#BoltUp

Feb 22, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers addresses the media at press conference at the StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 22, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers addresses the media at press conference at the StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

 

Los Angeles Chargers…

A name we haven’t seen repped by the Chargers in over 55 years. If you’re looking for an article with stats/numbers or the breaking down of any type of analytics, this isn’t the right one. I wanted to take a different route and share my thoughts on this whole situation.

First, I would love to thank San Diego for being a home and family to the Chargers. I’ve been a fan of the Chargers for 10 years now, and if you’ve followed them or have been a fan, you know it hasn’t been the prettiest ride.

But through it all, I met tons of cool people, went to games, met players and all of that. Truly great and passionate experiences as a fan is how I’ll remember their time in America’s finest and I’m thankful to San Diego for all of that. Without San Diego, there is no ‘Chargers,’ and I’m sure I’ll get no disagreements there.

However, with the Chargers announcing their move back to Los Angeles, it shuts the door on what wasn’t the most successful run in terms of rings, so to speak, but also shuts the door on memories, meet-ups, tailgating with fellow fans, memorable on-field moments and the scenery of the Chargers and San Diego being a giant family.

I will say this before I get into anything else, I DO NOT support the Spanos’ family. I think they are arrogant, greedy and self-centered.

Then again, that’s how you have to be to make money and be successful nowadays, it seems.

The move to Los Angeles was needed. With the move, they’ve hired essentially a whole new staff, along with a new city, new logo, new staff… new luck?

I feel like this move was the most beneficial thing the Chargers could’ve done for their players and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Now, there’s been bickering back and forth on social media with people saying the City of Angels doesn’t want the Chargers.

*Stephen A Voice* That is blasphemous!

L.A., like all cities with professional sports teams, loves winning and winners.

The San Diego Chargers were a winning team stifled by injuries and poor coaching in recent years, along with flat-out horrible luck in almost every department of the game.

With those ingredients, you’re almost surely going to fail and take losses after losses.

However, that is all out the window now. These are the Los Angeles Chargers.

The new Chargers from Los Angeles are 0-0, as 90% of the fanbase wasn’t alive when the team first/last played at Balboa Stadium in 1960.

Having a complete make over and starting a new franchise, has to make the players both nervous and excited at the same time. The Chargers have vets who’ve played on different teams and in different locations, so in a way I believe the excitement of joining a new city with a new scene will have bigger impact than nerves, jitters and worries.

If there was ever a year to move, this is the one. The Bolts are on the brink of legit contention as they just nailed this past draft. Rivers was gifted a set of linemen that should give him space, time and trust to make all of the correct throws. When Philip is locked in, he can go toe-to-toe with any QB in the league. That is the kind of poster guy you want to have representing your team in perhaps one of the biggest sports cities in the world. Winning at least part of the city over in their first year is key to success. So, this upcoming season can make or break any further label of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Do we have to account for them getting acclimated to StubHub center? I guess there might be a few transitional issues and possibly some home-sickness but LA is their home now and their 3 consecutive weeks of home games from weeks 2-4 should be plenty of time to adjust to the size of the stadium, noise and fan volume.

For the time being until they move in with the Rams in 2019, you have to weather the storm of the stadium being like a college game. 30,000 seats isn’t that much but if you are winning, those 30,000 fans will make their presence known easily. I myself don’t believe it’s going to be hard to win fans over when you have a team that’s healthy and ready to make names for themselves.

The AFC West is only getting more competitive year in and year out so this forces the Chargers hand in a fast way. Either come to LA and win, or be a giant let down and prove everybody right about failing without San Diego. Truth be told, they failed IN San Diego for so long so by them coming to LA and actually succeeding, that shows to some knowledge that SD held them back.

The relationship between the Spanos and the city of San Diego was ruptured. There was no making a deal. Spanos knew people hated him and that they weren’t going to continue supporting a team owned by him. So he made the decision to Bolt to LA in hopes of the team playing how they should and start winning games. He doesn’t care for anybody besides his family and that’s what the fans who decided to not support the team have to understand. No matter what we say, do, or think, he’s only going to care about money. It makes the world go ’round.

