Hopefully all those people – those would be the voices of last season which were scathing at times – are eating their words this season with regard to Melvin Gordon. Bust, you say? Maybe that was a bit premature.
Why? First a little bit of Gordon’s background.
There was speculation aplenty when Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco and the San Francisco 49ers swapped spots in the 2015 NFL Draft. Telesco moved from 17th position to 15th and took Gordon. Many fans were disconcerted, some even loudly outraged, that the running back pick was Gordon and not Todd Gurley. Personally, I felt that with the Bolts needing a better running back than Ryan Mathews had been, plus the fact that Gurley was still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, it was a good choice.
What wasn’t there to like? Gordon finished his career at University of Wisconsin-Madison having played in 45 games where he had 631 carries for 4,915 yards and 45 TDs. As a receiver out of the backfield there were 22 catches for 228 yards and four TDs. In his senior year, the former Badger hauled in 19 receptions for 153 yards and three TDs while also accumulating 343 carries and 29 TDs for 2,587 yards (second most in the FBS). He also had six games of 200+ yards, a school record.
Being chosen as a first rounder is a huge responsibility coupled with as much, if not more, expectation. Not just the expectation of teammates and coaches, but also what the individual places on themselves. As a rookie the playbook is just one part of the whole; the speed of the game is vastly quicker and the majority of guys you suit up with are playing at a level considerably higher than your own.
Contributing factors to Gordon’s lower-than-anticipated numbers were the woes of the offensive line play of the Chargers. The team went through 24 O-line combinations. Play-calling was WAY too predictable. The line could not create holes on a consistent basis for the rookie to run through. Perhaps the biggest disservice to Gordon was the fact that his entire career at Wisconsin he had a fullback in front of him, yet there was no such position on his new team.
It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
This year saw a change at offensive coordinator as Frank Reich exited San Diego for Philadelphia. Ken Whisenhunt returned and brought with him the hope for a more productive running game. At the end of his 2013-14 stint as OC, San Diego had the No. 5 offense overall and was 13th in rushing. In 2015, the team was ranked ninth in total offense and they were 31st in rushing. Gordon was ranked 37th amongst all running backs.
With Whisenhunt, Gordon seems to have flourished. Through eight games (no update to include week nine yet), NFL.com has him ranked twelfth amongst running backs with 572 rushing yards (161 carries) and 219 receiving yards (24 catches). Including week nine stats, Footballdb.com has Gordon listed in the No. 3 slot behind Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (891 yds) and Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray (807 yds). Gordon has logged four games with over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards: Jacksonville 120 yards, Atlanta 121 yards, Denver 155 yards and last week at home against Tennessee he racked up a whopping 261 yards.
Even better is the fact that after nine games, Gordon is leading the league with 11 touchdowns. After not crossing the goal line once last year, the guy that many called a “bust” is number one in touchdowns scored!
The early season loss of Danny Woodhead, one of the best pass-catchers out of the backfield, is part of the reason for the uptick in Gordon’s numbers. When Woodhead went down, and Branden Oliver out for the year since pre-season, it meant that Gordon had to step up his own game. It had been stated several times from OTA’s through training camp that he appeared more confident and sure of himself. Now, HE is the one taking the hand-off from Rivers in those 3rd down conversion scenarios when the call is for a run. HE catches some of those 3rd and long passes, and HE is the guy scampering in when they are in the red zone. Except of course for the Broncos game when he should have been given at least ONE shot from the 2-yard line to tie the game and Whisenhunt called for four straight pass plays.
Gordon has the vision this year that he was lacking throughout his rookie campaign. Having Derek Watt, his fullback from Wisconsin, blocking in front of him in games has helped. Less turnover along the offensive line has also made it easier to get off the line of scrimmage. He has fumbled twice this year versus the six from a year ago. The frenzy of 2015 has slowed a bit in his second year.
Gordon has been running so well that after last week’s Titans game in which he accumulated 196 rushing yards, 65 receiving yards and darted in for another rushing TD, the second-year back was nominated for, and won, both the AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the Castrol Clutch Performer of the Week!! Take that, all those Melvin Gordon haters of 2015! Not so much of a bust, after all, is he?!
My prediction is that Gordon will be the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Chargers since LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 1,110 in 2008; LT had 11 TDs that year and 154 receiving yards. Gordon needs only 232 yards to hit the 1,000 mark in rushing. If he continues at the pace he is on now, he will exceed that number. As of this writing he has already reached 1,032 yards combined. I anticipate he will score a total of 18 touchdowns and amass 1,300 rushing yards by season’s end. Bold? Perhaps. But I think he is up to the task.
Now if only he can continue to get the ball put in his hands in those short red zone TD situations!
