D.J. Fluker

The Chargers announced the practice-participation levels of the team on Wednesday in the first injury report of the week.

Did not participate in practice:

  • S  Jahleel Addae – Ankle
  • RG  D.J. Fluker – Ankle
  • WR/KR  Jacoby Jones – Ankle
  • OL  Johnnie Troutman – Arm
  • OLB  Tourek Williams – Foot

Limited participation in practice:

  • OLB  Kyle Emanuel – Shoulder
  • CB  Brandon Flowers – Knee

Full participation in practice:

  • OLB  Jerry Attaochu – Hamstring
  • CB  Craig Mager – Hamstring

 

The injuries to Troutman and Williams have been known for quite sometime. The hope is that Troutman may be ready to return as soon as week 3. Suffering a broken foot in the middle of August, no timetable has been set for Williams to return.

With Addae, Fluker and Jones all sustaining ankle injuries, the team would be lacking three starters going into the week 2 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune, Addae seems upbeat despite being in a walking boot on Monday. Should he miss this Sunday’s game, the defense would rely on Jimmy Wilson to start and Darrell Stuckey to provide depth at the strong safety spot.

The loss of Fluker on the offensive line is a big one. The team will need to shuffle around some parts, sliding Chris Watt over to right guard and starting Trevor Robinson at center, or plug in Chris Hairston in place of the injured Fluker. The former first-round draft pick suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Lions. He is expected to miss between four and six weeks.

The ankle injury for Jones means, if he is unable to play, that either Branden Oliver or Danny Woodhead will be returning kickoffs, while Keenan Allen will be returning punts. I am not a fan of any of those three players being involved in the return game. That’s not to say that they are incapable of making plays, I just don’t like the risk of injury involved for three players that will figure heavily into the offensive gameplan.

Leaving the game against the Lions in the fourth quarter, rookie Kyle Emanuel suffered a shoulder sprain. Reports are stating that the injury isn’t too serious, but the outside linebacking corps is already sans Williams, and Attaochu missed the season-opener with a hamstring injury.

Speaking of Attaochu, it is very encouraging that he was a full participant in practice. If both he and Emanuel are healthy and ready to go, which player will be inserted into the starting lineup? My thought is that both will be used in some fashion.

The injury bug decimated the Chargers all over the roster in 2014, especially the offensive line. It has already began to sneak into Chargers Park and leave its stink on the team.

Here’s to hoping it takes off to Oakland, Kansas City or Denver.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

BoltBlitz-800x450

 

Articles from Chargers.com:

Denzel Perryman’s odd habit

Jacoby Jones anxious to make first impression

Key Matchups: Chargers versus Cowboys

 

Articles from Eric Williams of ESPN.com:

Melvin Gordon eager for first game action against Cowboys

Chargers LB Denzel Perryman anxiously awaits NFL debut

No new deal for Philip Rivers as he readies for exhibition opener

 

Articles from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Floyd starts final chapter, Fluker new one

D.J. Fluker’s move to RG, a closer look

Denzel Perryman was raised to tackle

 

Tom Telesco

With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.

Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.

Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.

Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.

2013 Draft

Rd           Player                   Position                College

1              D.J. Fluker           OL                           Alabama

Still on Team:  Yes    Starter: Yes         Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)

Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.

2              Manti Te’o          LB                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes      Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)

Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.

3              Keenan Allan     WR                         California

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)

Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.

5              Steve Williams                 DB                          California

Still on Team: Yes    Starter: No    Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)

Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.

6              Tourek Williams                              DE                           Florida International

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.

7              Brad Sorenson                  QB                          Southern Utah

Still on Team: Yes (PS)   Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.

2014 Draft

Rd           Player                                   Position               College

1              Jason Verrett                     DB                          TCU

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)

Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.

2              Jeremiah Attaochu         LB                           Georgia Tech

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)

Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.

3              Chris Watt                         OL                           Notre Dame

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: Yes         Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.

5              Ryan Carrethers                               DT                           Arkansas State

Still on Team: Yes            Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.

