So, I’ve been reading lots of comments about how we should hire either Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. Let’s take a look at both candidates and a few other names that have been mentioned by Chargers fans.
Jon Gruden: Personally, I don’t get it. I don’t see Gruden as a great coach who can walk in and save the day. After two minutes of research, I found that Jon Gruden has a career coaching record of 95-81 (.540). He coached for 11 years. He had a record of 5-4 in the playoffs with one Super Bowl win. His best single season record was 12-4 and his worst was 4-12.
Gruden’s record shows that he is an adequate coach who can win with the right players. I believe his reputation as a tough guy (Chucky) and his recognizable name are the two reasons he is considered a “sexy” pick.
Bill Cowher: A much better choice, in my humble opinion. He has a career record of 149-90-1 (.623). He coached for 15 years. He was 12-9 in the post-season with two trips to the Super Bowl with one victory and one loss. His best single season record was 15-1 and his worst was 6-10. There are two knocks that go against Cowher. 1. He is too old. 2. He has a cushy job and doesn’t want to leave it.
I don’t buy number one. He is 59 years old. That is not old in coach years. He just retired young. Number two, on the other hand, I totally believe. I don’t think he would want to leave his TV gig for the grind of the NFL. Also, if he came back and failed, it would tarnish his legacy.
Let’s just move from both of these guys. If Cowher says he wants the job, I’m fine with that. But I don’t think he will. If Gruden wants the job, I would not be excited.
For comparison’s sake, Bill Belichick’s winning percentage is .670 and Norv Turner’s winning percentage with San Diego was .583 with a career percentage of .483.
Other names being talked about by Chargers fans on social media:
Rex Ryan: Coached for eight years so far. Record of 60-65 (.480). Playoff record of 4-2 with no Super Bowl appearances. Best record 11-5, worst 4-12
David Shaw: No NFL head coaching experience. .788 winning percentage while at Stanford.
Ken Whisenhunt: Head coach for eight years. Overall record of 48-71 (.403). Post-season record 4-2 with one trip to the Super Bowl (loss). Best record 10-6. Worst 2-14.
Sean Payton: Head coach for 10 years. Career record of 92-65 (.586). Post-season record 6-4 with one Super Bowl victory. Best record 13-3 (twice). Worst 7-9.
Mike McCoy: Head coach for four years. Career record of 27-34 (.443). Post-season record 1-1 with zero trips to the Super Bowl. Best record 9-7. Worst 4-12.
Hopefully all those people – those would be the voices of last season which were scathing at times – are eating their words this season with regard to Melvin Gordon. Bust, you say? Maybe that was a bit premature.
Why? First a little bit of Gordon’s background.
There was speculation aplenty when Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco and the San Francisco 49ers swapped spots in the 2015 NFL Draft. Telesco moved from 17th position to 15th and took Gordon. Many fans were disconcerted, some even loudly outraged, that the running back pick was Gordon and not Todd Gurley. Personally, I felt that with the Bolts needing a better running back than Ryan Mathews had been, plus the fact that Gurley was still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, it was a good choice.
What wasn’t there to like? Gordon finished his career at University of Wisconsin-Madison having played in 45 games where he had 631 carries for 4,915 yards and 45 TDs. As a receiver out of the backfield there were 22 catches for 228 yards and four TDs. In his senior year, the former Badger hauled in 19 receptions for 153 yards and three TDs while also accumulating 343 carries and 29 TDs for 2,587 yards (second most in the FBS). He also had six games of 200+ yards, a school record.
Being chosen as a first rounder is a huge responsibility coupled with as much, if not more, expectation. Not just the expectation of teammates and coaches, but also what the individual places on themselves. As a rookie the playbook is just one part of the whole; the speed of the game is vastly quicker and the majority of guys you suit up with are playing at a level considerably higher than your own.
Contributing factors to Gordon’s lower-than-anticipated numbers were the woes of the offensive line play of the Chargers. The team went through 24 O-line combinations. Play-calling was WAY too predictable. The line could not create holes on a consistent basis for the rookie to run through. Perhaps the biggest disservice to Gordon was the fact that his entire career at Wisconsin he had a fullback in front of him, yet there was no such position on his new team.