Here are my three keys to victory today on how the Chargers can take down the Titans
1.) Lock on Murray, make Mariota beat you
Murray is their best player. Titans are going to want to give him the ball as much as possible. Mariota is young, so he’s prone to more mistakes. If you force Mariota not beat you, not Murray, then you have a better shot at turnovers and 3 and outs.
2.) Coaching needs to be better
This one is tough, because the staff is so incompetent. But if they would have run the ball from the two yard line last week they win the game. Whiz needs to understand his players strengths and to stop overthinking things. McCoy can’t coach scared and has to understand clock management. Pagano mustn’t take his foot off the gas and needs to consistently bring pressure. If they do all these, they will win.
3.) Take deep shots
Titans lead the league with most plays in the air of 20+ yards. Chargers have two guys who can stretch the field in Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams. One of the two will go off today (maybe both). Not sure which one, but I have a feeling it will Travis. Take shots and beat them deep.
What are your guys’ keys? Let me know below!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
There are less than three days remaining until the offseason day we’ve all been waiting for aside from the start of free agency. The NFL Draft will commence with the Tampa Bay on the clock and a whirlwind of speculation surrounding our beloved San Diego Chargers. I will be there in person to see the events unfold and write of it in the days thereafter. After ingesting all the rumors and speculation of the last couple months, I have a feel for the way things go and I am brave (or stupid) enough to put them in print. Without further adieu. here are my top ten fearless predictions.
1. Philip Rivers will NOT be traded. Chargers GM Tom Telesco knows how valuable a commodity he has in Rivers and he’s simply not for sale. Not for Mariota. Not for Winston. Not for a handful of magic beans. No trade. No way. No how.
2. Adrian Peterson WILL be traded. To my chagrin, I have come to the realization that he will not be traded to the Chargers as dearly as I want that to happen. The Vikings know there is no chance in hell Peterson will ever suit up in the Purple and Gold ever again so on draft day he will be gone to the highest bidder. I will stand by my projection that the best they will get is a third round pick and maybe a late round throw in but their first round asking price will not happen.
3. Marcus Mariota will be the second pick in the draft but he will not play for Tennessee, who own the second pick. Not coincidentally, it leads to my next prediction…
4. Marcus Mariota and Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly will be reunited in Philadelphia. All the talk of a Mariota-for-Rivers deal has to make the Eagles happy because they have been largely forgotten in the equation. This will turn out exactly the way we expected it to at the end of the National Championship game. Chip Kelly wants Mariota to run his offense the same way he did at Oregon. Kelly knows there is no one better to run his offense than Mariota. Kelly will get Mariota.
5. To get Mariota, Kelly will trade off his offseason acquisitions. We all thought Kelly traded off his best pieces if he wanted to trade up to get Mariota. The Eagles sent former rushing champion LeSean McCoy packing. They traded away a strong quarterback in Nick Foles. What they did was overload their skill positions in order to make a deal the Titans would want. Let’s examine the facts. They now have DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles as running backs. They now have Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Tim freaking Tebow in their five quarterback stable. Kelly is going to give the Titans the quarterback and running back of their choice AND their first rounder to get the Titans spot and claim Mariota. Book it.
6. Eight household name players will change addresses during the draft. Expect at least five veterans to get traded on day one and more on day two as Peterson comes into play. Chip Kelly will be responsible for three of those names alone. More will come.
7. The Chargers first round pick will be a running back. Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon will be the man depending on who’s available. Florida State center Cameron Erving will be the selection (as I indicated in my recent mock draft) if both are gone. Offense will be the order of the day in the first round. Telesco has not addressed the running back issue at all in the offseason and contrary to what has been said, don’t expect him to stand pat with Donald Brown, Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead. A top two running back will be drafted.
8. Only two quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round but three will be traded. Among those names, expect Robert Griffin III to be one of them.
9. The bidding war for Adrian Peterson between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys will be won by….New England. The Patriots will give the Vikings their first, second and fifth round picks to secure Peterson as Belichick shows why he is still the smartest person in the room. Hear that sound? It’s Bill Belichick dropping the mic.
10. Telesco will go against formula and trade down on day two to recover the seventh round pick he dealt last year. He’s saving one other bombshell for day two that lands the Chargers the services of.. disgruntled Bears feature running back Matt Forte. You heard it here first. A big name veteran will end up with the Chargers by the end of the draft. Telesco has a plan and its going to jolt Bolt Nation.
There you have it. My expectations for the draft. There’s always a few surprises, a few head scratchers but it will always be entertaining. Look for me on Thursday wearing my powder blue lightning bolted jersey of the quarterback who won’t be traded.
