Before I begin, I want to say there are two groups of fans this does not apply to: the first is season ticket holders who did not sell their seats to opposing fans and went to all games; the second group is “Save Our Bolts.” It was very admirable what you guys did and you all should be very proud. It is also worth noting that the whole “Chargers to LA” thing is still mostly speculation at this point.
Obviously, there are more fans that this applies to, but I wanted to make sure to take the time to mention the folks who stand out in my mind. Again, thank you all for everything that you have done and that you’ll continue to do as we near a resolution regarding the stadium situation in San Diego.
Now, let’s get to the reason that the Chargers fan base is not without fault should the move occur.
First, the San Diego Chargers in 2016 are ranked 31st out of 32 in attendance. Behind them is the Oakland Raiders, so at least we are beating them in something this season. The sad fact is we are a lot better team than a lot of the teams above us, such as; Cleveland and Jacksonville. How is it that the fans of San Diego expect the team not to look at other options when they do not even show up to the game. Not to mention if anyone saw the games vs the Denver Broncos or Miami Dolphins this season, it looks like an away game for our squad. Here is an article USA Today created about this very phenomenon this season (http://broncoswire.usatoday.com/2016/10/13/san-diego-home-game-denver-broncos-chargers-tnf).
Second, fans of San Diego are letting the players down. Even more than they let us down on Sundays. Some may remember when the choice was announced that some Chargers players took to twitter and said, “every home game better be sold out.” Well, as previously stated, the Chargers are ranked 31st in attendance out of 32. So even though the players and organization are dying to get more fans to the stadium. To which the Chargers fan base plainly stated by their actions, no, we will not show up until you start winning games. In other words, a bandwagon mentality. (http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2016/1/29/10873822/san-diego-chargers-players-reactions-los-angeles-show-up).
Third, the failure of Prop C, although the team did all they could, and so did the citizens initiative. The citizens of San Diego, do not want the Chargers, even though the plan actually included creating a permanent situation with comic con and zero taxpayer dollars. That was not enough to keep the team around.
It does not make sense for a team to stay someplace that they are not making money, that is what the bottom line is in the case of the Chargers. They are not making enough money off of tickets. Also with the low attendance numbers that does not help the other way that a lot of teams make money. They are called sponsors, how can you sell sponsorship or advertising space when you rank second to last in attendance and have not been higher than 19 in the past six years.
At least if they end up playing in the Stubhub Center in Carson, California as a temporary venue it is much smaller attendance wise and maybe just maybe, there is a chance for a 100 percent Chargers sellout game.
On the flip side, there is some things that the Chargers could have done marketing wise in order to get more and more CHARGER fans out to the game that have not been done. For example, maybe putting a winning football team on the field, or creating more advertisements and deals to specific groups that create a better image to the community of San Diego. Instead of just visiting places and doing community service, maybe invite those who do not have a lot to the game and grant them experiences that will last a lifetime. Usually if the public has a high opinion of a team, they are more likely to support that team. That is one reason why the Chicago Bears and every team in Chicago has some of the most loyal fans on earth.
The bottom line is, the San Diego Chargers have not ranked higher than 19th ever since 2009 when the Chargers went 13-3.
After proposition C got struck down with a vengeance by the voters from the city of San Diego, even though the stadium was going to be built using no taxpayer dollars what so ever. That leaves one logical spot, and that is to revamp the current mission valley location. It is a prime location because even though it is not close to downtown, it is surrounded by several major freeways and in a highly populated area. What is Dean Spanos thoughts on revamping the mission valley spot? In an interview with U-T San Diego, Dean said,” I am not a believer in Mission Valley — I don’t think I would ever go back there.” So, if he was being 100 percent truthful, that knocks out the Mission Valley option, leaving only Los Angeles on the table.
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
Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!
That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.
Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.
That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.
Fast forward to 2016.
The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.
During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.
He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.
Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.
Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.
Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.
The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.
He hasn’t looked back since.
So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.
When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”
From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.
Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.
The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”
They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.
So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.
The Chargers looked to move back to .500 in Week 10 as they faced the Dolphins at home before heading into the Bye Week. Unfortunately, huge mistakes in key situations lead to the Miami Dolphins stealing this game away from the Chargers.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of another heartbreaking Chargers’ loss.
