Monthly Archives: May 2016
There’s a different aroma in the air around the neatly cut grass and white-painted lines of the practice field off of Murphy Canyon road.
The newly acquired rookies of the San Diego Chargers’ 2016 NFL draft class run around flashing their brilliance alongside some 50 other undrafted free agents the team has brought in to try to fulfill their life-long dream of playing professional football.
In the earliest of reports, the first- and second-round picks appear to be men among boys; as they should be practicing among guys who will most likely never wear an NFL jersey on game days in September.
On paper, the Chargers have improved leaps and bounds from a team that was decimated by injuries and lacked enough quality depth to be competitive in an ever-evolving AFC West. The starting offensive line played two games together throughout the course of the 2015 season. The defensive line wasn’t much better even when they were on the field, giving up nearly five yards per carry on the ground.
Fast forward to this year and there’s a completely new picture to look at.
The defensive line has been transformed by the pick up of true nose tackle Brandon Mebane, and the drafting of defensive lineman Joey Bosa. Mebane and Bosa are going to come in and immediately improve the run defense of this team. Mebane is going to clog up the middle of the defense, freeing up the linebacking corps, allowing them to fly in and stop ball carriers before they get through the line. Bosa is as technically sound as it gets for a rookie. He has violent hands, and good strength that allows him to bully offensive linemen and attack the football.
The improvements of the defensive line are going to make everyone else’s job on the defense much easier. Let’s not forget the addition of Casey Hayward who will team up with Jason Verrett as the teams No. 1 and 2 corners.
Telesco has also replaced Donald Butler with two young, hungry linebackers in Joshua Perry and Jatavis Brown. These two young men are going to come in and make the special teams better the second they step on the field. Don’t be surprised if you see Perry and Brown also push Manti Te’o for some playing time on defense.
Speaking of the linebackers, fifth-year pro Melvin Ingram easily had the best season of his career in 2015 by totaling 10.5 sacks. As you well know, that was all without the aid of a Mebane or Bosa on the team’s defensive unit. Opposite of Ingram, Jerry Attaochu also made the best of his opportunities last season, setting a career-high with six sacks of his own.
The offensive line has also been fortified with center/guard Matt Slauson formerly of the Chicago Bears, and third-round pick Max Tuerk of USC. The pick up of Matt Slauson has a huge impact on the identity of this line. Slauson is durable, intelligent and plays with a nasty mean streak. This also allows Max Tuerk to take his time to recover from a knee injury, move Chris Watt back to his natural position of guard, while hopefully eliminating the dead weight that is Trevor Robinson.
Not only has Tom Telesco improved the offensive and defensive lines, but he’s also brought in a couple of new weapons for Philip Rivers to throw to in the speedster Travis Benjamin and the sure-handed rookie tight end Hunter Henry.
Philip Rivers has gone on record saying that Travis Benjamin is the fastest guy he’s ever thrown the ball to. Benjamin is going to come in and take the top off of the defense and allow guys like Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to tear up the middle of the field.
This is the best offseason of Tom Telesco’s tenure as the Chargers’ general manager because he addressed almost every need that was bleeding the team last year.
The national media is sleeping on the Chargers and that’s fine, but don’t be surprised if this team changes that perception as soon as they strap on the helmets and pads come September.
On Tuesday, Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians addressed the local media. Among the topics he covered, he mentioned his team is in talks with the San Diego Chargers to hold joint practices. The practices would be in held San Diego the week before their preseason game on Friday, August 19. The game would be the second preseason game for both teams.
The proposition is not a done deal but chances of it happening are very good. This is not a practice that is done as regularly as you would think. The last time the Cardinals held a joint practice was with Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. The last time the Chargers held a joint practice was with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012.
Another reason the Cardinals are interested in relocating is the fact that Guns N’ Roses will be taking over University of Phoenix stadium for a concert on August 15. It’s likely that the stadium will be occupied for a couple days by the band’s crew building their massive stage setup. Their prior tour date is in Seattle on August 12.
