The Chargers looked to move back to .500 in Week 10 as they faced the Dolphins at home before heading into the Bye Week. Unfortunately, huge mistakes in key situations lead to the Miami Dolphins stealing this game away from the Chargers.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of another heartbreaking Chargers’ loss.
Tyrell Williams– 5 REC, 126 YDS, TD
With Travis Benjamin out with a knee injury, Tyrell Williams stepped up in a big way, as he has done pretty much all season. You have to love Tyrell’s ability to find ways to get open and his desire to learn from his mistakes. After running the wrong route and getting chewed out by Philip Rivers and Mike McCoy, Williams made up for his error the very next play with a game/momentum changing 51 yard touchdown reception. You almost wonder if Tyrell would have come this far if this team still had Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. None the less, look for Tyrell to get even better after the bye week, sans any injury setback.
Chargers Defense– No Denzel Perryman or Jatavis Brown? No problem. With those key injuries, this rag-tag defensive unit did their job in key moments in the game, especially Korey Toomer who lead the way with ten tackles and one assist. In addition, this band of misfits was able to hold the NFL’s leading rusher, Jay Ajayi, to 79 yards on 19 carries. Even if I didn’t agree with John Pagano’s play calling at key moments, you can’t blame the defense for this loss. The defense kept the Chargers in it until the end and with the upcoming bye week, this defense should get even better; getting Brown and Perryman back from injury,
Worth a mention– Trevor Williams, Melvin Ingram and Melvin Gordon.
In four games with nine penalties on one player, there comes a time where you have to rethink who is out there. It would be okay if Joe was good at his job. The truth is he’s not. In those four games he has been consistently beat at the point of attack, allowing Rivers to be sacked on multiple occasions. With the present bye week, the coaching staff needs to see that just because he is healthy, Barksdale is just not getting it done. Can they please try Chris Hairston or DJ Fluker at the right tackle position?
Offensive Line Pass Protection
In addition to Barksdale, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how bad this line was as whole. For the second week in a row, Rivers continued to find himself looking up at a blue San Diego sky. Three times last Sunday, Rivers was probably wondering if his line would ever protect him. This has been a consistent problem that can only be fixed by a short, quick passing game and running the ball far more consistently.
Philip Rivers– 23/44 326 YDs, 3 TDs, 4 INTs
After the game Rivers took all the blame for the team losing on Sunday as he should have. This team lives and dies by his success and struggles. Rivers struggled a lot on Sunday throwing four interceptions; three of which were in key points of the game. The first one of those three came off of a rare Dolphins turnover, giving the Bolts a 1st and goal at the five yard line. Rivers looked like he just wasn’t paying attention to zone defense as he threw into double coverage for an easy interception. Tough to come out of that situation with no touchdown – let alone no points at all.
The second came as the Chargers were driving down the field late in the game – trying to get in field goal range for a game winning score. Philip was baited into thinking Kiko Alonso was blitzing, As the ball was snapped, Kiko instead backs out into zone stepping in front of the first read. Tyrell Williams. and took it back for the Dolphins go ahead score. Finally, on the game sealing interception, #17 is again looking for Tyrell who wasn’t even open on the play. He forced it, instead of looking elsewhere or taking the sack and live to fight another down.With the upcoming bye week, its time for Rivers to rest up. Get Travis Benjamin back and hoping Williams gets 100% healthy he will try to get this team back into the thick of things if it’s not too late.
Situational Play Calling- Too many times this season have we seen this team get bogged down in the redzone. Why? Because we run the same predictable plays every time we get to the opponents twenty yard line or closer. Where was the screen passes? Where was the quick slants? We ran a screen to Melvin Gordon on a crucial third down and he was able to gain a ton of yards. Yet we only ran the screen again with a failed screen to Antonio Gates. Lets be realistic for a moment: Screens are for speedy and shifty players in the open field. Gates is none of those at the back-end of his career. Quick slants were one of the factors in the Chargers victory against the Tennessee Titans the previous week. Yet against Miami, the offense went away from the bread and butter.
Most of the season, the question most asked is “Why didn’t the charger run the ball (in key situations)? I’m aware Gordon was getting stuffed for most of the game, however Ayaji was also getting stopped but the Dolphins had no problem running it in twice in the red-zone. So if San Diego fired Frank Reich last year for these same issues, why does this continue to happen? The answer is Mike McCoy who seems to have some sort of say in these situations. If this is the case, Mike has to go this week. He is holding this team back from being good or great. I for one have seen enough of this McNorv experiment and its time to move on. I hope that during this time off, the “powers that be” make the right decision and let McCoy go. A change is desperately needed, although I highly doubt this organization has any guts to do it.
