Monthly Archives: October 2016

May 14, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa looks on during rookie mini camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

May 14, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa looks on during rookie mini camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Chargers go up to Mile High looking for their third win a row and second in three weeks versus the Broncos. Here are three things they must do in order to make that happen.

1.) Pressure the quarterback, make him panic
The Chargers defense have played well. Very well. So well it’s arguably been the reason why the Chargers have won, or have at least had a shot at winning. But if there was one thing that they don’t do well, it would be rushing the passer. While they have improved, it still is about below average in terms of actual rushing the passer despite having the beast that is Joey Bosa. Is it too early for draft talk? I would like to see us go pass rush in round 1….anyways. Rush the passer and make Siemian panic and force throws like the 7th rounder he is.

2.) Short passes and crossing routes
If you remember from week six, this was a HUGE part of the passing game. This and rookie Hunter Henry. Henry had a concussion last game, but he practiced this week and is projected to play. Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Melvin Gordon must all be used short and against their linebackers where the Chargers show a huge mismatch. Utilize Williams and Benjy’s speed and you will be able to move the ball. Now, will Gordon be able to see holes between the 20s?

3.) Ball control and possession
Chargers win games by keeping possession and scoring touchdowns. Chargers win games by keeping possession and then forcing turnovers on defense. This is the recipe for success with the San Diego Chargers. They dont find success being in shotgun all game, although they are. They have won two games in a row by running the ball and playing time possession/causing turnovers. They must do this again this week, in order to sweep the Broncos.

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The staff here at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions as to what they think will happen come kickoff on the road versus the Broncos.

Zak Darman: The Chargers beat the Broncos only two weeks ago, showing off their beautiful looking color rush jerseys, 21-13 in a game in which the Chargers fully outplayed the Broncos, whether the team stats show it or not. Joey Bosa was a monster in that game defensively and Gordon finally had a long run in the regular season. Siemian was coming off a left shoulder injury and couldn’t find rhythm all game. BUT, it’s two games in three weeks for each team versus each other and beating a team twice in three weeks is tough no matter the opponent. I think this game is close and a turnover by either side determines the game. The offensive line looked baaaaad last week vs a front seven that is weaker than the one they are about to face off against and Kubiak being back is also a plus for Denver. Broncos 24-Chargers 20

Chris LaFurno: Chargers win on a late 4th quarter drive ending in a touchdown by MG28. Jatavis and Bosa combined for 3 sacks. Flowers comes back and gets an interception. Chargers 24 Broncos 21.

Michael Brazeel: Chargers travel to Mile high, trying to win their 3rd in a row. This will definitely be a defensive struggle, with the score being tied 17-17 in the 4th. Broncos will get the ball with a minute left and will kick a field goal with no time left. This will send the Bolts to 3-5, setting up a must win game against the Titans at home next week. Broncos 20-17

Travis Blake: I’ll really be looking at 94 in this game, he was losing snaps to Caraun Reid before Reid was placed on IR. With Joey Bosa drawing double teams, Liuget needs to start winning more often, so far he hasn’t performed to the big contract extension he signed recently (normal). I’m really nervous about both Flowers and Addae possibly playing in this game. Flowers is old and Addae has never been very good. Hopefully the fact that Trevor Siemian sucks will help these two boat anchors out. Pressure all day is they main key for the Bolts defense. Chargers win definitively, 34-17

Laura Leech: A second away game for the Chargers, this one in Mile High. The defense continues to play with an arrogance not seen in a few years. They stop the Broncos from going down the field a lot. They get 3 sacks and one interception. Chargers offense still struggles against a powerful pass defense and end up running the ball a lot. They score more than one touchdown but still settle with a few field goals. A battle of defenses, the Chargers pull off the biggest upset of the year, sweeping the Broncos. 31-17 Chargers

