Monthly Archives: December 2015
The defense of the 2016 Chargers will most likely have a completely different look than that of this year’s squad. With multiple coaching changes possibly on the horizon, including at defensive coordinator, we’ll all have to wait and see how that plays out.
Some of the needs on the defensive side of the ball are quite obvious, finding a replacement for free safety Eric Weddle, while others may not seem to be as high on the priority list, adding a defensive end opposite of Corey Liuget.
The defense has some nice pieces in place that the team can build around, including cornerback Jason Verrett, defensive end Liuget and inside linebackers Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman.
Here are the defensive positions I believe are worthy of being upgraded as we head into the 2016 offseason.
Nose tackle – Talking about the Chargers’ defense needing a nose tackle seems incredibly redundant, as the team hasn’t been able to find a true nose tackle since the days of Jamal Williams.
Yes, it has been that long.
If the organization continues to employ John Pagano as its defensive coordinator (which they shouldn’t), general manager Tom Telesco and his scouting staff must find a player to man the middle of the defensive line in this 3-4 alignment. The Chargers run more nickel and multiple-defensive-back sets than they do their base defense, but a lot of that has to do with available players, down and distance, the NFL being a passing league and playing from behind far more often than not.
Although second-year defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers has flashed some ability, he is inconsistent and his durability is in question. Carrethers lost a bit of weight during the 2015 offseason, but he may benefit by losing even more weight and sliding over to the defensive end position.
Sean Lissemore was acquired in 2013 from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a seventh-round selection. He has made plays here and there, but he isn’t necessarily built to take the wear and tear of an NFL nose tackle. He would be better suited to play end. The six-year vet has ranked third in tackles among the team’s defensive linemen over the last two seasons.
Finding the optimal, space-eating nose tackle could be seen as a top priority for the team, but Telesco will need to be careful over-drafting a player due to position of need.
Free safety – Similar to the Antonio Gates’ situation, writing about the team needing to replace free safety Eric Weddle seems unfathomable. After all he has contributed to the Chargers after being taken in the second round of the 2007 draft, the organization decided that they would not be extending Weddle’s contract during the offseason or regular season in 2015.
Being in the last year of his contract, No. 32 is set to test free agency in 2016. Replacing a savvy player like Weddle will be exponentially difficult to do. You cannot bring in a rookie to fill the void left by Weddle’s imminent departure. That is not to say that you can’t find a rookie or young player to groom at the position, but do not expect the same impact that the nine-year veteran provided, especially when looking at his multiple years as an All-Pro and Pro Bowler.
Strong safety – As if the task of finding a free safety isn’t daunting enough, the defense may also need to find a long-term solution at strong safety.
Starter Jahleel Addae has struggled in coverage and gets beaten far more often than one would like. He may provide the threat of a big hitter, but he tends to miss tackles, going for the monster hit as opposed to wrapping up.
The strong safety spot has been neglected since the days of Rodney Harrison. Like Jamal “The Wall” Williams, Harrison set the bar extremely high when it came to finding his successor. It has been way too long since the team had a true enforcer in the secondary.
Defensive end – Due to the lack of a dominant nose tackle and little help at the other defensive end spot, Corey Liuget is not having the impact that you would hope for from a guy who just signed a multi-year extension worth $51 million. Now that Liuget has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, the team has been rolling with Kendall Reyes, Ricardo Mathews, Damion Square and rookie Darius Philon at the defensive end spots.
Pass rusher/Edge – Although outside linebackers Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu have started to heat up as the season has progressed, the team still lacks a dominant pass rusher.
As the Chargers enter Week 17, the team is currently tied for 24th in the league with only 30 sacks (only six teams are posting lower sack totals). Ingram leads the club with 9.5 sacks, while Attaochu is sitting at 6.5 quarterback takedowns.
The Bolts have finished in the bottom-third of the NFL in sacks for the better of the last half of a decade. Simply put, in a passing league such as the NFL, that is clearly not good enough.
