Monthly Archives: October 2016
When looking at the Chargers’ injured-reserved list, it is clear that there are a few names which jump out immediately.
One of those marquee names who suffered a season-ending injury is Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett, who was placed on injured-reserve after suffering a partially torn left ACL.
Verrett, 25, played through the ailment for two games leading up to the Week 5 contest against the Oakland Raiders, who happen to be his childhood team.
The former Horned Frog would not play against the Raiders, as his fate was sealed by the aforementioned diagnosis above.
Shortly after the injury, the stud corner stated that he would have surgery in a couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, Verrett took to Twitter to announce that he had undergone surgery and it was a success.
Surgery was a success!!! I’m built for this. Preciate all the prayers 🙏🏾 ..Ima attack this and bounce back stronger 💯
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) October 19, 2016
Not having Jason in the Bolts’ defensive backfield is a huge loss for the Chargers’ defense and team as a whole, but it is encouraging to know that his surgery was a success.
The 25th pick in the first round of the 2014 draft has been slowed by injuries throughout the course of his young career, missing games in 2014 (10 games missed), 2015 (two games missed) and, of course 2016 (played in four games; set to miss 12 remaining games).
Though we won’t be seeing Jason Verrett on the field until 2017, I can certainly say that I am looking forward to his return.
In Verrett’s absence, and due to the concussion issues with Brandon Flowers, the Bolts’ cornerbacks group is down to only Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Pierre Desir, Steve Williams and Trevor Williams, all who will be tasked with stopping the high-flying passing attack of the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7.
Dave Booga Peters
The Chargers (2-4) head to Atlanta for a Week 7 match-up against the Falcons in Atlanta.
Here is what writers covering the Chargers are saying.
Articles from Chargers.com:
- Falcons wary of Chargers rookies
- Philip at the mic: Importance of Week 7
- Korey Toomer rewarding Bolts’ faith in him
- Video: Dan Quinn on Bosa and Brown
Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:
- Work ethic the vehicle to Chargers LB Jatavis Brown’s fast start
- Chargers use big guns as time (sort of) runs short in stadium effort
Articles from ESPN.com:
- Travis Benjamin misses practice with knee issue, hopeful for Sunday
- Chargers losing despite Philip Rivers’ play
Dave Booga Peters
Everyone knew that the time to choose a “replacement” for the Chargers’ stellar tight end Antonio Gates was fast approaching. The 36-year-old Gates has been the go-to guy for the Bolts’ signal caller Philip Rivers for the last 10 years. The pair have set many franchise records and “Gatesy” has numerous individual statistics which have come via the arm of Rivers. The veteran TE has slowed just a bit, however, so finding a viable replacement — not in terms of production but in terms of playing time — was a focal point during the 2016 offseason.
Enter dynamic tight end Hunter Henry. As in the best tight end of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Yes, the BEST tight end of his class. The only one ranked by CBSSports.com above 70.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Check out any of his draft profiles. Many football analysts and draftniks dubbed Henry as such, the consensus stating that he had good hands, ran routes well and was a good blocker. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 235 pounds. His 40-yard dash time was 4.66 seconds. Sounds like just what the Chargers need at that position, right?
Henry declared his eligibility on January 4, 2016, after his junior season at Arkansas. And, why not? Just look at the former Razorback’s career stats: 1,661 receiving yards on 116 catches with nine touchdowns. Did you know that 93 of those 116 receptions went for first downs or touchdowns? Or that he had four 100-yard receiving games? His 2015 numbers of 51 grabs for 739 yards and three touchdowns plus NO DROPS culminated in Henry receiving the John Mackey Award, an honor annually bestowed upon the most outstanding collegiate tight end in the nation.
Though he has been active in all six games thus far, Henry’s debut versus the Kansas City Chiefs was quiet, as he had a lone catch for 20 yards. He came up empty in the boxscore for the Jacksonville game. The rookie finally busted out in Indianapolis to the tune of 72 receiving yards, as he caught each of the five passes tossed to him by Rivers. The only slight was that in the final minute of that game, he was stripped of the ball in what would most likely have led San Diego to a come-from-behind win.