It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
This year saw a change at offensive coordinator as Frank Reich exited San Diego for Philadelphia. Ken Whisenhunt returned and brought with him the hope for a more productive running game. At the end of his 2013-14 stint as OC, San Diego had the No. 5 offense overall and was 13th in rushing. In 2015, the team was ranked ninth in total offense and they were 31st in rushing. Gordon was ranked 37th amongst all running backs.
With Whisenhunt, Gordon seems to have flourished. Through eight games (no update to include week nine yet), NFL.com has him ranked twelfth amongst running backs with 572 rushing yards (161 carries) and 219 receiving yards (24 catches). Including week nine stats, Footballdb.com has Gordon listed in the No. 3 slot behind Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott (891 yds) and Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray (807 yds). Gordon has logged four games with over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards: Jacksonville 120 yards, Atlanta 121 yards, Denver 155 yards and last week at home against Tennessee he racked up a whopping 261 yards.
Even better is the fact that after nine games, Gordon is leading the league with 11 touchdowns. After not crossing the goal line once last year, the guy that many called a “bust” is number one in touchdowns scored!
The early season loss of Danny Woodhead, one of the best pass-catchers out of the backfield, is part of the reason for the uptick in Gordon’s numbers. When Woodhead went down, and Branden Oliver out for the year since pre-season, it meant that Gordon had to step up his own game. It had been stated several times from OTA’s through training camp that he appeared more confident and sure of himself. Now, HE is the one taking the hand-off from Rivers in those 3rd down conversion scenarios when the call is for a run. HE catches some of those 3rd and long passes, and HE is the guy scampering in when they are in the red zone. Except of course for the Broncos game when he should have been given at least ONE shot from the 2-yard line to tie the game and Whisenhunt called for four straight pass plays.
Gordon has the vision this year that he was lacking throughout his rookie campaign. Having Derek Watt, his fullback from Wisconsin, blocking in front of him in games has helped. Less turnover along the offensive line has also made it easier to get off the line of scrimmage. He has fumbled twice this year versus the six from a year ago. The frenzy of 2015 has slowed a bit in his second year.
Gordon has been running so well that after last week’s Titans game in which he accumulated 196 rushing yards, 65 receiving yards and darted in for another rushing TD, the second-year back was nominated for, and won, both the AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the Castrol Clutch Performer of the Week!! Take that, all those Melvin Gordon haters of 2015! Not so much of a bust, after all, is he?!
My prediction is that Gordon will be the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Chargers since LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 1,110 in 2008; LT had 11 TDs that year and 154 receiving yards. Gordon needs only 232 yards to hit the 1,000 mark in rushing. If he continues at the pace he is on now, he will exceed that number. As of this writing he has already reached 1,032 yards combined. I anticipate he will score a total of 18 touchdowns and amass 1,300 rushing yards by season’s end. Bold? Perhaps. But I think he is up to the task.
Now if only he can continue to get the ball put in his hands in those short red zone TD situations!
So much for sweeping divisional rival Denver in 2016. So much for a divisional win on the road. The Chargers lost 27-19 in what was, at times, a typical gritty divisional game and what was, at other times, a complete slop-fest branded as football.
There were really seven plays that could be pointed to as reasons the Chargers lost.
The first was a missed field goal by Josh Lambo from 45 yards out with 59 seconds left in the first half. He simply hooked the kick for his first miss inside of 50 yards this year.
The next was a blocked point after attempt by Lambo with 4:09 left in the third quarter.
This is where it gets ugly and where my hatred for Mike McCoy grows.
After a Casey Hayward pick six from the Denver 16 with about eight minutes to play, McCoy makes the right INITIAL decision to go for a two point conversion. It was the right decision because the Chargers were down by five. A successful two point conversion makes the deficit three points. What was wrong about the decision was to throw the ball from two yards out. Too many things can go wrong. Some did go wrong. Antonio Gates was called for offensive pass interference, running an illegal pick play. Back the ball up 10 yards to the 12 and now a pass play is the only option. Everyone knows that and another Philip Rivers pass was batted up in the air by a Denver defensive lineman.