Brian Scott: San Diego faces another uphill battle as they travel to Denver to face the 5-2 Broncos. Two weeks ago, the Chargers dominated the game against the Donkeys, only to still have to worry about an onside kick and a Hail Mary. After beating Atlanta last week, and winning the first back-to-back games since Nov of 2014, confidence is rising in the Bolts locker room, even with players dropping like flies onto the IR. CJ Anderson is out, however Booker is a talented back who thrives between the tackles. Trevor Siemian is beginning to look like the 7th round draft pick that he was as of late, and faces another hungry Charger defense. Rumors also have it that Siemian has been given the green light to change plays at the line of scrimmage as he sees fit. San Diego has lost the last 3 in Denver and has not swept the Broncos since the 2010 season. However, with the balanced attack offensively and Bosa, Liuget and Ingram playing lights out defense, the Chargers will win their third in a row, and finally sweep the team that has given them fits for years. 24-17 bolts

Brian Krich: I believe the Chargers will get the inside run game going this week as Denver has shown they are vulnerable there. I’d feel better if Denzel Perryman hadn’t had to pull off a Kellen Winslow impression circa 1982 in Miami as he’s the key to corralling the suddenly resurgent Denver run game. I think he’s pretty dinged up at this point and probably needs a week or two off. Given its in Denver and I think the Broncos are deeper and a little more healthy. I have Denver winning in a 23-17 type game.

Chris Hoke: Flowers makes his return to the defense and has a big day with a pick. Bosa continues his tear and gets another Strip Sack. Gordon gets going on the ground and in the air 150 total scrimmage yards. Rivers has a solid day passing 18/28 250 yards 2 TDs. It’s the one pick he will want back as his costly turnover will turn this one. Chargers drop a close one 24-21.

Cheryl White: Chargers get scores from Gordon, Henry & Williams. Bosa gets a sack. Ingram & Perryman continue to wreak havoc. Side note: The Broncos Center, Matt Paradis, is questionable. Maybe Siemian has a few errant snaps? 27-20 Chargers.

Mike Pisciotta: Does the other shoe drop or does McNorv do enough to stay out of the way? Lately, Trevor Siemian has looked like a seventh round pick. Joey Bosa continues his tear and channels his inner Von Miller, strip sacking Siemian in the closing minutes to preserve the win. Bolts 28 – Broncos 24

Will McCafferty: I’m worried because I actually feel really good about the Bolts chances on Sunday. The last two weeks, I picked the Bolts to win (I always do), but I didn’t feel good about it. In both cases, they won! Now, I feel like they should win, so I have to worry about being let down AGAIN! The final score of this game could greatly depend on the injury report. If Marshall, Talib, Anderson and Ware are actually “out”, I think we run the score up on them. The problem is that they could just be resting Marshall and Talib due to a short week. Well, I am betting that these guys will at least be slowed down by injuries. Chargers 31 Broncos 13

Greg Williams: The Chargers continue to build momentum and confidence this week in Denver. Mile High Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Chargers but this year it’s San Diego that will hand out the Halloween Eve frights. The defensive line tees of on Trevor Siemian to the tune of eight sacks. The multitude of sacks will result in fumbles, interceptions and short fields for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Gordon will add two more touchdowns to his ledger. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry will have red zone touchdowns and Rivers will post 350 and 4 touchdowns on the vaunted Denver defense. Chargers win 41-13.

Dave Peters: The Bolts travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos in a game that could provide the Chargers with their first sweep of the Broncos since 2010. After beating Denver at home and then Atlanta on the road, San Diego is primed to win their third game in a row. Sophomore Melvin Gordon does his usual: over 100 yards from scrimmage and reaches pay dirt twice. Rivers is efficient but doesn’t pass for a ton of yards, finding both Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry for scoring tosses. Rookie Joey Bosa wreaks havoc throughout the game, but it barely shows in the box score. He still manages to add a sack to his season total. The special teams units go unnoticed, which is good thing as there won’t be any glaring mistakes in this one. Chargers win, sweeping the Broncos for the first time since my son, Kayden, was born. 34-24 bolts

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Mike McCoy is sending his team the wrong message and it’s a very negative message. It’s a message that says “I don’t trust you in critical times.” Telling your team, through gutless, no-risk decisions, that you don’t trust them is not how to develop a winning culture.

