Any long-standing San Diego-now-Los Angeles Chargers fan can think of many failed attempts at clever marketing tactics. The latest, entitled #FightForLA is just as bad as the rest.
We get it. Now that there are two teams vying for the same fan dollars in Los Angeles it is seen as a ‘fight’ for Los Angeles. That sentiment couldn’t be farther from the truth for two major reasons. First and most importantly, no one in Los Angeles wants either team to be there. Aside from the subsection of devout loyalists (such as myself) who grew up with the teams in their former homes and would watch them if they relocated to Mars; neither move has raised an eyebrow among the general NFL populous.
Secondly, if the #FightForLA is intended to pit the Chargers versus the Rams in a L.A. rivalry the same way the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are pretended to be, that too is a fallacy. The Clippers have always been the red-headed stepchild in the NBA version of this L.A. story and even though they are currently better than the current version of the Lakers, the Lakers will always be the alpha dogs because of the championship banners hanging from the rafters.
Head-to-head, the Chargers are hands-down better than the Los Angeles Rams. Don’t believe me? These rosters prove my point:
Quarterback: Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. (Quick, does anyone even know who the Rams starting quarterback is??) The answer is Case Keenum, Jared Goff and Sean Mannion all took snaps for the Rams last season to disastrous results and a 4-12 season. Altogether the Rams passed for 3,313 yards and that includes a 4-yard completion by their punter! By comparison, Rivers threw for over 1,000-yards more than the Rams quarterbacks combined (4,386).
Running Back: Rams Todd Gurley vs. Chargers Melvin Gordon. Part of a dying breed of bell-cow running backs, this is the most even matchup on the ledger. Gurley fell off from his breakout rookie season once teams figured the Rams couldn’t pass the ball and loaded the box to stop the run. Gurley managed 885 yards and 6 touchdowns on 287 attempts (3.2 yards per carry). Gordon did the opposite, rebounding from a disappointing rookie campaign to fall three yards short of a thousand yards on 254 attempts (3.9 yards per carry). Gordon went from zero touchdowns as a rookie to twelve (ten rushing, two receiving) in his sophomore year.
Wide Receiver: The Rams tried to run their offense through the speedy but diminutive (5″8′) Tavon Austin. Secondaries figured out the game plan early and rolled coverage to him. As a result he had only 509 yards and three touchdowns receiving. Running reverses and other gadget plays added another 159 yards and one touchdown to his 2016 resume. Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Lance Kendricks provided the bulk of the punch from the receiving corps, accounting for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns combined.
In San Diego, Tyrell Williams had a breakout season amassing 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns by himself. Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin combined for another 1,487 yards and eight touchdowns. Not bad considering they lost their number one receiver, Keenan Allen, in the first week of the season.
Total offense: The Rams finished dead last in points per game (14) and yards per game (262.7). The Chargers finished ninth in points per game (25.6) and 14th in yards per game (356.8).
There’s no point into going over to the defensive side of the ball. Fans come out to see an exciting, dynamic offense and a good football game. While the argument can be made that neither team achieved that goal, the Chargers were able to put points on the board. The Rams were blown out (16 points or more) six times. They scored ten points or less nine times. The Chargers only had two games where they scored under 20 points (16 and 19) and of their 11 losses, eight were decided by a touchdown or less.
If this were a fight, the ref would’ve stopped it by now….
There is no question as to who is the best team in Los Angeles. Provided they can stay healthy, the Chargers will make the playoffs this season. Health is always the biggest problem with this team as they have not been able to keep their starters healthy for many seasons. The Rams will be living in the NFC West cellar for yet another year, healthy or not. They simply don’t have the talent.
Los Angeles is a notorious fair weather, bandwagon-jumping city. If you win, they will come and tell you they have been a fan for years. The only question is can the Chargers keep their weapons on the field and out of the trainers’ room and if so, how many games will it take before the Los Angeles public officially adopts them?
But retire the hashtag already…
Please and thank you.
The Greg One
Several former Chargers made headlines on Wednesday in a flurry of NFL news that hit the interwebs as teams start making moves for the start of their respective training camps.
It looks as if former Chargers’ linebacker Donald Butler has finally found a new home. Via multiple reports, he signed today with the Arizona Cardinals. This is interesting for several reasons. First, the Cardinals and Chargers are scheduled to hold a joint practice before both teams meet August 19 for a preseason skirmish. It will be interesting to see if the Arizona coaching staff can get any productivity out of a player who had woefully underwhelmed in his last few seasons with the Bolts.
