Los Angeles Chargers
In a report by NFL Media Insider Adam Caplan, the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers has re-signed running back Branden Oliver.
**As of the publishing of this article, the terms of the contract had yet to be disclosed.
#Chargers re-signed RB Branden Oliver.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 23, 2017
The former University of Buffalo product has struggled in the stat column recently due to injury and, in my opinion, not being properly utilized by the offensive decision-makers.
After the loss of fan-favorite Danny Woodhead, the Chargers, perhaps, were in a position to strongly consider adding a ball carrier in the draft. With the re-signing of Oliver, the team’s leading rusher from only two season ago, the Chargers’ offense has retained a viable option in both the running and passing games — it is worth noting that despite his short stature, Oliver is more than adequate as a pass-blocker out of the backfield, something he worked on with the coaching staff and Woodhead a lot during their time in San Diego.
I can speak with the utmost confidence on behalf of the entire BoltBlitz.com staff that we are beyond happy for this young man.
My only issue is that he was re-signed by a team that no longer plays its home games in San Diego… but that’s a story for another day.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Articles from Chargers.com:
- NFL to implement major changes to commercial breaks
- Chargers to hold training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa
- Five things about Kenjon Barner
Articles from NFL.com:
Chargers finalize deal for training camp location
Free agency round-up: Manti Te’o signs with Saints
Articles from ESPN.com:
- Chargers hold private workout with Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
- JuJu Smith-Schuster shines at USC pro day, wouldn’t mind staying in L.A.
“In the criminal justice system, moving sports team based offenses are considered especially heinous. In the city of San Diego, the dedicated fans who witness these vicious felonies are in an elite squad known as the Save Our Bolts Unit. These are their stories. BUM BUM!” – Parody of Law and Order Special Victims Unit
The date, January 12th 2017, will be forever known as the day the Chargers died in San Diego. Included in the passing, 56 year of hopes and dreams of many San Diego Chargers fans have been buried. Dreams of seeing this team finally win a Super Bowl, which would included a parade throughout America’s finest city, have now perished. With that murdered dream, so goes the possibility of many San Diegans to finally say “Yes we finally have a winner!”
This is not a game of Clue, or an episode of S.V.U that leaves us pondering who the murderer is. The murderer of those said hopes and dreams of many San Diego citizens and Charger fans worldwide, is Dean Spanos. Instead of being the bigger man and really fighting for a stadium, in which the Chargers have been looking at for the past 15 years, Dean chose the easy way out. He walked away from fighting against a market whom is claiming “LA doesn’t want the Chargers,” a failed Proposition C in which he seemed to turn into a ghost, and debating against hoteliers regarding a huge tax hike.
Even with the attendance down, Dean was making more than enough money to keep this team afloat in San Diego. This move, simply put, is about having more money. This is about greed beating out the loyalty of a fan base that had supported this team through tough seasons when in reality, there were way better things to do in America’s finest city.
The loss of Prop C was just a cop out of Dean and his goons to make a few extra million dollars. What does Dean gain? The so called 25% of fan base that’s supposedly in LA? Does Dean not know percentages? He had 75% of a fan base in San Diego or from San Diego, yet he chose the smaller amount. The ironically humorous part of that is those 25% should probably fill the 27,000 seat stadium the Bolts will play in for the next two years.
Funny to think that if he just showed some commitment to put a winner on the field for the past few years, the city would’ve rewarded Dean with a reasonable offer that worked for everyone. Instead, San Diegans are left without a team that they supported from Sid Gillman all the way to Mike McCoy. This fan base never wavered, staying ignorantly loyal up to the very end.
How fitting though; the team that has made it an art form of crushing our hopes for the past 56 years, breaks our hearts for one last time.
As far as I am concerned, I will not follow that goon of an owner to the city most Charger fans have been raised to root against. Dean showed us no respect leaving San Diego and making a crappy LA logo in the same day. Why show him and his team that same respect?
I will keep my jerseys and my memories of which I have so many to share; perhaps unveiling them in another article. As far as the other city that Chargers team now calls home, I wish the players the best of luck, especially my favorite player Antonio Gates. I can not consciously follow this team to Los Angeles and in reading through numerous social media outlets, it appears many will not as well.
For those staying out of LA and ditching Dean and his organization, like he has ditched us, let’s hear the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS ANTHEM one last time and reflect on our time spent as loyal SAN DIEGO CHARGER fans.