Yeah, the Chargers won in Atlanta on Sunday. Aided late by plays by Denzel Perryman in particular, and John Pagano’s defensive unit in general, the Chargers actually came from behind to win in overtime. That win wasn’t without idiotic decisions (or non-decisions) by the cowardly head coach.

Let’s go back to the end of the first half, shall we? Melvin Gordon scores the second of three touchdowns with 3:29 remaining to pull within 10 points, 27-17. Instead of playing aggressively, McNorv is content to let the half run out, leaving all three timeouts on the board. I guess he thought he could save them and have six at his disposal in the second half?

Three and a half minutes is virtually an eternity in the NFL. Why McCoy chose to let the clock run out, knowing Atlanta was to receive the opening kickoff in the second half is beyond me. I’d have burned the timeouts until Atlanta either punted or got a first down. What do you have to lose? Play aggressively, try to get the ball back and see if Philip Rivers and the offense can’t move down for at least another Josh Lambo field goal?

Maybe Mikeyboy deliberately wanted to trail at the intermission, not trusting himself, his staff or his players to have an opportunity to lead given their penchant for pissing away second half leads. Or maybe he’s just a chickenbleep coach.

Someone said to me “What about the ‘gutsy’ call on fourth down to go for it?”  What about it?  It was do or die.  Two minutes left on the clock, down three points, fourth down and two to go.  There was no other decision to make.  Convert or lose.

Fast forward to overtime. The offense was rolling, having outscored Atlanta 13-3 in the second half. Defense makes a huge fourth down stop, giving the offense the ball in plus territory in overtime. McCoy decides to play conservative and play for a walk-off field goal instead of going for the jugular and playing for six.

Atlanta’s defense was reeling. Rivers picked them apart. McCoy had the opportunity for an exclamation point win. He had the opportunity to let his offense really drive a dagger into the chests of Atlanta but chose to play it safe. His message was clear: he didn’t trust Philip and the offense enough to make this win a signature win.

These are just two poor decisions made by McCoy on Sunday.  There were other questionable decisions, but these were the most glaring.  Mike McCoy coaches scared and it will cost his team in the long run.

It’s been brought to my attention that I incorrectly read the box score.  Gordon scored with 1:04 left in the half, not 3:29.  My contention that McCoy should have used his timeouts does not change

 

Mike Pisciotta

@hawk_pie

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As Chargers fans are emotionally recovering from the team’s dramatic overtime victory over the Falcons in Week 7, let’s put Sunday’s big win in perspective. There are three different areas about Sunday’s game that shows us as fans that our team is not going to suck as bad as they did the first few games of the season.

  1. The comeback win itself – One thing that the Chargers could not do when they started this season was finish games. Even though the Bolts are in the top-5 of the entire NFL as far as points scored before halftime, they still are near the bottom, if not dead last, in the point-differential in the fourth quarter. Sunday’s game was different as the Chargers were down 27-10 in just the second quarter. It seemed a very daunting task to complete that sort of comeback with this team, They used to be the only team in the national football league that could have a three- or four-touchdown lead, and their fans would still be on edge like it was a one or two touchdown lead. Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers showed great resilience, creating a daring comeback that would eventually end in an overtime victory.
  2. Defense – The defense was the unspoken heroes of this game, particularly Joey Bosa and Denzel Perryman. One thing that is overlooked about this game was that the Atlanta Falcons did not just defeat both the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. They also are the number one scoring offense in the national football league, even earning the praise of San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John  Pagano. Who stated , “I looked in the dictionary at the word explosive, and when I pulled it up, a picture of the Falcons showed up.” This is very large praise for one team to give to another. So what ended up happening? In the first half, Atlanta scored 27 points, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and three field goals. They also scored on a fumble recovery. However the narrative changed in the second half, as the Falcons, this super high-powered offense, only managed to score 3 points in the ENTIRE second half PLUS overtime. This is a very large feat, especially against a team like Atlanta who has not scored less than 21 in any game this season, almost racking up 50 points versus the NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
  3. Special Teams, Although there was the mix-up on the kickoff in which Griff Whalen misread the ball and came out of the end zone instead of just letting the ball roll in and giving better field position to the offense. The special teams in this game actually did really well. After all, it was special teams that won us the game in overtime. It looks like having Kellen Clemens hold the ball on the field goal attempts made a world of difference in our special teams play. Also it doesn’t hurt that the punter Drew Kaser was actually able to kick the ball further than a little girl serving in her little league soccer match. The only times the Falcons started their possession on the Chargers side of the field were because of turnovers and not because of a bad punt or a bad kick, which is a huge bright side.