Henry caught his first touchdown in the home game against New Orleans. It was a sweet pass caught in the middle of the field that he took to the house after 20 yards, just one of his four-catch, 61-yard day. No. 86 has scored a TD in each of the last three games. Six games into the season and he has already amassed 310 yards on 19 receptions (16.3 avg) with three scores and 16 first-down grabs.
Thursday’s game at Qualcomm had division rival Denver in town. How did Henry respond? He responded by scoring a 5-yard TD in front of Broncos’ corner Chris Harris, Jr. while the Bolts were at 2nd-and-goal in the first quarter. He finished the night with 83 yards on six catches in addition to his touchdown reception.
Having future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates as your mentor has to be right up there with being able to play in the NFL.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Gates told Ricky Henne of chargers.com: “From the time I met him, I could see he had all the intangibles.
I see him still growing. I jokingly told him, ‘If I met you before the Combine, you would have went first round! I would have showed you how to have some personality in your routes!’ Now you are seeing that personality in his routes. He already had it all, and now he is just building on it. He is a phenomenal blocker, which is rare to see coming into the league. He’s special. He really is.”
Those are TWO special tight ends that San Diego has on its roster; the master and the apprentice. Keep absorbing all the knowledge you can from No. 85, Henry. He will mold you in to a Hall of Famer, too.
“The sky’s the limit” might be a trite phrase. But in Henry’s case, there are no truer words. Whenever Gates hangs up his cleats, we all know that the team will be in good — make that great — hands!
“The only stat that matters is the final score.” – Chargers fans after the team’s 21-13 win over the Broncos, probably
The Chargers invited the Denver Broncos to San Diego for a Thursday Night Football game in San Diego this past Thursday.
The Bolts entered the game on the heels of a 10-game divisional losing streak which dates back to November of 2014. The game would mark their third divisional contest of the ’16 season, as the Chargers fell to the Chiefs in Week 1, allowing what would be one of the biggest comebacks in Chiefs’ history, and the Raiders in Week 5, falling flat on their faces in another game that they were in until the closing minute.
It was incredibly difficult to find anyone outside of the occasional die-hard Chargers fan that was picking the Chargers to upset the defending Super Champion Broncos. The scarce few I did find were using the game to gain leverage in Pick ‘Em via an upset pick, knowing that they could take the Chargers and hopefully get lucky with a San Diego win, while being fully aware that they would be one of the only selectors to do so.
As you all know by now, despite the usual late-game debacles, the Chargers held on to beat the Donkeys by a score of 21-13.
As expected, blunders late in the fourth quarter almost cost the Chargers a victory; for example, no one EVER wants to see Kenny Wiggins attempt to catch a punt, kickoff or anything else involving the game of football; unless there is an interception or fumble and he is “catching” the recovering defender, preventing them from making a bad play for the offense even worse.
The Chargers’ 2016 rookie draft class highlighted the victory for the team, as first-round pick Joey Bosa, second-round pick Hunter Henry, fifth-round pick Jatavis Brown and sixth-round pick Drew Kaser all had solid performances.
Though Bosa’s boxscore — one tackle — may lead the casual fan to think he was a non-factor, those of us who watched the game saw him wreak havoc all over the field, setting up a campsite on the Broncos’ side of the line of scrimmage.
Henry, albeit in only his sixth career game, set career-highs in receptions (six) and yards (83). He also scored a receiving touchdown for the third consecutive game.
Even the most clueless of football fans walked away from the Week 6 win knowing that Brown had a huge impact on Thursday. Notching 14 total tackles, one sack and a forced fumble, Brown showed that he certainly belongs in the NFL. The organization should be very pleased with the production of their fifth-round ‘backer. He is only going to get better with more playing time.
Punter Drew Kaser had a miserable Week 5, but we’re going to move past that for the sake of everyone’s sanity. In Week 6, Kaser was back to being the strong-legged punter he was during his Texas A&M days, booming multiple punts with solid hang-time, while placing multiple kicks inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line.