The Greg One
Alright, Chargers fans, everyone take a deep breath, in through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. Now, repeat those steps as many times as it takes to get you to a relaxed state. That exercise will do you, and all of us who read your social media rants a lot of good.
Yes, I’m talking to those Chargers fans that after four days of free agency have already lit their torches, sharpened their pitchforks, and began the trek to Chargers Park and Tom Telesco’s (TT) office. Take a breath, people! Let the man do his job. Let’s be honest. If you or I know more about running a professional football franchise than the team’s General Manager (GM), the team is in worse trouble than we knew!
I read all the complaints about how TT is letting Bolt fans down and he is not going after top-notch players. If these fans had their way, Telesco would have signed DeMarco Murray, Ndamukong Suh, Dwayne Bowe, Terrance Knighton, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Darrelle Revis, and so on down the line of big names to contracts that would still have left us room under the cap! Well here are a couple simple facts for all fans to remember:
- There is a salary cap in the NFL. Teams can only spend up to the cap, whether they have more needs or not. If you spend a large chunk of your cap space on one player, you may not be able to fill other holes that you have. I’m sorry, but the Chargers have many holes to fill.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Okay, that is a little cliché, but it fits. Tom Telesco and the Chargers staff have been trying to dig out of the hole that former GM A.J. Smith left them in ever since they took over a couple years ago. The team was a mess. There were some key guys to build around, for example, Rivers, Gates, Weddle, and Hardwick, but not very many quality supporting players. Telesco has brought in some quality players via the draft, trades, and free agency, but it takes time to build a football team from (almost) scratch.
On the flipside, I understand that we live in a win now, must win society. No one likes to go to work on Monday morning and hear about how their team lost, or didn’t make the playoffs. There is nothing worse than listening to your co-worker brag about how his team has three rings and your team has none (you know who I’m referring too). So, you are mad as hell and you aren’t going to take it anymore? Well, unless you are going to jump on another team’s bandwagon, you don’t have much choice.
Now, every year we run into this kind of drama, but this year seems to be worse than normal. Why do Bolt fans seem so desperate? I have two reasons for their panic:
- The new stadium. Let’s face it; this could be the last season for the San Diego Chargers. Fans want to see their team win a championship for their city, not Los Angeles or Carson, or anywhere else. How did Los Angeles Rams fans feel when the Rams took off to St. Louis and then almost immediately win a ring? That had to sting. No one wants that in San Diego. Not to mention, if the Chargers could win the Super Bowl this season, the odds on obtaining the necessary votes to build a new stadium would greatly increase.
- The Padres. This may be a little more of a stretch, but perhaps watching the Padres spend money and seemingly sign whomever they wanted in the offseason got the emotional Bolt fan worked up. “Why can’t we sign guys like the Padres did?” Well I’ll tell you why; because of the salary cap. A.J. Preller, the GM of the Padres, was given permission to spend and spend a lot. He worked his magic and brought more talent at one time than any San Diego franchise has ever been able to bring in. But let’s face it; the Chargers do not have the ability to spend as much as they want on players. They are limited by rules that do not apply in Major League Baseball.
So do yourself a favor and sit back, relax and enjoy the process. Don’t expect more than is possible to deliver. Tom Telesco is trying to build an entire team. Remember, it takes two to Tango. You may have heard that he was the highest bidder to court Andre Johnson and Johnson decided to take less money to play in Indy. That is not Telesco’s fault. These things happen and he has to move on to the next guy on the wish list.
One last thing to remember, when building a team, the GM has free agency, the draft, and camp signings that are often after week 3 of preseason. The team you see today is not the finished product. Give Telesco a chance to prove he knows more than we do. Keep the faith! Go Bolts!
So how do you feel about the job Tom Telesco is doing so far? Is there any certain player you want him to sign? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.
On the second day of free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a three-year, twelve million dollar deal (5 million guaranteed) with Chargers free agent running back Ryan Mathews. Mathews flew to Philadelphia and pending a physical, is ready to sign on the dotted line and start a new NFL life in the city of Brotherly Love.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the doctor’s office.
The Eagles were set to halt their pursuit of Cowboys free agent running back Demarco Murray. That is, until Eagles head coach Chip Kelly received a phone call from Murray himself. Murray pitched himself to the coach and the Eagles took the bait. As of the time of this writing on the third day of free agency, March 12, Murray is on a plane to Philadelphia with the intent of signing a deal with the Eagles when he enters the building.
Brotherly Love indeed.
