach was successful as recently as 2012 in Major League Baseball in the case of  the Los Angeles Dodgers ex-owner Frank McCourt. Do Chargers fans care enough to band together on this course of action if they thought underspending is the chief cause of the Bolts failures? That is the million dollar question.

 

WARM

John Pagano. The defensive coordinator has not shown improvement since taking over the position in 2012. In his first year the Bolts finished 24th in the league in total defense. In 2013 they moved up to 10th. Last season the Chargers plummeted back to 24th. Nine games into this season San Diego is 9th in total defense but giving up 28 points per game. The next seven games could have a huge impact on whether Pags stays or goes.

Tom Telesco. The Chargers General Manager is on the hook for the Chargers failings as much as any member of the team. At the end of the day, Telesco is the decision-maker. The team is a reflection of his vision. It was Telesco’s choice to resurrect the philosophy he used in Indianapolis of jettisoning the veteran players and bringing in young, untested and hungry players who were capable of playing multiple positions. The GM is quickly finding out that what works in one place doesn’t automatically work elsewhere.

Telesco has done admirable work building the team through the draft. Cornerstones of the future have been unearthed with the drafting of WR Keenan Allen, RT D.J. Fluker, CB Jason Verrett and RB Melvin Gordon. A disturbing fact is of the 17 players Telesco has drafted, only one has played a complete season (Fluker). Gordon and Kyle Emanuel are on pace to do so this season.

Helping Telesco is his savvy with contracts and getting players to come in free agency and add impact. RB Danny Woodhead, RT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers and G Orlando Franklin have been key additions. His front office could have done better to keep revered veterans such as S Eric Weddle in the loop when it comes to contract issues as that could affect future free agent signings and keeping his own players down the road. If the Chargers finish with a losing record the pressure will be turned up on the GM to produce or he too will be looking for work elsewhere sooner than later.

 

HOT

Kevin Turner. The special teams coordinator of the Chargers is having a dreadful year. Through eight games the Bolts had one punt return yard with Jacoby Jones as the primary return man. Meanwhile, opponents have accumulated 276 punt return yards. For the ninth game Jones was cut and Javontee Herndon was promoted from the practice squad to assume the kick and punt return duties. Herndon had one kick return for 24 yards in the game, surpassing Jones’ kickoff return average of 21.4 through eight games. The special teams have been a weakness all season, giving a big field position advantage to the opposition and not gaining yards in the return game. Should this pattern continue, Turner will be cleaning out his office at Chargers Park.

 

Ninth Circle of Hell

Frank Reich. The Bolts offensive coordinator has definitely been offensive. The offense has been difficult to watch at times as the play calls get more and more predictable. We can all see the inside handoff coming from the pistol formation before it happens. The OC seems unwilling to vary from his game plan to accommodate his talent. The pistol formation and no-huddle offense has been advantageous for Philip Rivers at times. However, with a power running back who thrived running out of the I-formation with a fullback opening the first hole why not adapt that into the game plan?

Melvin Gordon set NCAA records and ran for over 2,500 yards at Wisconsin last season. Ladarius Green and Antonio Gates would be a matchup nightmare for defenses if they were to be deployed on the field at the same time. Injuries, suspension and Reich’s unwillingness to add new wrinkles have prevented this from happening on more than just random occasions. With Reich coordinating the offense, the Chargers are averaging 23 points per game, five fewer than they’re giving up. The window on Philip Rivers career is quickly closing and it’s the wrong time to be going the wrong way in the production department. If San Diego fails this season, Reich will be the first man shown the door.

Mike McCoy. The head coach was the marquee hire when the Chargers landed him as the successor to Norv Turner. The man lauded for his yeoman’s work adapting his coaching style to fit his quarterbacks such as Tim Tebow, Jake Delhomme and Peyton Manning. His teachings resulted in wins and playoff berths and the same was expected when he took over the reins in San Diego.

