Jeromey Clary

McCoy5

 

Let me get right to the point: Mike McCoy should be on the hot seat this year.

The 2016 campaign begins his fourth year as the Chargers’ head coach and the team has steadily gone backwards under his watch. I really thought he was the antithesis of his predecessor, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

In 2013 (his rookie year as a head coach), we saw the Chargers (barely) make the postseason with a 9-7 record. They beat Cincinnati in the Wild Card round before falling to the Broncos in the Divisional Round. Frankly, the team exceeded my expectations.

Conversely, the Bolts failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. The 2014 season saw the Chargers mimic their 9-7 record. In 2015, the wheels fell off the bus and the Bolts finished with a pathetic 4-12 record.

A lot of people have given McCoy multiple passes. The destruction of the offensive lines because of injury. Every team sustains injuries. Nick Hardwick’s injury in ’14 was devastating, but good teams overcome those injuries. Add to that the fragility of Ryan Mathews and injuries to Jason Verrett, Jeromey Clary, and a host of other offensive linemen, Philip Rivers was running for his very life. The running game was largely ignored by the predictable and unimaginative play calling of Frank Reich. Even Norv Turner had a better imagination than Reich.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that Reich was let go after the 2015 campaign where the Chargers finished 4-12. The blame doesn’t rest there.

McCoy is a terrible clock manager. Several times during his three-year tenure, he has left points on the board by failing to properly manage the clock at the end of the first half. Normally, when confronted with his failure to use timeouts (you can’t bank ’em), his response was a cliché of some babble about doing what was in the team’s best interests.

Not scoring is in a team’s best interests?

And not overruling Reich on his play calling?  Draw on third-and-18, anyone?

Yeah, yeah. Philip Rivers could have called out of said stupid play selection. That’s assuming you have a personnel package you can change out of a play with.

 

 

After the 2014 season, which many consider to be a renaissance for Philip Rivers, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was hired away from the Chargers to be the Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans.  Guess what, kids?  The Whiz is back as the Chargers OC, so I look for improvement in many facets of the Bolts’ game.  I also take this as a sign from heaven.  McCoys days are numbered.  Why else would they bring Whiz back after being dealt the short straw in Nashville?

If the Chargers falter, if McCoy continues his, dare I say, Belichickian arrogance and cliché-ridden, no-answer answers with the media, they have his replacement waiting in the wings. Mike McCoy should be feeling the heat this year. The last thing the Chargers need is a crappy team while they’re trying to rally support for a downtown stadium.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments!

Mike Pisciotta

The start of the 2014 season looked extremely promising for the offensive line. Veteran center Nick Hardwick was returning after questioning retirement, right tackle D.J Fluker was entering his sophomore season, and a healthy left tackle King Dunlap was set to make another impact. Adding to the mix was guard Chris Watt; a third round draft pick in this year’s draft. However, being past the halfway mark and into the bye week, the offensive line has crumbled into little football pieces; almost unrepairable.

Shortly after the one point loss to the Arizona Cardinals on a Monday Night Football showdown, Hardwick was placed on injured reserve; not returning for the rest of the year. Rich Ohrnberger was to fill the position, however injuries have inhibited him to be able to play effectively.  He too has missed some games. The injury bug struck so hard that at one point it left Watt, not a true center, filling the void as the fourth backup to Hardwick. At that point, the offensive line started to disintegrate and show their true colors. The next man up motto almost seemed like a joke.

It should be no surprise that the Chargers are ranked almost last (30th) in the NFL for rushing yards. Yes, the void of Ryan Mathews has greatly impacted the run game, but the guards and center haven’t done a sufficient job at creating holes for the run. In week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Donald Brown had 31 attempts, ran for 62 yards and only averaged 2.0 yards for the game. If you remember, the Bills have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. The run game had no chance. As many know, Johnnie Troutman is the right guard on the line, but does it shock anyone that he isn’t performing well? I’m not at all. Scary enough, Watt hasn’t even been able to outperform him to snag the starting role — as predicted in the offseason. It wasn’t until the Miami where the entire offensive line hit rock bottom.

