Danario Alexander

KeenanAfter finishing up his career in college as a California Golden Bear, Keenan Allen was said to be a possible first round draft selection in 2013. Many draftniks considered him to be the best wide receiver in last year’s draft class.  Despite displaying many valuable traits that would translate to success in the NFL, Allen fell right into the laps of the San Diego Chargers in the third round.

Jackpot.

It goes without saying that Keenan made his mark, even as a rookie, in 2013.  Though he was frustrated by a lack of reps to begin the season – he even considered quitting football altogether – he put together an extremely solid rookie campaign.  Allen finished the regular season with 71 receptions good for 1,046 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Those numbers had him with an impressive 14.7 yards per catch.  In his first year he managed to have five 100+ receiving yard games which tied him for the most by a rookie receiver since 1961.

Not too shabby.

The rapport that he built with quarterback Philip Rivers in such a short time certainly stood out to me.  As the season continued, KA13 became a reliable weapon that Rivers would look to early and often.  He became the serious threat the Bolts were in dire need of due to the losses of Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander to injuries.  He did not disappoint.

Though he had a spectacular first year in San Diego, I believe he’ll have an even better season as a sophomore in the NFL.

Are my lofty expectations for Keenan Allen a mistake?  Is that asking too much of a second-year wideout?

I do not believe so.

Allen has looked fantastic thus far throughout training camp.  His route running is crisp and on point and he manages to snag every pass thrown in his general vicinity.  Quite frankly, he has made some of the San Diego secondary look silly at times.  And that group is, without a doubt, improved from last year.  He is great in and out of breaks and attacks the ball at its highest point.  Some of the plays he has made in the redzone during drills have me thinking that our putrid 2013 redzone proficiency – bottom half of the league – will be improved as well.

The Charger wide receiving group should help provide Keenan with the opportunity to make even more plays than he did last year. Watching Malcom Floyd on the field at training camp means that he has a true playmaker opposite him on offense.  Add in guys like Antonio Gates, Eddie Royal and Ladarius Green and you have a solid stable of weapons.  Not to mention, the trio of running backs consisting of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown will give defensive coordinators nightmares leading up to games against the Bolts as they are all very capable receivers out of the backfield.

I’m not prepared to predict a 1,500 yard and 15 touchdown showing from Keenan Allen in 2014.  But, I feel very comfortable saying that his numbers will be better this year than they were as a rookie.  The good news is we don’t have to wait much longer to see it all come to fruition.

The San Diego Charger season is creeping up on us.  Are you ready?  I know I am.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floyd1

 

 

 

After hearing the news that Malcom Floyd is expected to begin practicing with the team when it begins some of its voluntary team workouts, I must admit that I was seriously torn by the announcement.  I suppose that I should have prefaced that statement by saying that I’m neither a doctor nor do I play one on television.  ( Sadly, I truly find myself to be funny.  My apologies.)

Despite the obvious need for a solid wide receiver opposite of Keenan Allen, I must admit a certain bit of trepidation about Floyd returning to the NFL in any type of playing capacity.  Perhaps my worry is completely unfair.  It’s also a safe bet to remind everyone that I am a blogger, just in case you were unaware of that fact.  But, let’s be real, neck injuries are nothing to be taken lightly.  I guarantee that I am not the only fan of the Bolts that hated hearing about how slow the recovery process had been going for the acrobatic wideout from Wyoming.

When looking at Floyd’s career with the Chargers, he has only been able to play in 16 games once ( 2009).  When adding in a serious neck injury, the expectation level for him to participate and play a 16 game season should be considerably tempered.  To say that his career has been riddled by injuries is an understatement.

Going into the 2013 season, the hope for Floyd to emerge as a possible Pro bowl talent was high.  Prior to the injury of Danario Alexander, the team had the workings of DX on one side with Floyd on the other.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the drafting of a particular receiver out of Cal by the name of Keenan Allen.  I was ecstatic looking at the wide receiving corp.  Add in Eddie Royal and I was drooling all over my notes and laptop.  And then the inevitable injury to DX prior to the preseason and Floyd would suffer his neck issue in the victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was a scary scene on the field when Malcom went down.