That truly is the question in the minds and hearts of so many loyal San Diego Chargers fans. Should I continue to show my loyalty and spend my money on a team that just tore my heart out and moved to Los Angeles of all places? Honestly, I can’t answer that for you. It is an individual decision that there is no wrong answer to. That’s right, I said there is no wrong answer. Despite the personal attacks against fans who are leaving the team and fans who are sticking with them, I say to you that everyone has the right to chose where they give their love and loyalty. All I can do is walk through the process that I went through and see if that helps you make the right decision for you.
You many have noticed that I didn’t write this article last week when the Chargers announced, via online letter (classless), that they are in fact leaving San Diego after 56 years. I was hurt. I was angry. I had a million thoughts in my mind that I had to sort through in order to figure out my next move. Who am I loyal to; the Chargers or San Diego? Whose fault is it? Do I hate Dean Spanos enough to change my loyalties to another team, or to no team at all? Let’s take a look at how I answered those three questions and see what I came up with. Maybe it will help you decide as well, if you are on the fence.
Who am I loyal to; the Chargers or San Diego? That was a very difficult question for me to answer. I was born in San Diego in 1966. I continued to live there for the next 20 years, before moving away to go to college in San Bernardino, California. After college I moved around the Inland Empire and finally settled in the Temecula area, about an hour North of San Diego. Until recently, my parents lived in San Diego as well as both of my sisters and their families. So, even though I no longer lived down there, I had a lot of ties to the area and found myself visiting multiple times a year. Recently, my father passed away, my mother moved to Oregon, and one of my sisters moved to Oregon as well. The times, they are a changing.
I started rooting for the Chargers around the time Don Coryell took over in 1978. He brought an exciting brand of football that took me away from my early bandwagon ways. The final act that solidified my support and loyalty to the Bolts was the Holy Roller. I won’t insult you by telling you what that play was. I’m sure you already know. If not, go to youtube and check it out yourself. For the record, IT WAS AN INCOMPLETE FORWARD PASS!!!! Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, I was so upset that a team could get away with that kind of crap against my cities team. It was just wrong and I felt like my family and my city were cheated out of a chance at the playoffs and possibly making history. Once and for all, I was a Chargers fan for life! Or, was I a San Diego fan?
As the years went by, I found that anything San Diego was my favorite. I was a fan of all the local teams. I was passionate about the Padres. I liked the Clippers and the Aztecs. I wasn’t much into Nascar, or golf, or tennis or anything else, but if there was a San Diegan competing, I wanted that athlete to win. For the most part, I still do.
Then the Clippers moved to Los Angeles. What was I to do? Honestly, I was so tired of them losing that I took the opportunity to bail on Donald Sterling and the Clippers and changed my loyalty to the Lakers. As time rolled on, I experienced several championships and was happy about all of them. Happy….not ecstatic. I never reached the level of excitement that I believe I would have felt with a San Diego championship. Would I have enjoyed a Clippers championship in LA as much, or more, than a Lakers win? Hard to says, since the Clippers have not yet won anything.
So, my history shows that my love and loyalty is with San Diego, but I am willing to embrace an LA team if that is the only option I have. That bodes well for the Chargers.
Whose fault is it? That answer is easy. It is EVERYONE’S fault! I would say that the Chargers ownership shoulders the majority of the blame. Followed closely by the City of San Diego and the embarrassing list of Mayors and city councilmen that had been tasked with the job of working something out with the City’s best argument for being a “major league city”. Now that the Chargers are gone, the Padres are the only major league team in town. Here’s hoping that the Padres youth movement can bring a sense of pride back to the city and it’s fans. That may take several years, however. But I digress.
As I said, Dean Spanos shoulders most of the blame. One of his biggest mistakes was the hiring of attorney Mark Fabiani. You see, Fabiani was a bully. It was his way or the highway for years. He insulted local politicians and fans alike. In my opinion, Fabiani did more to drive a wedge between the team and local government than anyone else involved. All along, Spanos could have put an end to what was obviously a bad strategy, but allowed Fabiani to be the tough guy. Here is a tip for anyone reading this who would like to get several hundred million dollars from the city. Are you ready? Here it is. Don’t be an ass! Sit down with officials and actually try to work something out. Yes, the Chargers tried in earnest for several years to no avail. But in recent years, it became more and more evident that the only way Spanos was staying in town was if he had the stadium handed to him on a silver platter. Once he was granted the option to move to LA, his entire focus became, how can we leave without looking bad? He failed at that too.
