Monthly Archives: July 2016
Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green passed away on Thursday night at the age of 67.
“Dennis passed away last night from complications of cardiac arrest,” Green’s family said in a statement per ESPN.com, among other reports. “His family was by his side and he fought hard.”
Dean Spanos released a statement regarding the passing of Green via the team’s Twitter account.
Green left an indelible mark on the NFL, not only for the rant in the video below, but because he was the second black head coach in the NFL — Art Shell of the Raiders was the first.
Personally, I’ll remember Green as much for the 1998 season — where the Vikings went 15-1 while sporting an incredibly dangerous offense, featuring Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss — as I will for his famous rant.
Prayers and condolences go out to Green’s family and friends.
With the third pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select defensive end Joey Bosa of Ohio State.
When the Chargers selected Bosa with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, I was a little disappointed; not because I don’t think he will be a good player, I just had my sights set on either Jalen Ramsey or DeForest Buckner.
Alas, the Chargers drafted the player who had been No. 1 on their draft board for the last two years.
Bosa had a phenomenal career while at Ohio State, compiling 148 total tackles (51 of which were tackles for loss), 26 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, two fumbles recovered and five forced fumbles.
|*2013||Ohio State||Big Ten||FR||DL||11||27||15||42||13.5||7.5||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|*2014||Ohio State||Big Ten||SO||DL||15||39||16||55||21.5||13.5||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|2015||Ohio State||Big Ten||JR||DL||12||35||16||51||16.0||5.0||1||28||28.0||0||4||0||1|
(Stat chart credit: www.sports-reference.com)
A consensus All-American in both 2014 and 2015, Bosa was touted by many as the best player in all of college football for the last two seasons — at least until a month or so before the NFL draft.
In what was a bit surprising, as you looked around at all of the “experts'” mock drafts that were out there, Bosa started to fall down draft boards a few picks.
Once the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles moved up to secure the first and second overall picks, respectively, Bosa was no longer in the conversation for the No. 3 pick, as players like defensive back Jalen Ramsey, defensive end DeForest Buckner and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil were all prognosticated to the Chargers.
When looking back on it and allowing it to sink in, it is actually very impressive that Tom Telesco and company were able to play things so close to the vest, not letting the cat out of the bag that the former Buckeye had been their target all along.
In an effort to come to grips with the selection of the former Buckeye, I decided to find and watch several more of his games at Ohio State. One of the things that jumped out at me immediately was how Bosa was moved around between multiple spots along the defensive line, allowing the opportunity to create mismatches in his favor. From what I saw, Bosa was as impressive on the inside of the defensive line as he was on the outside at defensive end.
In the video below — and I apologize in advance for the language — you immediately see Bosa blow up a fourth-down play by hitting the open gap and bullrushing the running back into the quarterback, ending the game and winning the contest. On said play, Bosa was lined up inside. Throughout the video, you’ll notice that Ohio State moved Bosa all along the defensive line.
In addition to selecting Bosa in the draft and already having Corey Liuget signed for the foreseeable future, the Chargers signed nose tackle Brandon Mebane during free agency, giving the Bolts what could be one of the best d-lines in football.
Though the Bolts have already stated that their first-round pick will play defensive end in the team’s 3-4 defense, they will also utilize him on the inside in passing situations. I am looking forward to them doing just that.
Moving Bosa around forces the opposing offense to attempt to game plan for each individual situation differently.
When in a third-and-long situation, you could see him line up anywhere along the defensive line. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was asked to stand up, occasionally, as an outside linebacker.
Obviously, the Chargers have plenty of plans for Bosa, seeing as Tom Telesco and members of the coaching staff have spoken glowingly about the youngster’s playing ability. The kid is only 20 years old, too. He figures to be a fixture on the defense for many years to come. In order to maximize his potential, John Pagano must make sure to be creative when unleashing the rookie, forcing teams to pick their poison on a defensive unit that sorely needed an addition like Bosa.
Now, if only the Chargers and Bosa could get things figured out on a mutually beneficial contract prior to the beginning of training camp on July 29. All Chargers fans are waiting with bated breath for that very moment.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
The countdown to training camp continues, as only 10 days remain until we get our first glimpse of the San Diego Chargers’ full 90-man roster. Of course, I’m optimistically saying 90 because we know 89 of them will be there for sure.
