The best piece of advice I can give a sports fan is this: cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.
No matter how wonderful a player is on or off the field, someday either the team or the player will make the difficult decision to go a different direction. The team remains, but the players go through the never ending revolving doors known as free agency and retirement. Remember the aforementioned advise when you look at the following list of fan favorites and impact players who are on the last year of their contracts with the Chargers. Here is the list of the players who may leave at seasons end. The departure of some will leave a hole in the team. The departure of others will leave a hole in fans hearts. So as I crank up The Clash in the background, let’s take a look at who should stay and who should go, as well as what they are making for the 2016 season.
Melvin Ingram (OLB) $7.751 million: Staying: Although Ingram has had to deal with injuries and has under achieved in a statistical way, the future of Ingram seems bright. The addition of Joey Bosa has made this pair of pass-rushers quite a handful for offensive lines. The sack totals are not as impressive as their AFC West rivals, but the fact that the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is a sure sign that these guys are putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. For a defensive front seven to be effective in today’s NFL, there must be two dominant pass rushers and a strong Nose Tackle. Ingram, Bosa and Mebane fit the bill for now. Ingram will be pursued by other teams, but expect the Chargers to overpay a little to keep their former first round draft pick around for the next three to four years.
Danny Woodhead (RB) $5.5 million: Going: I want to be clear about something here. Danny Woodhead is a wonderful player who can be a spark-plug for an offense, and a true leader. But along with his greatness is a serious problem. Since joining the Chargers, Woodhead has only played in 37 of the 64 games he was eligible to participate in. He has had two full seasons and two cut seriously short by injury, including the 2016 campaign. Not only does Woodhead have a hard time staying healthy, he is 31 years old. Not many running backs maintain their effectiveness for long after age 30. I’m sorry to say, the Chargers will move on from Woodhead. He will either sign somewhere as a free agent for the 2017 season, or hang up the cleats. Of course, there is the possibility that the Chargers would try to sign him at a discounted price on the chance that he will stay healthy. Unfortunately, he will most likely find a better offer somewhere else.
Mantai Te’o (MLB) $5.172 million: Going: Te’o is another player who has been plagued by injuries during his time in San Diego. By seasons end, he will have played in just 38 of a possible 64 games, over his four season tenure with the Bolts. He has been improving every year, and the improvement of the defensive line has helped him scrape down the line and get to ball carriers. But, it hasn’t helped his foot-speed, or ability to cover backs in the flat. Look for opposing quarterbacks to pick on Te’o on third and long. The fact is, Te’o will go down in Chargers history as a borderline bust. Nice enough guy, just not a great football player.
Jahleel Addae (SS) $2.553 million: Going: Chargers fans seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for SS Jahleel Addae. Why? Because he is a hitter! Fans love players who come in and lay some hat on opposing teams. Addae certainly does just that. He has been a Charger for four years and has quite the reputation for having no fear. The problem is that all those hits have really taken a toll on Addae’s body. In fact, he has had several injuries, including concussions. Having only played 43 of his possible 54 games so far as a Charger, there must be concern that he will spend more and more time on the injured list. He is fairly inexpensive, but you do not want to pay anyone to ride out injuries. I believe that if Addae fails to get through the remaining five games of the 2016 schedule without incident, the Chargers will have no choice but to let him go.
Branden Oliver (RB) $1.53 million: Staying: Normally I would have said that a player who really hasn’t done very much, and has missed an entire season to injury, would not be returning. In Oliver’s case, I think the Chargers may take one more chance. He is the epitome of a fan favorite. Bolt fans just love watching Oliver run/return the ball and bang into those large defenders. Yes, Oliver plays larger than his 5’8″, 208 lb frame. He is such a fan favorite, some fans wanted Melvin Gordon either cut, or dropped to second string, so that Oliver could get his chance. The fact of the matter is that despite a few impressive games, Oliver does not have the stats to explain the love he receives. That being said, the Bolts may just bring him back because he will be cheap and the fans love him.
Korey Toomer (OLB) $600,000: Staying: It could be a little premature to add Toomer to this list, but he has been an impact player since joining the team in week four. With his playing time increasing, Toomer has racked up 33 tackles in the last three weeks! He is an aggressive player who likes to hit. The Seahawks and the Raiders are going to regret letting this guy go. Look for Toomer to get another two the three years added to his already very affordable contract.
