Denver Broncos

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On Thursday, multiple media outlets announced the decision of former Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to join the broadcast booth for FOX Sports. Cutler was released by the Bears and after rumored less-than-fruitful talks with the New York Jets and Houston Texans, opted to make the jump to television.

This news comes a few weeks after Ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo decided to retire and go into the broadcast booth for CBS Sports. Ironically, both quarterbacks came into the league at the same time in 2006 and appear to be leaving together as well.

The plan is for Cutler to work in a three-man booth with Charles Davis and Kevin Burkhardt. The difference with Cutler is that he is (as of right now) not retired. No papers have been filed and he hasn’t stated he’s retired. The closest he came on the subject was a quote made to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington:

“I don’t know if retirement is the right word. I don’t feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL. You are either forced to leave, or you lose the desire to do what’s required to keep going. I’m in between those situations at this point in my life.” Cutler said.

He’s still a free agent and there is an out clause in his contract releasing him from his broadcast job if a quarterback vacancy is offered to him.

Personally, this comes as an ironic end to this tale. We’re talking about the quarterback who hasn’t cracked a smile since he was drafted. His own teammates have said they wish they could punch him in the face. He’s always been salty and tight-lipped with the media and now he is one of them. Did anyone tell him part of the job is being  personable

I’d do it quickly before the ink dries on that contract…

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Currently, many NFL fans have been faced with a very difficult decision. Now that my team has moved away, or will soon be moving away, who should I root for? It seems that the answer should be obvious: Root for anyone you want!

But, alas, it is not that simple.

Unfortunately, right now in “Chargers Country” there is a bit of a civil war. Long-time Chargers fans who feel deeply hurt by their team moving to Los Angeles are not only rooting against the Bolts, they have elevated owner Dean Spanos to the level of Osama Bin Laden on their list of most evil men who have ever walked the earth.

All I have to say to those people is that I understand and feel their pain. I was born and raised in San Diego and I certainly get why you feel abandoned, bullied, and misled. I especially feel for those who knocked on doors, gathered signatures, joined fan groups, et cetera. I also feel for those who live in the county and did not get a chance to vote.

On the other side are the fans who believe that they can move on despite their dislike for Mr. Spanos. They just want to watch and enjoy NFL football and not have the same passion for any other team than their Chargers. Yes, Spanos benefits from their support, but they don’t really care because they put the players above the ownership. To those people I would say that I am in your boat. I have come to grips with the fact that my team has a very flawed owner, but I will continue to root for my Bolts.

Now the interesting group….the undecided. These are Chargers fans who just can’t make up their mind. Should they remain Chargers fans? Or, should they shop for a new team? If they decide to move on to greener pastures, what team should they choose? For those people, I offer some facts to ponder. I hope they help. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular teams in the NFL and why they may or may not deserve your loyalty, love, and hard-earned dollars.

New England Patriots

If you are looking to celebrate championships, this may be the team for you. At least while they still have head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, I would never bet against them. But hold on just one minute before you choose the Pats. Consider the fact that they have been caught cheating multiple times. Everything from filming other teams signals to deflating footballs. I won’t even go into the Aaron Hernandez story. They like to say that they push the envelope. In reality, they rip the envelope open and rely on their popularity and extremely wealthy owner, Bob Kraft, to save them in the end. So far, their plan has been successful. So, you need to ask yourself if you can root for a team that has possible morality issues and one that has most likely been one of your most hated teams for years? If you can get past all this, enjoy the next few years as a winner.

Oakland Raiders

I can’t even believe that I am listing the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders as a viable option, but here they are. Yes, I have heard many ex-Chargers fans saying that they are switching their loyalties to the Raiders. As always, I believe that is their choice and they are welcome to it. I just don’t understand it.