Fast forward to 2:54 left to play. The Chargers are at the Denver two yard line with first and goal to go. The offense runs not one, not two, not three, but four pass plays — all of which fell incomplete — to turn the ball over on downs. Most teams would bring in their heavy personnel package — three tight ends, blocking back and tailback and cram the ball down the defense’s throat. The Chargers running game was somewhat effective this week, so it’s reasonable to expect Melvin Gordon could manage two yards. Instead, the offense comes away empty-handed.
These five play call decisions and the quote below exemplify why Mike McCoy is unfit to be a Head Coach in the National Football League.
Really, Mikeyboy? You don’t say!
I know that Ken Whisenhunt is the Offensive Coordinator and play caller. Mike McCoy, as Head Coach is Ken’s boss and should have overruled him and didn’t. He kept his hands in his pockets. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I humbly submit Mike McCoy is insane by this definition. To make matters worse, Whisenhunt pulled a Norv and got the plays late to Rivers so there wasn’t enough time on the play clock to change out of the stupid calls.
What say you, BoltBlitz readers? Am I blinded by my hatred for McCoy?
The fall season is upon us and many around the globe are rejoicing in the change of the season. For those who aspire for change, one needs to just breathe in the autumn air – breathe in fresh hope. Opportunities are no longer looked at as futile, they are viewed as worthy of accomplishment and realistically within reach.
For sports fans, this season brings us baseball playoffs, the beginning of basketball and hockey while placing us right in the middle of the NFL football schedule.
For those lovers of horror, fall also brings Halloween; a tradition steeped in scary music and movies.
Being a horror enthusiast myself, I have spent all October basking in new and old horror movies; entranced in the scare and the music that enhances each killer moment. All over the internet, anyone can find a website or blog with the writer’s favorite horror movies. In my opinion, the scariest thing I have seen this October?
The San Diego Chargers offense in Sunday’s loss in Denver.
How many times, in cheeky horror movies, do we see opportunity after opportunity for the potential victim to escape the psychotic killer, only to stay in and lock the doors and hide in a closet. When this occurs, the viewer usually screams “RUN YOU IDIOT!! RUN!!”
Were there any Charger fans yelling that at the television late in the game Sunday??
Avid horror viewers constantly see chances the victim has in escaping the evil assassin. Week 8’s loss in Denver, there were numerous chances for the Chargers to escape yet, just like the “dumb blonde” in the movies, they failed miserably.
A running into the kicker penalty, a dropped potential pick-six, first and goal on the Broncos two yard line, defense creating countless three-and-outs; all major opportunities to escape and turn around the plot – where the prey becomes the slayer.
Regarding the play-calling or the lack of execution, when it comes to making critical decisions in a state of panic, can we really sit back in our comfy chairs and criticize? How many of us have been stalked by the likes of Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees? Furthermore, how many of us have coached in the NFL?
Like myself, most of us would say that without a doubt, we would run as far away as possible and never return to our home if the creepy knife carrying murderer would not leave. In addition, most Charger fans would have elected to run the ball with time running out and an opportunity to score from two yards out – yet in an intense game full of emotion, can we really say we would make the right choice?
In my opinion, Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt suspected that a tough Denver defense was looking for Melvin Gordon to run. Gordon had been piling up yards and has already shown to have a nose for pay dirt – so running Melvin was obvious from everyone watching the game. With that line of thinking, what they did was counter with passes; one which if not overthrown, Antonio Gates would have had added another touchdown to his resume. Unfortunately, coaches are not able to possess hindsight and neither are the seemingly brainless victims in slasher films.
John Pagano and his defense handed the offense a chance to wreak havoc in Denver, time and time again Sunday. They allowed the door to remain impenetrable for the serial killer to get through – yet the stooge somehow continued to slip and fall. With an arsenal of talented weapons to escape Sports Authority Field with a victory, the Chargers fell even harder to the AFC West cellar.
So what happens now with the killer still out there and the injured victim who is lying on the floor of the cellar, seems to have lost all hope?
“Just get back to the lab. Just keep working….” – Melvin Ingram
Let’s hope the Chargers offense gets reanimated as they head towards the second half of the NFL season. At 3-5, San Diego desperately needs life to be pumped back into the staff and personnel if they want to cheat a certain death; a playoff-less season.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott .
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their predictions on the Chargers Week 4 matchup versus the Saints.
