Chargers

Russell Wilson, Melvin Ingram

 

On Sunday, June 11, the Chargers locked up a clutch piece of their young up-and-coming defense in Melvin Ingram.

The former Gamecock signed a big four-year, $66 million deal, ending what could have been an annoying contractual standoff, and Chargers got it done far before the mid-July deadline.

As mentioned from the Chargers’ front office, both sides were eager to get a deal done and wasted no time agreeing on numbers. This proves to be very big for the Chargers because this means Melvin will be there for all of mini-camp and training camp.

On February 27 2017, the Chargers placed the always nagging Franchise Tag on Ingram, thinking it would take an extended amount of time to come to terms, but doing so in four months is extremely beneficial for both parties and to the chemistry of the defense.

Ingram was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft and was supposed to be a impact player right away. The South Carolina product had a slow rookie year and the next two seasons after that he only played in 13 games out of 32.

However, he bounced back his last two seasons, playing in all 32 games notching 18.5 sacks, 11 pass deflections and seven forced fumbles. He proved that, when on the field, he can play at a high level. He developed an early reputation his first couple of years as an “almost” player; almost getting sacks, almost affecting plays. But he has shown the past two seasons that he’s more than learned how to impact games and get to the quarterback more efficiently.

The drafting of Joey Bosa last year has helped him because teams must worry about not one explosive motor but now they must gameplan for two pass-rushing freaks of nature. The two didn’t get a chance to play together in all of the games cause of Bosa’s contract issues. During the 12 games the duo did play together in ’16, they combined for 18.5 sacks.

It is going to be really interesting to see how they fare with an entire offseason and season together. It seems they both complement each other well and, in that, their numbers will only get better. Ingram also was tied for 6th in the league with QB hurries (29) and producing a team-high 23 QB hits. That is pretty damn good for an “Almost player.”

The Bolts adding Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator means a switch from 3-4 to 4-3, meaning Ingram will have plenty of chances to knock opposing signal callers on their asses.

As a fan, we hate seeing big money contracts given out, especially because injuries can happen at any given time. But Ingram has earned it. Now, let’s see him terrorize offenses for a full 16 games, thus leading the team formerly located in America’s finest city back to the postseason dance.

One more thing: can we possibly get Melvin to make a theme song for the Chargers going forward? I, for one, think it would be extremely dope! Maybe we can all ask him on twitter and get it going?!

There is a link below to one on Melvin’s tracks:

 

 

 

Thanks for checking out my article. I appreciate all of y’all for doing so.

Charlie LaFurno

@CharlieMack29

Chargerfans

I just can’t give people an answer yet. I know…..it’s been over four months.  I just don’t know yet.

When the talks of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles started in 2015, I was certain that I would remain a fan no matter what they did. I am a fan of the team not the city. I spend over half of my life rooting for the Chargers and that would not stop because of a move up North.

Then it happened and it sucked. Not because they moved but because of how it all happened.

A letter by Dean Spanos about the decision to move via twitter?

Really?!?!

He could have at least have held a press conference to announce it. Then the terrible logo! What do most San Diegan sport fans hate as much as the Raiders? The Los Angeles Dodgers! So why make a logo that looks pretty much just like the Dodgers logo and think it would go over well with us folks in San Diego? Well it didn’t go over well with anyone!

I was angry and I still thought I would be a fan. I don’t have to like Dean Spanos but I can still love the players. Then the “Fight for LA” website popped up. That was the last straw for me. Where was the “Fight for San Diego” website?  Oh yeah…they did not want to fight for their beloved home of 56 years.

So four months has passed and I have seen many fans stay loyal to the team despite a lot of anger towards the Spanos clan.  I see some immediately dropped the team and became a fan of a new team. The Arizona Cardinals just got a bunch of new fans on their bandwagon. I also see that some fans are just done with the NFL altogether. Others have decided to just focus on football as a whole. Lastly, some made their decision around draft time.

Me….I watched the draft and I followed the Chargers picks. I just hated to see LAC! That is the Los Angeles Clippers, isn’t it? No decision was made after the draft.

Can I really just start rooting for another team? I might. I was raised in a household of two die-hard Steeler fans. I considered myself a fan when I was a kid since my parents were fans. I come from a family of Steeler fans. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all Steelers fans. Yes, they all loved to give me crap about the Chargers wondering why I would decide to be a fan of a team with no rings instead of the team with six. I have sometimes wondered that myself but I could not help but love my Chargers. My Aunt actually sent me her beloved Steelers jersey after the announcement in  hopes that I would come back to the black and gold side. The thing is, I tend to always root against the Steelers.  It would be odd to all of a sudden be a fan again. So this is still a possibility but no decision has been made yet.