Finding a legitimate threat as a pass rusher should be paramount for Telesco entering the 2016 draft.
Due to the fact that I truly believe Jason Verrett is the “answer” at cornerback, and Patrick Robinson is more than capable of taking over the second corner spot, I didn’t include corner on this list. Steve Williams seemed to come on as he saw more playing time.
Truthfully, the selection of Craig Mager in the third round is still mind-boggling, but who knows at this point. Perhaps a switch to one of the safety positions would allow Mager to shine as a member of the Chargers’ secondary.
Not-so-breaking news: Liuget really needs help along the defensive line. The prime of his career will be wasted if the team does not do what it takes to ensure he isn’t asked to do too much.
I like Ingram and Attaochu, I really do, but I just don’t see opposing defensive coordinators losing sleep over the duo while game planning for the Chargers. Adding a viable third option to the position, again, should be a major focus during the offseason.
I hate to say it, but Pagano has to go. He hasn’t shown that he can change games with his defensive game plan often enough to overcome the defense’s inability to tackle properly, create pressure or force turnovers.
As you can tell from this post, there is a lot of work to be done, and that is only on the defensive side of the ball.
I’ll be writing about the offensive needs in the next few days.
Thanks a lot for reading.
“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
- “The Italian Stallion” – Rocky Balboa
Make no mistake, Chargers fans, Philip Rivers has been hit hard and often during his career, especially during this highly disappointing year. Ranking fifth in sacks endured, it is amazing that Rivers also ranks first in completions and third in passing yards.
What is it that makes him continue to compete without batting an eyelash? What makes a man take that many hits only to be standing and fighting as the final bell rings?
For Rivers, it’s not about padding his stats or earning personal accolades. He is a fierce competitor, and all he wants to do is win. Period.
Life, as most of us know, is a competition. In every aspect of our lives, we are in fierce competition.
That job that you want? Someone wants it more. That girl you want to be with? There’s another man out there wanting her, doing everything to the above-and-beyond level to win her over.
In both of those examples, the “other” guy will do anything he can to stop you in order to become victorious. There is no throwing in the towel for those wanting to succeed, no matter the opponent or the size of the hill to climb.
Remember the first Kansas City game when the Bolts lost 33-3? Did you see Philip’s eyes and body language in the waning seconds of that game? You would have thought the Chargers were only down by three points.
What about the time he played through a torn ACL in the 2007 AFC Championship against New England? With a temperature of 23 degrees at kickoff, and LaDainian Tomlinson on the bench, Rivers played through an injury that could have ended his career.
Any fan of any team, regardless if they dislike Rivers or not, respects him and his playing ability. He is out there day in and day out trying to improve.
Rivers could have easily laid down this season when the Chargers were 2-8. With his age and his contract extension, the coaches could have pulled him during that six-game losing streak, improving his chances to remain healthy for the current season and the future. I imagine Mike McCoy did not even address this with Philip, but could you imagine what he would have said if he was asked to sit? I believe he would have said something like what Apollo Creed told Rocky when he wanted to fight Drago:
“We always have to be in the middle of the action ’cause we’re the warriors. And without some challenge, without some damn war to fight, then the warriors might as well be dead..”
Abilities are not rewarded due to their virtue. Whatever admiration society awards us comes from the selfish perspectives of others. Chargers fans want wins, division titles, conference titles and, eventually, Super Bowl titles. Of course, the stats look great and his name among the leaders in those categories will undoubtedly ignite their support for Philip and their beloved Bolts.
However, his general attitude, competitive spirit and passion for the game seems to, at times, be forgotten when postseason aspirations are nonexistent. For some fans, getting the hardware and the ring seems to outweigh the individual’s determination and competitive spirit.
Rivers has never denied the fact that he wears his emotions on his sleeves. He doesn’t care that a defensive end has two inches and 100 pounds on him, Philip will bark right back at them. He certainly does not care that tears and surreal emotions restrained him from calling a play during this past game against Miami. Our beloved captain didn’t shy away from welled-up eyes and choked-back words during every post-game interview he participated in.
