Kellen Clemens

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The best piece of advice I can give a sports fan is this: cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

No matter how wonderful a player is on or off the field, someday either the team or the player will make the difficult decision to go a different direction. The team remains, but the players go through the never ending revolving doors known as free agency and retirement. Remember the aforementioned advise when you look at the following list of fan favorites and impact players who are on the last year of their contracts with the Chargers. Here is the list of the players who may leave at seasons end. The departure of some will leave a hole in the team. The departure of others will leave a hole in fans hearts. So as I crank up The Clash in the background, let’s take a look at who should stay and who should go, as well as what they are making for the 2016 season.

Melvin Ingram (OLB) $7.751 million: Staying: Although Ingram has had to deal with injuries and has under achieved in a statistical way, the future of Ingram seems bright. The addition of Joey Bosa has made this pair of pass-rushers quite a handful for offensive lines. The sack totals are not as impressive as their AFC West rivals, but the fact that the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is a sure sign that these guys are putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. For a defensive front seven to be effective in today’s NFL, there must be two dominant pass rushers and a strong Nose Tackle. Ingram, Bosa and Mebane fit the bill for now. Ingram will be pursued by other teams, but expect the Chargers to overpay a little to keep their former first round draft pick around for the next three to four years.

Danny Woodhead (RB) $5.5 million: Going: I want to be clear about something here. Danny Woodhead is a wonderful player who can be a spark-plug for an offense, and a true leader. But along with his greatness is a serious problem. Since joining the Chargers, Woodhead has only played in 37 of the 64 games he was eligible to participate in. He has had two full seasons and two cut seriously short by injury, including the 2016 campaign. Not only does Woodhead have a hard time staying healthy, he is 31 years old. Not many running backs maintain their effectiveness for long after age 30. I’m sorry to say, the Chargers will move on from Woodhead. He will either sign somewhere as a free agent for the 2017 season, or hang up the cleats. Of course, there is the possibility that the Chargers would try to sign him at a discounted price on the chance that he will stay healthy. Unfortunately, he will most likely find a better offer somewhere else.

Mantai Te’o (MLB) $5.172 million: Going: Te’o is another player who has been plagued by injuries during his time in San Diego. By seasons end, he will have played in just 38 of a possible 64 games, over his four season tenure with the Bolts. He has been improving every year, and the improvement of the defensive line has helped him scrape down the line and get to ball carriers. But, it hasn’t helped his foot-speed, or ability to cover backs in the flat. Look for opposing quarterbacks to pick on Te’o on third and long. The fact is, Te’o will go down in Chargers history as a borderline bust. Nice enough guy, just not a great football player.

Jahleel Addae (SS) $2.553 million: Going: Chargers fans seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for SS Jahleel Addae. Why? Because he is a hitter! Fans love players who come in and lay some hat on opposing teams. Addae certainly does just that. He has been a Charger for four years and has quite the reputation for having no fear. The problem is that all those hits have really taken a toll on Addae’s body. In fact, he has had several injuries, including concussions. Having only played 43 of his possible 54 games so far as a Charger, there must be concern that he will spend more and more time on the injured list. He is fairly inexpensive, but you do not want to pay anyone to ride out injuries. I believe that if Addae fails to get through the remaining five games of the 2016 schedule without incident, the Chargers will have no choice but to let him go.

Branden Oliver (RB) $1.53 million: Staying: Normally I would have said that a player who really hasn’t done very much, and has missed an entire season to injury, would not be returning. In Oliver’s case, I think the Chargers may take one more chance. He is the epitome of a fan favorite. Bolt fans just love watching Oliver run/return the ball and bang into those large defenders. Yes, Oliver plays larger than his 5’8″, 208 lb frame. He is such a fan favorite, some fans wanted Melvin Gordon either cut, or dropped to second string, so that Oliver could get his chance. The fact of the matter is that despite a few impressive games, Oliver does not have the stats to explain the love he receives. That being said, the Bolts may just bring him back because he will be cheap and the fans love him.

Korey Toomer (OLB) $600,000: Staying: It could be a little premature to add Toomer to this list, but he has been an impact player since joining the team in week four. With his playing time increasing, Toomer has racked up 33 tackles in the last three weeks! He is an aggressive player who likes to hit. The Seahawks and the Raiders are going to regret letting this guy go. Look for Toomer to get another two the three years added to his already very affordable contract.