I am not one to question a person for doing something they love.  It really isn’t my place.  I’ve just always respected Floyd and looked to him as one of my favorite Chargers.  I’d hate to see him come back and suffer an additional injury that could, perhaps, be career-threatening or even worse.

How do you feel about the return of Malcom Floyd?  Please leave a comment below and get the conversation started.  Thanks a lot for reading.

 

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander2

As some of you already know, Danario Alexander had a second surgery on his right knee due to infections in the knee.  The more news that comes out about DX, the more depressing his story seems to get.  I doubt that he looks at it that way.  I am sure that he is staying upbeat and positive.  But I cannot help but feel terrible for him.

As noted in the title, this is Alexander’s 7th knee surgery dating back to his college playing days.  That number of 7 might not even be accurate.  It could be even higher. He has had at least 5 procedures on his left knee and at least 2 on his right knee.  In a report by Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, DX has now undergone “intense antibiotic treatment” due to infection after the latest surgery on his right knee.

Despite the impossibility of doing so, if you take away the injuries to Danario’s knees, there is no telling how good he could be and what kind of numbers he would put up.  The guy has good speed and great hands.  His ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point is fantastic.  He does a great job of using his body to box-out defenders when going up for the ball.  It is also worth mentioning that he is only 25 years old.

Just think about what he did after signing with San Diego in 2012.  Though he played in 10 games during that season he only started 6 of them.  In those 6 games he managed to contribute 37 receptions for 658 yards and 7 touchdowns.  This was all done without an offseason with the team.   After he started playing with the Bolts, I remember thinking how impressive it was that he and Philip Rivers had built up such a solid rapport with so little time to do so.

Going into the 2013 campaign, the excitement was building and the idea of what he would be able to produce with a full offseason began to become the talk of the town.  Despite a bit of trepidation on the part of some, many fans were ready to crown Alexander as a top ten WR.  I might have been one of them.  And then August came.

The first week of August in 2013 brought on surgery prior to this most recent one.  It was once again another torn ACL but this time it was his right knee.  The day that it happened, I didn’t find out until I was on the air as a guest on The GridIron Nation with Gee Steelio and Brian Mejia.  Talk about being thrown for a loop and not being prepared.  I had been out all day with my kids and didn’t even attempt to check out the internet or social media that day.

That day I once again realized that I take this stuff too seriously.  I was devastated when they told me.  I was in a bad mood for 4 days.  I felt terrible for him and the team.  Following that period of moping and whining came the realization that he might have already played his last game in the NFL.

That is where the question lies now.  Is there a team, including the Chargers, that is willing to take a chance on a guy that has so many knee issues?  It pains me to say this, but I cannot imagine any team taking that risk, not even at the league minimum.  I genuinely hope that I am incredibly wrong.

What do you think?  Will Danario Alexander get another shot in the NFL?  Or is he now a former player that will be forced to sit back and dream about what could have been?  Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section.  Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

josh gordon1

 

Chargers fans finally had something real to cheer this season as the team, surprisingly to most, got the last golden ticket into the playoffs and made it into the divisional round. The reappearance on the hallowed ground of the playoffs signaled a complete turnover from the calamitous end of the AJ Smith/Norv Turner era and the beginning of the Tom Telesco/Mike McCoy era.

The Chargers were seen as big winners in last year’s draft as they got three first round skill level talents that fell as late as the third round. First round pick right tackle D.J. Fluker, third round pick and rookie of the year candidate, wide receiver Keenan Allen and second round pick, linebacker Mantei Teo were integral parts of the Chargers success. Sixth round pick, linebacker Tourek Williams, saw the field in 13 games and was an important piece of the Chargers defense with his hustle. That’s four of the Chargers seven draft picks stepping in right away and making an immediate impact.

Building on last season’s draft success will be important as the Chargers are finally facing the right direction following three straight seasons without a playoff appearance. The Chargers biggest need areas are the same as last season. There is still a lot of work needed to solidify the offensive line. The secondary is a disaster and the Chargers are woefully thin at wide receiver.