Dean’s bright idea was to ignore local government, create a measure that had no prayer of passing, and then acting disappointed when it didn’t pass. He even went so far as to say if the approval percentage had been over 50%, he would have committed to San Diego. Perhaps if he had shared that little tidbit of information, more people would have given it their stamp of approval? We’ll never know.
Looking past the government officials of years gone bye, let’s take a look at Mayor Faulconer. Some people seem to be giving him a pass, since he gave his endorsement of Measure C. But let us take a closer look. During the rather lack-luster campaign that the Chargers were rolling out before the vote, Mayor Faulconer was nowhere to be found. He had no comment and was no help. Finally, with just three weeks left, he said that he ironed out some details and now supports the measure. Three whole weeks. To top it all off, the Chargers approached the Mayor with a request that he do a commercial showing everyone that he was in support. That kind of coverage could swing a decent percentage of voters who may not be paying attention to the sports talk shows or pages. The Mayor refused to do the spot and went back into his hole. Obviously, this was his was of trying to get rid of the Chargers without looking at fault.
I tried to give Faulconer the benefit of the doubt until he immediately announced that he would be putting a measure on the 2018 ballot that would expand the convention center. Why is that concerning? Because he says that project will be funded by a four percent increase in the TOT tax. That is the same plan that the Chargers had to pay or their “convadium”. That explains why the Mayor took so long to get on board with Measure C. He needed that money for his own plan. Maybe the hoteliers will be behind this plan. (Don’t even get me started on them)
Even the fans carry a little of the blame. Sure, they could have voted for Measure C and the Chargers would have stayed. But, the county was not allowed to vote and that took a toll on the number of fans involved. Also, there were serious concerns on how the measure would effect traffic downtown. The only real negative toward the fans is the large number of fans who have taken to selling their tickets online. Those sales caused The Q to look like an away game many weeks of the season for the last several years. That was topped off by approximately 55,000 Raiders fans infesting Qualcomm shortly before Dean Spanos had to make his decision. Now let me backtrack a little by saying, if the Chargers had put a winning product on the field, the seats would have been filled with Chargers fans.
Do I hate Dean Spanos enough to change my loyalties to another team, or to no team at all? Time will tell, but I don’t think so. Yes, I have no love for Dean Spanos. I think it is terrible that he tore the fabric of San Diego apart by taking his team away. I do give him credit for bringing this problem up 16 years ago, only to be ignored by the city. I give him credit for bring multiple plans to the city in hopes of getting some cooperation, to no avail. That being said, I don’t believe that he wanted to stay any longer and wanted a way out.
Let’s look at the choices. Do I want to start rooting for another team? Well, who would that team be? When the Clippers left, I rooted for the next closest NBA team. If I did that, I would be rooting for the Rams. I can’t justify rooting for the Rams after what they did to their St. Louis fans, and their Orange County fans before that. They are not the poster children for loyalty to a city.
So what other California teams are there? The Forty-Niners come to mind. No. Just, no.
Finally, there is the Oakland Raiders. Honestly, there is no way in hell that I will become a Raiders fan. They are the mortal enemy of the Chargers and they too are not loyal to their cities. They move or threaten to move with the regularity of a healthy man on Miralax. Not to mention that they are planning a move to Las Vegas as we speak.
How about rooting for a team out of state? The Cardinals aren’t far away! This is true. However, I couldn’t give a flying rat’s behind about the Cardinals. They too left St. Louis in my lifetime, they are not even in California, and I won’t be able to listen to local talk radio discus my team. Doesn’t sound very fun to me. Then again, that would give me an excuse to stop listening to that clown Dan Sileo in the mornings. Again, I digress.
Of course there are traditional winning franchises like the Patriots and the Steelers. Again, they just don’t move the needle for me. Great franchises, but no connection. Moving on.
That leaves me two options. Giving up on the NFL, or staying with the Chargers. Personally, I really enjoy NFL football. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should stand on higher moral ground and not support a league that obviously is only about their profit and doesn’t care about the fans or the safety of their players. I suppose that is all true, but dang-it, I really enjoy NFL football and I really enjoy having a team to root for.
