The best piece of advice I can give a sports fan is this: cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.
No matter how wonderful a player is on or off the field, someday either the team or the player will make the difficult decision to go a different direction. The team remains, but the players go through the never ending revolving doors known as free agency and retirement. Remember the aforementioned advise when you look at the following list of fan favorites and impact players who are on the last year of their contracts with the Chargers. Here is the list of the players who may leave at seasons end. The departure of some will leave a hole in the team. The departure of others will leave a hole in fans hearts. So as I crank up The Clash in the background, let’s take a look at who should stay and who should go, as well as what they are making for the 2016 season.
Melvin Ingram (OLB) $7.751 million: Staying: Although Ingram has had to deal with injuries and has under achieved in a statistical way, the future of Ingram seems bright. The addition of Joey Bosa has made this pair of pass-rushers quite a handful for offensive lines. The sack totals are not as impressive as their AFC West rivals, but the fact that the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is a sure sign that these guys are putting pressure on quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. For a defensive front seven to be effective in today’s NFL, there must be two dominant pass rushers and a strong Nose Tackle. Ingram, Bosa and Mebane fit the bill for now. Ingram will be pursued by other teams, but expect the Chargers to overpay a little to keep their former first round draft pick around for the next three to four years.
Danny Woodhead (RB) $5.5 million: Going: I want to be clear about something here. Danny Woodhead is a wonderful player who can be a spark-plug for an offense, and a true leader. But along with his greatness is a serious problem. Since joining the Chargers, Woodhead has only played in 37 of the 64 games he was eligible to participate in. He has had two full seasons and two cut seriously short by injury, including the 2016 campaign. Not only does Woodhead have a hard time staying healthy, he is 31 years old. Not many running backs maintain their effectiveness for long after age 30. I’m sorry to say, the Chargers will move on from Woodhead. He will either sign somewhere as a free agent for the 2017 season, or hang up the cleats. Of course, there is the possibility that the Chargers would try to sign him at a discounted price on the chance that he will stay healthy. Unfortunately, he will most likely find a better offer somewhere else.
Mantai Te’o (MLB) $5.172 million: Going: Te’o is another player who has been plagued by injuries during his time in San Diego. By seasons end, he will have played in just 38 of a possible 64 games, over his four season tenure with the Bolts. He has been improving every year, and the improvement of the defensive line has helped him scrape down the line and get to ball carriers. But, it hasn’t helped his foot-speed, or ability to cover backs in the flat. Look for opposing quarterbacks to pick on Te’o on third and long. The fact is, Te’o will go down in Chargers history as a borderline bust. Nice enough guy, just not a great football player.
Jahleel Addae (SS) $2.553 million: Going: Chargers fans seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for SS Jahleel Addae. Why? Because he is a hitter! Fans love players who come in and lay some hat on opposing teams. Addae certainly does just that. He has been a Charger for four years and has quite the reputation for having no fear. The problem is that all those hits have really taken a toll on Addae’s body. In fact, he has had several injuries, including concussions. Having only played 43 of his possible 54 games so far as a Charger, there must be concern that he will spend more and more time on the injured list. He is fairly inexpensive, but you do not want to pay anyone to ride out injuries. I believe that if Addae fails to get through the remaining five games of the 2016 schedule without incident, the Chargers will have no choice but to let him go.
Branden Oliver (RB) $1.53 million: Staying: Normally I would have said that a player who really hasn’t done very much, and has missed an entire season to injury, would not be returning. In Oliver’s case, I think the Chargers may take one more chance. He is the epitome of a fan favorite. Bolt fans just love watching Oliver run/return the ball and bang into those large defenders. Yes, Oliver plays larger than his 5’8″, 208 lb frame. He is such a fan favorite, some fans wanted Melvin Gordon either cut, or dropped to second string, so that Oliver could get his chance. The fact of the matter is that despite a few impressive games, Oliver does not have the stats to explain the love he receives. That being said, the Bolts may just bring him back because he will be cheap and the fans love him.
Korey Toomer (OLB) $600,000: Staying: It could be a little premature to add Toomer to this list, but he has been an impact player since joining the team in week four. With his playing time increasing, Toomer has racked up 33 tackles in the last three weeks! He is an aggressive player who likes to hit. The Seahawks and the Raiders are going to regret letting this guy go. Look for Toomer to get another two the three years added to his already very affordable contract.
Dontrelle Inman (WR) $600,000: Staying: Without a whole lot of playing time, Inman has managed to have some big games. He is a sure-handed receiver that was plucked from the Canadian Football League to fill in for injured receivers. Although much of the success of the young Chargers receivers can be credited to Philip Rivers, there is no denying that Inman has the ability to get open and catch the ball. He just may be part of a talented youth movement at wide receiver in San Diego.
There are many more players to make decisions on at the end of this season. Very few are notable. None are tremendous impact players or former high draft picks. Even though these names seem less important, some of them will return because they are affordable and they add much needed depth. The following is a list of players who will most likely be brought back to fill various roles: Mike Windt (LS), Tenny Palepoi (NT), Sean McGrath (TE), Damion Square (NT), and Isaiah Burse (WR/KR), Kenny Wiggens (G).
