Houston Texans

(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

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The NFL regular season starts in just under two months. The 2016 schedule has the Chargers facing the AFC South, NFC South, the Miami Dolphins (AFC East) and the Cleveland Browns (AFC North).

Below is a breakdown of their 2016 opponents.

Week 1: @Kansas City Chiefs 

2015 Record: 11-5, 2nd AFC West

Offense: 27th overall

Defense: 7th overall

The Chiefs started 2015 slow, losing five straight games. They ended the season winning 10 straight and won their first playoff game in 20 years. The running game should be solid for the Chiefs in 2016. Jamaal Charles is coming back from an ACL injury. Along with his fellow running backs, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, KC sports one of the best backfields in the NFL.

Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars

2015 Record: 5-11, 3rd AFC South

Offense: 18th overall

Defense: 24th overall

The Jaguars had a less than stellar season, placing third in the worst division in the NFL in 2015. Jacksonville only won one road game last year. The Jags took to the draft to help beef up their defense by signing defensive players with their first five picks, including DB Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and LB Myles Jack from UCLA.

Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts 

2015 Record: 8-8, 2nd AFC South

Offense: 28th overall

Defense: 26th overall

The Colts had a 3-5 record in the first half of the 2015 season, losing starting quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 8. Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and journeyman signal caller Josh Freeman went 5-3 in the second half, but it still was not enough to win the division. If Andrew Luck can stay healthy in 2016, the Colts could make improvements on offense.  They drafted a much-needed center, Ryan Kelly from Alabama, with the 18th pick overall.

Week 4: New Orleans Saints 

2015 Record: 7-9, 3rd NFC South

Offense: 2nd overall

Defense: 31st overall

The Saints were a very lopsided team in 2015. Their offense averaged 403.8 yards and 25.5 points per game, but their defense allowed an average of 413.8 yards and 29.8 points per game. That is clearly not a recipe for success. The Saints should continue to have a stellar offense with veteran Drew Brees at quarterback.

Week 5: @Oakland Raiders 

2015 Season: 7-9, 3rd AFC West

Offense: 24th overall

Defense: 22nd overall

The Raiders made some improvements last year in an attempt to have their first winning season since losing the Super Bowl in 2003, but fell short, again. Their 7-9 record was an improvement considering they have averaged only 4.9 wins a season in the last 13 years. The Raiders will probably continue to improve in 2016. They have a young team lead by third-year quarterback Derek Carr. Don’t sleep on the Raiders in 2016.

Week 6: Denver Broncos 

2015 Season: 12-4, 1st AFC West

Offense: 16th overall

Defense: 1st overall

The Broncos won the division — again — for the fifth consecutive season and went on to win Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning had his worst season, finishing with only nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 10 games. The stellar Broncos’ defense allowed an average of only 283.1 yards and 18.5 points per game.  The Broncos are bringing back pretty much the same defense in 2016. The retirement of Manning brings veteran Mark Sanchez, back-up quarterback Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch fighting for the starting position. Rumor has it that Sanchez and Siemian are neck-and-neck in the fight to win the job.

Week 7: @Atlanta Falcons 

2015 Season: 8-8, 2nd AFC South

Offense: 7th overall

Defense: 16th overall

The Falcons started out the 2015 season hot, winning six of their first eight games. The second half was the exact opposite, as they went 2-6. One of the two wins in the second half was against their division rival, and eventual Super Bowl runner-up, the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons drafted strong safety Keanu Neal from Florida with the 17th overall pick to boost their struggling defense.

Week 8: @Denver Broncos 

See week six.

Week 9: Tennessee Titans 

2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC South

Offense: 30th overall

Defense: 12th overall

The Titans looked like a sleeper team in Week 1 of the 2015 season, when they won 42-14 against the Tampa Bay Bucs, led by 2nd overall pick, Marcus Mariota, who had 209 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Despite Mariota’s success in Week 1, the Titans ended up with the worst record in 2015, averaging only 311.8 yards  and 18.7 points per game. It will be hard to do much worse in 2016, but anything is possible.