Back to Mathews. He is at time of this writing, finishing his physical and it’s approaching the time where the deal would be signed and he would be issued official Eagles gear. The contract is not signed. Murray’s arrival could mean a couple things. Either the Eagles are planning on sharing the load with two workhorse running backs OR Murray’s signing will put Mathews back on the street looking for work. The latter seems to be the more likely scenario.
Why else would the Eagles bring in Murray after agreeing with Mathews if not to supplant him? Murray is the shiniest jewel in the running back free agent crown. Demarco ran for over 1800 yards last season. Mathews was injured for all but six games last season. Of course Murray is the sexier addition.
The latest breaking news is Murray has agreed to a 5-year, 40 million dollar deal with the Eagles with twenty million guaranteed and a couple million more possible with incentives. Neither player has signed yet. Why would Mathews want to stay? The Eagles undoubtedly made promises about him being the number one back and a day later they brought in the league’s rushing leader.
Essentially, the cute girl in class has been dumped for the head cheerleader.
I am in no way a Mathews fan. Anyone who has read my columns knows I have been campaigning for him to leave since Boltblitz started over two years ago. The injuries, the inconsistency and watching my favorite player, quarterback Philip Rivers, get beat down as a consequence of not having a dependable running game soured me to Mathews seasons ago.
As much as I want to laugh my fool head off at the situation, I can’t. I am waiting to throw my celebration party until Mathews officially signs a deal with another team and that still hasn’t happened yet. Yes he’s a free agent so that means he’s not in any way affiliated with the Chargers anymore. He’s not under contract with San Diego and if the front office wanted him to stay with the team they would have made an offer to him before free agency began. They didn’t. He’s gone.
What I expect will happen is the Eagles will tell Mathews he’s no longer needed or Mathews will tell the Eagles he’s not staying if Murray is their guy. Either way, that means he’s still up for bids. There should be teams willing and waiting to acquire him but what if Chargers GM Tom Telesco decided to make an incentive-laden offer at a lower price and Mathews accepts?
Call it an irrational fear but it isn’t. Stranger things have happened. Look at what’s happened in Philadelphia alone as the example. They had Frank Gore and Gore decided to back out of his oral agreement. Philly then agreed to a deal with Mathews and a day later they agree to a deal with Murray after Murray picked up the phone and offered himself like a hooker on the Las Vegas strip. In the span of a week, Philadelphia has changed running backs three times! A call out of the blue from the old team is downright standard these days.
There are no reports that the Chargers have any interest in getting back in the running for their former running back but we’ve been surprised before. Nobody saw Jimmy Graham getting traded on day one of free agency either. We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and that’s what worries me. The more running backs that sign as this soap opera unfolds, the more worried I am that Mathews dons the lightning bolts again. The title of a favorite Motley Crue song comes to mind: Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away. Maybe the Eagles are telling him that right now…
What do you think? Should the Chargers jump back in the mix for Mathews?
The Greg One
Potentially, the biggest name on the free agent market is Adrian Peterson. Sure, Ndamukong Suh will be a close second but with the added morality issue attached to his pending availability, Peterson is the hot button name of the offseason.
To that point, myself and Boltblitz co-editor Mike Pisciotta differ on Peterson becoming a Charger. I am all for it, he is not. Time to take the matter to you, our loyal readers, to see who has the better argument for or against AP in lightning bolts next season. Enjoy.
Greg: To start, I want Adrian Peterson in lightning bolts next season. Peterson, even after a year off, is still the gold standard for running backs in the NFL. Who’s better? DeMarco Murray? Murray has had one good year out of five. Eddie Lacy is still a pup. LeSean McCoy was traded by the Eagles mere days ago. Teams just don’t trade away franchise running backs without damn good reason, and we still don’t know what the Eagles’ reason is. Peterson is the best running back in the game and he’s going to be available to the highest bidder. The Chargers are the perfect fit. So Mike, what reason could you possibly have for NOT wanting AD (All Day) Peterson in powder blue?
Mike: First off, Greg, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Peterson is still a Viking. He hasn’t been released, nor is he officially on the trading block. Yes, the Chargers are rumored to be a potential trade partner. To your point, teams don’t trade away franchise running backs without damn good reason, so what’s the reason for trading Peterson? Dean Spanos doesn’t want or need the public relations firestorm that will surely surround a trade for Peterson. Not while in the middle of a push for a new stadium and trying to gain public support.
Greg: Peterson is on the trade block because he wants out! He feels disrespected by the organization for the way they strong-armed him into going onto the Commissioner’s exempt list last season, he feels he didn’t get the show of support he expected from the front office and now his agent’s shouting match with high-ranking team officials during the combine has become public. He might still be under contract, but the writing is on the wall. The Vikings are shopping Peterson without coming out and saying it. It’s funny you mention stadiums because Adrian Peterson in a Chargers uniform just might be what gets the Chargers a new stadium! People will come out in droves to see Peterson and Rivers on the field at the same time! Don’t forget he’s already made his wishlist of teams public and the Chargers are one of them.