But think about our players. The way they get us hype on gamedays. The way we feel when a huge play happens. All the Rivers’ emotions, faces, small antics he does. All those feelings we feel, come from the players, not Spanos. This team may not be the luckiest but man I love them. And just imagine, what if they actually start taking care of business? What if they go out there and start playing wire-to-wire and not letting any feet of the gas? We would all be one happy family again… Not Spanos, though. I got hate in my heart for him. He’s the one that arguably put us against each other and is the one who caused this whole debacle.

In closing, I believe the love we all have for this team is for the players and coaching staff, and that’s where it needs to stay. We need to stick together as fans just as the players would want us to do: rally behind them like we always have and with this fresh start, let’s take the league over!

San Diego will always have a place in my heart. But for now, goodbye San Diego and hello Los Angeles. We’re ready for you!!

 

 

THANK YOU, SAN DIEGO.

 

Charles LaFurno

 

RiversGates2

 

Will the 2016 campaign be the last year that we see both Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates on the field together? What will happen to the Chargers’ dynamic duo? Will they continue to be great after this season? Or will we have to say goodbye to our future hall of fame tight end, Antonio Gates, at year’s end?

There are two different ways to answer this question: the first is contractually and the second is by observation.

First, we will cover contractually. According to Antonio Gates’ contract, he is still going to be with the Chargers through 2017 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. So, he technically has two years to make the decision whether to retire early, or to play out the reminder of his contract and mentor the Chargers tight end of the future, Hunter Henry.

Personally, I watched Henry when he played for the University of Arkansas just this past year, and I was astonished at what I saw. He had a role that was similar to the one that Antonio Gates has for the Chargers; meaning that he was his quarterback’s first choice to throw the ball to, rather than a check-down, which seems to be what most tight ends are that are not named Gates, Gronkowski or Graham.

Now, let’s look at the observation. Looking at Gates’ statistics from the 2015 season, also known as the season the Chargers donated more than half their roster to the DL and IR (but that is another story), he only appeared in 11 of 16 games last season. Last season he only had 56 receptions and 630 receiving yards, as compared to the season before when he had 69 receptions and 821 yards.

It would not be a bad thing for Antonio Gates to retire after this season, and according to UT San Diego, he is contemplating it very seriously. Personally, I see this as what SHOULD be a driving force to the Chargers this season, similar to the Ravens several years ago when it seemed to be all about #WinItForRay. Ray, of course, is in reference to their long-time defensive captain and emotional center of the team, Ray Lewis.

Of course, only time will tell when Antonio Gates retires, but one thing is for certain: whenever he does retire, he should get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

 

Corey Decker

@Cdecker96

 

Gipson

 

The Chargers need help in a big way at numerous positions between now and Week 1 of the regular season if they want to make a push for the division and make their first playoff appearance since 2013. The number one thing Tom Telesco should search for in a player is a distinctive nastiness giving them that much-needed enforcer.

The Bolts need help at O-Line, and what better way to beef it up by adding a brute up front. Inconsistent play has led to a porous run game that yields next to nothing, and Philip Rivers finds himself on his behind a lot more than he should be.

Re-signing Joe Barksdale to a four-year, $22.2 million deal that includes $10.5 million guaranteed was a step in the right direction to help rectify that problem. Also, the Chargers have a lack of depth and experience at receiver with Keenan Allen being the only receiver with continuity with Rivers, as he’s served as one of Rivers’ three core targets over the last two and a half seasons.

Lastly, the Bolts’ D-Line resembles that of a pillow fight. It almost feels like it’s impossible to get pressure on opposing signal callers and get stops in the run game. The Chargers can go out and sign a quality D-Lineman or a run-stuffing specialist.

There’s plenty of talent out there this year, but, most importantly, they need to snag a defensive enforcer off of the market. A player that will not only be a good influence in the locker room and the community, but a player that will get the team fired up in practices, on game days and will keep them amped up throughout the duration of contests. That being said, there are a couple of names out there who I believe fit that category, and I even have a couple combo signings/draftees that together could bring that to the team.

 

Derrick Johnson (MLB; Kansas City Chiefs): A player that I like for the Chargers’ defense is someone who I cannot envision in a different uniform than the one he is currently in and that is Derrick Johnson. Johnson was the catalyst for an elite Chiefs defense and although he was one the shelf for virtually all of the 2014 season, he had a solid bounce back campaign in 2015 with 116 total tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and eight passes defended. Johnson would be an instant impact from the moment he puts the pen to the paper.