The Chargers were shut out a few Sundays ago by the Miami Dolphins. That hasn’t happened since 1999 (I was eleven years old). Philip Rivers had a total of three interceptions and one strip-sack fumble. Does it sound oddly familiar to the 2012 season? Before the three game losing streak, Rivers was said to be the league’s MVP contender, but he doesn’t look like that anymore. If you look below, Rivers’ poor play has been due to an extremely underperforming offensive line:

SD vs Miami Oline 1

-Rivers sets up for a pass play on 2nd and 18. Eddie Royal to the lower right looks to be making a route in open coverage and the offensive line looks to be blocking correctly to allow Rivers sufficient time in the pocket.

SD vs Miami Oline 2

-Notice Troutman, turned around, looking completely lost and confused while exposing Rivers to Miami player #79. Fluker is basically playing the right tackle and  right guard position. But it’s becoming more evident that he might excel at the right guard position. As a result, the play ended in one of the three interceptions of the game.

Just as I mentioned, Fluker is being forced to play two positions at once. Do you miss Jeromey Clary yet? This type of play is a disgrace at the NFL level and absolutely needs to be address by the coaching staff sooner than later; if not, the next draft. Could it get any worse? Yes, and it does in the next example:

SD vs Miami Oline 4

-A view of the offensive line setting up for a well needed 8 yards on 3rd down. Antonio Gates looks to be the receiver while lined up on the right side.

SD vs Miami Oline 3

-In this view, Rivers appears to have pocket time to convert. However, the play never ended that way.

SD vs Miami Oline 6

-Dunlap was horribly beaten on the edge. Keep in mind, this play only lasted roughly three seconds. That’s how little time it takes to disrupt an opposing offensive line and quarterback. The play ended in the games only strip-sack fumble.

Lastly, Watt was given an opportunity when Ohrnberger was removed from the game. The rookie’s inexperience was exposed horrendously:

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 1

-Rivers has a pretty decently protected pocket, however Watt starts to crumble under the pressure from Miami’s Dion Sims at the far right.

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 2

-Well, this doesn’t look great. Watt is easily manhandled and left looking behind him while #80 attacks up the middle for Rivers.

SD vs Miami Oline Watt 3

-A very painful looking sack occurred on the play while Watt looks like he is in complete disarray. Rookies will be rookies. However, with the mindset of “next man up”, Watt doesn’t look NFL ready.

An efficient guard and offensive lineman will protect the passer and open up the pocket for the quarterback to see an open receiver. At this point, the Chargers current linemen have allowed the pocket to collapse sooner than desired leaving Rivers to increase his release rate to 2.52 seconds in order to get the pass out quicker. If the line is collapsing in three seconds or less, that ultimately leaves Rivers forcing to throw and converting in .52 seconds or less. Even if you’re Peyton Manning, that is horrible protection for any quarterback.

Basically, the offensive line has looked like the former 2012 line; nonexistent pass protection, no open lanes/holes for the running back and players looking like a lost child in a grocery store. Not to mention, they have been hit by injuries. The sad part, this was just the Miami matchup and more horrendous play occurred well before this game. Tom Telesco and company have many issues to address, and the offensive line is the biggest one. Everyone is pretty excited to see Ryan Mathews return to the practice field, but can the line hold up? It’s going to take more than a bye week to clean up this train wreck.

 

Briana Soltis

salute

Last month, the NFL celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month by showing off the infamous pink on uniforms, towels and various memorabilia. Yet in November, the NFL takes it one step further; celebrating the Salute to Service campaign. If you haven’t noticed already, players, coaches and NFL personnel have started wearing the military camouflage printed apparel and game items that represent Salute to Service. This month the NFL, the Armed Forces and USAA have teamed up to pay recognition to servicemen and women and raise awareness of those that have made sacrifices on our behalf. For the Chargers and the City of San Diego, this month is very special and near the heart.

The Salute to Service campaign has created an award called the Salute to Service Award, presented by USAA, to acknowledge members of the NFL for exceptional community efforts that honor and support U.S service members and veterans. This year, the Chargers very own Nick Hardwick is nominated for his outstanding involvement with charitable causes. He is specifically devoted to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF), an organization that raises money to provide advanced education for the children of Marines and law enforcement officers that were killed in the line of duty. He has partnered up with teammate Jeromey Clary to help launch a program called Touchdowns for Kids in which money is raised for every touchdown the Chargers score during the season; the offensive line will then donate $100 for each touchdown. In 2013, enough money was raised to secure free tuition to surviving spouses and children at California State San Marcos.