Zak Darman: This is going to be an offensive showdown in Mission Valley. The o/u on this game is 53.5 and, if you’re a betting man, you should take the over. I can see Brees and Rivers going for 300-plus yards each and a couple of scores each. It’s going to come down to who can run the ball more effectively and who can make that one stop. Both teams are even teams, despite what the record says. It can go either way, but for the sake of being biased, I’m going with the Bolts. 41-38 Chargers
Chris LaFurno: MG carries the load this game. 20 carries for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns against one of the worst run defenses in the league. Hayward continues his lights out play with a big interception late in the 4th. Verrett and Cooks butt heads the entire game as Verrett grabs a pick but Cooks scores a TD. Brees and Rivers combined for 800 yards and 6 TD’s. Lets spoil Brees’ homecoming fellas! #BoltUp Chargers 31 Saints 21
Corey Decker: The Chargers will come out swinging in this event, The reason for the 21 is that there are some people in the chargers organization that know Brees from his time here very well. 31-21 Bolts
Travis Blake: Just after the National Anthem, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees both step forward from the sideline and draw their wands. In an epic, wizardly showdown Voldemort and Harry Potter would be proud of, they unleash footballs shielded in blue and gold for Rivers and gold and black for Brees. The footballs collide at midfield causing a rift between the muggle world and the world of magic. The rift sucks in all the evil hoteliers from their mansions overlooking the La Jolla coastline. Brees and Rivers battle against each other all game, the prize? San Diego’s eternal, never dying love. The game itself ends in a tie, 31-31 and personifies The Great Mystery of Life in San Diego.
Laura Leech: They go back and forth scoring. Lot of offense not so much defense. Gordon with touchdown number 5. Heyward gets a pick six. 42-38 Chargers
Brian Scott: Drew Brees struggles on the road. In 2015 his passer rating for away games was a paltry 87.7 where his home games he rated at 112.5. Last year at home he threw 23 TDs with 5 interceptions; whereas on the road he only threw 9 TDs with 6 INTs. This year so far seems to be the same; 7 TDs in 2 home games and 1 TD in one road game. Rivers shows everyone that there is no debate between the two and overcomes a horrid game last week by throwing 3 TDs to 3 different receivers; Gordon scores once and racks up another 100 yards. Final score is 40-28 in favor of the Chargers
Chris Hoke: The Shootout in Mission Valley as the Saints and Bolts score a combined 73 points. The take a note from the Falcons and feed Gordon early and often. Splashing in some McCluster. Tyrell Williams racks up some big yards and 2 TDs. the Bolts narrowly beat the saints 38-35
Cheryl White: They finally remember to keep putting the ball in the hands of M28. Benjamin and Henry get in the end zone too. Hayward and/or Verrett picks off Brees. Chargers 34-28
Mike Pisciotta: Drew Brees throws for 400 yards in his Qualcomm homecoming, as New Orleans romps to a victory. After the game, Mike McCoy is relieved of his duties and Ken Whisenhunt is named interim Head Coach. John Pagano is also let go and replaced by a tackling dummy. 31-17 Saints
Will McCafferty: This has been a difficult game to call. I feel like the Chargers are the better team. But when I consider the Bolts offensive line injuries and the emotions that will fuel Drew Brees, it makes think twice. Since I always pick the Chargers, the Saints defense is horrific, and the Saints don’t play well in the road. Aints 31 Chargers 34
Greg Williams: This game will come down to which team has the ball last as both offenses will score almost at will. This game is the picture of a coin flip. If the game was in New Orleans I’d call it for the Saints but since this game is at the Q, Chargers get the nod. 34-33 bolts
Dave Peters: The Chargers score more points than the Saints. 41-40 Bolts win
Let us know your predictions and go Bolts!
Andre Williams wasn’t left out in the cold too long, thankfully. Even better, no one tried to pick him up!
Williams re-joined the Bolts Tuesday. He was waived this past Saturday when the team had to promote tight end Asante Cleveland from the practice squad. The roster moves were necessary because Antonio Gates was not going to see the field against the Colts and there had to be another body out there in addition to Hunter Henry and Sean McGrath.
The third-year back was initially claimed off waivers by the Chargers earlier this month after being released by the New York Giants. That signing occurred after change-of-pace back Branden Oliver was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the preseason game in Minnesota.
