If you were to look up the word “dreadful” in the dictionary, this is what you might find:
- causing or involving great suffering, fear, or unhappiness; extremely bad or serious.
“The San Diego Chargers’ running game has been dreadful over the past two years.”
In 2012, Philip Rivers was sacked 49 times, which was the 4th worst in the NFL. In that same year, the Bolts’ running backs combined for a dismal 3.6 yards per attempt — tied for 2nd worst — totaling 1,461 rushing yards and ranking them 27th out of 32 teams.
Change was needed to right the ship
Signing head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt gave Charger faithful something to look forward to; because let’s be honest, it could not get any worse.
With “The Wiz” working on Philip’s quick release and utilizing a fullback to pave way for the running game, things turned around nicely for the team from America’s finest city.
In 2013, Rivers was sacked only 30 times — 4th best in the NFL — and the running game amassed 1,965 total yards (13th best) with an average of four yards per carry. The three-year playoff drought had ended as San Diego went to the AFC Divisional Game, losing to the eventual AFC Champion Denver Broncos.
After Whisenhunt left to become the head coach for the Tennessee Titans in 2014, Frank Reich was promoted to take over the reins and continue improving the offense. As the 2014-15 season began to sink deep down into an abyss filled with injuries and blame, it was not a shock to see the final results. San Diego totaled only 1,367 total rushing yards, averaging only 3.4 yards per attempt.
The one shining star to emerge out of the 2014 season was an undrafted free agent named Branden Oliver.
The diehard fans remember him well when in Week 5 he ran all over the then No. 1 ranked rush defense of the New York Jets. Getting his chance due to injuries, Bo ran with quickness, tenacity and a toughness that the Chargers’ backfield had not seen in some time.
With Danny Woodhead back from injury for the 2015 season and the Chargers’ first-round draft pick of Melvin Gordon, the optimism of the running game spilled out of the mouths of the devoted. And with the overwhelming hope of anew, the ship was back on track.
Or….so people thought.
Watching the worst rushing attack in the NFL for the 2015 season come out of San Diego seemed synonymous to Thomas Andrews being aboard his mighty Titanic as it sank to the bottom of the ocean.
There were no words.
An inexplicable disappointment, the 4-12 Chargers needed another change. With talks of moving the team out of San Diego, righting the ship was more important than ever.
“Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
- John F. Kennedy
With Whisnehunt back in charge of the offense, things again seem promising. He was the last to utilize a fullback when the Chargers had Le’Ron McClain. Now, added via the sixth round of this year’s NFL draft, fullback Derek Watt adorns the lightning bolt dome. The hiring of Jeff Davidson, whose resume is quite impressive, should spring some new life into the veteran offensive linemen on the roster.
It is unknown how Watt will be used or how well Coach Davidson will adjust going from the NFC to the AFC, but make no mistake about it, there is hope in the Chargers’ backfield. Gordon is out to prove his touchdown-less campaign was a fluke. Woodhead is out to prove he is always a legitimate threat on every down. Oliver, who has yet to fumble the ball in 191 carries, is out to prove that he can excel in any role.
On paper, the ship seems to have been righted in the proper direction.
And it’s destination……Houston?
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
On Monday the San Diego Chargers announced that six assistant coaches have been released. Heading the list is Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich. Offensive Line coach Joe D’Alessandris, Tight Ends coach Pete Metzelaars, Wide Receivers coach Fred Graves, Defensive Line coach Don Johnson and Assistant Offensive Line coach Andrew Dees complete the list.
Head Coach Mike McCoy survived the coaching staff purge and received a one-year vote-of-confidence contract extension in the process.
Someone has to take the fall for this season and the injury excuse apparently does not extend to everyone on the Bolts coaching chain-of-command. Reich did add a welcome wrinkle with the pistol offense, intended to give QB Philip Rivers more time to scan the field and spare some of the punishing hits. With all the offensive line injuries Rivers took as much of a beating as he did when he played under center in the seasons before Reich’s arrival. The short-passing, ball-control offensive philosophy worked for one season and has died with the absence of an effective running game.