Instead, the team has underachieved. Many games have been lost in the final quarter or on the final drive. McCoy has been very conservative in his play-calling. Favoring a ball-control, short-passing, long scoring drive preference the Chargers have very little vertical offense. Rivers, an excellent deep ball passer, goes deep a couple of times per game if that. This team lacks a killer instinct. They lack an ability to finish games and that reflects coaching.

To boot, McCoy is in the third year of a four-year deal. He’s been paid most of what he signed for and it wouldn’t be a big financial hit to let him go a year early. San Diego hadn’t made the playoffs for three seasons before McCoy arrived. They made it to the playoffs the year McCoy arrived and won a wild card game that season. This season, barring a miracle, will be the second year in a row the playoffs have eluded the Chargers. This team is as talented as any in the league but they do not have the results to show for it. Unless they can rebound and finish at .500 someone has to take the fall for this season. Usually the head coach us that man.

In closing, injuries can’t be blamed for everything. Yes, injuries have derailed a very promising season. Keenan Allen was on a record-setting pace. Coaches are paid big bucks to get the most out of their talent regardless of who is on the field. Management is paid big bucks to find the best players to suit the team needs.

San Diego was sitting at 2-2 before they lost to Green Bay and Pittsburgh on the last play of the game. Same thing would happen in Baltimore two weeks later. Aside from the games against Minnesota and Oakland the Chargers have played as well or better than their opponent despite the end result. There are no moral victories in the NFL and when you don’t win, people lose. Don’t expect to see half the names on this list wearing lightning bolts next season.

What do you think Bolt Nation? Who’s to blame for the Bolts performance this season? Leave your thoughts below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#BoltPride

 

 

 

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Articles from Chargers.com:

 

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Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

 

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The 2015 season is all but lost at this point. The team has seven games remaining on their schedule to finish out the year respectably.

The fact of the matter is, they may not have what it takes to reel off more than a couple of victories, despite what many would view as a schedule that provides some winnable contests.

All three phases of the team have been decimated by injuries and inundated by poor play.

With the exception of quarterback Philip Rivers, injured wideout Keenan Allen and second-year corner Jason Verrett, there have been very few bright spots in what has been a disappointing 2015.

The Bolts have holes all over the roster that will need to be filled during the 2016 offseason to help avoid next year looking like the campaign we’re witnessing this season.

For the sake of this article, we will focus on the offensive side of the ball. Without any particular order of importance in mind, here are the needs of the 2016 Chargers’ offense.

 

OFFENSE:

Center – To say that the Chargers’ offense misses the steady play of retired center Nick Hardwick is an understatement. Replacements Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson have proven that they are not the answer to fill the shoes of Hardwick. Both have struggled mightily the year, ranking near the bottom of the league via profootballfocus.com.

A former third-round pick out of Notre Dame, Watt had never played center prior to doing so in the NFL. He may prove to be decent depth as a reserve-interior lineman, but he is not a starting-caliber player at this point in his career.

Robinson was signed two years ago off of the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad. Though he has filled in admirably at times, he is not the long-term answer.

Upgrading the center spot must be near the top of the offseason priority list.

 

Wide receiver – As the Bolts enter Week 11, the team will play without either of their starting wide receivers, Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd.

Allen has been placed on season-ending injured reserve after beginning the year on fire, hauling in 67 receptions for 725 yards. Prior to the injury, Allen was in the top-three of the NFL in both categories.

After extending during a leap while attempting to bring in a Rivers’ pass against the Bears, Floyd suffered a torn labrum. The 12-year veteran is fighting to get back on the field despite the injury. M-80 went public this offseason with the fact that he would be retiring at season’s end. Both Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates have tried to encourage M-80 to give it one more year.

Regardless of whether or not Floyd decides to give it another go, the club must look to the future and find a viable candidate to line up opposite of Allen on the field. The offense hasn’t had a burner-type wideout in years; someone who can stretch the field with blazing speed, threatening the defense with the ability to score each time he touches the ball.

With Rivers re-signing through the 2019 season, it makes perfect sense to give him as many weapons as possible, as the prime of his career will only last so long.

A game-changing receiver is a must heading into 2016. Quite frankly, they may need to add multiple options to the rec.

