John Elway

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Per ESPN, Ex-Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl running Jamaal Charles has signed with the Denver Broncos. The deal is for one-year/$3.75 million. The Chiefs released the mercurial running back on Feb. 28.

Going into his tenth NFL season, Charles has had five seasons over 1,000 yards rushing and made a name as one of the top triple-threat running backs in the league. To date, Charles has logged 7,260 yards rushing with 43 touchdowns, 411 yards receiving with 20 touchdowns and 1,246 yards on kickoff returns with one touchdown.

With this pending signing, Denver looks to solidify the running game. Charles has been a nightmare for the Los Angeles Chargers since his arrival in Kansas City in 2008. Broncos GM John Elway is looking to create a thunder-and-lightning type of backfield with Charles and starter C.J. Anderson although Charles will presumably be more of a situational back.

The problem with that approach is the damaged knees in that backfield. Going into his fifth NFL season,  Anderson is returning from a major knee injury (meniscus) and Charles only managed 12 carries coming off his return from his second ACL injury. Charles has torn the ACL’s in each knee.  The first occurred in 2011 and again in 2015. Now 30-years old and lacking the speed he once tore through defenses with at will, how much he has left in the tank for the Broncos remains to be seen. Charles has missed 24 games in the last two seasons with knee issues.

Four years ago, this type of move would strike fear in the hearts of NFL teams and fans. Today, Elways’ love of signing aging, damaged former superstars and desire to create a Peyton Manning-type career resurrection is bordering on comical.

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Hot on the heels of the monumental Thursday morning announcement of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers moving up the I-5 to Los Angeles, a new head coach was announced to spearhead the new Los Angeles Chargers.

On Friday, the now Los Angeles Chargers officially announced former Buffalo Bills’ interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their successor to Mike McCoy. Lynn was a running back in the NFL for six seasons from 1993-1999. He was initially signed as an undrafted free agent running back by the Denver Broncos. He played a season in San Francisco (1995-’96) before finishing his career in Denver from 1997 to 1999.  Lynn has two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led team that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.

Since retiring from playing the game in 2000, Lynn has worked his way up the coaching ranks. After two seasons in Denver as a special teams coach, he was brought in as a running backs coach for Jacksonville, Dallas, Cleveland and New York Jets before landing in Buffalo in 2015. Lynn served as running backs coach until week three of the 2016 season. Bills OC Greg Roman was fired after week two and Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the week 17 interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired in week 16.

Lynn is a low-profile, safe choice for the Chargers. Not much will be expected of him or the team given their recent history.  The Chargers have finished in the cellar the last two seasons, only winning a combined nine games. They made the playoffs once in the four years of the Mike McCoy era.

Despite the fact he has no head coaching experience at any level of football, he is expected to keep Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator and various media outlets are reporting he wants to hire former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to replace John Pagano as defensive coordinator. If the Bradley hire happens, that places two experienced head coaches to accelerate his learning curve.

Lynn becomes the first minority head coach in the history of the Chargers franchise. He is widely respected around the league as a running game mastermind. From 2009-13 his Jets led the league in rushing. Each season in Buffalo, the Bills have led the NFL in rushing. If he can do that with a past his prime veteran like LeSean McCoy, imagine what he will be able to do with a young, budding superstar like Melvin Gordon.

Lynn inherits a roster with many budding stars yet to hit their prime and if they can stay healthy, could make the playoffs as soon as next season. So far, the Chargers have led the league in players sent to injured reserve over the past few seasons. Staying healthy and offensive line stability has been their biggest downfall.

All things considered, there is no place to go but up for Lynn and the Chargers. The stadium drama is over and players now know in which city their future lies. That has to be good for something. Now everyone can focus on getting healthy and just playing football, which may be exactly what this team needs.

What do you think? Good signing? Bad signing? Too soon to care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

#StillBoltedUp

 

The Greg One

 

Follow me on Twitter @LordOfTheGregs

 

 

 

McCoy8

 

It is looking like the desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures scenario has arrived in San Diego this past Sunday.

The most-hated division rival, the Oakland Raiders and their fans, first took over Qualcomm Stadium, and then proceeded to deliver a knock-out punch to the Chargers that had not been seen in, well, maybe forever.

What ever game plan Mike McCoy and Frank Reich had in place, it went sideways very quickly.

How could that happen?!

The team was wearing its powder blue jerseys and, as superstition goes, that beat-down should not have happened!

What I and many other Bolts fans, witnessed, whether at the stadium or watching on television, was a thorough implosion.

I am not going to rehash this too much, it still makes me sick to think about the situation as a whole.

Mike McCoy became the Chargers head coach on January 25, 2013. He was 40 years old then, and the youngest head coach in the NFL.

At one of his initial interviews, after being named Norv Turner’s replacement, McCoy stated that he planned to hire an offensive coordinator.

