The San Diego Chargers have begun making roster moves and training camp isn’t set to begin until Saturday. On Friday, the Chargers waived center Trevor Robinson. Part of the carousel at the center position, Robinson had 14 starts at center over the last two seasons.
Also included in the recent mix of Chargers centers since 2013 are Chris Watt, Nick Hardwick, Doug Legursky and Rich Ohrnberger.
The free agent signing of former-Chicago Bears offensive lineman Matt Slauson is expected to stop the revolving door at center while 2016 NFL Draft third-round pick Max Tuerk is groomed to be the center of the future. Slauson is an eight-year veteran who will be looked to provide leadership and serve as a mentor to Tuerk and the young offensive linemen.
The release of Robinson frees $2.3-million in cap space.
The free roster spot was filled with the signing of offensive lineman Marcel Jones. Listed at 6’7″-inches tall and 320 pounds, Jones was a seventh-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is listed as a guard/tackle. Now entering his fourth season as a pro, Jones has been limited to playing on the practice squad for the Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Training camp is heating up and the first pass hasn’t been thrown yet. What will the Chargers do next? Are you excited for the 2016 edition of the San Diego Chargers so far? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Heading into the 2014 season, the San Diego Chargers looked incredibly promising; even with one of the most difficult schedules in the league. General Manager, Tom Telesco, worked extremely hard in the offseason in order to add depth to the roster; even with an extremely small salary cap. To be specific, Telesco only had roughly $625,000 left in cap space after paying the offensive, defensive, and special teams’ salaries; the dead money hit alone was $16,335,000. Even under those circumstances, Telesco was able to beef up the backfield with multiple running backs, regain some game changing defensive players, and added a very talented draft class to the roster. Yet, the season didn’t play out as most expected when the pandemic of injuries hit the Chargers team. At that point, the motto “next man up” was adopted.
The next man up is a phrase that most professional teams technically want to reframe from using; it essentially indicates the starter is unable to play and another player has to fill in. Yet, the Chargers have embraced it since week one. Pro Bowler center, Nick Hardwick, was placed on injured reserve after the Arizona match-up, granting center Rich Ohrnberger the starting role. However, Ohrnberger struggled with injuries, forcing the Chargers to sign guard, Doug Legursky. Not even a month later, Legursky was placed on injured reserve, leaving an ailing Ohrnberger and rookie guard Chris Watt as the next men up. It doesn’t stop there, Ohrnberger was added to the growing injured reserve roster and Watt held the starting role at center. Who would have thought that Watt would then leave the Baltimore Ravens game with a calf injury; leaving the Chargers with their fifth center to play, Trevor Robinson.
The center position wasn’t the only one to face heartache. During the second week against the Seattle Seahawks, star running back Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL and was expected to miss a significant amount of time. If you ever think that lighting doesn’t strike twice, think again. The follow week, running back Danny Woodhead was placed on injured reserve due to a season ending leg injury. The originally stacked backfield wasn’t looking so stacked anymore and the Chargers soon expected undrafted rookie running back, Branden Oliver “Bo”, to fill in. Not only did he fill in, he impressed the entire league with over 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns in week’s five and six; awarding him with Pepsi’s Rookie of the Week in week 5. To add depth, Telesco brought back veteran running back Ronnie Brown who spent last year on the Chargers active roster.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Third year linebacker, Melvin Ingram, was placed on the Reserve-Injured list with the designation to return after suffering a hip injury in week two. The next week, second year linebacker Manti Te’o suffered a fractured foot which sidelined him until week eleven. Already missing two starting linebackers, rookie linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu was ailing a hamstring injury which limited his productivity and playing time. Again, next man up, fourth year linebacker Andrew Gachkar filled in for his injured teammates. Not only did he bring passion and fire to the field, he was able to accumulate 7 stuffs, 21 total tackles, and a fumble recovery.