The joint practice will be beneficial for both teams. By August, teams are already tired of playing against one another and they are already frothing at the opportunity to hit someone in a different colored uniform. Rookies and veterans vying for starting roles will use this chance to step to the front of their respective position battles. Playing against another team with a different offensive and defensive philosophy will also help show who is ahead when it comes to mastering the playbook and using that knowledge in live-game situations.
For the Cardinals, getting out of 110-degree heat for the cool, tropical climate of San Diego won’t suck, either. For the Chargers, it presents a great chance to see how they measure up to a team that played in last season’s NFC Championship game.
A decision on the joint practice should come in the next few weeks. Here’s to hoping they come to an agreement to do the practices as it looks to be a win-win for both sides.
The Greg One
The Chargers announced via the team’s official website that they have claimed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger off waivers on Tuesday, waiving quarterback Bryn Renner in a corresponding move.
We’ve claimed QB Zach Mettenberger off waivers and waived QB Bryn Renner.
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) May 17, 2016
This signing makes all of the sense in the world, as Mettenberger has familiarity with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and tight ends coach John McNulty. The latter served as Mettenberger’s quarterbacks coach in Tennessee.
The former Titan is not going to light up the scoreboard or box score as a passer, but he does provide the Chargers with a developmental prospect behind starting signal caller Philip Rivers.
With Mettenberger now in the fold, one can wonder what may happen to veteran back-up QB Kellen Clemens. If the Bolts like what they see early on in Mettenberger, they may eventually decide to cut ties with Clemens prior to the start of the regular season.
Entering his third season in the NFL, the 24-year-old has thrown for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games played.
For the third year in a row, BoltBlitz.com will be covering the LT5K. We are very excited to once again be a part of such an awesome event hosted by one of the greatest Chargers of all-time, LaDainian Tomlinson.
Below are the details from www.lt5k.com:
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!!!
Integrated Sports Marketing is proud to announce that back, for the 4th year in a row is the, 2016 LaDainian Tomlinson 5K/1-Mile Kids Fun Run presented by EDCO.
Coming to San Diego June 11, 2016, the event will once again take place at NTC Park at Liberty Station. Formerly a Naval Training Center, NTC Park has one of the most prominent park views in San Diego. With its 46-acre water access NTC Park at Liberty Station is the premier location to host the LT 5k. This will be a fun, family-friendly event for all ages, including a kids fun zone, music, and exhibitor area. This is a great way to have fun and support a great cause!
Your paid registration includes:
- 5k Fun Run or Kids 1-mile Run in beautiful Point Loma
- Digital Chip Timing
- Performance Event T-shirt
- Commemorative Finisher Medals for all participants
- Free snacks and drinks
- Autograph booth for participants featuring LaDainian Tomlinson and other celebrities (must have race bib to get autographs)
- Kids Fun Zone with bounce houses from LB Jumpers Express
- Awards for overall and age group winners
Charitable proceeds benefit the Tomlinson’s Touching Lives Foundation: a nonprofit charity that engages in a number of programs designed to promote educational, social and cultural awareness and positive self-esteem to enhance the lives of children, families and communities.
As you can see from the aforementioned material, this is a great opportunity for the fans to come out and have an awesome time while supporting a great cause.
Just to reiterate the information above, this is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids and come out for a great day at NTC Park at Liberty Station.
The San Diego Chargers hope to keep their legacy of uncovering diamonds in the rough through their undrafted free agent class this season. Many prospects have been brought in when you count the 20-player UDFA class signed immediately after the draft. Another twenty have been to Chargers Park for three-day tryouts.
As the old saying goes: Many are called, but few are chosen.
One player to keep an eye on during training camp will be West Virginia cornerback Terrell Chestnut. Standing 5’11”, 188-pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, vertical jumped 34″, broad jumped 10’2″ and ran the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds at the Mountaineers Pro Day.