Dontrelle Inman (WR) $600,000: Staying: Without a whole lot of playing time, Inman has managed to have some big games. He is a sure-handed receiver that was plucked from the Canadian Football League to fill in for injured receivers. Although much of the success of the young Chargers receivers can be credited to Philip Rivers, there is no denying that Inman has the ability to get open and catch the ball. He just may be part of a talented youth movement at wide receiver in San Diego.

There are many more players to make decisions on at the end of this season. Very few are notable. None are tremendous impact players or former high draft picks. Even though these names seem less important, some of them will return because they are affordable and they add much needed depth. The following is a list of players who will most likely be brought back to fill various roles: Mike Windt (LS), Tenny Palepoi (NT), Sean McGrath (TE), Damion Square (NT), and Isaiah Burse (WR/KR), Kenny Wiggens (G).

Finally, the list of potential free agents who are either doomed to be shown the door, or will fight hard and get back on the team: Sean Lissemore (NT), Tourek Williams (OLB), Trevor Williams (CB), Asante Cleveland (TE), Adrian Phillips (FS), Kellen Clemens (QB), Javontee Herndon (WR), Codero Law (OLB), Jeff Cumberland (TE), Dexter McCluster (RB/KR), Ronnie Hillman (RB),  Jeremy Butler (WR), Geremy Davis (WR), Tyreek Burwell (T), Chris Landrum (OLB). Some of these guys have a real shot at making the team next year, they just will not be high priorities for Chargers GM Tom Telesco.

So, what do you think? Which of these guys will be sporting lightning bolts next season? Leave your comments below.

 

 

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Rookie punter and 2016 sixth-round pick Drew Kaser had a game to forget against the Oakland Raiders in Week 5.

The former Aggie botched a punt late in the third quarter of the game, netting only 16 yards on the punt and setting up the Raiders for what would be a touchdown in the early part of the fourth quarter.

Though that gaffe was excruciatingly difficult to watch, his next error was even more depressing.

The Chargers, after fighting back to get within a field goal of the Raiders, worked their way into field-goal territory with just about a minute left in the game, positioning kicker Josh Lambo for a 36-yard field-goal attempt.

The special teams unit lines up…. the ball is snapped…. and the holder, Kaser, muffed the snap and the game would end in a 34-31 loss, as the Raiders ran out the remaining time on the clock.

This performance by Kaser has fans murmuring about bringing back the organization’s best punter of all-time, Mike Scifres.

Obviously, Kaser is not even close to the only reason why the Bolts lost that game. There were many other factors which helped to contribute to another gut-wrenching loss.

On Wednesday, head coach Mike McCoy announced that second-string quarterback Kellen Clemens will be taking over holding duties for the Chargers, replacing Kaser, who once was the holder for Lambo while the two were teammates at Texas A&M.

Clemens had been a holder earlier in his career with the Jets, and he said that he’s been practicing holds often.

“You stay ready for everything,” Clemens said via The San Diego Union-Tribune, who fielded long snaps from Mike Windt after practice Tuesday. “I took some holds today, but I’ve been taking holds every week, just nobody has been paying attention.”

After having a strong preseason where Kaser was booming punts down the field for an average of over 54 yards per punt, the rook has struggled mightily during the regular season, averaging only 39.1 yards per punt.

In a game where field possession is so critical to a team’s success, 39 yards per punt is not good enough.

Though the Chargers are taking away Kaser’s job as the holder, he will remain the club’s punter, for now. Should the youngster continue to struggle, don’t be surprised if the Bolts bring in some free-agent veterans to workout for the position.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Dave Booga Peters

 

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After blowing a huge lead in Week 1, much was made of this team for not finishing the game against the Chiefs. As the Bolts jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead once again. This time the lead would not be relinquished, as the Chargers seemed to be fired up in front of their home crowd completely, embarrassing a Jaguars’ team that looked to show a lot of promise last week against a good Packers’ squad.

The main story in this is Melvin Gordon. Ken must’ve learned from last week as he fed Gordon early and often late into the 4th quarter. This would be the main stay of the offense after the Bolts suffered another huge loss as Danny Woodhead went down with a knee injury (it’s being reported on Monday that Woodhead suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport). With Gordon being fed, he didn’t disappoint, scoring a touchdown in his second straight game and racking up his first career 100-yard rushing game.