Keenan Allen was thrust into the starting lineup after Malcolm Floyd suffered a season ending disc injury to his neck in week two. Danario Alexander was lost for the season in preseason and has recently had his second ACL surgery. Floyd’s injury is career threatening and so is Alexander’s. Vincent Brown was primed to have his breakout season but the promise we saw before he was lost for the season in 2012 never materialized last season. Eddie Royal played great at the beginning of the season before fading into the woodwork around midseason. The Chargers need a legitimate threat to play opposite Allen.

The Cleveland Browns are a ship without a rudder. They had the look of a team that is rebuilding but then they started getting rid of their best players. The Browns drafted Trent Richardson  with the third pick in the 2012 draft only to trade him to Indianapolis after two games this season. Richardson ran for 950 yards and 13 touchdowns in his rookie campaign and showed all the promise in the world. In addition, they waived key players on offense and defense. Stud wide receiver Josh Gordon was being shopped at the trade deadline although a deal was not achieved.

Even without a good quarterback under center, the 6’3, 225-pound Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns. He averages 19 yards per catch, will be entering his third year as a pro and will only be 23 years old when the season starts. Among his many accomplishments, Gordon is the first player in NFL history to have back-to-back 200-yard games. The sky is the limit for Gordon and it looks like the Browns could let him go to the highest bidder.

With that in mind, should the Chargers give up their first round pick in this year’s draft to get Gordon?

Absolutely.

If there was one player who could solve the Chargers receiver issues, its Gordon. Gordon is a bona fide number one receiver. With Allen on the opposite side, defenses wouldn’t be able to key on just one of them. The other will be left to roam against single coverage. The extra attention to both wide receivers would open up the middle of the field for tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. Teams would not be able to crowd the box, leaving running lanes for Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. Gordon’s addition punches the Chargers ticket for the AFC Championship game. With a quarterback like Rivers at the controls, the Chargers would have an offense reminiscent of this year’s Broncos.

If the Chargers had done what most figured they would do and fail miserably then the pick in the top half of the draft might have changed the answer to that question. However, with the Chargers unexpected run through the postseason, they are picking 25th in May. Giving that pick to Cleveland for Gordon is money in the bank. The blue chip offensive tackles are already going to be taken. Gems are going to have to be discovered through thorough research. The same can be said for the top cornerbacks and safeties. Benefiting the Chargers is the fact that this is going to be a very deep, talent-rich draft. There are going to be plenty of gems in the later rounds. Gordon is a game changer and his addition would pay dividends immediately.

Those of us desperate enough for football to watch the Pro Bowl saw the Rivers to Gordon connection work for a touchdown. The only question is how much more will the Browns ask for? A pick and a player? A first this year and a conditional high pick next year? Two picks this year?

If it’s at all possible I trust in Tom Telesco to get the deal done without costing the Chargers a fortune. We’ve seen what he can do in the later rounds and I trust he will do just as well in rounds 2-7 this year. The time is now for the Chargers to go for the gold and adding Gordon would be the biggest get of the offseason.

What do you think Bolt Nation? Is a first round pick too high for Gordon?

 

Bolt Up!!

 

#TelescoMagic

 

The Greg One

Philip Rivers amassed nearly 4,500 yards through the air in 2013.  This couldn’t have been accomplished without good pass blocking and, of course, solid pass catchers.  The Bolts had an unexpected dose of both last season.  We’ll take a closer look at the offensive line in a future article.  Today, we’ll be looking at the Chargers’ stable of receivers and examining how each fits (or doesn’t fit) into the team plans heading into next season.  Injuries early in the season forced General Manager Tom Telesco to add some new faces and some old friends, and challenged one highly-touted rookie to elevate his play much sooner than expected.  In the end, there were lots of ups and a few downs along the way.  The aforementioned injuries will impact Telesco’s off-season plan when addressing team needs.  This position was considered a strength heading into the 2013 season, but now big question marks remain about the health of the receiving corps.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Keenan Allen