It seems like there are a lot of things that worked out this past Sunday, not to mention the awesome day that Melvin Gordon had two rushing touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown while averaging 8 yards after the catch. He also made a heads up running play that kept the Chargers hopes alive. It’s beginning to look like the San Diego Chargers are starting to gel, however only time will tell. From what I saw on Monday, I can see the Chargers making the wildcard, if they keep that resilience, and nothing goes too haywire, this team should be in good shape.

 

Corey Decker

@CDecker96

September 25, 2016: San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid (91) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

September 25, 2016: San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid (91) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

News out of Chargers Park is that ANOTHER player is lost for the year due to injury.

Monday we learned it is defensive end Caraun Reid. And as has been the sickening norm for this team, it was an ACL tear to the big end’s left knee.

Reid sustained his injury in the first quarter of the Atlanta game after being hit in his lower leg as he planted his foot. Linebacker Denzel Perryman was heading for the pile and just caught Reid’s knee.

Claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions roster, the 6’2, 302-pounder (Princeton, round five of 2014 draft) has been with the Chargers for about six weeks. Filling in while Joey Bosa (2016 draft first round #3) nursed his sore hamstring, Reid has been a contributor on the defense. In 103 snaps he collected five combined tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

That notable highlight occurred in the week three game at Indianapolis. Rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown strip-sacked Andrew Luck and Reid scooped up the ball, taking it to the house 61 yards and tying the game at 13 all.

While announcing Reid’s situation, McCoy said “Caraun came in on the very first day and did an outstanding job. He’s a smart player that picked our system up in a hurry and made some big plays for us.”

If anyone is counting, including Reid, that makes TEN – yes, I said TEN – players lost to season-ending injuries. Five of those ten are to the knee and have occurred in the last seven weeks. Here’s the long and incomprehensible list:

Keenan Allen – torn right ACL, week one vs the Chiefs
Danny Woodhead – torn right ACL, week two vs the Jaguars
Jason Verrett – torn left ACL possibly sustained in the Jaguars game
Nick Dzubnar – torn right ACL, week four vs the Saints
And of course, Caraun Reid from yesterday.

Though it was not his ACL, the Bolts lost Manti Te’o to a torn left Achilles’ tendon early in the Colts game.

On top of those, what about the non-contact injuries that besieged the team before the 2016 campaign even began:

wide-out Stevie Johnson tore his meniscus in training camp
tight end Jeff Cumberland was lost to a torn Achilles’ during the pre-season game against Arizona
rookie guard Donavon Clark tore his right ACL in the Arizona contest
change of pace back Branden Oliver had his right Achilles’ snap during the Minnesota game

It is ONLY Week 7 and that list is scary!! I don’t know if there is any other NFL team playing right now that has had the upheaval to their roster that San Diego has endured. There are still nine weeks to go to the end of the season.

I shudder to think what the “football gods” have in store for this group of men and the accursed injury phenomena as time rolls by. Every time a man goes down, I cringe and pray it is just a minor hiccup and they’ll be back quickly.