Gachkar wasn’t the only one to step in, outside linebacker Cordarro Law has stepped up when given the green light. An undrafted free agent in 2012, Law signed with the Chargers in February of 2014. Spending much of his time on the practice squad, Law continues to get the job done. With veteran outside linebacker Dwight Freeney becoming a free agent after this season, there’s a no question that Law can earn a 53-man active roster spot if he continues the hard work he puts in.
Starting at cornerback was the Chargers first round draft pick, Jason Verrett. Impressively, he was making a contending run for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year by week 9. However, just after the bye week, Verrett was placed on injured reserve due to a torn labrum. At this point, you might be asking, “How does an NFL survive all these injures?” and the answer again is simply, next man up.
Not only has the offense and defense suffered from the injury bug, but the special teams took a big blow a few weeks ago. One of the league’s top punters, Mike Scifres, broke his clavicle during the New England Patriot Game; forcing Nick Novak, who had not punted a ball since high school, to take on the punting duties for the remainder of the game. Much can be said about a player filling in for a position they have no training on, but Novak impressed with what little he was given. Shortly after, Pro Bowl punter, Mat McBriar, was signed to replace Scifres. McBriar was a mentor to Darren Bennett, the Chargers longtime punter who preceded Scifres. He brings to the punting unit an average of 45.1 yards per attempt with 201 landing inside the 20.
The next man up saying isn’t exclusive to sidelining injuries, rather those playing through the bumps and bruises; quarterback Philip Rivers is a prime example. It’s no secret that El Capitan has been playing through some bruised ribs and a sore back. Along with Rivers, brute defensive end Corey Liuget is also playing through injuries. Just the other day, Liuget was seen sporting a walking boot; most commonly used to keep the player mobile as much as possible, yet still protecting the injured structure. Although these top Charger players give us a heart attack when we don’t see them at practice, they still show up on game day ready to get the win.
Heading into week 16, the Chargers are faced with more anguish. Veteran linebacker Donald Butler was placed on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated elbow against the Denver Broncos last week. A day later, it was announced that second year wide receiver, Keenan Allen, suffered a broken collarbone and ankle injury. With San Diego fighting for their lives to earn a spot into the post-season, the next man up motto is being used more than ever. In the much-needed win against the San Francisco 49ers, expected to be active is tight end Ladarius Green, wide receiver Seyi Ajurotutu, and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Let’s not forget the impact Branden Oliver and Donald Brown need to make against the stealthy 49ers defense as Mathews recovers from an ankle injury suffered in week 14.
Many would think that it’s impossible that a team could possibly have an 8-6 record with all the injures the Chargers have accrued this year. With nine players on injured reserve and a few other active roster injuries, any team would have faulted and given up hopes by now. Yet, these are the San Diego Super Chargers; the underdog, the dark horse, and let’s not forget the team that no one ever expects much from. It’s alright, the Chargers still have a chance at the post-season and the opportunity to prove that anything can be done. The next man up motto has been the staple of the organization all year, but why stop now? The season isn’t even close to being over…
San Diego is locked and loaded after resting through their bye week. League-mandated days off allowed them to travel or just stay home and rest. Because it was the bye week, I began to think about the current team and who would remain in 2015. I figured I would check out who was in the last year of their contract and who was extended beyond the 2015 season.
The list of players in the final year of their contracts, otherwise known as their contract year, was a bit longer than I had anticipated. Below is a list of those players.
WR – Seyi Ajirotutu
RB – Ronnie Brown
OT – King Dunlap
CB – Brandon Flowers
OLB – Dwight Freeney
ILB – Andrew Gachkar
CB – Marcus Gilchrist
C – Nick Hardwick
OLB – Cordarro Law
C/G – Doug Legursky
DL – Ricardo Mathews
C/G – Rich Ohrnberger
WR – Eddie Royal
CB – Shareece Wright
RB – Ryan Mathews
There are some major players on this list that would leave major holes in the team if they were not re-signed.