Overshadowed by his secondary teammates Karl Joseph and Darryl Worley, Chestnut had a standout season in 2015. Lining up at cornerback last season, he tallied 35 tackles (25 solo), 7 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. To further show his impact on the field, consider this tweet from Pro Football Focus:
Passers targeting San Diego Chargers UDFA Terrell Chestnut’s coverage had the second-lowest QB rating (47.8) among Big 12 CBs in this class
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 1, 2016
So why did this man go undrafted?
There are two main answers to this question. One is he was overshadowed by his teammates Joseph and Worley. Joseph, a strong safety, was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 14th overall pick in the first round. Worley, a cornerback, was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 77th overall pick in the third round.
Knee injuries derailed Chestnuts’ freshman and sophomore seasons. He played six games as a freshman and ten games as a sophomore. Chestnut did finish strong, as he did not miss a game in his final two years at West Virginia. His draft stock may have dropped due to injury concerns and overall body of work.
The Chargers may have indeed found another gem, this time on the defensive side of the ball. Chestnut is bound to make the most of his opportunity. This is what he tweeted after signing on the dotted line:
Blessed to say that I have signed a free agent deal and will be joining my brother @Shaqpett_36 with the San Diego Chargers!!!!
— Rell16 (@TChestnut) April 30, 2016
Chestnut will be company on the Chargers as the team also signed his teammate LB Shaq Petteway to an undrafted free-agent contract. Current second-year Chargers’ running back Dreamius Smith was a West Virginia teammate who is very excited to see his running buddies coming to San Diego.
— Dreamius (@dreamius2) May 1, 2016
Here’s hoping that West Virginia chemistry spills over onto the field. Good luck, Terrell!
The Greg One
With the news about Melvin Gordon’s microfracture surgery, a recent article posted to this site had me thinking.
I hate to be the doom and gloom forecaster, but to quote Creedence Clearwater Revival, there could be a “bad moon rising” in San Diego.
With what we saw from Gordon last season, with his inability to find the right lane to run through, I still feel like even with newly drafted fullback Derek Watt, Gordon’s teammate at Wisconsin, this may not equate to success for him and the Chargers’ running game.
One of Gordon’s many weaknesses coming out of college seemed to be his lack of vision. When the offensive line wasn’t banged up and was actually opening holes for Gordon, he seemed to lack the ability that separates great running backs from average to below average ones. The former Badger doesn’t seem to see the whole field. He lacks that killer instinct as a runner.
Is this just a rookie being a rookie and adjusting to a complex offensive system? Only time will tell.
Another issue I have with the chemistry of Watt and Gordon is how many offensive snaps will we actually see a fullback on the field with Gordon?
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt isn’t exactly like Marty Schottenheimer; he doesn’t power it up in there all day long. Most of his offense runs off of multi-WR and TE sets. With the addition of Henry, the Bolts’ offense may be more likely to use those sets instead of Power-I formations.
Will we see those formations enough for that so-called chemistry to even make a difference? Again, only time will tell.
It isn’t just chemistry that makes a running back. Barry Sanders had little to no offensive line help pretty much his entire career. But when he retired he finished second in NFL history in total career rushing yards.
I’m not saying I expect Gordon to be Sanders. For years we give all these excuses for our stars; it’s almost as if we are scared to face the truth. Sometimes our players just don’t have what it takes.
Gordon’s fumbling, lack of vision and consistent knack for rushing to an outside line when there’s nothing there has handicapped a running attack that ranked 31st in the league last year.
Chemistry is great; it brings continuity to a running game that certainly could use it. Will it bring success and make Gordon an elite runner? Maybe.
Of all the physical attributes about Melvin Gordon his intangibles are highly lacking. He was a superstar runner in college. Was he just a one-year wonder behind a line that had multiple players drafted high? Or is there something I’ve yet to see from Gordon in a San Diego Chargers uniform?
The only thing we can do is be patient. Not everyone becomes Marshawn Lynch overnight. Liken Ryan Mathews to Gordon. When the line came together, Mathews flourished under Whisenhunt.
