Monthly Archives: August 2016
The San Diego Chargers host the Arizona Cardinals for a week of practice leading up to their game Friday. The Cardinals begin practice at Chargers Park on Tuesday after having their home turf taken over by Guns N’ Roses’ massive arena tour on Monday. On Tuesday, practice will be at Qualcomm Stadium, Wednesday at Chargers Park. Both teams will take the day off Thursday to rest before the game Friday.
The joint practice will be a nice change-of-pace for both teams. Undoubtedly, they’re all tired of hitting each other in practice. One could expect the intensity level of practice to heighten with men in different colored jerseys on the opposite sideline. This will be a big week for the players fighting to make the roster.
Living in Phoenix, I have heard plenty of juicy tidbits coming from the Cardinals’ side of the ball. The Arizona Cardinals are a Super Bowl favorite and a great way for the Chargers to test themselves against one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the league. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians expressed his respect for Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy on local radio Monday and talked about the joint practice.
“That’s the one thing, I enjoy working with Mike McCoy because we have the same philosophy.” Arians said. “We wouldn’t practice any different. We wouldn’t hit a guy going over the middle on our team in practice; we won’t hit one of their guys going over the middle. We always stay away from the quarterback.” Arians continued.
“It’s creating competition but it’s practice, and we’ve got 180 guys on the same team for three days. Then we’ll play them in the game and all bets are off.” Arians said on the Doug and Wolf morning radio show Monday.
More interestingly, Cardinals’ General Manager Steve Keim was also on the radio Monday talking about the road trip and made no bones about the fact he was looking to wheel and deal if the opportunity presents itself.
“I reached out to Tom Telesco last night and he and I will get together before practices start and talk about both of our rosters,” Keim started. “See where our deficiencies are you know; in hopes that you can always talk about, hey, is there an area where we can help each other improve?” Keim stated.
This kind of talk goes on behind-the-scenes at every joint practice if the front office is worth their salt. There are two 90-man rosters full of guys playing their hardest to showcase their talents for their current team and whomever else may be watching. What’s curious about this case is that Keim, who does a radio segment every week in Phoenix, has made it no secret over the past two weeks that he will be actively pursuing a healthy exchange of ideas and hopefully players during this trip to San Diego.
Sounds like the Chargers have something the Cardinals want…
Let’s look at the possibilities. The Cardinals have a wealth of depth at their defensive line, wide receiver, secondary and running back positions. They are lacking on their offensive line, especially at right tackle. The Cards are currently starting D.J. Humphries. Humphries was their first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Arians listed Humphries as inactive for every game last season because of his inability to grasp the playbook and laziness on the practice field. Humphries earned the unfortunate nickname “knee-deep” referring to Arians’ disposition with Humphries in 2015.
Arizona’s deficiencies at linebacker have been hidden due to the effectiveness of the secondary and defensive line. If the Cardinals plan on carrying a third quarterback, it won’t be NFL journeyman Matt Barkley or Jake Coker, an undrafted free agent signee out of Alabama. Both quarterbacks have been unimpressive in camp and in their first preseason game.
San Diego has an abundance of talent at linebacker where they currently have 15 linebackers on their roster. The Chargers also have better depth at tight end, quarterback and offensive tackle. The possibilities for a talent exchange is endless but I will give you five names to watch.
RB Andre Ellington: The Cardinals drafted Ellington in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Lower leg and foot injuries have derailed what was a phenomenal start to his career. Ellington is finally back to full strength from his injuries but with Chris Johnson (who led the NFL in rushing yards before he went down to injury in 2015), the emergence of David Johnson, Stepfan Taylor (considered the best pass protector of the group) and Kerwynn Williams on board, Ellington may be the odd man out. Ellington would be a great insurance policy for Melvin Gordon and he is an electrifying return man as well. Just how fast is Ellington? He ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 4.51-seconds with a pulled hamstring!
QB Mike Bercovici and G Vi Teofilo: Both of these men played their college ball right down the I-10 at Arizona State University. Bercovici has been the most impressive of the quarterbacks the Chargers have brought in during the offseason. Kellen Clemens and Zach Mettenberger are likely to be second and third on the quarterback depth chart unless Telesco sees enough promise in Bercovici to make one of the two expendable. Teofilo is a 6″3′-inch, 315-pound guard who fills a need for depth at that position.
CB Justin Bethel: In a very crowded Cardinals’ secondary room, Bethel has sat on the sidelines with a foot injury and watched as his job is threatened by rookie third-round pick Brandon Williams. Williams has wowed the coaching staff with one head-turning practice after another and is making the most of his quick ascension to the first team.
Bethel was a key piece of the Cardinals’ 2015 secondary as the number two cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. With Peterson locking down his side of the field, lots of balls came Bethels’ way and he was up to the task with 46 combined tackles, nine passes defensed, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles. Bethel was signed to a three-year, $15-million dollar contract extension in the offseason and made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year in 2015 as a special-teamer. Arians has a reputation for his disdain for players in the trainers’ room. Bethel could be moved if the price is right.
ILB Manti Te’o: Manti isn’t on the bubble but this is a contract year for him. Many stories are afloat about Te’o finally coming into his own as a leader. Foot injuries limited his effectiveness in his first two seasons but he finally showed what he is capable of in 2015 as he led the Chargers in tackles with 107 combined tackles. Te’o had a strong finish to his 2015 season, especially after Denzel Perryman was promoted to starter midway through the season. The two had an unspoken chemistry and played well off each other.