Worth a mention– Dwight Lowery
The staff here at boltblitz.com give their takes on what they think will happen vs the Dolphins
Zak Darman: Despite the last three weeks for the Dolphins where Jay Ajayi went off, I think they are a below average team with a very bad quarterback and a soft defense. The Chargers should be able to do what they want vs their D, if coaching doesn’t get in the way. The run defense has been better this season, but not having Perryman and Brown for a second straight week will hurt. If they stop Ajayi I think they win fairly easily. Chargers 31 Dolphins 14
Charles LaFurno: Gordon goes all purpose over 150 with 2 scores. Defense gets a safety and Philip has more touchdowns than incompletions. Bolts win 31-14
Michael Brazeel: Chargers need this one to get to .500. With their new found run game, the Bolts will have a tough time stopping the Dolphins run game. Rivers will do enough against this secondary. Passing for 300 yds & two touchdowns. Gordon will add 80 yds on the ground and 50 in the air with two touchdowns. Chargers get it done 31-26
Corey Decker:Chargers are going to come out swinging. It will be 21-0 going into halftime. The Dolphins will make one last push, but it isn’t enough as the bolts come away victorious. 21-17 Chargers
Laura Leech: Chargers continue to use Melvin Gordon both on the Ground and in the air. Even with the injuries, the defense wins the turnover game for win number five. Chargers stop Jay Ajayi from having a huge game and win. 35-24 bolts
Chris Hoke: Chargers are 3-1 at home this season. Guess what? Rivers goes over 350+ passing yards while Gordon gets 99 yards two touchdowns. Defense gives up huge plays making Tanny look like Peyton Manning. This was a close game all the way until the final gun but unfortunately, the Dolphins get the upset on a last second field goal. 38-35 Dolphins
Cheryl White: Chargers are 6-3 vs Miami. In a game reminiscent of 2015 due to the outcome of Measure C, the Chargers come out with a chip on their collective shoulder. Expect 17-0 to start and in the second half, points start piling up. Rivers hits 350 yds, Gordon has another 200+ day with a TD, Gates & Williams pull in TD passes and defense gets another score. 35-17 Chargers
Mike Pisciotta: Melvin Gordon and the offensive line, still “whizzed off” after the debacle in Denver two weeks ago come out to prove last week wasn’t a fluke. Melvin runs for a buck fitty and adds 35 more yards receiving with two scores. Philip Rivers throws for two more and rumbles, stumbles, bumbles for another. Defense does give up 130 rushing but sacks Ryan Tannehill three times. Bolts win 41-27
Will McCafferty: Assuming the Chargers complete the game with enough players to qualify as an official team, I see them winning a high scoring affair. Expect the Bolts to take advantage of the Fins weak secondary early and build a lead. Once they are up by a couple of scores, look for Gordon to pound the rock and run the clock. Pretty much exactly what happened last week against Tennessee. The Dolphins can run the ball, but so could the Titans and it didn’t help them much. I don’t think Tannehill is a match for Rivers in the passing game either. Chargers 38 Dolphins 24
Greg Williams: The Chargers will finish and roll into the bye week on a high after a dismal 1-4 start. Miami will prove little resistance as the Chargers big three of Rivers, Gates and Gordon will light up the scoreboard. 38-17 bolts win
Here is my take on the three things that must happen in order to beat the Dolphins at home at get back to .500
1.) More Gordon, less Rivers
This sounds bad, but hear me out. Melvin Gordon had his best game of his career last week and its not time to abandon it. He ran with his eyes, rather than his head, for the first time that I can remember. He is on a hot streak and Rivers, according to Pro Football Focus, is playing his 2nd worst football of his career. It’s still at an above average rate, but it isn’t what we are used to seeing.
2.) Get the youngsters involved offensively
This sounds very hypocritical from my first point, but it doesn’t have to. A good balance is nice, and the times the bolts do pass, Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams are your best offensive weapons through the air. They are playmakers and ones you should lean to when you need a first down or need to move the ball in a hurry.
