When it comes to researching article topics, I tend to go back through the archives of my website and look at ideas that I have had in years past. This morning, at 2:00 am, I ran across a scathing article I wrote about the laziness of former Charger offensive tackle Jared Gaither. I then remembered that he is still being paid by the Bolts in 2014.
He is not the only one.
Dead money contracts are those that count against the team’s salary cap despite the fact that the players are no longer on the squad. When I list the players that are still getting paid, I guarantee your blood will boil when you look at some of the names. The amounts of their pay will elevate that level of frustration, as well.
For the sake of this article, I am only going to include the players that are being paid over $100,000 without providing any services to the Chargers at all at this time. They are no longer with the team; in fact, a couple haven’t been on the team for over a year or two.
Let’s start at the bottom — lowest paid non-Chargers — and work our way up to the top, the highest paid.
DL – Lawrence Guy $100,588
WR – Vincent Brown $146,517
S – Brandon Taylor $168,469
CB – Brandon Ghee $185,000
RB – Shaun Draughn $201,176
LB – Jonas Mouton $218,340
DB – Richard Marshall $570,000
FB – Le’Ron McClain $833,334
LB – Larry English $865,000
WR – Robert Meachem $ 3,750,000
CB – Derek Cox $3,900,000
OT – Jared Gaither $4,000,000
Total amount of dead money from the aforementioned NON-CHARGERS: $14,938,424
Go ahead and let that sink in as you look at a Charger team that has been decimated by injuries. The same organization that was completely unable to make any moves prior to the trade deadline to supplement a beat-up roster. Thanks a lot, that one guy who used to be the GM here.
The total amount of dead money, including players that are not listed above, is $15,436,212.
When it comes to getting rid of and cutting poor performers or bad contracts, it’s a very difficult decision. But when a player is unable to contribute at a serviceable or acceptable level, the time to cut ties is necessary. Three of the top-four highest paid non-Bolts have played for other teams in 2014; Meachem, Cox and English. Robert Meachem is the only one that is currently on an NFL roster of those four.
Talk about a kick in the pants.
The last General Manager left Tom Telesco in a rough spot when it comes to navigating the roster and its lack of cap space. The 2015 season brings Telesco a much better opportunity to make some moves and re-sign some of his marquee players to long-term extensions; namely Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.
Every team in the NFL has to deal with matters such as what is listed above. But it goes without saying that the Chargers were forced to make some tough decisions when cutting the players listed. But, perhaps, cutting non-performing players like Gaither, Cox, Meachem and English were actually simple decisions that came at a heavy price. At least a few of the players noted actually played for San Diego in 2014. The same can’t be said for some of the bums that made the list.
Thanks a lot for reading. Which of these players frustrated you the most due to the money they made without having contributed to the cause in 2014? Let me know by leaving your thoughts below in the comment section.
Most teams which finish a season with a playoff exit have something good going for the future. You don’t make it through an entire NFL season and partial postseason without significant moments from depth players on the roster. Although these guys are backups, it’s said that after week one or two, no team is truly “healthy”.
Players in the NFL play injured in some way, shape or form for large portions of their careers. Even now, lawsuits are being filed and settled from decade old injuries which linger. Every team needs depth to succeed, which is why the game of football is the ultimate team sport, and why the 53 lucky individuals to make the roster are so vital.
Commonly, teams seek to find an identity. Identity, on either side of the ball, or as a whole, can come in many ways. Sometimes it’s a single player with a transcendent personality and ability, and sometimes it’s just the plain dominance of a system. The Chargers’ defense seeks an identity in 2014.
The Chargers have been operating in a base 3-4 defense for some time now. It’s part of their current identity. The San Diego franchise, as we know it, was shaped ten years ago when Eli Manning refused to play for them after being drafted number one overall in 2004. Philip Rivers is our guy, not New York’s. Something else came in that fateful draft day trade which, for better or worse, played a major part in where we find the Charger defense today.
One of the picks gained in the trade to the Giants was used to select Maryland linebacker Shawne Merriman. He quickly became the perfect guy for the San Diego defense and suddenly the Chargers had a dominant player to add to the defense’s identity once again. Although Merriman’s career in San Diego was much more brief than anyone would’ve liked, losing his talent and potential left a void entering the 2010 season. The void was more than the loss of a good linebacker, it was a loss of identity.