Personally, my biggest indictment of Reich was his steadfast belief in his system, unable or unwilling to make adjustments. Without a true feature back the running game needed to utilize space. Danny Woodhead led the team in receiving and had roughly half as many yards rushing (641 to 336) as feature back Melvin Gordon on half the carries (184 to 98).
Sweeps, bubble screens and misdirection plays would have made Woodhead a larger threat that could’ve actually created more running room for Gordon. Secondly, Gordon ran for 2,500 yards in his last season at Wisconsin out of a traditional I-formation behind a fullback. Why not at least experiment with that formula? If Gordon gets half that amount in yardage he wins the Rookie Of The Year award easily.
Lastly, using the short-range, timing-based, ball control offense is a good idea but also takes away a major weapon from Rivers. It’s known around the league that Rivers is one of if not the best deep ball passers in the league. The deep ball has been absent from the game plan in the last few seasons. It’s not all Reich’s fault. The Chargers do not have a receiver who can take the top off a defense with his speed the way a younger Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd did earlier in Rivers’ career.
Of all the names on the list, Reich’s is the most justified. Jackson and Metzelaars look to be collateral damage. When Gates and Green are on the field they were key elements in the offense and produced more often than not. Gates finished third on the team in receiving and Green finished fifth. The receiver corps was decimated with injuries starting with Keenan Allen and continued with Stevie Johnson, Floyd and Dontrelle Inman joining him on the sidelines at various times through the season.
The line coaches have to deal with the players they’re given. Both lines had a shaky year. Both lines underperformed but there was no consistency because of all the injuries. Notable by his absence on this list is Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. According to NFL.com the Chargers finished 27th in rushing defense, 14th in passing defense and Pagano stays on the team while the offense finished 9th in the league and the Offensive Coordinator is fired.
Just or not, there will be a lot of new faces in the Chargers locker room in 2016 on the staff and on the nameplates above those lockers. Let’s hope they’re good ones.
The Greg One
The problems the Chargers have on offense reach well beyond a banged-up offensive line. Granted, Philip Rivers deserves to be anointed for sainthood having to play behind such a hot mess.
Let’s be real, kids. The offense is a complete mess and here’s why:
• Tom Telesco drafts kids who do not fit in this offensive “scheme”.
• Mike McCoy and Frank Reich refuse to change their “scheme” to fit the personnel Tom Telesco has given them.
• Frank Reich is clueless and predictable at the same time.
The first and second points go hand in hand. I give you Melvin Gordon as case in point. Melvin is a 21 or 22 personnel grouping back. This means two running backs, a tight end and two wide receivers (21 personnel) or two RBS, two TEs and a WR (22 personnel). He is not, nor ever has been, a spread formation back. He ran primarily out of 21, 22 or 12 personnel groupings (single setback two TEs on the line, not in pass formation). Sure, Melvin ran effectively out of other personnel groupings, but his strength is as an I-formation back.
When you move up in the draft to get the player you covet, you don’t make him fit your scheme. You adjust your scheme to his skill set. The Chargers don’t even possess a legitimate fullback on the roster. The closest thing to a fullback they have is tight end David Johnson. The last real fullback this team had was Lorenzo Neal. Once AJ Smith and Norv Turner kicked him to the curb, the fullback position has been an afterthought and the running game began its decline.
Gordon’s lack of production isn’t his fault alone. He doesn’t fit the scheme, rather the scheme doesn’t fit him. Blocking has been horrific, that’s on personnel and coaching. Injuries to D.J. Fluker, Orlando Franklin, King Dunlap and others hasn’t helped. Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris has to do a better job coaching up this line. Chris Watt gets destroyed on a regular basis at center. Move him to guard and he gets pushed back into Rivers’ face.