 

Tight end – Current tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green are in the last years of their respective contracts. As mentioned, Gates is not under contract going forward. Attempting to imagine the Chargers’ offense without the future Hall of Famer is very difficult, even depressing.

Many of the media pundits out there claimed during the offseason that this would undoubtedly be his final year with the Bolts. Part of me even started to see it that way, despite a fantastic performance in 2014.

Gates is clearly not the tight end that he once was, but he is still a difficult matchup for opposing defenses to contend with. I’d have to believe that a one-year team-friendly, yet financially beneficial for the 35-year-old, contract could be worked out in the offseason of 2016. It goes without saying the Rivers will be banging the table for the team to re-sign him should Gates desire to play one more year.

Green, 25, had reached career-highs in both catches (27) and receiving touchdowns (4) prior to leaving the loss to Baltimore in a walking boot. Due to his young age and ascending status as a reliable target for Rivers, Green should absolutely be re-signed by the team.

Should the team not retain one of the two tight ends, they would then need to supplement the position via free agency or the draft. Though it would not be a top-of-the-list priority, it would be one that Telesco and company would need to address.

 

Fullback – After moving up in the first round of the 2015 draft to select running back Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin, the Chargers need to go back to the film that made him successful as a collegian.

Get the kid a true fullback.

Gordon lit the college football world on fire, setting multiple records on his way to completing a fabulous college career. He showed that with proper blocking — and a fullback — he was an explosive player that could break the big one on any given carry.

Currently, the closest thing the Bolts have to a fullback is reserve tight end David Johnson. To put it nicely, even when used as a fullback, Johnson is not a true fullback.

The scouting staff needs to put a serious impetus on finding someone who Gordon can line up behind, helping spring him for those big runs he had prior to entering the NFL.

The great news about the dying breed that is the fullback position, teams do not have to break the bank to find one. The caveat there is that there are not a lot of fullbacks at the college level. A high percentage of collegiate programs are now running spread offenses. Most do not line up in your typical I-formation with a fullback in front of their ball carriers. The NFL is in the same predicament, so to speak, as less than half of NFL squads carry a difference maker at the position, if they do carry one at all.

Again, despite what I believe is a must-find to help ensure the success of Gordon moving forward, the need may be near the top of the list, but it can be obtained without forfeiting the desire to fill other positions on the team.

Get Melvin a fullback and he’ll live up to the billing of a running back worth taking in the first round.

Should the team refuse to add such a player, expect more of the same out of Gordon; disappointment, frustration and, possibly, a wasted draft pick.

 

One could argue that depth along the offensive line and a future starter at quarterback should appear on my list. My response to that would be that these are the most pressing needs that I believe can help take the Chargers’ offense to the next level come 2016.

Keep in mind the contract situations of left tackle King Dunlap and left guard Orlando Franklin when looking at the offensive line. Neither of them are going anywhere in 2016 due to salary obligations to the team. Are the Chargers willing to turn the page on former first-round pick D.J. Fluker? I don’t think it is time for such a move, but the fact that he has already switched positions without having much success does not bode well for No. 76 looking past 2016. And to put it in the simplest of terms, right tackle Joe Barksdale has earned the opportunity to be re-signed after this year. But, perhaps, Telesco does not agree with me and he he’ll look to upgrade right tackle going into next season.

On Thursday, I will tackle the Bolts’ defensive needs via the draft and free agency for next season.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Dave Peters

 

 

 

 

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Articles from Chargers.com:

 

Articles from ESPN.com:

 

Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

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Articles from Chargers.com:

 

Articles from ESPN.com:

 

Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

 

Whenever a team goes on a bye week, it allows players to get some rest and relaxation. Players with minor injuries can use the respite to try to get healthy. The players also can spend time with their families. The bye week also provides the opportunity to reflect on the previous weeks and look into the weeks ahead.

The Chargers will use this week to get that extra rest, relaxation and to reflect. Hopefully, this will be a bye week of a different sort for the Bolts. They need to say, “Bye, Felicia!” to a lot of the issues that have the team at 2-7.