In an ongoing effort to introduce Chargers Nation to players in the program we haven’t heard of, I shine my player spotlight on Tyler Marcordes.
Marcordes signed with the Chargers immediately after the 2016 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound outside linebacker played in the ACC for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. After redshirting his first year in 2011, Marcordes did not miss a single game the following four seasons at Georgia Tech.
He finally became a full-time starter in his senior season in 2015, posting an impressive 51 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. In his four seasons on the field, he compiled 102 tackles (67 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery. More impressively, of his 53 games only 21 were starts with 19 of those starts in his redshirt junior and senior seasons.
Marcordes greatest moment of glory on the field came during his junior year versus Elon. The play is held in high esteem as an ACC Must See Moment. Check out the footage below.
Marcordes had a great showing at the Georgia Tech Pro Day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds. That time would have placed eighth among linebackers at the NFL Combine. Marcordes posted a 35-inch vertical jump and broad jumped nine feet, ten inches. He comes from a football bloodline as his father, Bill Marcordes Jr., played linebacker for Illinois Wesleyan. His grandfather, Bill Marcordes Sr., played defensive end at Bradley University on the way to being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 18th round of the 1965 NFL Draft.
Marcordes will have ample opportunity to make a name for himself in training camp, working to crack a very crowded field of linebackers. He showed he can make plays when he’s on the field in college. Here’s hoping he can do the same on the field at Chargers Park and in the preseason. San Diego nailed it with an ACC linebacker last year (University of Miami product Denzel Perryman).
Will Marcordes prove them right again?
He will be #44 in your program. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@TylerMarcordes).
Good luck, Mr. Marcordes.
The Greg One
The NFL regular season starts in just under two months. The 2016 schedule has the Chargers facing the AFC South, NFC South, the Miami Dolphins (AFC East) and the Cleveland Browns (AFC North).
Below is a breakdown of their 2016 opponents.
Week 1: @Kansas City Chiefs
2015 Record: 11-5, 2nd AFC West
Offense: 27th overall
Defense: 7th overall
The Chiefs started 2015 slow, losing five straight games. They ended the season winning 10 straight and won their first playoff game in 20 years. The running game should be solid for the Chiefs in 2016. Jamaal Charles is coming back from an ACL injury. Along with his fellow running backs, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, KC sports one of the best backfields in the NFL.
Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Record: 5-11, 3rd AFC South
Offense: 18th overall
Defense: 24th overall
The Jaguars had a less than stellar season, placing third in the worst division in the NFL in 2015. Jacksonville only won one road game last year. The Jags took to the draft to help beef up their defense by signing defensive players with their first five picks, including DB Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and LB Myles Jack from UCLA.
Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts
2015 Record: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 28th overall
Defense: 26th overall
The Colts had a 3-5 record in the first half of the 2015 season, losing starting quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 8. Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and journeyman signal caller Josh Freeman went 5-3 in the second half, but it still was not enough to win the division. If Andrew Luck can stay healthy in 2016, the Colts could make improvements on offense. They drafted a much-needed center, Ryan Kelly from Alabama, with the 18th pick overall.
Week 4: New Orleans Saints
2015 Record: 7-9, 3rd NFC South
Offense: 2nd overall
Defense: 31st overall
The Saints were a very lopsided team in 2015. Their offense averaged 403.8 yards and 25.5 points per game, but their defense allowed an average of 413.8 yards and 29.8 points per game. That is clearly not a recipe for success. The Saints should continue to have a stellar offense with veteran Drew Brees at quarterback.
Week 5: @Oakland Raiders
2015 Season: 7-9, 3rd AFC West
Offense: 24th overall
Defense: 22nd overall
The Raiders made some improvements last year in an attempt to have their first winning season since losing the Super Bowl in 2003, but fell short, again. Their 7-9 record was an improvement considering they have averaged only 4.9 wins a season in the last 13 years. The Raiders will probably continue to improve in 2016. They have a young team lead by third-year quarterback Derek Carr. Don’t sleep on the Raiders in 2016.
Week 6: Denver Broncos
2015 Season: 12-4, 1st AFC West
Offense: 16th overall
Defense: 1st overall
The Broncos won the division — again — for the fifth consecutive season and went on to win Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning had his worst season, finishing with only nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 10 games. The stellar Broncos’ defense allowed an average of only 283.1 yards and 18.5 points per game. The Broncos are bringing back pretty much the same defense in 2016. The retirement of Manning brings veteran Mark Sanchez, back-up quarterback Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch fighting for the starting position. Rumor has it that Sanchez and Siemian are neck-and-neck in the fight to win the job.