Make no mistake, the 2015 Chargers’ offensive front will never be mistaken for Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick, Mike Goff and Shane Olivea. They just aren’t that good overall. I like the Orlando Franklin acquisition, but he’s hurt. Dunlap is solid and his return will help Rivers sleep a little easier. Moving Fluker inside was a positive and, by far, an upgrade over Johnnie Troutman. Barksdale at right tackle is an upgrade over Fluker playing the position. I said it before, but it bears repeating: Watt is horrible. Telesco and McCoy have failed miserably to assemble a line that is worth its salt.
Apparently, Dean Spanos needs to hire Bill Polian so that Telesco can be good again. He’s looking like the classic example of the master making the apprentice look better and smarter than he really is.
Nobody will ever mistake Frank Reich for Ken Wisenhunt — or even Cam Cameron. His idea of attempting to run the ball is give it to Melvin from the shotgun, up the gut behind the aforementioned Watt and the one-legged Fluker. In D.J.’s defense, on one leg he’s still better than Troutman. That run nets two yards, so it’s back to pass, pass, pass behind an O-line that can’t protect a ham sandwich, let alone an immobile Rivers.
I realize this is a pass-first league. To that, I say “so what?”
Newsflash, Frankie-boy, this line is not your Buffalo K-Gun line. This line couldn’t pass protect against a pee wee football team! You and Mike McNorv talk about balance, so do it! Don’t continue to be an idiot. All that will do is get you charged with murder when Philip finally can’t get up after being hit while trying to throw the ball.
Day eight of training camp is in the books. As Mike McCoy would say, the players worked extremely hard.
Despite the fact that they weren’t tackling to the ground, it was a very physical practice today.
Here are some notes and observations from today’s practice.
– Players that didn’t practice: Ricardo Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Johnnie Troutman. Brandon Flowers and Patrick Robinson did a little work on the side. They were not full-participants in practice.
– Dontrelle Inman continues to impress, making difficult catches look easy.
– The pace at which Philip Rivers and Stevie Johnson are building a strong rapport is impressive.
– Johnson is a very crafty route runner, getting open far more often than not.
– Melvin Gordon is still adjusting to life in the NFL. He has shown a propensity to be impatient, running into the backs of his offensive linemen often. As mentioned in other posts, he has flashed some special ability, but building patience in the running game should be a focus moving forward.
– John Phillips looks much quicker now that his knee injury is fully recovered. He’ll be on the field more than expected during the first four weeks of the season while Antonio Gates sits out.
– Danny Woodhead looks to be back to where he was prior to suffering a broken fibula in week three of last season. He looks very quick in his cuts and seems to be doing great.
– Joe Barksdale seems to be a solid addition to the offensive line. With Troutman out, his reps increased and he held up respectably in both run and pass blocking.
– Daily camp update: Brock Hekking has amazing hair.
– Melvin Ingram is benefiting from playing at a lighter weight. He is constantly creating good push and getting what would be sacks if it was live play.
– Kyle Emanuel looks physical and has made some impressive plays in one-on-one drills again today.
– Craig Mager had two pass breakups on consecutive plays.
– After struggling in pass coverage the other day, Jimmy Wilson rebounded well.
– Regardless of what day of practice it has been, Jason Verrett always stands out.
– Ladarius Green made a few catches, but wasn’t targeted much throughout practice.
– Lowell Rose had a solid day in the secondary, breaking up multiple passes in team drills.
– Jacoby Jones is most likely going to be used at wide receiver more than I originally expected. It’s not that he’s out their with the first team, but he gets open and makes plays when called upon to do so.
– Joe D’Alessandris makes watching the offensive-line drills very enjoyable.
– On another coaching note, Don Johnson spends a good amount of time slowing things down for the defensive linemen, stopping to talk to the group as a whole, often. He seems like a great teacher.
There you have it. Overall, it was a solid day for many of the Chargers’ players. Without getting ahead of myself, there is something about this team that has me thinking that this could be a special year.
It seems as if the San Diego Chargers are still tweaking the offensive line with the addition of tackle, Chris Hairston. The fomer fourth rounder and Buffalo Bill was a restricted free agent who was not re-signed.
