Before I begin, I want to say there are two groups of fans this does not apply to: the first is season ticket holders who did not sell their seats to opposing fans and went to all games; the second group is “Save Our Bolts.” It was very admirable what you guys did and you all should be very proud. It is also worth noting that the whole “Chargers to LA” thing is still mostly speculation at this point.
Obviously, there are more fans that this applies to, but I wanted to make sure to take the time to mention the folks who stand out in my mind. Again, thank you all for everything that you have done and that you’ll continue to do as we near a resolution regarding the stadium situation in San Diego.
Now, let’s get to the reason that the Chargers fan base is not without fault should the move occur.
First, the San Diego Chargers in 2016 are ranked 31st out of 32 in attendance. Behind them is the Oakland Raiders, so at least we are beating them in something this season. The sad fact is we are a lot better team than a lot of the teams above us, such as; Cleveland and Jacksonville. How is it that the fans of San Diego expect the team not to look at other options when they do not even show up to the game. Not to mention if anyone saw the games vs the Denver Broncos or Miami Dolphins this season, it looks like an away game for our squad. Here is an article USA Today created about this very phenomenon this season (http://broncoswire.usatoday.com/2016/10/13/san-diego-home-game-denver-broncos-chargers-tnf).
Second, fans of San Diego are letting the players down. Even more than they let us down on Sundays. Some may remember when the choice was announced that some Chargers players took to twitter and said, “every home game better be sold out.” Well, as previously stated, the Chargers are ranked 31st in attendance out of 32. So even though the players and organization are dying to get more fans to the stadium. To which the Chargers fan base plainly stated by their actions, no, we will not show up until you start winning games. In other words, a bandwagon mentality. (http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2016/1/29/10873822/san-diego-chargers-players-reactions-los-angeles-show-up).
Third, the failure of Prop C, although the team did all they could, and so did the citizens initiative. The citizens of San Diego, do not want the Chargers, even though the plan actually included creating a permanent situation with comic con and zero taxpayer dollars. That was not enough to keep the team around.
It does not make sense for a team to stay someplace that they are not making money, that is what the bottom line is in the case of the Chargers. They are not making enough money off of tickets. Also with the low attendance numbers that does not help the other way that a lot of teams make money. They are called sponsors, how can you sell sponsorship or advertising space when you rank second to last in attendance and have not been higher than 19 in the past six years.
At least if they end up playing in the Stubhub Center in Carson, California as a temporary venue it is much smaller attendance wise and maybe just maybe, there is a chance for a 100 percent Chargers sellout game.
On the flip side, there is some things that the Chargers could have done marketing wise in order to get more and more CHARGER fans out to the game that have not been done. For example, maybe putting a winning football team on the field, or creating more advertisements and deals to specific groups that create a better image to the community of San Diego. Instead of just visiting places and doing community service, maybe invite those who do not have a lot to the game and grant them experiences that will last a lifetime. Usually if the public has a high opinion of a team, they are more likely to support that team. That is one reason why the Chicago Bears and every team in Chicago has some of the most loyal fans on earth.
The bottom line is, the San Diego Chargers have not ranked higher than 19th ever since 2009 when the Chargers went 13-3.
After proposition C got struck down with a vengeance by the voters from the city of San Diego, even though the stadium was going to be built using no taxpayer dollars what so ever. That leaves one logical spot, and that is to revamp the current mission valley location. It is a prime location because even though it is not close to downtown, it is surrounded by several major freeways and in a highly populated area. What is Dean Spanos thoughts on revamping the mission valley spot? In an interview with U-T San Diego, Dean said,” I am not a believer in Mission Valley — I don’t think I would ever go back there.” So, if he was being 100 percent truthful, that knocks out the Mission Valley option, leaving only Los Angeles on the table.
San Diego Chargers fans should welcome the signing of former Bears’ offensive lineman Matt Slauson.
The offensive line has been more down than up the last couple of years. In 2015, San Diego was the only team in the league to start five different players at the center spot. Last year may have only seen three but the changes may have been just one part of why Melvin Gordon did not perform well his rookie year of professional football.