The defense, now run by former linebacker coach John Pagano, has struggled to replace Merriman, and the San Diego defense has struggled to replace their identity.
San Diego had hoped that former OLB Shaun Phillips would carry the torch, but he never seemed overly invested, and eventually took an easy opportunity to leave town.
A lot of guys have filled the position since Merriman, but former General Manager ( blank ) could never quite capture the magic again. His reign over the defense was mostly downhill from there, and could be summed up by a couple of the last nails in the coffin to describe the defensive trajectory: Larry English and Greg Manusky.
Sure, there were good defensive seasons with “that one GM” at the helm, but ultimately, they were few and far between. Those times have come and gone, and with the peaks and valleys of an NFL franchise, it would appear, at least, that the incline is now true.
The team has more depth than it has had in years. The defense has depth, and the outside linebacker position, well, almost has too much depth.
The outside linebacker position is a mixture of Super Bowl champions from year’s past and unproven youthful talent. As Charger fans, we want all of these fantastic parts to work in perfect harmony. But they need to play sixteen games, and they need to produce at a high level.
Wanting Dwight Freeney to return to form following a lost season is a no brainer. Wanting Jarrett Johnson to continue his productive run as leader and mentor is clear. Unfortunately, what we want isn’t always what we need.
Cutting Larry English was a breath of fresh air, and Charger fans can feel great about knowing what the move likely says of Melvin Ingram’s health and progress. Without English around, the bottom of the depth chart at the position now includes 2013 saving graces like Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams. Jerry Attaochu is a rookie, and will get his opportunity, and Reggie Walker has made a career out of great special teams play.
It is possible there are enough roster spots for everyone, but if that were the case, then the void filling desire for the position may be less stable than it seems. Granted, while the talent is clear, there are a lot of question marks with even the best options. A list of injury scares, age versus productivity questions, and outright lack of regular season experience means that nothing is certain.
So where do we go from here? It would appear that the San Diego defense has a “good problem”, being rich at the position, and will have to willingly cut a productive and well liked player.
The most surprising of cuts would be the guys who have locked down spots. Ingram is there, barring the unforeseen, Attaochu will have a spot, and Walker is seemingly too valuable to let loose. We have to conclude that the rest are fair game.
So what will the Chargers’ defensive identity become? Veteran guys leading a younger front seven, or younger, lesser knowns meeting at opposing quarterbacks? This question will be answered over the next three weeks.
Charger fans should be watching this battle closely, as this defensive identity will be heavily anchored to the decisions made around these few roster spots.
As it is, it would appear that Dwight Freeney has a spot sewn up, but again, nothing is certain. Thomas Keiser is off to a good start including a strip sack against the Cowboys last week, but carries the unfortunate label of the single Charger to create off-field distractions during the offseason. Whether we the fans, or the loyal players like it or not, guys like Keiser, Jarrett Johnson, and Tourek Williams are fighting for their roster lives.
Throughout the years of the last regime, Charger fans grew accustomed to watching a GM operate with the “whatever I want” mentality. In Tom Telesco’s second year, it would seem that “whatever the team needs” is the new mantra. As this defense continues to build an identity through players like Eric Weddle, Donald Butler, and Corey Liuget, the outside linebackers looking to stick on this roster will have to find way to separate and solidify themselves as not only what the fans want, but what the team needs.
Next opportunity, at Seattle on Friday evening.
Although today’s move doesn’t come as a surprise, you never like to hear about anyone losing their job. It has been announced that former first round draft choice Larry English has been released by the Chargers.
Despite having a lot of positive attributes, English was never able to convert those skills into stats. He flashed at times but was unable to stay healthy for most of his time while in San Diego. Larry was taken with the 16th pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. Although the release was just announced this morning, the official team website, Chargers.com, has already removed him from the team’s roster page. That didn’t take long.