Dontrelle Inman (WR) $600,000: Staying: Without a whole lot of playing time, Inman has managed to have some big games. He is a sure-handed receiver that was plucked from the Canadian Football League to fill in for injured receivers. Although much of the success of the young Chargers receivers can be credited to Philip Rivers, there is no denying that Inman has the ability to get open and catch the ball. He just may be part of a talented youth movement at wide receiver in San Diego.
There are many more players to make decisions on at the end of this season. Very few are notable. None are tremendous impact players or former high draft picks. Even though these names seem less important, some of them will return because they are affordable and they add much needed depth. The following is a list of players who will most likely be brought back to fill various roles: Mike Windt (LS), Tenny Palepoi (NT), Sean McGrath (TE), Damion Square (NT), and Isaiah Burse (WR/KR), Kenny Wiggens (G).
Finally, the list of potential free agents who are either doomed to be shown the door, or will fight hard and get back on the team: Sean Lissemore (NT), Tourek Williams (OLB), Trevor Williams (CB), Asante Cleveland (TE), Adrian Phillips (FS), Kellen Clemens (QB), Javontee Herndon (WR), Codero Law (OLB), Jeff Cumberland (TE), Dexter McCluster (RB/KR), Ronnie Hillman (RB), Jeremy Butler (WR), Geremy Davis (WR), Tyreek Burwell (T), Chris Landrum (OLB). Some of these guys have a real shot at making the team next year, they just will not be high priorities for Chargers GM Tom Telesco.
So, what do you think? Which of these guys will be sporting lightning bolts next season? Leave your comments below.
After blowing a huge lead in Week 1, much was made of this team for not finishing the game against the Chiefs. As the Bolts jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead once again. This time the lead would not be relinquished, as the Chargers seemed to be fired up in front of their home crowd completely, embarrassing a Jaguars’ team that looked to show a lot of promise last week against a good Packers’ squad.
The main story in this is Melvin Gordon. Ken must’ve learned from last week as he fed Gordon early and often late into the 4th quarter. This would be the main stay of the offense after the Bolts suffered another huge loss as Danny Woodhead went down with a knee injury (it’s being reported on Monday that Woodhead suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport). With Gordon being fed, he didn’t disappoint, scoring a touchdown in his second straight game and racking up his first career 100-yard rushing game.
Defensively, the John Pagano’s unit played lights out. Don’t let the score fool you. This defense stepped up big time! The San Diego secondary blanketed the talented receiving corps of the Jags. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram showed up big, sacking Blake Bortles twice. It appears as though the free-agent acquisition of Casey Hayward is already paying huge dividends, picking off Bortles two times and stopping what could’ve been a huge red zone opportunity for the Jags early. If one thing is for sure when this defense plays like this you can see why we were all excited for this team in the off-season.
MVPs of the game:
Philip Rivers– If you questioned how Philip would do without Keenan Allen, those questions were quickly put to rest, as Rivers was at his best as he usually is against the Jags. Rivers completed 17-24 for 220 passing yards and four touchdowns; just another day at the office for Rivers. The veteran signal caller once again proved this offense still relies on the arm of Rivers to get things done.
Travis Benjamin– I would be fool if i didn’t mention this man. He completely torched the jaguars secondary for six receptions for 115 and two scores. Getting Travis going with the loss of Keenan Allen was huge. With the way they showed cased him, this Chargers’ receiving corps looks to still be dangerous, even without Allen. I’m excited to see how they build on this going forward.
The whole back-end of Bolts’ Defense– I already pointed out how good Hayward was on Sunday. How about this unit as a whole? The secondary was flying to the ball, being really aggressive. The Jags looked like they were scared to throw to Verrett’s side for the vast majority of the game. Flowers was solid when he had to be; even Addae lead this team in tackles for the day before going down with a shoulder injury in the 4th.
Tyrell Williams– The youngster is looking like the second coming of Malcom Floyd. Williams had a fantastic day with three receptions for 63 yards and scoring a huge 44-yard touchdown, busting through multiple tackles to break into the endzone for his first TD of 2016. He could be so dangerous going forward, especially with Benjamin having a breakout game of his own.