Signing Slauson provides the current group with another veteran presence in the ranks. Having played in a similar offensive scheme as part of the Chicago Bears, Slauson could easily become the man snapping the ball to Philip Rivers come September. That serves a dual purpose: he will be a tremendous help to Rivers as he may feel less pressure to direct his linemen as has been the case of late, and it also gives rookie Max Tuerk time to fully rehab his knee from last October’s knee injury.
Slauson is a big, tough monster and having him in the trenches will provide one element along the offensive line that has been missing since Nick Hardwick retired: nastiness. He also brings leadership, versatility and durability with a locker room presence that may have also waned in Hardwick’s absence. A fierce competitor, he is also good with both run and pass blocking, another area of gameplay that San Diego had to address.
One of his best games came on October 4, 2015. Bears’ starter Will Montgomery snapped his fibula during the game against the Oakland Raiders, Slauson stepped up. Mind you, prior to that he had participated in limited reps at the center position throughout all of the team activities (OTA’s, minicamp and preseason).
It was just officially announced that Slauson has signed a two-year deal with the Bolts, though terms were not made available.
Dave DeGuglielmo, just signed in January as the Chargers’ assistant offensive line coach, was Slauson’s line coach when both were with the New York Jets in 2012. That relationship may have been one of the deciding factors for Slauson to sign here. Continuity and familiarity go a long way toward success.
Now that Slauson is on board, be prepared to see change on the field and in the lineup. Possible players who may be affected are third-year man Chris Watt and fifth-year veteran Trevor Robinson. Both took turns at center and could be relegated to just positional depth. Were Robinson to be released, it would be a $75,000 hit against the cap.
I am happy to see that GM Tom Telesco is continuing to add depth along the line by creating competition scenarios ahead of minicamp. Who stays and who goes may be figured out before then, but right now I’m feeling pretty good about the continued activity post-draft.
Thanks for reading!
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.
The Greg One
Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems like there is a path between Chicago and San Diego when it comes to football and I don’t just mean head-to-head match-ups.
Consider this: Since 2000, there have been three quarterbacks who played for the Bears before coming to the Chargers (Jim Harbaugh and Moses Moreno (1999-2000) followed by Doug Flutie (2001-2004). There was also a defensive tackle in 2011 named Tommie Harris. The year 2000 brought a wide receiver named Curtis Conway, now a studio analyst for the Bolts, who was catching what they threw at him until his 2002 release. Don’t forget that the Chargers had Ron Rivera as their linebackers coach/defensive coordinator during the 2007-2010 seasons. (Yes, that would be the same Rivera who is going to the Super Bowl as head coach of the Carolina Panthers). Ah, what could have been!
The Bears and Chargers have met five times since 1999, with the Monsters of the Midway leading the match-ups 4-1. That sole win, a 14-7 final score, was played in September 2007 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Chicago’s defense sacked Philip Rivers three times and racked up 70 tackles in that game. Do you remember who was the defensive coordinator for Da Bears that day? None other than the Bolts’ new linebackers coach, Bob Babich.
Babich has 33 years of coaching experience, with his first eight having been at the college level. He entered the professional ranks in 2003 as linebackers coach for the St. Louis Rams. The next year, Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith was named head coach of the Chicago Bears and took Babich with him. After coaching linebackers during his first three years, he took over the role of defensive coordinator in February 2007, when the Bears decided not to renew the contract of Ron Rivera. Babich spent three seasons in that capacity, until he was returned to his prior position of linebackers coach from 2010-2012. He then moved on to serve as the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator from 2013 until earlier this month.
Chris Harris recently joined the Bolts defensive staff as an assistant defensive backs coach. Harris is a former safety who played most notably for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. In Chicago, Harris was coached by Babich for three seasons (’05-06 and 2010). Chargers coach Mike McCoy was on the offensive side of the ball while Harris was in Carolina.
Harris played for eight years as a safety in the NFL after being selected in the second round (#181) of the 2005 draft by the Bears. His career statistics: 439 tackles (352 solo), 13 forced fumbles, 16 interceptions and one sack. Also known as “Hitman” during his playing days, Harris will most likely be coaching the Bolts’ own “hitman”, Jahleel Adddae.