Though most fans have never been high on English, he actually did have potential to contribute as an outside linebacker. Unfortunately the “P-word,” potential, isn’t enough to keep you around in the league for long. As mentioned by Jamie Hoyle, senior writer here at BoltBlitz.com, in a tweet, “I’m surprised it took them this long to do it. Everyone knew it was a matter of time.” It was Larry’s potential to make an impact that kept him around. And perhaps the ego of a certain former general manager that is no longer with the team. I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t cut last season when Tom Telesco took over the team.
We gathered Larry English’s NFL highlight tape and placed it below……
My apologies. We were unable to find any NFL highlights for English.
In all honesty, I wish Larry English nothing but the best. His LEAD foundation does great things for the community and he has always been a guy I’ve rooted for as a Charger. You can’t help but root for a first round draft choice in hopes that they pan out. But as the saying goes, “wish in one hand and ____ in the other. See which one fills up first.”
When running a 3-4 defense the ability of your outside linebackers is paramount. Although pressure and disruption is needed from the entire front-seven, and occasionally a blitzing member of the secondary, the OLBs provide your best opportunity to cause mayhem.
After a 2013 season that saw quite a bit of rotation due to injuries to starting outside backers Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney, the Chargers have a significant number of playmakers at the position heading into 2014.
In addition to Ingram and Freeney, the Bolts are loaded at outside linebacker. After drafting Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round of this year’s draft, and having veteran edge-setter Jarret Johnson in the fold, the team has four quality members that are able to make plays. Additionally, San Diego has depth players such as Thomas Keiser, Reggie Walker, Larry English ( for now ), Cordarro Law ( although he’s listed as a defensive end ), undrafted free agent Colton Underwood and Tourek Williams.
In this article, we’ll take a look at these players and what their production could be this year. Having so many players at one position is a great problem to have, so to speak. To have that much competition will help bring out the best at the outside linebacker spot. Let’s also not pretend that the pass rush, or lack thereof, last year was anything more than anemic at best.
Prior to analyzing the players, it goes without saying that John Pagano must be more creative in his defensive playcalling. Although he was masterful with his gameplan against Indianapolis last year, he tends to be very passive and predictable more often than not. In Pagano’s defense, his side of the ball has been riddled by injuries and some low-level talent. But it’s clear to me that he must find a way to be less predictable and find what his players do best and put them into a position to do so.
Let’s get right to looking at each outside linebacker that is currently on the roster.
Before the acquisition of Freeney was made by Tom Telesco, I lobbied in a serious way here on BoltBlitz.com. I was met with a lot of negativity regarding the possibility of him signing with San Diego. Well, here we are now are losing the dynamic pass rusher for most of the 2013 season due to injury. Though he is still not 100% the expectation is that he will be by the start of the preseason. My guess would be that he will see very little time in the preseason in an effort to keep him fresh and healthy for the regular season.
When focusing on the regular season regarding Freeney, I also believe there will be an emphasis on keeping him healthy. Meaning, I do not expect him to see much time in the Charger base defense, which the Bolts hardly run anyway. Look for Dwight to be employed on pass rushing downs and third down situations. I’d be willing to put the over/under on his sack totals at 6, barring injury, I would call it a push.
The leader in “almost plays,” Ingram is primed to have a breakout season. But, like Freeney, his contribution is based on remaining healthy. After miraculously coming back from an ACL injury he suffered on the first day of OTAs in 2013, Melvin made his impact felt despite it not showing up in the sack column. His disruption in the backfield and pestering of opposing team’s quarterbacks made a definite impact when returning from injury. He was constantly on the other side of the line of scrimmage creating havoc.
After Ingram fell in the 2012 draft I was ecstatic that he landed in San Diego. The hopes for him to be an immediate contributor were extremely high. After finishing his rookie campaign with two half sacks, the belief that his T-Rex arms were a factor in him falling were widespread. I actually lost a $50.00 bet regarding the sack numbers he would put up during his first year. Though he is not on the hot seat, by any means, he is now in a position to be held accountable for his production. Heck, he was already there considering a poor first season stat-wise.
Look for SupaMelvin to have a big year and rack up anywhere between 7 and 10 sacks in 2014.
