Do you remember what is was like to simply be happy with a Chargers victory? Those good ol’ days when it didn’t matter if your Bolts won 3-2 or 50-0. You were just thrilled that they left the field with a “W”. If you are like many Chargers fans these days, those feelings are long gone.
Maybe it is because you know more about football then you did when you were young. Maybe it is because you have been a Chargers fan so long that you are tired of playing a certain type of football that you know will not yield you a Super Bowl ring at season’s end. Maybe it is just because you have been disappointed so many times, that you refuse to let your guard down. Whatever the reason, many Chargers fans cannot enjoy victories. They must pick the game apart and focus on the negative.
I’ll be the first to admit, that I fit that description for many years. I clearly remember commenting after wins, “Sure we won, but if we play like that against a good team, we don’t stand a chance.” Or, “We didn’t win. The other team lost.”
It is fair to feel that way. Too many times in the past, the Chargers have gotten their fans hopes high, only to crush them like one of Gallagher’s watermelons. Be honest, it is not easy to be a Chargers fan.
All that may be true, but I think it is time to change our way of thinking. We are talking about the NFL. A league where on any given Sunday, (almost) any team can beat any other team. Winning a game is a difficult thing to do! That should be evident by the Chargers 4-12 record last season.
Look at this season. The Chargers seemingly should be 6-0 right now. They should be the talk of the NFL, for all the right reasons. Instead, they serve as a punchline for jokes and the guinea pig for various studies. What a difference a few plays can make.
So, why should you try to put your cynicism behind you and appreciate every win your favorite team manages to secure? Because right now, you are looking into the future. The Chargers are playing games with kids all over the field. They just beat the reigning Super Bowl champions, with six of the eight players who were just drafted month ago! Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Jatavis Brown, and Drew Kaser (yes, that Drew Kaser) all were impact players in that win. Fourth-round pick Joshua Perry and sixth-round pick Derek Watt also participated in significant snaps and made some plays as well. That bodes quite well for the future of this team.
Going back to the 2015 draft, players like Melvin Gordon, Denzel Perryman, Craig Mager, Kyle Emmanuel, and even Darius Philon are all still with the Chargers and are important players moving forward.
What I am saying is that 12 of the last 14 players drafted by the Chargers are playing important snaps for the 2016 team and the team is competing every week. Sure, they are struggling to close out games. They are kids! Yes, it could be that they are not playing for a coach who can take them to the next step as well. That problem is a lot easier to solve than trying to replace failed draft picks.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Some of these young kids are playing because of need more than because they beat someone out. Injuries have forced the Chargers to play kids before they may be ready. Ready or not, these kids just beat the Broncos. That should be celebrated!
Do yourself a favor. Watch these games with your heart, rather than your head. All that matter at the end of the day is who has more points on the scoreboard. There will be plenty of time for us to mope and complain about heart-breaking losses. It feels good to celebrate the wins. So take off your annalists hat and go back to being a fan. You will probably live longer too. Remember, the longer you live, the more chances you have to see our Chargers hoisting up that Lombardi trophy!
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments below. I will be sure to get back to you.
Go Bolts!! #VoteYesOnC
Week 5 is upon us! If the Chargers want to finally get a divisional win, here are three things they MUST do.
1.) Unleash the Bosa
He is finally ready to play! The Chargers No. 3 overall pick hasn’t suited up for them yet this season and has been listed on the injury list the last 4 weeks despite practicing. Darius Philon has been starting in his spot and hasn’t done much, notching six combined tackles with two assisted. He has been losing snaps to Caraun Reid, who has been somewhat impressive, even though he has four combined tackles and one sack. But, it’s time. Bosa is a playmaker and the guy I wanted since Day 1. I know he is already in deep shit with the fans, but, believe me, he is worth the wait.
2.) Someone needs to step up
No Verrett this week just adds on to the playmakers who are on the IR for the Chargers. Who is going to step up and take over? This is a perfect time for Craig Mager to step up and show why Telesco reached for him in the third round. He’s been doing it, but this is also time for Jatavis Brown to step up and fourth-round pick Joshua Perry to step up, as well. These next 12 weeks will be huge for the youth on this team and could be very beneficial to the future success of the Chargers.
3.) Get out of shotgun
I was out with my buddy last week (every week actually) and I kept noticing one thing that was driving me insane: we are continuously in the shotgun slinging the rock 40 times when we have a lead. Now, I get you want to put the ball into your best players’ hands, but it’s looking like last year’s offense and the predictability is through the roof. If you have a lead, run the ball. I’m not a fan of Melvin Gordon, but play the clock and quit trying to outscore the opponent when you are already winning.