Williams (6-foot, 220 lbs) was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in the 2014 draft. With the Giants having the likes of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Bobby Rainey and a couple other guys on hand, Williams just didn’t make the final roster cut. This preseason he managed to gain only 91 yards on 25 carries in three games. He was one of 11 running backs on the depth chart in 2015, managing only 257 yards on 88 carries with a lone TD.
Since entering the league, Williams has played in 32 games. He has rushed for 978 yards on 305 carries and scored eight touchdowns — 41 of those carries went for first downs while five were over 20 yards and two were over 40. He also hauled in 19 passes for 137 yards.
Williams is a former Boston College standout. He set a BC school record in 2010 when he made 42 rushing attempts in a single game when the Eagles played Syracuse in that season’s final game. Williams was one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy in 2013, finishing fourth. That same year he was named the recipient of the Doak Walker Award, an honor given to the nation’s best running back.
Since being in San Diego, Williams hasn’t been in the mix. Things may change this week.
We’ll all just have to play the wait-and-see game.
Thanks for reading!
On Monday another crushing blow to the Chargers 2016 campaign occurred when it was announced that Danny Woodhead would be lost for the season. Compounded with the loss of Keenan Allen last week, a huge void has been created in this offense.
Enter Dexter McCluster who the Chargers wasted no time finding as a solid replacement for Danny. Formerly with the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, he is a capable and dangerous weapon who could be the best in-season pickup the Chargers have had in a long time.
Dare I say this – McCluster may be a better weapon for Rivers then Woodhead was. That’s only if McCluster has the same speed and shiftiness he had in KC/Tenn. The best part of this signing is Dexter knows Whisenhunt’s offense since he played for him in Tennessee. McCluster should easily be a situational player who has the versatility to make an impact in the running game, passing game and a return specialist. The Bolts haven’t had this kinda flexibility since the days of Darren Sproles.
To some, there might be some concern as to why he was on the free agent market. In Tennessee, he was third on the depth chart behind DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and thus he was released on September 2nd. A tryout with the New York Jets and 18 days later, the Chargers timing seems fortuitous as they inked him right away.
With his adaptability to fit into any role, it is anyone’s guess as to how McCoy will utilize the 28-year-old. Clearly he has huge shoes to fill in replacing a player like Woodhead, but perhaps with the right coaching staff and supporting cast, his career and usefulness could get a major jump. So far in his career, since being drafted by Kansas City out of Mississippi, he has not been “the guy” to build a team around. However, he appears to be a self-aware player who believes he can make an impact in any role he is given. All he needs is open space and the rock in order to showcase his speed and elusiveness.
If you’re not familiar with Dexter, here’s some highlights of his years with KC and his last year with the Titans. Enjoy!
Thanks for the read
Before you get out the torches and pitchforks and start hunting me down, allow me to explain how Danny Woodhead’s knee injury could actually be used as a positive from this point on. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Danny. He is a very good running back; extremely valuable as a runner, a receiver, and a blocker for Philip Rivers. He has had a fine career with the Chargers and I am sad to see him lost for the season. I know what you are thinking. “If he is so good, how can his injury be a positive for the team?” Allow me to explain.
With losing Woodhead for the season, Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will be forced to become better, more aggressive coaches. If you watched the week one game against the Chiefs, you saw that the play calling was completely differently in the second half than in the first. In the first half, the 2015 first round draft pick Melvin Gordon was given the bulk of the load and pounded the ball down the field. Twice he even got into the end zone. He looked like a completely different back than he was last year.
In the second half, Gordon’s role essentially vanished. Woodhead’s number was called upon for almost the entire second half. Why Woodhead? Because he is trustworthy. Coach McCoy remembers the fumble issues that Gordon had last season and did not want to risk a turnover in a game where the Chargers had a big lead. So, Gordon to the bench and Woodhead on the field; playing a role that does not suit him — the “every down back”.
Delayed draws out of the shotgun formation became the play of the half as they went with it time and time again. Although Woodhead was able to move the ball fairly successfully for much of the half, he was unable to punch it into the end zone. His presence did not make the defense fear the run, so pass coverage tightened up and pressure on Rivers picked up as well – a bad combination to say the least. We all know how that game turned out. McCoy and Whisenhunt played timid, cautious offense in an attempt not to lose. This plan did not work and KC made it all the way back to win the game in overtime.
