I’ve been a Chargers fan since my birth back in 1992. I’ve been a die-hard fan since the LT MVP 2006 season. I’ve seen the worst, the best and even the sorriest teams the Chargers have had here in San Diego my entire life.
This isn’t an article on the team, per se, but it’s an article that is me venting my frustrations, one I am quite sure many of you can relate to. From the top to the bottom, I will go and release some frustration out, and I hope you will follow along with me.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco
The GM that replaced AJ Smith, and one who worked under Bill Polian, has been the Chargers GM since 2013. Tom Telesco, who everyone within the NFL sees as a very good, but very young general manager, has put two 9-7 teams together, and one team happened to reach the AFC divisional round where they eventually lost to the Denver Broncos. Tommy T, as I like to call him, has drafted pretty poorly in his first two and a half seasons here and has signed/drafted two, maybe three impact players. This is not what a successful GM on a winning team does. He is constantly moving up in the draft, trading away multiple draft picks for players who need a lot of work on their craft (Te’o, Attaochu, Gordon) and he hasn’t hit on any gold. Telesco constantly goes against the advanced metrics to draft reaches in the third round. His poor drafting and poor roster management is getting highly exposed when coupled with sub-par coaches.
Speaking of the coaching staff……
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy
Mike McCoy, hired in 2013, is a former offensive mind from the Super Bowl Carolina Panthers and the Tim Tebow- led Broncos. McCoy isn’t the only one I’m going to bring up here. Defensive coordinator John Pagano and offensive coordinator Frank Reich are also underachieving as coaches. I firmly believe that the Bolts need to go in a different direction with these two. The one part Telesco has constructed right is the secondary. The Chargers’ secondary might be the best secondary they have had in quite some time. But in the last two weeks, with the starting secondary playing, John Pagano has not been successful in stopping the pass and is constantly leaving guys on an island to be burned one-on-one. I’m looking at you Donald Butler and Brandon Flowers. Flowers isn’t fast. In fact, he isn’t the lockdown No. 1 cornerback that he was halfway through 2014. He is a possession coverage corner who will need help over the top on speedsters such as Markus Wheaton and Marvin Jones. Pagano needs to realize this and put Eric Weddle or Jahleel Addae over the top, or have someone who is close to or equally as fast as the opposite man. Maybe someone like Patrick Robinson or Stevie Williams. Pagano, now in his fourth year as defensive coordinator, hasn’t shown the ability to adjust or to change up what he does on a constant basis, and if this is the case, the Chargers should look in a different direction.
Frank Reich is another story. Just like Pagano, he hasn’t shown the ability to adjust, and is way too predictable when it comes to offensive play calling. How many draw plays does he need to run before he realizes it only hurts his offensive line? How many times does he need to see D.J. Fluker or Orlando Franklin get tied up after going back to block on a draw play? His offensive calls are boring and it seems like him and Philip Rivers aren’t on the same page during the course of the game with all of the audibles he has to call at the line of scrimmage. I firmly believe that he should be demoted from playcalling, and that McCoy should take over until further notice.
I have been a big supporter of McCoy since day 1, and I still am on the McCoy train. However, this season has really taken a toll on me and has me wondering if he really is the right guy for this job. The one play that really stood out to me was his passive approach at the end of the first half versus the Bengals. He literally let over one minute run off the clock before halftime in a game where the Chargers lost by five. Little things like this are what lose games. This team hasn’t gotten better under McCoy, but I don’t think he’s the main reason why. But him, along with Reich and Pagano and the rest of the coaching staff, need to do a better job of coaching these guys before this season gets out of hand.
There are some players on this team that frustrate me more than anything else, and I’m sure that they frustrate you too.
There is talent on this team. Despite it being poorly coached and/or poorly constructed, there are some players you can build around. One thing that bugs me the most are selfish players. I don’t think I’ve seen as many selfish players on one team, than I’m seeing now. Whether it’s celebrating a touchdown while losing, celebrating every catch or going public about a contract situation. It needs to stop. This is a team sport. The most insulting thing to fans is seeing a professional athlete put himself ahead of the team. It shows a lack of discipline and something that can get the locker room divided. That is never a good thing.
What I’m getting at is this team is having an identity crisis. They need a gut check and they all need to look at themselves in the mirror, and play up to their potential and expectations. This roster is far too talented to be playing this poorly, even if constructed badly. No more Instagram photos of yourself scoring a touchdown after a blowout loss. No more contract holdouts or distractions. Come in to work ready to play football and go out there and play to win.
But at the end of the day, we are all Chargers fans and we will rep Chargers’ gear until the day we die, win or lose. This was just me letting off some steam in the best way I could think of.