Bye, Felicia #1: Injuries

It is just mind-boggling how many players have been injured this year. The team suffered thirteen injuries against the Ravens. Losing Keenan Allen for the year was the most devastating.

Something needs to be done to help reduce the injuries. What though? Better conditioning? Less fragile players?  Better depth to alleviate injuries that arise?

Maybe the football gods will take mercy on the Chargers and lessen the constant injuries to this team. In the case of cornerback Jason Verrett, making a big play, like a pick-6, just to get injured on the next play is just cruel.

Bye, Felicia#2: Penalties

Mike McCoy and the other coaches need to instill more discipline to the players when it comes to avoiding penalties.  When Marty Schottenheimer was the head coach, those players knew that they’d get an earful from him if they committed stupid penalties. They were one of the least penalized teams during his tenure.

Penalties are taking points away from the scoreboard as we saw last week against the Chicago Bears. The Bolts can no longer let that happen. Mike McCoy needs to get pissed about these stupid penalties. No, they didn’t need more plays! They had the plays and are giving them away due to dumb penalties.

Bye, Felicia #3: Losing at the end

The offense, with Phillip Rivers giving 1,000%, has been unable to get last-drive wins against the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

The defense, again with Rivers giving 1,000%,  could not secure wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Can we say, “Goodbye, Felicia,” to these close games and get some legitimate wins. Our hearts and nails can’t take much more of these last-second losses.

Bye, Felicia #4: Missed plays

The defense needs to force turnovers.  There have been a lot of dropped interceptions this season. Although Eric Weddle recovered Jay Cutler’s fumble last Monday night, at times, forced fumbles have not been recovered by John Pagano’s unit despite multiple chances.

The offense needs to eliminate some dropped passes and recover fumbles. They need to protect Rivers and not allow him to get sacked or hit as often.

The special teams just needs to figure out how to play! All facets of the third phase of the game have struggled mightily this season.

Bye, Felicia #5: Home field advantage for visiting team

The Chargers got embarrassed on a Monday night when the whole country witnessed the invasion of Qualcomm Stadium by Steelers fans. Two more home games, another one on a Monday night, show a stadium full of opposing team’s fans. Fans of the Raiders and Bears filled at least half of Qualcomm.

The home field advantage, especially against Pittsburgh, has been largely nonexistent, with the Q being overtaken by fans of other NFL teams. It is hard to win on the road, but even harder to “win on the road” at home.

This one is for the Bolts fans! Fans need to buy the tickets. Season ticker holders need to make sure that when they sell their tickets, they are only selling to other Chargers fans, no matter what!

Can we just say, “Goodbye, Felicia” to all those fans of the opposing teams?  San Diego is America’s finest city, so people from all over the world want to come and visit. Well, they can visit and not invade our stadium during their vacation.

 

Laura Leech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qualcomm

 

The San Diego Chargers are having a nightmare of a season. Not even the most pessimistic Bolts supporter would have figured a team this talented would be 2-7 after nine games. Alas, the Chargers find themselves in that position with nothing but doom and gloom on the horizon. With every loss fan apathy outgrows fan anger over the results on the field. Teams that should be an ‘easy win’ for Philip Rivers and company now look daunting. After all, San Diego did just lose to a 1-6 Baltimore Ravens and a 2-6 Chicago Bears team in back-to-back weeks.

For all intents and purposes, the Chargers have fallen into the ‘easy win’ category.

The blackest of the clouds hovering over the Chargers is the relocation issue. A topic that has been lingering for 14 seasons and counting, replacing Qualcomm stadium has been on the agenda every offseason only to eventually  get swept under the rug.

Until now.

With the NFL bent on getting a team back into the lucrative Los Angeles market for the 2016 season, teams are jumping on the opportunity to leave their ramshackle digs in favor of a new state-of-the-art facility in the second-largest market in the United States. The Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are embroiled in a three-horse race to get the Los Angeles prize. At the same time, Oakland and San Diego are working to get a back-channel deal for a new stadium in their own city at the same time.