Former Charger running back Ryan Mathews is hurt again, and he didn’t even get hurt playing football. The Eagles announced today that they are placing him on the Non-Football-Injury list for an ankle injury he suffered last week when the team was on their CBA- mandated break before training camp. There are literally so many potential jokes here that I can’t even pick one. It looks as if parting ways with Mathews after the 2014 season was the right move for the Chargers. Mathews’ NFL career could possibly be in jeopardy.
In other NFL news, Nick Foles asked the Rams to be released and they obliged him. Via ESPN, the Rams released Foles after he agreed to take less guaranteed money if they let him walk. Foles was benched last season after going 4-5 with six touchdowns and throwing seven interceptions. The Rams drafted Foles’ replacement a few months ago with the 1st overall pick in Jared Goff from Cal.
The New York Jets’ first-round pick, linebacker Darron Lee, signed his contract Wednesday. Lee was one of three remaining first-round draft picks that had not been signed. The others are 49ers’ Joshua Garnett and, of course, Chargers’ Joey Bosa. All three players are represented by the same agent, working for Creative Artists Agency. All three players are fighting for no offset language in their contracts (essentially allowing them to be paid double if they are cut from the team that drafted them before their rookie contracts are up). Many first-round draft picks fight for no offset language, but few get it. It’s unclear whether Darron Lee’s contract has any offset language, but his signing is good news for Chargers fans that the Bosa signing could be next.
Personally, I think these contract disputes are less about the players and more about the “business” of the NFL. I don’t think college players start off as freshman saying, “I want to play in the NFL and have a contract with no offset language.” I think the players and players’ families are talked into these situations by profit-driven, money-hungry agents who take advantage of a vulnerable and critical time in a young man’s life for their own benefit. Hopefully Bosa signs soon and we can all forget about offset language until next year!
Who is excited for training camp to start?!
We are just 48 hours away from the start of the 2016 NFL Draft, live from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. Picking third, we all now know that the draft truly begins with our beloved San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have the luxury of knowing the first two selections will be quarterbacks, giving them pick-of-the-litter among all the non-quarterback players.
To quote a famous line from comic book lore: With great power comes great responsibility.
The Chargers can not miss with this pick. This must be a player who will be a mainstay for the next decade provided he can stay healthy. We all know that is easier said than done in San Diego. This man must be a building block of the future, someone who can step into a starter’s role from game number one.
Many intriguing storylines are attached to the 2016 edition of the NFL Draft. Here’s a look at the biggest ones on everyone’s minds and lips heading into Thursday night.
1. What will the Chargers do?
San Diego can enlist a franchise player from this spot but will they? Temptation will be heavy to trade down and try to add picks and value. If the Bolts trade down and add picks, the chances of hitting on a prospect increase. The risk is passing on the next big superstar/future Hall Of Fame enshrinee. What to do, what to do…
As we’ve already seen, quarterbacks drive the action in this draft. The number one and two selections have exchanged teams. More movement to acquire the top five quarterbacks on the board will occur, most likely in the first round. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff will undoubtedly go in the first two picks. Expect Paxton Lynch, Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg to be drafted in round one.
Aside from the rookies, don’t be surprised to see Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Colin Kaepernick traded in the first round. The Philadelphia Eagles (Bradford) and San Francisco 49ers Kaepernick) find themselves in the same boat. Both teams have quarterbacks that don’t want to play for them anymore. Both quarterbacks have plummeted on the field and in overall value. Will the two teams make the best of their bad situations and swap headaches (err…quarterbacks) especially after new 49ers coach Chip Kelly was just fired by the Eagles.
Whether it’s an even exchange or not, the Niners would be helping the coach that has set back their organization untold years. (Insert dramatic music here…) Quarterback desperate teams will rule the first two days of the draft. Sleeper team to be a player in the quarterback sweepstakes: The New England Patriots. You heard it here first.
3. Ole Miss players
There are always players that fall from grace in the draft. It’s most likely that player will come out of Ole Miss. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is considered the best offensive lineman on the board in the last five years. Robert Nkemdiche was the chosen one for the number one pick in the draft just six months ago. A handful of off-the-field incidents later, he is not expected to go until the second round or worse. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is the top-rated wide receiver prospect in the draft despite an unimpressive 4.6 40-yard dash time.
