Monthly Archives: February 2016
First off, like anything in life, the game of football can produce both highlights and low-lights, accolades and disappointments, triumphs and defeats.
In what could easily be described as the ultimate team sport, so much of one’s performance relies on what those around you are capable of accomplishing while on the football field.
I didn’t play on many successful football teams, from youth football to high school ball.
I was an under-sized, lazy-in-the-weight-room type of player. I was probably quicker than I was fast, but I ran a 4.49 40-yard dash as a sophomore. Additionally, due to countless hours of throwing the ball around with my Dad and my friends and playing football every chance that I was able, I had very reliable hands.
“Don’t EVER jump unless it is COMPLETELY necessary, David,” my father annoyingly exclaimed as I tried to haul in what I thought would be SportsCenter-type catches. For the record, there were a few expletives thrown in there, if I’m being completely honest. SportsCenter wasn’t around, I don’t think, when I first started playing catch with my Dad. But, you get the point.
He was right, by the way, but you all know that if you’ve ever watched a day of football in your life: stay on your feet unless you can’t.
Once high school hit, with everyone out-sizing me as I grew into my teen years, my knowledge of the game easily trumped my ability. Truth be told, I found it hard to breathe — literally — and even more difficult to calm the nervous feeling of the pressure involved with impressing my Dad.
All of that being said, I understood the fundamentals of the game, knowing how to hit and, just as importantly, knowing how to take a hit. Both were staples of my childhood.
I was born a San Diego Chargers fan and football was fed to me for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I genuinely appreciate that, by the way. I wouldn’t change that for the world.
So why would I allow my children, son and daughter, to play football, you ask?
Because I will teach them the way I was taught: the right way.
Mekyah, seven, is very fast and she doesn’t know it. Her hand-eye coordination is remarkable for a young child.
Kayden, five, is unafraid of contact; he has no bubble. I also feel as though he needs a forum to release some of his anxiety and, what I believe is, some pent-up aggression passed on through genes.
They both will benefit from the discipline that the game affords those who take it seriously.
Both will be allowed to play the game, and both will have the choice of whether or not they want to play the game.
My daughter looks like her mother, meaning she is absolutely gorgeous. She may not look like someone who wants to go out and get hit or hit others, but I have a feeling that she is capable of some special things. She is incredibly bright and I could only imagine what she could do with further understanding of the game.
Kade is unaware of his physical strength, and he will need some discipline to go along with his hap-hazard awareness. Both his Mother and I have worked with him on his passing mechanics: proper footwork, lead-hand in front, solid hip rotation to create torque while passing the ball, ball up by the ear and he has a solid zip on his throws. He is the biggest kid in his class, and I am starting to wonder if that stature will sustain itself. Or, like me, he’ll go from being the tallest kid in his first-grade class to being far shorter than most of his male counterparts once he reaches high school.
Both of my children will be taught about proper knee bend, angles and where to put your head on each and every tackle opportunity. They will both be well-versed on the multitude of ways they can use to protect themselves at all times while on a football field.
Some injuries on the field are completely unavoidable. But you can be hurt while walking down the street, sitting at a table and in just about any other imaginable scenario. Living life afraid of unforeseen circumstances will never be a part of their upbringing.
The fact of the matter is, it’s entirely possibly that neither of them will have any desire to play football, and that is perfectly fine; join the band, sing like your parents, play baseball, basketball, soccer, et cetera. Do whatever makes you happy!
But if you want to play football, Kyah and Kayden, please know that you are encouraged to do so, because it is the greatest sport in the world.
Wide receiver Travis Benjamin had his best season as a professional during the 2015 season. His quarterbacks included Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown; two signal callers who don’t exactly light your world on fire when it comes to making plays at the NFL level.
Benjamin is a free agent for the 2016 campaign, unless the Browns make a move to retain his services.
It is unclear, at this point, if Cleveland will do their due diligence in order to keep him wearing the orange and brown.
The former Hurricane showed last season, despite sub-par quarterbacking, that he can stretch the field and take the top off of opposing defenses. His speed alone shows why his addition to a team lacking such a weapon makes so much sense.
In comes the San Diego Chargers.
Per a report by Rand Getlin of NFL.com and NFL Network, the Bolts have already expressed interest in the speedy wide receiver. The Falcons have also joined the contest to possibly obtain his services.
With the retirement of Malcom Floyd, the Chargers are looking at running with a receiving corps that lacks experience, featuring only Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson as players with three or more years of starting experience.
Johnson, 29, will enter the 2016 season at 30 years old. Although I think he can make an impact opposite Allen as a No. 2 wideout, infusing some speed via signing Benjamin seems like a no-brainer.
Though Benjamin is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, his speed and release off of the line of scrimmage make up for a lack of height/stature. The fifth-year speedster achieved career-highs in receptions (68), receiving yards (966) and receiving touchdowns (five) in 2015. Despite the fact that his statistics don’t leap off of the page, one could easily be justified in thinking that the performance of Benjamin would be exponentially better if he had a much better quarterback (say, Philip Rivers?).