Week 10: Miami Dolphins 

2015 Season: 6-10, 4th AFC East

Offense: 26th overall

Defense: 25th overall

The Dolphins were led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who averaged 263 passing yards per game and had 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. While those numbers aren’t terrible, his offensive line could not keep him standing up, as he was sacked 45 times. The Titans could fare better in 2016 when it comes to sacks with the signing of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss.

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: @Houston Texans

2015 Season: 9-7, 1st AFC South

Offense: 19th overall

Defense: 3rd overall

The Texans started the season off rocky, going 3-5 in the first half of the season but turned it around in the second half, only losing two games. The third ranked defense allowed only an average of 19.6 points for game and even had five games where their opponent only scored six points. The Texans liked what they saw when Brock Osweiler took over the quarterback duties for the Broncos and signed him to be their starter in 2016. This move could either make them or break them.

Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2015 Season: 6-10, 4th NFC South

Offense: 5th overall

Defense: 10th overall

The Buccaneers should have had a better record in 2015 since they had a top-10 overall offense and defense. Stats don’t always show the big picture, especially considering their offense averaged 375.9 yards per game, but only 21.4 points per game. The defense allowed an average of 340.4 yards per and 26.4 points per game. The Bucs took to their coaching staff to bring change, naming Dirk Koetter as the new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith, along with Mike Smith as the new defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator.

Week 14: @Carolina Panthers

2015 Season: 15-1, 1st NFC South

Offense: 11th overall

Defense: 6th overall

The Panthers had an explosive offense in 2015, leading the league with 500 total points and an average of 31.3 points per game. Their offense, lead by quarterback Cam Newton, was not able to fare well against the best defense in the league and lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos, scoring only 10 points. The Panthers will be without DB Charles Tillman, who recently announced his retirement after 13 years in the league. They signed former Chargers punter Mike Scifres to a one-year deal.

Week 15: Oakland Raiders

See week five.

Week 16: @ Cleveland Browns

2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC North

Offense: 25th overall

Defense: 27th overall

For the fourth straight year, the Browns were in last place in their division. The quarterback situation in Cleveland was their biggest downfall in 2015. The off-field antics of quarterback Johnny Manziel had the Browns switching the starting positions between the former first-round draft pick and Josh McCown. The Browns lost their best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, to the Chargers during free agency. They went to the draft in hopes of replacing him, drafting five wide receivers, including Corey Coleman from Baylor with the 15th overall pick.

Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs

See week one.

 

The Chargers only face four teams with a winning record last year, but two of the four of those teams are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face two teams with a .500 season and seven teams with a losing season in 2015, including the Oakland Raiders.

The schedule seems pretty easy — on paper — and I predict that they will definitely win more than four games this season. The Chargers play in a tough division and will need to win some of those games to be contenders in 2016.

Thanks for reading!

Go Chargers!

 

Laura Leech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let me begin by saying that the fan-boy in me is in its usual form regarding the excitement I have about the upcoming NFL season and your San Diego Chargers.

This is the time of the year where all 32 teams are sporting a 0-0 record, and the sky is the limit for every NFL team — well, except the Cleveland Browns.

This is also the time of the year where finding things to write about is difficult but not impossible.

Forgive me in advance for the fluff pieces that will come out until the beginning of training camp.

 

Below is a look at the Chargers’ 2016 schedule:

 

Week 1 – @ Kansas City Chiefs

Week 2 – versus Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 3 – @ Indianapolis Colts

Week 4 – versus New Orleans Saints

Week 5 – @ Oakland Raiders

Week 6 – versus Denver Broncos

Week 7 – @ Atlanta Falcons

Week 8 – @ Denver Broncos

Week 9 – versus Tennessee Titans

Week 10 – versus Miami Dolphins

Week 11 – BYE WEEK

Week 12 – @ Houston Texans

Week 13 – versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 14 – @ Carolina Panthers

Week 15 – versus Oakland Raiders

Week 16 – @ Cleveland Browns

Week 17 – versus Kansas City Chiefs

 

In addition to what I mentioned above about this time of the offseason, this is also when you look at the Chargers’ schedule on paper and decide where the team will finish up this year’s campaign.