Patience, tons of patience, Chargers fans.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, saying the Chargers special teams unit will be improved in 2016 is a bit like predicting that college students will go out drinking in Pacific Beach this summer. We all know the Chargers’ special teams unit was atrocious last year. If fact, it really couldn’t get much worse. But I have reason to believe that this unit can go from a debilitating liability, to actually helping propel our beloved Bolts back into the playoffs in 2016. Here’s why.
Jacoby Jones is no longer on the field. Let’s take a sarcastic moment and let that sink in; just how lucky we are he got canned last November after appearing in only five games and recording NEGATIVE FOUR YARDS in punt returns. He was worse that a fair catch. Give Tom Telesco credit for pulling the plug early on Jones.
On the other hand, we can collectively boo the fact Mike McCoy and departed Special Teams Coordinator Kevin Spencer decided his replacement on punt returns was going to be Keenan Allen! I literally yelled at my TV every time I saw Keenan back to field a punt. Our future at wide receiver, back deep, just waiting to be pummeled by an onslaught of opposing special teams monsters.
Eventually injuries at wide receiver forced McCoy to promote receiver Javontee Herndon who showed promise towards the end of the season and saved the unit from being a complete dumpster fire. The addition of WR Travis Benjamin from Cleveland this offseason is a major upgrade.
Poor Mike Scifres. Mike, we love you. You are one of the best punters to ever wear the lightning bolts, but over the last couple of seasons you were blown up more than Drake’s cell phone. Not your fault (*cough* Donald Brown), but your body had taken a pounding and you could no longer pin the ball inside the five-yard line like the Chargers were paying you about $4 million dollars a year to do.
By cutting Scifres and drafting punter Drew Kaser from Texas A&M in the sixth round, the Chargers saved money and improved the punt game overnight. In addition, Josh Lambo should be able to build on a strong rookie season, having experienced kicking in division rival stadiums in 2015.
When fans talk about “Special Teams”, we tend to only mention three positions: kicker, punter and return man. There are, in fact, ten other players in the unit, unfortunately for the Chargers these other ten were mostly not good, least of all Nick Dzubnar. After showing flashes in the 2015 preseason and making the team as a backup linebacker/coverage team guy, Dzubnar’s numerous holding and illegal block penalties on special teams really hurt, and contributed to the Chargers being among the last in the league in starting field position.
The goal this year is to get him off the field. Thankfully, the Bolts drafted two linebackers that are already better than Dzubnar and they haven’t played an NFL game yet. The first is 6-foot-4, 254-pound Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry. Perry has the size, durability and tackling skill to be a difference maker on special teams. Second, my personal favorite, and possibly the steal of this draft, is 5-foot-11, 227-pound linebacker from Akron Jatavis Brown. Brown runs faster than some of the wide receivers drafted in 2016 and he can hit! Look for him to make an immediate impact on special teams and defense this year.
Players already on the roster like linebackers Tourek Williams, who is hoping to come back strong after missing most of last season with injury, and Kyle Emanuel combined on a special teams strip/fumble early last year and are going to make plays. Denzel Perryman is hopefully going to continue to lay the boom. I would look for competition at gunner to be between LB Jatavis Brown, WRs Herndon and Tyrell Williams and excellent special teamer Darrell Stuckey. At worst, this unit looks to be on the uptick to average in the NFL. At best, the Chargers’ special teams could suddenly become an asset in the battle to reach the playoffs for 2016. And that’s something we can be excited about!
Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
When a dream becomes reality it is always something special. For Tenny Palepoi, that day happened a little over two years ago when he joined the Chargers as an undrafted rookie.
The former University of Utah player is known for his tenaciousness and his work ethic. To put it quite simply, Palepoi works incredibly hard.
Defense runs through his Samoan veins. One of his older brothers, Anton, also a defensive end, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in round two (#60) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He was one of the highest draft picks to come out of UNLV in 14 years. Father Tony played for the Samoan National Rugby Team.