3.) Let the shrug out
Joey Bosa is going to have to be disruptive up front, and a wall in the run game. It’s no secret what Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has done in the last three weeks. The defensive line needs to contain him, and they need to put pressure and let Bosa eat in the passing game.
What are your guys’ keys? Agree with mine? Let me know in the comments and go bolts!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
After trading up from pick 17 to pick 15, the Chargers selected Wisconsin’s running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon has already become a fan favorite without playing a single snap. You all know of the stats, of the record-breaking game he had against Nebraska and the LT comparison. He was a sensational back in college, showing great vision and unbelievable lateral movement coupled with great speed at the college level. He was the top running back on many people’s big boards, and a no-brainer pick for the Chargers at 17.
So what’s all the negativity about? Melvin Gordon has some flaws, just like 99% of the players in any draft class. But Gordon ran behind the best offensive line in college football a year ago, and didn’t have to do much work. Gordon is “very in love with the sidelines”, meaning he will, more times than not, try to use his speed and bounce out of a hole to get to the sidelines and outrun defenders. With a 4.52 40-yard speed, he might not be able to do that in the pros.
Gordon lost 6 fumbles in his last seven games while fumbling in 50% of his games played in 2014. His fumble problems got worse after beginning his collegiate career with one fumble in 2012, then four in 2013 and seven in 2014. That can only get worse while at the next level.
But did the Chargers really need to move up two spots to take him? San Diego swapped their first-round pick with San Francisco and traded their 2015 fourth-round selection and 2016 fifth-round pick to nab him. It wasn’t necessary to move up and lose more picks, for a team who lacks depth and is in a slight rebuild mode. The 49ers were still targeting Arik Armstead and the Texans have Arian Foster and Alfred Blue. There is a high chance Gordon would have still been there. This was one of the deepest RB classes the NFL has seen in recent years. The team could have been able to get impact starters (Duke Johnson, Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, TJ Yeldon, Tevin Coleman) in rounds two and three, while drafting BPA (best player available) at 17. This trade only really makes sense if the Bolts trade back and get more picks.
At the end of the day, the pick was fine. Gordon is a heck of a back and one who can be put in as the starter day one.
Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon? As great as they may be, Gurley and Gordon are far from the only quality backs in this year’s draft. How about Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman, TJ Yeldon, and don’t forget Duke Johnson. These are some of the names from what is expected to be the best running back draft class since 2005. Standouts from that year were Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams and Cedric Benson. Looks like some general managers will be salivating in a few short weeks!
Gurley and Gordon could conceivably be selected in the first round when the 2015 draft takes place in Chicago from April 30 to May 2. Both may very well be starters for whatever franchise chooses them, though Gurley may need time to complete the rehab from his 2014 knee injury. Of the approximate 74 college players who declared for the draft this year, eight might hear their name called anywhere from round two through round three.
So, if you think that Chargers GM Tom Telesco must pick a running back when San Diego is up at 17: I think you might need to reconsider. No question the Bolts need a power running back the likes of which hit the road when LT went to the Jets. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to a guy in round one. There are going to be many high-value players available in this draft.
San Diego Chargers fans – “Trust in Tom” will need to be the phrase once the Lightning Bolts are on the clock!
Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to your comments.
It is no news to anyone that the San Diego Chargers are in dire need of a running back.
In fact, they need a running back that can do more than just take hand-offs from Philip Rivers. They need a back that can also catch passes and convert first downs, as well as bang it into the end zone when the game is on the line. Enter the quick and sure-footed running back out of Boise State, Jay Ajayi?
Weight: 221 lbs.
40-Yards Dash: 4.57 Seconds
Jay Ajayi is an extremely versatile running back, something that would benefit the Chargers tremendously. His size assists him in breaking and spinning off tackles to gain extra yards. The former Boise State Bronco made catches out of the backfield, was a power-back between the tackles, ran outside and even lined up as a wide receiver.
He displays good hands/vision/zone-blocking skills coupled with great footwork due to his years playing soccer. A powerful downhill runner, he plays with patience and is dangerous coming out of the backfield. This is where the Chargers can expect him to be most effective for them as proven by his college rushing statistics: 3,796 yards on 678 attempts and 50 touchdowns (TDs); he made 73 catches for 771 yards with five TDs.
At the professional level, NFL.com has compared Ajayi to Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks because they share a similar body type and running style. Like Lynch, the draft prospect uses the stiff arm to keep defenders away, is a physical runner, and has the potential to be a three-down back.