Of all the cities in our nation, San Diego is by far one of the largest military influenced; hosting the largest naval fleet in the world. Military bases in San Diego include the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard stations. With so many military personnel, the Chargers make it a point to show their appreciation for the armed forces all year. Back in August, Tom Telesco brought the players and coaching staff to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to practice; exclusive to Marines, sailors and their families. Showing gratitude is the least the Chargers organization could do to support those that have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others.

The NFL isn’t the only one leading the Salute to Service effort. Since 2011, USAA has served as the official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL. USAA works with several NFL teams to honor the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the U.S military by conducting base visits, and hosting military personnel at training camps and Salute to Service games. All proceeds from this effort are donated to the NFL’s three military appreciation nonprofit partners: the USO, Pat Tillman Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.

This Sunday, the Chargers return from a bye week to face off against the Oakland Raiders. If you’re attending the game, or even watching it on TV, try to notice the events that will occur at the Q. Since today is Veterans Day and this month is dedicated to Salute to Service, Sunday’s game will be a very special one. In the past, the Blue Angels have flown over in blazing fury as spectators look above in amazement. Seeing the American flag spread across the entire field sparks a sense of pride in your heart. But most of all, the singing of the national anthem gives you chills as you remember those that have given their lives for your freedom. Pride is all I can think of while holding my hand over my heart, remembering my father and other fallen soldiers this Sunday. This month isn’t just about cool looking jerseys or camo colored hats; it’s about paying respect. If you get a chance, shake a veterans hand and thank him or her; they will appreciate it more than you will ever know.

OL

 

 

The Chargers are heading into their fifth week with great poise and a record of 3-1 being led by the league’s leading MVP contender – Philip Rivers. They’ve been praised and dubbed Super Bowl contenders for their early season success, yet it’s no secret that the running game seems to continuously be struggling in each match up. Averaging only 2.4 yards a carry this year, and with only one rushing touchdown, gives them the distinction of almost last place for total rushing offense. The circling question of who is to blame can be debatable, yet the facts are pointing more toward the offensive line.

When it was announced that Ryan Mathews was going to be out 4-6 weeks due to injury, there was no question that Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead would step in nicely. However, that hasn’t gone as planned, forcing Tom Telesco to make a flood of active roster changes. Brown is now averaging 2.0 yards a game and 6.0 receiving yards. In hindsight, he is playing the role of both Mathews and Woodhead. Yet, how is a running back supposed to complete his job when he isn’t given the proper tools? Let me explain.

The offensive line has made an overflow of changes in just four games played. Nick Hardwick was placed on IR after the Arizona game which required the next center, Rich Ohrnberger, to step up. His performance hasn’t been stellar, yet he has been able to get the job done. However, after playing an incredibly physical game against Seattle, the Chargers found themselves digging for their third-string center to step in. With that said, every opponent that has played Seattle has lost their next matchup – until San Diego.

Already limited at the guard position, and no guaranteed timeline of when Jeromey Clary will be back, we’re left with two great pass blockers to hold the line – RT D.J Fluker and LT King Dunlap. In the last four games, the Chargers have played three of the league’s top 10 defenses: Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo. Keep in mind, Arizona ended last year with the number one ranked rush defense and Seattle’s defense crushed Denver in the Super Bowl with a 43-8 win.

Currently, the Chargers do not have the talent on the O-line to dominate the run game, which leaves the game dependent on Rivers’ throwing arm. With Brown having 50 rushing attempts and sharing the load with Oliver, it’s slowly wearing down each team that the Chargers play.  This eventually tires the defensive line and opens up the passing game.  It may not look too pretty in the boxscore, but the running game is serving its purpose.

