The staff of BoltBlitz.com is proud to host a San Diego Chargers fans meet-up on Saturday, August 6th at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley. The Tilted Kilt has been an amazing host site and the staff has been very accommodating. We are very proud of you, our loyal readers who turn out en masse and take over and fill the place with lightning bolts!
At our June Tilted Kilt meet-up many members of the Chargers organization came out to take part in the festivities. As you can see in the picture above, sandwiched between myself (far left) and Dave Peters (far right) are (from left to right) Kyle Emanuel, Dontrelle Inman and Sean Lissemore. These Chargers took the time out of their busy schedules to attend in person and graciously signed autographs and took pictures with everyone who asked.
Many, many thanks to Kyle, Dontrelle and Sean for making our event such a huge success!
If the Aug. 6th date looks familiar, yes, it is the same day as the Chargers’ annual FanFest. FanFest will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the meet-up will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. so there will be plenty of time to make it from the stadium to the Tilted Kilt for a raging after party! There will be raffles for Chargers memorabilia, autographed collectibles and other prizes.
Paddy Pickford, owner of Evolution Lighthouse will be there with his signature line of custom Chargers jewelry as well as new and unique lines of custom jewelry. A portion of every Chargers-related item sold goes to victims of domestic violence in San Diego.
Special surprise guests are scheduled to update us on all things stadium and Chargers related. Stay tuned!
Join us on Saturday, August 6th as we ring in the new San Diego Chargers season BoltBlitz style!
The Greg One
The next BoltBlitz Chargers fans meet-up has been confirmed for Saturday, August. 6th at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley. On June 10th, the Tilted Kilt hosted the most recent meet-up the day after the very successful LT5k.
Current Chargers Dontrelle Inman, Kyle Emanuel and Sean Lissemore attended the event, signing autographs and taking pictures with those in attendance. Thanks again to the players and the San Diego Chargers organization for allowing the Bolts to meet with the fans.
The last meet-up occurred on the heels of a successful signature drive as over 110,000 signatures had been submitted for approval only days before. This meet-up occurs only hours after the Chargers’ yearly FanFest event.
FanFest is on August 6th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The meet-up will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. as usual. There will be autographed memorabilia and an assortment of prizes to be won in raffles throughout the afternoon.
This will be a great day to kick off the return of football! Go to FanFest then come to the BoltBlitz meet-up for the afterparty! We hope to see you all there!
The Greg One
The hype surrounding Manti Te’o prior to the San Diego Chargers selecting him in the 2013 draft was mountainous, to say the least. Then first-year general manager Tom Telesco moved up seven slots (from 45th to 38th) to take the former Fighting Irish linebacker.
After all, Te’o had received a plethora of awards and trophies at the end of the 2012 collegiate season: The Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Trophy (the nation’s most outstanding football player), the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and a two-time winner of The Butkus Award (once in high school and then again in 2012 with Notre Dame). There was also this one other little thing – Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Those are ALL spectacular acknowledgements. In 51 games at Notre Dame, he amassed a total of 437 tackles (212 solo/34 for loss), 12 quarterback hits, 8.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 10 pass break ups, 17 passes defensed with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Te’o has the distinction of being only the second linebacker of Polynesian descent drafted by the Bolts, the first, of course, being Junior Seau. Te’o was also the highest selected Fighting Irish linebacker drafted since Demetrius DuBose in 1993.
At this juncture in his young career, Te’o’s pro stats look like this through 35 games: 202 tackles with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He has missed 13 games due to injuries to both feet dating back to his rookie season.
Here is the list of his various ailments since entering the NFL:
August 8, 2013: Sprains his foot in a game against the Seattle Seahawks. He is seen in a walking boot two days later and ends up missing the next five games. Ultimately has surgery in the offseason to repair a bone in his right foot.
August 15, 2014: Another preseason game versus the Seahawks has Te’o injuring his left foot. He sits out the next two weeks and is back in action for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
September 21, 2014: In the road game versus the Buffalo Bills, he injures his right foot. It’s bad news for the Bolts when it is announced that Te’o suffered a fracture. He doesn’t take the field again until after the Week 10 bye when San Diego faced the Oakland Raiders.