The NFL won its appeal and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will serve his four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal after all. This dark cloud will manifest itself multiple times during the proceedings, starting with the fact the first round will only be 31 selections due to the Patriots losing their first round draft pick. With the news dropping just 72 hours before the draft, it is sure to be a hot button issue all week long. As mentioned above, this news could also precipitate a move by the Patriots on the quarterback front.
5. Winners and losers
Every year, the talking heads will compile their winners and losers list for the draft as a whole. Some teams will reach way to high for a head-scratcher of a pick. One team will get the ‘steal of the draft’. We’ll all comb the internet and sports channels for the draftniks’ grades of each team.
We all know what’s coming, and like Christmas, we can’t wait for it to get here. We’re anxiously anticipating Roger Goodell taking the podium to thunderous boos as he announces the 2016 NFL Draft is underway and the Los Angeles Rams are on the clock.
The themes are the same, only the names will change. We’ll ogle a players’ smoking hot girlfriend. We’ll shake our head at a couple of players’ choices of suits. We’ll see that big name player plummeting down the draft board and keep a curious watch on how far he slides as if rubbernecking at the site of a car crash. We will watch every pick and celebrate the entire three hours like we’ve never seen it before.
Because football, that’s why.
Are YOU ready?
The Greg One
On Thursday, a blockbuster trade was announced between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. In the deal, the Titans sent their first overall pick (1), and their fourth- and sixth-round picks to St. Louis. In return, the Rams sent Tennessee their first-round selection (15), two second-round picks and a third-round selection in the 2016 draft. In addition, the Rams include their first- and third-round picks in 2017.
Nevermind free agency, this is the best thing to happen to the San Diego Chargers this offseason. This mega-deal comes down to three main points:
1. The Rams are preparing to select their quarterback of the future. They need to continue the momentum from the euphoria of moving back to Los Angeles by adding star power. They need to stay in the news in a city like Los Angeles, which is not starving for sports selections. Every major league sport is now represented in Los Angeles with the return of the NFL. L.A. is about box office. The Rams may have a future star with Rookie of the Year running back Todd Gurley, but if there aren’t enough big names on the marquee, the fickle L.A. audience will forget you sooner rather than later. Adding the top quarterback in the draft will address their biggest need and be another name to add to the marquee.
2. The top two picks in the draft will be quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns select second in the draft and need a quarterback as badly or worse than the Rams do. North Dakota State signal caller Carson Wentz and California Bear Jared Goff are the consensus top-two quarterback prospects in this draft. They will be the first and second picks, the only question is the order in which they will be selected.
Is it possible the Browns could choose a player other than a quarterback with the second pick?
If the Browns are smart they will stay at two and pick their quarterback. If they were choosing anyone other than a quarterback then wise thing to do would be to trade out of the second spot for a nice boatload of picks like the Titans and add starter-quality players to their decrepit team. Then again, we are putting the Browns and smart in the same sentence. This is, after all, the team that burned the second of their two first-round picks on Johnny Manziel only two drafts ago.
3. San Diego will get the No. 1 player on their draft board. Despite what happens with the Cleveland pick, the odds of anything happening aside from Goff and Wentz going in the first two picks are slim and none. Thankfully, the Chargers do not need a quarterback, meaning they will have their choice of the entire draft field to choose from. With eight picks to use over seven rounds, they not only have the top of each round to select the best player available, they have the maneuverability to re-enter a round to accommodate a player who is falling or trade down for value.
The draft truly begins with the Chargers selection. The pressure is on GM Tom Telesco and his braintrust to not screw up this pick. After being left at the altar by the league in the race to L.A. sweepstakes, and not being able to come to an agreement with Rams owner Stan Krownke on co-habitation of the future L.A. mega-stadium, the Bolts should add Kroenke to their Christmas card list.
This trade assures order at the top of the draft. It assures the Chargers the pick of the litter of non-quarterback skill- position players. It’s assures the Bolts a King’s ransom for those other quarterback-hungry teams wishing to jump ahead of other quarterback-hungry teams sitting in the top half of the draft. (Think San Francisco, Philadelphia and possibly Dallas sitting at picks 7, 13 and 4, respectively).
The ball sits in the Bolts’ court. Who should they give it to? Leave your thoughts on whom they should select below.
The Greg One
When 80% of the league shows up to see you work out, that’s a good thing. For quarterback Paxton Lynch, formerly of the Memphis Tigers, that was the case on Wednesday. At his Pro Day workout, 26 of the 32 NFL teams had representatives present.