Mike: He feels disrespected. Cry me a river! Just because he wants out of Minneapolis. Just because some talking head named San Diego as a possible landing spot. Just because star-struck fans think he’d be a fit in San Diego doesn’t make him a candidate to play in America’s Finest City. These same fans wanted Michael Sam in powder blue! Fact is, anyone with a recognizable name, anyone with an endorsement contract or a headline is desired by the casual fan. People will also come out in droves against any form of public support for the Chargers’ stadium effort for bringing on a man convicted in the court of public opinion for child abuse. Nobody cares that he pleaded no contest. Nobody cares he wasn’t humiliated in front of a jury of his peers and convicted. Do you honestly believe that public sentiment won’t swing further away from the Chargers over this? The timing is simply awful.
Greg: You’re making the mistake of lumping him in with the multitudes of middle-of-the-road prospects available at this time every year. This is Adrian freaking Peterson, the one man you can put on the roster of any team and they automatically become a playoff capable team. Even Minnesota. You’re also overestimating the whole court of public opinion angle. I was wondering how long it would take you to get there. AP starts averaging 120 yards and two touchdowns and that morality issue will conveniently be pushed aside. San Diego is the best place for a player who wants to win and keep a low media profile. Winning is the best deodorant and that’s what will happen with Peterson in SD.
Mike: I’m making no mistake at all, Greg. The Chargers cannot afford to give up a king’s ransom for someone who sat out virtually the entire 2014 season. He is not a free agent. Minnesota is not stupid enough to release him and get nothing in return for him. That leaves trading Peterson. This would amount to a fool’s errand. Many insiders have said a trade for Peterson would resemble the 1989 Herschel Walker to the Vikings trade. Need I remind you of how these same Vikings got fleeced? In case you do, let’s recap from Wikipedia, shall we?
- Players/Draft Picks Received by the Minnesota Vikings
- RB Herschel Walker
- Dallas’s 3rd round pick – 1990 (54) (Mike Jones)
- San Diego’s 5th round pick – 1990 (116) (Reggie Thornton)
- Dallas’s 10th round pick – 1990 (249) (Pat Newman)
- Dallas’s 3rd round pick – 1991 (68) (Jake Reed)
- Players/Draft Picks Received by the Dallas Cowboys
- LB Jesse Solomon
- LB David Howard
- CB Issiac Holt
- RB Darrin Nelson (traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas)
- DE Alex Stewart
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1990 (21) (traded this pick along with pick (81) for pick (17) from Pittsburgh to draft Emmitt Smith)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1990 (47) (Alexander Wright)
- Minnesota’s 6th round pick in 1990 (158) (traded to New Orleans, who drafted James Williams)
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (12) (Alvin Harper)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (38) (Dixon Edwards)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (37) (Darren Woodson)
- Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (71) (traded to New England, who drafted Kevin Turner)
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1993 (conditional) – (13) (traded to Philadelphia Eagles, and then to the Houston Oilers, who drafted Brad Hopkins
Truth is, Chargers have way too many holes to pull off a trade of this magnitude. It would be career suicide for Tom Telesco, not to discount the aforementioned public relations firestorm.
Greg: What you fail to realize, Mike, is Peterson has the all the leverage with the Vikings. Peterson will account for 15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap. The Vikings will obviously want to restructure his contract to make it more cap-friendly. They owe him 12.5 million if he suits up for them this season. With all the ill-will between the sides, what reason does he have to want to do anything to help the front office that has shunned him and looked to distance themselves as far away as possible from his off-the-field transgression? If Peterson flat-out refuses to redo his deal, the Vikings are hamstrung in free agency and their chances of fielding a contending team are greatly compromised. At that point, the Vikings would look to move AP.
After what you’ve seen the last two seasons, do you really think Telesco would get fleeced the way the Cowboys took the Vikings to school in 1990? C’mon, Man! We know Telesco is one of the most capable GM’s in the league and we’ve commended him (for the most part) for doing so much with so little money. In Telesco we trust, right? We know a deal coming from his office will be a good deal for the Chargers. Give the Vikes a few draft picks. Give them Mathews (please!!) You know why? With AP on the Chargers, SD’s picks are going to be in the high 20’s or (dare I say it) low 30’s anyway because the Chargers will be playing in the championships at the end of the playoffs! That’s what this type of move says, Super Bowl or bust!