So, thanks for sticking with me on this.
*If there’s anything you need to vent, or something that I missed, or you just want to absolutely rip into me for saying this stuff, please leave a comment!*
The San Diego Chargers’ secondary has been tested early and often through the first five games of the season. Though their 2-3 record suggests otherwise, the banged-up unit led by Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett has fared extremely well against the NFL’s top receiving talent.
The Chargers began the season at home against the Detroit Lions and their All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson finished third in the NFL in receiving in 2013 and fell out of the top ten in 2014 despite recording over 1,077 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. San Diego allowed Johnson one catch on the first drive of the game and one catch on the last drive of the game. At the end of the day:
Calvin Johnson: 2 catches for 39 yards.
The very next week, the Chargers traveled to Cincinnati to face the Bengals and their All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green. Green is currently fourth in the NFL in receiving yards with 495, adding three touchdowns. He did have a touchdown reception on a perfectly thrown ball in the back of the end zone. Aside from that score, Green only touched the ball three other times. At the end of the day:
A.J. Green: 4 catches for 45 yards and one touchdown.
In Week 5 before a prime-time audience on Monday Night Football, San Diego welcomed Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The All-Pro Brown finished 2014 as the number one receiver in the NFL with over 1,600 yards, and is third in the league this season with 523 receiving yards after five games. In the prime-time tilt, Brown was held to three receptions for a paltry 45 yards. At the end of the day:
Antonio Brown: 3 catches for 45 yards.
This is a great sign for a team that is once again beset by injuries in the secondary and the offensive line. Both Flowers and Verrett have missed critical game action. When they’re on the field, they have proven to be exceptional at shadowing the best wide receivers the game has to offer.
At the present time, San Diego owns the ninth-ranked passing defense in the league at 218 yards passing allowed per contest. Through three weeks, Green had been allowed the most catches with four and Bengals wideout Marvin Jones had the most receiving yards with 48. In the Week 4 overtime thriller against Cleveland, the Chargers allowed six passes for 79 yards to the Browns best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin.
In the soul-crushing Monday Night Chargers loss, Steelers’ wideout Marcus Wheaton caught only one pass. Wheaton shook off Flowers with a double move that resulted in a 72-yard touchdown. No Steelers’ wide receiver caught any more than three balls. At the end of the day:
Most yards allowed to a wide receiver: 79
Most catches allowed to a wide receiver: 6
Most receiving yards allowed regardless of position: 85 (RB Duke Johnson, Cleveland)
No player has had a 100-yard receiving day against San Diego.
Only one quarterback, Cleveland’s Josh McCown, has thrown for over 300 yards against the Bolts.
The Chargers three losses can be attributed to many things. Injuries, turnovers, clock management and play calling can be named among the various reasons. A weak secondary is not one of those reasons. Dropped interceptions can definitely be added to the list. In the Pittsburgh game alone, three interceptions were dropped, two of which had a clear path to the end zone. Dropped picks were among a list of other missed opportunities that cost San Diego a win against Cincinnati as well.
This bodes well for a team that has more elite receivers on the horizon. San Diego will travel to Green Bay (Randall Cobb) in Week 6 and still has two games against Denver (Demaryius Thomas) remaining.
There is also a trio of rising stars the Chargers secondary will face with Jacksonville (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) and two games against Oakland (Amari Cooper). If the Bolts can continue to keep bottling the opposition’s best weapons, the Chargers will win more games and be in prime position to challenge for the AFC West title.
Keep in mind, the remainder of the schedule after the game against the Packers is very favorable for the Chargers.
It is not over yet, BoltFam.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Encouraged or discouraged?
Leave your thoughts in the remarks below.
The Greg One
Good morning, BoltFam! I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. The Chargers invite the AFC North division leading Cincinnati Bengals to Qualcomm stadium for what is another must-win game for San Diego. I thought it would be cool to get an inside scoop from a solid Bengals writer. It didn’t take long for me to decide on who to approach for this interview.
Jason Marcum is the Senior Editor for StripeHype.com. He is a solid writer that is very knowledgeable about the Bengals and all of the NFL. I’d like to thank Jason in advance for taking the time to do this interview. When I received his answers back to my questions, it turns out that he had some questions of his own regarding an interview for his site.
Without further ado, here is my Q & A session with Jason Marcum of StripeHype.com.
1. All over Social media I see NFL fans and Bengals fans alike tearing up Andy Dalton. Although I see some of what they’re talking about when I’ve watched some of his games, he seems to put up good numbers. What’s the deal with Dalton?