That’s a good problem to have.
Lynch is widely regarded as the third-best quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft behind University of California stud Jared Goff and North Dakota State University signal caller Carson Wentz.
Per ESPN, Lynchs’ Pro day workout consisted of 70 scripted passes, of which only 10 were scheduled to be from the shotgun formation. Lynch operated from shotgun his entire tenure at Memphis. In eschewing the shotgun, Lynch intended to show he can effectively run a pro-style offense which requires operating predominantly from under center.
Lynch held his workout outdoors with thunderstorms on the horizon, causing the workout to be moved up 45 minutes. In the elements, most particularly 25-mile-per-hour swirling winds, he completed 57 of his 69 attempts. Lynch’s agent, the legendary Leigh Steinberg, described the workout as “pretty spectacular.”
What else would you expect an agent to say?
However, the fact Lynch did not cancel his workout given his throwing conditions speaks volumes. Conditions like that are going to happen in the NFL. His ability to hit those passes only increases his draft stock. Lynch will be given a pass for his missed passes but will be given extra credit due to his accuracy. It’s a brilliant play from what looks to be a very intelligent, well-prepared quarterback.
Now the hard part begins.
Those 26 teams are going to want to see Lynch in person and put him through their own drills. That brings us to this nugget from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 6, 2016
Would the San Diego Chargers seriously consider tapping Lynch in the NFL Draft? The Chargers still have a lot of holes to fill, but the role of heir apparent to Philip Rivers has been a role that has been largely ignored. The Bolts would have to use their second-round pick, technically pick number 34 since New England was docked a first-round draft pick due to the Deflategate scandal, to pick Lynch.
That’s a pretty high investment for a player who will only see the field in the preseason. But the question remains, is it worth it?
Per NFL.com, Lynch stands an imposing 6-foot-7, 244 lbs., boasts a 36-inch vertical jump and 118-inch broad jump (best among all QBs) while running the 40-yard dash in 4.86 seconds. Lynch has the size, strength, mobility and, most importantly, the time to watch and learn from a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Philip Rivers. Rivers himself sat and learned from Drew Brees for two seasons until it was his time to take the reigns in San Diego. Lynch would find himself coming into an identical situation. Check out these clips from his Pro Day:
— Trotter (@Corran24) April 6, 2016
— NFL (@NFL) April 6, 2016
Still don’t think Tom Telesco would pull the trigger on a quarterback so early? Consider this fact. New Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was at the Pro Day and he specifically asked Lynch to throw specific routes during the workout. Chargers management is looking to answer the dilemma of life after Rivers and they know Kellen Clemens is not the answer.
The Chargers have eight draft picks to use in seven rounds. Plenty of moves could still be made, even if they do take Lynch at the top of the second round.
Options in play include packaging picks to move into the second round for a second time. We all know how GM Tom Telesco likes to trade up by now…
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. A second-round pick is paying a lot, but the return could be greater than the investment, in the end. It’s time to fill the potential starter role once and for all, and this is a great place to start. This move would get my full support.
Would you endorse the Chargers drafting Paxton Lynch in the second round? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One
Philip Rivers has been the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers since 2006. The Chargers have made the playoffs five out of those 10 years. Rivers is now 34 years old, and just signed a four-year extension; so it’s safe to assume he will play until he is 38. That’s how old Tom Brady is, and he is still playing at a high level. Still, we saw how Peyton Manning was breaking records in 2013, and then this past year he looked like one of the worst starting signal callers in the league. It can go fast. So the question is, should the Chargers trade Philip Rivers, start over and draft a QB with the 3rd pick?
Reasons to keep Rivers
The main reason I wouldn’t draft a QB like Jared Goff with the 3rd pick, who I’m much higher on than Carson Wentz, is because of the Chargers’ stadium issue. The Chargers are going to need all the votes they can get come this November. The Chargers’ fan base loves Philip Rivers. The guy played a playoff game with a torn ACL. Fans appreciate when a player goes all out, giving his all to win. Rivers has always done that. He stays in the pocket and takes some tough hits, yet always bounces back up. If the Chargers went in another direction, traded Rivers and drafted Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, some fans who would’ve voted yes on a stadium, might change their minds and vote no, since they will be upset at the organization. The Chargers need all the votes they can get. Another reason to keep Rivers is he is considered to be a top-10 QB (not by me) and it’s hard to get those type of quarterbacks. Drafting a quarterback high is always a huge risk, as so many have become busts. So why even risk it when you have a top-10 QB now?