Let’s be fair. The Raiders are an up and coming team that honestly has a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy within the next two or three years. That can be enticing to any waffling fan. They have a great, young quarterback, outstanding pass rushers, and exciting play makers. All that being said, they are still the Raiders! If you have been loyal to the Chargers for any length of time, you most likely have a deep-seated hatred for the Silver and Black. But let’s put rivalry behind us for a moment. In my opinion, it makes absolutely no sense for a Chargers fan to jump ship and join Raiders Nation. You are mad at Dean Spanos for not being loyal to his fans, yet you are willing to give Mark Davis a pass? The Raiders have a long history of screwing their fans. They went from Oak-town to Los Angeles (sound familiar), back to Oakland and now they are moving to Vegas. All along they have used cities like Irwindale and Los Angeles as leverage to use against the city of Oakland to force them to build them a new stadium (sound familiar?). It is quite confusing to me why anyone who quotes loyalty as the reason that they are leaving their team would go to a team that is quite possibly the least loyal franchise in sports. But that is just me.

Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos

Good teams. Quality ownership. Chance to win in the future. The only real negative would be that you would be going from hating them to loving them just because you are mad at Dean Spanos. If you can sleep at night, go for it.

New Orleans Saints

I have heard other Chargers fans say that they are going to follow the Saints because of Drew Brees. Yes, Brees is great and he was a fan favorite (more-so after leaving) in San Diego. The problem is that he will only be around for a short time and then you are stuck with this decision all over again. Do you stick with a team you don’t have any passion for? Or, do you become a free agent again.

Los Angeles Rams

Again, I don’t get it. Yes, I have heard the argument that supporting the Rams would be a throat-punch to Dean Spanos. I suppose there is some validity to that. But once again, we are talking about supporting an owner who abandoned his fans. Yet another owner who sees the bottom line as dollar signs, rather than loyalty to those who love their team. Also, an organization that has gone from Los Angeles, to Anaheim, to St. Louis, and back to Los Angeles. Once again, it is your right to make this choice, but to me, your logic is flawed.

Arizona Cardinals

If you are old like me, you may think of the first time that they fans in St. Louis lost a team. It was the Cardinals, not the Rams. I’ll admit that the Cardinals have been in Arizona for quite a while now and do not seem to be heading out anytime soon. I think you are safe to root for them, if location is your biggest concern. Arizona isn’t even that far to drive if you want to make an annual trip or two to see a home game. They will also play in Los Angeles at least once a year. I don’t have any reason to like the Cards, but if you do, knock yourself out.

Pittsburgh Steelers

“Sixburgh” knows how to win championships. They must be a fun franchise to watch. They play at a high level year in and year out. They have cool looking uniforms and a unique helmet with a logo on just one side. They do have a history of paying guys who have some pretty serious “character flaws”, but most teams in the NFL can say the same. My favorite memory of the Steelers is watching them go down to defeat to my Chargers in the AFC Championship game, just a week after producing their own Super Bowl video. Makes me smile every time I think of it.

Dallas Cowboys

“America’s Team”! You are most likely an American, so it makes sense to like the Cowboys. Right? Seems to me that the Cowboys are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL. People either love them or hate them. Either way, they have a very solid team and have a real chance to be playing on the next several Super Bowl Sundays. I’m sure there is room on the Cowboys bandwagon (or wagon train in their case). Perhaps before long, you will find yourself as passionate about that star as you were the lightning bolt. Do remember though, owner Jerry Jones came up with the framework for the Chargers and Rams to share a stadium in LA.

Philadelphia Eagles

This choice was interesting to me. It came up the other day on social media that an ex-Chargers fan was going to root for the Eagles going forward because of Darren Sproles and the recent drafting of Donnell Pumphrey (RB out of San Diego State University). I have no real argument against this choice. Perhaps by the time Pumphrey concludes what is hopefully an illustrious career with the Eagles, the new fans will have found a way to attach themselves to Philly and will continue on. Perhaps not.

