The Chargers announced on Tuesday that offensive lineman Chris Watt was waived from the physically unable to perform list after failing his physical due to a knee ailment that has kept him sidelined all of the 2016 regular season.
(The team had yet to make a corresponding move prior to the publishing of this article.)
Watt, 26, was originally drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft by San Diego. He was selected as the heir apparent at center, hopefully becoming the long-term replacement for former Chargers great Nick Hardwick.
Sadly for Watt, who never played center during high school or college, the transition from guard to center proved to be too difficult for the former member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Coupled with multiple injuries — concussion, shoulder, knee, ankle and groin issues — over his brief career, the switch to snapping the ball and his inability to stay healthy have plagued Watt during his short tenure in the league.
Dave Booga Peters
The San Diego Chargers have begun making roster moves and training camp isn’t set to begin until Saturday. On Friday, the Chargers waived center Trevor Robinson. Part of the carousel at the center position, Robinson had 14 starts at center over the last two seasons.
Also included in the recent mix of Chargers centers since 2013 are Chris Watt, Nick Hardwick, Doug Legursky and Rich Ohrnberger.
The free agent signing of former-Chicago Bears offensive lineman Matt Slauson is expected to stop the revolving door at center while 2016 NFL Draft third-round pick Max Tuerk is groomed to be the center of the future. Slauson is an eight-year veteran who will be looked to provide leadership and serve as a mentor to Tuerk and the young offensive linemen.
The release of Robinson frees $2.3-million in cap space.
The free roster spot was filled with the signing of offensive lineman Marcel Jones. Listed at 6’7″-inches tall and 320 pounds, Jones was a seventh-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is listed as a guard/tackle. Now entering his fourth season as a pro, Jones has been limited to playing on the practice squad for the Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Training camp is heating up and the first pass hasn’t been thrown yet. What will the Chargers do next? Are you excited for the 2016 edition of the San Diego Chargers so far? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Melvin Gordon performed well below expectations his rookie year. Appearing in 14 of 16 games, starting 12 of them, he ran for only 641 yards and never saw the end zone.
I expect bigger and better out of Melvin this year. He had microfracture surgery in January, which may have contributed to his pedestrian performance in 2015. The offensive line, at least on paper, is improved. The addition of center Max Tuerk should put Chris Watt at guard where he belongs. The additions of Gordon’s former blocking back at Wisconsin, Derek Watt, and Chris Swain should also help via competition at the fullback position. Gordon’s supporting cast looks deeper than last year’s and represents an upgrade over 2015 (at least on paper). The improvements up the middle should produce dividends for No. 28.
The departure of Frank Reich as offensive coordinator and the return of Ken Whisenhunt is definitely welcome among much of Charger Nation and could represent handwriting on the wall for Mike McCoy, as well, but that’s for another discussion. The Chargers’ offense showed more balance and far less predictability under Whiz than it did under Reich, which should definitely help the running game in general, and Gordon in particular.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold Gordon blameless for last year. He showed an inability to hold onto the football with six fumbles — four of them turned over to the other team. Gordon needs to learn to hold onto the ball and protect it with his life. Six fumbles in 184 touches is unacceptable. He ran tentatively much of the time. He needs to be decisive. He needs to hit the gaps created for him. He needs to run north and south with authority. He needs to earn Philip Rivers’ trust and confidence. He needs to prove to himself and to Rivers that he doesn’t need to audible out of running plays.
Whether or not Gordon can fulfill all of the needs bestowed upon him remains to be seen. That being said, I expect that he’ll take care of the majority of the aforementioned responsibilities in his second year.
Between Reich and a turnstile offensive line, there are plenty of responsibilities to spread around. Gordon has to step up this year and prove he was worthy of being traded up for in the first round of the 2015 draft.
I think he will. What do you think?
(My wife left me)
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!
After being released by the Chicago Bears on Monday, free agent offensive lineman Matt Slauson has a visit planned with the San Diego Chargers, according to ESPN.com.
Slauson, 30, is entering his eighth season in the NFL. Over his tenure in the league, Slauson has spent time with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears.
Per the report on ESPN, Tom Telesco has extended an invitation to Slauson to visit the team in an effort to add more competition to the center spot.
Despite drafting former USC Trojan Max Tuerk in the third round of this year’s draft, Telesco is doing his due diligence to fortify the position.
This is music to the ears of everyone that has watched the poor play and revolving door at the center spot, as the team has suffered greatly at center since the retirement of Nick Hardwick.
Man, I REALLY miss him being out on the field.
The fact that Tuerk and seventh-round selection Donavan Clark out of Michigan State were the only offensive linemen drafted says a lot about the team’s hopes for the health of the expected starting offensive line unit.
Additionally, the Bolts pursuing a veteran that is versatile and capable of playing center provides credence to the possibility that Telesco has moved on from the experiment that was Chris Watt at center.
Slauson also has a visit scheduled with the Buffalo Bills, per the same report.
In his seven years in the league, Slauson has started 85 out of 88 games, missing his only starts while entering the league as a rookie.