Moving into week five versus the New York Jets, the Chargers will need a finely tuned game plan. Currently, the Jets rank #3 in total rushing defense, and #7 in total defense. These numbers are just as scary as going back into week one and two – in addition to an injury-ridden secondary. In order for the San Diego Chargers to defeat the Jets, the offensive line needs to step up big, open the gaps for the run, and hold firm for the entire game. Adding the way Rivers is connecting with his receivers and the defense’s continued success, there are no reasons as to why the Chargers can’t add another one to the win column.

 

Briana Soltis

Gates1

 

The Chargers had a decisive victory against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, scoring 23 unanswered points. It wasn’t always pretty, but considering the health of the team: Mantei Te’o, Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu, Reggie Walker inactive, Ryan Mathews on the shelf, Melvin Ingram on short-term IR and Danny Woodhead lost for the year, it was a mostly well-played game.  I never thought I’d say this, but the Chargers offensive line misses Jeromey Clary.  It took the defense the first half to figure Blake Bortles out, but once they did, it was all Chargers.

My May prediction: “Can you say doormat of the NFL? Chad Henne is a pedestrian QB at best. No more MJD? Not that he’s the player he was a few years ago, but he was their most potent weapon. Toby Gerhart will never be confused for MJD. Their pass rush is getting old (Jason Babin 10 years and Chris Clemons 11 years). Because our boys have a habit of playing to the level of the competition, this game will be closer than it should be. 27-17 Bolts (3-1)”  Well, I got the outcome right and was close on the score, which was better than I predicted.  I’m now 2-2 against my May predictions.

Chris Clemons was a non-factor.  In fact, his name was never even called.  Toby Gerhart was limited to 32 yards on 10 carries.  He also lost a fumble on the opening drive forced by Jarret Johnson that the Chargers unfortunately weren’t able to capitalize on.  Henne was replaced by Bortles and it looked like John Pagano and the defense weren’t ready for him in the beginning. That showed in the first half with the ease Jacksonville moved the ball up and down the field. To his credit, Pagano made the right adjustments and the defense pitched a shutout in the second half with the help of interceptions by Brandon Flowers and Eric Weddle.  Jahleel Addae, Cordarro Law and Ricardo Mathews each recorded a sack as it was clear Jacksonville was out to neutralize Dwight Freeney.

Philip Rivers had a big game going 29 for 39 for 377 yards.  He threw for three touchdowns against no interceptions.  Rivers now has nine touchdown passes against one interception through the first four games of the season.  Keenan Allen had 10 catches for 135 yards and Eddie Royal had five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.  The gap could have been wider if the Chargers could run the ball.  Collectively, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown could only manage 32 yards.  Timing between Philip and Doug Legursky and Chris Watt left a lot to be desired as well.  Too many misfires on the quarterback/center exchange.  They need to get this cleaned up.

Next up, the 1-3 New York Jets who are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.  With being inactive against the Jags, it’d be nice to get Verrett and Attaochu back in action.  There are still three games until the bye week.  Chargers don’t need any more injuries to pile up.

 

Mike Pisciotta

ReggieWalker1

 

 

During training camp I continued to hear the mantra “Next Man Up” from players, coaches and front office executives.  The cynical side of me thought perhaps it was just another slogan that could be splashed on a t-shirt and sold.  Or perhaps a cool saying to put on an edited picture.  I took this catchphrase and used it for my selfish benefit; as a tool in raising my enthusiasm about our Chargers.   After three weeks of the regular season, I feel that I might understand and value what McCoy and Telesco were really referring to and where this motto came from.

Rewinding a little –  After I cleansed my cynical ideals about the phrase, I sat back and thought about it open-mindedly.  With early injuries to Clary and season-long injuries to Freeney and Ingram last year, it would make sense to employ this theory.  I felt perhaps the dunce cap was coming off and now I was able to leave the corner of the room. I felt relieved, and a honestly a little dimwitted.  I realized it was not just a commercialized statement.  It actually had meaning.  However, I had not yet fully grasped the concept.

Going back even further now – back to the 2012-2013 season.  The New England Patriots clinched the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs with a 12-4 record.  They would lose to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Ravens, but they had the same motto – Next Man Up.  All season long they had dealt with adversity, injuries, suspensions….etc.  The coveted phrase would have to prove itself in the AFC divisional playoffs.  Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski re-injured his surgically repaired forearm and a certain running back injured his thumb within the first ten plays of the game.  The backup RB, Shane Vereen, scored three touchdowns and amassed 124 total yards.  The running back who injured his thumb, was none other than our own Danny Woodhead.