When his friend and former center Nick Hardwick asked him what his thoughts were when the Malcom Floyd tribute was playing, Rivers vocal chords trembled.
“It’s the people during those times is what you go back to. It’s the people, it’s you (Nick Hardwick) and so many for the last 12 years that have been a part of what makes it what it is. So that’s what started flashing (in his mind).”
There are two types of leaders: the silent type and the vocal leader. The silent leader is able to lead his teammates through example; his work ethic and the way he conducts his business day in and day out. The other type of leader is an emotional/vocal one, where teammates feed off of the energy. Often referred to as the “cheerleader” of the team, this type of player gets their fellow teammates riled up through speeches, rants, crazy dances and loud cheers.
Philip Rivers is an anomaly – he is both types of leaders.
In the same interview with Hardwick, Philip explains what he said to his team before they took the field on Sunday.
“They’ve been playing football in this stadium before we were alive, but we get to finish it. We get to, potentially, play the last one. Let’s do it right. Let’s make those guys who watched for 55 years, or the guys that have played here 30 years ago, let’s make them go, ‘They made us proud and finished it the right way.’”
Philip loves San Diego. He loves the city and being the quarterback of the Chargers. He loves the fans who have supported him and the team since his arrival in 2004. The bottom line is that Rivers wants to win and will fight for all sixty minutes.
So for those of you who will ask, “Why is he still playing?”
It’s because he is Philip Rivers.
He is the Chargers’ quarterback.
He is San Diego.
And he doesn’t lay down or quit……..ever.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
What has been a disappointing season has come to a premature close for San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. In the midst of his best rushing performance of the season against the Miami Dolphins, Gordon went down in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return to the game.
Gordon finishes his season with 641 rushing yards and 192 receiving yards. Head Coach Mike McCoy told reporters Gordon tore cartilage in his knee. It’s expected Gordon will need surgery but should be fully recovered by the start of training camps next season.
San Diego traded up in the 2015 NFL Draft to get Gordon, one of the most prolific running backs in NCAA history. The All-World back struggled with his confidence, decision-making and ball security during the season. Operating out of the Pistol formation was an adjustment for Gordon, who played out of the traditional I-formation in college at Wisconsin. To date, Gordon holds the season record for most rushing attempts without a touchdown with 184.
On Monday the Chargers put Gordon on the Injured Reserve list, ending his season. In his own words, Gordon has already promised a better 2016. The rookie has plenty of his game film to evaluate, time to fully rehab and will probably have a new coaching staff to learn from as the Chargers season has spiraled downward.
No matter where the Bolts hang their helmets next season, expect a bigger and better ‘Flash’ in the backfield. Get well soon, Melvin.
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers found another way to lose in heartbreaking fashion Sunday. Outmanned, outgunned and on the road the Bolts found themselves on the doorstep of the Kansas City goal line in the waning seconds of the game only to fall by a 10-3 score. Under gray skies and a game-long torrent of rain, both teams plodded through the mire as the ball took funny hops and slipped out of players hands as if coated in grease.
As you’d expect from a game in the midst of a flood advisory the game was a defensive struggle. Both teams tackled well under the circumstances but offensive line woes were the undoing of the Chargers yet again. Quarterback Philip Rivers, face puffy from battling the flu, was sacked five times. Running back Melvin Gordon was tackled for a loss multiple times. A back-to-back delay of game and false start penalties moved the Bolts back from first-and-goal from the two-yard line back to goal-to-go from the 12-yard line.
San Diego brought the fight to Kansas City. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was sacked twice and intercepted once by Jason Verrett. Coming into this game, Smith had not been intercepted since week three. The lone touchdown of the game came on an odd play call from defensive coordinator John Pagano that brought every Chargers defender within four yards of the line of scrimmage showing an all-out blitz. Smith saw the formation, audibled to a quick slant and 44 yards later Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson was celebrating in the end zone.