Talk about the consummate professional. JJ, as known around the locker room and organization, is one of the best edge-setters in all of the league at outside linebacker. He is a great leader and allows his plays to do the talking for him. After being acquired in free agency by he who will not be named on this site, he came in and made his mark on the Charger defense. Despite sacks not being his forte, his instincts and ability to read offenses are a true asset to the Bolts.
Another Charger that suffered, and played, through injuries in 2013, Johnson is reliable when on the field. Don’t expect many sacks from the veteran but his presence will be felt on the San Diego defense.
When Tom Telesco sees a player that he covets, he does what it takes to get him. Telesco traded a fourth round selection in this year’s draft to move up and nab Jerry. When Attaochu left Georgia Tech he did so as the school’s all-time leading sacker with 31.5. He finished his career leaving college as a playmaking backer that made sure that opposing offensive coordinators were cognizant of where he was lined up on the football field.
Though he is a rookie at a crowded position, the team is not afraid to thrust him into the spotlight and give him playing time. Again, there are three quality starters ahead of him heading into the 2014 campaign, but it’s up to Pagano to find ways to incorporate him into the defensive scheme. A premature over/under for his sack totals as a rookie could be set at 3.5.
Where do I begin with Larry English. He may struggle to find a spot on this season’s roster due to the fact that he was a draft choice of the prior regime. English has all of the potential in the world. But the “P-word,” potential, is what gets coaches fired and players released if they are not able to live up to their billing. A former first-round pick out of Northern Illinois, Larry has flashed, at times, a tenacity to aggravate opposing offensive lineman and make a play here and there. But that’s part of the problem. He has yet to do anything to warrant his selection as a first-round pick.
I hold out hopes for English in that he can prove all of the doubters wrong, myself included. But he is facing a steep climb to even make this team at this point.
I can’t say enough about how pleased I was with the Walker signing by the organization. This guy has a no quit mentality and his ability to play multiple positions is highly admirable. As I’ve talked about on BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9, Reggie makes plays down the field and has a certain tenacity that any squad would be lucky to have in its ranks.
Walker’s versatility to play both inside and outside have him as a valuable member that gives depth to a unit that needs it in a sense of the need of having non-stop motor individuals that can make plays when called upon.
After being thrust into action due to injuries at the outside linebacker spot, Keiser made plays despite an uncertainty regarding his true ability to contribute. He not only made plays, Thomas was in the right place at the right time often. Though some people would point to his recent off the field incident as a question mark, the Chargers have made it seem as though he has a place on this team for the immediate future by not cutting him.
We all remember the game-sealing interception against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. But he added a few sacks to his numbers as well. Keiser is an athletic specimen that has the build of a comic book hero. If the organization is truly at peace with his recent “issue,” then look for him to provide quality depth to a strong unit. I don NOT expect to see him removed from the Bolts. I feel confident setting his over/under sack total at 3.5.
A monster in the CFL, it’s still hard to find a place on the current roster for Law. If he is able to replicate his CFL success in the NFL, then the fans have a lot to be excited about. It boils down to his ability to impress Pagano and the defensive coaching staff to determine whether or not he has a place on the 2014 Chargers.
I know nothing about him and his only hope in being a part of this team is via the practice squad.
Despite being a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft, Williams was forced to start a few games due to injuries. Is there a tone to this piece? Lots of guys that weren’t brought in to start that the defense needed due to injury. Playing as a defensive end at FIU, Tourek came out and made a handful of plays. But, moving forward, he is not a player that the Bolts can rely on moving forward as a starter.
Williams may, eventually, develop into a solid contributor, but I wouldn’t bet on it. BoltBlitz.com was fortunate enough to earn his first interview as a pro. I wish him nothing but the best.
There you have it. There’s my position outlook concerning the outside linebacker spot. It’s a unit that should be a strength on the Chargers defense. But so much of their success depends on the health of the veteran players. If the younger guys are pushed into playing, it could be a long year for the San Diego defense.
Thanks a lot for reading.
This is the time of year all the prognosticators and talking heads start rolling out their mock drafts. Opinions on where the Chargers should draft will vary from fan to fan, from pundit to pundit. Would love to get some discussion going here on your thoughts on where Tom Telesco should focus.