Te’o stayed injury-free for the remainder of the 2014 season, compiling an additional 40 tackles over the last seven games. In that stretch, he managed to get his first NFL interception in a Sunday Night game against the New England Patriots on the Chargers’ own turf. The pass was intended for Rob Gronkowski. Two weeks later, he collected the first sack of his pro career, on 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
October 12, 2015: The Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for a Monday Night matchup. Unfortunately, the guy wearing No. 50 had to leave the game for a few snaps to get his ankle taped. While he did return to the contest, and finish with seven tackles, he again is out for over a month trying to get it strong once more.
The Chargers are in a bit of a pickle here. Right now the team is loaded at linebacker with the likes of Te’o (who will be calling the defensive plays), Melvin Ingram, Jeremiah Attaochu and sophomore Denzel Perryman most likely the starters. Joining the mix are second-year men Kyle Emanuel and Nick Dzubnar; plus rookies Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown and Dexter McCoil. There is also fourth-year player Tourek Williams, who returns after a limited 2015 due to breaking his foot in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Needless to say, linebackers coach Bob Babich and defensive coordinator John Pagano are going to be putting in plenty of observation and film study over the next couple of months to determine who potentially makes the roster, moves to the practice squad or ends up being released.
Whether Manti Te’o remains a Charger for the entirety of his career remains to be seen. However, Te’o staying injury-free might solidify his spot. The Chargers have always liked him for his leadership ability, strong work ethic, perseverance and instincts. He is an extremely smart player. His only downfall has been an inability to play an entire 16-game season.
Now, I know that there are many people out there who are not fans of Te’o for whatever reason(s). No, he doesn’t always wrap up and tackle his target. Yes, sometimes he runs a bit slow. He is, however, starting to become the tackling machine that had him landing on several top-ten college recruiting lists before he began his senior year of high school.
Te’o himself said it best in a December 2014 interview with Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’ve always been one to keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding. I’m going to continue to get better because I’m going to continue to work.”
Yet the question remains, is Te’o going to be part of San Diego’s plans beyond the ’16 campaign? When all is said and done, this is a business. There is going to be stiff competition at the inside linebacker spot next month from the rookie Perry. We could very well see a repeat of Butler versus Te’o, and that might not end well for Manti. He’s been put on notice. As much as I like No. 50, I don’t think he will be sporting blue and gold come the 2017 season.
I’m pulling for him to stay with the team and pick up where he left off in 2015.
What do you think? Share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
Fans and media aren’t the only ones glued to the television when the NFL Draft goes on the air every year. The players from each team are also on the edge of their seats. That interest can be divided into two sub-categories.
The main reason players are interested is to see who their rookie teammates will be for the upcoming season. The more self-serving reason is to see if the team is drafting a player at their position, thus endangering their own job status on the team.
All the buzz and rumors about who the San Diego Chargers would take with their first pick centered around Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil and DeForest Buckner. Hours before the draft multiple media outlets were predicting the Chargers taking Ronnie Stanley.
And with the third pick pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select…the one player the ‘experts’ failed to mention.
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.
Talk about breaking the internet…social media exploded with the news. Reaction ran the gamut from shocked and surprised to angry and despondent. To his new teammates, this pick was a home run.
Great pick @Chargers welcome to the Squad Joey Bosa
— Melvin Ingram (@MelvinIngram) April 29, 2016
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) April 29, 2016
— Corey Liuget (@CoreyLiuget) April 29, 2016
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) April 29, 2016
Bosa lets do this! Defense just got better
— Kyle Emanuel (@k_emanuel53) April 29, 2016
They have great reason to be excited. The Chargers have drafted a beast who will significantly improve their pass rush. Bosa was called the best player in college football. For those of you who didn’t watch follow Ohio State football here’s a small sample of what he does. Enjoy.
Looking forward to seeing the signature Bosa shrug in San Diego!
The Greg One
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!