Allen2013

Keenan Allen

Coming into the 2013 season, the Chargers third round pick in last year’s draft was expected to see occasional time at the slot position.  Playing behind Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander was supposed to afford Allen a chance to get used to playing football at NFL speed.  Even so, there was a prevailing feeling that he may be able to chip in some big plays within his limited role.  He had a fantastic career at Cal and many draft “experts” felt Telesco had the steal of the draft after Keenan slid to the third round due to concerns over a knee injury suffered in college.  Potentially career-ending injuries to Alexander in preseason and Floyd in week two thrust Allen into the spotlight early.  It took a few games for Keenan to really take off, but when it clicked, it was something special to behold.  Allen’s style is not that of a speed demon threatening to get behind the defense quickly, but rather a quick, agile route-runner that can turn a 7 yard crossing pass into a 40 yard gain with his running ability.  This rookie shouldered the burden as the Bolts #1 wide receiver and flourished.  He displayed a confidence rarely seen in rookie receivers and a flair for the big play.  He finished the season with 1,046 yards on 71 receptions, scoring 8 touchdowns.  His efforts landed him the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year award and the respect of players and coaches throughout the league.  We’ll all continue to expect big things in the future and I am confident that he will deliver.

Danario Alexander

2013 was cruel to Danario.  Coming off a solid 2012 campaign, expectations were through the roof.  Many felt like this would finally be the season that Alexander would become the elite wide receiver the Chargers hoped he could be.  The issue dogging Danario was repeated knee problems that have plagued him since the Senior Bowl in college.  He has all the physical tools to be a superstar, but his knee kept failing him.  Then on August 6th of last year, Alexander suffered a torn right ACL to the same knee during practice.  His entire season was lost.  It was made public earlier this week, that Danario has undergone a 2nd surgery on the knee.  Despite the high hopes heading into last season, it looks like it may have been his last with the Chargers.  The odds of him returning are incredibly low and I for one do not expect him to be on our roster next fall.  Heartbreaking.

Malcom Floyd

Malcom Floyd

Malcom Floyd

The man known as “M80” in San Diego had really come into his own.  Having signed a four year, $13 million contract in September of 2012, Malcom had finally made it to the top of the ladder.  Watching this young man go from distant back-up to starting wide receiver over the years has been especially gratifying for me.  It harkened back to the old adage “work hard and great things will come of it”- a belief my parents instilled in me as a child.  Malcom isn’t particularly fast, but he is very tall (6’5″) and has truly magical hands.  He’s made some of the greatest circus-style catches I’ve seen in San Diego since the great John Jefferson and Wes Chandler donned lightning bolts.  The team was counting on him to provide the security blanket that Philip Rivers needs on critical 3rd downs.  Unfortunately, a blow to the top of his head on a crossing route against the Eagles ended Malcom’s season in just the second week of action.  The scene was very scary as the trainers carefully removed Floyd’s face mask from his helmet and strapped his entire body to a board.  Everyone watching knew that this was a bad situation.  The resulting neck injury, thankfully, didn’t result in a life-long injury- but it did sideline M80 for the remainder of the season.  Now Tom Telesco and company will need to take a very close look at Floyd’s future with the team.  If doctors clear Floyd to return (which is still in question), the cost versus reward equation may come into play.   Malcom is 32 years of age and scheduled to earn $2.75 million for the upcoming season. There is little doubt that a healthy Malcom Floyd is a solid player and can help the team for at least one more season.  The real question revolves around his ability to stay healthy.  Do we roll the dice or look at getting younger?  Being the M80 fan I am, I’m hoping they give him another chance.

Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal had a very solid season.  He caught 47 balls for 631 yards and scored 8 touchdowns.  He started opposite Keenan Allen after the injuries to Alexander and Floyd.  Eddie was on fire early in the season, scoring twice in the season opener against the Texans and then three more times the following week against the Eagles.  What started out looking like a monster year for Royal soon faded away as his impact was felt less and less as the season moved on.  The harsh reality of Eddie’s contract situation is that he is due $4.5 million dollars this year.  Will Telesco and McCoy feel that Royal is simply too expensive for what he provides the team?  Royal is only 27 years old and did show the potential to be a game changer.  It’s a tough call for Telesco.  My gut tells me that Eddie will likely be a cap casualty.