Reasons to move on from Rivers
With Rivers already being 34 years old, I believe if Jared Goff is available with the 3rd pick, the Chargers should select him and trade Rivers. Rivers signed a four-year, $84 million dollar contract, so his cap numer is $21 million a year. Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick last year, signed a four-year deal for $24 million, making his cap number $6 million a year. If the Chargers drafted Jared Goff, he would sign a similar deal to Winston.
If the Chargers traded Rivers and his contract, the Chargers would save about $15 million for the next four years. Everyone tells me that the Chargers don’t win because Rivers doesn’t have the talent around him. Well, if they selected Goff, they could use the extra $15 million to get more quality players around him. With Rivers being 34, I think three years from now, when Rivers is 37, Goff would already be a better quarterback in his 3rd year than Rivers at 36. Plus, the Chargers would have Goff for the next 10 plus years if they decided to keep him.
Philip Rivers got off to a tremendous start to his career when he became the starting QB in 2006. The Chargers went 14-2 that year, and the following year in 2007 they went 11-5, reaching the AFC Championship Game. In those two seasons, Rivers wasn’t asked to do too much. The Chargers had LT and were a running team. Rivers didn’t throw for over 4,000 yards in either year. In the seven seasons that Rivers has thrown for over 4,000 yards, the Chargers have had one double-digit win season (2009). The three seasons Rivers didn’t throw for over 4,000 yards, the Chargers had two double-digit win seasons, made the playoffs twice and were a combined 32-16.
The more and more as the years have gone by, the more I’ve realized that Philip Rivers benefited early in his career from the players around him. He played with a HOF running back in LT, HOF tight end in Gates, both in their primes, a great O-line who had three Pro Bowlers around him in Marcus McNeil, Khris Dielman and Nick Hardwick. Most, if not all QBs, don’t come into situations like that.
After LT’s last season in 2009, the Chargers have given the keys to Rivers and become a passing team. Since LT left, the Chargers are 46-50. They haven’t had a season better than 9-7 since he left. That’s six years and counting. They’ve made the playoffs once in that period, and that was lucky since the Kansas City kicker missed a chip-shot field goal the last game of the year that season.
The Chargers have lost eight straight division games. Eight! I’m tired of the Chargers being mediocre. I would trade Rivers and draft Jared Goff. Everyone tells me to keep Rivers and get more talent around him. Those same people agree with me that the Chargers had four Super Bowl-like rosters in 2006-2009. The farthest they went with Rivers was to one AFC Championship game.
So even if they get more talent around him, what makes you think he can win a Super Bowl? I’ve watched a ton of film on Jared Goff; I think he is going to be a really good QB. He could end up a bust, but I’m willing to try something different. Remember when the Colts drafted Andrew Luck when they still had Peyton Manning? If the Chargers pass on Jared Goff, when will be the next time they pick in the top 5 or top 10?
I’m concerned the Chargers will continue to be mediocre the next four years with Rivers, no Super Bowl push, and after he retires, will have no QB. That’s my biggest fear.
You can crush me on Twitter and tell me I don’t know anything (@Craigmedy).
The 2016 NFL draft is just over two months away, while the NFL Combine is now only three days from Tuesday.
It goes without saying that NFL organizations are putting in serious overtime to prepare their draft boards in hopes of adding the necessary pieces to improve their teams.
After a seriously disappointing campaign in 2015, the San Diego Chargers secured the third selection of the first round in this year’s draft, finishing with a dismal record of 4-12.
With so many holes all over the roster, the Bolts are in a position to draft the best player available with each of their selections — especially in the first round.
Media pundits everywhere have prognosticated the Chargers drafting a number of players in the first. Having such a high position is a luxury earned by playing terrible football the previous year.
There are a number of players to be drafted by the Bolts who could come in day one and make an immediate impact. Names like Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Carson Wentz and Robert Nkemdiche have all been floated around when discussing the first-round options for San Diego.
Due to the aforementioned holes on the roster, general manager Tom Telesco could be looking to move down in the first round, securing additional picks to supplement a team that needs improvement in several areas.
So, I leave it to you, Chargers fans: Which player would you like to see the Chargers elect in the first round?
Below is a poll and you know the drill. Place your vote and then leave a comment supporting why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for reading and voting.
I look forward to your feedback.
P.S. My vote is for Jalen Ramsey.