Whenever Tenny decided to play football, I’m sure the game plan came about as part of his being one of fourteen kids who had to defend themselves growing up with all those bodies!
He began his journey into football at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. While there he collected 49 tackles, 10 TFL (tackles for loss), two sacks and a fumble recovery in 2011. In 2012 he transferred to the University of Utah where he logged 74 tackles, 12.5 TFL, and 6.5 sacks. He took over the nose tackle position when teammate Star Lotulelei was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2013. Palepoi was team captain for the Utes and chosen to the second-team All-PAC-12 team (2013). He was also considered one of the best nose tackles in the PAC-12 that year.
Palepoi signed with San Diego just over two years ago as an undrafted free agent. It probably helped having fellow Ute alumni Eric Weddle to help with the transition.
The young defensive tackle played all 16 games of his rookie season. He finished the year with 16 tackles, of which nine were solo endeavors.
One of his best, and most likely difficult, games came November 30, 2014. A road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens mere days after his older brother Francis passed away at just 42 years of age due to a heart condition. That contest saw Palepoi make three tackles in the Bolts’ first win in M & T Stadium in three years.
By all means his sophomore campaign should have been even better. That all went by the wayside when he fractured his foot during training camp on August 1. On August 3, the announcement was made that the young lineman was being placed on the Reserve/Injured list. Coach Mike McCoy further stated, (in part from Eric D. Williams of ESPN)
“This is the part of the business that sucks. I hate to say it, but that’s just the truth. A guy that works as hard as he has…he is one of the guys here all the time…he’s made the most out of every single opportunity he’s had. He had an outstanding year last year, and it sucks to be honest with you.”
I would expect that if he has such a gung-ho work ethic that Palepoi focused sheer determination into getting ready for a 2016 comeback. I know he can be a force once again in John Pagano’s defensive schemes.
Thank you for reading!
In October of 2014, BoltBlitz.com was among the first to report on the conflict between a few hoteliers and the Chargers’ effort to build a new multi-purpose stadium in conjunction with a non-contiguous expansion of the convention center. The obstructionism of these hoteliers, now known as the Hotelier Cabal, has transformed pro-stadium voices into true activists.
On Monday, the San Diego Stadium Coalition, Save Our Bolts and other civic and fan groups came together in support of a national boycott against San Diego hotels that are owned and/or operated by the Hotelier Cabal. The hoteliers identified in the boycott are financially influencing local politicians who are collectively opposing the development of a downtown mixed-use facility.
“Whether you feel strongly about the Chargers and their quest for a new stadium or not, the influence that the hotel industry wields over local officials has created a dysfunctional political ecosystem where voter and taxpayer interests are being mortgaged to the highest bidder.” said Jason Riggs, San Diego Stadium Coalition Founder and Chairman.
He added, “In 2008 we started working with various civic groups to find a stadium solution in San Diego. During that time one roadblock has remained consistent and that’s the hotel industry’s opposition to a downtown multi-use facility. Until these hoteliers and the politicians that represent them come forth to transparently discuss and negotiate the Chargers’ downtown convention center/stadium solution, we are asking everyone not to patronize their hotels.”
Save Our Bolts joined the San Diego Stadium Coalition in taking a hard-line stance against the Hotelier Cabal in organizing the boycott.
“Despite a downtown plan that includes a significant investment from the Chargers and zero general fund dollars, we have been surprised at the lack of support from local politicians and outright characterizations in campaign materials,” said David Agranoff, co-founder of Save Our Bolts.
“We fear that a group of powerful San Diego hoteliers are influencing local politicians and creating a united political front against the Chargers. Follow the trail of donations and it is shameful that these hotels are using politicians to pit neighborhoods against millions of Chargers fans. The reality is this plan doesn’t hurt your neighborhood in any way. It is time to hold them accountable. And our national fan base is ready to make sure when friends and family come to visit they know where NOT to book a room.”
Evidence of hotelier obstructionism has been present throughout the search for a stadium solution. Days before the Citizen Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) announced they would focus on Mission Valley for a new stadium, a few of their members meet with stadium activists, including the leadership of the San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts.