Honorable mentions – Drew Kaser, Manti Teo, Matt Slauson, Antonio Gates and Darrell Stuckey
Bums of the game
Joey Bosa – Everyone who has read my prior pieces knows how high I am on Joey. Still, he has yet to see the practice field in pads yet. Should we think of this as a red-shirt year for Bosa? Uh, no. The Chargers are paying this kid too much money to not see him play a snap. Look for Bosa to start seeing game snaps when this team plays the Broncos in Week 6, if not sooner.
Isaiah Burse – I know the expectations on him weren’t suppose to be really high. The guy was a ghost in this game, though. Perhaps that’s because he was supposed to be mainly on kick returns and they only had three today. Even in garbage time Burse was nowhere to be found. It wouldn’t hurt to change things up and see him take snaps from fellow wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (who I’ve never been overly high on). With all the injuries to this offense, head coach Mike McCoy may want to limit Benjamin’s Involvement in special teams, possibly leading to more of Burse.
The seat still burns for McNorv
Like I’ve already said, this game was even worse for the Jaguars than the score let on, meaning we didn’t have to deal with the curious case of Mike McNorv. He rarely had to make any game-management decisions. The only exception I can think of was on the 4th-and-2 play in the first half near the goal line where Philip ran a hard count and drew the Jags offsides. If Rivers didn’t draw them of,f you know “Field goal Mike” would’ve struck again. He was bailed out by his veteran quarterback and the hardest decision he had was when to put Kellen Clemens in. Until he proves otherwise, McNorv and his goons will remain on notice all season.
In closing, overall this game being compared to last week is like day and night. This team did exactly what it should’ve done by beating the Jaguars. Hopefully this game is a template on how the Chargers will win games going forward. Any given Sunday, though.
Now we’re on to Indianapolis in Week 3!
**featured image credit to Chargers.com
Watching Sunday’s epic downfall against the Kansas City Chiefs was not the only thing that was upsetting for the San Diego Chargers.
A dark ominous cloud hovered over the team and fans everywhere as they saw easily the best receiver on the team being carted off the field. Keenan Allen’s face was full of sorrow and disappointment, as he saw his season end before it began. After missing eight games in 2015, Keenan was set to have a breakout year. What he did on the field in Kansas City — six catches for 63 yards — was evidence that a monster year was indeed plausible.
On Monday, word from the Chargers camp was that they are looking to replace Keenan through free agency or from the practice squad.
Clearly, nobody can replace someone like Allen, but here are a few free agent veterans that San Diego might be placing a call to:
Rueben Randle – At 6-foot-2, Randle, 25, is without a home. He has the skills to be very successful in the NFL and has shown bouts of it during his time with the New York Giants. However, there are reports of many missed meetings and a lack of drive from the receiver. Rueben signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in late March of this year, but then was released August 28th due to a lackluster summer and preseason. The latest report was that he tried out for the New Orleans on September 6th. To date he is still unsigned.
Roddy White – A talented receiver with the Atlanta Falcons, the 6-foot White will turn 35 in November. Spending 11 seasons in Atlanta, he is currently the all-time leading receiver. He showed a bit of decline the last two seasons and admitted that he was frustrated with the smaller role in 2015. Roddy wants to play for a contender and seems content to retire if the right situation does not present itself.
Brian Hartline – The Chargers tried out Brian back in early August, however they choose to sign, then later cut, James Jones. Hartline will be 30 this November and at 6-foot-2 he possesses great hands. There were a few injuries — shoulder and collarbone — that impacted his season last year with the Cleveland Browns. However, this possession receiver can continue to help move the chains with a quarterback like Philip Rivers.
Nate Washington – The 33-year-old receiver played for Houston Texans, his third team, in 2015 and had a decent line of 48 catches for 661 yards and four touchdowns. At 6-foot-1, Nate was signed during the offseason with the New England Patriots but was later released. Reports were that he could not get on the same page as Tom Brady. He is still a valuable veteran who has been on two Super Bowl winning teams — both with Pittsburgh Steelers — and can stretch the field.