Week 7: @Atlanta Falcons
2015 Season: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 7th overall
Defense: 16th overall
The Falcons started out the 2015 season hot, winning six of their first eight games. The second half was the exact opposite, as they went 2-6. One of the two wins in the second half was against their division rival, and eventual Super Bowl runner-up, the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons drafted strong safety Keanu Neal from Florida with the 17th overall pick to boost their struggling defense.
Week 8: @Denver Broncos
See week six.
Week 9: Tennessee Titans
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC South
Offense: 30th overall
Defense: 12th overall
The Titans looked like a sleeper team in Week 1 of the 2015 season, when they won 42-14 against the Tampa Bay Bucs, led by 2nd overall pick, Marcus Mariota, who had 209 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Despite Mariota’s success in Week 1, the Titans ended up with the worst record in 2015, averaging only 311.8 yards and 18.7 points per game. It will be hard to do much worse in 2016, but anything is possible.
Week 10: Miami Dolphins
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th AFC East
Offense: 26th overall
Defense: 25th overall
The Dolphins were led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who averaged 263 passing yards per game and had 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. While those numbers aren’t terrible, his offensive line could not keep him standing up, as he was sacked 45 times. The Titans could fare better in 2016 when it comes to sacks with the signing of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @Houston Texans
2015 Season: 9-7, 1st AFC South
Offense: 19th overall
Defense: 3rd overall
The Texans started the season off rocky, going 3-5 in the first half of the season but turned it around in the second half, only losing two games. The third ranked defense allowed only an average of 19.6 points for game and even had five games where their opponent only scored six points. The Texans liked what they saw when Brock Osweiler took over the quarterback duties for the Broncos and signed him to be their starter in 2016. This move could either make them or break them.
Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th NFC South
Offense: 5th overall
Defense: 10th overall
The Buccaneers should have had a better record in 2015 since they had a top-10 overall offense and defense. Stats don’t always show the big picture, especially considering their offense averaged 375.9 yards per game, but only 21.4 points per game. The defense allowed an average of 340.4 yards per and 26.4 points per game. The Bucs took to their coaching staff to bring change, naming Dirk Koetter as the new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith, along with Mike Smith as the new defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator.
Week 14: @Carolina Panthers
2015 Season: 15-1, 1st NFC South
Offense: 11th overall
Defense: 6th overall
The Panthers had an explosive offense in 2015, leading the league with 500 total points and an average of 31.3 points per game. Their offense, lead by quarterback Cam Newton, was not able to fare well against the best defense in the league and lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos, scoring only 10 points. The Panthers will be without DB Charles Tillman, who recently announced his retirement after 13 years in the league. They signed former Chargers punter Mike Scifres to a one-year deal.
Week 15: Oakland Raiders
See week five.
Week 16: @ Cleveland Browns
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC North
Offense: 25th overall
Defense: 27th overall
For the fourth straight year, the Browns were in last place in their division. The quarterback situation in Cleveland was their biggest downfall in 2015. The off-field antics of quarterback Johnny Manziel had the Browns switching the starting positions between the former first-round draft pick and Josh McCown. The Browns lost their best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, to the Chargers during free agency. They went to the draft in hopes of replacing him, drafting five wide receivers, including Corey Coleman from Baylor with the 15th overall pick.
Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs
See week one.
The Chargers only face four teams with a winning record last year, but two of the four of those teams are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face two teams with a .500 season and seven teams with a losing season in 2015, including the Oakland Raiders.
The schedule seems pretty easy — on paper — and I predict that they will definitely win more than four games this season. The Chargers play in a tough division and will need to win some of those games to be contenders in 2016.
Thanks for reading!
Quarterback Philip Rivers has already set more than his fair share of team records since taking over the reins as the starting signal caller in San Diego. Rivers has passed up the legendary Dan Fouts in most statistical categories, but there are still a few more passing records which he has the opportunity to eclipse prior to hanging up his cleats.
The fact of the matter is, this will be the year that he overtakes Fouts in all major passing stats, make no mistake about it.
Perhaps if Ken Whisenhunt had remained with San Diego after the 2013 season rather than accepting the head coaching job for the Tennessee Titans, we would have already witnessed it. However, “Whiz” left in 2014 and Frank Reich was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.