Early in 2014, and more specifically last Sunday’s win against the Bills, I saw……no!…I felt what was happening.  It’s not just about being ready to play at any moment with no excuses, it also means producing on the field.  I know this might sound muddled, but hear me out.  Last season there were no Charger defenders who won “Player of The Week.”  Rivers and Peyton Manning played seesaw for the first four weeks with Manning eventually winning the “Player of The Month.”  In 2012, we had one Charger win this honor – Donald Butler in week 4.  This year, we have had back-to-back winners  – Gates and now Liuget.  Next Man Up.   If Liuget is off his game, perhaps Reyes will pick up the slack and become the fierce warrior.  Antonio Gates might have shined in one game, but perhaps Eddie Royal will step up and take a few to the house. Because of this team, this family, this translucent mantra, every player feels that they are next.  They believe in this team, this motto, and they want to be a part of it.  There is something in the air out in San Diego, an aura of great confidence.  Can you feel it?

Fast forward to the here and now.  As many NFL teams have experienced thus far, injuries are attacking without any remorse.  San Diego is no different.  From small irritant injuries to long-term injuries to possible career ending ones, our beloved Bolts have taken a beating….literally. Mathews went down.  Insert Donald Brown and Branden Oliver.  Woodhead went down.  Insert DJ Adams and Shaun Draughn.  Melvin Ingram goes down (again) and insert Cordarro Law.  What can we expect from them?  Only time will tell.  In the past, I would have become pessimistic and hopeless watching our starters go down.  This year, even with our brutal schedule, I am not panicking.  I am not worried, and I am not giving up hope.  Why you ask?  Because….the Next Man is up.

 

-BWK

 

Clary2

 

 

Jeromey Clary is one of the most heavily debated players in Chargers history. He is also one of the most hated among the fan base. Clary was drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft.  After spending a year on the practice squad, Clary became a starter late in the 2007 season. Over the final 5 games with Clary in the lineup, the Chargers went 5-0 scoring 8 rushing touchdowns and rushed for 880 yards. The Chargers with Clary at RT went to the AFC Championship Game. In 2010, Clary won the Ed Block courage award for recovering from a serious ankle injury. What happened after that? Clary played every snap in 2010 and 2011. Let me say that again. He played in EVERY snap in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2012, he played in 14 games. In 2013, the Chargers moved Clary to RG and he restructured his deal. So now let’s see what Mike thinks.

Mike:   Clary’s play was atrocious at RT between 2010 and 2012.  Speed rushers sped past him like a hot rod speeding past a radar cop on a doughnut break.  Bull rushers simply pushed him back into Philip Rivers’ face.  He drew a ton of false start penalties, apparently realizing he was over-matched.  If not for his work ethic endearing him to the previous regime, he may have been kicked to the curb long ago.

Thomas:  Since moving to RG he has improved. After restructuring his contract, Clary is a huge bargain at 1.6 million. Did you see Troutman? Clary is an all-pro compared to what we have on the roster. There’s a reason he is one of the most popular players in the locker room. He plays every snap and can play multiple position something that Telesco admires in his locker room.

Mike:  All well and good, Thomas, but he’s hurt.  As in PUP list hurt.  As in unable to even practice until Week Seven hurt.  He won’t be playing ANY snaps until November.  He’s not a Dan Dierdorf or a Mike Goff that people will be willing to wait for.  His absence creates a hole that must be filled yesterday.  Hardwick is lost for the season and may retire now.

Thomas: The offensive line is in poor shape and one injury away from the Chargers being in a disastrous situation. But it’s a long season and they could reach the playoffs and Clary would help dramatically in the stretch run toward the playoffs. He’s gone after this year, we know that. But Clary right now is one helluva tool in the shed. You never know when you’re going to need him. Watt is an emergency center now. Troutman is getting beat on every snap although it has only been a small sample size.