Quite frankly, the slate of opponents this season does not seem to be daunting.

Obviously, the team cannot go 0-6 in the division this year like they did in 2015 — not if they have any hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season.

Below is a poll. You know the drill: place your vote and leave a comment stating why you voted the way you did.

 

How many wins will the Chargers have during the 2016 regular season?

View Results

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Thanks in advance for reading, voting and commenting.

I am really looking forward to your responses.

 

Dave Booga Peters

 

 

 

 

 

 

GordonWatt2

 

The San Diego Chargers’ coaching staff is hard at work coaching and evaluating their players in the classroom and on the field during OTAs. They have a very interesting camp battle going on in the fullback department. Though the competition is a two-man race, it’s going to be one of the most compelling to watch.

The Chargers drafted Wisconsin fullback Derek Watt (pictured above) with the second of their two sixth-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. The man he is hoisting in the air is the running back the Bolts tabbed to be their new franchise running back, Melvin Gordon. The Chargers traded up to select Gordon with their first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Watt was the lead fullback for Gordon during his three seasons at Wisconsin. Gordon broke NCAA rushing records and finished as a Heisman Trophy finalist in his last season at Wisconsin.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 236 pounds, Watt is the favorite to win the job because the Chargers did use a draft pick on him and for his already established chemistry with Gordon. Watt is the younger brother of Texans’ superstar and 2014 NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Derek has a great template on how to be a great pro from one of the best players in the game today.

cswain1

No player is guaranteed a roster spot and in this case it is no different. The Chargers signed Chris Swain of Navy as an undrafted free agent. Last week, the Department of Defense granted a deferral of his military service in order for him to play for the Chargers. With San Diego being the United States epicenter for the Navy, Swain is a fantastic success story. Swain will be an automatic fan favorite, one every fan will want to see make the cut.

Standing 6-foot and weighing 247 pounds, Swain ran for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. Taking into account his stout frame, he’s the proverbial bowling ball rolling downhill. He was the perfect complement to Navy’s high-flying, triple-option offense. A perceived weakness could be his pass-catching skills, as he only caught two passes in his career at Navy. His running style and pass blocking have drawn criticism but those are all things a good coach can develop.

What works to the advantage of both players is the offense of new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Last season under Frank Reich, the Bolts ran 12 plays from a two-back formation. Reich was unwilling to adapt his “pistol-centric” offense to Gordon and the running game suffered. In Whisenhunt’s lone year as offensive coordinator in 2013, he ran 115 plays out of a two-back formation. The last time the Chargers made the playoffs? 2013. Whisenhunt parlayed that success into a head coaching position with the Tennessee Titans after that one season.

It is expected that Whisenhunt will be running more conventional two-back formations, so both fullbacks will get ample opportunities to succeed and make the roster.

My expectation is Watt will be the win the starting gig and Swain will be placed on the practice squad. We as Chargers fans know how often injuries happen. The practice squad is not a black hole, it’s an on-deck circle.

Good luck to both young men, and salute to you, Mr. Swain. You defend our Country so we can live out our dreams. Here’s to you getting to live out your dreams.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#Fullbackfanclub

November 8, 2014: Houston Cougars defensive back Adrian McDonald (16) during the NCAA football game between the Tulane Green Wave and University of Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium in Houston, TX.

November 8, 2014: Houston Cougars defensive back Adrian McDonald (16) during the NCAA football game between the Tulane Green Wave and University of Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium in Houston, TX. Photo Credit: todaysu.com

 

With Eric Weddle leaving for the Baltimore Ravens, it was apparent the San Diego Chargers were going to have to address the hole at safety.