Finally, the list of potential free agents who are either doomed to be shown the door, or will fight hard and get back on the team: Sean Lissemore (NT), Tourek Williams (OLB), Trevor Williams (CB), Asante Cleveland (TE), Adrian Phillips (FS), Kellen Clemens (QB), Javontee Herndon (WR), Codero Law (OLB), Jeff Cumberland (TE), Dexter McCluster (RB/KR), Ronnie Hillman (RB), Jeremy Butler (WR), Geremy Davis (WR), Tyreek Burwell (T), Chris Landrum (OLB). Some of these guys have a real shot at making the team next year, they just will not be high priorities for Chargers GM Tom Telesco.
So, what do you think? Which of these guys will be sporting lightning bolts next season? Leave your comments below.
Korey Toomer has only been wearing lightning bolts since September, but it surely seems longer.
The former Oakland Raider is as happy to be with the Chargers as they are to have him. He is finally getting an opportunity to put his talents on display, especially that 4.53-second 40-yard dash.
After being drafted by Seattle in 2012 (round 5, selection No. 154). He was on the roster for 20 (including preseason) games during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in 2013. Between being on injured-reserve for two straight years and having guys like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner ahead of him, it was difficult for Toomer to get on the field in Seattle. He was released from the Seahawks in 2014. Subsequent stops in Dallas and St. Louis with minimal playing time (special teams only) garnered three tackles in seven games. More of the same followed in Oakland, so much so that he terminated his contract with the Raiders to sign in San Diego.
The signing of the ultra athletic Toomer has gone a long way towards solidifying the linebacking corps. Season-ending injuries to Manti Te’o and Nick Dzubnar left a void that demanded filling. Recent injuries to both Jatavis Brown (knee) and Denzel Perryman (hamstring) only increased the necessity of his presence.
Ahead of the match-up against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Toomer had started in four out of seven games. One of his best plays to date came in the Thursday Night Football game when he tackled Broncos wide receiver Jordan Taylor and the Broncos’ player coughed up the ball. The fumble recovery led to a San Diego field goal and put the Chargers up 13 points on their division foes. San Diego went on to win that game, their first victory in the AFC West since 2014.
Since mid-October, Toomer has amassed 51 tackles, the majority of which are solo (37), defended against two passes, forced three fumbles and notched one fumble recovery. There were impressive stats against both the Tennessee Titans (nine tackles/eight solo) and the Miami Dolphins (11/10), including three-and-a-half tackles for lost yardage. In the Houston game, the veteran linebacker recorded 13 more tackles (four solo) and a quarterback hit.
Having Toomer back there to get receivers off routes has been fun to watch, as well. His ability to reroute crossers and drags which run through the linebacking corps’ area can significantly alter the short passing games of opposing offenses. He has helped solidify that inside linebacking group.
Speaking to Ricky Henne of chargers.com in October, Toomer stated:
“Pags’ system is benefitting me because he is letting me play fast. He is putting me in positions not to fail. That is why it is working for the both of us. I feel like these coaches are giving me a chance. Granted, I made good on the situation. These coaches have put me in position to make plays and are not putting too much on my plate. They are letting me fly around. I am grateful for these coaches giving me a call and giving me a chance to play this game. I want to show people I can bring more to the table than just special teams. I love special teams, that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career as well, but I want to play defense, too.”
Whether he plays defense or special teams, the fact that Toomer left a division rival in order to grasp an opportunity with both hands shows he has gained confidence in himself and his ability.
Bring on the Bucs and Mike Evans!
*Featured image credit: AP – Denis Poroy
Going into Week 13, the San Diego Chargers practically have a full team on injured reserve, placing 18 players on the season-ending list!
I am sure the Chargers can say there is not enough room on the airplane for the players on IR this season and actually mean it.
Here are the players on IR and the date they were placed on it.
May 16th: Brock Hekking (OLB): Charger fans have yet to see what talent this second-year linebacker has to offer. He missed all of 2015 with a foot injury and was placed on IR in 2016 with an undisclosed injury suffered early in training camp.
August 15th: Stevie Johnson (WR) Johnson suffered a torn MCL during practice on July 31st. The nine-year veteran signed with the Chargers in 2015 and had 497 yards with three touchdowns.
August 15th: Sean Lissemore (NT) Lissemore was hoping to come back in 2016 after hurting his shoulder at the end of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, he was not able to recover from the injury and was placed on IR.
August 22nd: Jeff Cumberland (TE) Cumberland had signed a one-year deal with the Chargers after playing six years with the Jets. The tight end suffered an ACL injury in the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
August 30th: Zamir Carlis (DT) The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rookie out of Stillman College suffered an ankle injury during practice. The severity of the injury is undisclosed.
August 30th: Donavon Clark (G) The 2016 seventh-round pick from Michigan State suffered a torn ACL injury against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason.
August 30th: Tyler Johnstone (T) The rookie from Oregon suffered an undisclosed injury during training camp.
August 30th: Branden Oliver (RB) Most of us watched Oliver tear his Achilles tendon in the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. Chargers were hoping to have the hard-hitting Oliver back after he missed half of 2015 with a toe injury.
August 31st: Javontee Herndon (WR/KR) The wide receiver suffered a knee injury on July 30th. He played eight games in 2015 and had 195 yards receiving. Herndon also was used in return duties.
September 12th: Keenan Allen (WR) After missing most of the 2015 season, the Chargers were excited to get top-ranked receiver KA13 back on the field. Then, much to the chagrin of Chargers fans and fantasy football players, he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the regular season. Six offensive plays into the 2016 season and your No. 1 target is gone for the entire year.