Defensively, the John Pagano’s unit played lights out. Don’t let the score fool you. This defense stepped up big time! The San Diego secondary blanketed the talented receiving corps of the Jags. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram showed up big, sacking Blake Bortles twice. It appears as though the free-agent acquisition of Casey Hayward is already paying huge dividends, picking off Bortles two times and stopping what could’ve been a huge red zone opportunity for the Jags early. If one thing is for sure when this defense plays like this you can see why we were all excited for this team in the off-season.

MVPs of the game:

Philip Rivers– If you questioned how Philip would do without Keenan Allen, those questions were quickly put to rest, as Rivers was at his best as he usually is against the Jags. Rivers completed 17-24 for 220 passing yards and four touchdowns; just another day at the office for Rivers. The veteran signal caller once again proved this offense still relies on the arm of Rivers to get things done.

Travis Benjamin– I would be fool if i didn’t mention this man. He completely torched the jaguars secondary for six receptions for 115  and two scores. Getting Travis going with the loss of Keenan Allen was huge. With the way they showed cased him, this Chargers’ receiving corps looks to still be dangerous, even without Allen. I’m excited to see how they build on this going forward.

The whole back-end of Bolts’ Defense– I already pointed out how good Hayward was on Sunday. How about this unit as a whole? The secondary was flying to the ball, being really aggressive. The Jags looked like they were scared to throw to Verrett’s side for the vast majority of the game. Flowers was solid when he had to be; even Addae lead this team in tackles for the day before going down with a shoulder injury in the 4th.

Tyrell WilliamsThe youngster is looking like the second coming of Malcom Floyd. Williams had a fantastic day with three receptions for 63 yards and scoring a huge 44-yard touchdown, busting through multiple tackles to break into the endzone for his first TD of 2016. He could be so dangerous going forward, especially with Benjamin having a breakout game of his own.

Honorable mentions – Drew Kaser, Manti Teo, Matt Slauson, Antonio Gates and Darrell Stuckey

Bums of the game

Joey Bosa – Everyone who has read my prior pieces knows how high I am on Joey. Still, he has yet to see the practice field in pads yet. Should we think of this as a red-shirt year for Bosa? Uh, no. The Chargers are paying this kid too much money to not see him play a snap. Look for Bosa to start seeing game snaps when this team plays the Broncos in Week 6, if not sooner.

Isaiah Burse  I know the expectations on him weren’t suppose to be really high. The guy was a ghost in this game, though. Perhaps that’s because he was supposed to be mainly on kick returns and they only had three today. Even in garbage time Burse was nowhere to be found. It wouldn’t hurt to change things up and see him take snaps from fellow wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (who I’ve never been overly high on). With all the injuries to this offense, head coach Mike McCoy may want to limit Benjamin’s Involvement in special teams, possibly leading to more of Burse.

The seat still burns for McNorv

Like I’ve already said, this game was even worse for the Jaguars than the score let on, meaning we didn’t have to deal with the curious case of Mike McNorv. He rarely had to make any game-management decisions. The only exception I can think of was on the 4th-and-2 play in the first half near the goal line where Philip ran a hard count and drew the Jags offsides. If Rivers didn’t draw them of,f you know “Field goal Mike” would’ve struck again. He was bailed out by his veteran quarterback and the hardest decision he had was when to put Kellen Clemens in. Until he proves otherwise, McNorv and his goons will remain on notice all season.

 

In closing, overall this game being compared to last week is like day and night. This team did exactly what it should’ve done by beating the Jaguars. Hopefully this game is a template on how the Chargers will win games going forward. Any given Sunday, though.

Now we’re on to Indianapolis in Week 3!

Go Bolts!

@supercharged17

Chris Hoke

 

**featured image credit to Chargers.com

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The San Diego Chargers host the Arizona Cardinals for a week of practice leading up to their game Friday. The Cardinals begin practice at Chargers Park on Tuesday after having their home turf taken over by Guns N’ Roses’ massive arena tour on Monday. On Tuesday, practice will be at Qualcomm Stadium, Wednesday at Chargers Park. Both teams will take the day off Thursday to rest before the game Friday.