Time for the CBA to be re-evaluated. Some teams don’t lose any players, some one or two. But to have TEN is like looking at an emergency room full of wheelchairs!

Sorry to see your name added to that list, Caraun Reid. Your presence on defense will be sorely missed.

Cheryl White

#IRclaimsAnother

#VoteYesonCandD

#BoltnUp

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Currently, the San Diego Chargers are showing signs of improvement. Despite many injured, “stars”, the makeshift team has taken the field and beaten the reigning Super Bowl champions and then followed that up by squeezing out a victory over the Atlanta Falcons and their number one rated offense. Yes, Chargers fans have reason to feel excited about the future of this team. Who knows, maybe there is a chance for Philip Rivers to win a ring before he retires, without trading him away. Time will tell.

 
One thing most fans don’t consider is that if this teams continues to play well, Head Coach Mike McCoy, or, “McNorv” as some fans call him, will not only survive the season, he will most likely get an extension! Remember, when fans were screaming for the departure of Norv Turner, he received an extension.

 
One thing NFL teams do not like to do is have a lame-duck coach. Whenever a coach is on the last year of his contract, the front office worries that the team will not listen to him and will not buy into his system anymore. After all, why learn from a guy who is on his way out the door?

 
For McCoy, there is one more year on his contract after this season. Many fans do not expect him to survive the season. After the last two victories, it appears he has saved his job, at least until the bye week. More than likely, he has saved his job for the rest of the season. If the Chargers continue to improve and end the season at .500 or better, expect Coach McCoy to be locked into another two, to three years.

 
We should be honest, if Coach McCoy turns this team full of rookies and backups into a playoff team, or at least a winner, he probably deserves an extension! (That was painful to type)
Looking around the NFL, it is obvious that some teams have different philosophies when it comes to making coaching changes. The Cleveland Browns have had 18 different coaches since 1969. Even the great Bill Belichick couldn’t win there. He left with a dismal record of 36-44. The Browns front office decided it was his fault and cut him loose. Now, with the Patriots, he has a record of 193-70, and a handful of rings.

 
The Steelers, on the other hand, do not like to change coaches. They have had just three coaches since 1969. The three of them have totaled a record of 726-290 and six championships between them. It seems there is something to be said for continuity.

 
Our Chargers have had 14 different coaches in the same time span. In all those years, our Bolts have made it to the Super Bowl one time and have no jewelry to show for it. Perhaps it is not so much the coaches, but more on the players. Then again, Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner had some great talent on their teams and never made it to the big show. I suppose that is what makes the decision to fire a coach so difficult.

 
I do not know the answer, so you tell me: Should the Chargers fire Mike McCoy? If so, when? Or, assuming the team ends this season .500 or better, should the Chargers offer McCoy an extension? If you go by recent decisions made by the Chargers front office, I think an extension is more likely than a firing. Leave your answer below and I’ll get back to you.

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Here are the three things the Bolts must do if they want come away with a win on the road in Week 7.

1.) Score point by point
The Chargers probably won’t shut down Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and the rest of their weapons, so they will have to score, score, score if they want to avoid a blowout.

2.)Get pressure on Matt Ryan
If you let Matt Ryan sit there with all the time in the world, he will pick you apart. The Chargers have struggled this season in getting pressure and actually getting to the QB. Being without situational pass rusher Jerry Attaochu this week, they will need someone to step up (where are you Melvin Ingram?)

3.) Play Loose
This means, don’t try to do too much. The Chargers struggle on the road and struggle versus good teams. Well, versus the Falcons that is two things into one. The Falcons went into Seattle last week and almost won. Don’t try to force plays and just go with the flow.

What are your keys to victory? Let me know below!

Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)

 

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The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions to Sunday’s upcoming match-up versus the Falcons.

Zak Darman: This should be a high-scoring game. Both teams have good offenses. The Chargers have a better defense but they don’t really have anyone who can stop Julio Jones. Benjamin isn’t a lock to play, and without him their receivers are Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Griff Whalen (yes, I had to go to the team’s depth chart to even put him down). Hunter Henry gets another touchdown and Rivers goes for 300+ yards but comes up just short. Although teams lose about 70% of the time the week after playing the Seahawks…. Falcons 35-31.