The season can’t end soon enough for the ill-fated Chargers. The football Gods have smited the team in America’s Favorite City once again with a bevy of injuries and inconsistent play. With this loss, San Diego has dropped seven of their last eight games. However, those are not the numbers the Chargers fear. The number three has been a fate worse than death, especially recently. Numbers don’t lie.
Number of Chargers wins: 3
Philip Rivers has not thrown a touchdown pass in three of the Bolts last four games.
The Chargers worst loss of the season was three weeks ago to this same Kansas City Chiefs team by a score of 33-3.
San Diego has only scored three points in three of their last four games.
Rivers has thrown one interception in each of the last three losses where the Bolts were held to only a field goal, giving him three picks in that time span.
Headlined by Keenan Allen (13), four of the twelve players on the Chargers injured reserve list have a jersey number that includes the number three. That list includes the player that wears the number three, wide receiver Torrance Allen.
The old adage that good things come in threes has not applied to San Diego this season. Ironically, the highest number of points the Chargers scored this season was the week one season opening come-from-behind win against Detroit where the Chargers scored 33 points. It’s been all downhill for there. Not a minute too soon, the season will be over an we can close this ugly chapter in San Diego football history and start looking forward to free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft.
Only three games left to go…
The Greg One
The 2015 football season has spiraled downhill for the San Diego Chargers. Despite all the issues going on away from the field, there was always the actual game to look forward to. When the game is on, all else fades into the background for three hours.
Thirteen games and a 3-10 season record later, all the off the field issues have spilled over onto the sanctuary of the field as well. Players are crestfallen, reduced to nothing more than playing for pride in this, their worst season since 2003 where the Chargers finished 4-12.
Looming largest of all is the ongoing Los Angeles relocation effort spearheaded by the NFL front office. The league is bent on reclaiming the Los Angeles market and the Chargers are frontrunners to be chosen to do so. Efforts from the community and city officials have been lackluster. According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Bolts have not provided a viable plan to keep the Chargers in San Diego.
Anything can happen in the NFL. Carolina can be the last undefeated team in the league. Johnny Manziel can win and lose the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns in less than a week. There are not one but two divisions in the NFL where not a single team has a winning record. That being said, the only thing left to question for the Chargers is the day the moving trucks arrive.
If that is indeed the case, then Sunday’s tilt against the Miami Dolphins will be the final home game of the San Diego Chargers. The whispers that swirled around Chargers park every offseason for the past 14 years have become roars and no player is immune to it. Every play knows this is their curtain call before the home crowd in San Diego.
Said quarterback Philip Rivers in a press conference this week:
“I’ll probably soak it in on the drive over there a little more than the past hundred-something times I’ve done it before a game. Because it could get emotional thinking about it, riding down that hill for the last time to this stadium.”
Antonio Gates was brought into San Diego as an undrafted free agent and will retire a first ballot Hall-Of-Famer. Said Gates:
“Obviously, San Diego has been phenomenal to me, I’ve played in San Diego my whole career. All I know right now is I’ve got one game left in Qualcomm, and I want to make the most of it. I’m going to go out and play it like any other game. I’m going to do the same thing from a preparation standpoint. Obviously, the assumption is that we’re going into this game to win. That’s my only concern. And if this is our last game, who knows what the future holds, but I want to make it my best game, a game to remember.”
Defensive captain Eric Weddle is the fourth-longest tenured Chargers after Rivers, Gates and punter Mike Scifres. Said Weddle to reporters:
“For us as players, we don’t have any idea or clue what’s going on, so we’re blind just like everybody else. So what we hear is what we hear from the outside. It’s unfortunate. It’s a great city, great fans. I wish we were better and could put a better product out there for them. But you are what you are. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to give it our all for them one last time if it is our last game.”
Win or lose, expect the Chargers to stay after the game and inhale being a San Diego Charger on their home field one last time. The players are as unsure of their moving status as we are but they’re not taking the gravity of the moment for granted. Expect an intense, inspired team hell-bent on winning their final home game. It will be a colossal success or an abject failure from trying too hard and making mistakes. There will be no in-between.