September 19th: Danny Woodhead (RB) After Chargers fans saw Keenan Allen go down in Week 1, they saw Woodhead go down in Week 2. The mighty back also suffered a torn ACL.
September 28th: Manti Te’o (ILB) Hoping to finally play a full season after suffering injuries in his first three years, Te’o only made it to the third game of the regular season. The team captain suffered a torn Achilles in the loss against the Indianapolis Colts.
October 7th: Jason Verrett (CB): Verrett suffered a partially torn ACL injury and was placed on IR after the fourth game against the Saints. Verrett was not able to pinpoint when the actual injury happened and therefore most likely continued to play despite the injury.
October 10th: Nick Dzubnar (ILB) The second-year undrafted linebacker from Cal Poly SLO also tore his ACL in week six against the New Orleans Saints. He had six tackles before his season-ending injury.
October 25th: Caraun Reid (DT) Reid tore his ACL in Week 7 against Atlanta. Reid was signed this year after his first two years with the Detroit Lions.
November 5th: Dexter McCluster (RB) If it wasn’t bad enough that so many players were going down on the field of play, McCluster got injured off the field. The running back, signed due to injuries, broke his arm at his home carrying furniture.
November 22nd: Brandon Mebane (NT) The veteran nose tackle, who played nine years with the Seattle Seahawks, made a huge impact on the defense. Sadly, he tore his biceps muscle in the hard-fought loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 10.
November 29th: Jerry Attaochu (OLB): Attaochu broke his foot against the Houston Texans in Week 12. The third-year linebacker had six sacks last year and two this year.
Here is a very scary thought: Nine out of the 18 players on the injured-reserve list have knee injuries, while six of them suffered ACL tears.
Injuries should never be used as an excuse for losing in the NFL but having 18 players out for the year is excessive, to say the least.
Let’s look on the bright side: despite a 5-6 record, the team has been in every contest this year. Each of their six losses have been by eight points or less. That says a lot about a team with so many key players on IR.
It will not be easy, but the playoffs are not out of reach for the Bolts… yet. I just hope they can stay healthy for the last five games, giving them a shot to earn an invite to the postseason.
Thanks for reading!
News out of Chargers Park is that ANOTHER player is lost for the year due to injury.
Monday we learned it is defensive end Caraun Reid. And as has been the sickening norm for this team, it was an ACL tear to the big end’s left knee.
Reid sustained his injury in the first quarter of the Atlanta game after being hit in his lower leg as he planted his foot. Linebacker Denzel Perryman was heading for the pile and just caught Reid’s knee.
Claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions roster, the 6’2, 302-pounder (Princeton, round five of 2014 draft) has been with the Chargers for about six weeks. Filling in while Joey Bosa (2016 draft first round #3) nursed his sore hamstring, Reid has been a contributor on the defense. In 103 snaps he collected five combined tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
That notable highlight occurred in the week three game at Indianapolis. Rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown strip-sacked Andrew Luck and Reid scooped up the ball, taking it to the house 61 yards and tying the game at 13 all.
While announcing Reid’s situation, McCoy said “Caraun came in on the very first day and did an outstanding job. He’s a smart player that picked our system up in a hurry and made some big plays for us.”
If anyone is counting, including Reid, that makes TEN – yes, I said TEN – players lost to season-ending injuries. Five of those ten are to the knee and have occurred in the last seven weeks. Here’s the long and incomprehensible list:
Keenan Allen – torn right ACL, week one vs the Chiefs
Danny Woodhead – torn right ACL, week two vs the Jaguars
Jason Verrett – torn left ACL possibly sustained in the Jaguars game
Nick Dzubnar – torn right ACL, week four vs the Saints
And of course, Caraun Reid from yesterday.
Though it was not his ACL, the Bolts lost Manti Te’o to a torn left Achilles’ tendon early in the Colts game.
On top of those, what about the non-contact injuries that besieged the team before the 2016 campaign even began:
wide-out Stevie Johnson tore his meniscus in training camp
tight end Jeff Cumberland was lost to a torn Achilles’ during the pre-season game against Arizona
rookie guard Donavon Clark tore his right ACL in the Arizona contest
change of pace back Branden Oliver had his right Achilles’ snap during the Minnesota game
It is ONLY Week 7 and that list is scary!! I don’t know if there is any other NFL team playing right now that has had the upheaval to their roster that San Diego has endured. There are still nine weeks to go to the end of the season.
I shudder to think what the “football gods” have in store for this group of men and the accursed injury phenomena as time rolls by. Every time a man goes down, I cringe and pray it is just a minor hiccup and they’ll be back quickly.
Time for the CBA to be re-evaluated. Some teams don’t lose any players, some one or two. But to have TEN is like looking at an emergency room full of wheelchairs!
Sorry to see your name added to that list, Caraun Reid. Your presence on defense will be sorely missed.
See what two of our writers, Zak Darman and Chris Hoke, have to say about whether or not the 2016 San Diego Chargers will make the playoffs this season.
Zak Darman: NO DEAL! The San Diego Chargers will NOT make the playoffs at years end.