The San Diego Chargers emerge from their bye week with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The 2-7 Bolts look to finish strong after a dismal 2-7 first half of the season. In the first two seasons of the Telesco/McCoy regime, San Diego finished with identical 9-7 records. In this third season they would have to run the table in the last seven games to finish with that mark.
The Chargers have five division games remaining, (they have lost one game to Oakland already), and two out of division games against Miami and Jacksonville. The odds of running the table are miniscule. Finishing with a .500 record is just as improbable. A top-10 selection in the NFL draft is more than likely barring a catastrophic turn of events.
A message will need to be sent if for no other reason than to show the fan base that such an outcome is not acceptable. Whether they stay in San Diego or move to Los Angeles, hope must be rekindled for this team and they way to do so will be with fresh faces calling the shots. Seats are getting hot in America’s Finest City. They will get hotter with each loss and hottest if the Chargers miss the playoffs. At this point, the playoffs are nothing more than a pipe dream.
Heads will roll. Here’s a look at the prime suspects and the temperature of their seat right now:
Dean Spanos. Rarely does the owner abandon ship on his team. He will point the finger of blame at his staff and remove the pieces he sees fit. Eyes do deserve to be on him for his frugality. If his miserly ways start to impact the NFL’s bottom line (dollars), he could be ‘nudged’ out the door. Spanos is well-liked among the other owners so the probability of that happening right now is less than zero.
Something radical would have to occur such as local fans boycotting the games to the point where it becomes painstakingly obvious when games are shown live. This approach was successful as recently as 2012 in Major League Baseball in the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers ex-owner Frank McCourt. Do Chargers fans care enough to band together on this course of action if they thought underspending is the chief cause of the Bolts failures? That is the million dollar question.
John Pagano. The defensive coordinator has not shown improvement since taking over the position in 2012. In his first year the Bolts finished 24th in the league in total defense. In 2013 they moved up to 10th. Last season the Chargers plummeted back to 24th. Nine games into this season San Diego is 9th in total defense but giving up 28 points per game. The next seven games could have a huge impact on whether Pags stays or goes.
Tom Telesco. The Chargers General Manager is on the hook for the Chargers failings as much as any member of the team. At the end of the day, Telesco is the decision-maker. The team is a reflection of his vision. It was Telesco’s choice to resurrect the philosophy he used in Indianapolis of jettisoning the veteran players and bringing in young, untested and hungry players who were capable of playing multiple positions. The GM is quickly finding out that what works in one place doesn’t automatically work elsewhere.
Telesco has done admirable work building the team through the draft. Cornerstones of the future have been unearthed with the drafting of WR Keenan Allen, RT D.J. Fluker, CB Jason Verrett and RB Melvin Gordon. A disturbing fact is of the 17 players Telesco has drafted, only one has played a complete season (Fluker). Gordon and Kyle Emanuel are on pace to do so this season.
Helping Telesco is his savvy with contracts and getting players to come in free agency and add impact. RB Danny Woodhead, RT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers and G Orlando Franklin have been key additions. His front office could have done better to keep revered veterans such as S Eric Weddle in the loop when it comes to contract issues as that could affect future free agent signings and keeping his own players down the road. If the Chargers finish with a losing record the pressure will be turned up on the GM to produce or he too will be looking for work elsewhere sooner than later.
Kevin Turner. The special teams coordinator of the Chargers is having a dreadful year. Through eight games the Bolts had one punt return yard with Jacoby Jones as the primary return man. Meanwhile, opponents have accumulated 276 punt return yards. For the ninth game Jones was cut and Javontee Herndon was promoted from the practice squad to assume the kick and punt return duties. Herndon had one kick return for 24 yards in the game, surpassing Jones’ kickoff return average of 21.4 through eight games. The special teams have been a weakness all season, giving a big field position advantage to the opposition and not gaining yards in the return game. Should this pattern continue, Turner will be cleaning out his office at Chargers Park.
Ninth Circle of Hell
Frank Reich. The Bolts offensive coordinator has definitely been offensive. The offense has been difficult to watch at times as the play calls get more and more predictable. We can all see the inside handoff coming from the pistol formation before it happens. The OC seems unwilling to vary from his game plan to accommodate his talent. The pistol formation and no-huddle offense has been advantageous for Philip Rivers at times. However, with a power running back who thrived running out of the I-formation with a fullback opening the first hole why not adapt that into the game plan?