Tyrell Williams– 5 REC, 126 YDS, TD
With Travis Benjamin out with a knee injury, Tyrell Williams stepped up in a big way, as he has done pretty much all season. You have to love Tyrell’s ability to find ways to get open and his desire to learn from his mistakes. After running the wrong route and getting chewed out by Philip Rivers and Mike McCoy, Williams made up for his error the very next play with a game/momentum changing 51 yard touchdown reception. You almost wonder if Tyrell would have come this far if this team still had Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. None the less, look for Tyrell to get even better after the bye week, sans any injury setback.
Chargers Defense– No Denzel Perryman or Jatavis Brown? No problem. With those key injuries, this rag-tag defensive unit did their job in key moments in the game, especially Korey Toomer who lead the way with ten tackles and one assist. In addition, this band of misfits was able to hold the NFL’s leading rusher, Jay Ajayi, to 79 yards on 19 carries. Even if I didn’t agree with John Pagano’s play calling at key moments, you can’t blame the defense for this loss. The defense kept the Chargers in it until the end and with the upcoming bye week, this defense should get even better; getting Brown and Perryman back from injury,
Worth a mention– Trevor Williams, Melvin Ingram and Melvin Gordon.
In four games with nine penalties on one player, there comes a time where you have to rethink who is out there. It would be okay if Joe was good at his job. The truth is he’s not. In those four games he has been consistently beat at the point of attack, allowing Rivers to be sacked on multiple occasions. With the present bye week, the coaching staff needs to see that just because he is healthy, Barksdale is just not getting it done. Can they please try Chris Hairston or DJ Fluker at the right tackle position?
Offensive Line Pass Protection
In addition to Barksdale, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how bad this line was as whole. For the second week in a row, Rivers continued to find himself looking up at a blue San Diego sky. Three times last Sunday, Rivers was probably wondering if his line would ever protect him. This has been a consistent problem that can only be fixed by a short, quick passing game and running the ball far more consistently.
Philip Rivers– 23/44 326 YDs, 3 TDs, 4 INTs
After the game Rivers took all the blame for the team losing on Sunday as he should have. This team lives and dies by his success and struggles. Rivers struggled a lot on Sunday throwing four interceptions; three of which were in key points of the game. The first one of those three came off of a rare Dolphins turnover, giving the Bolts a 1st and goal at the five yard line. Rivers looked like he just wasn’t paying attention to zone defense as he threw into double coverage for an easy interception. Tough to come out of that situation with no touchdown – let alone no points at all.
The second came as the Chargers were driving down the field late in the game – trying to get in field goal range for a game winning score. Philip was baited into thinking Kiko Alonso was blitzing, As the ball was snapped, Kiko instead backs out into zone stepping in front of the first read. Tyrell Williams. and took it back for the Dolphins go ahead score. Finally, on the game sealing interception, #17 is again looking for Tyrell who wasn’t even open on the play. He forced it, instead of looking elsewhere or taking the sack and live to fight another down.With the upcoming bye week, its time for Rivers to rest up. Get Travis Benjamin back and hoping Williams gets 100% healthy he will try to get this team back into the thick of things if it’s not too late.
Situational Play Calling- Too many times this season have we seen this team get bogged down in the redzone. Why? Because we run the same predictable plays every time we get to the opponents twenty yard line or closer. Where was the screen passes? Where was the quick slants? We ran a screen to Melvin Gordon on a crucial third down and he was able to gain a ton of yards. Yet we only ran the screen again with a failed screen to Antonio Gates. Lets be realistic for a moment: Screens are for speedy and shifty players in the open field. Gates is none of those at the back-end of his career. Quick slants were one of the factors in the Chargers victory against the Tennessee Titans the previous week. Yet against Miami, the offense went away from the bread and butter.
Most of the season, the question most asked is “Why didn’t the charger run the ball (in key situations)? I’m aware Gordon was getting stuffed for most of the game, however Ayaji was also getting stopped but the Dolphins had no problem running it in twice in the red-zone. So if San Diego fired Frank Reich last year for these same issues, why does this continue to happen? The answer is Mike McCoy who seems to have some sort of say in these situations. If this is the case, Mike has to go this week. He is holding this team back from being good or great. I for one have seen enough of this McNorv experiment and its time to move on. I hope that during this time off, the “powers that be” make the right decision and let McCoy go. A change is desperately needed, although I highly doubt this organization has any guts to do it.