Atlanta Falcons

This could be the flavor of the month, or it could be a legit choice for free agent fans. Everyone seems to love their owner and there aren’t many negative stories plaguing the roster. They were Super Bowl runner-ups last year (they should have won) as well. So again, good team with a chance to win. Perhaps you can find a way to jump on board. If so, enjoy the ride. It should be fun for a while.

The Field

“The Field” would consist of all the other team except the Los Angeles Chargers.  These are teams that have no obvious reason to pick them. Sure there are great players like JJ Watt or Aaron Rodgers out there who you may like enough to start following. But beware, players careers are short. Do you really want to be right back in the same spot again in five or 10 years? Perhaps there is a city that is important to your family. Your Dad grew up in Chicago and is an avid Bears fan. Okay, root for “da Bears”. Maybe you are moving elsewhere and your new city or state has a team. Great! Your choice is easy. Maybe you want to pick your team the way you pick your horse at Del Mar. “I really like the colors on this one.” Whatever your method, the choice is yours and no one else’s opinion matters. Peace and love, Baby. Peace and love.

And finally….

the Los Angeles Chargers (that is so strange to type)

Let’s assume for a moment you are straddling the fence and you just can’t decide what side to come down on. The side that shows Dean Spanos how much you despise him, or the side that shows how much you love the team despite how much you despise Dean Spanos. Notice, I am working on the assumption that the vast majority of Chargers fans, current and ex, share a hatred for Spanos. Anyway, you have a decision to make. Let me see if I can help. First of all, consider the aforementioned teams and whether or not you have any passion for any of them. If you do, problem solved.

If you are one of those “two favorite teams” people, your task is easy. But, if you are like me and do not believe in having two favorite teams, you still have work to do.

Here is what worked for me.

I simply paid attention. I paid attention to what was going on in the NFL. I listened and read about the various news on players, owners and teams. Then I paid attention to how that news made me feel. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was still far more interested in Chargers news than any other team. The more I heard about the players, the more I realized that Dean Spanos means nothing to me. Yes, I realize that every shirt, hat, jersey, or ticket I buy puts money into Dean’s pocket. I just don’t care. Dean Spanos is rich and he will continue to be rich, with or without me. Why should I let him ruin my enjoyment?

It finally hit me last week. There was a build up for the draft and I found myself paying more attention than in recent weeks and checking mock drafts for who people thought the Chargers would pick. Then draft day came and I got more and more excited as the Chargers pick drew near. I can’t say that I had the same level of interest or excitement as I have had in the past. But I can say that I had far more interest and excitement when the Chargers picked than any other team. I even got frustrated as I noticed the NFL network kept going to commercial break before the Bolt’s picks and therefore didn’t have much time to discuss the team or their needs.

Yes, I have decided to stay with my team because I do not care in the least about any other team, and I do not feel the desire to waste all that I have gone through for the past 39 years. That being said, I am not saying that you have to feel the same way. Although, if you are reading this on Boltblitz.com, you still have some interest in the team. That much is obvious.

If you choose to move on to another team, or no team at all, or whoever is playing the Chargers on any given Sunday…good for you. I respect your choice. It is a personal decision for every individual to work out. I hope you don’t waste your time and energy trying to spread your hate to others. Who I like doesn’t affect you in the least. Nor does who you like affect me. Football season will be here before you know it. I hope you find your team and manage to enjoy the season. Remember, it’s a game.

Thanks for reading.

Go Bolts!

Will McCafferty

 

 

 

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Per ESPN, Ex-Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl running Jamaal Charles has signed with the Denver Broncos. The deal is for one-year/$3.75 million. The Chiefs released the mercurial running back on Feb. 28.

Going into his tenth NFL season, Charles has had five seasons over 1,000 yards rushing and made a name as one of the top triple-threat running backs in the league. To date, Charles has logged 7,260 yards rushing with 43 touchdowns, 411 yards receiving with 20 touchdowns and 1,246 yards on kickoff returns with one touchdown.