The Chargers made some nice moves in the offseason to boost up their offense by signing wide receiver Travis Benjamin and center Matt Slauson. It is no secret that the offense is much improved, starting with the addition of offensive guru Ken Whisenhunt. The offense was looking very good in Week 1, right before Keenan Allen left that game with a torn ACL, ending his season. The running game looked much improved with a better and more decisive Melvin Gordon. The loss of Danny Woodhead from Sunday’s game against Jacksonville will hurt immensely, though, and they hope the recent signing of Dexter McCluster will help. We will see.
On defense, however, is where the weaknesses still stand out. The Bolts used the No. 3 overall selection on defensive end Joey Bosa, who has not played in a single game this season due to contract negotiations/injury, and brought in nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Casey Heyward and safety Dwight Lowery. I still don’t like this group because in my opinion they don’t have enough playmakers to take this team to the next level. Manti Te’o is below average and prior to being lost for the season due to injury, there was a question whether he should be starting or not. The safeties are a joke and the pass rush is still bad. Outside of Pro Bowler Jason Verrett, who else is there? It also does not help to have one of the worst defensive coordinators in all of football in John Pagano. Yes, the defense looked great in the first half vs KC but lets not forget that the Chiefs were without Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith was missing some wide open short route throws that he usually doesn’t miss. This unit has been overrated from the get-go and it needs to be addressed. The defense looked better in week 2, but that was against a young and inexperienced Jaguars team. On Sunday, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton did what they wanted. Verrett wasn’t on his game and the defense had no shot.
First let me start by saying for the sake of this piece I will make a case for Mike McCoy even if my previous articles and opinions have stated otherwise. Mike McCoy has shown flashes of being a Coach who can lead this team. All of the losses, huge injuries, off the field drama with Eric Weddle and now Joey Bosa, has caused major distractions which is never a good recipe in the locker room. In this case for Mike McCoy winning fixes everything. Even through three major season-ending injuries to key players, this team is built to win and get deep into the playoffs. Here’s how:
As Zak had pointed out above, the improvement of this offense is the running game. Yes it is odd to say this, due to the horrible run game the Chargers have had in a long time, a running game is very much back in San Diego; maligned since the departure of Ken Whisenhunt and Ryan Mathews. It’s no coincidence that since his return to America’s finest city, the run game has been rejuvenated. Gordon, who had zero touchdowns last year, has already compiled four scores along with his first career 100 yard rushing game against the Jags. Follow that up with a passing attack, without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead whom are both lost for the season, still has the weapons to be very dangerous. With the old reliable Antonio Gates on the sidelines, there is not much room for panic with the emergence of second round pick Hunter Henry. Even with the fumbled tragedy that ended any last ditched efforts for a win last week against the Colts, Hunter had a pretty solid game; breaking open for huge yards. Continuity between him and Rivers will only begin to grow more with each big play Hunter makes. The future is still bright for these Bolts offensively.
After being released from the Chargers after the 2012 season, former Head Coach Norv Turner was asked for a quote regarding the new incoming coaching staff. “They need to have a lot of patience with them.”
“Them” referencing all Charger fans.
Maybe we need to really forget about 2013 as maybe the Chargers caught lightning in a bottle with a group of talent that really wasn’t that good, at least defensively. Moving on to this year, it’s been four years and four drafts since Tom Telesco and company took over. Some naysayers have claimed that he has missed on players, but at the same time he has found some gems, such as Jason Verrett. There are others like Craig Mager and DJ Fluker where the verdict is still to be determined however in my opinion they are good additions to this team.
I will say that the defensive talent on this team, is what Pagano has been waiting for. We all have seen what Hayward has done thus far and of course what the Pro Bowler Verrett can do, but the key addition, in my opinion, is the addition to Brandon Mebane – whose presence alone has shifted protection schemes. That ability, to force opposition to change schemes, is not listed in the box score yet it creates room for the linebackers, such as new defensive captain Melvin Ingram, to reap the rewards.
The first round pick Joey Bosa has yet to take the field – signs pointing to week 5 or 6. The Chargers seem fine to just ease him in slowly rather to not risk further injury. Even with the loss of Manti Teo, Jatavis Brown stepped in and showed that he can be an instant playmaker. When Bosa does finally step in and is at game level, this defense will be headed to the next level. We already see what happens when Mebane is on the field and when you add in the beast Corey Liuget and Bosa – the three-headed monster will lead this team to playoffs and hopefully back to the Super Bowl.
In closing, if McCoy can remain aggressive, this team can and will make the playoffs. If his attitude is as assertive as I saw it to be in 2013, it will resonate throughout the whole locker room. As long as we do not continue to lose key players every week, this team has the talent to beat any team on any given Sunday. The defense could easily be ranked in the top five, sans injuries of course, and as we have seen in the past, defense wins championships. Toss in a future Hall of Fame quarterback, a running back who is so raw and talented, and a receiving core who has already manifested themselves as reliable, the San Diego Chargers will make it deep into the playoffs. Perhaps we will hear this again.
Let us know your opinion on whether or not the Chargers, as it stands, will make the playoffs this season.
Thanks for reading
Melvin Ingram stated that he had things to show this year.
All the time he has spent studying film, all the hard work and sweat have coalesced into an opportunity he might have briefly thought about: defensive captain. On Wednesday, the Chargers named Ingram as the player who would wear the big “C” on his jersey in place of Manti Te’o, who was recently placed on IR (Achilles’ tear). The other defensive captain is nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
“I ain’t showed nothing,” Ingram told U-T San Diego back in June. “I have so much to show…It ain’t even started. You ain’t even seen what I got going on…When the season starts, everyone is going to see. It’s fixing to get real.”