At 6-foot-6 and tipping the scales at 330 pounds, Hairston will be one more addition to the offenisve line depth chart. The extent of depth is extremely important for the unit considering the line was the most injured group last year. Additionally, Hairston is versatile and has played both the tackle and guard position. His bulky size and physicality are great possessions to have in pass protection or run blocking situations.
Just before Tom Telesco added Hairston, the Bolts signed Michael Huey, a former guard for the Arizona Rattlers. The offensive line is starting to look like they will be heading into a highly competitive training camp. With only a 53-man roster, men will be fighting for a playing spot.
The signing of Hairston reunites him with current Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. He was also teammates with free agent aquisition and wide receiver Stevie Johnson for three seasons in Buffalo.
What do you think of Chris Hairston wearing lightning bolts? Let us know below.
Thanks and Bolt Up!
“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.” – Ulysses S. Grant
For the first half of yesterday’s 33-14 victory against the Jaguars, it seemed as if we were not as prepared as we should have been. The second half, however, was an altogether different entity. Keyword: Adjustments
San Diego was facing a rookie QB at home. This was not just any rookie. This was the #3 overall pick of the 2014 draft. This kid will be good, if not great. Pagano and the defense appeared not to give Bortles much respect, almost as if they felt entitled to roam around the backfield as they please. The pocket was hardly collapsed giving Blake time to read through his progressions. Denard Robinson looked like a pro bowl back. On top of this, the Jags defense did not seem intimidated. After watching the Bolts first offensive series, I was actually a statue of inconceivable shock. After trailing to the winless Jaguars, the Bolts seemed to take a hit of smelling salt and drove down the field with a purpose; perhaps even a prideful one. At halftime, San Diego led by 3 points and headed into the locker room with modest confidence.
Now this, in my opinion, is where the “W’s” and “L’s” become detached. Can the team make the necessary adjustments in order to overcome the inadequacies that were presented in the first half? Could Pagano master a scheme that would make Jacksonville’s offense look more than pedestrian rather than a playoff contending team? Can Joe “D” and Reich prepare their guys to improve a less than stellar run game?
The adjustments that were made by Pagano and the defense were first-rate. Freeney and Liuget were barbarians pushing their way into the young rookie’s grill. This opened the door to other playmakers to show off their special set of skills. Flowers ran amok and seemed to have a homing device planted in his head as he was blanketing, intercepting and tackling like a Pro Bowler. The defense came away with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions all the while not giving up a single point in the second half. It seems that all the haters of Pagano have been mummified over the last 3 weeks. Pagano reflected on the first half and shut the Jags offense down.
How bad are we missing Nick Hardwick right now? Or Rich Ohrnberger for that matter? The run game has not improved and holes are as hard to find as a white cat in a snowstorm. Donald Brown is a good back, and many fans out there are wishing on stars for Ryan Mathews to return.
The Chargers have played top defenses in the first three weeks of 2014. Mathews 3.09 yards per carry is not as bad as it seems. Would Ryan have had a better game yesterday than Brown? Let the speculations begin. I love seeing #24 out there and I have a ton of confidence in him. The offensive line, who has done an amazing job protecting our QB, has been struggling opening holes in the running game.
The Chargers run game is what it is: a clock-eating, defense-tiring ploy that so far has been successful. Does it matter that we don’t have a few 100-yard rushing games, or for that matter a rushing touchdown? Not yet, but it could prove fatal if it is not brought up to par – especially going against a very good run defense next week against the Jets.
On a side note, I was happy to see Branden Oliver out there. I have been through many debates during training camp about him and while I perhaps have broken my arm patting myself on the back about him making the 53, he is a work in progress. He has the speed and the quickness to compete at this level. That being said, his field vision needs to improve. He will improve and I am very excited for the future of Oliver.