The truth is I hate seeing and hearing the Los Angeles Chargers. It just makes me sad and little angry. I just can’t help it. It is how I feel.

So here I am still undecided on my choice to remain a fan. I decided I will not watch a game on my on television at home. I will go somewhere to watch if I chose to watch a game. I will not attend a home game in Los Angeles but might try to attend an away game. I really want to go to Kansas City for a game.  I have not gotten rid of any of my Chargers stuff but I have not worn any since the decision. I refuse to buy anything that say Los Angeles Chargers.

So maybe I was wrong and I am a fan of the city. It doesn’t make me less of a fan. I still suffered some lowly years with the Chargers and remained loyal.

We shall see what the 2017 season brings me. A new found love for the Chargers? A new team? Time will tell. My heart will make the decision soon enough.

Thanks for reading!

 

201

January 2017 was a massive shock for me. The Chargers announced in the most impersonal manner that they were moving to Los Angeles. I wrote an article the week prior saying how they were going to stay in San Diego for x, y, and z reasons. This is the reason I chose to switch teams, even though both Los Angeles and San Diego are only five to six hours away from me.

The way the move was announced, I was hurt by it. There are no two ways around it. The immaturity of just making a social media post to say goodbye to a city you have resided for over 50 years is overbearing. I was a Chargers fan for around 15 years, ever since I was a young boy and I noticed a Chargers koozie in the convenience store across the street from Miguel’s Mexican restaurant near Shelter Island. It’s hard following a team that did not even have the class to issue a proper goodbye in person and decided to just hide behind a computer screen.

My saying goodbye has nothing to do with the players or fans, but the front office and the men and women in corporate. The players of a sports team are only on the front end. If someone really wants to know how a team treats their fans, look at their PR department.

So where do I go from here? Should I go full Lebron James and message teams to see who will take me? No thanks. I have decided that I need to do what is best for me and go to a franchise that respects and even honors it’s fans rather than just seeing them as dollar signs.

That is why I have decided to become an Arizona Cardinals fan.

It will be difficult the first few years to garner the love that I had for the San Diego Chargers but I’ll have to muddle through it.

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

 

cover

Note: Before I begin I want to add that this is an opinion article, also known as an editorial

March 27, 2017:  the day that 31 NFL owners voted to uproot the Oakland Raiders, and allow the team to find a new home in Las Vegas. Sure, for the Raiders it may be a good option. They are moving to a territory that they would not have to share with anyone except an NHL team. One thing about the business of sports is that, yes, there is a massive business aspect to it; but it is not the same as any other industry.  The difference is the fans. Sure, in other industries there are consumers and customers, but that is still different than fan bases in sports.

Fans are practically owners of the teams. Most of the revenue comes from things that fans do such as buy merchandise, food, tickets, etc… Over the past two years there have been three teams that have left the cities that they have played in (some for 50-plus years) in order to go someplace with a bigger market. Now if this were a restaurant or store, it makes sense. More population equals more potential clients/customers. However these are not stores, these are teams with history. These are teams that integrate into the communities and make a personal and lasting impact on each and every fan. There is a reason that fan bases become family and it is that shared bond and experiences of being a fan of a team.

When teams move, they do not realize they are hurting both the image of the organization as well as their fans. Imagine a business that would abandon its largest stakeholder instead of trying to please said stakeholder. The company’s brand may go up in value, but what is the point of an increase of the brand if there is no loyalty to said brand?

Moving away from a large source of money based upon the “chance” that you could double the current revenue is one of the most greedy business decisions a team could make. The only thing that an increase in brand will help is the cost of selling said franchise.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, and NBA are a fan run industry. The reason that the sports industry is worth several hundred billion dollars, is mostly because of the amount of fans it draws. Being a fan is more than just liking this or liking that, being a fan is being a part of a community and supporting the team by spending money on gameday and on different things with the teams logo on it.

Why in the world ruin a good thing? Teams seem to think the way to earn more money is just to move to a bigger market. Maybe they are right in the short-term because since the Chargers moved they increased the value of the brand. However, they still have to play at a stadium that is meant for soccer with a low amount of seats. So even though the brand increased and the potential is there, the teams need to win a Super Bowl to make a “fan base” in Los Angeles. However, the owner doesn’t seem to care about championships.

