A familiar name is now again with the San Diego Chargers. Ronnie Brown was signed today after recently being released by the Houston Texans. The running back situation has been in flux due to injuries to Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. Woodhead is out for the year and Mathews should be returning in the next couple of weeks. ( Fingers crossed )
In comes Brown.
The team knows Brown and he knows most of the nuances of the offense. Ronnie is a former number two overall draft pick by the Miami Dolphins out of Auburn. He is not a burner but he is a reliable ball carrier that won’t turn it over.
The Charger backfield, for the time being, looks like this: Branden Oliver, Shaun Draughn and Ronnie Brown.
In a corresponding move the Chargers released the recently signed Kevin Reddick. He wasn’t with the team long but he became expendable as the running back spot needed an addition to its ranks.
As mentioned the other day, the team also signed center Trevor Robinson from Cincinnati’s practice squad. This move was made due to Doug Legursky being placed on reserve-injured. The center position has now lost both Nick Hardwick and Legursky for the year. Rich Ohrnberger has been battling back issues for almost a month. It appears that rookie Chris Watt will be manning the center position for the Oakland game.
DJ Adams was placed on practice squad-injured. San Diego brought back safety Adrian Phillips for the third time to fill the empty spot on the practice squad.
In what was expected to be a quiet day at Chargers Park, six roster moves were made. Tom Telesco is always looking for ways to improve his team. Supplementing for injuries has become an often occurrence for the second-year general manager. We can only hope that this rash of injuries will no longer continue.
Despite the litany of banged up players, the Chargers head to play the Raiders in week six on a 4-game winning streak. The team is riding high with a 4-1 record and a lot of momentum. Depending on the website, the Bolts are currently holding the first, third or fourth spot in national power rankings.
During training camp I continued to hear the mantra “Next Man Up” from players, coaches and front office executives. The cynical side of me thought perhaps it was just another slogan that could be splashed on a t-shirt and sold. Or perhaps a cool saying to put on an edited picture. I took this catchphrase and used it for my selfish benefit; as a tool in raising my enthusiasm about our Chargers. After three weeks of the regular season, I feel that I might understand and value what McCoy and Telesco were really referring to and where this motto came from.
Rewinding a little – After I cleansed my cynical ideals about the phrase, I sat back and thought about it open-mindedly. With early injuries to Clary and season-long injuries to Freeney and Ingram last year, it would make sense to employ this theory. I felt perhaps the dunce cap was coming off and now I was able to leave the corner of the room. I felt relieved, and a honestly a little dimwitted. I realized it was not just a commercialized statement. It actually had meaning. However, I had not yet fully grasped the concept.
Going back even further now – back to the 2012-2013 season. The New England Patriots clinched the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs with a 12-4 record. They would lose to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Ravens, but they had the same motto – Next Man Up. All season long they had dealt with adversity, injuries, suspensions….etc. The coveted phrase would have to prove itself in the AFC divisional playoffs. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski re-injured his surgically repaired forearm and a certain running back injured his thumb within the first ten plays of the game. The backup RB, Shane Vereen, scored three touchdowns and amassed 124 total yards. The running back who injured his thumb, was none other than our own Danny Woodhead.
Early in 2014, and more specifically last Sunday’s win against the Bills, I saw……no!…I felt what was happening. It’s not just about being ready to play at any moment with no excuses, it also means producing on the field. I know this might sound muddled, but hear me out. Last season there were no Charger defenders who won “Player of The Week.” Rivers and Peyton Manning played seesaw for the first four weeks with Manning eventually winning the “Player of The Month.” In 2012, we had one Charger win this honor – Donald Butler in week 4. This year, we have had back-to-back winners – Gates and now Liuget. Next Man Up. If Liuget is off his game, perhaps Reyes will pick up the slack and become the fierce warrior. Antonio Gates might have shined in one game, but perhaps Eddie Royal will step up and take a few to the house. Because of this team, this family, this translucent mantra, every player feels that they are next. They believe in this team, this motto, and they want to be a part of it. There is something in the air out in San Diego, an aura of great confidence. Can you feel it?
Fast forward to the here and now. As many NFL teams have experienced thus far, injuries are attacking without any remorse. San Diego is no different. From small irritant injuries to long-term injuries to possible career ending ones, our beloved Bolts have taken a beating….literally. Mathews went down. Insert Donald Brown and Branden Oliver. Woodhead went down. Insert DJ Adams and Shaun Draughn. Melvin Ingram goes down (again) and insert Cordarro Law. What can we expect from them? Only time will tell. In the past, I would have become pessimistic and hopeless watching our starters go down. This year, even with our brutal schedule, I am not panicking. I am not worried, and I am not giving up hope. Why you ask? Because….the Next Man is up.