Mike: With Clary being ineligible to practice, let alone play until Week Seven, the Chargers can ill-afford to wait for him to see if he’ll be able to go.  They have to scour the wire now to strengthen the offensive line and deal with Clary when and if he can practice beginning Week Seven.

 

Thomas Powell and Mike Pisciotta

 

Ghee

 

 

Per the Chargers official website, Chargers.com, San Diego has made the 5 necessary moves to drop the roster count down to 75. The following 5 transactions were made just moments ago.

 

Placed on reserve/injured:

 

– CB  Marcus Cromartie

 

– DE  Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe

 

– NT  Kwame Geathers

 

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

 

– G/T  Jeromey Clary

 

Released:

 

– CB  Brandon Ghee

 

With the exception of placing Geathers on IR, none of these moves come as a surprise.  Though Tjong-A-Tjoe had a strong shot at the practice squad, once it was announced that he had suffered a torn ACL which everyone knew would end his year.

Losing Geathers is a serious cause for concern.  In typical Mike McCoy fashion, the injury was initially downplayed as not too serious.  I actually like that about him, by the way.  I am sure there are very few of you that agree with that.

The injuries and lack of depth along the defensive line are certainly an area that must be addressed.  All 32 NFL teams are about to have to trim their rosters to 53 players this Saturday on August 30th.

You better believe that Tom Telesco and company are ready to mend a unit that is in dire need of such help.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

 

Booga Peters

Clary1

 

 

The San Diego Charger offensive line has been in flux ever since losing tackle Marcus McNeill and guard Kris Dielman to injury/retirement in 2011. Over the past several seasons there have been two lineman who’ve managed to stay in the starting rotation, center Nick Hardwick and guard/tackle Jeromey Clary.

Hardwick isn’t going anywhere this season, but the same might not be said for Clary. The guard position is beginning to get crowded through the offseason maneuvering of General Manager Tom Telesco, and Clary is due some substantial non-guaranteed money. The sum of which is 4.5 million dollars to be exact.

Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger and Johnny Troutman all saw time at guard last season, along with Clary. Through the draft, Telesco took Notre Dame guard Chris Watt in the third round. Watt has been practicing at rookie mini camp at right guard, Clary’s current starting position with the team. Early this week, the team signed Craig Watts, an undrafted rookie free agent guard out of West Texas A&M, after an impressive invite try-out.

Granted, the team needs depth on the line, but no matter how you slice it, it’s more than likely that the team won’t carry six guards.

Although it appeared that the offensive line had truly come together toward the end of the 2013 season, Clary had the third lowest run-block rating for all guards, according to Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus. An argument could be made for Clary’s versatility, as he was the team’s starting right tackle for some time. That argument is dashed fairly easily due to the dominance and youth of DJ Fluker, and due to anyone having watched Clary turn the right tackle position into the right turnstile.

Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris is known throughout the league as one of the best in the business, and is likely the one responsible for the renaissance of the line play last season. If Joe D can turn young wattage into high boltage, (sorry for that) then Clary becomes immediately expendable. As it is, rookies and all, it’s looking that direction anyway.

Clary is obviously happy to be a Charger, is well-liked, and is good for the locker room; when chasing a championship, however, sometimes tough decisions need to be made. Saving the 4.5 million would put the Chargers in a much nicer place when it comes to some thoughts on roster versatility. It’s unclear whether Telesco is considering bringing in any other depth. The option to attempt to trade Clary also exists. Clary is still certainly capable of starting at guard in the NFL and could yield at least some future late round draft pick(s).

As Charger fans saw last offseason, it’s good to have a plan B for key contributors on the roster as unfortunate things can happen during training camp or early in the season. That being said, there are still some quality veterans seeking employment whom would likely fit nicely into the range of extra cap space generated by cutting ties with Clary. Let’s explore some options.

WR Santonio Holmes:

Pros- Big play wideout with a lot of big experience, including one very memorable Super Bowl winning catch from Ben Roethlisberger. Versatility with differing offenses/QBs.

Cons- Does not fit the Chargers’ locker room mold. Known to be selfish and disruptive. May want more money than he’s worth. Santonio has also fought injuries lately.