Allow me to ask you a question: When was the last time the Bolts had a deep threat who could consistently stretch the field and open up underneath-routes, additionally helping the running game by forcing help over the top via a safety?
Yes, it’s been a long time.
I am not sitting here trying to convince you that signing Travis Benjamin would fix the Chargers’ offense. But adding a dynamic player like him would benefit both the passing game and running attack.
Coaches can only enhance so many attributes about their players. But one cannot teach speed.
Benjamin can fly.
Though his place in an offense may be better suited as an option in the slot, if added to the San Diego roster, he would be interchangeable with current Charger Stevie Johnson. Both are capable of manning the slot and playing outside. Now that the Bolts have brought back offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Benjamin is worth a look during free agency for Tom Telesco and company.
The fact that they are already rumored as interested in the fifth-year product makes perfect sense.
A facet of Benjamin’s game that allows the signing to make perfect sense is his ability to man both the kick and punt returner positions.
Field position matters, big time, when it comes to the game of football. Benjamin is more than capable of taking over in the return game. The 26-year-old has logged three punt return touchdowns during his career.
He is electric in the return game and his addition to the offense would give the Bolts an option it hasn’t had in years.
What say you, Chargers fans? Are you interested in giving Benjamin a contract?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
The 2016 NFL draft is just over two months away, while the NFL Combine is now only three days from Tuesday.
It goes without saying that NFL organizations are putting in serious overtime to prepare their draft boards in hopes of adding the necessary pieces to improve their teams.
After a seriously disappointing campaign in 2015, the San Diego Chargers secured the third selection of the first round in this year’s draft, finishing with a dismal record of 4-12.
With so many holes all over the roster, the Bolts are in a position to draft the best player available with each of their selections — especially in the first round.
Media pundits everywhere have prognosticated the Chargers drafting a number of players in the first. Having such a high position is a luxury earned by playing terrible football the previous year.
There are a number of players to be drafted by the Bolts who could come in day one and make an immediate impact. Names like Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Carson Wentz and Robert Nkemdiche have all been floated around when discussing the first-round options for San Diego.
Due to the aforementioned holes on the roster, general manager Tom Telesco could be looking to move down in the first round, securing additional picks to supplement a team that needs improvement in several areas.
So, I leave it to you, Chargers fans: Which player would you like to see the Chargers elect in the first round?
Below is a poll and you know the drill. Place your vote and then leave a comment supporting why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for reading and voting.
I look forward to your feedback.
P.S. My vote is for Jalen Ramsey.
How can Dean Spanos win back his fans? It really depends on which fans he needs to win back.
There are die-hard Chargers fans. These fans buy season tickets, have cars decked out in Chargers gear and sport their gear wherever they go. These are the fans who were upset about the relocation drama yet are morely likely to follow the team to LA or the moon. They are all about the Chargers!
Then there are the San Diego city fans. They too are die hard. They attend games, buy season tickets, watch their beloved team on TV and deck out their cars with Chargers gear. They are fans of the Chargers because they are the team in San Diego. Some of these fans would gladly welcome the Raiders with open arms if they ever came to San Diego. They are all about the city of San Diego!
Lastly, is the casual and somewhat fair-weathered fan. They might go to a game but probably will just watch it on TV. If the team is having a bad year, they might not follow as closely. They like the Chargers but would not be upset if they leave. They are all about just rooting on a team.
The hardest fans to win back are the city fans. The die-hard Chargers fans are upset but willing to believe that Dean Spanos is genuine in his claim to want to stay in San Diego. The city fans will be more skeptical. They are still upset about the team wanting to up an leave their beloved city.
One way to win fans back is to fire Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani. Fabiani was been with the Chargers since 2002. He was the hated man in this crazy relocation roller coaster since he was basically of the voice of the Chargers. The chances of that happening is very unlikely, but he has been MIA in the last week.
Dean Spanos needs to be the one to make the statements and to address the media. As much as fans hated Mark Fabiani, more fans are upset that Spanos let him do all the talking. Dean needs to show that city and the fans that he wants to stay by being vocal and visible. Spanos has never been a very public person but being public is very critical to gain the respect of the fans.
The Chargers need to look at both options, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego and weigh all the options. The city needs to allow Spanos to take charge of the negotiations. If Spanos is in charge, he will work harder to get it done. His approach would be more sincere to the fans.
Dean Spanos needs to work with Tom Tolesco on improving the team. The fair-weathered fans are not going to vote for a stadium if the team is having losing seasons, like the the 2015 season. It’s a harsh reality of the city of San Diego. If the team isn’t playing well, the citizens can find plenty of other things to do on a Sunday. A winning team, with a chance to make the playoffs in November, could sway some voters to approve public money for a new stadium.