In short, the NFL is going to feel the repercussions. It is hard to support teams that have a history of leaving. Maybe to begin with they will see an increase because of new markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. However, they will not see consistent revenue from the teams. With all of the rule changes and everything else, it is soon to be the NTFL (National Touch Football League) instead of the NFL, which would piss off a major target market in sports.

To the Indoor Football League we go!!! Go Rattlers.

BoltBlitz-800x450-e1412795490245

 

Articles from Chargers.com:

 

Articles from NFL.com:

 

Articles from ESPN.com:

 

SVU

“In the criminal justice system, moving sports team based offenses are considered especially heinous.  In the city of San Diego, the dedicated fans who witness these vicious felonies are in an elite squad known as the Save Our Bolts Unit. These are their stories.  BUM BUM!” – Parody of Law and Order Special Victims Unit

 

The date, January 12th 2017, will be forever known as the day the Chargers died in San Diego. Included in the passing, 56 year of hopes and dreams of many San Diego Chargers fans have been buried. Dreams of seeing this team finally win a Super Bowl, which would included a parade throughout America’s finest city, have now perished.  With that murdered dream, so goes the possibility of many San Diegans to finally say “Yes we finally have a winner!”

 

This is not a game of Clue, or an episode of S.V.U that leaves us pondering who the murderer is. The murderer of those said hopes and dreams of many San Diego citizens and Charger fans worldwide, is Dean Spanos.  Instead of being the bigger man and really fighting for a stadium, in which the Chargers have been looking at for the past 15 years, Dean chose the easy way out. He walked away from fighting against a market whom is claiming “LA doesn’t want the Chargers,” a failed Proposition C in which he seemed to turn into a ghost, and debating against hoteliers regarding a huge tax hike.

 

Even with the attendance down, Dean was making more than enough money to keep this team afloat in San Diego. This move, simply put, is about having more money. This is about greed beating out the loyalty of a fan base that had supported this team through tough seasons when in reality, there were way better things to do in America’s finest city.

 

The loss of Prop C was just a cop out of Dean and his goons to make a few extra million dollars. What does Dean gain? The so called 25% of fan base that’s supposedly in LA? Does Dean not know percentages? He had 75% of a fan base in San Diego or from San Diego, yet he chose the smaller amount. The ironically humorous part of that is those 25% should probably fill the 27,000 seat stadium the Bolts will play in for the next two years.

 

Funny to think that if he just showed some commitment to put a winner on the field for the past few years, the city would’ve rewarded Dean with a reasonable offer that worked for everyone. Instead, San Diegans are left without a team that they supported from Sid Gillman all the way to Mike McCoy. This fan base never wavered, staying ignorantly loyal up to the very end.

 

How fitting though; the team that has made it an art form of crushing our hopes for the past 56 years, breaks our hearts for one last time.

 

As far as I am concerned, I will not follow that goon of an owner to the city most Charger fans have been raised to root against. Dean showed us no respect leaving San Diego and making a crappy LA logo in the same day. Why show him and his team that same respect?

 

I will keep my jerseys and my memories of which I have so many to share; perhaps unveiling them in another article. As far as the other city that Chargers team now calls home, I wish the players the best of luck, especially my favorite player Antonio Gates. I can not consciously follow this team to Los Angeles and in reading through numerous social media outlets, it appears many will not as well.

 

For those staying out of LA and ditching Dean and his organization, like he has ditched us, let’s hear the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS ANTHEM one last time and reflect on our time spent as loyal SAN DIEGO CHARGER fans.

 

 

Chris Hoke

LA

 

 

Yesterday was January 12, 2017, a day that shall live in infamy. Some will refer to it as the beginning of the end, and to others just the beginning.

 

The Chargers are officially moving to Los Angeles, and with this sudden and drastic change, many Charger fans are jumping ship to other teams, or dropping any passion they had for the NFL all together. Of course with those publicly made comments, there have been tons of rebuttals from fans of other NFL teams belittling said fans for doing so.

 

I say to those that are making the decision to follow another team: Although I am making the decision to follow them in Los Angeles under the condition that they remain the Chargers – I do not blame you.

