Buffalo Bills

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Free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III worked out with the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, igniting talk throughout the league, TV and social media. That visit came and went with little fanfare. The most that was reported was that the visit went ‘well’ and was ‘positive’. Not exactly ringing endorsements.

On Wednesday, the news broke that the Chargers have traded a conditional late round draft pick (7th) to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones was a fourth-round pick of the Bills in the 2016 NFL Draft. This could be a game-changing move for the second team to move into Los Angeles in as many years.

Unless you watched the last game of the Buffalo Bills 2016 season, (I thought not), the last time we saw Jones he was holding up the first NCAA National Championship playoffs trophy as a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes. In the first season the NCAA went to a playoff system in the 2014-2015 season, Jones led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind win over Alabama and defeated a Marcus Mariota-led Oregon Ducks team to win the championship.

In the 2015-16 season he was named a co-starter with J.T. Barrett. That season he had almost as many rushing attempts (153) as passing attempts (167). Ohio State won all 11 games in which Jones had a role in quarterbacking the team.

Jones was literally the last man up in what was an Ohio State quarterback carousel and he led the Buckeyes through the final three games of the season, including the NCAA playoffs. Playing behind J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller, Jones led OSU to a 59-0 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers leading into the playoffs. Take a look at the clip below for a refresher of how that season culminated.

Jones is the epitome of a ‘raw’ talent. At 6’5″-inches tall and 250 pounds he is a dynamic playmaker who can throw the ball a mile and move the ball with his legs. At the combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.81 seconds, impressive for a man his size. He ran the ball 153 times for 617 yards and passed for 2,323 yards on 167 completions out of 270 attempts.

What led to his acquisition by the Los Angeles Chargers is his familiarity with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. Last season, Lynn was the man calling the plays as the interim head coach in the Bills’ season finale. The Bills had fired head coach Rex Ryan the week before. That was the one game Jones played as a Bills quarterback, playing the final quarter after starter E.J. Manuel was benched due to poor performance.  In the game. Jones went 6-11 for 96 yards and an interception.

Lynn thought highly enough of Jones from watching his scout team reps and practice habits to convince the front office to trade for him. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jones cried tears of joy upon being informed he had been traded. The Bills signed a free agent quarterback and drafted a quarterback this offseason, most likely leaving Jones as the odd man out. In L.A., he will get meaningful reps and could land as high as the number two quarterback  on the depth chart if he plays to expectations.

Jones will be joining former teammates Joshua Perry and Joey Bosa. Undoubtedly they will be excited to welcome Jones to the Chargers. What do you think? Do you like this signing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TelescoMagic

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Earlier this offseason, the NFL decided to eliminate the middle roster cutdown from 90 players to 75 players. With only one mass cutdown from the 90-man roster to the 53-man squad that will kickoff the season, news of roster cuts will come fast and furious. Every year, players we thought would live on with their current teams get unexpectedly cut and this year is no different.

Last weekend, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin became the first big name player to get the June axe. Maclin had only finished the second season of the five-year/$55 million contract. The 29-year old Maclin is currently unsigned but has made visits to Buffalo and Batimore. So far, he hasn’t agreed to terms with either team.

Money is the key factor in Maclins’ case. How much will a team be willing to pay? This season, Maclin was set to make over $9 million with Kansas City and he may be looking for similar numbers. Last season he suffered from numerous injuries resulting in four games missed completely and a precipitous drop in stats from his first season in KC. His catches were halved (from 87 to 44), his yardage was halved (from 1,088 to 536) and touchdowns dropped 75% (from 8 to 2).

The New York Jets made news this week when they announced wide receiver Eric Decker would be traded or released. The move leaves the Jets receiving corps with no veteran presence as the longest-tenured Jets receiver award goes to Quincy Enunwa with a whopping two seasons of service.

Decker has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries. The Baltimore Ravens are again in the mix for Decker and reports indicate they are willing to work out a trade if Maclin opts to play elsewhere. Decker missed all but three games last season after going under the knife for two surgeries to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a torn rotator cuff.

While they were in the veteran cutting mood, the Jets also decided to cut locker room leader David Harris. The middle linebacker was the longest-tenured Jets player with ten seasons under his belt. He leaves New York as the second-most prolific tackler in Jets history with a whopping 1,260 tackles. He led the Jets in tackles for nine of his ten seasons in Kelly Green, including last season.