Why would the Chargers let him go now?
Te’o leaves you wanting more and not necessarily in a good way. Every missed tackle, every time a receiver catches a ball right in front of him, every time he’s left behind by a running back we shake our heads in frustration. To his credit, 2015 was hands down the best we’ve seen of him. However, there is a reason Telesco hasn’t offered him an extension when he has been diligently signing the Chargers’ core players to multi-year deals.
A Te’o-for-Bethel deal works for both sides.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Over the weekend the San Diego Chargers released a brand-new four-and-a-half minute sizzle ad, launching their movement to win the stadium vote in November. The ad, narrated by Chargers’ legend and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, shows a beautiful 3-D rendering of the stadium, complete with improvements to the cityscape both physically and financially. Edited versions of the ad will be seen on local television soon.
The ad spearheads a full mass media campaign blitz which will also cover print, radio and social media. In addition to the Chargers’ efforts, citizen-led fan groups such as Save Our Bolts, Die Hard Bolt Club, San Diego Chargers Backers, Bolt Pride and others will cover the streets of San Diego by foot, detailing the stadium plan and encouraging citizens to vote YES in November.
To view the full-length stadium ad, click on the image below.
The ad is funded by Citizens for Sports, entertainment and Tourism with major funding from Chargers Football Company LLC. Major bulletpoints in the video stress the fact that there will be no new taxes levied on San Diego citizens. The funds would instead come from tourists, convention-goers and out-of-town business people staying in local hotels.
The 55-year history of the Chargers in San Diego is highlighted going back as far as Fouts’ famed ‘Air Coryell’ era to the current Philip Rivers-led era. The CGI-renderings show a beautiful state-of-the-art facility with a convention center annex. The deck of the annex would feature multiple viewing balconies and a grass-covered rooftop ‘sky garden’ where patrons can enjoy a panoramic view of the San Diego skyline.
The stadium would hold 61,500 fans and when they host the Super Bowl, seating could be expanded to hold 72,000. As Fouts so eloquently asks in the video, “What could be sweeter than Raiders, Broncos and Patriots fans all helping pay for the project, when they pay their hotel bill?”
The video is capped by Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos, speaking on behalf of the entire Chargers organization.
“This new facility will be much more than a stadium, it will be a world-class event center for San Diego that will create new convention space and attract new sports and entertainment events year-round. I hope you’ll take some time to consider our proposal and know that we’re here to listen and respond. San Diego is our home, and I believe the best is still to come for all of us together. So please, join with us.” Spanos said.
The video is remarkable and would be a boon to the San Diego economy for decades to come. In the short-term, tons of new city and government jobs will be added. Stadiums take time to build and this stadium could take 5-7 years to complete. Money from the approved hotel rate hike would go into the general fund after the stadium revenues are fulfilled. That money can go anywhere from repaving roads, improving schools and improving outdated features of the city.
San Diego is the greatest destination city in America, every travelling convention, trade show, major concert act would make San Diego a priority. Special attraction events such as the Olympics, World Cup, Final Fours, Wrestlemania and the yearly return of Comic-Con would ensure there is no off-season when it comes to the amount of money the city stands to make.
Citizens of San Diego, you owe this to yourselves and to your families. All it takes is a Yes vote at the polls in November to provide the brightest future, not just for the Chargers, but for the city of San Diego and its’ people for decades to come.
When all those annoying Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs fans roll into town bragging about how great their team is, we can just smile and thank them for building our new stadium. What do you think Bolt Nation? Will this get a YES vote from you in November? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
With wide receiver Stevie Johnson going under the knife today, the San Diego Chargers moved quickly in signing a wide receiver to fill his spot. Moments ago, San Diego signed former-Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones. Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed.
According to reports, the Chargers’ had also worked out Brian Hartline and Lance Moore.
Jones, 32, surprisingly was not brought back to Green Bay after he stepped in last season following the injury to star wideout Jordy Nelson. All Jones did was lead the Packers with 50 receptions for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. This year, Jones finds himself in the same position; called out of the free agent void to replace a starting wide receiver that went down to injury.
Hopefully, 2016 will yield similar results. The 6’1″-inch, 200-pound Jones joins Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin as the top-three wideouts on the Chargers’ depth chart.
Take a look at the highlight reel above from his 2015-16 Packers’ season and you see while he’s not the fastest man on the field Jones shows great hands, crisp route running, veteran awareness of his feet in relation to the sidelines and ability to get yards after the catch. This is a great signing by San Diego in my opinion.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Mike Silver of NFL Network is reporting that Chargers’ wide receiver Stevie Johnson has a torn meniscus and he will have surgery soon.
I’m told by a source familiar with Chargers WR Stevie Johnson’s knee injury that he has a torn meniscus & will have surgery soon @nflnetwork
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 1, 2016
Johnson was injured during training camp on Sunday on a play that you could immediately see that it could be very bad for the veteran wideout.
The former Bill is in the last year of his contract with the Bolts. Johnson hauled in 45 receptions for 497 yards and three touchdowns in his first year in San Diego.
Dave Booga Peters