 

I also come from a different background. I was not born and raised in San Diego. I became a Chargers fan at a very young age because everyone else around me where I lived, seemed to be an Arizona Cardinals fans. So in a way, I was a fan of the Chargers as an entity, not as a representation of a city.

 

Regardless of how I became a Charger fan, it still hurts me to watch the team leave by way of a press release; no public meeting,  just a cowardly gesture and they are gone like a thief in the night. I understand that the team is now not that far away from San Diego, however the team moved to what is considered to be a rival city.  I remember the benches clearing brawl in the Padres- Dodgers game a few years ago between Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin! These two cities do NOT like each other. It is not to the likes of a New York and New Jersey rival; closer to that of a New York and Boston rivalry. Fans of the NFL born after 1996, who were not alive to witness the move of the Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals and the original Cleveland Browns, do not understand the gravity of this situation.

 

The social media attacks of Charger fans walking away from the team, seem to forget that a majority of the fans they are chastising, the team was a large part of not only their community, but their upbringing as well. Without actually experiencing the situation yourself, you really have no idea what it is like to lose such a large part of your community – your life. Chargers fans in some of the Facebook groups compare it to having a girlfriend that cheats on you and then shares the picture with you on Facebook with her new ex. You still may love that girlfriend, but it is clear that she did not love you back.

 

That is the case with the Chargers in my opinion.  The reason for the low attendance the past few years is not just because of poor performance, but also the Spanos family yanking the citizens of San Diego around and giving them false hope.  It is not just the Spanos family, however, that is at fault.  I believe all sides regarding the team and the stadium issue are to blame.

 

Getting back to my original thought: Fans of the teams that either have not moved in their lifetime or have never moved, where their loyalty has never been tested, should not be telling Chargers fans about how loyal they are and blah, blah, blah. Those casting stones often forget that being a fan of any sports team is a passionate yet gentle distraction from the stressors of our daily lives. We put our heart and hopes into that team, and in return they give us hope and pride in something that is bigger than ourselves. A sports team is a large part of a community; it brings people together and in turn gives back to the community by public works. Now in San Diego, that entity is gone with no public meeting, just a few touches on a keyboard. That is why it hurts the way it does.

 

So for those who are not, or never were, Chargers fans, please be reminded that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings.  Your loyalty might not have been tested yet, and even if it has and you choose to stay with your team, I am fairly certain there were numerous fans of your team that jumped ship.

 

 

Thanks for Reading

 

Corey Decker

Qualcomm

 

 

The day of January 15, 2017 is almost here. That day is the date in which the Chargers need to either use the option to move the team to Los Angeles or to stay in San Diego, attempting to work out a mutually beneficial stadium agreement for the Chargers organization and the city of San Diego. Of course, there is also the option that they could ask to extend the option to Los Angeles, adding the much-needed time to keep the Bolts in America’s finest city. The move to Los Angeles would be a costly one, but it also would be a very, very, stupid decision on the part of Chargers management.

This season it was reported that most of the ticket sales for the Chargers-Raiders game in San Diego were from L.A. county, so much so that the Chargers had to practice the silent count in order to deal with the crowd. However, when the game was played, it was not a bunch of Chargers fans, it was a ton of Raiders fans.  That game should have been physical proof that the Chargers will not be welcome in Los Angeles.

“So they will re-brand and become more profitable.”

This is a false statement because Los Angeles already has two established fan bases: the Rams and the Raiders. Trying to build a completely new franchise would be next to impossible. Then the money that would be involved in such a re-brand.

Yikes.

First they would have to pay for a firm to conduct the survey about naming the team, then they would have to take the name to digital designers, after that they would have to create the merchandise. Keep in mind, that is not the merchandise that is sold to the general public. Think about the amount of logos you see of a team in any given stadium in any sport. The concourses have logos, the cups, the golf carts, the uniforms, the field of play, the jumbotrons and so on and so forth.

First, imagine the cost of all of that, then add the $500 million dollar relocation fee to the NFL. So, right now it is safe to say moving to Los Angeles will be a costly decision, I mean, it’s only a couple of billion dollars. All spent on the chance they might make a profit due to the larger audience. Personally, that seems like too much money to me to be spent on a “possibility”.  If they were to re-brand, as an original team in Los Angeles, history shows that all the teams who have already done that, have eventually moved away from Los Angeles.