My projection is that Jay Ajayi will be selected in perhaps the middle of the second round. He has what it takes to be a difference maker in the NFL, and the Bolts should attempt to pick him up if the running backs expected to go before him (Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Todd Gurley (Georgia), and Tevin Coleman (Indiana) are not available.
What do you think, Chargers faithful? I’m good with my choice. Do you feel the Bolts general manager Tom Telesco has Ajayi’s name penciled in on his draft board for San Diego?
Thanks for reading! Please comment below.
Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown. As of right now, these are the only running backs, barring a trade or release, guaranteed to be a Charger at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Without needing to say much, it is alarmingly apparent that none of these ball carriers are the answer when looking for a bell-cow. This draft has many a talent at the running back position and it would be hard for San Diego avoid snagging one this year. One of the names many hope to see in powder blue is Boise State HB, Jay Ajayi.
Projected 40-Yard Dash: 4.57
*All Pre-Combine unofficial estimations
Jay Ajayi had a monstrous 2014 campaign. He put up 1823 yards along with 28 touchdowns with 347 carries which totals just about 5.3 yards a pop. Though this was his best season as a Bronco, this was not his breakout season. The year prior, as a redshirt sophomore, Ajayi toted the ball 249 times for 1425 yards and 18 touchdowns, which is a pace of 5.7 yards a carry. In 2014 he also showed his ability to catch out of the backfield as he posted career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns with 50/535/4.
Ajayi has a great body for a running back, which can be seen via his beefy build. Do not let that fool you though, as he is very deceptive with quick feet and great burst. What I like most about Ajayi is the combination of power and pad-level he has, making him a nightmare to tackle, and almost impossible to push backwards. What I do not like about Jay sticks out like a Raider at a Pro Bowl, he does not run well inside the tackles. Matter of fact, he rarely runs between the tackles at all! He bounces a lot of runs outside looking for the home run which is a trait that will not lead to success at the NFL level. Another concern is his mileage. Ajayi has touched the ball over 750 times in 38 games. That’s 20 touches per outing which has led to minor, but numerous, injuries. He’s fast, but not breakaway fast and gets hawked down pretty often. He also has a few character issues with a couple of misdemeanor run-ins with the law in 2011, and banned from a bowl game the same season, as well as the season opener in 2012.
Ajayi could be an every down back, but in my eyes, his career would last much longer if he was to take on a role similar to that of all the running backs on our roster so: complimentary. While I do not hate on his game, I am turned off by his college usage and inability to succeed inside. Lead Writer and Editor, Booga Peters, has him in the first edition of his mock draft here.
To douse any burning curiosity of who this prospect is, take a look at the highlight tape below:
Thank You and stay tuned for many more draft profiles on 2015 NFL Draft prospects!
Although it is far too early to be submitting mock drafts, I have received a number of requests to get one out there regarding your San Diego Chargers.
It is a bit of a waste of time to do a mock draft prior to free agency, but I aim to please. Hopefully I will do just that with the selections I have listed below.
Let’s get started.
C/T – Cameron Erving Florida State 6’5″ 309 lbs
There is no way that anyone can question the versatility of Erving. After playing on defense, Cameron moved to the offensive side of the ball to man the left tackle spot. After injuries were incurred along the FSU O-line, he was then asked to play center. Despite having not played the position, he unselfishly accepted the switch and he excelled in the middle. A big man like him shouldn’t be as quick as he is off the snap. He is very athletic and he is very good at controlling defenders once he fully extends his arms.
If the Chargers do move DJ Fluker inside to right guard, and they believe that Chris Watt’s future position is at left guard, drafting a player like Erving would certainly make sense. A right tackle would need to be added via free agency or the draft as long as King Dunlap is re-signed. I am of the opinion that Dunlap will receive another contract. Cam Erving is the kind of player that I could see Tom Telesco falling in love with. He is versatile, tough and his performance at the second level is top-notch. He could come in as a starter at center his rookie year.
There may be a possibility of trading back into the 19-23 range of the first round and picking up an additional 3rd round pick and still being able to draft Erving in the first. For the sake of this mock, I will not be including a trade down.
WR – Tyler Lockett Kansas State 5’10” 181 lbs
Do not let his size fool you, Lockett can make plays. He has excellent route running and his speed lends itself to taking the top off of a defense to making plays underneath via crossing/intermediate routes. Some may lock him in as a slot receiver but he has the ability to make plays on the outside as well. Another intriguing trait about Lockett is his special ability in the return game. With a total of 6 return touchdowns during his collegiate career, he would add a much-needed presence on special teams as a returner that the Chargers have been lacking since the departure of Darren Sproles.