Harris was an integral part of the Chicago Bears defense which participated in the 2007 Super Bowl against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. He intercepted a deep, third-down pass from Manning, and returned it 6 yards to the Bears’ 35-yard line. Unfortunately Chicago could not convert the pick into points. The campaign saw the Bears defense collect 87 tackles, a sack, defended 14 passes, two fumble recoveries and forcing one. That defense was pretty stout that year with guys like Harris, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Jerry Azumah and Nathan Vasher implementing Babich’s playbook.
I like these two hires on the defensive side of the ball. I like the experience Babich and Harris both bring. With the teaching that will take place when OTA’s and mini-camp arrive, the Chargers 2016 defense can be what we would all like to see: getting after the passer, stuffing the run, making picks, forcing fumbles – you know, stuff we have seen them do in the past.
I can’t wait to see how the DB’s progress! Bring it on!
Thank you for reading!
The story of the San Diego Chargers season just continues to go from bad to worse. Here we go yet again, back to the “next man up” philosophy. What else could derail this train?
Chargers fandom was rocked when the story broke that third year wideout Keenan Allen had sustained a lacerated kidney, and subsequently undergone surgery. The rock cracked a bit, as the team later announced that the 23-year-old pass-catcher was being placed on season-ending injured reserve. Tough to swallow because Allen was having arguably the best season since his 2013 rookie year.
That rock is now almost smashed because that plague called injury just will NOT give the Chargers any respite.
The Monday night home game against the Bears saw the ever-reliable and the Chargers own man of some acrobatic catches, Malcom Floyd, go down with a left shoulder injury late in the second quarter. As the game went on, it was announced that he was in sweats on the team’s sideline. Again, the Bolts suffered a huge loss to its arsenal of wide receivers – M80 has a torn labrum. This is so horrifically indicative of the way 2015 has thus far proceeded for San Diego – jinxed.
Word is that Floyd is going to rehab and try to play with the injury. In his final season wearing lightning bolts on his shoulders, Floyd wants to finish on his own terms, not those dictated by injury. If you recall, last year cornerback Jason Verrett tried to play through a labrum torn in three places during the Oakland game. He ended up having surgery and being placed on IR. Will this be the case for M80? We will all know more as the bye week comes to a close and the team monitors his pain level approaching the Kansas City game on November 22.
In the meantime, what will that decimated unit look like going forward? With Floyd’s status day-to-day per Coach McCoy, here is what I anticipate seeing on the field:
Signed in the offseason, the free agent speedster sat out games against Pittsburgh and Green Bay due to a balky hamstring.
From the time he stepped onto the field at Chargers Park, he and Rivers developed a chemistry which Johnson described after an early August practice. Said Johnson, “Phil is great, man. We’ve linked together as brothers, and it’s only four (actually five) days. He makes our job easy. Even when we make a mistake, he can clean it up just with his touch, with his savvy and how he plays the game. He just makes the game easier for receivers.”
Bolts signal caller Rivers and Johnson are going to have to expound and further rely on that rapport as now Johnson will be the go-to guy. He may not have the speed he once had, but he has great hands and is the only veteran receiver left on the roster. Through seven games Johnson has tallied 31 receptions (47 targets) for 351 yards plus two scores. That translates into a 50.1 receiving yard per game percentage (183 total after the catch) that the team desperately needs at this point of their schedule. Here’s hoping Johnson provides much-needed leadership to the young receivers and produces more than the proverbial smack to the forehead when he makes a crucial first down.
At 6’3″, 205 pounds, the undrafted free agent wideout from Virginia is a former player of the Toronto Argonauts (CFL), who won the Grey Cup in 2012.
Inman signed a reserve/futures contract in January 2014. In his first preseason game as a Charger, he had three receptions for 107 yards against the Dallas Cowboys, including a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Inman secured his spot on the 53-man roster with another impressive performance in his last preseason game, leading receivers with three receptions for 54 yards. He would finish the season with 12 catches for 158 yards (13.2 yards per catch) in two games.
Asked recently about how it felt to see more playing time, Inman responded: “Once you gain the confidence of your quarterback, your game elevates ten times. A receiver is nothing without his quarterback. I don’t care how good you are, you’ve seen many great receivers not make it in this league just because they didn’t have a good quarterback.”