All in all, if we’re being completely honest, the Bolts most likely don’t win this game if it weren’t for the output of these four youngsters, and the future is bright for each of them.
Before moving on to PFF grading the Chargers, it is worth noting that cornerback Casey Hayward did a phenomenal job while covering Broncos’ wideout Demaryius Thomas.
Broncos’ quarterback Trevor Siemian targeted Thomas four times while he was covered by Hayward on Thursday, completing just one pass for only six yards.
In short, Hayward added to what has already been an impressive season for the Chargers, locking down one of the league’s premier receivers in Thomas.
The former Packer has already managed to snag three picks in 2016, leading the team in interceptions.
Below is how ProFootballFocus.com graded the Chargers’ offense and defense.
Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers 67.9
Rivers calm under pressure
Philip Rivers wasn’t extremely productive, but he did have a mistake-free game in terms of turnover-worthy plays. He had some inaccurate throws and on passes outside the numbers and 10-plus yards downfield, he was just 1-for-5 for 18 yards. Rivers was actually at his best when he was under pressure. On his nine targeted throws, he completed eight of them including the Chargers’ lone touchdown of the game.
Top offensive grades:
T King Dunlap, 78.4
TE Hunter Henry, 73.1
T Joe Barksdale, 71.7
HB Melvin Gordon, 68.1
QB Philip Rivers, 67.9
Offense scores just enough in win
On several occasions the Chargers sustained long drives only to stall and have to settle for short field goals. Left guard Orlando Franklin threw Broncos’ DL Jared Crick to the ground on one play that helped spring HB Melvin Gordon for a 48-yard run, but otherwise the Chargers’ running game was largely ineffective. Gordon’s long run went for more yards than his 26 other carries combined (46) and he averaged less than 1.8 yards per carry on those 26 runs. Not a single Chargers player finished with an above-average run-blocking grade. While Hunter Henry struggled as a run-blocker, he had a solid game receiving, with six catches for 83 yards, both career-highs, and a touchdown for the third consecutive week.
Top defensive grades:
ILB Jatavis Brown, 85.5
ILB Korey Toomer, 84.6
OLB Melvin Ingram, 82.2
DE Joey Bosa, 82.0
NT Brandon Mebane, 80.7
San Diego rookies make big impact
This isn’t your 2015 Chargers run defense or anything close to resembling it. San Diego finally has the horses up front to not only limit a run game, but stop it in its tracks. Outside of a few runs late in the game, the Broncos running backs had nowhere to go for most of the game. A big reason for their defensive success was the rookie duo of Joey Bosa and Jatavis Brown. Brown had a huge sack and forced fumble down the stretch while Bosa was consistently applying pressure throughout the game with five hurries and a hit.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown
Dave Booga Peters
Do you remember what is was like to simply be happy with a Chargers victory? Those good ol’ days when it didn’t matter if your Bolts won 3-2 or 50-0. You were just thrilled that they left the field with a “W”. If you are like many Chargers fans these days, those feelings are long gone.
Maybe it is because you know more about football then you did when you were young. Maybe it is because you have been a Chargers fan so long that you are tired of playing a certain type of football that you know will not yield you a Super Bowl ring at season’s end. Maybe it is just because you have been disappointed so many times, that you refuse to let your guard down. Whatever the reason, many Chargers fans cannot enjoy victories. They must pick the game apart and focus on the negative.
I’ll be the first to admit, that I fit that description for many years. I clearly remember commenting after wins, “Sure we won, but if we play like that against a good team, we don’t stand a chance.” Or, “We didn’t win. The other team lost.”
It is fair to feel that way. Too many times in the past, the Chargers have gotten their fans hopes high, only to crush them like one of Gallagher’s watermelons. Be honest, it is not easy to be a Chargers fan.
All that may be true, but I think it is time to change our way of thinking. We are talking about the NFL. A league where on any given Sunday, (almost) any team can beat any other team. Winning a game is a difficult thing to do! That should be evident by the Chargers 4-12 record last season.
Look at this season. The Chargers seemingly should be 6-0 right now. They should be the talk of the NFL, for all the right reasons. Instead, they serve as a punchline for jokes and the guinea pig for various studies. What a difference a few plays can make.