JM: He’s far too inconsistent for their liking. He plays like an elite quarterback in October and wins the AFC Offensive player of the month, then can’t get out of his own way in November, throwing 8 interceptions in the past three games. He just needs to be more consistent and not play so erratic. If he can help lead the Bengals to an AFC North title, the fans will lighten-up on him.
2. We here at BoltBlitz were big supporters of Gio Bernard coming out of college. Tell us about how he is used in the offense and what the Charger defense will have to do to contain him.
JM: He looks just like Maurice Jones-Drew did in his rookie year. He’s a jitterbug that uses his low center of gravity to make even the best tacklers miss in space, and his addition has helped the Bengals offense become much more efficient in 2012. His 464 yards on just 104 carries and 42 receptions for 345 yards has kept the offense moving, even when Dalton has played poorly. He’ll likely begin to get more touches going forward as the games become more important. He’s going to be a star soon enough.
3. When I was a staff writer for a different site prior to starting BoltBlitz.com, I wrote that the Chargers should take a flyer on Vontaze Burfict in the 5th round. He, obviously, went undrafted. Talk about his role on the team and his impact on the field.
JM: He’s been the best defensive player for the Bengals this year. He’s got a nose for the football that helps him disrupt or make plays as often as a Bengals linebacker has since Takeo Spikes was still wearing stripes. He needs to improve his coverage skills though, and I’m worried Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green will expose that weakness.
4. The Bengal defense was so solid and then you lost both Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. How has the defense been performing since, and which players have been inserted in their places?
JM: Brandon Thompson has filled-in very well for Atkins, and his run defense has been arguably just as good. His pass-rushing ability isn’t as good, but Atkins is one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles you’ll ever see.
As for Hall, it’s been more of a committee approach. Terence Newman and Adam Jones play most of the snaps at cornerback, while Brandon Ghee, Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Crocker rotate into that nickelback spot.
It’s worth pointing out since Hall went down, the Bengals have faced the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens and Browns. Not exactly a murder’s row of passing attacks, and the loss of Hall could finally be exposed on Sunday against one of the NFL’s best passing offenses in San Diego.
5. Is there any way on God’s green Earth that the Chargers can stop A.J. Green? After a big game to start the season against Chicago, he had a run of average performances. He had more than his share of big games following that run too, but Cleveland managed to hold him to 7 yards receiving. What can teams do to limit Green?
JM: Yes. Just double-team him. He’ll get discouraged and not play as hard if he’s getting constantly double-teamed. It’s up to Dalton and the other receiver to force the Chargers out of those double-teams to free-up Green. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu have to step-up and draw those Chargers DBs away from Green, or he’ll have another sub par performance.
6. Marvin Jones has had a solid year as an under-the-radar player. What kind of skill set does he bring to the table?
JM: He’s a good route-runner and can make some tough catches i traffic and around defenders. But he also is prone to dropping some easy passes that kills drives, and he’s still working to become a complete receiver. But he’s shown enough to make me believe he’ll eventually become a legitimate sidekick alongside Green.
7. Fill in the blank: For the Chargers to beat the Bengals they must_________________.
JM: Beat the blitz. The Bengals are going to bring the house against the Chargers banged-up offensive line. If Rivers can beat the blitz and hit the open man consistently, he’ll have a field day.
On defense, just pressure Dalton and keep Giovani Bernard contained. When the offense is reliant on Dalton’s arm, it struggles. They’re at their best when they’re ahead or within one score and can keep their run-pass ratio balanced.
8. I was an big fan of the Cincinnati 2012 draft class ( Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Devon Still, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Thompson, Orson Charles, Shaun Prater, Marvin Jones, George Iloka ). Who has already stood out from that class and which player has the most upside?
JM: Iloka has really stood out. He’s really stepped-up and become a solid starting safety in his second season, and to get that kind of player in the fifth round is a nice steal.
I think Thompson has the highest upside. He’s playing great right now and should continue to develop more going forward for the reason’s mentioned previously.
9. Final question…. Give everyone your prediction for tomorrow’s game and why the victor will get the win?
JM: I’ve gone back-and-forth on this more than any game this year other than the Bears game, and that was the first game. 13 weeks later, I’m not real sure what to make of this game, but that’s more because of recent injuries to key players for both teams. Vontaze Burfict sprained his ankle in practice Friday and may not play. King Dunlap is probably out for you guys, meaning it will be even easier to pressure Rivers on Sunday. In the end, at home and playing for their playoff lives, I think San Diego pulls this one out late by a 27-24 score.
Thanks again to Jason and be sure to check out StripeHype.com for his interview with me regarding the game.