Chris LaFurno: Late Julio game-winning touchdown and Chargers offense can’t answer back as Atlanta wins a nail biter. Falcons 37 Chargers 34.

Michael Brazeel: Rivers will have to go length of field in :40 with no timeouts, as usual, and come up short. Falcons 35-31.

Corey Decker: The Falcons are coming in with a chip on their shoulder so expect them to come out firing. Falcons 34-28.

Travis Blake: I’ve been feeling all week that the Bolts will start slow and sluggish in this one. That’s probably coming from the fact it’s a mini-bye week for the team, and a later than usual start for an east coast game (game time is 1:05 PM PST). The question is can they overcome a slow start and finish out a game strong, instead of leaving us all with that familiar feeling of they screwed something up, or almost did? I believe this defense will continue to build off its improvement in the Bronco game and stop the run. The Bolts will get the running game going and pull off several long drives that quiet the crowd. Bolts win their first road game of the year. Chargers 31-24.

Laura Leech: High scoring game with two explosive offenses. Chargers defense is not facing a sub-par OL like they did against Denver. That extra rest from a Thursday game should help a little, but flying to the East Coast is never easy for any team. It will come down to which defense can cause the most turnovers. Unfortunately, though, Falcons get this one. 38-34 Falcons.

Brian Scott: The defense for the Bolts is playing at a high level and with confidence. Ryan gets sacked multiple times. Air show begins and ends with Rivers throwing his 4th touchdown pass. Gordon scores and gets 80 yards. Chargers finally win back to back games since 2014. 41-31 Bolts.

Chris Hoke: The Falcons start the game driving down the field on their first possession and scoring on a TD to Julio Jones. The bolts respond with a long drive in which we are forced to settle for a Lambo field goal. This is repeated till the second half in Which its 14-6. Chargers come out in the second half and MG breaks away for a huge TD run. It’s wire to wire from this point where the bolts go for it on 4th down. MG gets stuffed and the rest is history. The Falcons hang on 35-29.

Cheryl White: Been thinking all week that this is going to be a tough one, too. Aforementioned trip to East Coast and later start time may be detrimental. I would point out that this team did go to Baltimore and was the first west coast team to win there, although that was 2014. Downside, no Slayer/Woodhead/Verrett this time. We do have Gordon who is running better plus Henry; and lets not forget Bosa. If he can’t get to Ryan maybe he pressures him enough that someone else can. Hayward and Phillips in the secondary though versus those WRs are challenging. Atlanta’s OL is tough and their HC knows a thing or 2 about defense. There better be a damn good game plan in place. Don’t for the love of God go prevent defense or stop running Gordon. Have some guts and get after it because Atlanta WILL capitalize if you allow them to. 38-35 Bolts.

Mike Pisciotta: Chargers will again open an early lead and go conservative. McCoy, Whiz and Pagano love to sit on leads, and they will piss away another one. 37-31 Atlanta in overtime.

Will McCafferty: Honestly, I’m far from confident this week. I felt better about he Denver game. This reminds me of the New Orleans game with a higher power offense. It should be a shootout as both teams can move the ball. Hopefully, the Chargers can get the ball in the end zone and not settle for field goals. Atlanta should be able to score as well. Chargers 38 Falcons 34

Dave Peters: The Chargers actually play a game well from start to finish in this one. This is one of those games where no one, for the most part, expects them to win. The Chargers’ offense outpaces Atlanta, as Hunter Henry scores for the fourth consecutive game and Philip Rivers throws for over 300 yards and three scores. Bosa gets his third and fourth sacks, respectively, while Denzel Perryman recovers a fumble and takes it to the house. Bolts 41 Falcons 27.

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Photo Credit: Donald Miralle of Getty Images

 

The San Diego Chargers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons for a Week 7 tilt in what will be a very difficult game on the road.