6              Marion Grice                     RB                           Arizona State

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.

7              Tevin Reese                       WR                         Baylor

Still on Team: No             Starter: No          Health Status: Healthy

Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.

So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.

How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.

O Line

 

 

After Tom Telesco was brought in as the new general manager in 2013, one of his priorities was to improve the offensive line. That year he drafted right tackle, D.J. Fluker out of Alabama. Although it partially aided the right side, the addition wasn’t enough.

In 2014, injuries plagued the offensive unit into oblivion. Philip Rivers went without veteran center and longtime teammate, Nick Hardwick, after he spent almost the entire season on injured reserve. By the end of the year, Rivers was on his fifth center. According to Pro Football Focus, San Diego ranked 27th in pass blocking, and 26th in run blocking at the end of last season. If things are going to change in 2015, Telesco needs to make ascendant transactions.

As the team made its way into the offseason, Bolt fans questioned how the Chargers will find the talent needed to fix the offensive line. Telesco started off by re-signing left tackle, King Dunlap, this year’s respectively best free agent in his position. Shortly after locking up Rivers’ stud blocker, the young general made great strides by signing former Denver Bronco’s guard, Orlando Franklin to the roster. In addition to securing Dunlap and Franklin, Telesco also re-signed center Trevor Robinson. These transactions alone have brought the Chargers’ very mediocre line to a contending unit.

So, have the Bolts done enough to fix the offensive line? The answer is almost. According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Tom Telesco stated that Johnnie Troutman, as of right now, is the team’s starting right guard. Considering Troutman has been far from impressive, that’s extremely alarming. WalterFootball.com reported that Johnnie Troutman and Chad Reinhart were the worst guard duo in the league in 2014. Franklin replaces Rinehart, but that still leaves a frightening breach at right guard.

There has been a lot of talk about shifting Fluker from tackle to guard this offseason. He has no experience in the position. Not in high school, and not in college. Yet, let’s say he is moved, it still leaves a gap in the tackle position. A potentially effective way to address the matter would be to swing Fluker to the inside, and find a tackle in this year’s draft. Even though San Diego needs a running back after the departure of Ryan Mathews, this year’s draft class is loaded with talented running backs. It’s not an outrageous option to think about taking a offensive lineman like Ereck Flowers in the first round.

A solid offensive line has proven fruitful for some clubs in the NFL. Since 2011, the Dallas Cowboys have drafted three offensive linemen in the first-round: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. The other two, Ronald Leary and Doug Free, were undrafted free agents. Last season, the Cowboys finished with the 4th best pass blocking, and the 2nd best run blocking in the league. If the Chargers want those type of results, it would have to be from following Dallas’ blueprint.

As of today, the line lists as follows: LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG Johnnie Troutman, and RT D.J. Fluker. Not bad, but not stellar. If the Bolts plan to contend for a playoff appearance in 2015, they will need a comprehensive offensive line. An upgraded line will upsurge Rivers’ productivity, plus adding some life to the lackluster run game. With less than five weeks left until the 2015 NFL Draft, fans will have to continue to wait and see what the Chargers organization plan to do with their six picks.

 

Should the Chargers draft a offensive lineman in the first round? Vote your opinion below:

 

 

Should the Chargers draft an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft?

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Briana Soltis
(@BrianaSoltis)

San+Diego+Chargers+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+i9rhNtAYRipl

 

 

The one thing that really held the Chargers back last season was the offensive line. With King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, five different centers, Johnny Troutman, and D.J. Fluker all a part of the offensive front, Philip Rivers was sacked 37 times and hit 75 times. The running game wasn’t much better, as the Chargers ranked 30th in rushing yards in 2014. Their number one priority this offseason? Solidify the line. Well, Tom Telesco has started to do just that.