Overall, I am ecstatic about Captain Rivers as well as Pagano and his men. With all the injuries that have been suffered by the Chargers, especially on the defensive side of the ball, I am nothing less than a very proud fan of our Bolts. Rivers is on an MVP track and with the lack of running room, he might need to continue his greatness throughout; a task I am positive he is comfortable with.
Offense – Rivers and Allen
Defense – Pagano and Flowers
We may not be on the field with Philip Rivers but just like him we spent a few years being spoiled by the play of left tackle Marcus McNeil. After injury cut McNeil’s career short, the Chargers spent almost two seasons trying to replace him. When the GM who shall not be named offered a contract to the man the Ravens called the “Big Lazy,” it surprisingly didn’t work out.
The 2012 season was a disaster at the position, Jared Gaither lived up to his former team’s nickname and seemed not interested in returning from injury. With no back-up plan in place (I mean, why would you have depth at the second most important position on offense, right?) The QB’s blindside became the responsibility of undrafted free agent out of UCLA Mike Harris. Let’s face it, most of the season Harris looked like his was guiding people to sack Rivers. Cut the rookie some slack, he had never played left tackle before.
The biggest question leading up to Tom Telesco first draft was who would be the starting left tackle for the Chargers. As the 1st round picks started going it seemed that all the left tackles were going fast. Many pundits didn’t expect any 1st round-worthy left tackles to be left. It would finally take someone who had replaced Marcus McNeil before.
The Union-Tribune’s Tom Krasovic even wrote on April 1st 2013 “King Dunlap, as of now, is the Chargers left tackle and that’s not an April Fool’s joke.” Who? And why was the U-T already dismissing the big guy? Let’s just take a minute (or several) to learn about King Dunlap and how he became a Bolt.
He is not just King Dunlap, he is King Dunlap V, as in the fifth. The fourth of the King Dunlaps was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1969 (which in Chargers terms was Sid Gilman’s last year as coach) out of Tennessee State where his mother was also a track star. His sister plays for the Kentucky wildcats basketball team. Raised with an NFL history and an athletic family King V grew to be 6 foot 9 inches tall and was highly recruited out of high school.
One of the coaches that recruited him was an O-line coach out of Georgia Tech and now Chargers O-line coach Joe D’Alessandris. The two were so impressed with each other that they stayed in touch over the 10 years even though King Dunlap ended up at Auburn where he backed up none other than senior left tackle Marcus McNeil.
In Dunlap’s freshman year 2005, he got his first chance to replace McNeil during an early season game against Ball State. The following year he became Auburn’s starting Left tackle when McNeil became Rivers’ protector. Dunlap started all 13 games for Auburn in 2006 and won the SEC offensive lineman of the week award for game against Tulane where he had a 99% rating. It was a surprise to many that he fell to the 230th pick in 2008 draft where he was selected by the Eagles.
Under Andy Reid in Philly, Dunlap was given credit often for his football IQ but Reid more than once called him his Sixth man. Not exactly the highest praise for an O-line man. During his rookie pre-season he rolled his ankle and didn’t see action until 2010 when he came in for an injured Jason Peters in week 5 against the 49ers. He got abused by one of the NFL’s best Justin Smith giving up 3 sacks in limited play. He did rebound in his second start against Atlanta the following week. Pundits had expected John Abraham to feast, but he ended with as many sack as I did that week. In that first start he also got high marks from profootball focus for his run blocking making an athletic play blocking 10 yards down field for Desean Jackson (who is not exactly slow).
Dunlap never caught on as an Eagle, always playing back-up despite flashes of good play. When San Diego signed him many of the local sports radio shows had on Eagles beat writers and none of them had very much praise for the free agent signing and coming to the west coast. As one of the first moves by new GM Tom Telesco this was not greeted by the Blue and Gold diehards with excitement. With a lot of 20/20 hindsight I think it is safe to say Coach Joe D had his finger on this signing.
I like many of you thought former Steeler left Tackle Max Starks (who signed on before mini-camp) would easily beat out Dunlap for the starting spot. Only Eli Manning’s time in San Diego was shorter than Starks who pretty much walked off into the sunset after that. The rumors from Chargers park were that Dunlap not only won the job, he did so easily.