In an effort to provide you with a little insight into the Falcons and their team, I reached out to Scott Carasik of Blogging Dirty (Fansided blog covering the Falcons) and Sportsnaut.com.

Carasik has been writing about the Falcons since 2012 and the NFL and NFL draft since 2010.

 

1) Covering the Falcons thus far in 2016 has probably been very enjoyable, seeing as the team is off to a 4-2 start, leading the NFC South and boasting the league’s No. 1 scoring offense. What can you attribute to the team’s success in the early portions of the season?

 

Matt Ryan has full command of the offense that he was struggling with at times in 2015. However, the biggest offseason addition of Alex Mack to play center was huge for the Falcons. Now, Ryan doesn’t have to worry about setting protections or blitz pickups when the offense lines up. Mack also has allowed the line to run block much, much better. This gives the Falcons a great combination of Devonta Freeman running the ball and everyone else going out to catch passes.

 

2) Wide receiver Julio Jones is arguably the best wideout in all of the NFL. What can opposing defenses do to limit his production on game days? Or can they?

 

You can limit him, but it’s at a point where the offense is pick your poison. Sure, you can limit Julio Jones with double teams and brackets and matchup zones. But you basically leave the rest of your defense to be burned by the multitude of options the Falcons have at tight end, running back and wide receiver. Everyone has plays that will take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses and will get utilized at some point in the season.

 

3) Sticking with the Atlanta wide receivers, talk a little bit about the addition of Mohamed Sanu and his role in the Falcons’ offense.

 

Mohamed Sanu has been a very solid all-around addition. He’s a good blocker in the run game and can create big plays when need be. He hasn’t been super involved with the offense just yet, but that’s more to do with his injury situation more than anything else.

 

4) The running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman provides one of the most dangerous backfields in football. With Freeman handling the majority of the carries and Coleman proving to be a threat as a receiving option, how does Atlanta utilize the two backs in their offense?

 

Essentially, Freeman plays a role similar to what Brian Westbrook used to play for the Eagles. He gets the bulk of the carries, pass protects and catches the ball out of the backfield. Coleman plays a role similar to Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush. He is on the field for important short yardage carries and will get motioned out to the slot or out wide as a receiver or will catch the ball out of the backfield as well with the goal to get him in open space. Atlanta has done a great job to utilize both.

 

5) Matt Ryan is off to a scorching hot start in ’16, leading all quarterbacks in passing yards (2,075), yards per attempt (9.9) and quarterback rating (117.9). He is second in the league in TD throws (15) behind Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (16). Can Ryan remain this hot throughout the season, and what should Chargers fans look for with him under center regarding how he runs the offense?

 

Expect the unexpected. Before every play, I used to have a good idea of what the play call was and who it was going to because of how much I’ve watched Ryan in the offense. This year? I have no clue what the play call is and rarely do I know what to expect. That’s what makes him dangerous. Just when I think the Falcons are going to pass it in a Julio-based design, they go to a play-action deep to one of the tight ends. The play design is just crazy this year.

 

6) Defensively, outside linebacker Vic Beasley leads the Falcons with 4.5 sacks on the year, surpassing his mark of four sacks during his rookie campaign. How is Beasley used to get after quarterbacks and what flaws does he have in his game?

 

Beasley is normally just rushing from a nickel left end spot. He’s been a good fit there, but he is very one-dimensional right now as a speed rusher. His best move is a dip-under to the outside shoulder. He’s solid against the run too. He’s not close to reaching his potential though. He still has to figure out some counter moves.

 

7) I was a big fan of strong safety Keanu Neal coming into this year’s draft. His physicality certainly caught my eye as soon as I started to watch film on him. How has he looked during his rookie year and is there a defender — past or present — who he reminds you of?

 

Neal has been excellent as a rookie. He reminds me a lot of what William Moore was early on. He’s not the fastest safety and not the biggest safety, but he plays smart and his instincts put him in the right place at the right time. Plus, he can matchup well with tight ends in coverage if he’s actually used there.