Brandon Flowers was one of the best free agent signings in the entire NFL after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs. He has made a huge impact in the secondary for John Pagano’s defense. I would imagine that Tom Telesco would make a serious effort to sign him to a contract once the time comes in 2015.
King Dunlap has been playing pretty darn well at left tackle. The only problem with keeping him is that he may be looking to be rewarded with a big contract due to his performance since coming to San Diego. Telesco will have the most money he’s had since accepting the role of General Manager when the 2015 offseason begins. If Dunlap keeps playing at a high level, there’s a good chance that he will remain a Charger.
Can you imagine the special teams units without Seyi Ajirotutu and Andrew Gachkar? Darrell Stuckey may be the captain of the third phase of the game, but both Tutu and Gachkar are key cogs in the coverage phases of special teams. Andrew has seen a big increase in playing time at inside linebacker due to the fractured foot of Manti Te’o. He has been playing his heart out.
The sorting out of the center position next year is very interesting. With Nick Hardwick on injured-reserve, Rich Ohrnberger fighting back problems, Chris Watt has seen some time at center. Both Nick and Rich will be free agents at the beginning of the 2015 league year. Hardwick has already contemplated retirement in years past. It is hard to say if we have seen the last of him in lightning bolts. Or maybe it isn’t. Many people do not expect him to come back. Watt may be the future at either center or right guard. The center spot will be something to keep an eye on following 2014.
Eddie Royal has proven to be a playmaker and solid weapon for Philip Rivers. He also sees a lot of time as the team’s punt returner. He has a solid relationship with Rivers and he helped in the recruiting of Flowers to the Bolts. He is good in the slot and he provides a contrasting style to that of starting wideouts Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd. I have a feeling that he may be re-signed.
Marcus Gilchrist is currently San Diego’s starting strong safety. After moving from cornerback to his current position, Gilchrist has made some plays but he isn’t necessarily irreplaceable. Some media members expected him to be a possible cut during the 2014 offseason. If the play of Jahleel Addae continues on the upswing, and he gets fully healthy, the chances of Marcus being re-signed may decrease exponentially.
While examining the corner situation, Shareece Wright is another starter that is in his contract year. He has improved quite a bit since coming into the league. If the Chargers are unable to keep Brandon Flowers, Wright is almost guaranteed to remain a Charger in 2015 and beyond. But if both Flowers and Jason Verrett are other available options, I’m not so sure that Shareece stays in America’s finest city. I hope that he does as I enjoy watching his physicality in the running game and his coverage skills continue to get better as he becomes more experienced in the NFL.
This next one is the toughest one for me. I don’t even like writing about this subject when it comes to this player.
Let me begin by saying that I hope Ryan Mathews remains a Charger for life. He is, without a doubt, the best back on the current roster and his hard-charging, physical running style makes the San Diego offense better. He had a fantastic 2013 year in which he finished seventh in the league in rushing yardage. His MCL sprain in week 2 against Seattle has really affected the Charger offense. He is about to return and do everything in his power to help earn a future contract with the Bolts. He is a threat as a receiving option out of the backfield and he has improved as a pass blocker when called upon to do so in effort to keep Rivers clean and safe while in the pocket.
There are a lot of questions surrounding which players will be re-signed for 2015 and beyond. It goes without saying that the extra cap space Telesco will have should help in retaining the guys that he believes deserve to stay. The question is, who does he want to keep? He has quite some time to think this over. But there are going to be a lot of difficult decisions.
Thanks a lot for reading.
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.
There was a lot of nervous chatter was on my computer the other week when it was disclosed that the San Diego Chargers were wearing their navy blue home uniforms last Sunday against the New York Jets. The weather forecast called for temperatures being well into 90’s which meant the temperature on the field would reach the triple digits.
The result: the Chargers won 31-0.
I totally understand. Dark colors have a tendency to absorb the heat. When your body heats up, you tend to lose energy and you’re not going to do as well.