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown

Vincent returned this season from an ankle injury suffered during the preseason in 2012 and had a moderately successful season- all things considered.  Hauling in 41 balls for 472 yards and 1 touchdown may seem like a poor season to some, but for a youngster trying to return to form after a severely broken ankle, it provides hope.  Like Alexander, Brown has shown flashes of greatness at times.  These glimpses of what he could be have elevated expectations to levels that are going to be difficult to attain.  He doesn’t show the same explosiveness out of breaks that he once had.  His jumping ability appears to have taken a hit as well.  The good news for Vincent is that he is under contract, he’s young and he’s relatively inexpensive- earning $645 thousand for the upcoming season.  I believe his roster spot is safe.  Here’s hoping that he can find a role within Frank Reich’s offense that he can grow into.

Seyi Ajirotutu, Lavelle Hawkins, Dontrelle Inman, Tobais Palmer

General Manager Tom Telesco was forced to bring in a number of receivers to fill out the depth chart as the season progressed.  He brought back Seyi Ajirotutu midway through the season, a move that paid huge dividends when Seyi hauled in a last minute game winner against the Chiefs in Kansas City.  Tutu finished the year with only 64 yards, but had a gaudy 21.3 yards per catch average.  Hawkins was brought in to provide some depth in the kick return game.  He averaged 22 yards per return, but wasn’t much of a factor in the grand scheme of things.  Telesco really likes his potential however.  Both of these players were “band-aid” type signings and both are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this spring.  Dontrelle Inman and Tobais Palmer spent the season on the practice squad and both will be given a shot to prove themselves next preseason.  Inman is a big receiver at 6’3″ and 203 pounds, while Palmer is more of an Eddie Royal type of receiver at 5’11” and 178 pounds.  Keep an eye out for these two next August!

 

Thanks again for reading!  Continue coming to BoltBlitz for all of your Chargers information needs!!  If you enjoyed the piece, please like and share.  As always, your comments are welcomed below…

Keep Believin’!!

– Coach

2013DraftClass

 

I think everyone would agree that the 2013 season was a success. Very few people truly anticipated our Bolts would finish 10-8, grab the #6 seed or advance to the AFC Divisional Round before finally having injuries catch up with them.

Philip Rivers is now deemed “fixed“. Rather, Philip adapted and thrived in the changes to the offensive scheme implemented by Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt and Frank Reich. Ryan Mathews ran harder and with more confidence than any other time in his brief career. More importantly, he overcame his label of being fragile and fumble prone. He played his best football with a high ankle sprain and he only fumbled twice, losing only one of those to the opposition.

Chargers #1 pick, D.J. Fluker got better as his rookie campaign progressed. He has a mean streak that I love and that has been lacking since the old days of Mike Goff, Kris Dielman and Nick Hardwick playing side by side. #2 pick, Manti Te’o also improved as the season went on, learning on the job after missing most of training camp with a foot injury. #3 pick Keenan Allen came out of nowhere and impressed the most jaded of fans and prognosticators. Last year’s #1 pick, Melvin Ingram made his presence felt when he returned from knee surgery in Week 13.

So, where do the Chargers go from here? NT is sorely needed to protect Te’o and Donald Butler. They need a space-eating NT to keep the opposing offensive linemen off our inside linebackers. Second in line is CB. We need someone who can cover effectively. Eric Weddell and Jahleel Addae can only protect weak corners to a point. Derek Cox certainly wasn’t the answer, and I’m not convinced Richard Marshall is either. They’ll get Johnny Patrick and Steve Williams back, but will that be the answer?