Harris also compiled 37 sacks, six interceptions, eleven forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Originally drafted by the Jets in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Harris wants to keep playing but is considering retirement. The Jets will save over $13 million  in salary and cap space once Harris and Decker are off the payroll.

On Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens announced veteran tight end Dennis Pitta has been released. Per ESPN, Pitta is currently still hospitalized after suffering a dislocated hip during practice this past Friday. Per an injury waiver clause in Pitta’s most recent contract, the team does not owe him any more money. The hip injury is Pittas’ third since 2013.

These are the first pebbles to fall in what will soon become an avalanche of veteran free agent roster moves. Would you like to see any of these players on your favorite team? Who is next on the chopping block? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The Greg One

 

#MakingMoves

 

RiversAllen

The sun finally seems to be shining brighter on the Los Angeles Chargers these days. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung signed with the team in March. The Chargers had a grade-A draft in Philadelphia, littering their lineup with potential day one starters. Veteran safety on-the-rise Tre Boston picked L.A. over the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers just a few days ago.

Now the news was released Tuesday that star wide receiver Keenan Allen participated in OTA (offseason training activities) workouts. Allen was lost for the season in the first regular season game last September to a torn ACL in his right knee. His injury spearheaded a domino effect in which the Chargers lost starters for the year nearly every week of the season.

Allen was back on the field snagging passes and according to multiple reports, looking very fit. Tuesday marked the first time rookies and veterans shared the field together. Chargers players and coaches got a glimpse of their future as Allen and their first-round draft pick WR Mike Williams stood on the field together. Williams did not participate in the workouts due to back pain. Aside from a large knee brace, Allen looked his normal speedy self as he participated at full speed in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

At long last, long-suffering Chargers fans have a lot to look forward to with a new regime, new city, a great draft and a healthy roster headed into camp. Knock on wood….

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#Worst2First

 

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Coveted free agent safety Tre Boston announced his new team on Twitter Friday. The ex-Carolina Panther chose the Los Angeles Chargers to be his new team after completing a three-team tour. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Boston made visits to Buffalo and Pittsburgh over the last week before returning home to Charlotte, NC to deliberate over the team that would win his services.

On Bostons’ Twitter page @TreBos10, the safety broke the news:

And showed he’s already catching on to the local lingo:

The Chargers organization would then make an official announcement a few hours later:

Boston fills the need for a veteran safety who is just entering his prime. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, the 24-year old Boston already has Super Bowl experience.  He brings a physical style and playmaking skills to a position where it is badly needed. Last season, Boston played in 15 games (starting ten) and compiled 52 tackles, seven passes defended, two sacks and two interceptions.

Join me in welcoming Tre Boston to the Chargers! Visit his Twitter page and show your love! Here’s a small sample of the latest impact player to bolt up with the Chargers. Enjoy!

Bolt up!!

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

#TelescoMagic

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The Los Angeles Chargers had free-agent safety Tre Boston pay them a visit. The former Carolina Panthers defensive back has also visited with the Buffalo Bills.

Boston has familiarity with Bills new head coach Sean McDermott and new general manager Brandon Beane from his time in Carolina.

Boston took to Twitter to keep everyone posted on where he is at in the free-agent process and how he felt about the two clubs that hosted him.

 

 

 

 

As noted by Eric Williams of ESPN.com in a recent article, “…the Los Angeles Chargers did not address the safety position until Day 3, selecting Miami’s Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round and Iowa’s Desmond King in the fifth,” which gives the Bolts every reason to bring in Boston and attempt to sign him to Gus Bradley’s defense.

As it stands right now, the Bolts are slated to start Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery at the strong-safety and free-safety spots, respectively. They also have safeties Dexter McCoil, Darrell Stuckey, Adrian Phillips and Adrian McDonald on the roster.

Although the number of bodies at the position seems sufficient, it is lacking the quality depth you need at this level, especially in a pass-happy league where signal callers often are slinging the rock 30-plus times a game.

As mentioned above, the Chargers did select Jenkins from “The U” and project him to eventually be an in-the-box safety, his time to make an impact is not necessarily this year. King looks to be penciled in as No. 1 on the depth chart at nickel-corner, by my estimation when looking at the roster.