Yesterday was a very big day in Charger Camp. The Mighty Telesco made some major moves with injuries plaguing our Bolts. One of the signings, DJ Adams, went to the practice squad sliding in after Marion Grice signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
DJ Adams comes back to San Diego after being waived by the Chargers on June 16th of this year. Adams then went to Dallas and was signed by the Cowboys after an injury occurred to Ben Malena. He was later released by Dallas on August 29th.
At 5’10” and 213 pounds, DJ had success at the college level. After two seasons at the University of Maryland, DJ transferred to Portland State. During his freshman year at Maryland, he set a freshman record with 11 touchdowns. He played in nine games and rushed for 239 yard (3.6 yds/attempt).
In the dreary Oregon skies, DJ ran for 1,600 yards (6.25 yds/attempt) and scored 19 touchdowns during his senior year. With that performance the team awarded him the Most Valuable Offensive Back as well as the Most Inspirational Player – his second year in a row. He stated in an interview after his college career ended that he believes his experiences of being “traded” or transferring in college, and how well he handled it, will pay dividends at the NFL level.
DJ runs the 40-yard dash is an impressive 4.51 clip with a vertical of 33 ½. In reviewing some footage from Portland State, DJ is a good north-south runner with solid explosiveness. Some scouts have criticized his running style of standing too much upright and needing to lower his pad level. Others have commended him on his great body control and center of gravity.
I am excited to have DJ back in our organization. Not only does he have the talent and the desire to learn, but he has never missed a game due to injury. Adams’ confidence in himself to play in any style of offense, as well as his positive attitude with his teammates, appears to be a perfect fit for the San Diego Chargers. Tom Telesco did his homework and made the right moves…again.
In Telesco We Trust
The Chargers made a litany of moves today. I don’t recall any team in recent years making 10 moves on the same day during the regular season. There were 10 moves in total. One that has fans talking is the signing of running back Shaun Draughn to the 53-man roster.
To say that Draughn is a journeyman player is an understatement. He began as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins in 2011. He’s also spent varied amounts of time with Kansas City, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Chicago. He is now a San Diego Charger.
Minus the 2011 season, Shaun has not had much of an impact since coming to the NFL as a former UNC Tarheel. He has a total of 393 yards from scrimmage. All but two yards of those were gained in that year.
That very same 2011 season marked the only year that he scored. He had two rushing touchdowns.
Draughn is a capable player on special teams. He has experience returning kickoffs and on coverage units.
This acquisition seems to be the epitome of a “band-aid” move.
Many fans were clamoring for the likes of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and LaMichael James. Those same fans were wanting Tom Telesco to make a splash pickup to replace the recently injured Danny Woodhead. Not to mention, Ryan Mathews is expected to be out for at least another month.
Prior to signing his one-year deal, the Bolts only had Donald Brown and Branden Oliver on the 53-man roster as far as running backs are concerned. He’ll be added to the rebuilt running back stable and do what he can to help make a difference.
Draughn is 26-years-old and comes in at 6’0″ and 205 pounds. He is not overly fast or quick. Over his career, Shaun has 8 special teams tackles. As a kickoff returner, he averages 23.6 yards a return.
The bottom line is that Shaun Draughn is not a flashy player and he is nowhere near a long-term answer for the Chargers. But something had to be done. Telesco went out and made a business decision. Only time will tell whether or not it pays off.
Tom Telesco has proven over his short time as General Manager of the San Diego Chargers that he is always looking for ways to improve the team. Due to a rash of injuries at multiple positions, especially running back, the team worked out several players today per Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego.
One of those players is DJ Adams. He was with the Bolts earlier in the spring but was later released. Adams just so happens to play running back. It was just announced that Adams has been signed to the Charger practice squad as I write this article. DJ will replace the void left by Marion Grice after he jumped ship for Arizona.
After the recent signing of OLB Colton Underwood the other day, bringing in Adams means that the practice squad is at full capacity.
Another ball carrier that was at Chargers Park today is Shaun Draughn. He was signed to the 53-man roster today after his workout. The Bolts will be the seventh team he has played for since 2011. In 2012, he had 391 total yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns. He has four total yards since then. Yikes. But, in Telesco we trust.
Another signing today is that of inside linebacker Kevin Reddick. Last year, as a rookie out of North Carolina, Reddick had 12 tackles and two forced fumbles. He is 6’1 and 246 pounds. This is only his second year in the NFL.
In a corresponding move, San Diego waived defensive end Lawrence Guy. He had just returned from an injury that he suffered during the Dallas preseason game.
**UPDATE: The Chargers also released former Texas safety Adrian Phillips from the practice squad to make space for tight end David Paulson. He played his college ball at Oregon and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by Pittsburgh. Cornerback Marcus Cromartie was released from the injured reserve list. ( **Per Chargers.com. The team’s official site. )