If you’re a Bolts fan, forget about how the season has played out. Show your appreciation to the team and come to the game. Tune in from home. Don’t give up hope that the team will stay, until the moving trucks do in fact arrive. Wear your lightning bolts with pride Bolt Nation. This is still our team.
The Greg One
Articles from Chargers.com:
- Five lessons from the Chiefs game
- When called, this Chargers’ wideout has delivered
- VIDEO: Mic’d up: Manti Te’o
- 61 seconds with Jahleel Addae
- Chargers release Jimmy Wilson
- Scouting report: Chargers vs. Dolphins
Articles from ESPN.com:
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
In a move announced by the San Diego Chargers Saturday, defensive lineman Corey Liuget and cornerback Brandon Flowers have been placed on season-ending injured reserve. The 3-9 Chargers are playing out their last four games and looking forward to having two of their benchmark players healthy and at full speed when training camp begins for the 2016 season.
Liuget is listed on the injured reserve report with an undisclosed foot injury. Whatever the nature of his injury is, it’s enough to limit the 300 lb. defensive leader and coaches to decide to end his season early. The 26-year old Liuget just signed a five-year extension in the offseason. He will finish the season with 34 tackles (28 solo) and three sacks.
Flowers is listed on the injured reserve report with a knee injury. This will bring to an end what has been a rough season for the All-Pro cornerback. Flowers has been battling injuries all season and has found himself on the tail end of a number of touchdown passes during the Chargers recent six-game losing streak. The Pro Bowler also signed a four-year contract extension during the offseason so his future with the team is secure and he will be needed more come 2016 than he is now. Flowers’ season comes to a close with 33 tackles (29 solo), one sack, four passes defensed and no interceptions.
Hoping to fill the void left behind by these two stalwarts will partly fall on the shoulders of unproven cornerback Steve Williams and nose tackle Darius Philon. Williams was selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. His time on the field has been limited by various injuries. Philon was selected in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and this will be his first game action since week three as he has been recovering from knee and hip injuries.
The timing of these moves couldn’t be worse as the Chargers head into hostile territory to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. At this point of the season it’s best for all involved to let the young guys play extended minutes, rest the vets and see what needs will have to be addressed once the season comes to a close. Perhaps there is still a hidden diamond in the lump of coal that has been this season.
The Greg One
After suffering an embarrassing loss last week at home to Denver, the San Diego Chargers will have the daunting task of defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs are red-hot, riding a six-game winning streak and pushing for a playoff spot. San Diego is playing for pride in their last four games as their season has been derailed by a litany of injuries to key players on offense and defense.
Kansas City was also expected to fall into the AFC West cellar after losing their perennial Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles for the season eight weeks ago. Instead, they rallied around each other and have recovered from a 1-5 record to put themselves in playoff contention. Keying their turnaround has been an improved defense led by bookend defensive ends Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Add in an emotional boost from safety Eric Berry (after missing a year and successfully beating Cancer) and you have a defense that has forced multiple turnovers a team record seven weeks in a row.
San Diego has a tall mountain to climb but we all know the old adage about any given Sunday. Last week, the lowly Philadelphia Eagles beat the almighty New England Patriots. Anything can and will happen on an NFL Sunday. The Bolts stand the same punchers chance of winning that the Eagles did. How could if happen?
When the Chiefs have the ball
Kansas City handed the Chargers their worst home loss of the season, 33-3 in week 11. Unknown running back Spencer Ware lit up the Chargers defense for 96 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by a 52-yard run. Running backs Ware and Charcandrick West will look to ground out a victory as they have been doing during their current winning streak.
The passing game has also found life in Kansas City, led by offseason acquisition Jeremy Maclin. Maclin leads the receiving corps with 66 catches for 817 yards and five touchdowns. A close second is tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce has 56 catches for 731 yards and four touchdowns.