So, why should you try to put your cynicism behind you and appreciate every win your favorite team manages to secure? Because right now, you are looking into the future. The Chargers are playing games with kids all over the field. They just beat the reigning Super Bowl champions, with six of the eight players who were just drafted month ago! Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Jatavis Brown, and Drew Kaser (yes, that Drew Kaser) all were impact players in that win. Fourth-round pick Joshua Perry and sixth-round pick Derek Watt also participated in significant snaps and made some plays as well. That bodes quite well for the future of this team.
Going back to the 2015 draft, players like Melvin Gordon, Denzel Perryman, Craig Mager, Kyle Emmanuel, and even Darius Philon are all still with the Chargers and are important players moving forward.
What I am saying is that 12 of the last 14 players drafted by the Chargers are playing important snaps for the 2016 team and the team is competing every week. Sure, they are struggling to close out games. They are kids! Yes, it could be that they are not playing for a coach who can take them to the next step as well. That problem is a lot easier to solve than trying to replace failed draft picks.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Some of these young kids are playing because of need more than because they beat someone out. Injuries have forced the Chargers to play kids before they may be ready. Ready or not, these kids just beat the Broncos. That should be celebrated!
Do yourself a favor. Watch these games with your heart, rather than your head. All that matter at the end of the day is who has more points on the scoreboard. There will be plenty of time for us to mope and complain about heart-breaking losses. It feels good to celebrate the wins. So take off your annalists hat and go back to being a fan. You will probably live longer too. Remember, the longer you live, the more chances you have to see our Chargers hoisting up that Lombardi trophy!
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments below. I will be sure to get back to you.
Go Bolts!! #VoteYesOnC
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their predictions to Thursday’s game versus the Broncos.
Corey Decker: Chargers 31-28. Broncos miss a last-second field goal.
Cheryl A White: 31-28, the guys in the blue color rush unis. Gordon with two rushing scores, Henry & Williams with TD passes + a Lambo field goal give the Bolts win No. 2. Whether or not it’s enough to save McCoy’s job, we’ll find out Friday.
Charles LaFurno: The Chargers win and save McCoy’s tail, unfortunately, 27-20.
Bosa has two sacks and causes a fumble. Gordon goes for over 100 yards from scrimmage.
Zak Darman: The Chargers never get into rhythm on offense and rival signal caller Trevor Siemian slings a late TD to clinch. 24-3 Broncos.
Brian Scott: Denver holds a 9-1 record over the last 10 games against San Diego, winning the last five in America’s finest city. In San Diego, the last five against Denver, Denver has outscored the Chargers 23.6-14. Gordon grinds it out in the middle where Denver has been exploited this year. With an established run game, Rivers is able to throw underneath often and even tests the excellent secondary of Denver, with a few long balls – Rivers never backs down from a challenge. Joey Bosa fuels the fire from his debut last week and will have at least two sacks, and will disrupt Trevor with the help of Liuget. Even with the polar opposite records, how horrible the losses have been for San Diego, they somehow find a way to win at home against Denver for the first time since 2010. Chargers 26 – 21
Travis Blake: As much as I want — NEED — this team to win, and as good as I am feeling about their chances in this game, I still can’t pick them to win. The Chargers of late have always failed hardest in Prime Time, tonight will be no exception. The color rush will be awesome! Broncos defenders will be caught starring at the brilliant blues as Double H, TW16, Travis Benjamin, and MG28 run past them for a couple of TDs! But soon the Bronco defenders will snap out of it and start stopping the run and pressuring PR17 to death. With a short week of preparation and healing Mike McCoy’s team folds yet again. THE Bolts lose, 24-17. Stay tuned after the game if you’re still awake to see who the new head ball coach will be!