Many draft pundits have him slated as a third-round selection, but after the combine he could position himself as a second-round selection.
He has fantastic game speed and his ability to create separation from defensive backs would help in the vertical passing game. A homerun threat would certainly benefit the San Diego offense. The drafting of Lockett could be dependent on whether or not Eddie Royal signs a new contract as he is currently a free agent.
RB – Jay Ajayi Boise State 6’0″ 216 lbs
It sounds as though Tom Telesco is content with having Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown all contribute to the San Diego rushing attack. The fact of the matter is, not one of those runners is a true number one back. Ajayi can be just that. He has incredible balance and he has solid hands coming out of the backfield as a receiving threat.
When toting the rock he runs with good pad level and he has a bit of Gumby-like tendencies as his flexibility is impressive. Being a patient runner, he would fit into multiple run blocking schemes. The Chargers like to run a lot of power-O and Ajayi could excel running behind the pulling guard and picking up good chunks of yardage.
The problem with drafting Ajayi in the third is that he may not last that long. Stranger things have happened and if he is on the board the Bolts would be making a mistake if they did not pull the trigger on drafting him.
DT – Ellis McCarthy UCLA 6’4″ 330 lbs
It is no secret that the Chargers have been in need of an imposing presence at nose tackle for quite some time. Although he adds very little as a pass rusher, if McCarthy were to be added in a rotation with Ryan Carrethers, San Diego may have a solid one-two punch in the middle of the defensive line. He has great quickness for a big man and he is able to take on double teams. His bull rush is above average and he is able to push opposing linemen into the backfield, collapsing the pocket.
On a bad note, McCarthy has struggled with weight issues but that is something that an NFL dietary and conditioning program could help. He will most likely not step in as a starter, but he can provide a solid backup to either Carrethers or a free agent that is brought in to beef up the position.
OLB – Geneo Grissom Oklahoma 6’3″ 264 lbs
With the impending departure of Dwight Freeney via free agency and the possible retirement of Jarret Johnson, the outside linebacker spot must be supplemented. Grissom shows good acceleration around the corner and great athleticism. He is a bit of an unknown specimen as he saw limited action in college. He is good at the line of scrimmage batting down passes and has returned two of those plays back for touchdowns.
Although he is a liability in coverage at this point of his development, newly acquired linebacker coach Mike Nolan could work with him on keeping his eyes on the quarterback as opposed to committing to chasing down receivers with his back to the line of scrimmage.
The drafting of Grissom would be more about the future as opposed to immediate impact. He’s very athletic and there is some hidden talent in there and with the proper coaching he could develop into a solid contributor on defense and special teams.
It is worth noting that Grissom met with the Chargers at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
QB – Sean Mannion Oregon State 6’6″ 229 lbs
Coming from a pro-style offense, Mannion has a leg up on some of the other quarterbacks coming into the draft. He had a sensational junior year under Mike Riley but his numbers dipped a bit as a senior. His ability to place the ball on deep/vertical routes is very impressive, showing a touch that many teams will covet. The ball may not come out of his hand quickly, but he can make all of the throws. At times he has a tendency to throw off of his back foot and that shows that his footwork needs some attention. He needs to be taught to step up in the pocket and deliver the ball.
Mannion would be a project and it should be expected that he’ll need to sit behind Philip Rivers for 3 to 4 years. That would seem to fit the plan that people could expect if a signal caller is drafted to come to the Chargers.
He has good size for the position and when given time in the pocket he can sling the ball accurately and on time.
Well, there you have it. Again, until free agency goes down mock drafts are nothing but a weak shot in the dark. The Chargers have a lot of holes and areas that need upgrading going forward. Telesco believes in paying his own guys and the restructuring of players like Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle and Antonio Gates could be on the horizon. This would supply even more cap space and the team could take care of many of their needs in free agency.
This will be a very interesting and exciting offseason. The foundation for the Chargers to take the next step is in place. It is now time to build around that foundation and prepare the team to make some noise in the playoffs going forward.
Here is where you come in. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Which picks did you like? Which picks did you think were terrible? I look forward to your responses and I would encourage you all to leave your own 6-round mock draft below.
Thanks for reading.