If San Diego elects to pass on any of these or any other skeptical free agents, there are two wide receivers — one on the practice squad — that could be put in the mix.
Dom Williams (PS) – The 6-foot-2 undrafted receiver out of Washington State, ran a 4.38 40-yard dash with a 40.5 inch vertical at his Pro Day. Williams was left off the invite list for the NFL combine due to the staggering number of drops he had in college. During minicamp, he made some great plays that made a small buzz around camp. At WAZU, he finished his collegiate career second in receiving yards and touchdowns for the Cougars. In watching highlights, Dom has great speed and separation, which is key for the quick-releasing Rivers.
Isaiah Burse – At 5-foot-10, Burse made the active roster due to his kick return ability, as well as an early season-ending injury to fellow wideout Stevie Johnson. Burse has the ability to play the slot and has been with San Diego since November of last year, so he is somewhat acclimated to the offense already.
Who do you think San Diego should sign/promote? Leave your answers below
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
Finally! The Chargers begin the 2016 regular season today on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Per a report from Marty Caswell of The Mighty 1090 via Twitter, the team has announced its inactives for the game.
Chargers inactives- Max Tuerk, Kenny Wiggins, Tyreek Burwell, Adrian Phillips, Isaiah Burse, Ryan Carrethers, Andre Williams
— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) September 11, 2016
On another note, B.J. Kissel, a Chiefs’ reporter, has reported that running back Jamaal Charles will be inactive for today’s game, too.
On paper, The San Diego Chargers have had one of their best offseasons in recent history when it comes to player acquisitions. Their 2016 NFL Draft averaged out to a B grade if you listen to the talking heads and draft gurus on TV and radio. Chargers fans once again have reason to be optimistic about the team’s chances of going worst to first and returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season.
Improving the wide receiving corps, adding team speed and improving special teams were high on the Chargers’ to-do list this offseason and they succeeded in all three facets. The loss of Malcom Floyd (retirement) was answered by the free agent signing of speed burner Cleveland Browns’ Travis Benjamin. Healthy returns of Javontee Herndon, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman are also expected to help.
The San Diego Chargers/Denver Broncos intra-conference pipeline was still shown to be intact when the Chargers signed Broncos’ kick returner/wide receiver Isaiah Burse to their practice squad in November 2015. Now entering his second season as a pro, Burse played 12 games as a rookie in Denver as a punt returner. Last season he had 29 returns for 211 yards, good for a 7.3-yard average.
The 5’10”, 187-pound Burse showed in college at Fresno State that he has what it takes to be an elite returner as he posted an FBS single-season record for kickoff returns in 2012 with 75 returns for 1,606 yards; an average of a scorching 21.4 yards per return.
Over his four seasons at Fresno State, Burse had 126 kickoff returns for 2,835 yards (22.4 yards per return) and 29 punt returns for 344 yards (11.5 yards per return). He also caught 210 passes for 2,503 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries.
After being signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent in May of 2014, Burse played most of the season before being waived then placed on the Broncos’ practice squad that December. Waived again in early September 2015, Burse was signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad and released later that month. San Diego signed Burse in November 2015 and he re-signed with the Bolts’ on a Futures contract in January.
In Denver and Pittsburgh, Burse was lost in the shuffle of an already deep talent pool at wide receiver and returner. In San Diego, he will have every opportunity to claim a spot at both positions. We know the punt returner slot is already claimed by Benjamin, but a dynamic kickoff returner is something the Chargers have lacked for a long time. Given the opportunity, Burse can show he is the future of the position and etch his name in stone as a kick returner and as added depth on the wide receiver depth chart.
One look at the video below and it’s easy to see why Chargers GM Tom Telesco has tracked the 24-year old native of Modesto, CA, for so long. He runs faster on the field than the 4.58-seconds 40-yard dash time he posted at the 2014 NFL Draft Combine. He is sudden, can stop on a dime and effortlessly change direction. Burse is shifty, elusive and tenacious when attacking the defense as a receiver or returner.
The competition at wide receiver for spots on the 53-man roster will be one of the top position battles to watch when camp opens in less than two weeks. Get your popcorn ready.
Good luck, Mr. Burse.
The Greg One