While a portion of the argument would have to include the dreaded injury bug to the offense, the majority of blame lies in the uninspired playcalling over the 2014 and 2015 seasons. There was a flash here and there of going outside the box with the occasional reverse or two tight-end sets, but that was too infrequent. Reich may have been one of the better back-up quarterbacks in the NFL, yet play design was not his forte. His tendency to use and shotgun and pistol formations, inability to develop schemes that were more familiar to then-rookie Melvin Gordon and abysmal offensive line play led to a parting of the ways between Reich and the organization this past January.
Let’s not dwell on that, though. A new season is on the horizon. A great many positives can come out of this year’s campaign. It has been said many times that as Rivers goes, so does the team he leads.
Now, I recognize that when Dan Fouts led the Chargers, the rules for protecting the quarterback were a bit different. Quarterbacks might have been hit in the head or had their legs grabbed by a defender, and little came of it. The NFL rulebook has changed considerably, and a quote made in 2013 by ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer pretty much says it all: “…we played a game where we had to stay in the pocket and get hit in the face…But part of the badge of honor of playing quarterback in the NFL was standing in there and taking shots in the face and throwing a 20-yard dig route. That’s what separated you from the other guys. Now that’s just not part of the game.”
Undeniably, the QB position is one of the most protected when it comes to the assessment of penalties. Blatant or not, it’s going to be costly for the defense (possibly for the defender in the form of a fine) in today’s environment.
Keep a couple of things in mind as you read this: First, when Fouts entered the league in 1973, the season was 14 games long. Five years later it was changed to the current 16-game format. Second, two strike-shortened seasons skew his statistics. In 1982, only nine games were played. In 1987, weeks four through six saw predominantly replacement players take the field. One last thing, Fouts only had three seasons (1979 through 1981) in which he played the entire game schedule, whereas Rivers has played every game since becoming the lead signal caller for the Bolts’ in 2006.
There are a few of Fouts’ records that Rivers will meet and exceed in 2016, and at least a couple that might go into next year. For now let’s just concentrate on what is waiting.
Obviously, the first item is the career passing yards record. At the end of 2015, Rivers had amassed 41,447 yards to the 43,040 that Fouts had at the end of his career. That 1,594 mark could be gone by the end of the Chargers versus Saints game on October 2. Brees and Rivers may put on a passing extravaganza that day!
Another record that should easily be surpassed will be the number of 300-yard games. To date, No. 17 has collected 46 (including one playoff contest) to the 56 — including five playoff appearances — that Fouts has. That’s a difference which is well within PR’s reach. He is also one game-winning drive away from tying Fouts (25 vs 26), plus three away (21) towards matching the 24 fourth-quarter comebacks of his contemporary.
Last up, the number of games these two have played. Fouts played in 181 contests while Rivers is at 164. The disparity is due to the fact that Rivers sat behind Drew Brees until the last two games of 2005, when Brees suffered that shoulder injury while diving to recover a fumble in a meaningless game against the Denver Broncos. The only way that 17-game differential gets broken during this year’s campaign is if the Chargers fight their way into the postseason.
The discussion about who is the better quarterback will never stop. Don’t forget, however, that despite never making it to the Super Bowl, Fouts was inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Is that honor in Rivers’ future, as well? Only time will tell, but he is so far up the record books, how could it not?!
All in all, the 2016 football season is shaping up to be one to remember!
Thanks for reading!
Pro football focus is one of the most popular NFL-related websites out there. They have a unique, metrics-based system that they use to grade NFL players and teams.
Although I prefer to trust my eyes and what I see as opposed to going off of algorithms and formulas, they provide a useful tool which aides in the evaluation of talent in the league.
PFF.com recently ranked every receiving corps from 1-32. While the Patriots, somehow, graded out as the No. 1 corps, your San Diego Chargers finished just above the middle of the pack at 13th.
Here’s what they had to say:
13. San Diego Chargers
Projected starters: WR Keenan Allen, WR Travis Benjamin, WR Stevie Johnson, TE Antonio Gates
Key depth: WR Dontrelle Inman, WR Javontee Herndon, TE Henry Hunter
Key stat: Last season, Keenan Allen’s 2.16 yards per route run ranked 11th in the league at the time of his injury (Week 8).