New Additions: Orlando Franklin, OG/OT from the Denver Broncos. At 6’7″, 320 pounds, he is an absolute monster. Place him next to Fluker, or Dunlap, and you have one side of the line fixed. He was ranked 2nd highest of all guards in 2014 with a 98.6 pass blocking efficiency. He may not play tackle anymore, but he is an instant upgrade over both guards the Bolts had last season.

Re-signing of King Dunlap: The Bolts have re-signed Dunlap, who, in my opinion, was as important to the team as Brandon Flowers. He signed a 4-year, $28 million contract a few weeks ago. Dunlap, 29, had one of the best seasons of his careers. The King solidifies the left tackle spot and makes Rivers’ blind side well protected.

Who the Chargers should target in the draft: There is still one big hole on the line, and that is who is playing right tackle/right guard? Will D.J. Fluker get one more year to prove he can play the position of right tackle? Or will they shift him inside to right guard? The Chargers should stick with Franklin as their left guard, and keep Fluker as their right tackle.

So, the question arrises as to who should be targeted in the upcoming NFL Draft. Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson of Duke is a great option. He has quick feet, rolls his hips well and is a bulldozer in the run game. In Mike McCoy’s offensive system, running is a huge part of the gameplan. Adding Tomlinson potentially gives the team of the best run blocking lines in the league. One of his weaknesses is his consistency. He tends to be lethargic at times, but that can could be adjusted in the NFL. He is projected to go in the second round, and he could fall into San Diego’s hands. That leaves you with a first-round pick, which could possibly be used on a running back.

With these additions to the team, it gives you the perspective of the offensive line in 2015: King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Chris Watt, Laken Tomlinson, and D.J. Fluker. That is a very good offensive line.

 

How do you guys think the line will do? Who would you like to see drafted/signed? Let me know in the comments.

 

Zak Darman

 

orlandoIn the last few days the available free agents who were being courted by many teams, including San Diego, appear to have a final destination that is not in America’s finest city.  It appears Ndamukong Suh is headed to Miami and Randall Cobb has re-signed with Green Bay; both of whom were reported to be targets for the Chargers.  A few players that could make a huge impact on our offensive line have also been retained; Doug Free is back with Dallas and Derek Newton signed a huge contract to remain a Texan.  In fact, with the Newton contract, free agent Bryan Bulaga with the Packers will be seeking a massive payday; one that might be out of reach for the Bolts.  So what player will Tom Telesco be targeting now in order to make an immediate impact on our depleted offensive line?


Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego recently sent this tweet out:

 

Michael Gehlken‏@UTgehlken

Chargers have serious interest in Broncos OL Orlando Franklin, per sources. Deal can come as early as Tuesday: http://utsd.us/1Hdb0hK

 

 

Not to beat around the bush, but I want Orlando Franklin in San Diego.  A selfish reason is that I am tired of seeing Charger players head out to play for arch-rival Denver, so it would be a sweet payback to take one of their own.  Clearly that is not the only reason Telesco should make a huge effort in signing the 27-year-old.

 

Orlando, the 2011 second round draft pick from the University of Miami, stands 6’7” and weighs 320 pounds.  One of his strengths is his versatility.  For his first three seasons with Denver he played right tackle; last year starting at left guard.  During the 2013 season, Orlando was a main reason Peyton Manning was honored with Offensive Player of The Year as well as earning another MVP.  For the 2013 season, according to Pro Football Focus, Franklin led all tackles in pass-blocking efficiency.

 

It was a risky move switching a man not only from the tackle position to the guard position, but from the right side of the line to the left side – something that is hard to adjust to unless you are extremely adaptable.   According to ESPN writer Jeff Legwold, prior to last season, Denver’s running game to the left side gained less than 2.5 yards a carry; a major reason why the move was made.  With mixed reports of what San Diego plans to do with D.J. Fluker, keeping him at RT or moving him to RG, Franklin will be able to fit anywhere on the line.

 

Another extremely positive attribute Orlando possesses is his durability.  Out of a possible 64 games with Denver, Franklin started and played in 63 of those.  We all are very aware of the injury bug that plagued the Chargers front-line last season and it would be a welcoming change to have that kind of resilience.