Adding Boston would indeed give the Chargers some much-needed depth and perhaps another playmaker in a secondary boasting the likes of Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett.

Drafted out of UNC in the fourth round of the 2014 Draft by the Panthers, the 24-year-old has amassed 108 total tackles, two sacks, 10 passes defensed and three interceptions — one of which he returned 84 yards for a touchdown as a rookie — in his three seasons in the NFL.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

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Former Carolina Panthers safety Tre Boston arrived in San Diego on Monday. The Los Angeles Chargers worked him out in hopes of adding a veteran safety. The safety position has been in a state of flux since the departure of Eric Weddle last season. The team did take a step toward remedying the situation in their latest draft when they tapped Rayshawn Jenkins out of the University of Miami in the fourth round.

Boston has been making the rounds as he looks for a new team. He’s already completed a stops in Pittsburgh. He’s been documenting his travels on his Twitter page, @TreBos10:

 

Boston was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Standing 6″1′-inches tall and weighing in at 205 lbs., Boston is the blend of experience and youth (he’s 24-years old) Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco craves. Arriving in San Diego on Monday, Boston ran into a former Chargers standout cornerback and Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie. He then tweeted out this photo:

Boston accumulated 108 tackles (77 solo), ten passes defensed, three interceptions, two sacks and two touchdowns in his three seasons in Carolina. He’s a playmaker on the rise who would be a great addition to Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradleys’ defense.

The safety left San Diego after his physical and workout Tuesday and now is weighing his options between Pittsburgh, Buffalo and LA per his most recent tweet Tuesday afternoon:

Where will Boston be shipping off to? Stay tuned…

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TelescoMagic

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Hot on the heels of the monumental Thursday morning announcement of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers moving up the I-5 to Los Angeles, a new head coach was announced to spearhead the new Los Angeles Chargers.

On Friday, the now Los Angeles Chargers officially announced former Buffalo Bills’ interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their successor to Mike McCoy. Lynn was a running back in the NFL for six seasons from 1993-1999. He was initially signed as an undrafted free agent running back by the Denver Broncos. He played a season in San Francisco (1995-’96) before finishing his career in Denver from 1997 to 1999.  Lynn has two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led team that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.

Since retiring from playing the game in 2000, Lynn has worked his way up the coaching ranks. After two seasons in Denver as a special teams coach, he was brought in as a running backs coach for Jacksonville, Dallas, Cleveland and New York Jets before landing in Buffalo in 2015. Lynn served as running backs coach until week three of the 2016 season. Bills OC Greg Roman was fired after week two and Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the week 17 interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired in week 16.

Lynn is a low-profile, safe choice for the Chargers. Not much will be expected of him or the team given their recent history.  The Chargers have finished in the cellar the last two seasons, only winning a combined nine games. They made the playoffs once in the four years of the Mike McCoy era.

Despite the fact he has no head coaching experience at any level of football, he is expected to keep Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator and various media outlets are reporting he wants to hire former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to replace John Pagano as defensive coordinator. If the Bradley hire happens, that places two experienced head coaches to accelerate his learning curve.

Lynn becomes the first minority head coach in the history of the Chargers franchise. He is widely respected around the league as a running game mastermind. From 2009-13 his Jets led the league in rushing. Each season in Buffalo, the Bills have led the NFL in rushing. If he can do that with a past his prime veteran like LeSean McCoy, imagine what he will be able to do with a young, budding superstar like Melvin Gordon.

Lynn inherits a roster with many budding stars yet to hit their prime and if they can stay healthy, could make the playoffs as soon as next season. So far, the Chargers have led the league in players sent to injured reserve over the past few seasons. Staying healthy and offensive line stability has been their biggest downfall.

All things considered, there is no place to go but up for Lynn and the Chargers. The stadium drama is over and players now know in which city their future lies. That has to be good for something. Now everyone can focus on getting healthy and just playing football, which may be exactly what this team needs.

What do you think? Good signing? Bad signing? Too soon to care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

#StillBoltedUp

 

The Greg One

 

Follow me on Twitter @LordOfTheGregs

 

 

 

Fouts3

 

It all came about because of a neighbor, who happened to be a diehard Chargers fan.