With this pending signing, Denver looks to solidify the running game. Charles has been a nightmare for the Los Angeles Chargers since his arrival in Kansas City in 2008. Broncos GM John Elway is looking to create a thunder-and-lightning type of backfield with Charles and starter C.J. Anderson although Charles will presumably be more of a situational back.

The problem with that approach is the damaged knees in that backfield. Going into his fifth NFL season,  Anderson is returning from a major knee injury (meniscus) and Charles only managed 12 carries coming off his return from his second ACL injury. Charles has torn the ACL’s in each knee.  The first occurred in 2011 and again in 2015. Now 30-years old and lacking the speed he once tore through defenses with at will, how much he has left in the tank for the Broncos remains to be seen. Charles has missed 24 games in the last two seasons with knee issues.

Four years ago, this type of move would strike fear in the hearts of NFL teams and fans. Today, Elways’ love of signing aging, damaged former superstars and desire to create a Peyton Manning-type career resurrection is bordering on comical.

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Chad Reuter of NFL.com has taken on the task of grading each and every one of the NFL’s 32 draft classes in this year’s draft.

Clearly, the conjecture involved here is what it is, but I really like Reuter and his work for NFL.com.

For the sake of this article, we’ll begin with his thoughts on the AFC West.

 

DENVER BRONCOS:

Garett Bolles (No. 20 overall), DeMarcus Walker (No. 51 overall), Carlos Henderson (No. 82 overall), Brendan Langley (No. 101 overall), Jake Butt (No. 145 overall), Isaiah McKenzie (No. 172 overall), De’Angelo Henderson (No. 203 overall), Chad Kelly (No. 253 overall)

Reuter’s Take:

Day 1 grade: C
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B
The skinny: Garett Bolles is an athletic, tough-minded player. He’s also an older prospect who has lived through a lot. Some teams have concerns about his ability to handle complex line adjustments. The team certainly needed a left tackle, but Ryan Ramczyk was also available here. It will be interesting to compare the careers of those two players. Though DeMarcus Walker didn’t get a lot of love after his big first week in 2016, his power and hustle make him a great pass rusher. They got a good receiver in Carlos Henderson in the third round, one of the toughest pass-catchers to tackle in the draft. Bolstering the team’s cornerback depth was a major need, so picking up intriguing former FBS cornerback Brendan Langley was worthwhile.

Denver ended the draft with a bang — taking Chad Kelly at Mr. Irrelevant. Kelly’s potential makes him a non-irrelevant selection. There’s no reason not to make that pick given his arm strength and football acumen — if he can calm himself and focus on the task at hand. The Broncos‘ first pick of Day 3 was the top selection in the fifth round, tight end Jake Butt. He should be a solid starter when he recovers from his bowl game injury. They picked up an extra fifth from Cleveland in an earlier deal. Late-round running backs De’Angelo Henderson and Matt Dayes will make an impression in training camp.

 

My take on Bolles, Butt and Kelly:

 

ChadKelly

I am not a fan of the fact that I like the Broncos’ draft class this year. Addressing the offensive line — adding Bolles — in the first was a must, and the team added one of my favorite prospects in the entire class in Michigan tight end Jake Butt.

The thing that sticks out to me the most is John Elway pulling the trigger on troubled quarterback Chad Kelly of Ole Miss.

Kelly, nephew of former NFL gunslinger Jim Kelly, was selected by Elway with the last pick of the draft (No. 253). The youngster has all of the makings on the field of a solid early-round prospect  — injuries aside — but his inability to stay out of trouble off of the field resulted in his fall to the Mr. Irrelevant selection.