Worth a mention– Dwight Lowery
Watching Mike McCoy’s press conference Monday made me more irritable than watching the Chargers lose another close game against the Miami Dolphins. It was more irritating than watching the anarchy after the presidential election. So for all you protesters of firing McCoy…..
You now have my vote.
Every question during said press conference, seemed to be answered with the preface, “Like I’ve been telling you from day 1…” Yes Mike, you have said the same thing over and over again since the beginning and look where your team is at?
Clearly he does not listen to himself nor reviews his press conferences afterwards. The reason I know he doesn’t?? Nothing seems to change.
I have been giving McCoy a very long leash up until now. I like the man and felt that he was handed a bad product; a product that is always injured and broken – like a Christmas toy that your dad has to become MacGyver in order to get it to work again.
And I still feel this way….to a point. In Sundays loss to Miami, the Dolphins exploited the rookies and sophomores. They knew what we had and punished us for it. Philip Rivers had an awful day, one that I am sure he would agree with. From the onset of the game, there was no continuity between him and his receivers – even with Antonio Gates.
The makeshift defense has done as well if not better than expected. With all the injuries in the defensive backfield, the secondary is playing well due to the dominance upfront with the likes of Brandon Mebane, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and Jatavis Brown. Although last week, with not as much quarterback pressure and always worried about the run game, the weak secondary was peppered with blown coverages and missed tackles. Furthermore, their performance, for the most part, in the second half has been nothing shy of depressing. What happens in the locker room at halftime? Isn’t part of the job of John Pagano and McCoy to inspire and motivate the players to continue their supremacy?
Let’s get back to the press conference.
One of the head coach’s remarks was about how the mistakes prior to the 4th quarter is just as big and bothersome as the mistakes made in the last 15 minutes of play. Question after question was brought up about the late let down and Mike continued deflecting those questions and making excuses for bad play earlier in the game.
Hey Mike? Let’s agree to disagree.
Sure there are spots during a game where San Diego has missed opportunities to take a commanding lead, or at least be the cog and shut down any momentum created by the opposition. However, since Mike has been wearing the Charger visor, the team has been awful in close games (8 points or fewer) with or without the lead heading into the final frame. Take a look at these numbers:
Since the 2013 season and through last week’s game, the Bolts are 15-23 in games decided by 8 points or less. For you statisticians, that equals a 39.47 winning percentage.
Now of those 38 games, San Diego was leading at the end of the 3rd quarter 15 times (7-8 record) and behind 20 times (6-14 record). I understand those numbers don’t add up for all you following at home. So let me add that three out of those 38 games they were tied (2-1 record) heading into the 4th quarter.
Closing out games, in my humble opinion, is just as important as controlling the game in the early onset. In fact I will go out on a limb and say that the last quarter is the most crucial. Every team makes mistakes; blown coverages, missed throws, turnovers…etc. Those are bound to happen. In fact, the likelihood of any NFL team playing a “perfect” game is as minuscule as the chances of me dating model Ashley Alexxis.
The simple fact is that not many times is an NFL team going to be blowing out their opponent every week; hence why it is vital to be able to have that “closer” mentality.
Speaking of dominant closers, perhaps Coach McCoy needs to watch San Diego Padres game where Trevor Hoffman comes in and shuts down the opponents. Trevor, one of the best closers in all of baseball, was so dominate and fearless when he came out to “Hells Bells,” that even when he got older, hitters were still in fear of facing him. But that is what a closer is supposed to do. The team battles all game to lead late in the game, and the closer shuts it down.
It would be fantastic if McCoy would stop repeating himself about what he has “…been telling us from day 1.” We know this team has not been able to put the clamps on the opposition in the final quarter. My question, if I were allowed in the press room, would be this:
What are you going to do about it Coach?
Because clearly McCoy is either so obtuse that he is not aware of this lack of productivity in the final moments of the game, or he has tried for three and a half seasons and nothing has worked. The last time I checked, the Chargers play in the National Football League; professional football teams take the field every game. Is there any one team that if they are behind heading into the last quarter, just plain gives up? These players are playing for a starting position, a bigger contract, a long-term contract…etc.