So they did. Sort of. Possibly.

After signing former Colts safety Dwight Lowery early in March, it wasn’t until the draft that the front office addressed the last line of the defense once more.

Technically, it was actually after the draft ended when San Diego acquired the only true safety during the most popular weekend of the NFL offseason.

Undrafted free agent safety Adrian McDonald agreed to terms with the Chargers on April 30 and will look to become a permanent part of the San Diego secondary.

Measurables

Height: 5’11″*

Weight: 205 lbs*

40 Yard Dash: 4.62**

Bench Press (225 lbs): 10 reps**

*According to Chargers’ website

**Texans local prospect day

Analysis

McDonald tallied 17 career interceptions, forced seven fumbles and recovered seven more. He ranked 2nd on his team in tackles during his junior campaign with 92, along with four interceptions for the University of Houston. His numbers did not go unnoticed as he was named first-team All-AAC, as well as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe awarded given to the best defensive back in college football.

There is no denying McDonald has a nose for the football as he consistently finds himself near, sometimes with, the ball. He is a solid tackler which not only is a defensive requirement but a special teams one, as well.

Showing value on special teams is most assuredly McDonald’s key to making the 53-man roster. His lack of ideal size and speed is what kept him from hearing his name during the draft, but he can make 31 other teams regret that decision by working hard to get an opportunity to showcase his talents.

With the Chargers ranking 19th in takeaways last season with just 20, players like McDonald are going to get a chance to bring such production to the Bolts’ secondary.

Here’s to hoping this marriage is long-lasting and beneficial to both sides.

Take a look for yourself at Charger hopeful, Adrian McDonald:

#ReadTheBlitz

Jarvis Royall

 

Gordon2

 

News broke Tuesday that San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon had microfracture surgery on his left knee in January. The doomsayers have already come out of the woodwork, predicting Gordon’s career is already over after only one season. This type of surgery has a 4-6 month recovery timetable, which would put Gordon back to full strength by the time June training camps begin.

In microfracture knee surgery, small ‘micro’ holes are drilled into the damaged area of the knee. The damaged area bleeds out and once it reheals, it (hopefully) fully repairs the damaged area of the knee. Factors working in Gordon’s favor are his age and his health. At a young 23 years old, Gordon is much more likely to make a full recovery than an athlete who is much older.

Examples of successful returns from microfracture surgery are well documented.

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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had microfracture surgery that claimed all but one game of his rookie season in 2013. Kelce was 23 at the time of his surgery. In the two seasons since, he hasn’t missed a game. He’s averaged 70 catches, 868 yards and five touchdowns. Each year he has finished as the sixth-leading tight end in the NFL. Last season Kelce was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

amare

The most notable player in the NBA to undergo microfracture surgery was Amar’e Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire, 22 years old at the time, had the procedure in 2005 during their infamous fast-breaking offense they dubbed “7 seconds or less.” From 2004 to 2008, the Suns led the league in scoring and would beat their opponents with speed, conditioning and raw athleticism. After Stoudemire recovered from his microfracture surgery, he led the Suns in scoring for two more seasons. In addition, Stoudemire made the All-Star team five times, All-NBA second-team three times and All-NBA first-team once after microfracture.

clowney

Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadaveon Clowney had microfracture surgery after being taken with the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. The jury is out on whether he will achieve the greatness he showed in college. He did start nine of the 13 games he played last season.

Microfracture surgery goes back farther than you think. Dan Marino and Rod Woodson both underwent microfracture surgery early in their careers. If you don’t know how they turned out, you can ask their bronze busts in Canton, Ohio.

The moral of the story: pump the brakes, San Diego.

The fact that Melvin Gordon had microfracture surgery is not a death sentence on his young, still promising career. Forget what you saw last season. The Chargers had 25 different offensive line combinations last season. Any running back in the NFL would have had a bad year trying to run behind that line.