Laura Leech: I was worried about being the only one not predicting a win. It will come down to if the Chargers can effectively run the ball. They won’t be being the huge passes from the Chargers like they did against the Raiders. Chargers are without their starting secondary and the Broncos will use that. Their secondary is the best in the league. I think the defense gets two turnovers but it still won’t be enough to secure the win. 21-17 Broncos
Will McCafferty: The one thing the Chargers have been consistent at this season is being inconsistent. They have proven that they can come from ahead better than any other losing team in the league. With that in mind, I have decided to think outside the box for this game against Denver. Many of us hope that if the Chargers fall to Denver tonight, Mike McCoy will lose his gig as head coach. With that in mind, I fully expect the Chargers to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions. That will secure McCoy’s job until week 10 against the Dolphins. At that time, with McCoy’s job on the line again, the Chargers will secure their third victory of the season, once again saving McCoy’s job. Finally, their fourth and final win of the season will be week 17 against the Chiefs. With that win, the Chargers will end the year at 4-12, but Dean Spanos will be so proud that the Bolts beat KC to end the year, that he will make sure that McCoy will get a three-year extension on his contract. As for tonight….. Chargers 24 Denver 23
Chris Hoke: Chargers start slow in the second half settling for 2 field goals. While the defense gives up 14 point one on a long bomb to Sanders and the other on a five-yard rushing TD From CJ Anderson. The Bolts come charging back and take a 20-14 lead going into the 4th, once again settling for a field goal. McNorv has Lambo kick a field goal, which is blocked and returned for six points and the Broncos win 21-20.
Brian Krich: These are the games the Chargers tend to win. Games when you think they have no chance against a deeper opponent. I think they get some things down the middle of the field and Gordon contributes in the passing game. I like the Chargers in a 20-13 type of game.
Big question is can Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin win some of the one-on-one match-ups on the outside. You know Denver is going to do what Denver does. They’re going to play a ton of Cover-1 and dare you to throw the ball outside. If the Chargers can get them out of some of those single-high safety looks the run game should open up, allowing them to control the ball a little bit and get in to manageable third downs.
Dave Booga Peters: When looking at the respective records of the Chargers (1-4) and the Broncos (4-1), this game could possibly be over before it starts, ending in a Denver win.
But, not so fast, my friend.
Historically, the Chargers tend to play up to their competition when facing an elite opponent. They are doing just that Thursday night as they face the defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos.
In this contest, the Bolts do NOT forget about running back Melvin Gordon and he sets his career-high in total yards from scrimmage with almost 200 yards, scoring twice in the game. Rivers is efficient enough, posts a solid QBR but does not wow in most major passing categories. That being said, he easily throws for over 126 yards, passing Hall of Famer and San Diego Chargers great Dan Fouts for the team record in passing yards. Rivers does manage to throw for two passing scores, with one to Tyrell Williams and the other to Hunter Henry.
In the end, the Bolts triumph over the Broncos by a score of 34-27, ending their 10-game losing streak within the AFC West.
Feel free to leave your prediction for the game in the comments section below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
It is game day, Charger Nation! Time for another installment of Keys to The Game. I am filling in for Zak Darman, who is on vacation. This week has been a short one for the Chargers as they get set to take on their second division rival in a row, the Denver Broncos, on Thursday Night Football. The Broncos come into this game with a record of 4-1, the opposite of the Chargers’ 1-4 record. The Broncos are coming off a tough road loss to a 4-1 Atlanta Falcons’ squad.
As fellow BoltBlitz.com staff writer Brian Scott pointed out in our staff predictions article: “Denver holds a 9-1 record over the last 10 games against San Diego, winning the last five in America’s finest city. In San Diego, the last five (games) against Denver, the Broncos outscored the Chargers 23.6-14.” These are not encouraging numbers for our Bolts, however, these are not the same Broncos the Chargers faced last year.
The Broncos lost some key pieces on defense via free agency and no longer have The Sheriff, Peyton Manning, slinging the ball around. Still, the Broncos pose a significant threat to the Chargers’ chances of winning. The Broncos’ defense is still dominating at times, and they have a pair of promising young quarterbacks to throw the ball to a talented receiving corps.
So, here are four keys to the game that I think the Chargers must complete to win this first match-up of the season again the Denver Broncos.
No. 1): Get pressure on the young quarterbacks!