 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:

Patrick Mahomes (No. 10 overall), Tanoh Kpassagnon (No. 59 overall), Kareem Hunt (No. 86 overall), Jehu Chesson (No. 139 overall), Ukeme Eligwe (No. 183 overall), Leon McQuay (No. 217 overall)

Reuter’s take:

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: A
Day 3 grade: C
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: Chiefs GM John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid saw Brett Favre in Green Bay, and they have to see some of that gunslinger attitude in Mahomes. There is a risk factor here given his penchant for throwing the ball anywhere and from any arm angle (which will turn into interceptions in the NFL), and they have up a future first-round pick to get him. But if anyone can get Mahomes to adjust and succeed, it’s Reid. Villanova doesn’t put out a lot of top football players, but the Philadelphia crowd love seeing Tanoh Kpassagnon get picked. He’s a very good five-technique with a lot of upside. The Chiefs got a starter in Kareem Hunt, an all-around player who can do it all. Patrick Mahomes has all of the tools to be a great quarterback.

The Chiefs continued to move up and down the board on Day 3. Jehu Chesson was inconsistent in his senior year, so I might have waited a bit to pick him given the other receivers available. They also gave up a fifth-round pick to pick him, which isn’t a premium selection, but would have helped with depth. Kansas City didn’t select a cornerback with some size, which would have helped this season.

 

My take on Mahomes:

 

Mahomes

Though I like this class as a whole, it begins and ends with the drafting of Mahomes.

The Texas Tech star seems primed to replace current quarterback Alex Smith sooner rather than later, as the latter is hardly an average signal caller at this point in his career.

Mahomes has as good of a chance to succeed in the NFL as any of his peers at the position from this class, possessing an awkward, yet highly accurate deep ball. Though he often throws off of his back foot and from odd trajectories, he still manages to give his receiving weapons great opportunities to come down with the rock. The only team in the AFC West that I was hoping to land the former Red Raider will be playing its home games at the StubHub Center in ’17.

 

OAKLAND RAIDERS:

Gareon Conley (No. 24 overall), Obi Melifonwu (No. 56 overall), Eddie Vanderdoes (No. 88 overall), David Sharpe (No. 129 overall), Marquel Lee (No. 167 overall), Shalom Luani (No. 221 overall), Jylan Ware (No. 231 overall), Elijah Hood (No. 242 overall), Treyvon Hester (No. 244 overall)

Reuter’s take:

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: As long as Conley’s off-field issues are cleared up, the Raiders got the long, agile, ballhawk they needed. If he gets in trouble, then GM Reggie McKenzie will have to answer for the pick. The Raiders are in love with long, athletic secondary members. Obi Melifonwu is a hard-hitting guy with nice speed that Al Davis would have loved. If Oakland gets the junior-year Eddie Vanderdoes, they’ll like his interior push; if he’s the 2016 Vanderdoes, they might not like what they see.

Oakland needed to get better on the offensive line, but David Sharpe must prove he can move with NFL-caliber players on a down-by-down basis. If he can, his length and size make him tough to get around. They met their inside linebacker need with Marquel Lee from Wake Forest in Round 5. Oakland didn’t ignore the running back position despite signing Beast Mode — Elijah Hood is a banger, as well.

 

My take on general manager Reggie McKenzie:

 

ReggieMcKenzie1

You sexy mutha.

This dude seems to have turned around what was a horrid franchise when he took over the organization’s general-manager spot.

After effective drafts and free-agency periods the last few seasons, the Raiders are primed to push toward the top of the AFC for the next several years, as they finished last season as the fifth seed and a 12-4 record.

Look out for the Silver and Black, folks.

 

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:

Mike Williams (No. 7 overall), Forrest Lamp (No. 38 overall), Dan Feeney (No. 71 overall), Rayshawn Jenkins (No. 113 overall), Desmond King (No. 151 overall), Sam Tevi (No. 190 overall), Isaac Rochell (No. 225 overall)

Reuter’s take:

Day 1 grade: A-
Day 2 grade: B
Day 3 grade: B+
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: Mike Williams is a physically dominating receiver who will make life easier for Philip Rivers. He has enough speed to make plays, as well. Keenan Allen‘s injury forced the team’s hand, as well. It will be interesting to see where second-round pick Forrest Lamp plays for the Chargers; he would be an excellent center. It was an excellent value pick. The Chargers again bolstered the interior of the line with Dan Feeney, who will play guard to protect Philip Rivers and block for Melvin Gordon. Hitting two interior linemen that early is a bit of a knock, as they need safety and linebacker help.

