Monthly Archives: September 2016
It’s week three and the Chargers are on the road. Here are my three things they must do to have a happy flight home
1.) Get Hunter Henry involved
Antonio Gates is out this week due to his ankle so it is the Chargers second round pick time to step up. Henry has one catch on the season for 20 yards and that came in week one vs the Chiefs in the second half. Used mostly as a blocker, Henry will be a huge reason why the offense moves and needs to be implemented as a legitimate pass catching threat.
2.) All aboard the Gordon train
Weird coming from me, I know, but Melvin Gordon looks far better this season than he did a year ago. He is making quick decisions, holding onto the ball (simultaneously knocks on wood) and has cut down on the stutter stepping, although still does this at times. His vision has improved and he is fighting through arm tackles. He is, for the most part, what Telesco moved up to get a year ago. Keep his mojo going and hand him the rock and hopefully he continues his recent success.
3.) Contain Luck, contain the Colts
Andrew Luck has been turnover prone since joining the league in 2013 and taking over for Peyton Manning. Since then, the Chargers have faced him once, beat him, picked him off once and held him to less than 300 yards passing. Whatever worked then, do it again. The Colts are without Donte Moncrief and Jason Verrett is most likely going to be on T.Y. Hilton, unless Hilton goes in the slot. The Colts don’t have the playmakers they once have, but no NFL team should be taken lightly.
What do you guys think? Let me know below and go bolts!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
On Monday another crushing blow to the Chargers 2016 campaign occurred when it was announced that Danny Woodhead would be lost for the season. Compounded with the loss of Keenan Allen last week, a huge void has been created in this offense.
Enter Dexter McCluster who the Chargers wasted no time finding as a solid replacement for Danny. Formerly with the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, he is a capable and dangerous weapon who could be the best in-season pickup the Chargers have had in a long time.
Dare I say this – McCluster may be a better weapon for Rivers then Woodhead was. That’s only if McCluster has the same speed and shiftiness he had in KC/Tenn. The best part of this signing is Dexter knows Whisenhunt’s offense since he played for him in Tennessee. McCluster should easily be a situational player who has the versatility to make an impact in the running game, passing game and a return specialist. The Bolts haven’t had this kinda flexibility since the days of Darren Sproles.
To some, there might be some concern as to why he was on the free agent market. In Tennessee, he was third on the depth chart behind DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and thus he was released on September 2nd. A tryout with the New York Jets and 18 days later, the Chargers timing seems fortuitous as they inked him right away.
With his adaptability to fit into any role, it is anyone’s guess as to how McCoy will utilize the 28-year-old. Clearly he has huge shoes to fill in replacing a player like Woodhead, but perhaps with the right coaching staff and supporting cast, his career and usefulness could get a major jump. So far in his career, since being drafted by Kansas City out of Mississippi, he has not been “the guy” to build a team around. However, he appears to be a self-aware player who believes he can make an impact in any role he is given. All he needs is open space and the rock in order to showcase his speed and elusiveness.
If you’re not familiar with Dexter, here’s some highlights of his years with KC and his last year with the Titans. Enjoy!
Thanks for the read
Before you get out the torches and pitchforks and start hunting me down, allow me to explain how Danny Woodhead’s knee injury could actually be used as a positive from this point on. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Danny. He is a very good running back; extremely valuable as a runner, a receiver, and a blocker for Philip Rivers. He has had a fine career with the Chargers and I am sad to see him lost for the season. I know what you are thinking. “If he is so good, how can his injury be a positive for the team?” Allow me to explain.
With losing Woodhead for the season, Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will be forced to become better, more aggressive coaches. If you watched the week one game against the Chiefs, you saw that the play calling was completely differently in the second half than in the first. In the first half, the 2015 first round draft pick Melvin Gordon was given the bulk of the load and pounded the ball down the field. Twice he even got into the end zone. He looked like a completely different back than he was last year.
In the second half, Gordon’s role essentially vanished. Woodhead’s number was called upon for almost the entire second half. Why Woodhead? Because he is trustworthy. Coach McCoy remembers the fumble issues that Gordon had last season and did not want to risk a turnover in a game where the Chargers had a big lead. So, Gordon to the bench and Woodhead on the field; playing a role that does not suit him — the “every down back”.