Melvin Gordon set NCAA records and ran for over 2,500 yards at Wisconsin last season. Ladarius Green and Antonio Gates would be a matchup nightmare for defenses if they were to be deployed on the field at the same time. Injuries, suspension and Reich’s unwillingness to add new wrinkles have prevented this from happening on more than just random occasions. With Reich coordinating the offense, the Chargers are averaging 23 points per game, five fewer than they’re giving up. The window on Philip Rivers career is quickly closing and it’s the wrong time to be going the wrong way in the production department. If San Diego fails this season, Reich will be the first man shown the door.
Mike McCoy. The head coach was the marquee hire when the Chargers landed him as the successor to Norv Turner. The man lauded for his yeoman’s work adapting his coaching style to fit his quarterbacks such as Tim Tebow, Jake Delhomme and Peyton Manning. His teachings resulted in wins and playoff berths and the same was expected when he took over the reins in San Diego.
Instead, the team has underachieved. Many games have been lost in the final quarter or on the final drive. McCoy has been very conservative in his play-calling. Favoring a ball-control, short-passing, long scoring drive preference the Chargers have very little vertical offense. Rivers, an excellent deep ball passer, goes deep a couple of times per game if that. This team lacks a killer instinct. They lack an ability to finish games and that reflects coaching.
To boot, McCoy is in the third year of a four-year deal. He’s been paid most of what he signed for and it wouldn’t be a big financial hit to let him go a year early. San Diego hadn’t made the playoffs for three seasons before McCoy arrived. They made it to the playoffs the year McCoy arrived and won a wild card game that season. This season, barring a miracle, will be the second year in a row the playoffs have eluded the Chargers. This team is as talented as any in the league but they do not have the results to show for it. Unless they can rebound and finish at .500 someone has to take the fall for this season. Usually the head coach us that man.
In closing, injuries can’t be blamed for everything. Yes, injuries have derailed a very promising season. Keenan Allen was on a record-setting pace. Coaches are paid big bucks to get the most out of their talent regardless of who is on the field. Management is paid big bucks to find the best players to suit the team needs.
San Diego was sitting at 2-2 before they lost to Green Bay and Pittsburgh on the last play of the game. Same thing would happen in Baltimore two weeks later. Aside from the games against Minnesota and Oakland the Chargers have played as well or better than their opponent despite the end result. There are no moral victories in the NFL and when you don’t win, people lose. Don’t expect to see half the names on this list wearing lightning bolts next season.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Who’s to blame for the Bolts performance this season? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One
It is that time of the week again, Chargers fans. The team has released its weekly injury report.
Some of the “usual suspects” find their names listed as out or questionable, but there is one new addition that is sure to change the way the defense runs its game plan on Sunday.
CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
FS – Eric Weddle (Groin)
ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
WR – Keenan Allen (Hip)
LT – King Dunlap (Concussion)
TE – Antonio Gates (Knee)
RB – Melvin Gordon (Ankle)
OL – Chris Hairston (Ankle)
WR – Stevie Johnson (Hamstring)
OL – Chris Watt (Groin)
SS – Jahleel Addae (Back)
OLB – Kyle Emanuel (Shoulder)
OL – D.J. Fluker (Ankle)
OG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
That places 15 players on the injury report for Week 7.
Free safety Eric Weddle will miss his first start since 2009. The three-time All-Pro is arguably the best player on the Chargers’ defense. It goes without saying that he will be missed, and his absence puts a lot of pressure on all of his fellow members of the secondary.
With Te’o listed as doubtful, it appears that rookie Denzel Perryman will get his second-consecutive start. Last week in his first start of the season, Perryman led the defense with eight total tackles and a forced fumble.
Due to the absences of Weddle and Te’o, it will be interesting to see which defender receives the green-dot helmet used as the defense’s communication device to the sideline with defensive coordinator John Pagano.