After that, pass rush depth is needed. They need to cut ties with Larry English. Will Dwight Freeney be able to come back from his injury? Will the Chargers bring him back? The best way to help your secondary is with a strong pass rush and consistent pressure on opposing QBs. Depth along the OL is needed. We don’t know yet if Nick Hardwick will be back. Can King Dunlap hold up for an entire season? Can Rich Ohrnberger play 16 games at C if Hardwick does hang up the cleats? Who plays behind Ryan Mathews? Ronnie Brown isn’t the answer, they need to get younger here. WR depth is another concern. If Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd don’t return, who plays opposite Allen and who will command Rivers’ attention?

Tom Telesco and McCoy have their work cut out for them this spring and summer. I’m confident in what they will do in 2014 considering how they worked with what they had in 2013.

I know I’ve raised more questions than answers. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Regardless of what happens Sunday afternoon, I consider this first season under Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy a success. Yeah, I’ve been very critical at times, but I didn’t expect to find our boys in a position to contend for a playoff spot at this point in the season. Truth be told, I had them at 7-9 on the year.

I’m not going to rehash the mistakes. What’s done is done and not the point of this piece. Here’s why I consider this season to be a success, playoffs or not:

PR

 

Philip Rivers has put together a Pro Bowl year.  His 4249 passing yards ranks fourth in the NFL, his 69.7 completion percentage leads the league and he’s cut down on his mistakes with only ten interceptions.

 

RM

 

Ryan Mathews has quieted his doubters this year.  He’s been durable, he’s held on to the football, he’s turned the corner to become the back everyone hoped he would.  Mathews has achieved career highs in games played, rushing yards and rushing attempts.  Add to that he’s only fumbled twice, and only lost one of those.

OL

The offensive line was supposed to be the Achilles’s heel going into the beginning of the season.  Just about everyone on the line missed time due to injury.  Chargers played with three LTs, two RTs, 75,000 guards.  Even Nick Hardwick missed time to injury, yet surrendered only 27 sacks, third best in the NFL  They’ve afforded Rivers time to find an open receiver and have opened up running lanes for Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead.

KA

Keenan was an absolute STEAL in the third round.  He came off the bench with the loss of Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd to put together a compelling argument for Offensive Rookie of the Year.  He needs 43 yards to hit the 1,000 yard plateau.  He’s already beaten John Jefferson’s rookie record for receiving yards.

EW

Eric Weddell also earned Pro Bowl honors this year.  He’s been rock steady on the defense as a player, leader and teacher of the younger players.  He continues to be considered one of the top safeties in the game today and his leadership has helped gel the Bolt’s defensive unit.

All in all, though a playoff berth is what all Charger fans want to see, even if they fall short, the season should still be considered a success.  We all should be excited about the upcoming offseason and see what talent Telesco brings in with cap room to work with.

A lot has been made of the year Philip Rivers is having.  The performance on Thursday night truly brought Philip into the national spotlight.

The general thought, is that Philip is taking what the defense gives him and taking fewer shots down the field.  The truth of it is, they are still averaging over 8 yards per throw.  The only two years where he had a better average were in 2009 and 2010 when he averaged nearly 9 yards per throw.  So let’s compare some stats from those years to this year and see what we find.

2013

  • 91% of Rivers throws have been thrown to receivers from behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field.
  • Only 12% of his throws have been out of 2 WR formations
  • He’s completing 70% of his passes on pass attempts 31-40 and is averaging
  • He’s completing 66% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 102.2

2009

  • 85% of Rivers throws were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field
  • 34% of his throws were out of 2 WR formations
  • He completed 63% of his passes on attempts 31-40
  • He completed 58% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 98.6

2010

  • 89% of Rivers throws were thrown to receivers behind the line of scrimmage to 20 yards down the field
  • 37% of his throws were out of 2 WR formations
  • He completed 58% of his passes on attempts 31-40
  • He completed 59% of his passes on 3rd down with a QB rating of 94.3

The biggest things I’ve seen in analyzing Rivers stats are that he’s a much more efficient quarterback.  He’s taking what the defense is giving him and still getting big gains.  The 2 WR formations that Norv used to run drove me crazy.  It’s refreshing to see Whiz utilize the three and four wide receiver sets.  Rivers has also been much better against the blitz.  He’s completing 63% of his passes and has a QB rating over 106.