It has become obvious to me that the only logical answer I have for myself is to stick with the Chargers. Yes, the Los Angeles Chargers. Who knows? I may change my mind when the games start, but as for now, I’m supporting my team. Let’s be honest, there has never once been a day where I have uttered the words, “I hope they win this one for Dean!” I am here for the players and my own enjoyment. That’s supposed to be what this is all about. It is a game that is designed to be enjoyed by the masses. I personally cannot enjoy it without a dog in the fight (my apologies to Michael Vick).
Getting back to where I started this therapy session, your choice may be different and that is okay too. To each his/her own. Good luck with whomever you choose to follow (except the Raiders).
Thanks for reading. Comment below and tell me where your loyalty lies. #GOCHARGERS
Hot on the heels of the monumental Thursday morning announcement of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers moving up the I-5 to Los Angeles, a new head coach was announced to spearhead the new Los Angeles Chargers.
On Friday, the now Los Angeles Chargers officially announced former Buffalo Bills’ interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their successor to Mike McCoy. Lynn was a running back in the NFL for six seasons from 1993-1999. He was initially signed as an undrafted free agent running back by the Denver Broncos. He played a season in San Francisco (1995-’96) before finishing his career in Denver from 1997 to 1999. Lynn has two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led team that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
Since retiring from playing the game in 2000, Lynn has worked his way up the coaching ranks. After two seasons in Denver as a special teams coach, he was brought in as a running backs coach for Jacksonville, Dallas, Cleveland and New York Jets before landing in Buffalo in 2015. Lynn served as running backs coach until week three of the 2016 season. Bills OC Greg Roman was fired after week two and Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the week 17 interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired in week 16.
Lynn is a low-profile, safe choice for the Chargers. Not much will be expected of him or the team given their recent history. The Chargers have finished in the cellar the last two seasons, only winning a combined nine games. They made the playoffs once in the four years of the Mike McCoy era.
Despite the fact he has no head coaching experience at any level of football, he is expected to keep Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator and various media outlets are reporting he wants to hire former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to replace John Pagano as defensive coordinator. If the Bradley hire happens, that places two experienced head coaches to accelerate his learning curve.
Lynn becomes the first minority head coach in the history of the Chargers franchise. He is widely respected around the league as a running game mastermind. From 2009-13 his Jets led the league in rushing. Each season in Buffalo, the Bills have led the NFL in rushing. If he can do that with a past his prime veteran like LeSean McCoy, imagine what he will be able to do with a young, budding superstar like Melvin Gordon.
Lynn inherits a roster with many budding stars yet to hit their prime and if they can stay healthy, could make the playoffs as soon as next season. So far, the Chargers have led the league in players sent to injured reserve over the past few seasons. Staying healthy and offensive line stability has been their biggest downfall.
All things considered, there is no place to go but up for Lynn and the Chargers. The stadium drama is over and players now know in which city their future lies. That has to be good for something. Now everyone can focus on getting healthy and just playing football, which may be exactly what this team needs.
What do you think? Good signing? Bad signing? Too soon to care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Follow me on Twitter @LordOfTheGregs
Yesterday was January 12, 2017, a day that shall live in infamy. Some will refer to it as the beginning of the end, and to others just the beginning.
The Chargers are officially moving to Los Angeles, and with this sudden and drastic change, many Charger fans are jumping ship to other teams, or dropping any passion they had for the NFL all together. Of course with those publicly made comments, there have been tons of rebuttals from fans of other NFL teams belittling said fans for doing so.
I say to those that are making the decision to follow another team: Although I am making the decision to follow them in Los Angeles under the condition that they remain the Chargers – I do not blame you.
I also come from a different background. I was not born and raised in San Diego. I became a Chargers fan at a very young age because everyone else around me where I lived, seemed to be an Arizona Cardinals fans. So in a way, I was a fan of the Chargers as an entity, not as a representation of a city.
Regardless of how I became a Charger fan, it still hurts me to watch the team leave by way of a press release; no public meeting, just a cowardly gesture and they are gone like a thief in the night. I understand that the team is now not that far away from San Diego, however the team moved to what is considered to be a rival city. I remember the benches clearing brawl in the Padres- Dodgers game a few years ago between Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin! These two cities do NOT like each other. It is not to the likes of a New York and New Jersey rival; closer to that of a New York and Boston rivalry. Fans of the NFL born after 1996, who were not alive to witness the move of the Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals and the original Cleveland Browns, do not understand the gravity of this situation.