To date, the second-year pro has suited up for eight games, collecting 170 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions. As with the rest of the self-nicknamed “Aliens” receiver corps, Inman must step up his game. I have no doubt that he is up to the task, based on what he has already shown.
The explosive Herndon will be able to make something positive come out of the long weeks sitting on the Bolts’ practice squad. The 6’3, 194-pounder out of the University of Arkansas was pegged a starter after seeing fellow wideouts Keenan Allen and Jacoby Jones exit the 53-man roster last Tuesday with Allen going to IR and Jones being cut.
The hope is that Herndon will be able to do what Jones could not and create that missing spark in the return game.
The young guy wearing number 81 on his back considers Malcom Floyd his mentor and a player he wants to fashion himself after.
When asked about the similarities of Allen and Herndon and how their playing opportunities came about, Floyd said “I’m sure it’s tougher when you get your opportunity (when a teammate gets hurt), but I don’t think it’s tougher once you get out there. Your opportunity’s the same. I’m sure they hate it had to come at the expense of one of their buddies, but they are excited to get their chance. But I don’t think those two comparisons are parallel in the sense of expectations. We believe in Javontee, but I don’t think we should be thinking this will be like the Keenan of 2013. That’s not fair to him. I’m sure Javontee is fired up, but hates that it happened because Keenan can’t play. But once you get going, you’ve got to go.”
Said Herndon on his upcoming debut:
“I have more experience as a punt returner, but at the end of the day it’s about just going out there and making the play,” he said. “I don’t have as much experience at kickoff return, but if I get the chance, I’ll just go out there and run. The coaches told me just run north and south. Just get some yards. We need some yards. It’s about the field position, and that’s what I’m going to try to do my best to get.”
Herndon had one kick return go for 24 yards plus a solitary 12 yard catch after he was pressed into more playing time once Floyd went out of the game.
Could the divisional game against the Chiefs see the young wideout (6’4″, 204 pounds) take the field? Since signing with the team in May as an UDFA from Western Oregon, the talented rookie has spent his time on the practice squad, with the exception of an appearance against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason.
At his pro day he ran the 40 in 4.38 and 4.42 seconds, which would have been fifth best if he had been invited to the NFL Combine. He has prototypical size, a mean streak as a blocker and great quickness when setting up defenders and making a move. He also possesses great hands, especially when in traffic and on jump balls. He has a wide catching radius and an impressive vertical (39.5″) to go up and get footballs. After the catch, he is a load to bring down. For the Wolves, Williams played both as outside and slot receiver and his 164 career receptions are a Western Oregon record. In his senior year, he hauled in 56 passes for 950 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his college career with 165 catches for 2,792 yards and 21 touchdowns.
All in all, this group looks like they could rule from goal line to goal line. However, as we have all seen thus far, looking good on paper doesn’t necessarily translate to the playing field. The first and second options will be on the sidelines, watching second stringers and practice squad guys play in their place.
What started with such promise has pretty much crash and burned, and it’s only week ten. Disheartening, certainly. Yet this team has shown us over the years that they have gumption. Whether they manage it this time around is anybody’s guess. With a 2-7 record it appears the best the Chargers can do is focus on the future and a top ten pick in the 2016 draft.
Maybe the retiring of LT’s No. 21 jersey on November 22 will be the catalyst the Bolts need to kick butt the rest of the way.
When all is said and done…I just hope the bleeding of the blue and gold comes to a stop pretty damn quick.
Thanks for reading!
The San Diego Chargers are having a nightmare of a season. Not even the most pessimistic Bolts supporter would have figured a team this talented would be 2-7 after nine games. Alas, the Chargers find themselves in that position with nothing but doom and gloom on the horizon. With every loss fan apathy outgrows fan anger over the results on the field. Teams that should be an ‘easy win’ for Philip Rivers and company now look daunting. After all, San Diego did just lose to a 1-6 Baltimore Ravens and a 2-6 Chicago Bears team in back-to-back weeks.
For all intents and purposes, the Chargers have fallen into the ‘easy win’ category.
The blackest of the clouds hovering over the Chargers is the relocation issue. A topic that has been lingering for 14 seasons and counting, replacing Qualcomm stadium has been on the agenda every offseason only to eventually get swept under the rug.