 

With the strong need to not only protecting Philip Rivers and provide him time to go through his progressions, opening up holes for the run game will be vital if San Diego wants to get back to supremacy.  Having a player like Orlando Franklin sporting a lightning bolt would be as important as the re-signing of Brandon Flowers.

 

 

  • Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott

Clemmings

Let’s not kid ourselves, the Chargers offense is not going to click on all cylinders until the offensive line is not as…well….offensive. The big men were hard to watch last season. Normally, when an offensive line has a problem, it is either that they cannot run block, or they cannot pass block. The 2014 Chargers offensive line could do neither. Ranked 30th in the league in rushing yards with just 3.3 YPC was bad enough. Now add 37 sacks and God knows how many hits on Quarterback Philip Rivers! That is not how a team gets to the Super Bowl.

Fortunately, Chargers General Manager, Tom Telesco, understands this problem and will certainly address the o-line in free agency. If not, there are options in the draft that could fall to the Bolts first round pick at number 17.

If Pitt’s Offensive Tackle (OT), T.J. Clemmings is still on the board at number 17, do not expect Telesco to take much time to scribble his name down and turn it in. Clemmings is a large, ruthless blocker who is projected to start in the NFL in his rookie season. Let’s take a closer look.

Measurables*

Height: 6’ 5”

Weight: 309 lbs.

40-Yard Dash: 5.34 Sec.

*Combine Results

Analysis

T.J. Clemmings is just the kind of OT that the Chargers are looking for. He has great size, speed, agility and a lovely nasty streak that makes defenders know that they are in for a long day when they see him across the line.

Clemmings shows that he can pass and run block at either OT position. Obviously, with King Dunlap getting an extension, the Chargers are not looking for a Left Tackle (LT). That being said, Clemmings could be the LT of the future after getting some seasoning on the right side.

I know what you are thinking. What about D.J. Fluker? Of course Clemmings will have to beat Fluker out in order to get the starting nod at RT. If he is able to do that in camp, Fluker will just slide over to Right Guard (RG) and make one very formidable right side. If not, I’m sure that Clemmings would fit nicely at the RG position. Either way, it is an upgrade over last season.

Although comparisons are often unfair to young athletes, NFL.com has Texans LT Duane Brown as the best comparison in the NFL for Clemmings.

Summary:

I project Clemmings to be a first round draft pick. He would be an outstanding pick for the Chargers at 17, but there is a good chance he will be gone by then as he is seen as a lineman with perhaps the most upside of all linemen in the draft. Freakish potential Left Tackles do not last long on draft day.

 

Alright Chargers fans, what do you think? How would you feel about drafting Clemmings at 17 of the first round? Personally, I would be just fine with it.

Thanks for reading! Please comment below.

The start of the 2014 season looked extremely promising for the offensive line. Veteran center Nick Hardwick was returning after questioning retirement, right tackle D.J Fluker was entering his sophomore season, and a healthy left tackle King Dunlap was set to make another impact. Adding to the mix was guard Chris Watt; a third round draft pick in this year’s draft. However, being past the halfway mark and into the bye week, the offensive line has crumbled into little football pieces; almost unrepairable.

Shortly after the one point loss to the Arizona Cardinals on a Monday Night Football showdown, Hardwick was placed on injured reserve; not returning for the rest of the year. Rich Ohrnberger was to fill the position, however injuries have inhibited him to be able to play effectively.  He too has missed some games. The injury bug struck so hard that at one point it left Watt, not a true center, filling the void as the fourth backup to Hardwick. At that point, the offensive line started to disintegrate and show their true colors. The next man up motto almost seemed like a joke.