Dean, along with Mark Fabiani, need to make an apology to the fans. It needs to be heart felt and sincere. They need to assure the fans that they do matter to the Chargers as much as the Chargers matter to the fans.
Lastly, the fans need to forgive Spanos and realize how hard this has been for him and the organization. It is not easy to be defeated. It is even harder to come back to the ones you might have wronged and try to mend the relationship. Dean Sopanos and the Chargers need to see that the fans are still upset but have not given up yet.
Let’s hope 2016 is not the roller coaster ride like 2015. Save our Bolts!
Should the Chargers move on from free agent safety Eric Weddle, it’s possible that his replacement could be found in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.
A young man from Boise State might be the answer, perhaps as early as the second round. His name? Darian Thompson. Let’s take a look at him
Weight: 215 pounds
40 time: according to NFL Draft Scout, Thompson ran 4.56 in the 40-yard dash.
- The former Boise State Bronco is versatile in that he can play either safety position as well as corner. He is known for being a ball hawk having made five interceptions, four passes defensed and forced two fumbles in the 2015 campaign alone. Career stats are 242 tackles (129 solo), 15 tackles for loss, one sack, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 19 interceptions. The nineteen picks set a new Mountain West division record, previously held by Eric Weddle.
Thompson is always on the hunt with displaying great instincts and awareness. He reacts decisively, is a run-stopper in the box who also can centerfield and drop into coverage or play man to man against the tight end and/or bigger wide receivers in the slot. Similar to Weddle, he is a very self-aware and vocal presence on the back end and can be the guy in charge of the secondary.
One of his weaknesses is that his aggressive demeanor occasionally leads to missed plays, as he sometimes loses track of the wideouts. He will need to learn to be more disciplined as he transitions from collegiate ball to the professional ranks. If he works on that part of his craft, his draft stock may go up.
Should Chargers general manager Tom Telesco decide to target Thompson, they may find stiff competition awaits. Due to his stellar Senior Bowl play, Thompson has met with 15 General Managers and had a personal interview with one NFL head coach.
There is no doubt he would make an excellent addition to San Diego’s secondary.
Thanks for reading!
The 2015 San Diego Chargers finished with a 4-12 record, earning them the third pick in the first round of the upcoming draft.
Due to many needs all over the roster, the organization needs to find ways to supplement their roster from within prior to exploring free-agent options and draft picks. The first position group they can do just that is at tight end.
Despite the preseason speculation about the desire of Antonio Gates wanting to return for the 2016 campaign, he has set the rumors to rest by making it clear that he indeed is interested in coming back for at least one more year.
To put it quite simply, it is a no-brainer that the future Hall of Famer should be re-signed to a one-year, team-friendly contract, allowing him to finish out his brilliant career in lightning bolts.
Gates, for as long as many of you can recall, has been the No. 1 read for quarterback Philip Rivers since proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the league. Although he is no longer as fast as he once was, he is still more than capable of creating separation due to his knowledge of the game and route-running ability. Despite missing four games in 2015 due to a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the 13-year veteran was able to amass 56 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns.
The team — via upper management — has already stated that they are looking to retain Gates’ services for the 2016 season.
Because it seems as though the re-signing of Gates is inevitable, there is another tight end whom the team should re-sign. But, as opposed to the logical reasoning behind bringing back No. 85, the team would be re-signing this player with an eye toward the future at the position, as opposed to having the former back for one last hurrah.
Green set career highs during the 2015 season despite missing time. At 6-foot-6, he presents a match-up problem for opposing defenses. Though his height is an obvious asset when matched up against linebackers and safeties, his speed for his size it what sets him apart, even when singled up by cornerbacks.
At only 25 years old, Green still has a ton of room for growth within the nuances of the San Diego offense. Though the Bolts have a new offensive coordinator in Ken Whisenhunt, the responsibilities of the tight end position will not change drastically.
Realistically, Gates coming back is not in the best interest of Green, but his return does greatly benefit the team.
Does that make sense?
Green, who will turn 26 in May, has learned what he can under the tutelage of Antonio. But that doesn’t mean that I’m saying the two can’t be the best tight-end tandem in the NFL in 2016.
After achieving career-highs in receptions (37), receiving yards (429) and (four) touchdowns, Green is primed for a breakout campaign.
Will the proposed return of Gates limit the statistical gains of Green?
The long-term future at tight end for the San Diego Chargers is Ladarius Green. He has the ability to create headaches for opposing defenses due to his aforementioned traits. Having Gates in the fold for one more year accentuates his opportunity to take advantage of defenders with a player like Gates on the field.
Green is not an overly effective route runner, but he does a good job of leveraging his size against defenders to allow his speed to create the necessary window that Rivers trusts for a possible connection.
Fans should expect that the names on both the No. 85 and No. 89 jerseys will remain the same going into the 2016 season. Additionally, they should be very excited about it.