I say quarterbacks because Trevor Siemian is going to get the start for Denver, but he suffered a sprained left shoulder against the Falcons five days ago. If Joey Bosa gets a hold of him and he plants him on that tender left arm his night might be done early.
Paxton Lynch is the next QB up for Denver. He is tall and can run but is very unpolished as a passer. If the Bolts can contain Lynch and put consistent pressure on him, I foresee several interceptions by the Chargers’ defense this evening. The same prediction goes for Siemian if he lasts the whole game. Remember, the Chargers forced five turnovers last year at the Q against Denver.
The Chargers’ pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season has been spotty at best. If they want to win this game they have to get consistent pressure, while containing Denver’s more athletic quarterbacks. Consistent pressure will help the Bolts banged-up, waiver-wire secondary not give up so many long plays in the passing game.
No. 2): Breathe on offense, don’t turn the ball over.
Breathe, meditate, hum Hindu mantras, I don’t care what these offensive players do to calm down, but they need to stop pressing, including Philip Rivers. As much as we enjoy a fiery Rivers, his passion for the game and him shooting laser beams out of his eyes, we equally dislike “chuck-and-duck” Phil playing “Three Flies Up” and heaving the football up for grabs fifty yards downfield into double coverage for an interception.
Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry, Antonio Gates, Travis Benjamin all need to breathe, hold on to the ball and have a good game.
No. 3): Contain. Von. Miller.
Demarcus Ware is ruled out for this game (phew), so that leaves Super Bowl MVP Von Miller to apply pressure on Rivers. Miller has had success at getting to Philip in the past. To make matters worse, three of San Diego’s five offensive linemen showed up on the injury report for various ailments. It could be that King Dunlap and Matt Slauson are the Bolts only healthy starters along the offensive front. Special attention needs to be paid to Miller if he is to be kept out of Rivers’ face. If that happens, I believe the Bolts could win this one.
No. 4): Unleash the Bosa!
In recent years, the Chargers have failed in the primetime spotlight. Pass rushers like Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu have, at times, disappeared in big games. This is a BIG GAME, perhaps the biggest of the season. If the Chargers lose, their season is essentially over. If they win, there is hope. Joey Bosa played 27 snaps on Sunday and looks primed to play in double that amount of time in this game. Unleash the Bosa and see if he can provide the spark this team needs to win, allowing the rookie to tally a few sacks.
One thing I know: The Chargers are going to look like the best team in the NFL in their Color Rush uniforms!
Let me know what you’ll be looking for in the Chargers versus Broncos match-up on Thursday Night!
The San Diego Chargers (1-4) host the Denver Broncos (4-1) at Qualcomm stadium tonight for Thursday Night Football.
Both teams are injury-riddled, but it’s safe to say that the Chargers are coming in with a much longer injury list when it comes to marquee players being out for this game and/or the season.
San Diego comes into this contest hoping to win its first AFC West game since November of 2014.
The above statement is not an error.
Under head coach Mike McCoy, the team has lost 10 consecutive divisional games, forcing everyone and their dog to call for his firing.
The Week 6 match-up against the Broncos marks the first primetime game for the Chargers in 2016. Both teams will be wearing Color Rush uniforms, adding a little twist to this evening’s festivities.
Quite frankly, I would rather the Bolts get blown out than to watch them give away another late-game lead in the closing minutes. I am not sure if my heart can take watching them flounder another contest in which they should have won. The team should be 5-0 at this point, but here they sit with a record of 1-4 and a last-place designation in the AFC West.
After having quarterback Paxton Lynch start for Denver, the team will turn the reins back over to Trevor Siemian, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Siemian led the team to a 4-0 record prior to being hurt.
As one should have expected, the Bolts placed yet another starter, inside linebacker and special teamer Nick Dzubnar, on season-ending injured-reserve following their Week 5 loss to the Raiders in Oakland.
The defense is very thin at both inside linebacker and in the secondary.
Although we already know that cornerback Brandon Flowers will miss his third straight game due to a concussion, the status of Denzel Perryman is still unknown. Perryman was a limited participant with a shoulder malady this week in practice and is listed as questionable for the game.