It should be no surprise that the Chargers are ranked almost last (30th) in the NFL for rushing yards. Yes, the void of Ryan Mathews has greatly impacted the run game, but the guards and center haven’t done a sufficient job at creating holes for the run. In week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Donald Brown had 31 attempts, ran for 62 yards and only averaged 2.0 yards for the game. If you remember, the Bills have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. The run game had no chance. As many know, Johnnie Troutman is the right guard on the line, but does it shock anyone that he isn’t performing well? I’m not at all. Scary enough, Watt hasn’t even been able to outperform him to snag the starting role — as predicted in the offseason. It wasn’t until the Miami where the entire offensive line hit rock bottom.

The Chargers were shut out a few Sundays ago by the Miami Dolphins. That hasn’t happened since 1999 (I was eleven years old). Philip Rivers had a total of three interceptions and one strip-sack fumble. Does it sound oddly familiar to the 2012 season? Before the three game losing streak, Rivers was said to be the league’s MVP contender, but he doesn’t look like that anymore. If you look below, Rivers’ poor play has been due to an extremely underperforming offensive line:

SD vs Miami Oline 1

-Rivers sets up for a pass play on 2nd and 18. Eddie Royal to the lower right looks to be making a route in open coverage and the offensive line looks to be blocking correctly to allow Rivers sufficient time in the pocket.

SD vs Miami Oline 2

-Notice Troutman, turned around, looking completely lost and confused while exposing Rivers to Miami player #79. Fluker is basically playing the right tackle and  right guard position. But it’s becoming more evident that he might excel at the right guard position. As a result, the play ended in one of the three interceptions of the game.

Just as I mentioned, Fluker is being forced to play two positions at once. Do you miss Jeromey Clary yet? This type of play is a disgrace at the NFL level and absolutely needs to be address by the coaching staff sooner than later; if not, the next draft. Could it get any worse? Yes, and it does in the next example:

SD vs Miami Oline 4

-A view of the offensive line setting up for a well needed 8 yards on 3rd down. Antonio Gates looks to be the receiver while lined up on the right side.

SD vs Miami Oline 3

-In this view, Rivers appears to have pocket time to convert. However, the play never ended that way.

SD vs Miami Oline 6

-Dunlap was horribly beaten on the edge. Keep in mind, this play only lasted roughly three seconds. That’s how little time it takes to disrupt an opposing offensive line and quarterback. The play ended in the games only strip-sack fumble.

Lastly, Watt was given an opportunity when Ohrnberger was removed from the game. The rookie’s inexperience was exposed horrendously:

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 1

-Rivers has a pretty decently protected pocket, however Watt starts to crumble under the pressure from Miami’s Dion Sims at the far right.

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 2

-Well, this doesn’t look great. Watt is easily manhandled and left looking behind him while #80 attacks up the middle for Rivers.

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 3

-A very painful looking sack occurred on the play while Watt looks like he is in complete disarray. Rookies will be rookies. However, with the mindset of “next man up”, Watt doesn’t look NFL ready.

An efficient guard and offensive lineman will protect the passer and open up the pocket for the quarterback to see an open receiver. At this point, the Chargers current linemen have allowed the pocket to collapse sooner than desired leaving Rivers to increase his release rate to 2.52 seconds in order to get the pass out quicker. If the line is collapsing in three seconds or less, that ultimately leaves Rivers forcing to throw and converting in .52 seconds or less. Even if you’re Peyton Manning, that is horrible protection for any quarterback.

Basically, the offensive line has looked like the former 2012 line; nonexistent pass protection, no open lanes/holes for the running back and players looking like a lost child in a grocery store. Not to mention, they have been hit by injuries. The sad part, this was just the Miami matchup and more horrendous play occurred well before this game. Tom Telesco and company have many issues to address, and the offensive line is the biggest one. Everyone is pretty excited to see Ryan Mathews return to the practice field, but can the line hold up? It’s going to take more than a bye week to clean up this train wreck.

 

Briana Soltis

D-LINE

 

 

There was a lot of nervous chatter was on my computer the other week when it was disclosed that the San Diego Chargers were wearing their navy blue home uniforms last Sunday against the New York Jets.  The weather forecast called for temperatures being well into 90’s which meant the temperature on the field would reach the triple digits.