Whether or not the Chargers sign Slauson remains to be seen. But, the fact that the organization is going above and beyond to protect the team’s ambassador and best player, Philip Rivers, speaks volumes to where this club is heading into the future.
It’s about damn time.
Thanks for reading.
It’s officially here.
The 2015-2016 NFL season will officially be over. Today, hope springs eternal once again. The new league year has begun and free agents are fair game to every team in the league.
The weeks leading up to free agency are filled with teams jockeying to free up enough money to fill gaps in their roster. Experienced veterans will be cut not because they are not producing but because they make too much money. Decisions on franchise and transition tags will be made and trade possibilities will be discussed.
To that end, a story that sent shockwaves through the league just a week ago can greatly change the fortunes of the downtrodden San Diego Chargers.
Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack voided the last three years of his contract, making him a free agent. Mack is a little known name to the casual NFL fan but his name undoubtedly got General Managers around the league drooling like Pavlov’s dogs.
For the uninitiated, here’s all you need to know about Alex Mack:
Standing at 6’4″, 311 lbs., Mack is a seven-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl in two of the last three seasons. He is considered the best center in the NFL, and is set to sign the biggest contract for a center in the NFL with whomever he decided to play for next season.
Mack is 30 and has made the Pro Bowl in three of his seven seasons (2010, ’13, 15). The only reason he didn’t make it in 2014 was due to a broken leg he suffered five games into the season. Until the injury, Mack has not missed a single game at center. He returned to his Pro Bowl form immediately upon returning last season and is set to be an annual participant for the duration of his career.
San Diego needs to make Mack their top priority. The offensive line has been a major downfall for the team for many seasons. Signing a time-tested All-Pro veteran like Mack will be huge in solidifying the turnstile on the offensive line. The Chargers have not had a great center since Nick Hardwick retired in 2014. The position has been unstable with Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson sharing the duties since then. The two are servicable centers but neither are the long term answer.
This is the time for the San Diego front office to show their commitment to winning after a miserable 2015 campaign and the whole stadium fiasco on the shelf at least for this year. The window on Rivers’ career is closing. Keeping him upright by adding championship-caliber players will produce a championship-caliber team.
Teams are now able to start contacting the agents of free agents to make deals. Bolts GM Tom Telesco should have Macks’ agent on speed dial with offers from the word go. It will take the largest contract the Chargers have given to a non-quarterback in a long while, but you get what you pay for. Quality.
The Greg One
As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:
His Draft Classes
***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.
2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson
DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6
Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5
Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9
Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3
Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1
Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0
2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese
Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8
Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5
Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3
Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5
Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0
Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0
2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon
Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2
Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7
Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3
Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4
Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3
Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F
His free agent signings (major ones only)
***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers
2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips
Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9
King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8
Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2
Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4
John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4
2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes
Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3
Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8
Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6
David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3
2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson
Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0
Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3
Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6
Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7
Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2
Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F
His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)
2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown
Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8
Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7
2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall
Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0
Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6
Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3
Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3
2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers
King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4
Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2
Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F
Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F
Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.
We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.
Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!
The San Diego Chargers announced that offensive lineman Craig Watts has been promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Monday night’s contest against the Bears will mark the first time that Watts has been active on game day, giving him his first opportunity to contribute on the field during a regular season game.
An opening on the roster was created due to the team placing offensive lineman Chris Watt on reserve-injured.
A former third-round pick out of Notre Dame, Watt has been banged up off and on all season. He injured his shoulder last week in the team’s loss against the Ravens. He had formerly been dealing with groin issues.
Watt will be replaced by center Trevor Robinson.
To learn more about Craig Watts, feel free to check out this interview done by Brian Scott of BoltBlitz.com in May of 2013.
After Tuesday turned out to be an extremely eventful day as far as transactions are concerned for the Chargers, the team is back at practice Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Chicago Bears at home on Monday night.
The Bolts have completed the first half of the 2015 regular season by going 2-6, losing four games on the final drive, minute or play.
Losers of four in a row and five of their last six, it is hard to justify this team winning too many more games going forward. That being said, do you believe in miracles? Because that is what it will take for the Chargers to find a way to finish this season strong, perhaps even squeaking into the playoffs.
Stranger things have happened.
Despite the fact that the team is entering the “softer” side of their schedule, San Diego has not shown that they can win even when they are expected to do so. The struggles of this team have been widely documented on this site.
I would like to skip right past the fluff and get right to the question in the title.
You know the drill. Place your vote on the poll and leave a comment below justifying why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for voting and commenting.
Due to the litany of injuries suffered along the Chargers’ offensive line, the team will re-sign center J.D. Walton to a one-year deal, according to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
C J.D. Walton at Chargers facility this morning, will re-sign 1-year deal. Chris Watt (shoulder) exited Sunday. OL has other injuries, too.
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) November 3, 2015
Walton, 28, played in one game for the Chargers this season. Playing in his sixth season in the NFL, Walton has spent time with the Broncos, Redskins and Giants prior to 2015, starting 52 games over his career.
Center Trevor Robinson will remain the starter and Walton will serve as his back up until Watt is healthy enough to take the field again.
The Chargers have not announced a return time for Watt, nor have they officially listed him as injured, as the team does not have to list their first injury report of the week until Wednesday.