St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke has no desire to stay in St. Louis a second longer than he has to. The billionaire has already purchased land in Inglewood, California and is ready to build a stadium upon it the moment the NFL says yes. The Rams are the most storied of the three teams bidding to move. The NFL isn’t exactly happy with the owner trying to ‘bully’ his way into the Los Angeles space without their consent.

The Oakland Raiders are also more than ready to leave their O.Co stadium, known around the league as the worst stadium in the league. The Raiders also have a long history in Los Angeles and are ready to return. It was revealed over the offseason that the Raiders and Chargers ownership have met and discussed co-habitation of a stadium in Los Angeles. The league is interested but the measure does not have the 2/3 support of the other NFL owners to make that proposition a reality. Yet.

The San Diego Chargers have only had one season in a temporary home while Qualcomm stadium (previously known as Jack Murphy stadium) was being built. The Chargers have resided in San Diego for 49 years and looks to be the team working the hardest to keep the team in the city despite ownership saying everything to the contrary. The city, local politicians and the government are working in various capacities on proposals for stadium sites in Mission Valley or in downtown San Diego.

The NFL is watching all three teams. They have listened to multiple proposals from each team and recently concluded town hall forums in each of the three cities to take the pulse of the fanbases there. In the end, it’s all about money. Proposals aside, the team that will make the NFL the most money will win the battle for Los Angeles.

As hard as it is to say or even type, the Oakland Raiders are a team on the rise. At 4-4 they have themselves in the wild card hunt and a future superstars on their hands with quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper maturing together. Cooper was the Raiders 2015 number one draft pick, brought in to give a legitimate weapon to Carr, the Raiders 2014 number one draft pick. The play has paid off and Cooper is succeeding beyond expectations.

St. Louis hit the jackpot with their 2015 number one draft pick, Todd Gurley III. Gurley has taken the league by storm and in the five full games since he’s returned from ACL surgery he’s vaulted into fourth place in the league in rushing with 664 yards and four touchdowns. The rookie is averaging a gaudy 118 yards rushing per game.

Gurley is already drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson in their prime and has the looks of the next big unstoppable force at the running back position. The Rams are two games behind the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West lead and have already beaten the Cards once this season.

San Diego is obviously going in the opposite direction. The Chargers are not devoid of bankable stars. If he can stay healthy, which has been easier said than done for the third-year pro, Keenan Allen can be a yearly top-10 wide receiver. Second year cornerback Jason Verrett is going to be tops among the new breed of shut down cornerbacks if he can stay on the field. Even in pictures, Philip Rivers’ love of the game shines through. All of these teams have faces that would look great on a Los Angeles billboard.

What the Chargers needed was a buzz.

It wouldn’t be a reach to say San Diego is a market that is dimly lit on the NFL landscape. They’re known as a ‘soft’ football team. Visiting teams love to go to San Diego because of its perfect weather and the fact that the road team’s fans usually outnumber the local fans creating a ‘home game on the road’ environment.

The Chargers needed a great season tied into a playoff appearance that would have put them into the consciousness of the NFL fans that don’t watch the Chargers or have any familiarity with the players aside from fantasy football. That way, when the NFL announces San Diego as the team headed to Los Angeles it would result in interest and excitement as opposed to the scratching of heads.

The Rams and Raiders have very loud and vocal factions of their fanbases shouting at the NFL from the rooftops that they should be the team that goes to Los Angeles. Rams fans have even started a movement to boycott the games should San Diego get cast in LA. Aside from the diehard San Diego fans, the fanbase largely is not willing to travel two hours up the I-5 to continue to support the Chargers. Apathy does not sell PSL’s and luxury boxes. Shutting out two teams with a long history in Los Angeles for a team with one year of tenure and currently sitting in last place will not draw eyeballs, ad revenue or sell merchandise.

In short, the Chargers are playing their way into San Diego. The biggest ally in keeping the Bolts in San Diego were the Bolts themselves. No one planned for the team to have this dismal a season but in a karmic way they solved their own problem. Forget what the ownership says, it’s all about the league making money and the Chargers are not going to do it.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#silverlining

 

 

 

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