The fifth-year pro appears to still carry a chip on his shoulder as a result of having missed 25 games in a little more than a year due to injuries. The 2015 campaign was his first full 16-game season since his 2012 rookie year. First there was the torn ACL which occurred May 14, 2013, during OTAs. He did not return to action until early December. Next came the hip injury sustained in a 2014 game against the Seahawks that caused him to miss seven weeks of playing time.
I think after all that adversity I’d be frustrated too!
Through the first three games of 2016, the former South Carolina Gamecock has pretty much matched the statistics of his initial year. Already, No. 54 has collected a combined eight tackles with seven of those being individual efforts. Additionally, Ingram has totaled two sacks, a forced fumble (FF) and a lone defended pass. In his first four career games, he was well on is way to being a force with seven solo tackles and an assist, three PDs and one FF.
In April of 2015, Tom Telesco and the Chargers chose to exercise the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. It is worth $7.751 million, per Spotrac.com. It includes a guarantee for injury and becomes fully guaranteed should the stud linebacker be on the roster come Day 1 of the 2017 League Year.
The 2016 season is indeed a year in which “SupaMelvin” will be showcasing his worth from now until December. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017, so he is also playing for the future. Whether that career remains in San Diego or continues elsewhere is unknown.
Fellow teammate Jeremiah Attaochu said it best to Ricky Henne of Chargers.com: “He is a leader first and foremost. And he does it all by example with the way he comes out there each day and plays. He is motivating to all of us with the way he does that. We need that right now as a defense with Manti going down. When Melvin speaks, everyone listens.”
The future is now for Ingram, and if he can get back to the level of play he was on the last nine games of 2015, he’ll receive a large contract and, most likely, remain with the Chargers for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for reading!
Well, this time it wasn’t an offensive player that left a Chargers’ game with an injury.
It was their defensive signal-caller and captain, Manti Te’o.
In what is appearing to be an extremely freakish beginning to their 2016 campaign, the Bolts have suffered significant season-ending injuries to three of their starters in each of the first three games.
Keenan Allen – ACL tear to his right knee.
Danny Woodhead – ACL tear to his right knee.
Add Manti Te’o to the list, though it was his Achilles’ that gave out, not his ACL.
Even more disconcerting is that each man sustained his injury in a non-contact scenario. We’ll discuss that in another article soon.
Te’o left the game early in the first quarter of the game in Indianapolis with an immediate announcement that he was done for the day. Who was going to be “next man up” this time?
Enter rookie Jatavis Brown, a product from the University of Akron and a fifth-round pick by the Bolts in this year’s NFL draft.
While the former Zips’ linebacker was chosen for a number of reasons, his 4.47-second 40-yard dash was a primary one. His versatility and athleticism only add to his ability. Additionally, per Pro Football Focus (PFF), he was only called twice for penalties (1,629 snaps) over the last two years. PFF also stated that in 2015 when utilized as a blitzer, Brown had 15 sacks, 12 hits, and 22 hurries in 144 pass-rushing snaps. I have to say – just WOW! This from a guy who some considered to be on the small side at 5-foot-11 and 221 pounds. Looks to me like he can hold his own for sure!
Prior to his entering the game on Sunday, the only sighting of Brown was in the preseason game versus San Francisco. He started that game and made five tackles — three of which were solo stops. Since then, he has participated in all three regular season games, racking up 15 tackles (10 solo), four PDs (passes defensed) and collecting a sack and a forced fumble.
His Sunday stats were six tackles with two tackles for loss, defending two passes and adding a sack. His strip-sack of Andrew Luck should be part of a highlight reel, as it was scooped up by the recently signed Caraun Reid and run in for the score.
One of the bright spots of the afternoon in Indianapolis.
So, just who is this guy Jatavis Brown? The answer: he is a player that many scouts, teams and the like knocked due to his size, though his playmaking ability spoke for itself. It was thought that if he couldn’t perform at this level as a linebacker that he could be a hybrid-safety type defender.
In his four years at Akron, he amassed 340 tackles (193 solo), three forced fumbles, two passes defensed and an interception. The 40.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks were not only team-bests but also led the MAC while his total tackles gave him 7th best.
NFL Draft Scout had him ranked #13 out of 203 OLBs. Brown was not only chosen the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year, he was also named to the All-MAC Conference 1st-team three consecutive years.
This is the rookie that after the draft Telesco told Chargers.com writer Ricky Henne, “This is the one guy in our draft room that if we didn’t draft, I think there would have been a revolt amongst everyone else in the room…There are certain guys sometimes that have a trigger for everybody. (Brown) was a guy who everybody wanted on our football team. He’s actually the one guy that (we got) so many different texts from across the league (about) saying ‘Great pick!’ ‘Good pick!’ Those are kind of fun text messages to get during the draft.”
Brown told Henne shortly after the draft, “I do think I’m flying under the radar, but I’ve been flying under the radar my whole life,” he said. “I guess that’s just me. I like to prove people wrong, and that’s how I (operate). I don’t like the spotlight. I’m a laid back, chill guy. So this fits me just fine. I like to do all the dirty work, do what I’m supposed to do and I don’t worry about getting the publicity.”