The joint practice will be a nice change-of-pace for both teams. Undoubtedly, they’re all tired of hitting each other in practice. One could expect the intensity level of practice to heighten with men in different colored jerseys on the opposite sideline. This will be a big week for the players fighting to make the roster.

Living in Phoenix, I have heard plenty of juicy tidbits coming from the Cardinals’ side of the ball. The Arizona Cardinals are a Super Bowl favorite and a great way for the Chargers to test themselves against one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the league. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians expressed his respect for Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy on local radio Monday and talked about the joint practice.

“That’s the one thing, I enjoy working with Mike McCoy because we have the same philosophy.” Arians said. “We wouldn’t practice any different. We wouldn’t hit a guy going over the middle on our team in practice; we won’t hit one of their guys going over the middle. We always stay away from the quarterback.” Arians continued.

“It’s creating competition but it’s practice, and we’ve got 180 guys on the same team for three days. Then we’ll play them in the game and all bets are off.” Arians said on the Doug and Wolf morning radio show Monday.

More interestingly, Cardinals’ General Manager Steve Keim was also on the radio Monday talking about the road trip and made no bones about the fact he was looking to wheel and deal if the opportunity presents itself.

“I reached out to Tom Telesco last night and he and I will get together before practices start and talk about both of our rosters,” Keim started. “See where our deficiencies are you know; in hopes that you can always talk about, hey, is there an area where we can help each other improve?” Keim stated.

This kind of talk goes on behind-the-scenes at every joint practice if the front office is worth their salt. There are two 90-man rosters full of guys playing their hardest to showcase their talents for their current team and whomever else may be watching. What’s curious about this case is that Keim, who does a radio segment every week in Phoenix, has made it no secret over the past two weeks that he will be actively pursuing a healthy exchange of ideas and hopefully players during this trip to San Diego.

Sounds like the Chargers have something the Cardinals want…

Let’s look at the possibilities. The Cardinals have a wealth of depth at their defensive line, wide receiver, secondary and running back positions. They are lacking on their offensive line, especially at right tackle. The Cards are currently starting D.J. Humphries. Humphries was their first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Arians listed Humphries as inactive for every game last season because of his inability to grasp the playbook and laziness on the practice field. Humphries earned the unfortunate nickname “knee-deep” referring to Arians’ disposition with Humphries in 2015.

Arizona’s deficiencies at linebacker have been hidden due to the effectiveness of the secondary and defensive line. If the Cardinals plan on carrying a third quarterback, it won’t be NFL journeyman Matt Barkley or Jake Coker, an undrafted free agent signee out of Alabama. Both quarterbacks have been unimpressive in camp and in their first preseason game.

San Diego has an abundance of talent at linebacker where they currently have 15 linebackers on their roster. The Chargers also have better depth at tight end, quarterback and offensive tackle. The possibilities for a talent exchange is endless but I will give you five names to watch.

RB Andre Ellington: The Cardinals drafted Ellington in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Lower leg and foot injuries have derailed what was a phenomenal start to his career. Ellington is finally back to full strength from his injuries but with Chris Johnson (who led the NFL in rushing yards before he went down to injury in 2015), the emergence of David Johnson, Stepfan Taylor (considered the best pass protector of the group) and Kerwynn Williams on board, Ellington may be the odd man out. Ellington would be a great insurance policy for Melvin Gordon and he is an electrifying return man as well. Just how fast is Ellington? He ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 4.51-seconds with a pulled hamstring!

QB Mike Bercovici and G Vi Teofilo: Both of these men played their college ball right down the I-10 at Arizona State University. Bercovici has been the most impressive of the quarterbacks the Chargers have brought in during the offseason. Kellen Clemens and Zach Mettenberger are likely to be second and third on the quarterback depth chart unless Telesco sees enough promise in Bercovici to make one of the two expendable. Teofilo is a 6″3′-inch, 315-pound guard who fills a need for depth at that position.

CB Justin Bethel: In a very crowded Cardinals’ secondary room, Bethel has sat on the sidelines with a foot injury and watched as his job is threatened by rookie third-round pick Brandon Williams. Williams has wowed the coaching staff with one head-turning practice after another and is making the most of his quick ascension to the first team.