Let’s move to last week’s game against what most people consider a team going in the right direction, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Again, Gordon started out getting the majority of the carries and punished the Jaguars’ defense play after play. Woodhead was doing what he does best. He was basically a third down back who can protect the quarterback and catch outlet passes out of the backfield. Unfortunately, one of those passes lead to his knee giving out, tragically ending his season.
Melvin Gordon, that’s what! McCoy and Whisenhunt had no real choice but to keep Gordon in the game, even with a big lead, and letting him pound the rock. He continued his effective play and actually tallied his first 100 yard rushing game in his short NFL career. Oh, and by the way, he hasn’t fumbled yet! That second half should go far as to gaining trust from the coaches moving forward.
As long as Gordon stays healthy, there is no reason to believe that he cannot be trusted to keep defenses honest and take a lot of pressure off of Rivers. If Melvin continues to be as effective as he has started out, this could be a classic story of someone going from goat to hero in one season. A story that might never have been told if Woodhead was still there to allow McCoy and company to play it safe.
Of course this goes without saying, but Gordon can’t play every snap for the entire game. That would be asking to get him hurt. So who else can step in to give Gordon a breather? Let’s take a look:
Kenneth Farrow: Farrow had a very nice preseason and earned his way on the roster. With Woodhead’s injury forcing him on the field against Jacksonville, Farrow carried the ball four times for a total of 13 yards. Not an earth shattering debut, but it is a very small sample size. What fans need to remember is that the impressive numbers he put up in the preseason were against second and third string defenders; running vanilla game plans. If he gets the call, he would be facing the best of every opponent. The sledding will be a lot more difficult. Time will tell if the Bolts have a player in Farrow.
Andre Williams: Personally, I’m excited to see what this kid can do. He is a strong, bruising back who can get the short yards that are so important on third downs and late in the game. Last season his production tailed off significantly which is why the Giants let him go. Before that, however, he had a good rookie campaign. The team from America’s finest city is hoping that the Giants made a mistake and will catch lightning in a bottle.
Dexter McCluster: McCluster is the guy the Chargers brought in to replace Woodhead; capable as a runner and receiver. He is also a solid kickoff and punt returner. He is fast on his feet and so quick that he often makes people miss. Obviously, he has not played at the level of a Danny Woodhead, or he would not have been cut by the Chiefs and the Titans. My hope is that he will play as a full-time kick returner so that starting wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, can give up that position and avoid unnecessary collisions. With Keenan Allen out for the season, it is vital that Benjamin stays healthy.
This week, the Chargers play the league’s 32nd ranked defense against the run – the Indianapolis Colts. This is another golden opportunity for Gordon and company to get many carries and gain even more confidence. We have to face the facts: Danny Woodhead is done for the year. He is also on the last year of his contract, which means that there is a very good possibility he will not be back with the team next season. The Bolts need to learn how to call plays and win games without the trustworthy, scrappy Woodhead. If they can do that, his injury will go down as the reason San Diego left the ranks of pretenders and became true contenders.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments below, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Go Bolts!!
During this past Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, a recurring epidemic reared its ugly head. No, I am not referring to Danny Woodhead’s injury, whom is now officially, like Keenan Allen, lost for the season. Nor was I referring to Jahleel Addae’s collarbone injury.
I am alluding to the fact that San Diego had another 21-point lead against their opponent.
Football followers and diehard Chargers fans should not have to hold their breath when their team holds that big of lead. As it were, and with a very recent history of an epic collapse in Week 1, the football Gods will have to accept the Bolt faithful for not being as blissful as they should have been.
Near the end of the first half in Sunday’s 38-14 victory over the Jaguars, a distasteful nostalgia filled my lungs. Fear flushed my pale demeanor as I sensed the shoe might again fall off the other foot. Proof was needed for many to believe that the Chargers were not going to fall complacent again, and with the clock running out, and generic play calls being made on offense, doubt crept into my nightmare like Freddie Krueger.
Watching Coach Mike McCoy and the team come galloping out of the tunnel to begin the second half, confidence swooned and I no longer believed in Freddie; thus killing him and the pessimism inside me.