Keenan Allen was on pace for the highest receiving-yardage total of his three-year career before a kidney injury wrecked his season in Week 8. That didn’t stop the Chargers from handing him a contract extension, though, and it’s hard to blame them, given his potential. Allen has forced 35 missed tackles on 223 receptions so far in his career, and figures to be the Chargers’ top wide receiver for most of the next decade—provided he can stay healthy. San Diego did make some improvements around him, though, adding former Cleveland Browns deep-threat Travis Benjamin early in free agency. Benjamin notched eight receptions for 363 yards and four touchdowns on passes traveling 20+ yards downfield last season, despite the Browns’ issues at quarterback; that deep-threat ability will fit in well with San Diego. With tight end Antonio Gates getting up there in years, they added his long-term replacement in Hunter Henry (Arkansas). Owning the highest receiving grade of all college TEs a year ago, Henry can make an impact for the Chargers in year one.
We all know how incredible the 2015 campaign was for wideout Keenan Allen until he suffered a lacerated kidney against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8. He was on a torrid pace, primed to set the team’s receptions record prior to being placed on injured reserve. With Allen entering the 2016 season ready to roll, one can expect the former third-round selection to come out and pick up where he left off.
Losing Malcom Floyd to retirement is certainly a big loss for the Chargers’ passing attack. The fact that Antonio Gates is another year older does not help, either.
But despite these two facts, the Bolts added speedster Travis Benjamin in the offseason. Though his size and frame are nothing like that of Floyd, he will be asked to stretch the field in a similar fashion to M-80. One thing that seems to go underappreciated about Benjamin is his ability to create space due to his route running. We all like to talk about how fast the former Brown is and how he can take the top off of the defense, but he can make plays underneath, using his speed to force separation between himself and defensive backs.
Stevie Johnson is no longer a receiver who can produce at the levels he did while he was with the Buffalo Bills, but, when healthy, he can still provide a possession-type role who can help the offense on third downs and in their three-wideout sets. Again, Johnson just needs to stay healthy to help contribute on a respectable level moving forward. The 2016 season is his last under contract with the Chargers.
PFF lists Inman, Herndon and rookie tight end Hunter Henry as key-depth players in the receiving corps. While I am glad they included Inman and Henry, I would have liked to see them add Tyrell Williams in place of Herndon. Herndon’s impact will most likely be as a kick returner should he not be supplanted by another Charger at the position.
Williams’ combination of size and speed cannot be taught, and I believe that we’ll see the youngster continue to mature and develop his route running, while providing quarterback Philip Rivers with the sizeable target who we all know he loves. It is imperative that Williams and Rivers continue to build a solid rapport if the receiver wants to find a regular spot on the club’s 53-man roster.
At this time, it is difficult to predict how much Henry will be used as a rookie. Though he’ll see a large number of snaps in his first season, the number of targets he receives is completely up in the air.
Overall, ranking the Chargers as having the 13th-best receiving corps sounds about right. That being said, don’t be surprised if we see them exceed expectations as long as the offensive line can keep Rivers clean, giving him ample amounts of time to find one of his many offensive weapons.
Where do you rank the Chargers’ receiving corps?
Please let me know in the comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
For San Diego fans and NFL fans everywhere, this is the time of year where expectations are the highest. All teams went through a draft, have not lost a game and can possibly win their division – on their way to becoming the next Super Bowl Champion. The jaded fans grow into optimists about the players, coaches and organization.
Heading into the 2016 NFL season, every sports writer makes their attempt in finding that diamond in the rough; predicting which players will exceed everyone’s expectations. It is an easy task to take on, considering there is no accountability in the event those prophecies don’t pan out.
On the flip side, those players named in their write-up will become that writer’s metaphorical “baby.” Cheering on the named players as if they were the ones who drafted and molded them, hoping they turn into an 18-carat jewel and not a cubic zirconia. Some writers base their forecasts strictly on stats, and possibly going to the extreme with logarithms and equations that would make any math genius giddy with excitement. Others, like myself, use statistics sparingly, mixing in their gut-feeling about certain players.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
After the dreadful 2015 season, where the team from America’s finest city landed in the bottom of almost every offensive and defensive category, 2016 fills the lungs anew, smelling of sweet hopefulness and the taste of victory. With that, let us look at a few players whom this writer feels will surpass expectations.
Branden Oliver – The undrafted running back out of the University of Buffalo is playing in his third season with San Diego. After 191 rushing attempts and 49 receptions in two seasons, Oliver has yet to fumble the football.