The result:  the Chargers won 31-0.

I totally understand.  Dark colors have a tendency to absorb the heat.  When your body heats up, you tend to lose energy and you’re not going to do as well.

Or are we as fans just superstitious?

Me?  I confess, I’m totally superstitious.  Almost to the point where people who know me well would think I’m suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  When going to games, I park in the same lot, I wear specific shoes, and I don’t bother with social media (cellular reception is non-existent at the Q which kills my battery).  I haven’t predicted a game since the loss to Denver in the playoffs.

The Chargers hadn’t worn their navy uniforms since the last preseason game against Arizona in late August.  Their first five games (to include road games in Arizona and Buffalo) had them wearing their white uniforms with the Seattle game marketed as a “White Hot” game.  “White Hot” games has the team wearing their white jerseys with their white pants. In those games, the Chargers went 3-1 including a win against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.

If there was anything I learned Sunday it was this nugget:  either the Jets were that bad or it doesn’t matter what uniform what the Chargers wear.  They’re that good.

Think about it.  The long injury list got continued to increase when Donald Brown, D.J. Fluker, Malcom Floyd, and Doug Legursky had to leave the game. It was disclosed Monday that Legursky is out for the year with a knee injury.  Nothing is certain on the returns of the other players and it may not be known until Wednesday what their status is going forward.  How many teams are we aware of that has lost the services of so many players and are still motoring along as if nothing is wrong?

The million dollar question going into an important road game against the Oakland Raiders is how long can the Chargers keep this up?

The lesson for any Charger fan up to this point is simply to keep calm, it doesn’t matter what uniform the team wears.  The clothes do not make the team.

 

 

David Parada

 

 

Gaither

 

 

We all rave about the acquisitions made by Tom Telesco in his 18 or so months as Chargers’ GM. Picking up guys like Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown were popular moves among many fans. Draft picks like D.J. Fluker, Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett and Jerry Attaochu had fans applauding.

But what about the departures? The players Telesco let go are probably just as noteworthy as the players he signed as free agents or drafted. Here are my top five releases/non-signings over the past year and a half:

Top spot has to be Derek Cox. Cox was benched by Mike McCoy almost more than he saw playing time. He was awful, he was horrible. He got burned, embarrassed, humiliated, caught flat-footed and out of position so much you’d think he was a pee wee leaguer. Personally, I hated Derek Cox more than I hate the cable company bearing the same name.

Next up, none other than the “Big Lazy”, Jared Gaither. Yeah, he came in during the 2011 season and pulled enough wool over A.J. Smith’s eyes as a savior at left tackle to get a stupid contract. Surprisingly, he spent more of 2012 “hurt” than he did suiting up. Apparently, the meeting Telesco had with Gaither before training camp went so well, Telesco decided cutting Gaither was worth the cap pain that would inflict.

The second spot was really a toss-up between Gaither and Robert Meacham. Wow, epic bust. He was a #3 or #4 on the New Orleans depth chart, brought in to be #2 behind Malcolm Floyd. Nobody ever will mistake Meacham for Vincent Jackson. He was such a bust, he even found himself in Norv Turner’s dog house and hardly saw playing time the second half of the season.

In this spot, Clipboard Jesus. A.J. lets this guy go to Seattle to try and be a starter, which failed miserably. So what does he do? Bring him back again to carry Philip Rivers’ water bottle and jock strap. In Charlie’s defense, why would he turn down the contract A.J. offered? Dude made some good money to stay clean, wear a baseball cap and hold a clipboard.

Lastly, we have Takeo Spikes. I liked this guy. He played hard, he worked hard, he was a leader and a mentor for the younger guys, but he’d lost a couple of steps. Defense had to get younger, and Takeo, having seen better days, needed to be released.

There are others, of course, but these are the most notable non-moves/releases from where I sit.

 

 

Mike Pisciotta

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