Or are we as fans just superstitious?
Me? I confess, I’m totally superstitious. Almost to the point where people who know me well would think I’m suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When going to games, I park in the same lot, I wear specific shoes, and I don’t bother with social media (cellular reception is non-existent at the Q which kills my battery). I haven’t predicted a game since the loss to Denver in the playoffs.
The Chargers hadn’t worn their navy uniforms since the last preseason game against Arizona in late August. Their first five games (to include road games in Arizona and Buffalo) had them wearing their white uniforms with the Seattle game marketed as a “White Hot” game. “White Hot” games has the team wearing their white jerseys with their white pants. In those games, the Chargers went 3-1 including a win against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.
If there was anything I learned Sunday it was this nugget: either the Jets were that bad or it doesn’t matter what uniform what the Chargers wear. They’re that good.
Think about it. The long injury list got continued to increase when Donald Brown, D.J. Fluker, Malcom Floyd, and Doug Legursky had to leave the game. It was disclosed Monday that Legursky is out for the year with a knee injury. Nothing is certain on the returns of the other players and it may not be known until Wednesday what their status is going forward. How many teams are we aware of that has lost the services of so many players and are still motoring along as if nothing is wrong?
The million dollar question going into an important road game against the Oakland Raiders is how long can the Chargers keep this up?
The lesson for any Charger fan up to this point is simply to keep calm, it doesn’t matter what uniform the team wears. The clothes do not make the team.
The Chargers had a decisive victory against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, scoring 23 unanswered points. It wasn’t always pretty, but considering the health of the team: Mantei Te’o, Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu, Reggie Walker inactive, Ryan Mathews on the shelf, Melvin Ingram on short-term IR and Danny Woodhead lost for the year, it was a mostly well-played game. I never thought I’d say this, but the Chargers offensive line misses Jeromey Clary. It took the defense the first half to figure Blake Bortles out, but once they did, it was all Chargers.
My May prediction: “Can you say doormat of the NFL? Chad Henne is a pedestrian QB at best. No more MJD? Not that he’s the player he was a few years ago, but he was their most potent weapon. Toby Gerhart will never be confused for MJD. Their pass rush is getting old (Jason Babin 10 years and Chris Clemons 11 years). Because our boys have a habit of playing to the level of the competition, this game will be closer than it should be. 27-17 Bolts (3-1)” Well, I got the outcome right and was close on the score, which was better than I predicted. I’m now 2-2 against my May predictions.
Chris Clemons was a non-factor. In fact, his name was never even called. Toby Gerhart was limited to 32 yards on 10 carries. He also lost a fumble on the opening drive forced by Jarret Johnson that the Chargers unfortunately weren’t able to capitalize on. Henne was replaced by Bortles and it looked like John Pagano and the defense weren’t ready for him in the beginning. That showed in the first half with the ease Jacksonville moved the ball up and down the field. To his credit, Pagano made the right adjustments and the defense pitched a shutout in the second half with the help of interceptions by Brandon Flowers and Eric Weddle. Jahleel Addae, Cordarro Law and Ricardo Mathews each recorded a sack as it was clear Jacksonville was out to neutralize Dwight Freeney.
Philip Rivers had a big game going 29 for 39 for 377 yards. He threw for three touchdowns against no interceptions. Rivers now has nine touchdown passes against one interception through the first four games of the season. Keenan Allen had 10 catches for 135 yards and Eddie Royal had five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The gap could have been wider if the Chargers could run the ball. Collectively, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown could only manage 32 yards. Timing between Philip and Doug Legursky and Chris Watt left a lot to be desired as well. Too many misfires on the quarterback/center exchange. They need to get this cleaned up.
Next up, the 1-3 New York Jets who are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. With being inactive against the Jags, it’d be nice to get Verrett and Attaochu back in action. There are still three games until the bye week. Chargers don’t need any more injuries to pile up.