Bethel was a key piece of the Cardinals’ 2015 secondary as the number two cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. With Peterson locking down his side of the field, lots of balls came Bethels’ way and he was up to the task with 46 combined tackles, nine passes defensed, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles. Bethel was signed to a three-year, $15-million dollar contract extension in the offseason and made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year in 2015 as a special-teamer. Arians has a reputation for his disdain for players in the trainers’ room. Bethel could be moved if the price is right.

ILB Manti Te’o: Manti isn’t on the bubble but this is a contract year for him. Many stories are afloat about Te’o finally coming into his own as a leader. Foot injuries limited his effectiveness in his first two seasons but he finally showed what he is capable of in 2015 as he led the Chargers in tackles with 107 combined tackles. Te’o had a strong finish to his 2015 season, especially after Denzel Perryman was promoted to starter midway through the season. The two had an unspoken chemistry and played well off each other.

Why would the Chargers let him go now?

Te’o leaves you wanting more and not necessarily in a good way. Every missed tackle, every time a receiver catches a ball right in front of him, every time he’s left behind by a running back we shake our heads in frustration. To his credit, 2015 was hands down the best we’ve seen of him. However, there is a reason Telesco hasn’t offered him an extension when he has been diligently signing the Chargers’ core players to multi-year deals.

A Te’o-for-Bethel deal works for both sides.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TrainingCamp2016

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The news of the week for the San Diego Chargers was the acquisition of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The Bolts claimed him off waivers Tuesday and released quarterback Bryn Renner to make space on the roster.

With Mettenberger in the fold that makes three quarterbacks at camp vying for the back-up quarterback position behind Philip Rivers. Kellen Clemens and undrafted free agent Mike Bercovici are the other quarterbacks filling out what will be a very interesting camp battle.

Mettenberger, 24, was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Titans. Standing 6’5″, 224 pounds, Mettenberger was a standout quarterback at LSU. Moving into the starting lineup in his junior season, Mettenberger excelled right away. In leading the Tigers to a 10-3 (6-2 in the SEC) season, Mettenberger went 207-352 for 2,609 yards, 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. They lost by one point in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to Clemson 25-24. LSU finished 12th in the Coaches Poll and 14th in the Associated Press Poll that year.

In his senior season, Mettenberger made another quantum leap forward. Although they duplicated their record from the previous season at 10-3 (5-3 vs. the SEC), Mettenberger went 192-296 for 3,082 yards, 22 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Tigers finished 14th in the AP and Coaches Poll as a result.

According to his 2014 draft profile on numerous NFL sites including NFL.com and WalterFootball.com, Mettenberger’s strengths are his outstanding arm strength, size, field vision and working from a pro-style offense in college. In his senior season he had a new offensive coordinator in Cam Cameron calling his plays. Cameron had just left the same position for the San Diego Chargers that offseason. Cameron’s arrival was key in Mettenberger’s senior year explosion.

Mettenberger’s perceived weaknesses were his footwork, work-ethic, long delivery and needing to improve his accuracy. For all intents and purposes Mettenberger had second-round talent. The main catalyst in his plunge into the late rounds was an ACL injury he suffered in the final game of the 2013 regular season. The injury prevented Mettenberger from participating in the NFL Combine. He did shine at LSU’s Pro Day where he completed 90% of his 125 passes.

The discussion of who the heir apparent to Philip Rivers should be has raged on for multiple seasons. We all know Scott Tolzien, Brad Sorensen, Kellen Clemens and Charlie Whitehurst were never going to be the answer to that question.

Mettenberger already has the advantage of knowing the system of new Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt was the head coach for the Titans for both of Mettenbergers’ years in Nashville. The last time the Chargers made the playoffs was the one year Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator. The Chargers leaped from 31st to 5th in total offense in that season. Tennessee offered him their head coach position immediately after the season. He was fired halfway through his second season as head coach.

Whisenhunt brought John McNulty with him from Tennessee to be the Bolts new tight ends coach. McNulty was Mettenbergers’ quarterbacks coach in Tennessee. In a new interview with Ricky Henne of Chargers.com his had this to say about reuniting with his old coaches:

“I was definitely relieved to come to a situation where the future looks good for me. That was a long 24 hours to be waiting so it was great to hear his voice.” Mettenberger was speaking of Ken Whisenhunt, who called Mettenberger immediately after the waiver claim was official. Mettenberger continued. “The first thing he asked me was if I still remember the playbook. Fortunately, I know it really well. He was really excited to get back to work with me. He was the one who drafted me, so it’s worked out really well. It’s awesome to be back with Coach Whiz and Coach McNulty.”