 

8) Veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney, formerly of the Colts and Chargers, signed with the Falcons earlier this year. What kind of impact has he made and does he still have gas left in the tank?

 

Freeney definitely has gas left in the tank and is a good pass rusher even still. The biggest impact he has made is helping Beasley develop his primary pass rush move. Eventually, Beasley will learn that spin and Freeney and Beasley will dominate teams together.

 

9) Can you please give the fans a few under-the-radar players which they should look out for on Sunday?

 

Deion Jones is seemingly under the radar. But he and De’Vondre Campbell have been keys to the defensive improvement this season and should continue to help the defense turn into an above average unit before the season ends. They could be essential in stopping the passes to your tight ends. On offense, the Falcons offensive line as a whole is why things work. Jake Matthews, Andy Levitre, Alex Mack, Chris Chester and Ryan Schraeder all are playing exceptionally well as a group right now even if some have individual lapses at times.

 

10) Lastly, who wins this game and why?

 

The game is in Atlanta. If I had to guess, I’d say the Falcons win it 35-28 in a similar fashion to the Oakland game. They get up early and are winning by two scores heading into the fourth quarter and goes back to the prevent to close the game out. San Diego is a good team. Atlanta is just at home and a better team.

 

I would like to thank Scott for taking the time to do this interview and providing the Chargers fans with a little insight into his Atlanta Falcons.

Although I hope he is wrong about the final score, I do appreciate him giving his thoughts on the Chargers-Falcons contest.

You can find Scott’s work at BloggingDirty.com, Sportsnaut.com and on Twitter (@CarasikS). He also keeps track of the 2017 NFL draft order — which is updated weekly in a spreadsheet format — here at this link: https://t.co/97PiBmB1K7.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Dave Booga Peters

flowers

 

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chargers’ injury report does not seem to be too overwhelming.

As opposed to having a plethora of names on the report, the list features four players who will either miss the game or are questionable.

The three-game stretch that began with Denver last week, a game in which the Chargers won 21-13, continues with a road trip to Atlanta and then ends at Mile High in Denver. This run is critical when it comes to determining whether or not the Bolts can turn around their disappointing 2-4 start.

 

OUT:

  • SS – Jahleel Addae    Clavicle
  • OLB – Jerry Attaochu    Ankle
  • CB – Brandon Flowers    Concussion

 

QUESTIONABLE:

  • WR – Travis Benjamin    Knee

 

 

The fact that Attaochu is out this week is a bit concerning, but it is not the end of the world. Though the linebacking corps is getting thin both inside and outside, Attaochu has been relegated to pass-rushing situations this season.

His presence on passing downs will be missed, but the Chargers will run with Melvin Ingram and Kyle Emanuel as the usual starters with Tourek Williams coming off of the bench.

Veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers will miss his fourth consecutive game for San Diego. He has been dealing with concussion issues for a month now. The team has gone on the record saying that he is getting closer to joining his teammates in practice and on game day, but that time is not now.

Seeing wideout Travis Benjamin listed as questionable is a big issue. With the Chargers already rolling out a depleted wide receiving group, Benjamin’s playmaking ability would certainly be missed should he not be able to play on Sunday.

If Benjamin is unable to play, the team would trot out Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Griff Whalen. Calling up Dom Williams from the practice squad is not out of the equation.

One thing of note on the injury report is that inside linebacker Denzel Perryman was a full participant in practice for all three days this week. Perryman has been dealing with a shoulder ailment the last few weeks, and a healthy No. 52 should pay dividends this week against a dangerous Falcons’ offense.

 

The Chargers need all healthy hands on deck for this week’s game in Atlanta. The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, boasting a 4-2 record, the league’s top scoring offense and leading the NFC South.

The Bolts must not get behind early in this one, or it could be a long day for the fellas in lightning bolts.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Dave Booga Peters

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