Delayed draws out of the shotgun formation became the play of the half as they went with it time and time again. Although Woodhead was able to move the ball fairly successfully for much of the half, he was unable to punch it into the end zone. His presence did not make the defense fear the run, so pass coverage tightened up and pressure on Rivers picked up as well – a bad combination to say the least. We all know how that game turned out. McCoy and Whisenhunt played timid, cautious offense in an attempt not to lose. This plan did not work and KC made it all the way back to win the game in overtime.
Let’s move to last week’s game against what most people consider a team going in the right direction, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Again, Gordon started out getting the majority of the carries and punished the Jaguars’ defense play after play. Woodhead was doing what he does best. He was basically a third down back who can protect the quarterback and catch outlet passes out of the backfield. Unfortunately, one of those passes lead to his knee giving out, tragically ending his season.
Melvin Gordon, that’s what! McCoy and Whisenhunt had no real choice but to keep Gordon in the game, even with a big lead, and letting him pound the rock. He continued his effective play and actually tallied his first 100 yard rushing game in his short NFL career. Oh, and by the way, he hasn’t fumbled yet! That second half should go far as to gaining trust from the coaches moving forward.
As long as Gordon stays healthy, there is no reason to believe that he cannot be trusted to keep defenses honest and take a lot of pressure off of Rivers. If Melvin continues to be as effective as he has started out, this could be a classic story of someone going from goat to hero in one season. A story that might never have been told if Woodhead was still there to allow McCoy and company to play it safe.
Of course this goes without saying, but Gordon can’t play every snap for the entire game. That would be asking to get him hurt. So who else can step in to give Gordon a breather? Let’s take a look:
Kenneth Farrow: Farrow had a very nice preseason and earned his way on the roster. With Woodhead’s injury forcing him on the field against Jacksonville, Farrow carried the ball four times for a total of 13 yards. Not an earth shattering debut, but it is a very small sample size. What fans need to remember is that the impressive numbers he put up in the preseason were against second and third string defenders; running vanilla game plans. If he gets the call, he would be facing the best of every opponent. The sledding will be a lot more difficult. Time will tell if the Bolts have a player in Farrow.
Andre Williams: Personally, I’m excited to see what this kid can do. He is a strong, bruising back who can get the short yards that are so important on third downs and late in the game. Last season his production tailed off significantly which is why the Giants let him go. Before that, however, he had a good rookie campaign. The team from America’s finest city is hoping that the Giants made a mistake and will catch lightning in a bottle.
Dexter McCluster: McCluster is the guy the Chargers brought in to replace Woodhead; capable as a runner and receiver. He is also a solid kickoff and punt returner. He is fast on his feet and so quick that he often makes people miss. Obviously, he has not played at the level of a Danny Woodhead, or he would not have been cut by the Chiefs and the Titans. My hope is that he will play as a full-time kick returner so that starting wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, can give up that position and avoid unnecessary collisions. With Keenan Allen out for the season, it is vital that Benjamin stays healthy.
This week, the Chargers play the league’s 32nd ranked defense against the run – the Indianapolis Colts. This is another golden opportunity for Gordon and company to get many carries and gain even more confidence. We have to face the facts: Danny Woodhead is done for the year. He is also on the last year of his contract, which means that there is a very good possibility he will not be back with the team next season. The Bolts need to learn how to call plays and win games without the trustworthy, scrappy Woodhead. If they can do that, his injury will go down as the reason San Diego left the ranks of pretenders and became true contenders.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments below, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Go Bolts!!
In order to help fill the void in the San Diego running back group due to the season-ending injuries of Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver, the Chargers are set to sign former Tennessee Titans running back Dexter McCluster, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
To help replace Danny Woodhead, Chargers plan to sign former Titans and Chiefs RB Dexter McCluster, per source. https://t.co/zihxSgd4zt
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2016
McCluster, 28, has experience playing with Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who coached him in Tennessee. Due to his time with Whiz, he shouldn’t have a hard time getting the playbook and his duties on track very quickly.
During his six years spent with the Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, McCluster has rushed for 1,040 yards and two touchdowns. As a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot on some occasions, the seven-year veteran has tallied 229 receptions for 1,957 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has solid experience as a returner, returning three punts for touchdowns over his career.
Though he is not Danny Woodhead, McCluster provides a decent fill-in for the 2016 campaign.
This signing would give the Bolts this depth chart at running back: Melvin Gordon, Andre Williams, Kenneth Farrow and McCluster (I must admit that it really hurts not typing in Woodhead and Oliver there).