Did the Chargers just stumble onto their quarterback of the future?

Pessimists will point to the fact that Mettenberger is 0-10 as a starting quarterback in the NFL. That is true. What also can’t be disputed is how awful the Tennessee Titans have been over the past two seasons. The Titans were 2-14 the season Mettenberger was drafted and 3-13 in 2015. The Titans ranked 25th or lower in the NFL in rushing yards, passing yards, points for and points against.

Mettenberger had a better offense at LSU than he had in Tennessee. At least at LSU he had Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to catch the ball. Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill were chewing up yards running the football.

Mettenberger is in an ideal situation in San Diego. With his knowledge of the offense and coaches he already has a leg up on Clemens and Bercovici. He now has a better team and an elite, veteran NFL quarterback as a mentor. Rivers’ contract ends at the conclusion of the 2019 season. In three seasons Mettenberger will be 27 and ready to step into the starting spot. There is no pressure to produce right away as there was in Tennessee.

We’ve seen this situation play out with great success when you consider stars like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Rivers himself. All of them watched from the bench for a season or more before their number was called. All of them will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio one day.

The reset button has been pushed on Zach Mettenberger’s career. For the first time since the departure of Drew Brees there appears to be a capable second-in-command waiting in the wings. Is Mettenberger that man? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#Nextmanup

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The Chargers announced via the team’s official website that they have claimed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger off waivers on Tuesday, waiving quarterback Bryn Renner in a corresponding move.

 

 

 

This signing makes all of the sense in the world, as Mettenberger has familiarity with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and tight ends coach John McNulty. The latter served as Mettenberger’s quarterbacks coach in Tennessee.

The former Titan is not going to light up the scoreboard or box score as a passer, but he does provide the Chargers with a developmental prospect behind starting signal caller Philip Rivers.

With Mettenberger now in the fold, one can wonder what may happen to veteran back-up QB Kellen Clemens. If the Bolts like what they see early on in Mettenberger, they may eventually decide to cut ties with Clemens prior to the start of the regular season.

Entering his third season in the NFL, the 24-year-old has thrown for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games played.

 

Booga Peters

 

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The Chargers announced on Wednesday that they have waived quarterback Brad Sorensen.

Sorensen, a former seventh-round selection in the 2013 draft, never threw a pass in a regular season game for the Bolts.

The team recently added former North Carolina Tar Heel Bryn Renner to the fold, making Sorensen expendable.

Though the team sits with Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens and Renner as their quarterbacks, it should not be a surprise should the team add a quarterback in the upcoming draft.

The organization should be looking to find the next passer to groom and, eventually, replace Rivers when his storied Chargers’ career comes to a close in a few years.

Sorensen was a fan darling during his preseason efforts as a Bolt.

Personally, I was never a fan of Sorensen, especially in comparison to the fans who believed that he was the heir apparent to Rivers.

Once Sorensen clears waivers, the free agent quarterback will be free to sign with any team his heart desires.

 

Booga Peters

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When 80% of the league shows up to see you work out, that’s a good thing. For quarterback Paxton Lynch, formerly of the Memphis Tigers, that was the case on Wednesday. At his Pro Day workout, 26 of the 32 NFL teams had representatives present.

That’s a good problem to have.

Lynch is widely regarded as the third-best quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft behind University of California stud Jared Goff and North Dakota State University signal caller Carson Wentz.

Per ESPN, Lynchs’ Pro day workout consisted of 70 scripted passes, of which only 10 were scheduled to be from the shotgun formation. Lynch operated from shotgun his entire tenure at Memphis. In eschewing the shotgun, Lynch intended to show he can effectively run a pro-style offense which requires operating predominantly from under center.

Lynch held his workout outdoors with thunderstorms on the horizon, causing the workout to be moved up 45 minutes. In the elements, most particularly 25-mile-per-hour swirling winds, he completed 57 of his 69 attempts.  Lynch’s agent, the legendary Leigh Steinberg, described the workout as “pretty spectacular.”

What else would you expect an agent to say?