In what I believe is the most disheartening news on the injury report, both Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen are listed as questionable. Having just come back from a four-game suspension, Gates has had back-to-back nine reception contests, adding two touchdowns. Allen has continued to shred opposing defenses, leading the league in receptions (53) while standing at third in receiving yards (601).
Early reports are stating that Allen is likely to play despite his questionable status. Gates, however, does not appear to be in the same boat, as many fear that he may end up missing Sunday’s game against the hated Raiders.
Sticking with weapons being at the disposal of quarterback Philip Rivers, wide receiver Stevie Johnson is in jeopardy of missing his third game in a row. That being said, after being a limited participant on both Wednesday and Thursday, he was a full-go in Friday’s practice.
Prior to suffering a hamstring injury, Johnson was proving to be a reliable target for Rivers in the passing game.
The offensive line appears to be getting left guard Orlando Franklin back this week. Though he was struggling a bit to get acclimated to the blocking schemes in San Diego, he will be a welcome addition to the starting lineup. Fluker, like Franklin, is listed as probable and he will be starting next to right tackle Joe Barksdale — the only opening-day starter to start every game this season.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon is making his first appearance on the 2015 injury report. He suffered an ankle injury during last week’s loss to the Packers. I feel his pride may be in worse shape than his ankle, as he fumbled twice, losing one, and was also denied a touchdown for the sixth consecutive game.
All in all, the injury report has lengthened but it seems as though the team is getting healthier along the offensive line. The offense is still struggling to open up any semblance of a hole in the running game, but has done an impressive job of keeping Rivers clean in the passing game. Getting some starters back should help in both areas.
The defense will be worth keeping an eye on this week, seeing as Weddle is out and Te’o will be joining him in street clothes come Sunday. This situation provides a great opportunity for some of the reserve defenders to come n and make their mark, showing they deserve more playing time.
It is imperative that this team finds a way to get healthy as it enters the more favorable part of their schedule. With the exception of Denver, not one team left on the docket has a winning record.
Coach Mike McCoy and company have their work cut out for them. Now is the time for the coaching staff to prove that they are better than their 2-4 record shows.
There is plenty of blame to go around after the Monday Night “pull-my-heart-out-of-my-chest” loss to the AFC rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Why did this game, that the Chargers were in control of, end the way it did? Everyone likes to sound off with their opinions, because as fans we feel connected to the team. Scrolling through social media all week, I, too, had a gamut of emotions to sort through. Now I think I’m resigned to moving on, but I was sure angry as hell for a bit!
I saw the defense miss out on three GOLDEN opportunities to intercept Steelers quarterback Michael Vick and take at least two of them in for scores. Nope, three different Bolts with sieves for hands were there. Guys, you gotta get those mitts up and haul those in! Sure, having such takeaways is great, and perhaps more meaningful if a DB capitalizes with a touchdown; if they don’t it at least becomes a chance for Rivers and the offense, or Lambo, to put points on the board. Still shaking my head.
Groans surely were erupting when Rivers was picked off. As usual, he was blamed – “shouldn’t have thrown it!” – perhaps that was true though it looked to me like Floyd either didn’t finish running his route or ran the wrong one. But it is moot now.
Then came the fourth quarter meltdown. I’m sure we were all shouting at our televisions when corner Brandon Flowers was schooled on that 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton which created a 17-17 tie. It didn’t end there, though. Flowers got beat twice more and Vick was able to scramble his way to a first down. It took Pittsburgh four tries and defenders holding his legs, but running back Le’Veon Bell battled and scored the game-winner.
You’re probably asking why I am rehashing when this is supposed to be about Pagano and the defense. Just a bit of stats and recent history, first.
My apologies for making you all go through it again the day before the next game.
When John Pagano took the reins as defensive coordinator in 2012, San Diego’s defense ranked 16th. They moved up to 11th in 2013 before dropping to the 13th slot last year. Including numbers for the secondary through the first five games of this season, this unit has accomplished the following: 310 total tackles (227 solo); 8 sacks; 23 QB hits; 4 interceptions; 2 forced fumbles; three recoveries and 19 passes defensed. Not one touchdown. They could very well match last year’s total for sacks (26), interceptions (7) and QB hits (47) as about one-third for each is already in the books.