Dave Booga Peters
During this past Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, a recurring epidemic reared its ugly head. No, I am not referring to Danny Woodhead’s injury, whom is now officially, like Keenan Allen, lost for the season. Nor was I referring to Jahleel Addae’s collarbone injury.
I am alluding to the fact that San Diego had another 21-point lead against their opponent.
Football followers and diehard Chargers fans should not have to hold their breath when their team holds that big of lead. As it were, and with a very recent history of an epic collapse in Week 1, the football Gods will have to accept the Bolt faithful for not being as blissful as they should have been.
Near the end of the first half in Sunday’s 38-14 victory over the Jaguars, a distasteful nostalgia filled my lungs. Fear flushed my pale demeanor as I sensed the shoe might again fall off the other foot. Proof was needed for many to believe that the Chargers were not going to fall complacent again, and with the clock running out, and generic play calls being made on offense, doubt crept into my nightmare like Freddie Krueger.
Watching Coach Mike McCoy and the team come galloping out of the tunnel to begin the second half, confidence swooned and I no longer believed in Freddie; thus killing him and the pessimism inside me.
After Melvin Gordon’s name was not called in the second half of last week’s loss to the Chiefs, this time around, his bruising style was not letting the Jags defense rest for a moment. Gordon continued to find openings, fight for those extra yards and punish those would-be tacklers, bouncing off of them like a pinball wizard.
The incredible ebb and flow of the game was as serene as watching the sunset from the La Jolla Cove, falling gracefully on the ocean’s skin; radiating hope for all those who are lost. The offense was masterfully unapologetic as Ken Whisenhunt commanded the troops, picking up big yards and scoring at will. John Pagano’s defense pillaged and tormented the Jaguars offense, forcing three turnovers and impeding any type of momentum Jacksonville had.
It was as if they actually learned from their mistakes in Week 1.
There was no three-man rush with a four-touchdown lead late in the third quarter. There was no conservative three-and-outs from the offense. This orchestrated masterpiece was to Charger fans as the classical music enthusiasts gets while listening to Frederic Chopin; the easement of the strings floating in an organized chaos – followed by a force of controlled havoc.
All the while McCoy, the maestro, led this band of eccentric players in perfect unison.
There were too many impact players of this game to list them all. As a well-trained orchestra knows, every instrument is vital to it success of the orchestra as a whole. There was the haunting presence of Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward. The elegant Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams played their roles to perfection, but they would not have been so exemplified if it were not for the rhythmical beating from the ground game.
This is what San Diego has been needing. To destroy and show no mercy while playing this passionately for a full 60 minutes. Every player mattered and contributed to the melodious sound of victory.
During the week leading up to Sunday’s showdown, players admitted to losing focus when Keenan went down against Kansas City. When Danny was being carted off the field this past Sunday, an eerie hush covered the White Out in San Diego.
Yet, lessons were learned, and the band marched on.
Let us hope that the perfect pitch of this harmonious triumph against the Jaguars, continues on its symphony of destruction tour.
Next stop: Indianapolis
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
We have seen it fairly often, Jahleel Addae streaking towards his man. We’ve seen that result end up with Addae being out because he concussed himself making the hit.
Sunday, we all watched as Addae ran towards Jacksonville’s Denard Robinson late in the game and tackled him. I know many people thought Addae had used his helmet to hit Robinson; especially as both Robinson and “Hitman” remained on the ground after the two players collided. I did see that it was his shoulder Addae had employed to initiate the contact and just knew as he was helped to his feet that HE wasn’t going to come back any time soon.
Lo and behold, word came that the Chargers’ starting safety had broken his collarbone. Anticipation is that he will be out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery today to fix the injury.
So who steps in to fill the void left by his absence?
The team will most likely look to rookie Dexter McCoil and Adrian Phillips to pick up the reps during practice. The team heads to a meet-up against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, so naming a starter quickly is paramount.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, McCoil may get the call. As part of the Edmonton Eskimos from 2014-2015, McCoil was named Most Outstanding Rookie (2014) after amassing 67 tackles, four sacks and six interceptions, of which three were returned for touchdowns.
McCoil signed with the Chargers in January and quickly proved throughout OTAs and minicamp that he was more than capable of playing at the NFL level. In the first two weeks of the 2016 regular season, he has already made four tackles, adding a defended pass.
He may be considered a rookie but I anticipate that his experience and size give him the nod to fill in until Addae returns to the lineup.