Mike: Greg, what leverage? Trade me or I sit out another year? What kind of leverage is that? That’d be akin to the kid sitting in the corner holding his breath until he gets his way! I’d love to cite Saturday Night Live’s Dan Aykroyd right about now. I’ll give you this, you’re right about the or bust part. Trading for Peterson will equate to Los Angeles, make no mistake about it. But, enough of the politics that will surround this acquisition.
If Telesco even desires Peterson (and I say he’s making a mistake if he does), I say hold out, force the Vikings’ hand and make them release him so there’s no trade liability there. The Chargers need a NT, depth at linebacker, depth at WR on top of needing a running back. Telesco can’t afford to surrender draft picks that are needed to fill holes! What idiot would pay a king’s ransom for a player in a position the game has devalued? The draft class is running back rich, so they can get younger and faster at a fraction of the cost. I can’t believe you don’t recognize that. Additionally, they can’t trade your favorite Charger anyway, he’s not under contract come Tuesday.
Greg: The only thing dumber than not moving a disgruntled player is paying the man 12.5 million to stay home! That’s Raiders stupidity. I don’t think the Vikings would go that route. You are right that Telesco will be best suited to force their hand and wait for him to get cut. The GM would be a fool not to look at ways to acquire Peterson but he’s not a king’s ransom type of guy and we all know it. While they’re waiting for the shoe to drop in Minny, sign line help and draft skill positions for depth.
Contrary to what you think this is not a Los Angeles move, this is a stay in San Diego play. This is a last ditch effort to rouse enough interest to get the fan base to come out and vote for keeping the team in the city because there is a team worth watching within it. The buzz Peterson brings will move PSL’s and fill the Q to the rafters. Knowing Rivers finally has a reliable running game will renew faith in the team. The bolts will have a true home field advantage!! Make no mistake, Peterson makes the Chargers a Super Bowl favorite!
Aside from cost of acquisition and media relations, you haven’t given me any other reason he shouldn’t be on the team. We’ve already agreed there are ways to get him without costing the team a fortune in picks and players. Media? Meh. He’s not the first player to have issues in San Diego. Remember Vincent Jackson? How about the Mantei Te’o catfishing black eye? All those issues were non-issues in the media landscape outside of San Diego. The Chargers were in the market for Suh and they were also in on Steve Smith last year so it’s obvious they have no aversion to players with problems.
Mike: Greg, you’re naive if you think this won’t result in a public relations nightmare. You can’t compare VJax’s or Suh’s or Smith’s on-field or locker room issues to Peterson. He pleaded no contest to beating his kid! What’s worse, is if he had it to do all over again, he’d do the same thing! Right or wrong, he’s labelled. He’s damaged goods and Telesco is a fool if he brings him in.
Peterson is 30 years old in May. That’s 75 in running back years. He won’t be the effective player he was. He missed all of last year, save one game. This is a “what have you done for me lately” business and in 2013, he ran for as many yards with as many carries as Ryan Mathews. You want Mathews strung up, tarred and feathered and burnt at the stake! Where’s the upgrade?
Greg: You’ve heard of separation of church and state, right? In the sports world, there’s separation of on-the-field and off-the-field. Basically, the child abuse case will be an afterthought to the football loving public. I am in no way condoning what he did but he has to lie in that bed now. The Chargers are not culpable for his actions a year ago. Sure, there will be a media circus when mini-camps begin. It will carry into the preseason and maybe the first couple regular season games. After that, it’s all about the football and how he’s performing on the field. Most likely, there will be a big press conference to clear the air and allow everything that needs to be said to be said. After that, there will be no more answering of questions on the subject. We’ve seen this continually with superstar players through the years, most recently with Alex Rodriguez.
Speaking of on the field, if you had to put your money down on a 30-year old running back, who better than Adrian Peterson? Two years ago he returned from a horrific ACL injury and ran for over 2,000 yards! He came nine yards short of achieving the highest single season rushing mark in NFL history! Not counting last season, in his eight year career he has missed eight games. Eight! In only seven years he ran for 10,000 yards! Those are just rushing yards, we haven’t even discussed his ability to receive out of the backfield in which he also excels. The man runs with remarkable power and breakaway speed. He is the definition of a freak athlete and now he will be coming back after what was basically a year off. He is going to be angry and motivated and he might shatter the rushing record by a mile this time around. So yes, I will hitch my wagon to this 30-year old every day and twice on Sunday! And on that last Sunday I will dance hardest because he and Philip Rivers will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy!