As expected, first-round draft pick and defensive end Joey Bosa will miss his second opportunity to play in an NFL game, as the team announced via their official website that he is listed as OUT for Sunday’s home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, seeing as the rook has yet to practice in pads with the team who selected him with the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
The team is stating that Bosa is dealing with tightness in his hamstring, forcing him to postpone his NFL debut until at least Week 3, and possibly even further into the 2016 season.
Surprisingly, the Chargers’ defense was stout against the run last Sunday, giving up under 100 yards rushing to a Chiefs’ team that boasts one of the best running attacks in the league; mind you, Jamaal Charles did not play, and Spencer Ware killed the Bolts as a receiver out of the backfield, hauling in passes for almost 130 yards receiving.
The Chargers have their work cut out for them when it comes to stopping an up-and-coming Jaguars’ team. Having Joey Bosa on the field would not only be exciting, it would also allow fans to justify their love or disdain for a young man who held out to make sure he got more of his guaranteed money sooner…
We all predicted it would happen: Bosa would continue to hold out, then eventually sign a deal with the Bolts, subsequently get hurt and miss time due to an injury because of the fact that he was not out there on the field with his teammates for most of the offseason.
I wish nothing but the best for the player, but it irks me that he is going to miss another NFL game for whatever reason; the reason he is missing another game doesn’t matter to me, to be honest, I just want to see what he can do at the NFL level.
I may have my doubts about Bosa as a defender in the NFL, but I would (*figuratively*) die in order to see him go do work.
Prove me wrong, young fella, because all you’ve done thus far is prove me right.
Dave Booga Peters
EDITOR’S NOTE: Staff writer Travis Blake took the time to speak with the BoltBlitz.com staff and ask their opinions on what they believe the record of the 2016 Chargers will be. Travis asked me to include my opinion, but I am working on a full 16-game breakdown and record-prediction article as we speak. That being said, the record I am predicting will agree with a couple of the writers in this article, but for different reasons than they listed.
Are you ready for some football? Are you ready for some Chargers football?? The start of the 2016 NFL season is imminent, and since our beloved Bolts don’t kick off until Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, I thought it would be fun to ask the BoltBlitz staff writers for their predictions for this season. I asked what they thought the Chargers’ record would be after the 16 regular-season games, and a brief description of how they came to that conclusion. Will this season be one to remember, or yet another we quickly move to forget? Here’s what we said:
Corey Decker: Record 10-6. “The Chargers need to do two things this upcoming season: communicate and stay healthy. We noticed this team can compete after last season’s match-up versus the Packers.”
Zak Darman: Record 5-11/6-10. “Offensive line is still suspect. Safeties and linebackers suck. Defensive line is improved but still a hole. Depth is thin and team has no balance on offense and the division as a whole is very difficult.”
Laura Leech: Record 8-8. “Chargers should win more games than last season, as long as they stay healthy. The schedule is fairly easy, with the exception of having to play their own division twice. The AFC West will be the toughest division in football, so they must win at least three division games to be contenders for the playoffs but they are playing the reigning Super Bowl Champs, a rising Raiders team and they haven’t fared well against the Chiefs in the last couple years.”
Chris Hoke: Record 9-7. “Although this team has talent, there’s a ton of question marks to go with it. The health of the line(s). How far along will Bosa come? Will he actually matter? Can the back-end of the defense compensate for the loss of Weddle? All these factors, plus the fact that McNorv can’t manage a game for his life will cost us seven, if not more, losses.”
Debra Zettelmier: Record 8-8. “They did a lot in the off season to address weakness on the defensive line. Lately, they’ve been working on offense and the power run. But I think they win eight games because of Whisenhunt. A team coming off a 4-12 season last year isn’t going to have a 10-6 season. Technically, it takes 5-7 years for a team to become playoff material after the changes the Chargers have gone through (with) Reich and injuries have held this team back. I just wish (the) Chargers would have kept Bercovici, even though he threw a lot of interceptions, he could have been trained under Rivers for a couple (of) years. Peyton lit up the field with interceptions his first rookie year and look how good he became. I like our draft picks a lot but I’m not secure with a 10-6 season.”
Cheryl A White: Record 10-6 with a wildcard playoff berth. “Because I think the division will be won by Kansas City or perhaps Oakland. Pittsburgh and New England will be in the mix for the wildcard in the AFC. Health of offensive line will be a huge factor. Also return game/blocking will need to be really improved, as will 3rd down conversions.”