The next option is Adrian Phillips, who has been with the Bolts since 2014, albeit primarily on the practice squad. At 5-foot-10, Phillips is similar in size to Addae though a bit heavier (210 to 195). The former Texas Longhorn has participated in 12 games (two starts) and collected 12 tackles, an interception and defended one pass.
Will Phillips’ endeavors get him the starting job? We’ll know sooner rather than later.
The defense played pretty darn well Sunday afternoon. The secondary looked great. I’m hoping it is easier to plug the gap that Addae’s absence creates than in the past.
McCoy and Pagano will have a tough decision to make and I don’t envy them.
We’ll all be watching and waiting for the announcement.
Thanks for reading!
The San Diego Chargers have placed veteran running back Danny Woodhead in the injured-reserve list with a season-ending ACL tear, via the team’s official website.
In a corresponding move, the Bolts signed former Colt and Dolphin wideout Griff Whalen.
We’ve signed WR Griff Whalen and placed RB Danny Woodhead on IR with an ACL injury.
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) September 19, 2016
Whalen, 26, worked out with the Chargers recently and was signed partially due to the loss of wide receiver Keenan Allen. The Detroit native stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 190 pounds.
Prior to be adding to the Miami Dolphins’ roster this past offseason, Whalen hauled in 45 receptions for 487 yards and three touchdowns while playing three seasons for the Indianapolis Colts.
Whether or not Whalen will stick on the roster remains to be seen, but the Bolts could certainly use another receiver in the fold.
Dave Booga Peters
After blowing a huge lead in Week 1, much was made of this team for not finishing the game against the Chiefs. As the Bolts jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead once again. This time the lead would not be relinquished, as the Chargers seemed to be fired up in front of their home crowd completely, embarrassing a Jaguars’ team that looked to show a lot of promise last week against a good Packers’ squad.
The main story in this is Melvin Gordon. Ken must’ve learned from last week as he fed Gordon early and often late into the 4th quarter. This would be the main stay of the offense after the Bolts suffered another huge loss as Danny Woodhead went down with a knee injury (it’s being reported on Monday that Woodhead suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport). With Gordon being fed, he didn’t disappoint, scoring a touchdown in his second straight game and racking up his first career 100-yard rushing game.
Defensively, the John Pagano’s unit played lights out. Don’t let the score fool you. This defense stepped up big time! The San Diego secondary blanketed the talented receiving corps of the Jags. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram showed up big, sacking Blake Bortles twice. It appears as though the free-agent acquisition of Casey Hayward is already paying huge dividends, picking off Bortles two times and stopping what could’ve been a huge red zone opportunity for the Jags early. If one thing is for sure when this defense plays like this you can see why we were all excited for this team in the off-season.
MVPs of the game:
Philip Rivers– If you questioned how Philip would do without Keenan Allen, those questions were quickly put to rest, as Rivers was at his best as he usually is against the Jags. Rivers completed 17-24 for 220 passing yards and four touchdowns; just another day at the office for Rivers. The veteran signal caller once again proved this offense still relies on the arm of Rivers to get things done.
Travis Benjamin– I would be fool if i didn’t mention this man. He completely torched the jaguars secondary for six receptions for 115 and two scores. Getting Travis going with the loss of Keenan Allen was huge. With the way they showed cased him, this Chargers’ receiving corps looks to still be dangerous, even without Allen. I’m excited to see how they build on this going forward.
The whole back-end of Bolts’ Defense– I already pointed out how good Hayward was on Sunday. How about this unit as a whole? The secondary was flying to the ball, being really aggressive. The Jags looked like they were scared to throw to Verrett’s side for the vast majority of the game. Flowers was solid when he had to be; even Addae lead this team in tackles for the day before going down with a shoulder injury in the 4th.
Tyrell Williams– The youngster is looking like the second coming of Malcom Floyd. Williams had a fantastic day with three receptions for 63 yards and scoring a huge 44-yard touchdown, busting through multiple tackles to break into the endzone for his first TD of 2016. He could be so dangerous going forward, especially with Benjamin having a breakout game of his own.
Honorable mentions – Drew Kaser, Manti Teo, Matt Slauson, Antonio Gates and Darrell Stuckey
Bums of the game
Joey Bosa – Everyone who has read my prior pieces knows how high I am on Joey. Still, he has yet to see the practice field in pads yet. Should we think of this as a red-shirt year for Bosa? Uh, no. The Chargers are paying this kid too much money to not see him play a snap. Look for Bosa to start seeing game snaps when this team plays the Broncos in Week 6, if not sooner.