Well, Jatavis Brown…publicity or no, here is your opportunity to take the bull by the horns and show those detractors just who you are. You had a great start in an unfortunate situation, but it’s always “next man up” in the pros.
Yeah, my money is on this young man to get the job done. I’m looking forward to seeing him blitz Brees and blow up a few plays this Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm.
Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts.
There comes a time when repeated tragedies occur, that you throw up your hands and bellow out a sarcastic laugh or bow your head and give it a good hearty shake.
Week 3 is now in the books and so is the third Charger player to be out for the season due to an injury in as many weeks.
Misery certainly does love company.
After an MRI on Monday, it was officially announced that Manti Te’o is out for the season with a torn Achilles.
The “Next Man Up” mantra that has been utilized by the Chargers for the past few seasons might need to be changed to “Next Man Down.”
Despite the loss of the defensive captain, the Chargers (1-2) also lost another game where they had a chance to win in the end.
Circling around social media last night and Monday morning, there are many that have blamed Philip Rivers, Hunter Henry, Mike McCoy, Melvin Gordon or Josh Lambo for Sunday’s 26-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
Sorry, but I am not going to dignify a response for blaming a kicker whose job is to kick field goals and extra points – not to prevent a rusher from getting a chance to block a kick.
From the early onset of the game, the vibe and tone set by the team was extremely sluggish. The fire and passion that resonated through the first half of Week 1 against Kansas City and the entire Week 2 victory against Jacksonville seemed a distant memory.
Rivers was not the elite quarterback that fans have grown accustomed to watching, missing many targets with passes that were too high, too hard or simply off the mark. The fierce competitor that he is, after the game he admitted to the poor performance and execution of his game – even singling out his biggest mistake of the game. “Of all the plays I missed today, I wished I got the one to Travis (Benjamin) on 3rd-and-2 because we were running that thing down. We may end up with it in our hands at mid-field, and I just missed it…”
Indeed, it was one pass that if completed, the rest of his errant throws would have been forgotten. It was a crucial play that could have possibly secured the game, forcing Indianapolis to use their timeouts and dwindle the game clock down.
Chalk it up to a bad game for the offensive and team leader.
One player in particular took the loss solely on himself:
Gotta take this one on the Chin!!! I Loss the Game …..
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) September 26, 2016
No, Jason, you alone did not lose this game. And might I add that your humility is a breath of fresh air and one of the reasons why you are a fan favorite.
It might be true that Jason Verrett was beat often against a very good wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton on Sunday. Equally important to note is that in no way shape or form is the loss all on his shoulders. Game after game the Pro Bowl cornerback has shut down the opposition’s best wideout. It was just a bad day for the talented corner – occurring on a day where others experienced lousy games, as well.
Moreover, it was not Feeva’s fault for being on the sidelines during a potential game-clinching 4th-and-7 play with less than two minutes left in the game. Brandon Flowers was covering Hilton and instead of playing him up close, Flowers gave T.Y. a four-yard cushion where he made the easy, wide-open catch at the first down marker, falling forward to ensure the call was a simple one. Flowers has been playing exceptionally better this year than last, and was one of three players that I mentioned on this site to have a great impact this season. It is unfortunate that this crucial play has his named associated with it.
Melvin Gordon was held in check by Indianapolis, who came into the game ranked as the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Clearly, the Colts knew about this dubious honor of theirs and studied a lot of film on the second-year starter. It was clear to them that “Flash” loves to run in between the tackles and does not improvise as much as an elite back would. Perhaps it is his style, or perhaps it’s his youth that explains why he runs the way the play is designed to, without recognizing other outlets.
Gordon did, however, hit pay dirt again for the fourth time in three games and continues to punish those would-be tacklers. The Chargers fans are very excited about his play thus far. His ability to get into the endzone, his potential, especially if he learns from his mistakes, and how high his ceiling is reinforce the fact that the excitement is justified.
The second-round draft pick of 2016, tight end Hunter Henry, received the starting nod to take the place of the future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates. Hunter had five catches for 76 yards and looked like he could be the heir apparent of Gates as he levied space between him and the defender, moving the chains on several occasions. Although, it is hard to remember those precise routes and great hands due to his late game fumble that ended any last-ditch efforts for a comeback.
Yes, the Bolts still had a chance to win the game. Yes, the fumble ended that hope. However, it should not have come down to that one play, nor is it the dubious “play that lost the game.” Hunter is a talented rookie and as you could see his reaction on the sidelines he was devastated.
As upsetting as it was to watch the game slip away, my heart went out to him and I wondered what encouragement he would receive. Then I saw Gates call him over and give him a veteran pep talk.
By now, most fans who watched the game or have seen the highlights know about all the following miscues: dropped punt, missed catches, missed throws, fumbles…etc. Let us not take too much time dwelling on those players, because it was not one single player nor single mistake that helped in the loss on Sunday. It was the collective faux pas of many.
McCoy expounded on my thoughts when he stated after the game, “There are a number of plays you look at; missed opportunities through the entire game. It’s not just one drive or one series. There were a number of opportunities we had, where we didn’t make the plays today.”