In the season we didn’t see much of him at first. He played well against the Texans but against his former team in week two Dunlap hit the dirt and had to leave the game. In and out of the line-up with multiple concussions, He ended up missing five games in row. It would be easy at that point to say Telesco had made a mistake, when the their 1st round draft pick left guard was playing in blindside.
It was week 14 when the Bolts were set to play both Manning brothers in 5 days that the King came back. Boy did he! Against the giants Dunlap played like a man possessed. Despite a low snap count for the game he had the highest run blocking grade (+11.7) in the NFL that week according to profootballfocus.com. He didn’t surrender any sacks and only two hurries.
On bolo Thursday five days later Dunlap was the only starter with a plus rating on run blocking (give major credit to Mathews who ran for 127 yards on 29 carries). Dunlap’s two biggest plays in the game are worth noting. On Mathews’ 23 yard TD run in the second half Dunlap crushed Both safety Mike Adams and linebacker Danny Treviathan thirteen yards down field to clear the way for the endzone. The other big one reminded me of his big plays blocking down field for Desean Jackson – this time it was Eddie Royal getting 20 yards on a third down conversation that crucial to the Bolt’s ball hoarding game plan. A good ten yards from scrimmage, Dunlap again put Broncos safety Mike Adams on his back. Royal told Tom Krasovic of the U-T, “To see a guy that big who can run like that, he is a pretty special athlete.”
Dunlap showed the Charger faithful what he had over that stretch of wins but it was the five days of Manning revenge that he shined the most. It was that kind of play that helped Tom Telesco feel comfortable drafting strong on Defense this year. I wonder what those dismissive Eagles beat reporters are saying now?
It doesn’t matter.
Dunlap can hold down the fort as long as he stays healthy. He and my team MVP, coach Joe D’, seem to work well together. All hail the king!
David Agranoff is the wonderland award nominated author of three horror novels including “The Vegan Revolution with Zombies,” “Hunting the Moon Tribe” and “Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.” Follow him on Twitter @Dagranoffauthor and can be found on Facebook.
At the start of the Chargers 2013 season my hopes were pretty low. I have to admit a 9-7 record and a playoff victory did not in any way seem realistic. My biggest concern coming into the year, like many of you, was the offensive line. In 2012, Philip Rivers was running for his life. And that is not a pretty sight. He took 49 sacks that season, fourth-worst in the league. Let’s not forget that the team ranked 27th in rushing in 2012 with a measly 91.3 yards per game average. The conventional thinking was that the team’s woes were rooted in a lack of continuity. The Bolts used nine different starters on the oline and never had the same starters for more than three games in a row. This clearly affected Rivers whose total QBR dipped to 40.6 which was the worst of his career since ESPN created the stat in ’08.
The offensive line was the root of so many of the team’s problems thus it is hard to know where to begin. Rivers and Charger fans were spoiled by years of pro-bowl service from Nick Hardwick, Marcus McNeil and Kris Dielman. It is easy to crucify the old regime for the debacle of the Jared Gaither contract in hindsight. But if you remember what happened when he entered the line (pre-contract) it seemed like the man was what the team needed. I know “that one GM” should have done his homework on his work ethic and it looked like disaster would continue to punish the team for years.
Consider how Evan Silva of Yahoo sports felt when ranking all 32 O-lines before the 2013 season. He ranked the Chargers dead last. It is kinda comical reading in hindsight, “The Chargers are a good sleeper for the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft because they can’t protect their quarterback, and can’t rush other team’s quarterbacks. GM Tom Telesco’s first season is going to be a long one. Both projected starting tackles are heavy-footed waist benders who will get destroyed by Von Miller, Justin Houston, and Tamba Hali in the AFC West.”
What is my point in bringing all this up? Old news, right? Sure, but I want Charger fans to understand that Joe D’Alessandris was our unsung hero last year. My MVP of the 2013 season and every bit as important a change as Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy.