Initially, I was never a gal who liked to watch football. I went to a couple of games in high school but that was it. I grew up in this little place in Rhode Island, which is about a 90-minute drive outside of Boston. The closest NFL team was the Patriots. (I know, boo-hiss!) The only thing I could tell you then about the New England Patriots was that their quarterback was Jim Plunkett and they played at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

My dad was a baseball guy, a fan of the good ol’ Boston Red Sox. The BoSox were his team, and Luis Tiant was his favorite player; probably more so than either Carl Yazstremski (“Yaz” was my favorite) or Tony Conigliaro.

We never watched football!

No, not even Super Bowls!

Fast forward to moving from the East Coast to the West Coast in 1980. I was still pretty uneducated about football at that time, but not for much longer!

I believe it was that fall when we began going to our neighbor’s home to watch San Diego Chargers football on Sunday afternoons. The Chargers’ Air Coryell offense was flying high with Fouts at QB. He had Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson at wideout, along with Chuck Muncie and John Cappelletti as his running backs. Additionally, No. 14 had Kellen Winslow at the tight-end spot. Remember that defense? Willie Buchanon, Louie Kelcher, Woody Lowe, Don Macek, Jim Laslavic and Ed White. Beasts!

That was a great year to start being a fan. The Chargers ended the season with an 11-5 record, finishing in 1st place in the AFC West. They went on to face the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round and won. Unfortunately, they ran into the Oakland Raiders at the AFC Championship level and lost. Disappointed, but my interest was piqued.

The following year the Chargers won their division again, in no small part due to the guys who returned from the previous year, but also additions like Wes Chandler, James Brooks, Eric Sievers and Pete Holohan.
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Then came the “Epic in Miami.” What a game! Once you hear it, all football fans immediately associate it with the image of an exhausted and drained Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by a couple of teammates. Chargers won the hard-fought, see-saw contest, 41-38 in overtime. It was quite a battle.

These are the types of games that get fans fired up! I was no different. By that point, I was becoming a fan, although my understanding of the sport was still miniscule.

After the heat and humidity of Miami a week later, Fouts and Company found themselves in Cincinnati. This game gets a nickname, too: the “Freezer Bowl.” From the heat and humidity of Miami to the sub-zero temperatures in Cincy, where the wind chill at game time was minus-59 degrees! The Chargers would have the fight of their football lives on the line. Sadly, they lost to the Bengals 27-7.

Of course, there were other games and players that helped solidify my enjoyment – and frustration – of Chargers’ football, just like many other people who root for them. As a “transplant” to California in 1980, there were four football teams here: the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, the LA Rams and the San Diego Chargers.

I chose to represent San Diego then as I do now. My understanding of the game is better because of family and friends, plus a little bit of reading. I still have a long way to go and every year is a learning experience.

Thanks for some awesome memories over the years, San Diego Chargers! Now let’s bring on 2016!

Thank you for reading!

Cheryl White

#Boltn’Up!

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The hype surrounding Manti Te’o prior to the San Diego Chargers selecting him in the 2013 draft was mountainous, to say the least. Then first-year general manager Tom Telesco moved up seven slots (from 45th to 38th) to take the former Fighting Irish linebacker.

After all, Te’o had received a plethora of awards and trophies at the end of the 2012 collegiate season: The Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Trophy (the nation’s most outstanding football player), the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and a two-time winner of The Butkus Award (once in high school and then again in 2012 with Notre Dame). There was also this one other little thing – Heisman Trophy runner-up.

Those are ALL spectacular acknowledgements. In 51 games at Notre Dame, he amassed a total of 437 tackles (212 solo/34 for loss), 12 quarterback hits, 8.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 10 pass break ups, 17 passes defensed with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Te’o has the distinction of being only the second linebacker of Polynesian descent drafted by the Bolts, the first, of course, being Junior Seau. Te’o was also the highest selected Fighting Irish linebacker drafted since Demetrius DuBose in 1993.

At this juncture in his young career, Te’o’s pro stats look like this through 35 games: 202 tackles with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He has missed 13 games due to injuries to both feet dating back to his rookie season.