Mike: Nice dream, Greg. But let’s face facts. His shelf life has expired. If he were a loaf of bread, he’d be in the go-back basket. He fell way off after that 2000 yard season. He fell all the way to Ryan Mathews’ 2013 numbers. He was just an average Joe in 2013, and Minnesota quarterback couldn’t hold a candle to Philip Rivers. Remember how San Diego’s beloved LaDanian Tomlinson’s numbers fell off? I love LT to death and hated to see him go, but numbers are numbers. Same goes for Peterson. He’s past his prime as a running back, and no way will he come even close to the star-crossed numbers you describe. In the Charger offensive scheme, with the talent they have in the receiving corps, the featured back will not thrive. I want Philip to hoist the Lombardi, but I don’t think Adrian Peterson will contribute to that success.
There may be no more answering of questions on the child abuse subject, but locals won’t forget that. Let’s not forget the non-fan who may be swayed to vote in favor of keeping the team in town. Signing Peterson could be the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Greg: I will end on this note. You’re right. Numbers don’t lie so here’s your numbers. That season you said he ‘fell off’ after the 2000 yard season, he was fifth in the league in rushing. He had 1266 yards and he missed two games! I’m happy if my starting running back ‘falls off’ to fifth place in the league! That season the Vikings were 28th in the league in passing and they were 14th in rushing on his ability alone. Peterson averages 1400 yards a year from scrimmage, is durable, he beats eight man fronts with ease and his presence is going to open up the entire passing game for Philip Rivers. Think of the threat of play action alone! Eight men in the box is going to leave Antonio Gates one-on-one in the middle of the field. Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd are going to stretch the field vertically and defenses won’t be so quick to blitz Rivers knowing they have to account for the dump off to Peterson in the passing game. Add in some grunts on the offensive line to open holes and that’s a recipe for an unstoppable offense.
Morality wise, who are we to judge? We’re not looking to hire him to be CEO of our company. We’re not voting him to be the next President of the United States. We’re not looking to him to be our role model. Peterson has had his day in court and it’s over. Life goes on. He’s not the first athlete in the NFL to exhibit questionable judgement off the field and he won’t be the last. A team is going to give him a chance. Why not us? That’s a question you’ve failed to answer in my opinion.
At the end of the day we want the best players to help our team WIN. That’s it. We want the Chargers to win a Super Bowl and Adrian Peterson can be a huge piece of the puzzle in the form of a solution to fixing the running game. Peterson. Woodhead. Oliver. Who can stop that three-headed monster? Nobody. That’s why we make the deal. Everything else will follow. The stadium. The Ring. The vindication.
Mike: It’s clear that Greg and I do not agree when it comes to Adrian Peterson in lighting bolts. He makes very compelling arguments in favor of pursuing and I feel my arguments are compelling against him coming to San Diego. What do you, loyal Boltblitz readers have to say?
This off-season’s free agency market will be the one for the books. A rich draft class have teams rather curious by seeking young talent fresh out of college. Fortunately for many running back needy teams, that leaves some availible players to be picked up. One of those players is DeMarco Murray, current running back for the Dallas Cowboys.
It was recently announced that Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager, will allow Murray to test the free agent market. That being said, should Tom Telesco and the Chargers consider signing him? The answer is absolutely.
Murray, 26, has come off his best season yet with over 1,800 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns all while averaging 4.7 yards a carry. He set a NFL record rushing for 100 yards in eight consecutive games. Additionally, this is his second year in a row that he has rushed over 1,000 yards. With stats like that there’s no question that he is requesting to be paid, and rightfully so.
If the Bolts are to consider Murray, at what price should it he be worth? With the most cap space now available in recent years (about $25 million to spend), there is some room to negotiate. There’s no question that Murray will want a long-term contract, and San Diego needs a long-term solution in the position. Whatever the contract would be, it would have to appease and benefit both sides. I feel that this could be a love affair in the making.
San Diego enters the 2015 season with an uncertainty in the backfield. Current running back Ryan Mathews is also a free agent, but is coming off one of his worst years yet. There’s no doubt that Mathews is adept of getting the job done with he is healthy, however it’s staying on the field that seems he struggles with. In this situation, Murray would be an excellent replacement and fill-in on the Chargers roster.
Now, let’s address the so-called injury issues with Murray. Many say he too is injury prone, but when you look at the stats it’s not as severe as many would think. Yes, he has been injured in the NFL, however he still managed to play 37 of 48 games in his first three seasons with Dallas; he played all 16 games this last season. I hate to point fingers, but it isn’t like he has suffered two broken collar bones in a single season. Griping about Murray’s injury history is like complaining ten years later about your high school girlfriend breaking up with you before prom- it’s irrelevant by now.
A player like Murray won’t be on the free agent market for long. If Telesco is considering the stud running back, there’s no question he’s had the notion for a while now. The Bolts are in great need of a running game booster this off-season and Murray would be a great addition in San Diego.