After Ryan Mathews went down with another injury in 2014, Bo was able to showcase his talents and determination. Watching him closely his rookie season, I was amazed with this lower body strength and ability to fight for those extra yards.
Entering his second year in 2015, he was back down on the depth chart with the selection of first-round draft pick Melvin Gordon and the recovered Danny Woodhead.
Bo, entering his final season under his rookie contract, is a hard worker and might be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Oliver has latched on to Woodhead as his mentor and seems to have healed from last season’s turf toe injury that he sustained in Week 8, landing him on the injured reserved and ending his season.
With Gordon entering his second season after an insipid rookie campaign and Woodhead healthy, Oliver will more than likely begin again as the third back. As the third on any depth chart, expectations are slim. It is no secret that the run game will be targeted to emerge as a force, especially with Ken Whisenhunt once again calling the shots. In addition to his strong work ethic and ability to hold on to the ball, his quickness and power will allow Oliver to gain more snaps and targets this upcoming season.
Brandon Flowers – The 30-year-old cornerback enters his third season with the Chargers. A former Pro Bowler, Flowers initially signed a one-year contract with San Diego and played as well as expected, earning him a four-year contract at the end of the 2014 season. With a lucrative contract in the books, Brandon’s body language and his constant lack of effort was that similar to former Chargers’ linebacker Donald Butler, who signed a big contract only to show nothing on the field.
According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers ended the 2015 season being graded as the third-worst corner out of a possible 111 qualifiers. It might be too simple to pick Brandon as someone who will exceed expectations, because it would not seem possible to get any worse.
Not wanting to follow in Butler’s footsteps, who to this day is still unsigned, the cornerback has come into San Diego with resurgence and a body that shows how hard he has worked in the offseason.
With Jason Verrett earning a Pro Bowl spot after his second season, Brandon will be looked upon as a mentor for Verrett while he is learning to play the inside more.
Flowers is a defensive back and not just a corner. At his age, and his horrid season where he did not record one interception, it might be easy to imply that his tank is on empty, not being able to perform like he did in Kansas City and his first year in America’s Finest City. However, Brandon is a professional and entered spring in great shape, with a competitive spirit and a smile on his face.
If healthy, he will return this season and reestablish himself as the reliable corner who the organization can count on.
Jeremiah Attaochu – A decade ago, San Diego was enjoying the fact that they housed the an incredible pass-rushing tandem of Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. With the 2016 season approaching, Chargers fans might once again be able to see two outside linebackers strike fear into opposing offenses.
Melvin Ingram has solidified his dominance and respect around the league and Jeremiah is catching up. Combined, Ingram and Attaochu accounted for a little more than half of the total sacks for the Bolts in 2015.
A vast improvement from his rookie season to last year’s crusade, Jerry needs to stay consistent all year if he is to improve on his six sacks. Utilizing his quickness and his ability to get in the backfield, there is no reason why his numbers will not again balloon in 2016.
One of the hardest and most diligent workers on the team, Jeremiah already showed improvements at spring practices. He might be underrated, and if teams will focus on Ingram, which they will, the second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech will continue to disrupt the opposition with an even stronger force than teams have seen so far. Expect a sizeable jump in both sack numbers and tackles for loss this upcoming season, all the while creating a ferocious duo with teammate Ingram.
Comment below on which players you feel will exceed expectations.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
Since selecting Joey Bosa with the third pick in the first round of this year’s draft, Chargers fans have been overly excited and overly anxious as well. Once it was announced that Bosa would be holding out due to contract issues with the organization, fans have become very critical of the youngster’s decision to not sign his rookie contract. This has sent this Chargers fan base into an outrage calling Bosa both selfish and money-hungry, among many other derogatory things.
I’m here to tell all of my fellow Chargers fans that while I love the fans’ passion for our team, everybody needs to chill.
No, really, just chill.
Bosa and his agent are upset over the off-set language in the contract, which the Chargers have come out and said every one of their contracts has some sort of off-set language in them.
While we would all like to have the Bosa contract signed and completed, there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about, yet.
The team is taking a much-needed respite prior to the beginning of training camp, which both rookies and veterans will be reporting to on July 29.