Should he draft a Corner Back? A good argument could be made. Returning we have Shareece Wright, who I think has a bright future. Also returning are Richard Marshall, Marcus Gilchrist (who split time between CB and SS), Marcus Cromartie and Crezdon Butler. Steve Williams, who missed his rookie season should compete for a starting spot. The team was very high on him going into the draft last year. If you look at headcount and talent, the talent is there barring injury.
What about the front three? NT is by far the weak link on the defensive side. Recently departed Cam Thomas got thrown around like a rag doll, giving opposing OL clean shots at Donald Butler and Mantei Te’o. Sean Lissemore did an adequate job, but the Chargers haven’t had a legitimate, space eating NT since Jamal Williams.
At OLB, Melvin Ingram came back from injury with a vengeance. Look for him to be a force in 2014. Dwight Freeney and Larry English are coming back from season-ending injuries, so there’s no way to know at this point how effective they’ll be. Jarret Johnson is a run stuffer by trade. His impact as a pass rusher was minimal. Thomas Keiser, Reggie Walker and Tourek Williams round out the OLB depth chart.
Personally, I think the front seven is where Telesco should focus. A space eating NT is a must. He can free up Butler and Te’o, along with DEs like Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget to bring inside pressure. The benefit to the inside pressure is that it frees up the pass rushing OLBs. An impact player at NT will make the entire front seven better. The pass rush will automatically improve. The secondary will immediately improve if the opposing quarterback has less time to find the open receiver.
If I were Tom Telesco, NT is where I’d look in the first round of the draft next month. Where would you look?
We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.
The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.
We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.
There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.
Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.
We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.
Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.
The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.
All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.
A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.
The Greg One
Here we are again. Another season, another Larry English injury. The difference this time is I actually feel bad for the guy. He was having his best season as a Charger, this is the last year of his contract, and most importantly, with all the other injuries to our OLB’s we needed the body.
With English heading to IR the Chargers needed to bring in another OLB. They decided to bring in a player very familiar to me. I got my start with sports blogging almost two years ago heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. The Chargers needed, among many other positions, an OLB who could rush the passer. I started looking at later round pass rushers and found a very productive OLB from Temple University named Adrian Robinson Jr.
Adrian wound up being my first ever interview of a player. He came across as a serious and hard working young man who loves the game of football and will work his tail off to make the most of every opportunity he earns.
In college he was extremely productive. He collected 156 tackles including 33.5 TFL and 22.5 sacks. He snagged 2 INTs, had 6 passes defended and forced 8 fumbles, returning one of them for a TD.
He was not drafted, however he was signed quickly by the Steelers after the draft and made the team. Adrian appeared in 12 games for the Steelers, no starts, but was not able to make an impact. He was traded to the Eagles just before the season, but with limited time to prove himself was ultimately released.
Robinson was then signed by the Denver Broncos who needed an athletic LB for depth with Von Miller having been suspended for the first 6 games of this season. Robinson had very limited playing time in all of the first 6 games of the season and had 2 tackles on special teams and 1 on defense. He made the most of his limited opportunities with the Broncos. He had a total of 21 defensive snaps and came away with 2 hurries and a tackle. His best game came against the Giants when in only 8 defensive snaps he had a QB hurry and a tackle, then added a second tackle on special teams.
He isn’t going to come in and be the next Merriman (in his prime) for us. However, what he will do is come in and give us 110% on every down he plays for us and grind out some plays, think a slightly smaller but faster Thomas Keiser.
Good luck to him in his time as a Charger! If you would like to welcome him to the Bolts and wish him well you can find him on twitter @Cuatrotres
Here are his answers from the interview back in April 2012, his answer to my last question is my favorite and is the most applicable today.
@boltfanindenver – With 22.5 Sacks and 33.5 TFL during your college career, you obviously know how to get into the backfield and make plays. Do you also think you can drop back and cover a TE or RB out of the backfield if needed at OLB?
Adrian – Yes, and I’ve actually been dropping back during all of my Temple years. Playing LB is not foreign to me because my coaches have been using me at that spot from time-to-time throughout my entire college career.