In that meeting, when faced with the question of what were the real obstacles to downtown, a CSAG representative admitted that it was the hoteliers.
Steve Cushman has been particularly outspoken against the Chargers efforts downtown claiming, “If you were going to line up the people in San Diego who have done the most to block a new stadium over the years, there is no doubt that Steve Cushman would be near the head of that line,” Mark Fabiani told Chargers.com.
Mayor Faulconer re-appointed Steve Cushman to the San Diego Convention Corporation Board of Directors in October of 2015, a move that allowed the two to continue to work together for a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.
When analyzing Faulconer’s actions and CSAG’s admission to stadium leaders, the only intellectual conclusion that can be reached is that CSAG’s choice between downtown and Mission Valley, and the mayor’s stadium effort last year, was nothing more than a political illusion designed to protect the interest of the Hotelier Cabal.
The cabal will now likely feel financial ramifications for their corruptive influence on San Diego politics. Save Our Bolts along with The San Diego Stadium Coalition have a combined 42,000 members that will be utilized to spread the word of the boycott. Family, friends and Chargers fans who live out of San Diego will be encouraged to avoid Hotelier Cabal properties.
Riggs added, “We know it’s going to take some real financial pressure on these hoteliers before they’ll negotiate in good faith to resolve our lingering Convention Center and stadium issues. We feel this is a good start.”
The hotels identified in the boycott include:
- Lodge at Torrey Pines
Town and Country Hotel
Town and Country Hotel
Pacific Terrace Hotel
Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites
The Dana on Mission Bay
Sheraton La Jolla
Hilton Harbor Island
Best Western Island Palms Hotel and Marina
- Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
- Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle (near Sea World)
For info on the political influence of San Diego Hoteliers, visit http://www.hoteliercabal.com
BoltBlitz.com fully endorses and agrees with the aforementioned parties on boycotting the local hotels of San Diego. They seem to be the ones standing in your way of keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
Thanks a lot for reading.
*submitted to BoltBlitz.com via email from Dan McLellan.
Melvin Gordon performed well below expectations his rookie year. Appearing in 14 of 16 games, starting 12 of them, he ran for only 641 yards and never saw the end zone.
I expect bigger and better out of Melvin this year. He had microfracture surgery in January, which may have contributed to his pedestrian performance in 2015. The offensive line, at least on paper, is improved. The addition of center Max Tuerk should put Chris Watt at guard where he belongs. The additions of Gordon’s former blocking back at Wisconsin, Derek Watt, and Chris Swain should also help via competition at the fullback position. Gordon’s supporting cast looks deeper than last year’s and represents an upgrade over 2015 (at least on paper). The improvements up the middle should produce dividends for No. 28.
The departure of Frank Reich as offensive coordinator and the return of Ken Whisenhunt is definitely welcome among much of Charger Nation and could represent handwriting on the wall for Mike McCoy, as well, but that’s for another discussion. The Chargers’ offense showed more balance and far less predictability under Whiz than it did under Reich, which should definitely help the running game in general, and Gordon in particular.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold Gordon blameless for last year. He showed an inability to hold onto the football with six fumbles — four of them turned over to the other team. Gordon needs to learn to hold onto the ball and protect it with his life. Six fumbles in 184 touches is unacceptable. He ran tentatively much of the time. He needs to be decisive. He needs to hit the gaps created for him. He needs to run north and south with authority. He needs to earn Philip Rivers’ trust and confidence. He needs to prove to himself and to Rivers that he doesn’t need to audible out of running plays.
Whether or not Gordon can fulfill all of the needs bestowed upon him remains to be seen. That being said, I expect that he’ll take care of the majority of the aforementioned responsibilities in his second year.
Between Reich and a turnstile offensive line, there are plenty of responsibilities to spread around. Gordon has to step up this year and prove he was worthy of being traded up for in the first round of the 2015 draft.
I think he will. What do you think?
(My wife left me)