The Chargers‘ safety group needed an upgrade. Desmond King (fifth round) and Rayshawn Jenkins (sixth) should help in that effort. Finding an aggressive swing tackle in Sam Tevi in the sixth was a nice find, and adding versatile 3-4 lineman Isaac Rochell in the seventh was a solid pick.

 

My take on Tom Telesco:

 

BoogaTelesco

Sir, you complete me.

The fact that Telesco used three of his team’s seven selections on offensive linemen shows that the team is serious about opening up holes for their up-and-coming running back (Melvin Gordon) while also protecting their highest-paid asset (Philip Rivers).

Still, the question remains the same among the fans and media pundits alike: Has it become too late in the aging quarterback’s career for him to be a true difference maker?

I am a firm believer that the savvy veteran is more than capable of getting the job done for the Bolts for at least the next two years.

This team, knock on wood, will also be able to contend for the postseason should it muster up some ancient wizardry and stay relatively healthy for the first time in what seems like forever.

The Chargers have been one of the most injured teams in recent years, losing hundreds of starters all over the squad and playing 3,482 different offensive-line combinations in the last two years. (It feels as though I am only slightly exaggerating.)

 

The AFC West will once again enter the 2017 campaign as one of the top divisions in the league, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it turns out to be the best of them all. This division was already tough as nails prior to all four clubs having solid drafts this past weekend.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

 

It appears that the Los Angeles Chargers will have to wait until at least Week 2 to play their first regular season game at home in the intimate confines of the StubHub Center.

The Bolts will travel to Denver for a Monday Night contest against the Broncos in Week 1, according to Mike Klis of 9News.com.

 

 

 

The Chargers are no strangers to opening up the regular season on Monday Night Football, as they have begun their season in such a manner multiple times in the last decade.

The biggest news about this is the Chargers will not have to travel to Colorado during the winter, where the cold weather and snowy conditions always play a part in the outcome of the game.

 

Booga Peters

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Hot on the heels of the monumental Thursday morning announcement of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers moving up the I-5 to Los Angeles, a new head coach was announced to spearhead the new Los Angeles Chargers.

On Friday, the now Los Angeles Chargers officially announced former Buffalo Bills’ interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their successor to Mike McCoy. Lynn was a running back in the NFL for six seasons from 1993-1999. He was initially signed as an undrafted free agent running back by the Denver Broncos. He played a season in San Francisco (1995-’96) before finishing his career in Denver from 1997 to 1999.  Lynn has two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led team that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.

Since retiring from playing the game in 2000, Lynn has worked his way up the coaching ranks. After two seasons in Denver as a special teams coach, he was brought in as a running backs coach for Jacksonville, Dallas, Cleveland and New York Jets before landing in Buffalo in 2015. Lynn served as running backs coach until week three of the 2016 season. Bills OC Greg Roman was fired after week two and Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the week 17 interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired in week 16.

Lynn is a low-profile, safe choice for the Chargers. Not much will be expected of him or the team given their recent history.  The Chargers have finished in the cellar the last two seasons, only winning a combined nine games. They made the playoffs once in the four years of the Mike McCoy era.

Despite the fact he has no head coaching experience at any level of football, he is expected to keep Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator and various media outlets are reporting he wants to hire former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to replace John Pagano as defensive coordinator. If the Bradley hire happens, that places two experienced head coaches to accelerate his learning curve.

Lynn becomes the first minority head coach in the history of the Chargers franchise. He is widely respected around the league as a running game mastermind. From 2009-13 his Jets led the league in rushing. Each season in Buffalo, the Bills have led the NFL in rushing. If he can do that with a past his prime veteran like LeSean McCoy, imagine what he will be able to do with a young, budding superstar like Melvin Gordon.