Now that I’ve regurgitated a bit of nonsense, let’s get right to it.
You all know the drill with our poll articles: place your vote and then leave a comment — with a score — below stating why you voted the way that you did.
Thanks in advance for voting and commenting on the article.
I hope that all of you who pick the Chargers to win are right, while those realists out there, the ones who know the Bolts won’t win, are wrong.
Dave Booga Peters
Rookie punter and 2016 sixth-round pick Drew Kaser had a game to forget against the Oakland Raiders in Week 5.
The former Aggie botched a punt late in the third quarter of the game, netting only 16 yards on the punt and setting up the Raiders for what would be a touchdown in the early part of the fourth quarter.
Though that gaffe was excruciatingly difficult to watch, his next error was even more depressing.
The Chargers, after fighting back to get within a field goal of the Raiders, worked their way into field-goal territory with just about a minute left in the game, positioning kicker Josh Lambo for a 36-yard field-goal attempt.
The special teams unit lines up…. the ball is snapped…. and the holder, Kaser, muffed the snap and the game would end in a 34-31 loss, as the Raiders ran out the remaining time on the clock.
This performance by Kaser has fans murmuring about bringing back the organization’s best punter of all-time, Mike Scifres.
Obviously, Kaser is not even close to the only reason why the Bolts lost that game. There were many other factors which helped to contribute to another gut-wrenching loss.
On Wednesday, head coach Mike McCoy announced that second-string quarterback Kellen Clemens will be taking over holding duties for the Chargers, replacing Kaser, who once was the holder for Lambo while the two were teammates at Texas A&M.
Clemens had been a holder earlier in his career with the Jets, and he said that he’s been practicing holds often.
“You stay ready for everything,” Clemens said via The San Diego Union-Tribune, who fielded long snaps from Mike Windt after practice Tuesday. “I took some holds today, but I’ve been taking holds every week, just nobody has been paying attention.”
After having a strong preseason where Kaser was booming punts down the field for an average of over 54 yards per punt, the rook has struggled mightily during the regular season, averaging only 39.1 yards per punt.
In a game where field possession is so critical to a team’s success, 39 yards per punt is not good enough.
Though the Chargers are taking away Kaser’s job as the holder, he will remain the club’s punter, for now. Should the youngster continue to struggle, don’t be surprised if the Bolts bring in some free-agent veterans to workout for the position.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
The San Diego Chargers will have their first primetime game of 2016 Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
Off to a 1-4 start, the Bolts look to win their first divisional game since November of 2014.
Suffering multiple season-ending injuries to starters such as Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Jason Verrett, among others, the Chargers are banged up — as usual — entering their Week 6 contest against the Broncos.
The team released its injury report on Wednesday for the Thursday Night game at home against Denver.
- SS – Jahleel Addae Collarbone
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- OT – Joe Barksdale Foot
- OG – Orlando Franklin Ankle
- OT – Chris Hairston Groin
- CB – Craig Mager Shoulder
- WR – Dexter McCluster Hamstring
- ILB – Denzel Perryman Shoulder
All of the players listed as questionable were limited in practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Some of that could be a precaution, while it may also mean that they just weren’t able to practice fully.
Knowing the history of the Chargers’ injuries along the offensive line, it is discouraging to see two starters (Barksdale and Franklin) on the list, along with their swing-tackle (Hairston).
Perryman may miss another game with that shoulder ailment, leaving the inside linebacker spots to rookie Jatavis Brown, Joshua Perry and the recently signed Korey Toomer.
The secondary will once again be without cornerback Brandon Flowers, who is still working through the concussion protocol. His absence leaves Craig Mager, Casey Hayward, Steve Williams, Pierre Desir and the recently promoted Trevor Williams as the team’s cornerbacks.
Chargers’ fans are not strangers to watching a severely banged-up squad, but, nonetheless, the Bolts must come out and find a way to win their second game of the 2016 season regardless of their injuries.
For whatever reason, I do believe they’ll achieve just that, beating Denver at home by a score of 27-26.
Dave Booga Peters