After Melvin Gordon’s name was not called in the second half of last week’s loss to the Chiefs, this time around, his bruising style was not letting the Jags defense rest for a moment. Gordon continued to find openings, fight for those extra yards and punish those would-be tacklers, bouncing off of them like a pinball wizard.
The incredible ebb and flow of the game was as serene as watching the sunset from the La Jolla Cove, falling gracefully on the ocean’s skin; radiating hope for all those who are lost. The offense was masterfully unapologetic as Ken Whisenhunt commanded the troops, picking up big yards and scoring at will. John Pagano’s defense pillaged and tormented the Jaguars offense, forcing three turnovers and impeding any type of momentum Jacksonville had.
It was as if they actually learned from their mistakes in Week 1.
There was no three-man rush with a four-touchdown lead late in the third quarter. There was no conservative three-and-outs from the offense. This orchestrated masterpiece was to Charger fans as the classical music enthusiasts gets while listening to Frederic Chopin; the easement of the strings floating in an organized chaos – followed by a force of controlled havoc.
All the while McCoy, the maestro, led this band of eccentric players in perfect unison.
There were too many impact players of this game to list them all. As a well-trained orchestra knows, every instrument is vital to it success of the orchestra as a whole. There was the haunting presence of Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward. The elegant Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams played their roles to perfection, but they would not have been so exemplified if it were not for the rhythmical beating from the ground game.
This is what San Diego has been needing. To destroy and show no mercy while playing this passionately for a full 60 minutes. Every player mattered and contributed to the melodious sound of victory.
During the week leading up to Sunday’s showdown, players admitted to losing focus when Keenan went down against Kansas City. When Danny was being carted off the field this past Sunday, an eerie hush covered the White Out in San Diego.
Yet, lessons were learned, and the band marched on.
Let us hope that the perfect pitch of this harmonious triumph against the Jaguars, continues on its symphony of destruction tour.
Next stop: Indianapolis
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
Right now across the country, there are scores and scores of people working hard at setting their fantasy football lineup. These people are watching highlights, calculating and comparing statistics, reading injury reports and new reports and comparing their bench players to their starters. Many of these people have Chargers on their roster. You may not be impressed by the lengths that some will go to field the best team possible each week, and that’s okay. Impressed or not, I believe that deciding whether or not to start a Charger became extremely difficult thanks to last week’s schizophrenic season opener against the Chiefs.
For the average fantasy player it is not that difficult to make decisions on who should play and who should sit on your bench. Big named players generally start no matter how much they stunk the week before. Guys who had breakout games will normally start to see if one can catch lightning in a bottle. Players who are going up against a team that struggles against a certain position will also get a chance. The problem is that when considering what Chargers to start, one must look at last Sunday’s game as the proverbial tale of two halves.
You see, if the first half of the game, the Chargers looked like world beaters. They ran the ball with authority. They passed the ball down the field with relative ease. They scored at a pace that should have landed them in the 40’s by the final gun. Even the defense stepped up and was shutting down the Chiefs offense. Everything was great in Charger Country! You could not go wrong picking most players to start for your fantasy team. Heck, owners who had the courage to start Melvin Gordon were thinking they were going to be fantasy legends! Then it happened. Star wide receiver Keenan Allen blew out his knee and the Chargers lost their will to live.
Yes, it was shortly after the devastating injury to Allen that his team stopped being productive. Honestly, the second half was the polar opposite of the first. In fact, the loss to Allen seemed to affect everyone, including the coaching staff! It was like a completely different team. Players who dominated in the first half, laid down in the second half, or were effectively benched (see Melvin Gordon). Coaches who were aggressive in the first half were passive in the second. It was as if it were Week 5 of the preseason and the starters only played half of the game. The strange thing was that the replacements were wearing the same numbers as the starters! So how is one supposed to know who to start for their fantasy team? Let’s take a look at some key players and see how last week’s games will impact your decision.