The social media attacks of Charger fans walking away from the team, seem to forget that a majority of the fans they are chastising, the team was a large part of not only their community, but their upbringing as well. Without actually experiencing the situation yourself, you really have no idea what it is like to lose such a large part of your community – your life. Chargers fans in some of the Facebook groups compare it to having a girlfriend that cheats on you and then shares the picture with you on Facebook with her new ex. You still may love that girlfriend, but it is clear that she did not love you back.
That is the case with the Chargers in my opinion. The reason for the low attendance the past few years is not just because of poor performance, but also the Spanos family yanking the citizens of San Diego around and giving them false hope. It is not just the Spanos family, however, that is at fault. I believe all sides regarding the team and the stadium issue are to blame.
Getting back to my original thought: Fans of the teams that either have not moved in their lifetime or have never moved, where their loyalty has never been tested, should not be telling Chargers fans about how loyal they are and blah, blah, blah. Those casting stones often forget that being a fan of any sports team is a passionate yet gentle distraction from the stressors of our daily lives. We put our heart and hopes into that team, and in return they give us hope and pride in something that is bigger than ourselves. A sports team is a large part of a community; it brings people together and in turn gives back to the community by public works. Now in San Diego, that entity is gone with no public meeting, just a few touches on a keyboard. That is why it hurts the way it does.
So for those who are not, or never were, Chargers fans, please be reminded that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings. Your loyalty might not have been tested yet, and even if it has and you choose to stay with your team, I am fairly certain there were numerous fans of your team that jumped ship.
Thanks for Reading
I have been a Chargers fan since 2004. I was 11 years old when I first watched Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates shock everyone and win the West only losing to the Jets in heartbreaking fashion. Drafting Eli with the 1st pick overall only to trade him for an even better QB in Rivers plus more. 2006 when the team was by far the best in football only to have Marlon McCree fumble away the Superbowl vs the Patriots.
I have been to countless amounts of games over the past 10 years, seeing LT break the record, beating Denver in 2008 to come back from four games down with four to play. I watched as Antonio Cromartie intercepted Peyton Manning three times and Chargers picking him off six times total on a raining Sunday Night. Ryan Succop missing the field goal in week 17 and the Chargers running a fake punt to clinch a wild card berth.
All these memories, gone thanks to greed and arrogance by an owner, who I can truly say as factual, just doesn’t get it. Spanos may be the worst owner in sports, and has all but lost the San Diego fanbase and doesn’t have any one in Los Angeles who will go to him. There is no one but yourself to blame for this. The city of San Diego tried for 15 years to get a stadium and what did you do? Put out ONE plan that you knew would fail….one. This isn’t on the city. This is on you. You have become the laughing stock of, not just the NFL, but in all of sports. Here are some examples for you Mr. Spanos:
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 12, 2017
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 12, 2017
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 12, 2017
These are just three examples of national teams/media bashing you. Here is one from my personal Twitter page:
— Padres SZN (@WilMyersGOAT) January 12, 2017
You got what you wanted. You wanted LA, well, have fun.
For the last time blitzers, I leave you. I appreciate everyone who supported but this will be my last post on boltblitz.com. I can not, and will not support this team in Los Angeles. I hope to still engage with you guys on social media, and one day, just maybe one day, we will get our Chargers back. But until then, here is me checking out saying, Fuck you Dean Spanos and Fuck the Los Angeles Chargers.
-Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
Although the fans of the San Diego Chargers may have felt as though they were a part of a victorious battle on Tuesday in what has been a dramatic and exhausting war to keep the team in America’s finest city, it appears that the team may indeed move to Los Angeles.
Despite owner Dean Spanos stating that he would be taking the day off, it is being reported Wednesday that the framework of a stadium deal that would relocate the Chargers to L.A. with the Rams is in place, according to Alex Flanagan of NFL Network.
Clearly, by saying he would be taking the day off, it actually meant that he would be going above and beyond to continue to ensure that the team would relocate.
NFL has framework of a stadium deal between the rams/chargers. Chargers vetting it now and barring anything unforeseen, plan on going to LA
— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) January 13, 2016
The writing has been on the wall — quite to the contrary of what many perceived as positive news on Tuesday at the Owners meetings in Houston — that the Spanos’ family had given up on working with the city of San Diego.
Though it may have been viewed that the organization was filing for relocation as a means to gain leverage over San Diego should the team have decided to return to the negotiating table with the city, it would seem they had no other reason in doing so other than to relocate the franchise.