The fact that Gordon underwent the surgery in January is to his advantage. With the upgrades the Bolts have made along the offensive line, the addition of Ken Whisenhunt as Offensive Coordinator and drafting of Gordon’s college fullback, Derek Watt, all signs point to a breakout season.

The best days of Flash are yet to come.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#Flash28

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Since the end of free agency all the focus and attention has been who the San Diego Chargers were taking with the third pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. So many rumors and names were thrown around prior to the draft. Chargers Nation feared the worst. Ronnie Stanley was widely rumored to be the pick. Well thank God these couch GM’s aren’t actually making the picks. Chargers GM Tom Telesco made the pick and boy did he make a good one. With that third pick the GM chose:

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Joey Bosa DE Ohio State
Virtually a unanimous number one pick before 2015 college football season his stock seemed to take plunge with worries about his first step. I even questioned his motor at times. That notwithstanding I love this pick! Telesco shows that defense needs to be the priority. With an aging Philip Rivers the defense needs to start setting the tone instead of the offense. Taking Bosa ensures a man with unmeasurable talent will be manning our front seven for years to come. Bosa is a phyiscal freak and his brute strength gives him power to bull rush opposing offensive linemen.
Where does he fit in our Scheme?
Truth be told the Chargers only run our base 3-4 defense 50% of the time. The other 50% is a 4-2-5 (4 Defensive linemen 2 linebackers 5 defensive backs). In this scheme Bosa can put his hands in the ground and do what he did at Ohio State and play defensive end. The Chargers said he will play defensive end in our 3-4 scheme as well. Bosa’s role will be similar to JJ Watt. Will we see the bolts move Bosa around as well like the Texans do with Watt? Time will only tell.
Will he be a game wrecker?
One thing the Chargers have lacked for years since the days of Merriman and Philips is a true game wrecker up front. Bosa has all the skills and ability to wreak havoc up front. With the addition of Mebane and a healthy Corey Liuget it may be hard to stop Bosa from busting through.  Add Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu coming from the outside and this defense could be the best it’s been in years.

Biggest takeaway from the Bosa pick
Joey Bosa wants to be here. He comes to work. He eats drinks and sleeps football. “I don’t have many passions in my life” Bosa said in his interview. “One is football. I love football.” This kid comes from a winning pedigree at Ohio State where he helped lead the Buckeyes to a national title. Oh and who can forget he was rocking that bolo tie! What could be a better sign than that!

laurinitis

 

A week away from the official beginning of the free agency period, teams are already cutting players to save cap space. That space will then be used to sign their replacements. A handful of recognizable players have already been shown the door and more will come after free agent signings begin.

Big names who have already been added to the unemployment line include running backs Matt Forte and Arian Foster; safeties Michael Griffin and William Moore and other notables add to an growing list of names. Over the past couple of days former New Orleans Saints record-holding wide receiver Marques Colston and Ex-Buffalo Bills/Houston Texans standout defensive end Mario Williams were shown the door.

On Monday, March 7 those names and many more will find new homes during the six-week buffer zone between the start of free agency and the NFL Draft. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. To that end, one of those early cap casualties would be a great fit on the Chargers defense.

Enter Rams cap casualty James Laurinaitis.

Laurinaitis was an integral part of a stout Rams defense. The middle linebacker is on the right side of 30 as he won’t celebrate that milestone until December. Entering his eighth season in the NFL, he averages 122 combined tackles per season and has not missed a single NFL game. Over the length of his career, Laurinaitis has amassed 16.5 sacks, 34 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and one safety.

A player that dependable and in the Chargers case, that durable is badly needed. With Donald Butler all but out the door, Laurinaitis would be a substantial upgrade.

Last season Butler had 43 combined tackles, 2 passes defensed and one interception over the entire season. Over the course of his six-year career he has averaged 80 combines tackles and has compiled 7 sacks, 12 passes defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions and one touchdown. He’s missed 25 games and been docked game time when he is healthy because of his subpar play.

Almost not fair to compare the two is it?