To further McCoy’s point, it was not just those mistakes, which during a loss are enhanced and nit-picked, but it was also the penalties. Those yellow flags are thrown often during NFL games, legitimately or otherwise, and this game would see 20 of them – 10 for each team. It has been instilled in many young athletes that a physical mistake is easier to forgive than a mental mistake. Having your named called out by the men in pinstripes is a mental mistake, showing a lack of discipline more often than not. That being said, at least two of those “phantom calls” would cost the Chargers points in the end.
Several times those penalties either killed a drive or allowed the Colts to continue theirs. Whether the call is obtuse or astute, it is difficult to gather momentum when the game stops for a penalty.
When all’s said and done, with massive blunders and penalties, San Diego still had a chance to win the game. Even with the defense unable to stop the aging wonder who is Frank Gore, collectively they were able to sack Andrew Luck twice, forced two fumbles (recovering one), scored a touchdown and had an interception. Thus far after three games, the defense has logged six total turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles.
In 2015, the Chargers secured only 11 interceptions and nine fumbles for the entire season. Furthermore, Rivers has yet to throw an interception, which has contributed to San Diego being at plus-2 in the turnover department, ranking 5th in the AFC.
It was, without a doubt – a sloppy game but one that San Diego should have and could have won. As stated previously, with the poor play at key moments by positional players, and the horrid and massive amount of penalties, the game was still within reach in the waning moments. However, in order to take this team to the next level, a game like this is one that the Chargers needed. A victory would have given then team confidence to win close games and perhaps string a few victories together to gather momentum. After all, the Bolts have not won back-to-back games since November of 2014.
Let that last sentence sink in for a bit.
The Chargers will return home to Qualcomm Stadium in Week 4 to face the New Orleans Saints. This game will provide the Bolts a prime opportunity to get back on track, possibly evening out their record to 2-2 against a Saints’ team that struggles defensively.
Here is to hoping that the Chargers do NOT lose another key element to their roster for the fourth consecutive regular season week in a row.
Please comment below on what miscue, by players or non-players, was the main contributor to the loss in Indy.
Thanks for reading.
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their picks and analysis of Sunday’s home opener
Zak Darman: Chargers start out hot and get out to a two-score lead going into halftime, giving the fans thoughts of last game. They come out sluggish once again, as Jacksonville, behind Bortles and Julius Thomas, tie it up but Rivers executes a beautiful two-minute drill to get into field-goal range where Lambo nails a 48-yarder to give the Bolts their first win of the season. 27-24 Bolts
Charles LaFurno: McCoy lets Gordon run wild and it pays off. 100+ yards on 20 touches for two touchdowns. Defense comes up huge with a turnover late in the fourth to secure the win. Henry gets his first touchdown. Philip throws for 300 yards but will be under pressure for at least 70% of the game. Luckily, he’s great when doing that. Chargers 24 Jaguars 20
Travis Blake: The pregame strategy meeting between McCoy/Pagano/Wiz goes like this: McCoy starts off by saying “we’re really going to shake things up this game, boys. Since we have to limit Melvin Gordon to 20 carries, I want him to get 19 of them in the second half this week instead of the 1st half like last week. The Jags won’t know what hit em!” Pags chimes in with, “that’s great, Mike! I want my guys to blitz/get pressure only in the second half this game instead of the first half like last week, they won’t be able to handle it!” Wiz looks at both of them and thinks, “at least the weather is nice here, and this job pays good.” So after the best game plan meeting in 4 seasons, and an excellent week of “salty” practice the team comes out to shit the bed in the first half of the game. Every other play is a delay draw to Danny up the middle for little or no gain leaving 3rd and a mile to go, perfect time to throw a bubble screen to Travis Benjamin behind the line of scrimmage. Rivers throws a frustration pick to end the first half and the defense bends to the tune of 250 total yards but only gives up 13 points to a Jax offense that looks sluggish. The second half sees the Bolts come roaring back with Melvin Gordon leading the charge for two more touchdowns. The Bolts win only due to the fact Jax is not quite there yet and the two teams don’t play each other very often. Charger fans complain for another week because we didn’t blow out the hapless Jags and the #FireMcCoy hashtag goes in popularity. 24 to 19 Bolts
Corey Decker: The bolts are looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd. Not just for the team, but for the city as well. The chargers must bounce back and not take their foot off the gas like what happened last week. Chargers 24-10
Cheryl White: Whiz continues to feed Gordon all game and Tyrell Williams uses that big body to his advantage. Isiah Burse sees some playing time. Scores by Gordon, Williams, Woodhead. And of course #85! 27-21 Chargers
Chris Hoke: In a high scoring affair the bolts break out to a 14-0 lead only for the jags to come charging back. Trading points for points. The Chargers lose another heartbreaker. 31-28 Jaguars
Mike Pisciotta: Jacksonville is Jacksonville. Chargers will get out to a resounding 28-10 lead on 2 TDs each from Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. Jacksonville will make a valiant effort to make McNorv pay for sitting on another lead, but the Bolts hold on to win on a late field goal by Josh Lambo and a comeback drive thwarted by a Jason Verrett pick six. 37-31 Chargers
Will McCafferty: I’m going to assume that the Chargers are going to play a complete game and not pump the breaks in the second half. Chargers 28 Jags 20
Greg Williams: Chargers learn their lesson from last week and show up for BOTH halves. Gordon runs for 80 and a touchdown and Rivers throws three touchdowns (two to Gates). Chargers beat the Jags 30-20.