If this bleeds into training camp and, even worse, into preseason. then I will start worrying. Until that point, let’s try to remember, we are just fans who love our team; we treat this team like it’s our family; we win with this team and we lose with this team; we don’t just turn our fandom off. All of that being said, we are not the players who have worked our whole lives and sacrificed so much just to have an opportunity to play in the NFL.
Though we all hope Bosa is a long-time Charger, contract disputes happen all of the time in this game. Bosa has to get the contract that is best for him, his family and his future. Who are we as fans to call him out; especially when so many greats have done this same thing before him, including many San Diego Chargers.
The Spanos family is notorious for being cheap and tough negotiators. They already have enough issues with the stadium vote coming to the ballot in November, and they don’t need anymore negative press. After all, they picked Bosa not only because he was the best player available, but because he would bring a level of excitement and positive press which this team needs going into a possible boom-or-bust season.
My firm belief is the Bosa contract will be resolved days before training camp begins, avoiding negative press and showing us all that there was nothing to worry about.
So, go ahead and call Bosa selfish; it’s your right as a Chargers fan to have your own opinion. The organization has had selfish, money-hungry players in the past, including the lazy Jared Gaither.
That’s not Bosa, though. I genuinely believe he loves the game. He has been on record stating, “football is all he knows.” I’m sure he would love to be with the team learning and showing the team he’s here to work.
For now, all we can do is wait and let time do its thing. Fans must just relax and hold off on your overreactions, seeing as when Bosa hits the field and starts wreaking havoc in opposing team’s backfields, you’ll forget all about this contractual nonsense.
Chris “Supercharged” Hoke
On paper, The San Diego Chargers have had one of their best offseasons in recent history when it comes to player acquisitions. Their 2016 NFL Draft averaged out to a B grade if you listen to the talking heads and draft gurus on TV and radio. Chargers fans once again have reason to be optimistic about the team’s chances of going worst to first and returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season.
Improving the wide receiving corps, adding team speed and improving special teams were high on the Chargers’ to-do list this offseason and they succeeded in all three facets. The loss of Malcom Floyd (retirement) was answered by the free agent signing of speed burner Cleveland Browns’ Travis Benjamin. Healthy returns of Javontee Herndon, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman are also expected to help.
The San Diego Chargers/Denver Broncos intra-conference pipeline was still shown to be intact when the Chargers signed Broncos’ kick returner/wide receiver Isaiah Burse to their practice squad in November 2015. Now entering his second season as a pro, Burse played 12 games as a rookie in Denver as a punt returner. Last season he had 29 returns for 211 yards, good for a 7.3-yard average.
The 5’10”, 187-pound Burse showed in college at Fresno State that he has what it takes to be an elite returner as he posted an FBS single-season record for kickoff returns in 2012 with 75 returns for 1,606 yards; an average of a scorching 21.4 yards per return.
Over his four seasons at Fresno State, Burse had 126 kickoff returns for 2,835 yards (22.4 yards per return) and 29 punt returns for 344 yards (11.5 yards per return). He also caught 210 passes for 2,503 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries.
After being signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent in May of 2014, Burse played most of the season before being waived then placed on the Broncos’ practice squad that December. Waived again in early September 2015, Burse was signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad and released later that month. San Diego signed Burse in November 2015 and he re-signed with the Bolts’ on a Futures contract in January.
In Denver and Pittsburgh, Burse was lost in the shuffle of an already deep talent pool at wide receiver and returner. In San Diego, he will have every opportunity to claim a spot at both positions. We know the punt returner slot is already claimed by Benjamin, but a dynamic kickoff returner is something the Chargers have lacked for a long time. Given the opportunity, Burse can show he is the future of the position and etch his name in stone as a kick returner and as added depth on the wide receiver depth chart.
One look at the video below and it’s easy to see why Chargers GM Tom Telesco has tracked the 24-year old native of Modesto, CA, for so long. He runs faster on the field than the 4.58-seconds 40-yard dash time he posted at the 2014 NFL Draft Combine. He is sudden, can stop on a dime and effortlessly change direction. Burse is shifty, elusive and tenacious when attacking the defense as a receiver or returner.
The competition at wide receiver for spots on the 53-man roster will be one of the top position battles to watch when camp opens in less than two weeks. Get your popcorn ready.
Good luck, Mr. Burse.
The Greg One
Well, this is certainly a difficult challenge!
Try naming just five of YOUR favorite men to suit up in lightning bolts! Can you do it?!
Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes one say “Yeah, I like him!” Does it matter if it is an “old school” guy where they played more smashmouth football? Or one from the “new” era where it seems like statistics seem to be the norm?
Either way, we all have our favorites for whatever reason. Maybe it’s how they seemingly just fly down the field as if on wings. Perhaps it’s how that one guy is just ALWAYS busting through the offensive line. Could it be the brashness or confidence that reaches us? You all know what you appreciate about the players you can’t wait to see take the field.
Here’s my list of my top five “old school” Chargers, though there were many choices!
Punter for the Chargers from 1994 to 2003, Bennett was formerly an Australian Rules football player. One always knew two things about him: he had the BIGGEST kicking leg and he did not shy away from hitting an opponent if need be. You just knew that Bennett was going to give his team the best field position possible! It was something to see when that ball left his foot and caught air!
Lionel “Little Train” James:
Gosh, this guy was special! He was only in the league for five short years, but he left his mark! Small in stature at 5’6″ and 171 pounds, James was THE smallest running back when he came into the NFL in 1984. His best season was in 1985 when he established three records for a running back.
James led the AFC with 86 receptions and set the bar at 2,583 all-purpose yards including 1,027 receiving yards. I remember watching him squirt through holes and run along the sideline. He had so much power in those legs and he was quick; defenders had difficulty stopping him. Sadly, his stellar career ended due to a degenerative hip injury.
Ha, gotcha on this one! Who could forget the Tongan TE who literally was responsible for scoring the go-ahead touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers to get the Bolts into the 1994 playoffs?! Yes, I know that Dennis Gibson broke up a Neil O’Donnell pass with mere seconds on the clock.
Pupunu had two stints in San Diego (1992-97, 1999). One of the other reasons I and other fans liked him was because of his touchdown celebration: he would pretend that he was opening a coconut and then hoisted it skyward as if drinking from it. I’d venture to say that some folks might have thought he was opening and drinking a beer!
Undoubtedly, the BEST nose tackle to ever suit up for the Blue and Gold. “Ja-mal” was a big, hulking man at 6’3′ and 348 pounds. He was a tackling machine and one of my favorite guys to watch on defense not named Junior Seau. Eleven seasons in San Diego saw the huge but quick man wreak havoc against opposing offenses by collecting 240 tackles, defend 18 passes, force three fumbles plus a lone touchdown and interception apiece.
He was not only an outstanding defensive lineman for the Chargers, he was also considered one of the most elite nose tackles in the NFL in his day. I would always get a kick out of watching that huge body shove it’s way into the middle. Jamal meant business!
As a defensive end, O’Neal was another adept tackler for the Bolts. Voted Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1986 he racked up 12.5 sacks prior to losing almost two years due to a knee injury. It was week seven of the ’88 season before he took the field again. His stats weren’t great that year (four sacks/28 tackles) but he was on his way. His performance that season made it possible for him to make his first Pro Bowl appearance.
By the time his career in San Diego was completed, per Pro Football Reference his numbers were: six Pro Bowl selections, 572 tackles, 105.5 sacks which made him the team leader in that category; forced 18 fumbles while recovering nine, two interceptions and a touchdown. O’ Neal is currently tied with Lawrence Taylor at 13th all-time as they both have 132.5 sacks in their careers. Yet another great defenseman for the Chargers.
Gill Byrd – Safety 1983-1992; played every position in the secondary (LCB/SS/FS/RCB), 42 INTs (4x in Top 10)
Stan Humphries – Quarterback 1992-1997; only QB to lead team to Super Bowl (’94), he also guided them to 10 fourth quarter comebacks to go with 12 game-winning drives. He retired as a result of sustaining four concussions in 22 months.
Charlie Joiner – Wide Receiver 1976-1986; aged 39 when he hung up his cleats, Joiner was one of Fouts’ favorite targets to the tune of 586 receptions, 9,203 yards and 47 TDs.
Kellen Winslow – Tight End 1979-1987; in addition to his memorable “Epic in Miami” performance, Winslow was a five-time Pro Bowler. He also placed in the Top 10 in these categories: receptions (4x), receiver (3x), and receiving TDs (4x). He had some gaudy numbers for a guy who only played in 109 games: 6,741 yards on 541 catches with 45 of those being TDs. After just eight years in the NFL, he, too, was forced to retire due to injury.
Keep an eye out for a list of my current players!
Thank you for reading!