Simply put, Laurinaitis is in his prime and the San Diego defense needs more playmakers and better tacklers. Laurinaitis is a tackling machine. His instincts keep him near the ball at all times. He is not a Ram anymore not because his production fell, it’s because he makes too much money and the Rams couldn’t afford him.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco fired up the fan base when he said he was going to be more active in free agency than he has ever been. A signing like this would show a commitment to bettering the team now, rather than finding a low-cost replacement for players on the way out.

The market will have quite a few teams bidding for his services. At present, Laurinaitis has a visit to New Orleans scheduled for next week. Teams are going to have to ante up and put together a good 4-year deal minimum to win his services. For the old school fans of professional wrestling, to have the son of the legendary Road Warrior Animal on the team would be pretty damn cool. Laurinaitis has shown the son of Animal has grown into a beast in his own right!

animal

 

 

 

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#signthisman

 

ed-hochuli1

ed-hochuli1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has taken a few days to get over this last loss. As I sat there and cleaned my house after the Monday night game, I had categorized my emotions into one word: numb.

As Chargers fans, we’ve seen this before. We’ve seen it entirely too often.

Blown leads, missed field goals, late touchdowns and more. Chargers fans have experienced some excruciating losses outside of the most recent loss to Pittsburgh.

Let me caveat this by saying this, it’s not one play that loses the game for the team. There are usually several things that build up to losses like the one on Monday. For instance, the crossing route to Keenan Allen that would’ve been a walk-in touchdown that saw the pass from Philip Rivers batted down at the line.

That being said, I wanted to look back at a painful history of losses that happened either on the last play or that led to a direct sequence that caused the Chargers to lose.

They say misery loves company, so join me on this miserable look back at some painful losses.

September 7th, 2008 – Chargers vs. Panthers

This one, to me, was the most similar to the game against the Steelers.  The Chargers went up by five with just over two minutes left in the game. The Panthers drive down the field and with two seconds left, the ball at the 14-yard line, Jake Delhomme finds Dante Rosario in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.

Here’s a link to the game winning play.

September 15th, 2008 – Chargers vs. Broncos

Just eight days after the first loss listed in this piece, another painful loss the Chargers fans still haven’t gotten over. Quite frankly, I’m sure Ed Hochuli hasn’t forgotten this game. I guarantee that Chargers fans still remember it. Here’s the sequence of events:

  1. Cutler drops back and fumbles as he tries to throw the ball
  2. Ball is recovered by Tim Dobbins as Hochuli blows the whistle and signals incomplete pass
  3. Hochuli admits it should’ve been a fumble but by rule is incomplete
  4. Broncos score on the next play a touchdown to Eddie Royal and go for two to win the game (also complete to Royal)
  5. Chargers lose 39-38

An interesting note here, both Rosario and Royal went on to play for the Chargers after these game winners. Let’s also not forget Brandon Marshall had 18 catches in this game and was unstoppable.

January 17th, 2010 – Chargers vs. Jets – Playoffs

This one hurts. It’s where Nate Kaeding truly started to earn his nickname of wide right. THREE.  MISSED.  FIELD GOALS. If he makes one of those the game would’ve been tied. Two of them, and the Chargers have a lead. Brutal loss 17-14. This wasn’t a last second loss, but it was brutal. I remember covering my eyes after the first miss and it didn’t get any better on the next two tries.

There’s a reason we hate Mondays – Should we be surprised?

Monday night hasn’t been kind to the Chargers of late. There was the Texans game in 2013 (up 28-7 at one point) and the Broncos in 2012 (up 24-0 at halftime).  These both hurt, as it looked like the Chargers were in cruise control only to be beaten late.

James Jett – October 11th, 1998

I still remember listening to this call on the radio. The Chargers had the lead 6-0 in the 4th quarter. Sure, this was a losing team and they weren’t going anywhere, but this one hurt. James Jett goes 68 yards for a touchdown with just under a minute and a half left in the game for the win. That was just one of two long touchdowns Jett scored on us that year. The other a 45-yard grab in a December rematch.