Quarterback Alex Smith is known as a game manager but a better adjective would be consistent. Smith doesn’t have gaudy numbers but he also does not turn the ball over. To date, Smith is 246-376 for 2843 yards, 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Smith is also dangerous with his legs. While is isn’t a speed demon, he is third on the team in rushing with 60 carries for 326 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he has run for 19 first downs on the season.
San Diego will have to find a way to generate a pass rush which has been easier said than done this season. For as great as their defensive line has been, the same can’t be said for their offensive line. KC’s offensive line has given up 38 sacks. The Chargers are not averaging two sacks a game as they have 22 sacks on the season. Liuget was third on the team with three sacks. Melvin Ingram (5 sacks) and Jeremiah Attaochu (4.5 sacks) lead the team rushing the passer and will be leaned on to continue to do so. The defense will also have to do a better job bottling the KC ground attack. In the last game the Chiefs had three ground touchdowns and one pick-6 by Justin Houston.
When the Chargers have the ball
Quarterback Philip Rivers is losing targets seemingly every week. Three wide receivers are gone with Keenan Allen, Dontrelle Inman and Stevie Johnson out. Malcolm Floyd is playing through a shoulder injury. During the week, the Chargers enlisted the services of former Charger wideout Vincent Brown. Brown will start in a thin receiving lineup currently consisting of Floyd, Javontee Herndon and Tyrell Williams. The load of a team and a city has rested heavily on the shoulders of Rivers. Somehow, Rivers is third in the league in passing with 3713 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Rivers is also playing through a foot injury and illness he contracted during the past week.
Tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green are the most consistent options Rivers has at this point. The two have combined for 70 receptions for 784 yards and eight touchdowns. Using the underutilized option of playing the two together would open running lanes for Gordon and Danny Woodhead and allow the Chargers to move the ball down the field. In their first encounter, Rivers only managed to 178 yards on 30 attempts without a touchdown.
Rivers has had no help in the running game. Melvin Gordon has not been able to get going and carries the ignominious label of running back with the most carries without a touchdown. Gordon has 565 yards on 155 carries. The Chargers offensive line has had more combinations than an Rubik’s Cube and Rivers has paid for it. The line has given up 30 sacks.
Chargers O-line vs. Kansas City pass rush. Rivers was harassed throughout the first encounter by the stout Kansas City defensive front. Rivers was sacked three times, and gave up the pick six to Houston. Chiefs NT Dontari Poe generates significant pass rush up the middle. If the Bolts offensive line can keep those three in check, Rivers will have time do dissect the Chiefs’ formidable secondary led by Berry and rookie of the year candidate CB Marcus Peters. Peters has 50 tackles, 18 passes defensed, five interceptions, one forced fumble and one touchdown on the season.
This game does not look like winnable on the surface. San Diego has lost seven of their last eight games. Three of their last four games are against the AFC West where they are 0-3 to date. Will the Chiefs be looking past the Chargers? Having Rivers under center always gives the Bolts a chance to win. The Chargers know what to expect now that they have game tape on West and Ware. Rivers had his worst game of the season against the Chiefs. Look for the QB to bounce back and put yardage and touchdowns against the Chiefs. While I won’t go so far as to say the Bolts will win, they will give Kansas City a better battle than the 33-3 beatdown the Chargers suffered at home three weeks ago.
The Greg One
“The San Francisco 49ers have traded their first-round pick to the San Diego Chargers and the Chargers are now on the clock. With their first selection in the 2015 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select Melvin Gordon, running back, Wisconsin.”
Most of San Diego cheered for joy as their team just drafted the flashiest RB in the 2014 collegiate season. Melvin broke records and rushed for more than 2,000 yards his junior year at Wisconsin. He was supposed to be the guy that took the Bolts to the next level on offense, balancing out their passing attack.
But he hasn’t. Not even close.