Of course not.
Does it hurt?
It is incredibly painful that the reality of this situation is that the Chargers will no longer call San Diego home.
But, perhaps, this report is bullshit like so many other reports out there.
If true, the only thing football-wise that could make this worse would be if Dean moves the team and then turns around and sells it in the near future.
Nothing would surprise me at this point.
This is another one of those articles that I do not enjoy writing. That being said, I am very interested to see what the fans have to say. But I have a feeling that I know what the majority of the responses will be.
The back-and-forth between the Mayor’s office and the Chargers has gotten a bit ugly at times. Name calling on both sides have polluted social media via interviews on the radio and the internet. It seems to have toned down recently, but I don’t expect it to remain that way. I suppose we’ll all have to remain patient as we wait for the scenario to play out.
Let’s face it, we are now reaching the eleventh hour in this process. Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the Chargers, has repeatedly stated that they have been working with San Diego for 14 years in order to keep the team in America’s finest city. (Go ahead and take a drink) But how much progress has truly been made? At this point, after the shuffling of downtown and the Mission Valley site as being the prime location, it is hard to say if any progress has been made.
I suppose steps in the right direction have commenced, as Mayor Faulconer seems to be genuine in his remarks regarding the team not leaving for Los Angeles. I can say that I know for a fact that the CSAG members are putting in countless hours — of volunteer, unpaid time — to work toward a viable solution. But the clock is ticking.
Honestly, I have no clue exactly how I would feel if they moved. I can guarantee that I would be extremely angry initially, but part of me believes that I would get over it and remain a fan. Again, I don’t know. I really want them to stay in San Diego. I didn’t move here from Charlotte, North Carolina to watch them leave for Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter.
In an effort to avoid rambling on and on, I’ll get right to the poll question. Please place your vote on the poll and explain that vote by leaving a comment below. I’ll be doing a follow-up piece on this using your responses on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks a lot for reading, voting and commenting.
On March 13, 2015, a ripple of concern and suspicion began when the Chargers announced that they would be bringing in quarterback (QB) Marcus Mariota for a private workout. Why bring in a QB who is expected to be drafted far before the Chargers first round pick at 17? Are the Chargers really looking to sign Mariota just to have him sit behind Philip Rivers for the next three years? Is Tom Telesco just playing pre-draft games with the other general managers? Or, are the Bolts actually considering a change?
As time went by, the ripple gained momentum and grew to the size of La Jolla Shores breakers. Social media outlets began throwing out conspiracy theories that were mostly shot down as, “crazy talk”. But as the days wore on, more and more twists were added to the plot. A trade with Tennessee for the number two pick in the draft was being discussed. At number two, the Chargers would have whomever the Buccaneers did not choose between Florida St. quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. To old school Chargers fans, this scenario makes them squirm as they recall the weeks before the 1998 draft when the Bolts picked second and assured themselves whoever was left between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Not to say that Mariota will suffer the same fate as Leaf, but that is the thing about the draft: you just never know.
Well, those breakers became the size of Hawaii’s Bonzai Pipeline, when more and more dots were connected by the local and national media, along with sports talk radio, as they started digging around. Now the complete hypothetical plan was laid out and it actually seemed plausible! Rumblings from Chargers fans ranged from, “If they trade Rivers, I’m done”, to “Now it’s obvious that the Chargers want to move to Los Angeles”, to “It’s all talk! The Chargers will never trade Rivers!”
Just when you think it is safe to go back in the water, a tidal wave hits the shores of San Diego. Kevin Acee, of the UT San Diego, interviewed Rivers and received some discouraging answers from the Pro Bowl quarterback. When asked if he was working with the Chargers on extending his contract past 2015, Rivers said that he was not. He vowed to honor his contract and play out the next season in San Diego, but would not commit to re-signing with the Bolts for the future. Rivers went on to say, “I guess things could change, but with all the uncertainty in many aspects, I don’t see it changing before camp gets here, and when camp gets here I’m even more certain to play it (his contract) out.” He went on to say, “The good thing is that I’m not under contract in a year where we’d potentially be in Los Angeles.” That does not sound like a player who is locked into playing out his career with the Chargers.