Back in May, I said the keys to beating Buffalo were to “…stop Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, stop the Bills. Sammy Watkins drafted to replace Stevie Johnson is really the only weapon I see in the pass game for EJ Manuel. Their front 4 looks tough with Mario and Kyle Williams, but not tough enough. 37-17 Bolts. (2-1)” I am now 1-2 against my predictions.
Our Chargers did a good job of keeping CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and EJ Manuel contained. Jackson and Spiller were taken out of the game early with the Bolts building a lead. They only ran for a collective 59 yards. Manuel threw for only 238 yards, much of them coming as garbage yards when the game was already in hand. Sammy Watkins only caught two balls for 19 yards.
Chargers scored 20 of their points in the first 37 1/2 minutes before going into cruise control. With Ryan Mathews out, the running game was not as effective as we’d like it to be. Philip Rivers was efficient, going 18 for 25 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.
Malcom Floyd showed his value in the vertical game, catching two 49 yard bombs from Rivers. Ladarius Green had a bigger role catching four passes, tying him with Eddie Royal for most catches last Sunday.
The Chargers played into my pet peeve after going ahead 20-10 by taking their foot off the gas, this time offensively. One of these days, we’ll see a full 60 minute game on both sides of the ball.
All in all, there’s more to be excited about at this point. Green and Floyd showed their worth in a huge way. The defense played their butts off, led by Eric Weddle and Corey Liuget.
The injury bug took its toll again this week. Danny Woodhead, we know is done for the year with a broken leg and ankle injury. Mantei T’eo is out this week against Jacksonville with a fracture in his foot. Reggie Walker is out with an ankle injury. C Rich Ohrnberger is doubtful with a back issue, Doug Legursky is probably going to start at center, making the third to play that position already this year. Keenan Allen, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett were limited.
Chargers are already looking like a M*A*S*H unit and it’s only Week 4. Hopefully, this trend will stop before it gets to the point where the bye can’t come soon enough.
As if the week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals wasn’t bad enough, the Chargers have now lost Nick Hardwick for the year – perhaps for good. During the offseason, Nick had contemplated retirement, however drawn back to his teammates, his “family,” Nick decided to play another year at center. Will this be the last time we see Nick?
Panic has been the theme all over San Diego and for fans everywhere due to Hardwick’s loss. An array of questions were thrown out, with a lot of negative speculation for the team’s success regarding what the Bolts were going to do. Welcome veteran Doug Legursky
Yesterday the San Diego Chargers signed Doug Legursky. In 2008, as an undrafted free agent, Legursky signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His first start at center happened in Super Bowl XLV for the Steelers against the Green Bay Packers. Doug was given this starting role due to Pouncey having a high ankle sprain. At 6’1” he is a few inches shorter than Hardwick, but uses his hands and stout body well. In researching the OG/C out of Marshall, Legursky is experienced and solid, but not great. He does get pushed around from time to time and seems best blocking on running plays.
Chris Watt was drafted in the third round with little or no hesitation from Telesco. When asked about Watt after the draft, Telesco stated, “On the offensive line, smarts is very, very big,” he said. “He has all the intangibles and smarts and initial quickness to do it (play center).”
Offensive line coach Joe “D” has made it a point to have all of his guys understand and work at different spots on the line. Should the Bolts start Watt right away? Not from what I see and the San Diego media would agree with me.
This signing seems to be a band-aid treatment for a huge scar left when Hardwick went down for the season. Legursky’s experience in the NFL, as well as several playoff games, will come in handy. With Ohrnberger, who is in his 6th season and third different team, is already snapping to Rivers this year, another veteran signing is what had to be done. I trust in Telesco and believe that he did the best that he could with what was presented to him. Chris Watt will be groomed for this role and he will gain much knowledge from these veterans during this season – possibly preparing for a starter role at center for the Chargers.
“PEACE…and Boltness forever!” – BWK