I wrote an article about him right after he was drafted, describing his flaws and tendencies. I even stated they should not have moved up to grab him. Gordon has done everything I stated he does, and he doesn’t seem to want to fix it. He has fumbled six times (losing four of them) this season, including two (one lost) on Sunday. His indecisiveness seems to prove that he is taking one step forward, but two steps back. His confidence is shot and, quite frankly, hearing the excuses he uses after fumbling and playing poorly are already getting old.
Gordon isn’t the back the Chargers thought they had drafted, but not all of it is his fault.
I get that.
He’s being used very wrong, but in the league in which the fullback position is dying, can you blame the coaches?
If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much crap I give him. I understand it isn’t entirely his fault, but he also isn’t faultless. I understand that his line is hurting him, but watch his runs and you will see THERE ARE HOLES THERE and he isn’t hitting them when he should, or he is completely missing them, making him look like a deer in headlights.
Now, this isn’t supposed to be a bash-Gordon article, because he gets plenty of that from me on Twitter. But this is an open-your-eyes-and-see article that hopefully helps you realize that the Chargers, Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy, and No. 28, are all responsible for his failure and all will be responsible for him being a bust.
Let me know your thoughts and opinions of him in the comment section. The only thing we as fans can hope for is that he grows up, works hard and turns out to be a guy we can rely on. But, again, if you have paid attention to my musings on social media, I am not expecting to see the young man doing anything that we haven’t already seen, which isn’t worthy of a first-round selection.
– Zak Darman
When looking at the 2015 Chargers, it is difficult to find many bright spots outside of the play of quarterback Philip Rivers and the performance of third-year wideout Keenan Allen prior to his placement on injured reserve due to a lacerated kidney.
For those of you who are not Chargers fans, or those of you who are not watching each and every play of every game, the bright spots are few and far between.
Senior writer of BoltBlitz.com Brian Krich will be highlighting several players that fit that mold within the next few days.
Though I don’t believe in luck, I wish him the best of luck during his analysis.
In an effort to hone in on one player that has raised his level of play to one of which that is a bright spot, one needs not look past the performance of rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman.
A second-round selection out of the University of Miami, Perryman fits the mold of that “hammer” who general manager Tom Telesco covets; one who “brings the wood” on each and every down; a defender who shows up to make stops on opposing players with bad intentions. To put it quite simply, the rook wants to impose his will on every offensive player whom he gets within an arm’s reach of, forcing them to remember that No. 52 is there to physically annihilate them.
In limited playing time this year, the former Hurricane has done just that.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Perryman has proved to be a big-time hitter, despite his lack of starting snaps.
Now that his playing time has increased, even the casual fan can see the impact that Perryman has while in the game.
This was especially evident in Sunday’s 17-3 loss to the Broncos.
The inside linebacker was all over the field, leading the defense with 10 total tackles, which, per the box score, were all solo stops.
Though he is still figuring out how to be an effective member of the defensive side of the ball in pass coverage, Perryman is a MAN against the run.
The Chargers’ defense finally has a presence in the middle worthy of opposing defenses game planning around for years to come.
Don’t expect to get to the second level without having Perryman greet you with a “nasty welcome.”
Should the emergence of Perryman continue for the remaining four games of the season, Donald Butler may be looking for a new job come the 2016 season.
Butler’s play has been underwhelming in ’15, despite what many saw as a strong offseason for the overpaid linebacker.
The 27-year-old signed a seven-year, $51.8 million contract during the 2014 offseason. Though he flashed solid ability at times, many would argue that he had yet to do anything which would garner such a hefty deal.
Should the Chargers part ways with Butler following this season, the team will lose $6.69 million against the salary cap next year. That being said, they would save $4.65 million in cash.
The team could have in excess of $25 million in salary cap room in 2016, and that’s prior to the league increasing each team’s cap number by what is expected to be as much as $10 million.
Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o are the future of this team’s inside linebacking corps moving forward. They complement each other very well and they seem to be on the same page already. All of this leads to the Chargers deciding that Butler will be expendable due to an outrageous salary and ineffective play.