With the NFL bent on getting a team back into the lucrative Los Angeles market for the 2016 season, teams are jumping on the opportunity to leave their ramshackle digs in favor of a new state-of-the-art facility in the second-largest market in the United States. The Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams are embroiled in a three-horse race to get the Los Angeles prize. At the same time, Oakland and San Diego are working to get a back-channel deal for a new stadium in their own city at the same time.
St. Louis owner Stan Kroenke has no desire to stay in St. Louis a second longer than he has to. The billionaire has already purchased land in Inglewood, California and is ready to build a stadium upon it the moment the NFL says yes. The Rams are the most storied of the three teams bidding to move. The NFL isn’t exactly happy with the owner trying to ‘bully’ his way into the Los Angeles space without their consent.
The Oakland Raiders are also more than ready to leave their O.Co stadium, known around the league as the worst stadium in the league. The Raiders also have a long history in Los Angeles and are ready to return. It was revealed over the offseason that the Raiders and Chargers ownership have met and discussed co-habitation of a stadium in Los Angeles. The league is interested but the measure does not have the 2/3 support of the other NFL owners to make that proposition a reality. Yet.
The San Diego Chargers have only had one season in a temporary home while Qualcomm stadium (previously known as Jack Murphy stadium) was being built. The Chargers have resided in San Diego for 49 years and looks to be the team working the hardest to keep the team in the city despite ownership saying everything to the contrary. The city, local politicians and the government are working in various capacities on proposals for stadium sites in Mission Valley or in downtown San Diego.
The NFL is watching all three teams. They have listened to multiple proposals from each team and recently concluded town hall forums in each of the three cities to take the pulse of the fanbases there. In the end, it’s all about money. Proposals aside, the team that will make the NFL the most money will win the battle for Los Angeles.
As hard as it is to say or even type, the Oakland Raiders are a team on the rise. At 4-4 they have themselves in the wild card hunt and a future superstars on their hands with quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper maturing together. Cooper was the Raiders 2015 number one draft pick, brought in to give a legitimate weapon to Carr, the Raiders 2014 number one draft pick. The play has paid off and Cooper is succeeding beyond expectations.
St. Louis hit the jackpot with their 2015 number one draft pick, Todd Gurley III. Gurley has taken the league by storm and in the five full games since he’s returned from ACL surgery he’s vaulted into fourth place in the league in rushing with 664 yards and four touchdowns. The rookie is averaging a gaudy 118 yards rushing per game.
Gurley is already drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson in their prime and has the looks of the next big unstoppable force at the running back position. The Rams are two games behind the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West lead and have already beaten the Cards once this season.
San Diego is obviously going in the opposite direction. The Chargers are not devoid of bankable stars. If he can stay healthy, which has been easier said than done for the third-year pro, Keenan Allen can be a yearly top-10 wide receiver. Second year cornerback Jason Verrett is going to be tops among the new breed of shut down cornerbacks if he can stay on the field. Even in pictures, Philip Rivers’ love of the game shines through. All of these teams have faces that would look great on a Los Angeles billboard.
What the Chargers needed was a buzz.
It wouldn’t be a reach to say San Diego is a market that is dimly lit on the NFL landscape. They’re known as a ‘soft’ football team. Visiting teams love to go to San Diego because of its perfect weather and the fact that the road team’s fans usually outnumber the local fans creating a ‘home game on the road’ environment.
The Chargers needed a great season tied into a playoff appearance that would have put them into the consciousness of the NFL fans that don’t watch the Chargers or have any familiarity with the players aside from fantasy football. That way, when the NFL announces San Diego as the team headed to Los Angeles it would result in interest and excitement as opposed to the scratching of heads.
The Rams and Raiders have very loud and vocal factions of their fanbases shouting at the NFL from the rooftops that they should be the team that goes to Los Angeles. Rams fans have even started a movement to boycott the games should San Diego get cast in LA. Aside from the diehard San Diego fans, the fanbase largely is not willing to travel two hours up the I-5 to continue to support the Chargers. Apathy does not sell PSL’s and luxury boxes. Shutting out two teams with a long history in Los Angeles for a team with one year of tenure and currently sitting in last place will not draw eyeballs, ad revenue or sell merchandise.