So what are those, “many aspects” that Rivers is referring to? To figure that out, all one has to do is take a look at the current situation with the team, the stadium, his family, and yes, the future of the quarterback position for the San Diego Chargers. Not to get ahead of ourselves, let us take a look at the scenario that has been painted by the media, and fans, that might explain why there is so much speculation about the Mariota workout and the upcoming draft.
The current version of the Rivers trade theory is that he will be traded to Tennessee for the second pick in the draft. With most around the NFL believing that Tampa Bay will pick Winston number one, Mariota would then go to the Chargers at number two. This trade would work for a few different reasons. One, Rivers said that there are “many aspects” to consider before signing a contract to keep him in San Diego past 2015. One of those aspects would certainly be if the Bolts were staying in San Diego, or bolting to Los Angeles (LA). Perhaps Rivers does not want to leave his home in San Diego just to move his wife and seven kids to LA. If he is going to move anywhere, it would make more sense to move to the South, near where he grew up in Alabama. Tennessee is far closer to Alabama and the lifestyle is far more similar to Alabama than LA.
Furthermore, a trade to Tennessee would reunite Rivers with his former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the current head coach for the Titans. Rivers has one of his best years as a pro with Whisenhunt leading the way. Rivers would already know the offense and should be able to step right in and feel comfortable running the show.
Finally, there is the aspect of money. Rivers did not have a great year, by his standards, in 2014. Now would not a beneficial time for him to talk extension. If he plays one more season, with a vastly improved line, he may put up career numbers and be able to demand more money. Yes, Rivers is a nice guy, but even nice guys want to get paid. He does have seven mouths to feed after all.
Okay, all of that actually makes sense for why Rivers would look to leave. How about the Chargers? Why would they entertain the thought of trading away someone who is arguably a future Hall of Fame QB when he certainly has productive years ahead? Well, there are some reasonable answers to those questions as well.
First of all, Rivers is 33 years old and has never taken the Bolts to the Super Bowl. Two other quarter backs in the same draft class, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, have won rings. Now football is a team sport, so you cannot put all of the blame on Rivers for that, so that cannot be the problem. Next, the Chargers have had trouble protecting Rivers and all the hits he has sustained have definitely taken a toll on the aging QB. Perhaps bringing in a mobile QB, like Mariota, will enable the Chargers to sustain drives when the offensive line breaks down. Then again, with the signing of Orlando Franklin and the opportunity to draft a lineman in the first round ahead, the line should be greatly improved. Finally, perhaps the Chargers feel that Mariota has a skill set that will give them a true franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years, while saving cap space by getting out from underneath Rivers’ contract.
That brings us to the stadium issue, which could possibly be the main reason the Chargers would entertain the thought of trading away the face of their franchise. Although team president, Dean Spanos, continues to say that he would like to keep the team in San Diego, there have been few signs that he is interested in working with the recently created Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG). In fact, twice the Chargers have had Carson related stories come out on the same days when CSAG members have held events in San Diego. Perhaps the thinking is that if the Chargers move to LA, they want to be the, “new look” Chargers, and Rivers is too closely associated with San Diego for that to happen.
So is it a good idea to get rid of Rivers? Not a chance! With Rivers, you are not only talking about the face of the team, but also the emotional leader. You are talking about a guy who gives players hope. How many times have you heard, “As long as we have number 17, we have a chance?” You will not get that kind of leadership from a rookie QB. Mariota may have a successful career in the NFL, or he may not. There are no guarantees (see Ryan Leaf). Many experts feel that he will be a work in progress at the next level. He needs to learn how to lead a huddle and take snaps from under center; two things that he did not have to do in college. Yes, these are teachable skills, but do you want your starting QB to be learning the basics while in live action? Seems like an awfully big risk for a team that has a viable answer for the position for the next few years.
Finally, trading Rivers would be a poor PR move. That would be “public relations”, not Philip Rivers. The Bolts have long been known for treating their veterans poorly. Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Vincent Jackson are all examples of players that were shown the door without so much as a, “thank you”. If the new leadership of the Chargers wants to break that cycle and be embraced by the community, they need to handle situations with class and show star players that they appreciate them. It seems a team that may need a large percentage of citizens to vote for a stadium would not want to anger their fans. That is unless they do not really want to stay in San Diego. Even if they do let Rivers go, trading him now is not the answer. Let him play out his last year and see what happens.
What do you think? Is it time to look toward the future? Or, is 2015 a must-win season so that the city will embrace the team and vote for a stadium? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.