Below there is a poll listing if the Chargers should sign DeMarco Murray this offseason. Place your vote and leave a comment as to why you voted for your selection.
Thank you for reading and voting!
It took almost a full season but the San Diego Chargers are finally starting to become the team we envisioned at the beginning of the season. The possibility of a team that would once again become playoff relevant looked good but not great as the Chargers took a 4-3 record into the bye week. The bye week came as the Chargers had won two straight games against Indianapolis and Jacksonville. After the bye, the Chargers dropped three straight games to fall to 4-6. With that losing streak, all hope for a return to prominence looked lost.
The Chargers went to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs. The Chiefs were 9-1 and coming off their first loss at Denver. The Chargers took it to the Chiefs and won a shootout 41-38. That win began a Chargers run that has seen them win four of their last five games. The Chargers now sit at 8-7 with a shot at getting into the playoffs if they can beat the Chiefs at home and the right teams lose on Sunday.
What has been the reason for this turnaround? The offensive line has solidified and while it isn’t a list of marquee names, the same guys are suiting up every week and staying on the field. Last season the offensive line was a turnstile with a new starting five almost every week. First round draft pick D.J. Fluker has done a great job at right tackle, helping open holes for the running backs. When starting left tackle King Dunlap missed games because of a concussion, Fluker moved to left tackle and played just as well. Jeromey Clary has found new life at right guard, Nick Hardwick hasn’t missed a game at center. Rich Ohrnberger, Johnnie Troutman and Chad Rinehart have all played well at left guard. The unit is playing better as the weeks go by and it shows. Rivers has been sacked 27 times through 15 weeks this season. Last season, Rivers was sacked a league high 49 times, a drastic improvement.
Ryan Mathews has found his stride and has put together his best season as a pro. Whether it was a change in philosophy or the new system implemented by head coach Mike McCoy, Mathews has run with a purpose and was one yard away (he had 99 against Oakland) from tying LeSean McCoy with six 100-yard rushing games this season. Mathews has more 100 yard games than higher profile backs like Jamaal Charles(4), Arian Foster(2), DeMarco Murray(3), Alfred Morris(3), Matt Forte(4) and has as many Adrian Peterson(5).
Mathews has run for over 100 yards in five of the last ten games and has a 99 yard game as well. For the first time in his career, he is set to play all 16 games and has already posted a career best 1,111 yards rushing. The Chargers are 4-1 when Mathews rushes for 100.
As a result of the first two factors, Philip Rivers is having an All-Pro season. Only Peyton Manning has more 400 yard games(4) than Rivers(3). Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen was rushed into the starting lineup after a season ending injury to Malcolm Floyd. Allen quickly became the number one receiver and has burst onto the scene over the last 11 games. If Keenan Allen isn’t the Offensive Rookie Of The Year, the award should be discontinued due fraud. Allen is going to be a big name in the NFL as he gets years under his belt.
A who’s who of big names on defense hit the injured list before the season began including Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, Larry English and draft pick Steve Williams. Out of that necessity, lesser names have had to fill greater roles, thrust into the spotlight as starters. As a result, unknowns such as Thomas Keiser, Andrew Gachkar, Bront Bird, Sean Lissemore and rookies Tourek Williams and Mantei Te’o have logged significant playing time and thrived. Now the defense has solidified and become a cohesive unit. The defense now has 33 sacks, 74 passed defensed, 11 interceptions and forced 11 fumbles (recovering 6).
The Chargers have finally all come together and look like one of those teams no one will want to play should they get into the playoffs. They played as close to a perfect game as possible in beating the Giants at home and Broncos in Denver with only five days between games. They played sloppily in the first half of the Raiders game but took over the game in the second half and cruised to victory.
The story of the season is the Chargers have beaten Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. Each are teams who are now or were at the top of their division. Their quality of wins are excellent. They have lost to Washington, Oakland, Tennessee and Houston. Those teams are now or were last in their division. Questionable play calling, poor execution and mental lapses have made the difference in the Chargers being in the playoffs now as opposed to fighting for a spot at the end of the season.
The good news is the Chargers are finally playing together. The offense is on track and all the moving pieces on both sides of the ball are set in place and formed a solid wall instead of a Jenga building. The new faces on defense are making fewer mistakes as they get valuable playing time in and that on-the-field experience has made all the difference here at the end of the season. Those unknowns will make the Chargers a dominating defensive unit once the injured players like Freeney, Steve Williams and Ingram start next season healthy.
At 8-7 the Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 season. Most (not me) expected the Chargers to finish with fewer than eight wins. The McCoy/Telesco era is already off to a promising start and as this program is reshaped, will only get better.