He impacts every facet of the game, while possessing undeniable talent. He also plays the run well and can cover running backs out of the backfield. Johnson is entering his 11th year in the NFL. What stands out most is a career 68 passes defended. He is by no means afraid to step up and cover anybody across the middle or creeping outside of the numbers.

Not only would Johnson be a huge help with his leadership on the field, but his locker room presence has the ability to bring everybody together and make them really play for each other like they should be doing. San Diego has the talent and tools on the defensive side of the ball, but they lack the grit and determination to be a truly imposing defense. A Johnson-Te’o-Perryman trio could have the potential to stir up some ruckus on that side of the ball, and when you add that to Ingram and Attaochu rushing, with the possibility of drafting Bosa, the defense would have fun and fans would be thrilled while watching them perform. That’s what Johnson can bring to the table.

He makes everybody better and, in addition to all of this, he knows the Chiefs’ defense and could provide leverage on those key divisional clashes. We couldn’t picture LT in another jersey; same with Peyton, Dwight Freeney, and even McNabb. But it certainly does happen. Let’s see if the Bolts can pry Johnson away from KC.

Tashaun Gipson + Jalen Ramsey: Next up is a signing and draftee duo. They go by the names of Tashaun Gipson and Jalen Ramsey. Gipson has grappled with health issues during his tenure in the NFL, as he’s only played one full season during his four seasons in the league. But when he’s healthy, he is indeed a playmaker and a highly qualified candidate to replace Weddle. He plays fast and can play the run, as well playing in space.

Jalen Ramsey is just about as good as they come. His broad jump, 135.0″ and his vertical leap of 41.5″ were the best at the combine and matched the likes of Patrick Peterson. He could improve on his speed, but I would really like the Chargers to select him with the third pick, and sit back and watch the Bolts groom him into a dominant, energetic force on a soon to be electric defense.

These two would bring a new element to the Chargers’ defense that would be not only highly flexible, but would add to an already up-and-coming unit lead by stud Jason Verrett. I don’t expect Telesco to go safety in the draft if he goes after Gipson, but this combo would be very nice to have. This obviously means Addae would be relegated to the bench again.

That is something I don’t mind as he seems to thrive in that role, and to be completely honest, I don’t trust him as a starter. What he lacks in speed he surely makes up for with power and hitting, but his big plays always seem to get nullified by flags. San Diego would rather prefer conservative tackling’ especially with the way the league is becoming receiver friendly, and that’s something that is not Addae’s forte.

Chris Long:  Another signing that would bolster the defense is recently released DE Chris Long. Primarily a 4-3 player in St. Louis, it would be a slight stylistic shift, but I’m sure Long wouldn’t scoff at making that adjustment. He wasn’t cut due to performance issues or battles with injuries, a contractual stalemate between he and the Rams was the reason for his release.

I can see Long coming in on a two-year, $9 million deal and being a more dynamic Jarret Johnson. Johnson was a reliable tackler as well as a great locker room presence. Chris Long could be “the guy” in a system tailored for him, and I believe that system to be John Pagano’s. What’s best about Long is that the Chargers could get him for a bargain. He’s not so much an enforcer or an outlaw, but he’s the next best thing.

 Joey Bosa:  Lastly, a guy that sticks out more than all the others is Joey Bosa. The Ohio State Buckeye is projected to go top five in a slew of mock drafts, and the Bolts hold the No. 3 pick. With the Browns’ situation at QB, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to see them go searching for a QB at No. 2, leaving the Chargers either Bosa or Ramsey to choose from.

Either of them make sense and would propel this defense to destructive heights, but Bosa is a freak of nature. His body is NFL ready and he boasts an ultra-competitive attitude. Bosa could not be slowed by the opposition in college even when specifically schemed for, illustrating the level of talent he claims. He was constantly in the backfield whether it be for a sack or a tackle for loss. His firm and strong hands are a huge reason as to why he can be a defensive pillar in the NFL, but Pagano must be willing to move him around.

A player such as JJ Watt cannot be duplicated, but when you are compared to him in any way, you know you’re doing something right. His speed is a rough patch, but there’s always time to get faster. Adding him to this defense will not only take the heat off some of the cornerbacks, but would alleviate pressure off of most everyone on defense. This, in turn, would spawn more wins, less communication errors and, importantly, happier fans.

Charlie LaFurno

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