The team lost linebackers coach Joe Barry to the Washington Redskins, hiring Mike Nolan as his replacement. Nolan is well-known as a defensive coordinator and the former head coach of the 49ers. He has extensive experience implementing the 3-4 defense that Pagano prefers. In 2009, he served as DC in Denver while McCoy was the offensive coordinator. Obviously the thinking here was that Nolan could get the youthful LB corps to live up to it’s full potential. To a degree they have. Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu are disrupting the opposing QBs and have 3.5 sacks between them. Te’o has racked up 41 tackles with Butler behind him at 23. Here is something to be positive about: the three rookie linebackers – Kyle Emanuel, Denzel Perryman and Nick Dzubnar – collectively have 22 recorded tackles; Emanuel also has a sack and an interception.
The biggest problems that need to be overcome: penalties and coverage. The defense has amassed 17 penalties for 128 yards during crucial parts of the game. Clean it up!
Next: tackling is horrendous! Wrap up your man rather than attempt to knock him off his path with your shoulder.
Playcalling: Get some safety help across the middle, stop playing prevent defense and go for the damn jugular. The defense must find a way to finish plays at the quarterback, as opposed to just barely missing out on sacks. If someone isn’t performing, stick ’em on the bench and fill the spot with that guy champing on the bit to prove his worth.
Personnel: Has general manager Tom Telesco given Pagano and company the necessary pieces to allow their scheme to flourish? The lack of pressure being applied to opposing quarterbacks has been an issue for quite some time. The Chargers haven’t had a defender finish a season with double-digit sacks since Antwan Barnes totaled 11 in 2011.
This week the team heads to Green Bay as 9.5 point underdogs. I know players on both sides of the ball for San Diego will have their hands full trying to eke out a win over Aaron Rodgers and his weapons, along with a tenacious Packers’ defense. Just remember that the Chargers were in this same predicament last year against Seattle. Will this be an upset? Realistically, it probably isn’t.
All I know is that it is frustrating and disheartening to watch the Chargers keep the ball away from an opponent for a good part of the game only to assist them with that one play or penalty that swings momentum their way. I don’t know what adjustments Pagano, Nolan and Milus (secondary) need to make. But I do know they need to make them, and the players must execute to the best of their abilities, making plays when the situation presents itself. It may not yet be “desperate times call for desperate measures,” but that time just might be waiting in the wings.
Come on, Chargers, beat the Pack!
Thanks for reading.
The Chargers have announced the game status of each of their players that are on the team’s injury report.
Once again, the offensive line will be without major starters. Another starter on the O-line — that quite frankly shouldn’t play while dealing with an ongoing ankle issue — is listed as questionable.
- LT – King Dunlap (Concussion)
- CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
- DL – Darius Philon (Hip/Thigh)
- C/G – Chris Watt (Groin, Concussion)
- OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
- WR – Stevie Johnson (Hamstring)
- LG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
- RG – D.J. Fluker (Ankle)
- OL – Chris Hairston (Ankle)
- ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
- OLB – Kyle Emanuel (Shoulder)
When looking at the depleted mess that is the offensive line in San Diego, two opening-day starters will not play in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers (Dunlap, Watt), while both Franklin and Fluker are listed as questionable.
Franklin hasn’t played in two weeks after being carted off the field with an ankle ailment. Fluker has tried to gut out multiple contests while limping on, off and around the field. He is whom I mentioned above that it may have served him better to rest, allowing him to fully heal.
Just for kicks, reserve lineman Chris Hairston did not participate in practice on Wednesday or Thursday. He was a limited participant Friday. He has filled in decently, though it sure would be nice if he didn’t account for multiple penalties each time he sees game action.
The wide receiving corps will most likely be without Stevie Johnson again. Hamstring injuries are very tricky and players dealing with them should not be rushed back. Although it would obviously be great to have him available to play, the return of Gates can help alleviate some of the stress of him not playing.