Philip Rivers (QB): I would think that Rivers gets a pass (no pun intended). He put up very good numbers in the first half, with a touchdown and approximately 150 yards in the air. Two things about Rivers’ game that are somewhat disconcerting to fantasy owners are that two of the Chargers touchdowns were on the ground and that the offense completely shut down in the second half. The rushing touchdowns are a concern to fantasy owners because they showed that this perceived commitment to the run, that came to the team with the signing of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, seems to be reality. That means fewer touchdowns for Rivers. He also lost his second favorite target when Allen went down, so the run should have been used even more. The Bolts did try to throw the ball in the second half, but you could see that Rivers had lost his poise and had “happy feet” in the pocket. His accuracy was off as well as he missed a couple of key passes that would have moved the chains, and even more importantly, ran the clock. Now, fantasy owners have to wonder which Rivers they will get? The Rivers who throws the ball all over the field, or the Rivers who hands it off inside the 10-yard line? If you have a stud QB on the bench, you may want to start him until the Chargers figure out how they want to use their best asset.
Melvin Gordon (RB): I was one of the risky fantasy owners who chose to believe that Flash Gordon was back! In the first half, he knocked out around 50 yards and had two touchdowns! The Chargers built a nice lead and it was obvious that Gordon would pound the rock all day and rack up the yards and fantasy points. Then halftime came and apparently the adjustment that the Chargers brain-trust came up with was to sit Gordon on the bench, put Rivers in the shotgun and hand it off to Woodhead. I could not believe what I was seeing, despite having been a long-time Chargers fan. So what are we going to get from Gordon going forward? Will coach McCoy trust him for all four quarters? Hard to start a guy who may vanish at any time.
Danny Woodhead (RB): Always a solid player who can get you rushing yards as well as receiving yards. He is supposed to be the third-down back, but seemed to be the number one guy in the second half. You may want to give him a start, but beware that McCoy and Whisenhunt may learn from the past and actually use Gordon more this week. Tough call.
Antonio Gates (TE): Not a real exciting game for San Diego’s future Hall of Famer. Only targeted four times and he came down with three receptions for 20 yards. Basically a possession receiver who normally gets a shot in the endzone. No touchdowns last week. Maybe they are setting up the Jaguars for a big day for Gates.
Hunter Henry (TE): This kid has great hands and runs well. He appears to be the heir apparent to his mentor, Antonio Gates. In Week 1, he was only targeted two times and had one reception for 20 yards. Hopefully, he will become a larger part of the offense going forward. But again, there is no certainty for when he will break out.
Tyrell Williams (WR): Here is an interesting situation. With Allen out, Williams could become a larger part of the Chargers’ offensive plans. He was targeted five time but only had two receptions. Although his receptions per target numbers are down, he did gain 71 yards! Yes, both of his receptions were big plays that ate up large chunks of the field. The Chargers desperately need a big play option down the field. Will Williams fill the role?
Dontrelle Inman (WR): Another wide receiver who has had some big catches in his young career. He seems to be an obvious pick to become a replacement for Allen. That being said, he only had one catch on three targets for a grand total of six yards. Hardly encouraging. You could take a shot and pick this kid up, but I would sit him on your bench until he proves he can put up some points.
Defense/Special Teams (DEF/ST): Again, if the defense that came out in the first half shows up for four quarters, they will be worth a fantasy start. They held their opponent to three points and completely shut down the run. They even managed to get to the quarterback. Then came the second half where they allowed Alex Smith, a noted game manager, to throw for a total of 330 yards and gave up a respectable 83 on the ground. Running backs catching passes out of the backfield was the Achilles Heal for the Chargers all day. They simply could not stop the backs from getting key first downs through the air. As for special teams, they weren’t that special. The return game was non-existent. Place kicker Josh Lambo had a respectable game, but did miss one huge field goal that could be considered the difference in the game. I’ll cut him some slack though since that field goal was 54 yards. He had the distance, he just left it out to the right. It happens from that distance all the time. But what all this shows is that even the Def/ST can’t be trusted to perform for an entire game.
To be completely honest, and take away all fan loyalty away, there are no Chargers who should be a lock to start for your fantasy football team this week. Philip Rivers is probably your best bet as he routinely scores in the high teens to low twenties. Then again, the Jaguars defense only gave up 199 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers last week. Anything is possible, but unless the Chargers coaching staff decides to stay aggressive for all four quarters, fantasy dream games could turn into fantasy nightmares.
Good luck with your matchups this week. I hope you have a deep bench and didn’t rely on our Bolts to make the difference for you this week!
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