With the history of the Spanos family that we have seen in San Diego, we know two things: they are not big spenders and they do not seem to make sound football decisions, they make business decisions. If someone wanted to move a business, why leave all the loyal customers, spend a couple of billion dollars, just purely on the possibility that you might actually turn a profit. In other words, there is a very small chance the Spanos’ clan will be successful in Los Angeles.

Recently the City and County of San Diego, along with San Diego State University, unveiled a new downtown stadium plan. Read about it in this link ( http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/columnists/kevin-acee/sd-sp-charupdate-0103-story.html).

The headline reads that it would be up to the rest of the league to allow Spanos to move the team. I do not think that the owners are going to give up a ninth home game in San Diego. Not to mention, losing one of America’s largest tourist destinations would hurt the NFL’s bottom line in multiple ways.

After the Rams experiment in Los Angeles, the owners are probably very weary of the fans in Los Angeles. This seasons ratings for the Los Angeles Rams were actually LOWER than the tv ratings while the team was in St Louis. (Source: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/12/st-louis-los-angeles-rams-television-ratings-nfl)

That proves, in my mind, that even though they will be moving to a more populated area, that does guarantee that the team will make money. Even after all the money the Rams spent, they are (so far) not better off in Los Angeles.

In closing, the Chargers will not move to Los Angeles because of the necessary costs of the move and the results of the Los Angeles Rams’ experiment prematurely seeming to be a bad plan.

Not to mention, in the last game, there was a sign that was posted outside of the Q that said,” keeping the tradition in San Diego.” This means either they are staying, or they are keeping the name “Chargers” in San Diego.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Corey Decker

@CDecker96

 

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

 

Korey Toomer has only been wearing lightning bolts since September, but it surely seems longer.

The former Oakland Raider is as happy to be with the Chargers as they are to have him. He is finally getting an opportunity to put his talents on display, especially that 4.53-second 40-yard dash.

After being drafted by Seattle in 2012 (round 5, selection No. 154). He was on the roster for 20 (including preseason) games during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in 2013. Between being on injured-reserve for two straight years and having guys like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner ahead of him, it was difficult for Toomer to get on the field in Seattle. He was released from the Seahawks in 2014. Subsequent stops in Dallas and St. Louis with minimal playing time (special teams only) garnered three tackles in seven games. More of the same followed in Oakland, so much so that he terminated his contract with the Raiders to sign in San Diego.

The signing of the ultra athletic Toomer has gone a long way towards solidifying the linebacking corps. Season-ending injuries to Manti Te’o and Nick Dzubnar left a void that demanded filling. Recent injuries to both Jatavis Brown (knee) and Denzel Perryman (hamstring) only increased the necessity of his presence.

Ahead of the match-up against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Toomer had started in four out of seven games. One of his best plays to date came in the Thursday Night Football game when he tackled Broncos wide receiver Jordan Taylor and the Broncos’ player coughed up the ball. The fumble recovery led to a San Diego field goal and put the Chargers up 13 points on their division foes. San Diego went on to win that game, their first victory in the AFC West since 2014.

Since mid-October, Toomer has amassed 51 tackles, the majority of which are solo (37), defended against two passes, forced three fumbles and notched one fumble recovery. There were impressive stats against both the Tennessee Titans (nine tackles/eight solo) and the Miami Dolphins (11/10), including three-and-a-half tackles for lost yardage. In the Houston game, the veteran linebacker recorded 13 more tackles (four solo) and a quarterback hit.

Having Toomer back there to get receivers off routes has been fun to watch, as well. His ability to reroute crossers and drags which run through the linebacking corps’ area can significantly alter the short passing games of opposing offenses. He has helped solidify that inside linebacking group.

Speaking to Ricky Henne of chargers.com in October, Toomer stated:

“Pags’ system is benefitting me because he is letting me play fast. He is putting me in positions not to fail. That is why it is working for the both of us. I feel like these coaches are giving me a chance. Granted, I made good on the situation. These coaches have put me in position to make plays and are not putting too much on my plate. They are letting me fly around. I am grateful for these coaches giving me a call and giving me a chance to play this game. I want to show people I can bring more to the table than just special teams. I love special teams, that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career as well, but I want to play defense, too.”

Whether he plays defense or special teams, the fact that Toomer left a division rival in order to grasp an opportunity with both hands shows he has gained confidence in himself and his ability.

Bring on the Bucs and Mike Evans!

Cheryl White

#practicesquadnomore

#boltnup

 

*Featured image credit: AP – Denis Poroy

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