@boltfanindenver – The San Diego Chargers biggest need going into the draft is pass rusher and they are rumored to be targeting one in the early rounds. Do you think they should also pick you later on? Why?
Adrian – Yes they should, and if they need pass rushers, I’m one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft.
@boltfanindenver – If the Chargers picked you, who would you be most excited to learn from on their defense? And who would you most like to test your skills against on offense?
Adrian – On defense, I would be most excited to learn from Shaun Phillips and Takeo Spikes. It’s a tough choice on offense, but I will have to go with Jared Gaither, who is a great offensive tackle.
@boltfanindenver – What was your most memorable game in college?
Adrian – There’s a lot of great games to choose from. But it has to be our game versus Navy on Halloween in 2009 during my Sophomore season. I ended that game with 2 sacks in the final series of the game, including on the very last play. I also had 6 tackles on that day.
@boltfanindenver – What would be your message to the fans of the team that takes you in the draft? To introduce yourself to fans that may not recognize you and let them know what to expect.
Adrian – I’m going to come in and be a hard worker for the coaches and the fans. I will be the best player that I can be for my new team.
To say that the career of Larry English has been disappointing is an understatement. I don’t say that as a knock on English as a player or a person. I have been one of his bigger cheerleaders since he signed on the dotted line in America’s finest city. He certainly looks the part. At 6’2″ 255 pounds, he appears to have what many might consider your typical Tarzan-like physique, only bigger. The problem is that his body holds up more comparably to that of Jane.
English hasn’t played in all 16 games of a season since his rookie year in 2009. That is definitely not what you would hope for from a former first round draft selection. He combined to play in a total of 13 games in 2010 and 2011. His 14 games played last year were the most since his rookie campaign.
Now Larry is entering his fifth season in the NFL with the Chargers. When healthy, he has flashed some serious ability to get after the opposing team’s Quarterback. He does not have the sack numbers to prove his ability, but he has had more than his fair share of hurries while rushing the passer. But it all boils down to his inability to stay on the field. Here’s a look at his career numbers.
When the Bolts lost Melvin Ingram indefinitely to a torn ACL, it was known that there would be a bigger role in place for the former Northern Illinois Huskie. Now that fellow Outside Linebacker, Jarrett Johnson, has missed some time at training camp, Larry English is getting reps with the Charger first-team defense. The hope is that we will seem him take advantage of this opportunity in an effort to turn around his career. Of course, that is if his health will allow him to stay in between the white lines as opposed to on the sidelines.
Considering there is a new regime in town, this very well could be English’s last chance to prove his worth in San Diego. Additionally, it could be one more time to kill the pain of underachievement. I truly hope that this time is not his last time in lightning bolts.
P.S. My apologies to Tom Petty. And the answer is yes. I think I’m funny.
Last year was John Pagano’s first season as a Defensive coordinator in the NFL. Overall, it is safe to say that his performance garnered mixed reviews.
If you were to break down his year into quarters, there was probably no chance at pulling out a late comeback in what would be considered the fourth quarter of last season. What I mean by that is he had a tough go of it for, roughly, the first 10 games of the 2012 campaign. His play-calling was very vanilla and left a lot to be desired. As a defensive play-caller he chose to play not to lose, so to speak. I wanted to throw up every time I saw the base defense line up in that soft shell cover 3 or cover 2 with Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason playing between 7 and 10 yards off of the line of scrimmage. Sure, there are situations in which that may make some sense. But it ignores the beauty of the 3-4 defense.
The 3-4 allows you to be ultra-creative, if you so choose, in getting after the opposing team’s signal-callers. You are able to generate pressure from multiple positions that a 4-3 would not allow you to without giving up big plays. When used properly, or aggressively, if you will, the scheme can be used to get pressure even when you don’t have elite pass rushers.
See the 2013 Chargers.
Despite the addition of the 33-year-old Dwight Freeney, the Bolts are lacking in the dynamic pass rusher category. Jarrett Johnson, albeit extremely solid in run support and setting the edge, is not going to be confused for a sack master. Larry English has flashed the ability to get to the Quarterback at times, but I’m not sure San Diego can depend on him or his health. The team invested their sixth round selection in this year’s draft on FIU Defensive End, Tourek Williams. He will be asked to stand up as an Outside Linebacker in Pagano’s 3-4. I have high hopes for Tourek, but it is yet to be seen how he’ll handle the transition from hand on the ground DE in college to stand up OLB in the NFL.