However, the fact Lynch did not cancel his workout given his throwing conditions speaks volumes. Conditions like that are going to happen in the NFL. His ability to hit those passes only increases his draft stock. Lynch will be given a pass for his missed passes but will be given extra credit due to his accuracy. It’s a brilliant play from what looks to be a very intelligent, well-prepared quarterback.

Now the hard part begins.

Those 26 teams are going to want to see Lynch in person and put him through their own drills. That brings us to this nugget from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport:

 

Would the San Diego Chargers seriously consider tapping Lynch in the NFL Draft? The Chargers still have a lot of holes to fill, but the role of heir apparent to Philip Rivers has been a role that has been largely ignored. The Bolts would have to use their second-round pick, technically pick number 34 since New England was docked a first-round draft pick due to the Deflategate scandal, to pick Lynch.

That’s a pretty high investment for a player who will only see the field in the preseason. But the question remains, is it worth it?

Per NFL.com,  Lynch stands an imposing 6-foot-7, 244 lbs., boasts a 36-inch vertical jump and 118-inch broad jump (best among all QBs) while running the 40-yard dash in 4.86 seconds. Lynch has the size, strength, mobility and, most importantly, the time to watch and learn from a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Philip Rivers. Rivers himself sat and learned from Drew Brees for two seasons until it was his time to take the reigns in San Diego. Lynch would find himself coming into an identical situation. Check out these clips from his Pro Day:

Still don’t think Tom Telesco would pull the trigger on a quarterback so early? Consider this fact. New Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was at the Pro Day and he specifically asked Lynch to throw specific routes during the workout. Chargers management is looking to answer the dilemma of life after Rivers and they know Kellen Clemens is not the answer.

The Chargers have eight draft picks to use in seven rounds. Plenty of moves could still be made, even if they do take Lynch at the top of the second round.

Options in play include packaging picks to move into the second round for a second time. We all know how GM Tom Telesco likes to trade up by now…

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. A second-round pick is paying a lot, but the return could be greater than the investment, in the end. It’s time to fill the potential starter role once and for all, and this is a great place to start. This move would get my full support.

Would you endorse the Chargers drafting Paxton Lynch in the second round? Leave your thoughts below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#TelescoMagic

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As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:

His Draft Classes

***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.

2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson

DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6

Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5

Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9

Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3

Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1

Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0

2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese

Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8

Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5

Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3

Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5

Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0

Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0

2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon

Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2

Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7

Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3

Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4

Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3

Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F

His free agent signings (major ones only)

***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers

2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips

Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9

King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8

Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2

Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4

John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4

2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes

Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3

Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8

Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6

David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3

2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson

Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0

Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3

Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6

Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7

Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2

Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F

His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)

2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown

Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8

Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7

2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall

Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0

Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6

Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3

Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3

2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers

King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4

Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2

Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F

Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F

Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.

We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.

Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!

-Zak Darman

Gates salute

 

The 2015 offseason was anything but enjoyable for Chargers fans. We here at BoltBlitz.com had covered all of the new stadium/relocation to Los Angeles talk, possible pre-draft trade of Philip Rivers, the unwillingness of the organization to work out a contract extension with Eric Weddle and the suspension of Antonio Gates.

It was all quite exhausting.

One of the things that bothered me the most, in addition to the aforementioned issues, was the fact that there are a large number of Chargers on the 2015 squad that are not under contract for next season, including Weddle, Gates, Floyd and Green.

After doing a little research, my fears were heightened when seeing the plethora of quality names who do not have deals for 2016.

Here are the explanations of each free-agent designation and other information you’ll need to understand about free agency.

Accrued season = Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.

Franchise player (exclusive or nonexclusive) = The salary offer by a player’s club determines what type of franchise player he is: exclusive or non-exclusive.

An “exclusive” Franchise Player — not free to sign with another club — is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year as of the end of the Restricted Free Agent Signing Period on April 19; or (ii) the amount of the Required Tender for a non-exclusive franchise player, as explained below.

Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the “Cap Percentage Average,” for calculating the Required Tender for such a player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years…; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year…(the “Cap Percentage Average”)…; or (B) 120 percent of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater.

If a club extends a Required Tender to a “non-exclusive” Franchise Player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

Transition player = A transition player has received a minimum offer of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater.

A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation.

* Unrestricted free agent = A player with four or more Accrued Seasons whose contract has expired. He is free to sign with any club, with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.