Mike Pisciotta: Record 7-9.…. they still lack depth on both fronts. Mike McTurner all by himself is good for 2 losses.
Travis Blake: Record 6-10. I was finally able to nail my prediction down to 6 wins, 10 losses. All offseason I have made it known on Twitter that I believe the Bolts will win between 4-6 games in 2016. The main reason for that is Mike McCoy and John Pagano…… I just can’t even. I was hoping — praying — that I would see something from the first-team offense or defense that would change my mind. The short story is: I didn’t. While it was nice to see Melvin Gordon break some long runs, all I could think about was how predictable the Chargers first-team offense was. If PR17 was under center, Melvin Gordon was lined up with Derek Watt at FB and Hunter Henry was in to block, it was a guaranteed run play. Come Sunday, if I’m a Chiefs linebacker, I’m going to run-blitz the crap out of that formation all day until they show me something different. That’s just one example of a very predictable offense I saw as a whole. Let’s hope it was Ken Whisenhunt being extra vanilla at the behest of Mr.Vanilla himself, Mike McCoy. I also see no true depth at offensive or defensive line as a potential problem.
One encouraging thing I saw was the development of safety Dexter McCoil. He was everywhere on the field, and multiple times I saw him fly in from his “deep safety” position to aid in run support and make tackles missed by inside linebackers and even linemen. Based on his performance, he should be one of the two starting safeties, but everything I have heard is it’s going to be Dwight Lowery and Jahleel Addae starting. Thanks, Pagano. He’s more physically talented than Eric Weddle, but we’ll have to wait and see if he has what it takes between the ears.
I hope I am wrong about my prediction! I hope we go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl! I am excited to watch players like KA13, Travis Benjamin, Brandon Mebane, Hunter Henry, Denzel Perryman and Darius Philon. My prediction is not going to stop me from going to games and yelling my head off in support for these players, or pushing for the new stadium initiative.
How do you think the Bolts will do this season? Let us know in the comments section below!
As many of us may have expected, due to a lingering holdout over contract issues which saw him miss much-needed practice time on the field in training camp, Joey Bosa is reportedly dealing with a hamstring ailment.
General manager Tom Telesco confirmed the hamstring issue with XTRA1360 on Thursday.
Bosa has missed his last two opportunities to practice with his teammates in pads due to “tightness,” as explained by head coach Mike McCoy via multiple reports.
For all parties involved — players, coaches, the organization and the fans — this is extremely frustrating. It was predicted by everyone and their dog that this would be the case. A player, rookie or veteran, cannot miss that amount of time and expect to come back and go full-speed without experiencing some sort of rust/tightness.
The recent news that this is a hamstring problem is quite troubling, seeing as hamstring ailments can be tricky. You can’t rush a player back to the field because you would then take the chance of this thing lingering throughout the season, causing Bosa to miss an extended amount of time.
Although the team has yet to rule out the former Buckeye for their Week 1 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, it is very unlikely that he will play.
Once the rookie is healthy enough to play, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he’ll have in games. He will most likely be used sparingly at first, as the team waits for him to get into football shape — which then will have to translate into game-shape.
Once again, although you were holding out to get paid more of your money sooner, it does NOT pay to hold out. And such is the case with Joey Bosa.
Dave Booga Peters
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!
In a move announced by the San Diego Chargers Saturday, defensive lineman Corey Liuget and cornerback Brandon Flowers have been placed on season-ending injured reserve. The 3-9 Chargers are playing out their last four games and looking forward to having two of their benchmark players healthy and at full speed when training camp begins for the 2016 season.
Liuget is listed on the injured reserve report with an undisclosed foot injury. Whatever the nature of his injury is, it’s enough to limit the 300 lb. defensive leader and coaches to decide to end his season early. The 26-year old Liuget just signed a five-year extension in the offseason. He will finish the season with 34 tackles (28 solo) and three sacks.
Flowers is listed on the injured reserve report with a knee injury. This will bring to an end what has been a rough season for the All-Pro cornerback. Flowers has been battling injuries all season and has found himself on the tail end of a number of touchdown passes during the Chargers recent six-game losing streak. The Pro Bowler also signed a four-year contract extension during the offseason so his future with the team is secure and he will be needed more come 2016 than he is now. Flowers’ season comes to a close with 33 tackles (29 solo), one sack, four passes defensed and no interceptions.