Lynn inherits a roster with many budding stars yet to hit their prime and if they can stay healthy, could make the playoffs as soon as next season. So far, the Chargers have led the league in players sent to injured reserve over the past few seasons. Staying healthy and offensive line stability has been their biggest downfall.

All things considered, there is no place to go but up for Lynn and the Chargers. The stadium drama is over and players now know in which city their future lies. That has to be good for something. Now everyone can focus on getting healthy and just playing football, which may be exactly what this team needs.

What do you think? Good signing? Bad signing? Too soon to care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

#StillBoltedUp

 

The Greg One

 

Follow me on Twitter @LordOfTheGregs

 

 

 

BoltBlitzMeetup2

 

 

Before I begin, I want to say there are two groups of fans this does not apply to: the first is season ticket holders who did not sell their seats to opposing fans and went to all games; the second group is “Save Our Bolts.” It was very admirable what you guys did and you all should be very proud. It is also worth noting that the whole “Chargers to LA” thing is still mostly speculation at this point.

Obviously, there are more fans that this applies to, but I wanted to make sure to take the time to mention the folks who stand out in my mind. Again, thank you all for everything that you have done and that you’ll continue to do as we near a resolution regarding the stadium situation in San Diego.

Now, let’s get to the reason that the Chargers fan base is not without fault should the move occur.

First, the San Diego Chargers in 2016 are ranked 31st out of 32 in attendance. Behind them is the Oakland Raiders, so at least we are beating them in something this season. The sad fact is we are a lot better team than a lot of the teams above us, such as; Cleveland and Jacksonville. How is it that the fans of San Diego expect the team not to look at other options when they do not even show up to the game. Not to mention if anyone saw the games vs the Denver Broncos or Miami Dolphins this season, it looks like an away game for our squad. Here is an article USA Today created about this very phenomenon this season (http://broncoswire.usatoday.com/2016/10/13/san-diego-home-game-denver-broncos-chargers-tnf).

Second, fans of San Diego are letting the players down. Even more than they let us down on Sundays. Some may remember when the choice was announced that some Chargers players took to twitter and said, “every home game better be sold out.” Well, as previously stated, the Chargers are ranked 31st in attendance out of 32. So even though the players and organization are dying to get more fans to the stadium. To which the Chargers fan base plainly stated by their actions, no, we will not show up until you start winning games. In other words, a bandwagon mentality. (http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2016/1/29/10873822/san-diego-chargers-players-reactions-los-angeles-show-up).

Third, the failure of Prop C, although the team did all they could, and so did the citizens initiative. The citizens of San Diego, do not want the Chargers, even though the plan actually included creating a permanent situation with comic con and zero taxpayer dollars. That was not enough to keep the team around.

It does not make sense for a team to stay someplace that they are not making money, that is what the bottom line is in the case of the Chargers. They are not making enough money off of tickets. Also with the low attendance numbers that does not help the other way that a lot of teams make money. They are called sponsors, how can you sell sponsorship or advertising space when you rank second to last in attendance and have not been higher than 19 in the past six years.

At least if they end up playing in the Stubhub Center in Carson, California as a temporary venue it is much smaller attendance wise and maybe just maybe, there is a chance for a 100 percent Chargers sellout game.

On the flip side, there is some things that the Chargers could have done marketing wise in order to get more and more CHARGER fans out to the game that have not been done. For example, maybe putting a winning football team on the field, or creating more advertisements and deals to specific groups that create a better image to the community of San Diego. Instead of just visiting places and doing community service, maybe invite those who do not have a lot to the game and grant them experiences that will last a lifetime. Usually if the public has a high opinion of a team, they are more likely to support that team. That is one reason why the Chicago Bears and every team in Chicago has some of the most loyal fans on earth.

The bottom line is, the San Diego Chargers have not ranked higher than 19th ever since 2009 when the Chargers went 13-3.