It has been said that the team will use multiple defensive alignments in its base defense. The Chargers, unbeknownst to many fans, ran a good amount of ‘4-3 over’ last season. The addition of Freeney certainly leads me to believe that this will be the case in 2013, as well.
In a division that has that one guy named Manning, it is imperative to get pressure as a defense in order for the team to succeed. Many people continue to talk up San Diego’s defense which ranked 9th in 2012. Numbers can be deceiving. As a defense, the team was pathetic at getting off of the field on third down and showed it by ranking 29th in that category. They also allowed the 4th most plays of 40 yards or more in the entire NFL with 11. Here’s a quick look at some other stats from the defense in 2012.
Team Defense: 9th
Rushing Defense: 6th
Passing Defense: 18th
Scoring Defense: 16th (21.9)
As I mentioned above, stats can be deceiving. The run defense proved to be pretty stout but we gave up big chunks of yards through the air. When you are in the middle of the pack defensively versus the pass and in scoring defense, you can expect to finish in the middle of the league or worse record-wise. That is not going to cut it.
I am one of the fans that holds out much hope for Pagano. I am not giving him a “pass” for last year, but I am going to wait and see how 2013 plays out. My hope is that this year is called more similarly to the final 5 or 6 games of last season as opposed to the majority of 2012.
Although it is still as early as training camp, Marty Caswell shared a tweet about Philip Rivers chiming in during a Pagano interview with Darren Smith. Let’s all hope that Pagano pays no attention to what Philip is requesting of him.
Especially on Sundays.
As Darren interviews John Pagano, Philip Rivers walks by and yells “Quit blitzing so much.” He’ll join the show next
— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) July 29, 2013
Who will emerge as the big “sleeper” on the Chargers this year? Could be one of several different players. Could it be a rookie? Could it be a young veteran that has had the misfortune of being injured most of their young career? Could it be a seasoned veteran that has had high expectations and a poor past couple of seasons? Could it be a seasoned veteran that has had a poor past few seasons and seems to be on a downhill slide? Could be one guy, could be a couple or a few, who knows.
These are just more questions that give reason to be excited about this year’s Chargers. In the Norv Turner era, we kind of knew what to expect; although many of us Charger fans were in denial. Deep down inside we knew it would be more disappointment.
I think we know who some of the up and comers are including Vincent Brown, Donald Butler, Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, to name a few. I’m talking sleepers. You know, a player or players that no one expects to shine, at least not right away. I’ll throw out some names and you make an educated guess. The numbering on these players does NOT denote any sort of rank or favorite, it’s just a way of keeping this article uncluttered.
#1. Dwight Freeney
Much of the Media isn’t giving Freeney much of a chance to shine. They’re saying he’s done.
#2. Brad Sorensen
Could Sorensen beat out Whitehurst for the backup QB spot?
#3. Edwin Baker
Still somewhat of a question mark at running back. Maybe he’ll dazzle in camp.
#4. Ladarius Green
Didn’t see much of Green last season. 4 receptions for 56 yards. Just another player that Norv Turner under-utilized.
#5 & #6. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal
Not sure if I would refer to these guys as sleepers but they’re close after a dismal 2012 season.
#7. Johnnie Troutman
A big question mark with Troutman after missing all of last season. No one knows how this kid will play yet.
#8. Larry English
Kind of tired of talking about English and waiting for him to live up to expectations.
#9. Marcus Cromartie
Cromartie is a familiar name at Chargers park. You’ll remember what is older cousin, Antonio, did in his second year as a Charger. He made NFL history by setting a record that will never be broken. (109 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown) Maybe the talent will run in the family. (Shhhh…don’t say family around Antonio)
#10. Jahleel Addae
Two time defensive player of the year for Central Michigan. Has sleeper written all over him!
Let’s hear your “sleepers” and opinions. Who will be the big surprise this year?.