We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.
The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.
We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.
There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.
Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.
We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.
Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.
The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.
All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.
A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.
The Greg One
It has been widely touted that the Chargers have approximately $7 million dollars left of the salary cap remaining not giving TT a ton of wiggle room, and so I have scoured the FA market and have come up with a few names that might be good value pickups on short term or low cost contracts.
1) Jason Smith, OT (formerly of the Jets and Rams). Yeah shocker I know, a guy that the Rams could not wait to chase out of the building. As we all know O-line was a weakness last year and even though we have made some moves for depth (Dunlap, Rinehart) I still think any extra competition there is good competition. At only 26 Smith has a number of years in him yet and a lot to prove having been taken second overall by the Rams in 2009 and standing at 6’5″, 308lbs he’s another big body who can fight for a spot on the revamped O-line. One of the main reasons he makes this list though is that he was released back in mid Feb, and he is yet to be picked up meaning he should probably be able to be grabbed for the minimum (which should be $685,000).
2. Sen’derrick Marks, D-line (formerly of the Titans). After doing a bit of digging I came across Marks, who I have to say is a player that I don’t remember hearing a ton about last season, but from looking at the stats he looks like he had a pretty nice year with 41 Tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 3 passes defended. At only 26 he has plenty left in the tank and I think would be a great pickup to boost the depth of the incredibly thin D-line. There are other teams interested (NY Giants supposedly) but no contracts on the table yet, and I think if we were to offer a 2 year $1.75 mil contract ($700,000 this year) he might bite.
3. Akeem Jordan, OLB (formerly of the Eagles). You’ll be sensing a theme here I’m sure but at 27 and on the back of a pretty nice season (44 tackles, 4 forced fumbles) Jordan could provide depth at OLB and wouldn’t cost the bank. The minimum would be $685,000 and I think he could be picked up for around that.
4. Robert McClain, CB (formerly of the Falcons). A 24 year old corner who had 61 tackles and 1 INT last year hasn’t had a ton of interest thus far, but being so young he has a ton of time to develop. Drafted in the 7th round of 2010 the Falcons were his third team (Panthers and Jags), Which might be a red flag, but he also returned kicks and punts in college and could be a good depth pick up to push Gatson in Camp. I would have thought he’d be available for cheap on the minimum which would be 600,000).
5. Corey Lynch, SS (formerly our very own). I would honestly be really happy seeing Lynch back in powder blue next season as I think he’s had a couple of pretty good seasons with the team to date and would add depth to the SS position which currently has no-one to play it. He had 46 tackles and 2 INTs in 2012 and could be brought back for the minimum ($685,000) because there doesn’t appear to have been a ton of interest in his services, and a big plus is that he should already know a lot of the defence having played it last year.
Okay so what does that mean…
As noted right at the start we have approximately $7 million left in cap space. Now assuming that we require roughly $4million to sign draft picks that leaves us with about $2-3 million to play with. Now one consideration is that Danario Alexander still hasn’t signed, and his original round tender is worth $1.323 mil so that has to be taken into account leaving us with… $5.677mil remaining.
As stated a lot of the players could be picked up for low amounts, but I think the most important are Sen’Derrick Marks (D-line depth) and Corey Lynch (anyone to play SS).
The moves that I would propose call for Sen’Derrick Marks to be paid $700,000 this year, and Corey Lynch to receive the minimum of $685,000 (probably on a one year contract) counting between them for $1.385mil against the cap. Now this combined with DAX’s salary accounts for $2.708mil against the cap leaving us with $4.292 mil remaining (which should cover the cost of signing Rookie’s).
Now obviously none of these moves are guaranteed, and we might well wait until after the draft when players start to be cut during camp before we bring in more bodies, but I do think that Sen’Derrick Marks is a great value pick-up who should be considered, and I think we should be bringing DAX (who doesn’t!?!?!) and Lynch back into the fold.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Joe (aka BoltUpUK)