Whether it is holding onto a lead, or trying to dig out of a hole, the simple fact is that this Chargers team, since McCoy took over, CAN NOT CLOSE OUT GAMES.
Sure, the coaches do not take the field – the players have to execute. However whose job is it to make the right play calling? Whose job is it to encourage and be positive around the players to ensure they will continue to fight for the whole 60 minutes? Whose job is it to make sure the players are in the right position to execute?
To have your play calling questioned after so many games is getting tiresome. Perhaps it is time to admit that McCoy just does not have what it takes to close out games. If he did, if he had the aggressive confidence the team needs, San Diego’s record would be more around 9-1 or 8-2, rather than a pathetic 4-6.
I know most of you anti-McCoy constituents have been feeling this way for a while now. I am big enough to eat crow and admit that this just isn’t the massive injuries, or the lack of execution causing the team to fail. There needs to be a change, otherwise this team will not change.
One possible solution: Bring Hoffman in to coach in the fourth quarter of every game. He can even wear a visor backwards if he wants.
Thanks for reading
Brian “Big Kahuna” Scott
The staff here at boltblitz.com give their takes on what they think will happen vs the Dolphins
Zak Darman: Despite the last three weeks for the Dolphins where Jay Ajayi went off, I think they are a below average team with a very bad quarterback and a soft defense. The Chargers should be able to do what they want vs their D, if coaching doesn’t get in the way. The run defense has been better this season, but not having Perryman and Brown for a second straight week will hurt. If they stop Ajayi I think they win fairly easily. Chargers 31 Dolphins 14
Charles LaFurno: Gordon goes all purpose over 150 with 2 scores. Defense gets a safety and Philip has more touchdowns than incompletions. Bolts win 31-14
Michael Brazeel: Chargers need this one to get to .500. With their new found run game, the Bolts will have a tough time stopping the Dolphins run game. Rivers will do enough against this secondary. Passing for 300 yds & two touchdowns. Gordon will add 80 yds on the ground and 50 in the air with two touchdowns. Chargers get it done 31-26
Corey Decker:Chargers are going to come out swinging. It will be 21-0 going into halftime. The Dolphins will make one last push, but it isn’t enough as the bolts come away victorious. 21-17 Chargers
Laura Leech: Chargers continue to use Melvin Gordon both on the Ground and in the air. Even with the injuries, the defense wins the turnover game for win number five. Chargers stop Jay Ajayi from having a huge game and win. 35-24 bolts
Chris Hoke: Chargers are 3-1 at home this season. Guess what? Rivers goes over 350+ passing yards while Gordon gets 99 yards two touchdowns. Defense gives up huge plays making Tanny look like Peyton Manning. This was a close game all the way until the final gun but unfortunately, the Dolphins get the upset on a last second field goal. 38-35 Dolphins
Cheryl White: Chargers are 6-3 vs Miami. In a game reminiscent of 2015 due to the outcome of Measure C, the Chargers come out with a chip on their collective shoulder. Expect 17-0 to start and in the second half, points start piling up. Rivers hits 350 yds, Gordon has another 200+ day with a TD, Gates & Williams pull in TD passes and defense gets another score. 35-17 Chargers
Mike Pisciotta: Melvin Gordon and the offensive line, still “whizzed off” after the debacle in Denver two weeks ago come out to prove last week wasn’t a fluke. Melvin runs for a buck fitty and adds 35 more yards receiving with two scores. Philip Rivers throws for two more and rumbles, stumbles, bumbles for another. Defense does give up 130 rushing but sacks Ryan Tannehill three times. Bolts win 41-27
Will McCafferty: Assuming the Chargers complete the game with enough players to qualify as an official team, I see them winning a high scoring affair. Expect the Bolts to take advantage of the Fins weak secondary early and build a lead. Once they are up by a couple of scores, look for Gordon to pound the rock and run the clock. Pretty much exactly what happened last week against Tennessee. The Dolphins can run the ball, but so could the Titans and it didn’t help them much. I don’t think Tannehill is a match for Rivers in the passing game either. Chargers 38 Dolphins 24
Greg Williams: The Chargers will finish and roll into the bye week on a high after a dismal 1-4 start. Miami will prove little resistance as the Chargers big three of Rivers, Gates and Gordon will light up the scoreboard. 38-17 bolts win
Here is my take on the three things that must happen in order to beat the Dolphins at home at get back to .500
1.) More Gordon, less Rivers
This sounds bad, but hear me out. Melvin Gordon had his best game of his career last week and its not time to abandon it. He ran with his eyes, rather than his head, for the first time that I can remember. He is on a hot streak and Rivers, according to Pro Football Focus, is playing his 2nd worst football of his career. It’s still at an above average rate, but it isn’t what we are used to seeing.