2009 and 2010 were both great years, but this year might be Rivers best.  He’s had a great year after losing his top two wide receivers and having an offensive line that has been shuffled around based on injuries.  There are many more stats to analyze but these were a few that stuck out for me.

Thanks for reading.

Justin Holmerud

In the middle of a losing streak it’s easy to focus on the negative.  The question I’d like to pose is are the Chargers better than they should be?  Given the roster turnover, injuries and overall talent; should this team have a worse record than they do?  Some of the stats will speak for themselves, but the data suggests this year is very similar to the 8-8 year of 2011.

The 2013 Chargers

  • Averaging 22.8 points per game
  • The offense is averaging 6.1 yards per play
  • The turnover differential is -6
  • They’ve outscored opponents 228 – 222
  • Time of possession is near 33 minutes per game

The first thing to note is the 6.1 yards per play.  In researching on ProFootballFocus.com, the closest the Chargers had come to that in previous years was 2009 where they averaged 6.0 yards per play.  Really shows the offensive efficiency (outside of the red zone) that they have had.  It’s an impressive number considering the running back by committee, patchwork offensive line and starting a rookie wide receiver (who is amazing and deserves to be starting).

The other thing is the point differential.  They are a couple plays away from being 7-3.  Now you can argue the three teams they lost to late in games have bad records.  But that Houston roster was the same team that made the playoffs last year.  No one had picked the Chargers to win or even be in that game.  The Redskins are a tough team having a bad year and also were a playoff team last year.

That brings me to my last point.  This team has been in every game or at least fought back to make each game close.  Their only double-digit loss this year was to Oakland.  That game was a stinker all the way around.  But despite a bad defense, this team has focused on the strength of their offense and controlling the clock.

I’m not saying this team is playoff bound, but with Coach McCoy has done with the talent on this team is pretty remarkable.  Outside of the Oakland game, the Chargers have had a chance to win every game.  I truly believe it has more to do with overall talent of this team, and once they have more of it, we should see more wins.

Thanks for reading.

Justin Holmerud

 

Even as an eternal optimist, it’s not always easy to stay positive.  But all faith in the Bolts, and I’m bought into the message that McCoy will focus on what his players do best.  Malcom Floyd is a good dude and while he doesn’t have the comparable stats, I’ve always thought his grace and leaping ability was much like a Bambi Jr.  Let’s face it, the NFL is tough enough with your best players on the field.

With Alexander gone for the year and Malcom diagnosed with a “sprain” and return date unknown, the Chargers WRs could potentially take on a very different look.  So much of the Chargers recent success has featured tall wide receivers, usually in the neighborhood of 6-4 or 6-5.  If Floyd misses a lot of time, out of the remaining players on the roster, the tallest receivers left would be Keenan Allen, Mike Willie and Robert Meachem, all listed at 6-2.

Even with this injury, Meachem is fighting for a roster spot.  Go watch the pick that Whitehurst threw his way.  You’ll see a receiver who starts to come back for the ball and then simply tries to shield the defender from the ball.  You can even see his body positioning like he was sitting in a chair waiting for the ball.  But I digress.

Now that leaves the following receivers and heights for the remaining receivers on the team:

5-10 – Eddie Royal and Deon Butler
5-11 – Vincent Brown, Dan DePalma and Luke Tasker
6-0 – Richard Goodman
6-2 – Allen, Willie and Meachem

With the talent remaining on this team (Gates, Phillips, Green at TE and Woodhead, Mathews and Brown at RB) there are plenty of guys to pick up receptions.  We’ve seen some creative bunch formations already (with Royal, Phillips and McClain against the Seahawks) that could help create space for these playmakers.  But the Chargers will still need the deep threat to truly keep those Safeties from coming up.  Looking forward to seeing how the Chargers adapt their game plan should Floyd miss any major time.

Thanks for reading.

Justin Holmerud

 

UPDATE:  Michael Gehlken, beat writer for the SDUT, has since tweeted out that the team is calling it a knee “strain.”

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