** Restricted free agent = He can negotiate with any club. If the Restricted Free Agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs. If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club. In addition, a player who would otherwise be a Restricted Free Agent may be designated by his old club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player.

*** Exclusive rights free agent = Such a player has no more than two accrued seasons in the NFL and may only sign with his prior team, provided, of course, that the team extends a minimum qualifying offer to the player.

 

Here is a look at all of the Bolts that are in the final year of their contracts with the team, according to spotrac.com.

 

*UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:

  • FS – Eric Weddle
  • TE – Antonio Gates
  • WR – Malcom Floyd
  • RT – Joe Barksdale
  • CB – Patrick Robinson
  • QB – Kellen Clemens
  • G – Johnnie Troutman
  • DE – Kendall Reyes
  • DL – Ricardo Mathews
  • FB/TE – David Johnson
  • TE – Ladarius Green
  • OL – Chris Hairston
  • TE – John Phillips
  • C – J.D. Walton

 

**RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:

  • SS – Jahleel Addae
  • OL – Kenny Wiggins

 

*** EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS:

  • WR – Dontrelle Inman
  • OLB – Cordarro Law
  • OL – Tyreek Burwell

 

When looking at the offensive side of the ball, the entire tight end group is not under contract for 2016. Although it would make sense to bring back Green, his concussion problems may prevent the team from doing so. Phillips is primarily a blocking tight end, but he made a few plays during the four-week absence of Gates. Speaking of Gates, it is hard to say whether or not the Chargers will be able to find a team-friendly deal should he decide to continue his NFL career.

At the wideout spot, Floyd has already stated that he will not be back next season, announcing that this year will be his last. Inman looks to be a prime candidate for being re-signed by the club. He is gaining the trust of Philip Rivers in the passing game. His blocking as a wide receiver in the running game is improving with each snap he receives.

Offensive linemen Joe Barksdale and Chris Hairston have started multiple games in 2015, with Barksdale slotted as the team’s starting right tackle. He will most likely be brought back depending on the direction Tom Telesco decides to go in the early rounds of the 2016 draft. Hairston provides sold depth and versatility, making him a possibility for a return to the Chargers. Guys like Kenny Wiggins and Tyreek Burwell could be re-signed to fairly low-salary numbers. Burwell would still have another year of eligibility on the practice squad. Recently signed J.D. Walton will have to impress when called upon to receive consideration for an eventual re-signing.

The defensive side of the ball is obviously highlighted by the last year under contract for Eric Weddle. The team has made it clear that there will be no contract talks prior to the beginning of the 2016 league year. It doesn’t necessarily seem as though the team is willing to pony up and re-sign him to the money he believes he is worth. There is always the option of the organization applying the franchise tag to Weddle, paying him a top-five salary at his position on a one-year deal. Quite frankly, I don’t see that happening.

Fellow defensive back Patrick Robinson has looked to be a solid acquisition this offseason. Due to injuries, he has been asked to start on the outside although his position as the nickel corner is ideal for his skill-set. If he can continue to make an impact, he should be worth a look to remain with the team beyond 2015. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was offered a deal during the middle of this season.

Former second-round draft pick Kendall Reyes has been a bit of a disappoint save his rookie campaign. Depending on the desired contract of the defensive end, he may be hard-pressed to stay with the club past this year. He has not provided a viable solution opposite of Corey Liuget on the defensive line. Liuget needs help upfront, and Reyes does not seem like the guy for the job.

Ricardo Mathews is one of the most versatile defensive lineman on the team. He can line up at multiple spots and his high motor is impressive for a man his size. He comes back for at least one more season, in my opinion.

The situation surrounding strong safety Jahleel Addae is very interesting. Because of a nasty looking injury where his leg appeared to fold in half, he has missed the majority of the snaps through four weeks, allowing Jimmy Wilson to start in his place. If Addae were to come back and make an impact, would the team be willing to make him a long-term offer? It is difficult to say at this point. Similar to Barksdale, a lot of his future with the Bolts could depend on what Telesco plans to do in the draft.

I am not sure if you are as frightened by the number of free agents for 2016 as I am. But it looks like the 2016 Chargers have the chance of looking quite a bit different than this year’s squad.

 

Thank you very much for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

Information gathered from spotrac.com, football.about.com and NFL.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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