In short, the Chargers are playing their way into San Diego. The biggest ally in keeping the Bolts in San Diego were the Bolts themselves. No one planned for the team to have this dismal a season but in a karmic way they solved their own problem. Forget what the ownership says, it’s all about the league making money and the Chargers are not going to do it.
The Greg One
While watching the Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Chicago Bears I saw something even more disturbing than the final outcome. Don’t get me wrong, the final outcome is terrible disheartening. The Chargers don’t play like a 2-7 team but they are. It’s a cold glass of arctic water splashed across your face. The team in America’s Finest City is not headed for the playoffs. They are speeding towards a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
During the broadcast, I saw a graphic for the Top-Five vote-getters for the Pro Bowl. In order they were Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Devontee Freeman and Rob Gronkowski. Hmmm. The rest of the Top Ten consists of Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Larry Fitzgerald. Do you see what I see? Rather, do you see what I DON’T see?
The top-rated quarterback in the NFL, our very own Philip Rivers, is nowhere to be found on this list.
Rivers leads the league in passing attempts, completions and yardage. He is third in passing yards per game and only two quarterbacks have thrown more than Rivers’ 19 touchdowns. Through nine games, he’s the only quarterback with over 3,000 yards passing. This is all without the benefit of a running game and effective offensive line. Only six quarterbacks have been sacked more than Rivers (21 times).
There is no quarterback more deserving of a trip to the Pro Bowl than Philip Rivers.
The rest of the NFL fanbase is not the cause of my frustration. My frustration lies with the so-called Bolt NATION. Does our nation not exceed 100 thousand members? If so, each of us could vote once and get him in the game. As it stands, we don’t even need to number in the six figures. You can vote for the Pro Bowl participants as many times as you like!
Yes, the Chargers are having an awful season. Yes, we’re all upset because most of us figured the Chargers were set for a double-digit win season and playoff run. There is a lot of blame to go around but one place you can’t lay it is at the feet of Philip Rivers. His effort and desire shows week in and week out. He is the one constant we can count on while seemingly every other player on the team drops like flies around him.
This man deserves our support, and our vote.
The Pro Bowl is an individual award, not an MVP award. Philip Rivers is the MVP of the Chargers and our MVP. Let’s treat him like it and take ten minutes out of your day to go to www.nfl.com/probowl and cast your vote! Do we really want our quarterback to be the first one to lead the league in passing and not make it to the Pro Bowl?!
Let’s not be the fair-weather fans the rest of the league thinks we are and get this done! This is what we signed up for when we took up the Bolts as our favorite team. If we are indeed a NATION, log in and prove it! Vote on your PCs, vote on your phone, just vote! Make our motto…
Thick or thin, Philip Rivers gets in! Let’s GO!!
The Greg One
The Chargers come into this Week 9 Monday night matchup dropping their last four in a row and currently sit in last place in the AFC West with a 2-6 record. Here are my keys to victory versus the Bears (2-5) this coming Monday.
1.) Score 6 instead of 3
One big thing that’s been wrong with the Chargers for quite some time is their redzone offense and the ability to score (well, to not score) six instead of three. Field goals don’t win games, unless it’s a walk-off 39-yard field goal as seen last week. Field goals are a consolation prize for being able to get into your opponents 20-yard line and are reasons why the Chargers haven’t been on the winning end of close games this season. They will need to find a way to put the ball in the end zone in order to come away with the Week 9 victory.
2.) Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd
The Bolts will be down two big-time offensive weapons this week in Ladarius Green and Keenan Allen. So the Bolts need players to step up and those players in particular need to be M80 and SJ11. Stevie has been fairly quiet since his breakout first two weeks, mostly due to injury and lack of usage. He is a guy that Rivers will need to go to for a big conversion, knowing Gates will be doubled and tripled. Malcom Floyd, coming off his best game in over 2 seasons, needs to be the deep threat that he has been during the earlier stages of his career. Floyd needs to sharpen his route-running ability and turn back the clock , making plays like he did like week due to the absence of Allen.
On top of not putting six up on the board, the Chargers have a hard time finishing games this season, and that is also a big reason why they are 2-6 instead of 6-2. They need to finish and seal the deal with a big win in a must-win game in front of their home crowd under the lights. It doesn’t get much better than this, so hopefully the boys come out ready to play and show us that they are better than their record indicates.