Chargers vs. Patriots 2007 – Playoffs

Let’s just call this what it is…the Marlon McCree game. This was probably the best shot the Chargers had to win a championship and bring it to San Diego. This team finished the year winning 6th straight to go 11-5 and had the talent to go all the way. Then it happened. McCree makes a great read and picks the ball off and instead of falling begins to run with it, is stripped by Troy Brown and the Patriots throw a touchdown to Reche Caldwell and end up winning the game. Sure, a lot happened after the McCree fumble, but it feels like that would’ve sealed it for the Bolts.

Now, there are other games that come to mind, like the Redskins game in 2013 after the Chargers couldn’t punch it in from the one-yard line. I’m sure I’ve missed some games that are equally if not more painful, as well. But these are the ones that stuck out for me.

Comment below on any other games you remember that were excruciatingly painful.

Thanks for commiserating.

Justin Holmerud

chargersbroncos

 

Every year, fans of all 32 teams view their club’s chances of success through rose-colored glasses.

Hope is free. Fantasy is free. Reality is a brutal heart punch from Bruce Lee.

Thirty-two teams.

Only one will live to tell the tale of winning the Holy Grail, the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy.

In Bolt Nation, we all know the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. No logical fan is projecting the Chargers to win the Super Bowl. Win the AFC West? That’s a different story altogether.

The Denver Broncos dominance over the AFC West has coincided with the 2012 arrival of then free agent quarterback Peyton Manning. During their current four-year reign as kings of the AFC West, Manning has been at the helm for the last three AFC West pennants. Now entering his 18th NFL season, Manning and the Broncos are looking to keep their division stranglehold intact.

Easier said than done.

Last season, cracks began to show in the Broncos’ armor. Losses on both side of the ball took a toll and the 12-4 Broncos weren’t able to take advantage of their second seeding in the conference. Denver lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to Indianapolis. Despite the proficiency of the Manning-led passing attack, the Broncos were only able to muster 13 points at home in the loss.

Now more than ever, the pendulum looks to be swinging in the Chargers’ favor in their quest to take back the AFC West.

Consider these key factors:

Peyton Manning vs. Philip Rivers: What’s not to like about two old school gunslingers standing toe-to-toe and letting their arms do the talking? This has been one of the best (and most underrated) quarterback duels in the NFL. Manning entered the league five seasons before Rivers, who didn’t take over the reins of the Chargers until year three of his pro career.

Rivers was the understudy to Drew Brees for two seasons before Brees left for New Orleans. In reality, the two have been facing each other as starting quarterbacks for ten seasons when this season begins.

The difference is starting to show.

Last season, the whispers of Manning’s deteriorating arm strength became roars as the Broncos finished the season. In the last eight games including their playoff loss, Manning threw 11 touchdowns including three games where he only threw one touchdown and two games where he did not throw a touchdown at all. Eight interceptions during that stretch of games also fed into speculation of his decline in accuracy, long a Manning trademark. Last season’s fifteen interceptions were the most Peyton has thrown as a Bronco.

In an odd bit of symmetry between the two rivals, both quarterbacks had potential MVP caliber seasons curtailed by injuries they played through. Manning suffered a quadriceps injury and Rivers had undisclosed back and rib injuries. Rivers is now healthy and armed with a new contract extension that will allow him to retire as a Charger. Manning decided to return after long offseason deliberation as his retirement from the game looks imminent. Rumors of the Broncos and Houston Texans discussing a trade of Manning leaked during the offseason. Eventually, this was dismissed as a simple ‘inquiry’ on the part of the Texans.

Rivers is in the prime of his career and the Chargers are all-in on surrounding him with enough talent to earn the veteran signal caller a Super Bowl ring. Now in the third year of the McCoy-Telesco regime, the Chargers have had back-to-back 9-7 seasons. Choosing to rebuild with youth, only one-third of the current roster (including practice squad) is over the age of 27 years old. The Broncos are also all-in on Manning, but chose to make their push by bringing in big name free agents. DE Demarcus Ware, CBs Aqib Talib and Quentin Jammer, S T.J. Ward, and WRs Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker were all Manning-era signings.