Here is the list of his various ailments since entering the NFL:

August 8, 2013: Sprains his foot in a game against the Seattle Seahawks. He is seen in a walking boot two days later and ends up missing the next five games. Ultimately has surgery in the offseason to repair a bone in his right foot.

August 15, 2014:  Another preseason game versus the Seahawks has Te’o injuring his left foot. He sits out the next two weeks and is back in action for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

September 21, 2014: In the road game versus the Buffalo Bills, he injures his right foot. It’s bad news for the Bolts when it is announced that Te’o suffered a fracture. He doesn’t take the field again until after the Week 10 bye when San Diego faced the Oakland Raiders.

Te’o stayed injury-free for the remainder of the 2014 season, compiling an additional 40 tackles over the last seven games. In that stretch, he managed to get his first NFL interception in a Sunday Night game against the New England Patriots on the Chargers’ own turf. The pass was intended for Rob Gronkowski. Two weeks later, he collected the first sack of his pro career, on 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

October 12, 2015: The Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for a Monday Night matchup. Unfortunately, the guy wearing No. 50 had to leave the game for a few snaps to get his ankle taped. While he did return to the contest, and finish with seven tackles, he again is out for over a month trying to get it strong once more.

The Chargers are in a bit of a pickle here. Right now the team is loaded at linebacker with the likes of Te’o (who will be calling the defensive plays), Melvin Ingram, Jeremiah Attaochu and sophomore Denzel Perryman most likely the starters. Joining the mix are second-year men Kyle Emanuel and Nick Dzubnar; plus rookies Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown and Dexter McCoil. There is also fourth-year player Tourek Williams, who returns after a limited 2015 due to breaking his foot in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Needless to say, linebackers coach Bob Babich and defensive coordinator John Pagano are going to be putting in plenty of observation and film study over the next couple of months to determine who potentially makes the roster, moves to the practice squad or ends up being released.

Whether Manti Te’o remains a Charger for the entirety of his career remains to be seen. However, Te’o staying injury-free might solidify his spot. The Chargers have always liked him for his leadership ability, strong work ethic, perseverance and instincts. He is an extremely smart player. His only downfall has been an inability to play an entire 16-game season.

Now, I know that there are many people out there who are not fans of Te’o for whatever reason(s). No, he doesn’t always wrap up and tackle his target. Yes, sometimes he runs a bit slow. He is, however, starting to become the tackling machine that had him landing on several top-ten college recruiting lists before he began his senior year of high school.

Te’o himself said it best in a December 2014 interview with Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’ve always been one to keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding. I’m going to continue to get better because I’m going to continue to work.”

Yet the question remains, is Te’o going to be part of San Diego’s plans beyond the ’16 campaign? When all is said and done, this is a business. There is going to be stiff competition at the inside linebacker spot next month from the rookie Perry. We could very well see a repeat of Butler versus Te’o, and that might not end well for Manti. He’s been put on notice. As much as I like No. 50, I don’t think he will be sporting blue and gold come the 2017 season.

I’m pulling for him to stay with the team and pick up where he left off in 2015.

What do you think? Share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Cheryl White

#healthandhardwork

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The draft may be over, but the San Diego Chargers’ front office is still hard at work. The news broke over the last hour that free agent guard/center Matt Slauson has signed a two-year deal to wear lightning bolts. Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed.

Slauson, 30, visited the Chargers and Buffalo Bills over the last two days before making a decision. This signing is a major addition to the roster at their weakest position, center.  Last season Slauson allowed only one sack with his former team, the Chicago Bears. The massive 6’5″, 320-pounder is ranked as a top-ten player in pass protection.

In his seven seasons in the NFL, he has only missed 11 games due to injury. In five of the last six seasons, Slauson has not missed a single game. In 2014, a torn pectoral muscle prematurely ended his season. In his rookie season, he only started three games due to a coaching decision.

The added bonus of this signing is the fact it will allow Max Tuerk, the Chargers’ third-round draft pick, to ease into the lineup slowly rather than immediately. Tuerk was one of the top-rated center prospects in the draft, but he is recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last season. Having Slauson in the mix allows Tuerk time to fully recover, learn from a grizzled veteran and be well prepared when his number is finally called.

This is another excellent signing by GM Tom Telesco! Are you excited for the season yet? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#SlausonIsHere

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