What do you think Bolt fam? Do you agree or disagree with my three keys? What are yours? Let me know below and go Bolts!
The now 2-6 San Diego Chargers are living out the meaning of the old cliché “backs against the wall”. This week alone, star receiver Keenan Allen, Branden Oliver and Tourek Williams were all placed on season-ending injured reserve. Corey Liuget and Ladarius Green left Baltimore in walking boots after Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. Thirteen players were injured during the Ravens game alone. Only 46 are allowed to play on Sundays. The Chargers literally lost over 25% of their active team on Sunday.
The offensive line is in shambles. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been sacked 19 times. Now the league’s top passer is down his best receiver, an emerging tight end (Green) and a running back that gained eight yards per reception in Oliver.
The defense is not faring much better. Team Captain Eric Weddle and Manti Te’o have missed multiple weeks. Both were entrusted with the ‘green dot’ helmet that receives the play transmission for the defense. Now that helmet resides in the locker of linebacker Donald Butler. Recent losses include rookie Denzel Perryman (biceps) and now Liuget. Unable to get pressure on the quarterback, the Bolts have only managed 15 sacks and four interceptions. To make matters worse, they’re allowing 28.4 points per game.
Coming into San Diego for a Monday Night Football showdown will be Jay Cutler and the 2-5 Chicago Bears. Like San Diego, the Bears lost their greatest weapon last week when Matt Forte was lost for the game and will miss time with a knee injury. On paper, the Chargers are more talented and should beat the lowly Bears rather easily.
The same thing was said when they went to the east coast to face the then 1-6 Ravens.
If the Bolts win, that will put them at 3-6 with a slim but still possible chance of challenging for a wild card spot in the playoffs. A loss makes a third straight 9-7 season nearly out of reach and a .500 season a daunting task. That being said…
Is it time to start tanking for a high draft pick?
We all want to see the Chargers go on a long winning streak that finishes in the playoffs. Realistically, they are five games behind the still undefeated Denver Broncos. The Broncos have been woeful offensively but their defense has been unstoppable and the main reason they have been able to stay undefeated. The fact that they have played weak opponents all the way up to last week’s impressive win over the then undefeated Green Bay Packers didn’t hurt either. The AFC West title is effectively out of reach barring Peyton Manning going down with injury.
By the way, the Chargers play the Broncos twice in the last five weeks.
That leaves the possible wild card. As of today, San Diego finds themselves two games behind the 4-3 Oakland Raiders, the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 4-3 New York Jets. They have already lost to both Pittsburgh and Oakland and it would take massive collapses by those teams to give San Diego a chance of getting one of those two wild card spots.
At this point, it’s time to empty the playbook. It’s time to use every untested player, dust off every odd formation, gadget play and blitz strategy in hopes of getting a spark that will carry into next season. Unfortunately, the Chargers are playing for pride. They have dug a hole too deep to extract themselves from. I want them to go on a 8-0 run to finish the season in the playoffs like the rest of you. In the part of our brain that is responsible for rational thought, we know it isn’t going to happen.
Should the Chargers tank the season? No.
Should the Chargers play fast, loose and with a nothing-to-lose mentality for the rest of the season? Yes.
Go for it on every fourth-and-one. Mix up the play calling. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment with Gordon (Get the man a fullback). Experiment with the passing game (Green at WR? Yes, please). Experiment with movement. Boots, waggles, and bubble screens to get Gordon in space would be a nice start. Replace all those inside handoffs with toss sweeps to get the backs to the edge quicker. Go deep more. A LOT more. If you’re gonna go down, go down swinging.
At this point, the game with the Bears is the season. If the Bolts win, they maintain course as long as they continue to win. If they lose, time to blow up the formula, wing it and play for draft position. Get a top blue-chip prospect who can help the team immediately before Rivers’ window is closed forever. The top-ten picks are where game-changing, franchise-changing players can be found.
Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, Oakland’s Amari Cooper, St. Louis’ Todd Gurley all have their respective teams on a trajectory to finish with a higher win total than last season. All were top-ten picks. The Chargers hope to have found the same fortune with Gordon but they had to trade up to 15th to get him, sacrificing a needed draft pick along the way. The jury is still out on Gordon, seeing as he only surpassed 100 carries for the season in the Ravens game.
San Diego needs a change of fortune and philosophy to get this uber-talented team over the top. As sad as it sounds, it’s going to take a step back, a change in coaching philosophy and a wise top-ten pick to finally move forward.
What do you think? Should the Chargers tank for a high-draft seeding? Leave your comments below.
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers went into Sunday’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens knowing it was a make-or-break game. Despite a litany of injuries to key players throughout the game, the Chargers found themselves in a tied game with minutes left to go. A costly pass interference penalty on Steve Williams put the Ravens in position to boot the game-winning field goal as time expired. Baltimore succeeded on the attempt and sent San Diego flying back across the country with a 29-26 loss.
The loss is the fourth in a row for San Diego, the sole occupant of the AFC West cellar with a 2-6 record. Even more frustrating is the fact that the Chargers could easily have the inverse of that record as three of their last four losses have literally occurred on the last play of the game. The Bolts are easily the best 2-6 team in the league, but there are no moral victories in the NFL and there are definitely no moral playoffs.
The sky is indeed falling in San Diego.
The lightning bolts on the Chargers’ helmets are supposed to symbolize lightning striking the opponents. Instead, the lightning has been striking each other. In the Baltimore game alone, twelve players went down with injuries. Most notably, Keenan Allen, King Dunlap, Ladarius Green and Corey Liuget did not finish the game on the field. To add insult to injury, only Allen did not leave Baltimore in a walking boot.
Injuries have been the undoing of the Chargers.
There has been no shortage of negative stories coming out of Chargers Park this offseason. There were contract issues with Eric Weddle and Philip Rivers. Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd are ready to call it a career after the season. The potential relocation to Los Angeles has been a black cloud that has loomed over the entire season. Fans have been apathetic when it comes to showing their team pride at games. Visiting teams have said playing San Diego on the road was like playing in their own home stadium. And speaking of home stadiums…on second thought, enough has been said to that end without anyone having anything relevant to say.
The Chargers needed a great season to put all the negative feelings, stadium and relocation talk on hold and focus on football. Instead, the losing and recent NFL Town Hall meeting has bolted those issues to the forefront once again. The fans are stomping mad about the product on the field.
Should they be?
Four of the Chargers six losses have occurred on the final drive of the game. San Diego is holding together with duct tape and bubble gum on both sides of the ball, especially the offensive line. The running game has been nonexistent but they are the number one offense in the league. Philip Rivers has been remarkable considering the pounding he’s taken and the number of bodies of his offensive linemen growing exponentially each game.
You would have to delve deep into the record books to see the last time the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL through eight games was on the last place team in his division. The Chargers’ record does not reflect their effort. Sadly, the record is all casual fans will see and the outrage will give way to more apathy.
As if that weren’t enough, on Tuesday, Keenan Allen, Branden Oliver and Tourek Williams were all placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons. Allen was on the way to shattering records. He suffered a lacerated kidney on his highlight-reel touchdown on Sunday. Oliver was more decisive in his running than Gordon. While his yards per carry was slightly less (3.7 to 3.5), he outgained Gordon in the passing game (8.6 to 5.2 yards per catch). Williams had missed the entire regular season but looked to be close to returning.
What hope is left in this season?
San Diego has a schedule that lends itself to a long winning streak. There are five AFC West games as the Bolts have only played the Raiders to this point. Of their remaining eight opponents, only Denver and Oakland have winning records. Their non-conference opposition (Chicago, Jacksonville and Miami) have a combined seven wins.
Their chief opposition, Denver, is done with the cupcakes of the league and now face the meat of their schedule with games against Indianapolis, New England, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in addition to their conference schedule.
If San Diego can string together wins, and most importantly beat Denver, they can realistically challenge for a wild card spot. Winning the West is out of the question barring a complete Denver implosion, but stranger things have happened in the NFL. Yes, this is the glass-half-full viewpoint, and I’m one of the few who still has it. To quote the X-Files, I want to believe. I still do believe.
How about you? Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Leave your comments below.
The Greg One