Hoping to fill the void left behind by these two stalwarts will partly fall on the shoulders of unproven cornerback Steve Williams and nose tackle Darius Philon. Williams was selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. His time on the field has been limited by various injuries. Philon was selected in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and this will be his first game action since week three as he has been recovering from knee and hip injuries.
The timing of these moves couldn’t be worse as the Chargers head into hostile territory to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. At this point of the season it’s best for all involved to let the young guys play extended minutes, rest the vets and see what needs will have to be addressed once the season comes to a close. Perhaps there is still a hidden diamond in the lump of coal that has been this season.
The Greg One
The Chargers have announced the game status of each of their players that are on the team’s injury report.
Once again, the offensive line will be without major starters. Another starter on the O-line — that quite frankly shouldn’t play while dealing with an ongoing ankle issue — is listed as questionable.
- LT – King Dunlap (Concussion)
- CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
- DL – Darius Philon (Hip/Thigh)
- C/G – Chris Watt (Groin, Concussion)
- OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
- WR – Stevie Johnson (Hamstring)
- LG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
- RG – D.J. Fluker (Ankle)
- OL – Chris Hairston (Ankle)
- ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
- OLB – Kyle Emanuel (Shoulder)
When looking at the depleted mess that is the offensive line in San Diego, two opening-day starters will not play in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers (Dunlap, Watt), while both Franklin and Fluker are listed as questionable.
Franklin hasn’t played in two weeks after being carted off the field with an ankle ailment. Fluker has tried to gut out multiple contests while limping on, off and around the field. He is whom I mentioned above that it may have served him better to rest, allowing him to fully heal.
Just for kicks, reserve lineman Chris Hairston did not participate in practice on Wednesday or Thursday. He was a limited participant Friday. He has filled in decently, though it sure would be nice if he didn’t account for multiple penalties each time he sees game action.
The wide receiving corps will most likely be without Stevie Johnson again. Hamstring injuries are very tricky and players dealing with them should not be rushed back. Although it would obviously be great to have him available to play, the return of Gates can help alleviate some of the stress of him not playing.
The newest and biggest concern regarding the injured Chargers is the fact that Te’o did not practice in any kind of capacity this week. Despite leading the team in both total tackles and missed tackles, the third-year inside linebacker will be missed more than some would like to think. His replacement, second-round draft pick Denzel Perryman, will be asked to step in should Te’o not be able to play. Kavell Conner will see the field more often than he has recently, as well.
It will be interesting to see which player on the defense would then don the green-dot helmet with the defense’s communication device in it. Last ear it was free safety Eric Weddle. But with 2015 seemingly being Weddle’s last year with the team, the Bolts decided to give Te’o the honor this season.
One thing of note worth pointing out is that not one member of the Chargers’ secondary is on the injury report, save Mager. After Addae camped out there for the better part of a month and Flowers and Verrett took turns missing time, it is great to see the defensive-back unit of the Chargers’ defense healthy and ready to roll.
They need that health, and a bit of luck, as they are set to face one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Aaron Rodgers.
It has been a long and difficult wait, but it is almost over. Chargers football returns on Thursday, August 13th, at 7:00 pm at the Q. The team’s first preseason contest will be against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Chargers selected five men in this year’s NFL draft. I am going to break down what to look for from each of them in their season debuts.
The Bolts made a bit of a splash when they traded up to select Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon with the 15th overall pick. After that, it was all defense, as they had a lot of holes to fill. The team selected inside linebacker Denzel Perryman, cornerback Craig Mager, linebacker Kyle Emanuel, and defensive end Darius Philon.
1st round pick – Melvin Gordon: Yes, Gordon is a rookie. But he’s slated to be the main ball carrier for the Chargers this year. Although he is expected to receive the majority of snaps during the regular season, I wouldn’t expect to see a whole lot of playing time for him in this one.
What to watch for: Look to see if Melvin shows some patience, allowing his blocks to form in front of him instead of constantly trying to bounce it to the outside like he did a lot in college. Look to see how his pass protection is, and keep an eye on his hands in passing game. There have reports of him dropping a few balls in practice. Prediction: 10-12 touches with 40 yards rushing.
2nd round pick – Denzel Perryman: Perryman was brought in for one main reason: To knock somebody’s block off. He is here to bring toughness and nastiness to a defense that has been lacking just that since Steve Foley was in San Diego. Look for some big hits from the former Hurricane, but don’t expect him to be on the field during obvious passing downs.
What to watch for: Look for Perryman to be on the field on first and second down, trying to stop the run. Keep an eye on his tackling form and how he brings the hurt. Prediction: 25-40 snaps with seven tackles.