Advantage: Push

Denver backfield vs. San Diego backfield: The Broncos will rely heavily on the legs of C.J. Anderson. Anderson emerged as the go-to back during the season, making the final seven starts. Leading the Broncos with 849 yards rushing and eight touchdowns in 2014, Anderson is also a threat receiving the ball. Last season he had 34 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns. There isn’t much behind Anderson, now entering his third season out of California. Last season’s starting running back, Montee Ball, was cut by the Broncos. SDSU alum Ronnie Hillman is the only veteran rusher on the roster right now. At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Hillman is not capable of being the every down back the Broncos expect Anderson to be.

Expectations for San Diego’s number one draft pick Melvin Gordon are high. The rookie didn’t even have two dozen carries in the preseason. Still, Gordon has earned the confidence of the coaches and veteran players throughout training camp and preseason. While Gordon is expected to assume an every-down role at some point, it has been made clear by the coaches the Chargers will have a running-back-by-committee approach. Danny Woodhead will contribute as a pass-catching, third-down specialist out of the backfield and Branden Oliver will be a change-of-pace back. Donald Brown is a depth player who has been an every-down back in the past.

Advantage: Chargers

Denver receivers vs. San Diego receivers: Denver features one of the top-five receivers in the league in speedster Demaryius Thomas. On the opposite side, Emmanuel Sanders will start and Andre Caldwell would be first off the bench in a three-receiver set. Behind them, second-year pro Cody Latimer will be looking to breakout this season.

San Diego will feature third-year pro Keenan Allen, who will be looking to bounce back from what was a down year by his standards. Allen had 77 receptions for 783 yards and four touchdowns, down from his rookie season where he topped 1000 yards with eight touchdowns on 71 catches. Ten-year veteran Malcom Floyd will look to go out with a bang after announcing he will retire after this season. The Chargers brought in Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones to fill in the void left by Eddie Royal in the slot and in the return game, respectively.

Advantage: Chargers

Denver pass rush vs. San Diego pass rush: Denver has one of the league’s most intimidating tandems of edge rushers in defensive ends Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. The bookends combined for 24 of Denver’s 41 sacks last season. Containing them is will be the focus of every offensive coordinator.

Whereas the Broncos depends on a pair of elite veteran pass rushers, the Chargers will look to young pass rushers to hurry Manning and other opposing signal callers. Melvin Ingram, Jerry Attaochu, Corey Liuget and rookie Kyle Emanuel will lead the charge to get the future Hall-Of-Famer sacked or throwing incompletions. San Diego finished near the bottom of the NFL with 26 sacks last season and the top Charger sacker was Liuget with 4.5.

Advantage: Broncos

Denver secondary vs. San Diego secondary: The Denver Broncos have what could be considered a top-five starting cornerback duo in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. Both have the ability to shut down opposing receivers due to their solid coverage. Talib is one of the more physical corners in the NFL, while Harris can run with the best, showcasing strong ball skills and fluid hips.

After re-signing Brandon Flowers this offseason, the Chargers also have a top-five cornerback duo with him and Jason Verrett. The second-year Verrett is among one of the more exciting defenders at his position in the game. Many around the NFL believe that, if healthy, this will be a breakout season for the former Horned Frog. It doesn’t hurt the Bolts that they also have the best free safety in the league, Eric Weddle.

Advantage: Chargers

Now, more so than any season since the AFC West arrival of Peyton Manning, the Chargers are ready and more than capable of reclaiming the top spot. The Broncos have the advantage on defense, but the Chargers have a significant edge on offense. A home split is the most probable outcome.

What do you think? Will the Chargers catch the Broncos this season?

 

Bolt up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TelescoMagic

 

 

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