Dave “Booga” Peters: Gordon scores twice, again. Manti Te’o provides an encore performance of last year’s Jags-Bolts contest, picking off Bortles (and missing several tackles). Chargers rack up almost 200 yards on the ground and Rivers passes the 300-yard mark in an offensive explosion. Jalen Ramsey picks off Rivers and does “the Bosa shrug,” reminding fans who the team should have taken (I’m kidding, folks…. kinda). Chargers 31 Jaguars 30
To quote the late Dennis Green:”…..and we let them off the hook!”
That’s the feeling of every Chargers fan after the team blew a 21-3 halftime lead to lose to the Chiefs in overtime. It was a gut-wrenching, morale-killing defeat.
The Bolts got out to a fast and promising start as they scored three touchdowns on three straight possessions. Melvin Gordon and the running game got going as he was responsible for the first two scores (both rushing TDs were Gordon’s only scores of his pro career).
Everything looked amazing early, as the bolts swarmed the Chiefs’ offense causing multiple three-and-outs, giving the ball back to the offense who kept scoring, as Philip Rivers would find Danny Woodhead in the endzone for a 21-3 lead.
The only negative in the first half, and it was a huge one, was Keenan Allen went down with a knee injury. Early tests have shown signs of an ACL tear for Allen, who looks to be all but lost for the season once again. Before he went down, he was shredding the reigning rookie of the year Marcus Peters for big catches. Losing Allen creates a huge hole for this offense moving forward.
The second half is where everything just came unglued. One of the huge knocks on last year’s squad was the inability to finish games. I hate to say it, Bolts fans, but it’s obviously carried over into this season. That stout running game seemed to be non-existent, as Gordon barely saw any carries in the second half. That stout pass rush on defense seemed to disappear into the KC sunshine as Alex Smith and company completely worked the Chargers’ defense in the second half and into OT.
The most disappointing thing about this loss is this coaching staff. McNorv, as I will call him from now on, ran this team scared. The play calls were, dare I say, absolutely pathetic and uninventive. Not once in this game did McNorv show any aggression in his second-half playcalling to show this team, “Yes we are all in! This isn’t last year’s team!”; instead on 4th-and-2 in a turning point in this game, McNorv chose a low percentage field goal. Then Lambo proceeds to push it wide right, giving the ball back to a hot KC offense and getting nothing off a fantastic Jason Verrett interception. Had Lambo have made the 54-yard field goal it would have tied his career-long.
Positive players of this game:
Melvin Gordon – It’s not his fault this coaching staff went away from him in the second half. It was great to see the explosiveness and downhill running that Gordon showed today. Keep that up and you may not be the wasted pick I thought you would be.
Brandon Mebane – What a difference this line looks like upfront when Mebane is in the ball game. He had a huge sack on Smith in the first half. Also, he was one of the reasons Corey Liuget looks like he’s gonna be a wrecking machine upfront. I can only imagine what this line looks like when Joey Bosa is healthy and ready to play. Expect bigger things from Mebane this season!
Jason Verrett – Verrett is gonna be a lockdown corner if he isn’t already. Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin only caught two balls in the first half and four the rest of the game. Verrett also stole the ball from him, making you think he was in Maclin’s head the rest of the way.
Bums of the game:
Mike McNorv – This is pretty obvious, I mean, I went into it earlier. Here’s the thing, though: with the Chargers Stadium vote on the November ballot, how many losses can the team suffer before it affects the ballot? This is a time where this organization can’t afford any more embarrassment. This loss wasn’t just bad, it’s unacceptable and embarrassing. How long can this go on? It can’t be much longer in a division that’s tough enough as is. Not to mention, with Sunday’s loss the Chargers haven’t won against a division opponent since 2014. If there was a time to make a change it’s now. Do it early in the season so this thing doesn’t go so far south that the ’16 season is lost.
Drew Kaser – So, we knew following in the footsteps of former punter Mike Scifres would be incredibly difficult. In the preseason, Kaser looked sharp, nailing punts and pinning opponents back. That’s only the preseason, though. Kaser had a horrendous day, averaging a measly 28.6 yards per punt. Most notably what sticks out is his 17-yard punt, which rolled into Charger territory, setting up the Chiefs with amazing field position for the game-tying drive. He’s a rookie; I get that; we all get that. He probably had some jitters understandably. The way he punted on Sunday was a vital reason why the Chargers ended up losing this one.
Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman – Going into this season, I thought both players were a huge strength for this defense. Let’s start with Te’o. Early on, he showed amazing instincts and tackling, busting up some huge plays in the backfield. As the second half began, Te’o began to struggle, missing tackles, taking poor angles and he was exposed in coverage. Can they continue to keep Te’o in on passing situations? It’s highly doubtful. I would’ve loved to see Jatavis Brown or Josh Perry get some more work on passing downs. On to Perryman. This isn’t a game he would want write home about. He was down right sloppy, missing tackles and being completely out of position in pass coverage. It was all bad, overall, for these two inside linebackers. Live and learn, man up and come back strong next week!
Was this a make-or-break game for the Bolts? I hate to say it, but it was. If this team has any aspirations of winning the division and a deep playoff run, winning these games is the everything. The fact that you had a rival on the ropes and you couldn’t finish them off speaks volumes about this team. They aren’t as good as I thought they were. It starts with coaching and this staff did not show the killer instinct needed to win this game; they never have and, guess what, #BoltFam, McNorv never will!