The newest and biggest concern regarding the injured Chargers is the fact that Te’o did not practice in any kind of capacity this week. Despite leading the team in both total tackles and missed tackles, the third-year inside linebacker will be missed more than some would like to think. His replacement, second-round draft pick Denzel Perryman, will be asked to step in should Te’o not be able to play. Kavell Conner will see the field more often than he has recently, as well.
It will be interesting to see which player on the defense would then don the green-dot helmet with the defense’s communication device in it. Last ear it was free safety Eric Weddle. But with 2015 seemingly being Weddle’s last year with the team, the Bolts decided to give Te’o the honor this season.
One thing of note worth pointing out is that not one member of the Chargers’ secondary is on the injury report, save Mager. After Addae camped out there for the better part of a month and Flowers and Verrett took turns missing time, it is great to see the defensive-back unit of the Chargers’ defense healthy and ready to roll.
They need that health, and a bit of luck, as they are set to face one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Aaron Rodgers.
The Chargers released their updated injury report on Chargers.com on Wednesday.
Prior to breaking down what it means to the team, here’s the report.
Did not participate:
- S Jahleel Addae – Ankle
- OL D.J. Fluker – Ankle
- WR/KR/PR Jacoby Jones – Ankle
- OL Johnnie Troutman – Arm
- OL Chris Watt – Groin
- OLB Tourek Williams – Foot
- TE Ladarius Green – Concussion
- OLB Kyle Emanuel – Shoulder
- OL Chris Hairston – Knee
The initial timetable on Fluker’s return made it seem as though he would miss a serious amount of time; as much as six weeks. But reports have come out that his time on the sideline will not be as long as expected. This is great news seeing as Hairston had a miserable game against the Bengals, being beaten multiple times and drawing a couple of flags. Hairston, despite a knee ailment, was a full-go at practice as mentioned above.
After watching the Chargers’ defense force Cincinnati to a punt due to a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive in Week 2, Keenan Allen muffed the punt, allowing the Bengals to recover inside the 20-yard line. Although Jacoby Jones hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire with his returns in the offseason and season opener, it would be great to have him back there, at least to secure the ball and get the Chargers’ offense on the field. Jones suffered an ankle injury against the Lions in Week 1. His return date has yet to be determined.
On paper, it appeared that safety Jimmy Wilson filled in admirably for the injured Addae. I am not, by any means, going to sit here and say that he had a bad game, but it looked as though defensive coordinator John Pagano changed up his strategy in the secondary. Could this have been due to the fact that Addae was not available? It is hard to say, but I sure would like to see Addae back on the field making plays.
Though he struggled against a stout Cincinnati defensive line, seeing that Watt is injured is troubling. The offensive line has already been banged up, and don’t get me started on the injury issues the hogs upfront faced in 2014. Watt is still learning his role as the team’s starting center. That being said, Mike McCoy and Frank Reich named him the starter for a reason. If for some reason Watt is unable to go this Sunday in Minnesota, reserve center Trevor Robinson is more than capable of stepping up and starting.
As expected, both Johnnie Troutman and Tourek Williams were non-participants in today’s practice. Troutman should be inching closer to health as his diagnosis has him being available to return by about the fourth week of the season. Williams is still a wait-and-see type of scenario. The outside linebacking corps surely could use him.
Finally, the news that tight end Ladarius Green showed up to Chargers Park with concussion-like symptoms is very alarming. If he does indeed have a concussion, this would be a third concussion-related report on Green since being blown up by former Patriots’ cornerback Brandon Browner last season in Week 14. Green laid on the field after taking the hit from Browner. The play drew a 15-yard penalty.
With Antonio Gates continuing to serve his four-game suspension due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the fourth-year tight end is crucial in the success of the San Diego offense. He has already made his mark through two games, catching 10 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown. Green was shutout of the end zone in 2014. He is on pace for career highs in all receiving categories should he get back on the field.
On a bright note, it is good to see that rookie outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel was a full participant today. He played a major role in the team’s win over the Lions in Week 1. Allowing him to rotate with Jerry Attaochu keeps him fresh and should enable him to continue to make an impact.