After proposition C got struck down with a vengeance by the voters from the city of San Diego, even though the stadium was going to be built using no taxpayer dollars what so ever. That leaves one logical spot, and that is to revamp the current mission valley location. It is a prime location because even though it is not close to downtown, it is surrounded by several major freeways and in a highly populated area. What is Dean Spanos thoughts on revamping the mission valley spot? In an interview with U-T San Diego, Dean said,” I am not a believer in Mission Valley — I don’t think I would ever go back there.” So, if he was being 100 percent truthful, that knocks out the Mission Valley option, leaving only Los Angeles on the table.

 

Corey Decker

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

 

Korey Toomer has only been wearing lightning bolts since September, but it surely seems longer.

The former Oakland Raider is as happy to be with the Chargers as they are to have him. He is finally getting an opportunity to put his talents on display, especially that 4.53-second 40-yard dash.

After being drafted by Seattle in 2012 (round 5, selection No. 154). He was on the roster for 20 (including preseason) games during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in 2013. Between being on injured-reserve for two straight years and having guys like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner ahead of him, it was difficult for Toomer to get on the field in Seattle. He was released from the Seahawks in 2014. Subsequent stops in Dallas and St. Louis with minimal playing time (special teams only) garnered three tackles in seven games. More of the same followed in Oakland, so much so that he terminated his contract with the Raiders to sign in San Diego.

The signing of the ultra athletic Toomer has gone a long way towards solidifying the linebacking corps. Season-ending injuries to Manti Te’o and Nick Dzubnar left a void that demanded filling. Recent injuries to both Jatavis Brown (knee) and Denzel Perryman (hamstring) only increased the necessity of his presence.

Ahead of the match-up against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Toomer had started in four out of seven games. One of his best plays to date came in the Thursday Night Football game when he tackled Broncos wide receiver Jordan Taylor and the Broncos’ player coughed up the ball. The fumble recovery led to a San Diego field goal and put the Chargers up 13 points on their division foes. San Diego went on to win that game, their first victory in the AFC West since 2014.

Since mid-October, Toomer has amassed 51 tackles, the majority of which are solo (37), defended against two passes, forced three fumbles and notched one fumble recovery. There were impressive stats against both the Tennessee Titans (nine tackles/eight solo) and the Miami Dolphins (11/10), including three-and-a-half tackles for lost yardage. In the Houston game, the veteran linebacker recorded 13 more tackles (four solo) and a quarterback hit.

Having Toomer back there to get receivers off routes has been fun to watch, as well. His ability to reroute crossers and drags which run through the linebacking corps’ area can significantly alter the short passing games of opposing offenses. He has helped solidify that inside linebacking group.

Speaking to Ricky Henne of chargers.com in October, Toomer stated:

“Pags’ system is benefitting me because he is letting me play fast. He is putting me in positions not to fail. That is why it is working for the both of us. I feel like these coaches are giving me a chance. Granted, I made good on the situation. These coaches have put me in position to make plays and are not putting too much on my plate. They are letting me fly around. I am grateful for these coaches giving me a call and giving me a chance to play this game. I want to show people I can bring more to the table than just special teams. I love special teams, that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career as well, but I want to play defense, too.”

Whether he plays defense or special teams, the fact that Toomer left a division rival in order to grasp an opportunity with both hands shows he has gained confidence in himself and his ability.

Bring on the Bucs and Mike Evans!

Cheryl White

#practicesquadnomore

#boltnup

 

*Featured image credit: AP – Denis Poroy

Tyrell2

 

Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!

That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.

Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.

That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.

Fast forward to 2016.

The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.

During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.

He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.

Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.

Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.

Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.

The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.

He hasn’t looked back since.

So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.

When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”

From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.

Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.

The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”

They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.

So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.

Cheryl White

#LearningCurve

@BoltnUp

Melvin Gordon's 47-yd run vs Titans, 11/6/16 Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Melvin Gordon’s 47-yd run vs Titans, 11/6/16
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

 

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!

 

#2ndyearbetteryear

#boltnup

Cheryl White

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