DE Brett Keisel :

Pros- Coming off of a long and prosperous career as a Pittsburgh Steeler, Keisel would add significant experience and depth along a thin, albeit talented, defensive line. Could be a big time rotational player and mentor, and has a nasty streak.

Cons- There must be a reason the Steelers chose to not bring back this team and fan favorite. Lack of versatility and aging speed likely put Keisel out of the Steelers’ future plans. Can push up field, but likely not effectively get off blocks if the play isn’t coming right at him. Injuries are also a concern.

DT Aubrayo Franklin:

Pros- Spent a productive season with the Bolts in John Pagano’s defensive scheme in 2012. Quick and powerful and lots of experience in 3-4 schemes. Familiarity with some of the young roster and coaching staff. Could line up at end or tackle.

Cons- A hired gun who’s been floating around the league year to year, may not offer much to a young and impressionable locker room. Could be part of an unwanted old regime attitude and culture.

CB Asante Samuel:

Pros- Has a career full of highlight reel plays in big games. Is a ball hawking veteran who could play on any down and be trusted in many situations at least as much as current potential starter Richard Marshall.

Cons- Instincts may still be sharp, but speed and durability may be a factor late in his career. Takes a lot of risks, and can get burned. May be a gamble when Marshall is still productive.

Other possible options:

DT Kevin Williams
DT Isaac Sopoaga

The other lingering option is for Clary to restructure his contract, as some other Charger players recently have done. The truth is that through the good, the bad, and the ugly of his career, Clary has always been a good Charger. If he wants to stick around to see this new team through, he’ll simply have to do it at a more team-friendly price. If Clary is on this team week one, it must speak very strongly of his intangible value to the team, but it will still be all but certain that the clock is ticking in San Diego.

 

 

Peter Silberberger

While free agency isn’t over, the draft is rapidly approaching.  I wanted to analyze what is the biggest needs the Chargers have and whether they address them in free agency or the draft.

Wide Receiver

  • Keenan Allen is a player to build around
  • Hoping Vincent Brown can get back to the player that looked on the verge of a breakout in preseason 2012
  • Malcom Floyd isn’t a guarantee to return
  • Eddie Royal was strong last year but we need more help

Overall this is a big need and given that offense is our strength, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team go after a player early.  However, the 2015 free agent class is ridiculous right now at the wide receiver position.  I expect some of those big names to be locked up by then, but the Chargers could really add a big weapon next year.

Offensive Line

  • Fluker and Dunlap were huge at the tackles (literally and figuratively)
  • Rinehart was a nice addition and played well
  • Beyond excited to have Hardwick back but we need to also groom for the future here
  • Clary is Clary…they missed him when he was out in the playoffs but they could definitely upgrade

Overall, there is a need for depth here if they are committed to Clary in 2014.  Fluker is the key here and he’s one to be really excited about.

Nose Tackle

  • Sean Lissemore is there and played well towards the end of last year
  • Cam Thomas is in Pittsburgh
  • Kwame Geathers is incredibly raw

Overall, this is a definite need.  The current free agents are definitely on the older side (Franklin or Sopoaga) and I don’t think you can use a first round pick on a NT unless you know he’s going to be an impact guy.  Could the Chargers think about moving Corey Liuget inside to DT or maybe just run more 4 D-line sets?

Cornerback

  • Shareece Wright is the one that you are hoping continues to build on the last couple years.
  • Steve Williams gives you hope at the slot
  • Maybe with the emergence of Addae you can move Gilchrist back into the mix at corner

Overall, they have some players but a lot riding on some young players to step up.  Marshall gives them a veteran presence but I expect this position group to be a HUGE battle in camp with all spots up for grabs.

Outside Linebacker

  • Melvin Ingram showed some flashes coming back from his knee injury.  Gives me hope that fully healthy he can make impact plays.
  • Larry English has 11 sacks in 5 years
  • Dwight Freeney is coming off a major injury and is up there
  • Tourek Williams played in 13 games last year, mostly due to injury
  • Jarret Johnson is still a solid player but needs others around him to step up

Overall, they have a lot of players here.  But this group was exposed because of injuries last year.  They definitely need depth, but they also need some luck on their side.

Which positions do you hope the Chargers address in free agency or the draft?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Justin Holmerud

 

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