Isaiah Burse – I know the expectations on him weren’t suppose to be really high. The guy was a ghost in this game, though. Perhaps that’s because he was supposed to be mainly on kick returns and they only had three today. Even in garbage time Burse was nowhere to be found. It wouldn’t hurt to change things up and see him take snaps from fellow wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (who I’ve never been overly high on). With all the injuries to this offense, head coach Mike McCoy may want to limit Benjamin’s Involvement in special teams, possibly leading to more of Burse.
The seat still burns for McNorv
Like I’ve already said, this game was even worse for the Jaguars than the score let on, meaning we didn’t have to deal with the curious case of Mike McNorv. He rarely had to make any game-management decisions. The only exception I can think of was on the 4th-and-2 play in the first half near the goal line where Philip ran a hard count and drew the Jags offsides. If Rivers didn’t draw them of,f you know “Field goal Mike” would’ve struck again. He was bailed out by his veteran quarterback and the hardest decision he had was when to put Kellen Clemens in. Until he proves otherwise, McNorv and his goons will remain on notice all season.
In closing, overall this game being compared to last week is like day and night. This team did exactly what it should’ve done by beating the Jaguars. Hopefully this game is a template on how the Chargers will win games going forward. Any given Sunday, though.
Now we’re on to Indianapolis in Week 3!
**featured image credit to Chargers.com
After losing wide receiver Keenan Allen to a torn ACL in Week 1, the Chargers have additionally lost running back Danny Woodhead to the same injury, a torn ACL in his right knee, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
#Chargers RB Danny Woodhead has torn his ACL, source said. His MRI just came back. He’s out for the season. Bad blow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2016
This comes as a huge blow to the San Diego offense, who has already lost the aforementioned Allen, veteran wideout Stevie Johnson, running back Branden Oliver and tight end Jeff Cumberland.
Though the team trounced the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 38-14 on White Hot Sunday, the loss of Woodhead adds to the litany of injuries this offense has already suffered.
In 2015, Woody led all NFL running backs in receptions and receiving yards. He was also San Diego’s leader in both categories.
Woodhead, 31, missed most of the 2014 season with a broken fibula. Entering what will be his 10th season in 2017, Danny has rushed for 2181 yards and 15 touchdowns, while catching 267 passes for 2,498 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also averaging 6.1 yards per carry prior to the injury.
The staff at BoltBlitz.com would like to extend its thoughts and prayers to one of our favorite players of all-time, Danny Woodhead.
Get well soon, Woody!
Dave Booga Peters
It is Week 2 and the Bolts are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs. Here are three things they must do in order to avoid being 0-2.
1.) If something is working, don’t stop doing it
Even writing that makes me feel weird because this should be an easy one to follow. Not to this coaching staff. The reason why they lost last week was because they did the exact opposite of what worked in the first half. They quit blitzing and running and started slinging it and playing “bend-but-don’t-break defense,” or as I like to call it, no-win defense. Stick to what works, whether it be onside kicks all game, throwing on every down or doing the wildcat. These are all extreme examples but I think you get the point.
2.) Don’t let up at any point
Again, another one that should be obvious but the Chargers are known to give up big-time leads late in the 4th quarter. I am one who hates to see teams let off the pedal. That does nothing for your team. In case the other team comes back, well the momentum is on their side and it’s not exactly easy to just automatically flip it back into high gear. If you are up 21 points, make it 28; especially against the Jaguars. They have a numerous amount of weapons on their offense that includes Julius Thomas, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, TJ Yeldon and, of course, Blake Bortles. They are vastly underrated and they aren’t a team to mess around with at all.
Who is going to step up for Keenan Allen?
Probably a key for the rest of the season after losing Slayer to a season-ending knee injury. Who will step up and take over his role? I want to think it will be Tyrell Williams. He brings the size and speed that teams dream of and can be a huge mismatch for any opposing defense. He had a decent game last week versus the Chiefs, hauling in two passes but getting 71 yards receiving. Both plays exceeded 20 yards total and he was targeted five times. If Tyrell can step up and be the man, the Chargers’ offense will be okay.
What do you guys think is a key to victory? Let me know down below and go Bolts!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)