Perhaps that seemed unusual since it was one of the reasons why he was being pursued. After all, this is the guy who everyone knew had worked with Tim Tebow, helping him to change his mechanics, ultimately leading the Broncos to a playoff win with the now-unemployed quarterback at the helm.

Let us not forget that under McCoy and former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt managed to help Philip Rivers get his mojo back after he appeared to be losing his touch.

What transpired that year for Rivers was him being named “NFL Comeback Player of the Year” in 2013; a distinction that the signal caller did not quite understand as he had not missed a game since becoming the starter in 2006.

Former offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2008 until 2012, McCoy began his tenure there with journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton. Under McCoy’s direction, Denver’s offense ranked seventh in passing and Orton was fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game in 2010.

McCoy revamped the offense for Tebow in 2011 by inserting more running plays into the game plan. The former Heisman Trophy winner (2007, the first to win as a sophomore) responded by rushing for 660 yards and scoring six touchdowns. At the end of the season, he had a passer rating of 72.5, based on an attempt/completion record of 126/271 (46.5%), seven TDs and was picked off once. Tebow led Denver to six straight wins and the team went into the postseason having won seven of their last eight games.

And then along came Peyton Manning in 2012.

McCoy and the playbook evolved once more to accommodate Manning’s potent hurry-up offense. With “The Sheriff” as their leader, the Broncos had a 13-3 record in spite of a 2-3 start. They won their second consecutive AFC West title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. McCoy and Manning were defeated in double-overtime by the Baltimore Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl. Offensively, the team ranked fourth in total offense, fifth in passing offense and 16th in rushing. Manning was ranked sixth with a completion percentage of 68.6, a TD/INT ratio of 37/11 and threw for 4,659 yards on 583 attempts.

That same year, Rivers ranked No. 17 among QBs. He was 338 out of 527 for 3,606 yards (64.1%), had 26 passing scores with 15 picks. The Bolts were in the bottom offensively: 31st in total offense, No. 24 in passing and 27th in rushing.

Ironically, the 2015 season to date reflects a curiously unusual status between the two competitors and their teams: both have flip-flopped in most categories other than the penultimate: wins and losses.

Manning’s Broncos are 6-0 while Rivers and the Chargers are sitting at 2-5. Through the first seven games (Denver was on bye last week) the statistics look like this: San Diego is first in total offense with 430.7 yards per game versus 325.8 and the 29th slot for Denver. The Bolts also have first place honors in passing offense (343.6), while the Broncos are 18th (240.8). Both AFC West rivals rank in the bottom in rushing, back-to-back in fact. San Diego is 29th (87.1) with Denver at 30th (85).

As for the signal callers themselves?

Rivers is first in the NFL with 2,452 yards, adding TD/INT ratio of 15/7. Where is Manning? Well, his 1,524 yards, seven TDs and 10 INTs put him in 17th place.

There are many people who are trying to figure out why the future Hall of Famer is in such a predicament. Is it the new head coach, Elway’s old friend and teammate Gary Kubiak, who is also calling the plays this year who should be to blame?

I don’t think I heard “Omaha” when I watched the Broncos-Chiefs game.

Adam Gase, the offensive guru in Denver for the last little stretch, followed previous Broncos coach John Fox to Chicago. Or is the health and age of good ol’ boy no. 18 in the navy and orange truly declining? I mean, after all, Peyton is 39 years old. He’s been playing football for a long time!

Perhaps the bottom line is that McCoy is a better offensive coordinator than head coach. Maybe for now the short-term fix is for him to start carrying around a sheet, a couple of markers and starts calling the plays himself.

This might relegate Reich to QB coach again, essentially, but if that is what it takes to win, so be it. This team is better than its record reflects; there are many men on the roster who are fighters and can help lead this group on its course. We the fans need more than the same-old, same-old that McCoy reiterates each week because not only is that old news, it just truly sets my teeth on edge.

Whatever “it” may be, this pretty much says it all: “We got outplayed and outcoached in the first half,” McCoy said. “It’s very difficult to have success when you start the game like we did, whether it’s turnovers or giving up seven straight scores. That starts with me as the head coach. We’re not going to sit around and dwell on this.”

Yeah, we know, Coach. What we want to know is: what are you going to do about it?

Thanks for reading!

#BoltUp

Cheryl White

RiversVsEli

Story Written by Chris Curran ( @ccurran2744 )

Rivers and Manning will forever be linked and debated.  The media bias leans toward Manning.  I know it’shard to argue with two Super Bowl wins.  I could counter that if the quarterbacks switched teams, Rivers would have two titles as well.

After 2003, Drew Brees was not panning out as a Charger QB. The local team was picking first overall.  AJ Smith was not very high on Brees and was in the market for a new starting QB.