3rd round pick – Craig Mager: There’s no nice way to put it, but Mager has struggled mightily in training camp, getting marginally better as the days go on. He’s got a lot of work to do in order to impress this coaching staff. The only spot that Mager seems to be having some success is at nickel corner.
What to watch for: Look for Mager to be covering kickoffs and sprinkled in at slot corner. Like I said earlier, he’s got a lot of work to do. Prediction: 15-20 snaps with two tackles.
5th Round pick – Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel was drafted to add pass rush and potentially help set the edge against the run. Emanuel has looked pretty sharp in practice, showing off some very good pass rushing moves.
What to watch for: Look for Emanuel to be in there rushing the passer. He’s going in to take the quarterback’s head off. Watch for the spin move, as many people have said that it’s NFL-quality. Prediction: 20-30 snaps, five tackles and one sack.
6th round pick – Darius Philon: Philon was selected to help add some push to the defensive line. Reports from camp say that the young man has worked very hard in camp, shows good push and looks strong.
What to watch for: Look for Philon to be a part of the rotation along the defensive line with Mitch Unrein, Ryan Carrethers and others. Since he is a late-round pick, look for him to play the majority of the game. Prediction: 50+ snaps with six tackles.
Well, that will put a wrap on my Chargers versus Cowboys 2015 draft pick preview.
After six long months, it is my pleasure to say that football is BACK!!
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this article.
As the countdown to the new NFL season continues, we all look forward to seeing our beloved San Diego Chargers take the field. Whether it’s in shorts, pads or full gear, nothing makes us happier than to know they’re busy preparing for what could be a landmark season.
It could be a landmark season for a number of reasons. Could this be the last season the team plays in San Diego? Will this be the last time we see the ‘Core Four’ of Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Eric Weddle, Malcom Floyd in lightning bolts together? Floyd has stated this is his final season and it’s looking that way for Gates as well, but nothing is certain until it happens. Is this team finally ready for a lengthy postseason run amidst all the toil and trouble?
So many questions…
On paper, this may be the best team the Chargers have fielded since the LaDainian Tomlinson era. The offense is getting overdue attention, especially after drafting phenom running back Melvin Gordon to replace Ryan Mathews in the backfield. Where this team will really shock the league will be on defense.
General manager Tom Telesco has done an excellent job of signing a young, talented nucleus of players to multi-year contracts. Donald Butler, Corey Liuget are locked in long term. Melvin Ingram is in his option year so he has to stay on the field and perform at a high level to get a second contract similar to the aforementioned Butler and Liuget. Mantei Te’o, Jeremiah Attaochu and this year’s crop of draftees are in Bolts for at least the next two years under their rookie contracts.
The secondary, long considered a weakness in San Diego, will return the tandem that was the best in the league while they played together in Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to play the entire season due to injuries. Their presence would have been instrumental in changing the Chargers playoff fate as they only missed the postseason by one game.
With both corners returning healthy, and excellent free agent additions Jimmy Wilson and Patrick Robinson, the Chargers will have what they haven’t had in a long time, shutdown corners and quality secondary depth. Lest we forget the All-Pro safety anchoring the secondary. We may not like the office politics going on with Eric Weddle, but the one thing we know is he will play like the consummate pro he is and the Chargers will not let him leave as long as franchise tags are still at their disposal.
What this means is San Diego has a defense that is worthy of a top-five ranking if they can stay healthy. Players have to excel on the field or lose their spot. It’s that type of hunger Telesco is cultivating into what will become a culture of winning. This is an exciting defense which can only get better if draftee linebackers Denzel Perryman and Kyle Emmanuel, cornerback Craig Mager and defensive lineman Darius Philon are as good as advertised. From the sounds coming out of camp, they are that and more!
Say what you want about the front office, they have assembled an excellent collection of players in three short seasons and they are ready to make a dynastic run. This defense can be as good as the Ravens of the early 2000’s. I’m calling my shot now before the rest of the world outside San Diego sees it. The holes have been admirably filled. Only one last thing this defense needs…
Purple People Eaters. Monsters of the Midway. Steel Curtain. I’m not saying they will be that great. Yet. They will be crowned with some goofy nickname by Chris Berman or someone in a boardroom in Bristol, Connecticut once the carnage is unleashed and quarterbacks, receivers and running backs league-wide are swallowed whole. Let’s beat the suits to the punch and name the defense ourselves!
Here are my first handful of submissions:
The Blue Crew
What do you guys think? Leave your suggestions with names for the defense below!
The Greg One