Joe D’, as the players call him, has a coaching background that includes time in the CFL and he told Chargers.com, “Up there it’s only three downs so you’re throwing the ball quite regularly and you have to pick up the blitz because it is a big blitz league. So that was a great, great experience. When I look back on my career that was a good move.”
Nick Hardwick has commented several times that Joe D’Alessandris belief is the hogs upfront need to practice at every position. That is why his squad excelled last year playing in multiple combinations. While coaching for the Bills in 2011, D’Alessandris started eight different offensive line combinations and the 23 sacks allowed was the third-fewest in team history during a 16-game season.
Certainly no one saw this coming. Sure, we drafted DJ Fluker but who thought that King Dunlap who was dumpster dived from the Eagles would play so well? Who expected Chad Rinehart would play well? At the end of the season Profootballfocus.com ranked the Chargers 18th, ten spots up from the spot they held with the same site the year before. Hardwick looked the best he had since his 2006 pro-bowl season, taking 1,075 snaps last year and allowed zero sacks. As a unit last year Rivers was sacked 29 times, 20 less sacks is of course a huge deal (8 of which were coverage sacks, and not obvious oline mistakes). The running backs were tackled for no gain or a loss on just 12 percent of carries, the lowest rate in the NFL in 2013.
Philip Rivers is a pocket passer and the foundation of our offense comes down to protecting him. And as seen last year, the running game certainly benefited from having Joe D’ on the Charger coaching staff. I think it is easy to undervalue the impact of Joe D’Alessandris. Is there a way to sign him up for life?
In a tweet sent by Ricky Henne of Chargers.com, the Bolts have re-signed Chad Rinehart to a two-year deal to stay in San Diego. The signing is not a huge surprise but it is nice to see that there will be some continued continuity upfront for the Chargers.
The details of the signing have yet to be released. The offensive line news that I am most interested in keeping an eye on is that of the status of Jeromey Clary. I find it difficult to believe that he will be a Charger if he does not either take a pay cut or restructure. Now that Rinehart has re-signed, the only question mark on the starting offensive line is Clary. He carries a salary cap number of over $6 million.
The offensive line was much improved in 2013. A lot of that had to do with the brilliant job done by offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Additionally, the offensive gameplan of getting the ball out of the hands of Philip Rivers in a hurry should obviously be mentioned as well.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com for tomorrow’s “official” beginning to free agency. Although I cannot see the Bolts signing any big-name players, I do expect them to be busy adding to the roster. It will certainly continue to be a busy offseason at Chargers Park.
It was announced yesterday that the Chargers signed, former Buffalo Bills guard, Chad Rinehart. The signing left many exclaiming that we had signed the wrong ex-Bill. Andy Levitre was signed by the Tennessee Titans, much to the chagrin of Charger Nation.
However, I did a little research on Rinehart and walked away pleasantly surprised.
First off, he is 6’5″ 321. He is a big man. Although he has played for 3 different teams – Washington, New York Jets, and, Buffalo – he had a stellar 2011 season with the Bills. According to Pro Football focus, Rinehart rated 3rd in the league in pass protection and also ranked well in run blocking.
Here’s the catch. Unfortunately, Rinehart will fit in with a good portion of the team’s roster as he has had more than his fair share of injures. This is a low cost, high reward signing. He has come out and said that he came to San Diego to earn a starting guard spot with the team. He is said to be a quality backup that has 17 games of starting experience.
He also has ties with new offensive line coach, Joe D’Alessandris, formerly of Buffalo.
Tom Telesco has done a good job, thus far, of building quality depth and perhaps even finding a couple value starters for the Chargers.
In Telesco we trust? I can say that I certainly do. But, as you all know, we are still in the infant stages of free agency and haven’t even been witness to what he will do in the upcoming NFL draft. The pressure is on. I’m looking forward to see how Telesco and his staff handle this pressure. We will all know soon enough.
Thanks a lot for reading.