There were three QB’s in the 2004 draft that were considered first round talent.  There was a quarterback from Mississippi with “Manning” on his back that was pretty good.  Roethlisberger from Miami of Ohio University and Rivers from North Carolina State were considerations as well.

Roethlisberger, or “Big Ben,” was big and strong with a tremendous arm.  He could move and throw on the run with the best improvisational skills.  He played his college ball in the MAC.

Rivers started every game in four years.  He brought respectability to a college program that rarely won anything and was a College Bowl MVP five times in four years.  He was considered an exceptional leader and held a high football IQ,

Manning had the best mechanics and an NFL pedigree that will never be matched.  A solid first round talent, although I do believe if his name was not Manning he would have been the number three among the quarterbacks taken in round one of the 2004 NFL draft.

Archie Manning announced that his youngest boy would not play for the San Diego Chargers.  Archie refused to state any reason for this other than to say the Chargers were not a good fit for his son.  Maybe he did not like the Spanos Family.  Maybe he was not a Schottenheimer fan.  Maybe he remembers the beating, he himself, took in New Orleans on a lousy team and was afraid to have history repeat itself.  Maybe a combination of all three made him pull his Royal ‘Manning card’ to not have his son play for a franchise stuck in nine years of playoff futility.

In 1983, John Elway let everyone know he did not want to play in Baltimore, the reason being his family had no respect for then coach, Frank Cush.  Jack Elway (John’s father) and Cush were not the best of friends.  John Elway spoke for himself to the press and Baltimore Colts.  I lost complete respect for Eli when he let his father do all his bidding.

In 2004 Ernie Accorsi, General Manager of the New York Giants, held the fourth overall picks.The Giants needed a quarterback.  Accorsi, being famous in football circlesfor losing arguably the highest rated quarterback prospect ever.  Elway was lost in a post draft trade to Denver made by the owner after selecting him number one overall.  That pick was against the Elway family wishes. In 2004 Accorsi had his heart set on Eli Manning.  Accorsi relayed this info to Archie early on and later let the press know of his desire to draft Eli Manning.

As the draft approached Charger General Manager, AJ Smith, was about to make his shrewdest and greatest move as an NFL executive.

AJ may have coveted Rivers all along.  He did not cave to a pre draft trade proposal by New York.  AJ held off until his price was met.  He even went so far as to select Eli first overall.  I still remember the constipated look on Eli’s face as he reluctantly held up the Charger jersey and cap with Goodell.

The Raiders selected offensive lineman Robert Gallery second overall and Arizona took wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald third overall, the Giants were on the clock and picked Rivers.  No one in the Giants war room even had the courtesy to call Rivers about being their selection, reason being that a deal was being consummated with the Chargers.  In order to obtain Manning number one overall, the Giants traded Rivers, who was number four overall, a third round pick in the current draft, a first round and fifth round pick in the following year.  The Chargers turned those picks into kicker Nate Kaeding, outside linebacker, Shawne Merriman and offensive lineman, Roman Oben.

As for the 3rd QB taken in round one of 2004, Roethlisberger was drafted by Pittsburgh and has been very successful.  He has two glaring negatives, these being durability and a questionable character at best.

Due to the Drew Brees hangover, Eli had twenty-one more career starts early in his career.  This and the two playoff runs give the edge to Eli.  You cannot take away the results.  Most other remaining intangibles do go to Rivers.  Completion percentage, yards per game, touchdown-interception ratio and quarterback rating are all in Rivers favor.  Both quarterbacks have been durable and have yet to miss a start.

So, if the two Super Bowl wins are the benchmark, lets examine them.  Does anyone think Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, or Brad Johnson are better than Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly or Warren Moon?

Eli’s Giants had a superior dominant defensive line.  An ill-advised pass, and other bone headed decisions by Brett Favre led to crucial turnovers.  A down field heave throw up for grabs followed by a fluke catch off a helmet? These plays led to Eli’s first Super Bowl win.  A 49er fumbled a punt in the Red Zone and a crucial Wes Welker drop led to Eli’s second Super Bowl win.  I understand a win is a win and that is the bottom line.  However, there are always other factors that lead to wins and losses outside quarterback play.

So if Eli gets credit for these play-off wins, then is Rivers to blame for Charger playoff losses?  Rivers played without his pro bowl tight end, A. Gates, and pro bowl running back, L. Tomlinson.  Playing on a completely torn ACL factors in to.  Kaeding missed three field goals in each of Rivers’ playoff losses.  Not to mention, the cluster of Marty gaffes, (fumbled punt, dropped TD, several personal fouls, going for it on 4th and 11, etc.) in the 24-21 home loss to the New England Patriots.

Like I said, the comparisons may never end, but if I were building a team, I would start with Rivers.  How about you?

Chris Curran

 

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