2.) Get the youngsters involved offensively
This sounds very hypocritical from my first point, but it doesn’t have to. A good balance is nice, and the times the bolts do pass, Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams are your best offensive weapons through the air. They are playmakers and ones you should lean to when you need a first down or need to move the ball in a hurry.
3.) Let the shrug out
Joey Bosa is going to have to be disruptive up front, and a wall in the run game. It’s no secret what Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi has done in the last three weeks. The defensive line needs to contain him, and they need to put pressure and let Bosa eat in the passing game.
What are your guys’ keys? Agree with mine? Let me know in the comments and go bolts!
Zak Darman (@WilMyersGOAT)
It all came about because of a neighbor, who happened to be a diehard Chargers fan.
Initially, I was never a gal who liked to watch football. I went to a couple of games in high school but that was it. I grew up in this little place in Rhode Island, which is about a 90-minute drive outside of Boston. The closest NFL team was the Patriots. (I know, boo-hiss!) The only thing I could tell you then about the New England Patriots was that their quarterback was Jim Plunkett and they played at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
My dad was a baseball guy, a fan of the good ol’ Boston Red Sox. The BoSox were his team, and Luis Tiant was his favorite player; probably more so than either Carl Yazstremski (“Yaz” was my favorite) or Tony Conigliaro.
We never watched football!
No, not even Super Bowls!
Fast forward to moving from the East Coast to the West Coast in 1980. I was still pretty uneducated about football at that time, but not for much longer!
I believe it was that fall when we began going to our neighbor’s home to watch San Diego Chargers football on Sunday afternoons. The Chargers’ Air Coryell offense was flying high with Fouts at QB. He had Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson at wideout, along with Chuck Muncie and John Cappelletti as his running backs. Additionally, No. 14 had Kellen Winslow at the tight-end spot. Remember that defense? Willie Buchanon, Louie Kelcher, Woody Lowe, Don Macek, Jim Laslavic and Ed White. Beasts!
That was a great year to start being a fan. The Chargers ended the season with an 11-5 record, finishing in 1st place in the AFC West. They went on to face the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round and won. Unfortunately, they ran into the Oakland Raiders at the AFC Championship level and lost. Disappointed, but my interest was piqued.
The following year the Chargers won their division again, in no small part due to the guys who returned from the previous year, but also additions like Wes Chandler, James Brooks, Eric Sievers and Pete Holohan.
Then came the “Epic in Miami.” What a game! Once you hear it, all football fans immediately associate it with the image of an exhausted and drained Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by a couple of teammates. Chargers won the hard-fought, see-saw contest, 41-38 in overtime. It was quite a battle.
These are the types of games that get fans fired up! I was no different. By that point, I was becoming a fan, although my understanding of the sport was still miniscule.
After the heat and humidity of Miami a week later, Fouts and Company found themselves in Cincinnati. This game gets a nickname, too: the “Freezer Bowl.” From the heat and humidity of Miami to the sub-zero temperatures in Cincy, where the wind chill at game time was minus-59 degrees! The Chargers would have the fight of their football lives on the line. Sadly, they lost to the Bengals 27-7.
Of course, there were other games and players that helped solidify my enjoyment – and frustration – of Chargers’ football, just like many other people who root for them. As a “transplant” to California in 1980, there were four football teams here: the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, the LA Rams and the San Diego Chargers.
I chose to represent San Diego then as I do now. My understanding of the game is better because of family and friends, plus a little bit of reading. I still have a long way to go and every year is a learning experience.
Thanks for some awesome memories over the years, San Diego Chargers! Now let’s bring on 2016!
Thank you for reading!
The NFL regular season starts in just under two months. The 2016 schedule has the Chargers facing the AFC South, NFC South, the Miami Dolphins (AFC East) and the Cleveland Browns (AFC North).
Below is a breakdown of their 2016 opponents.
Week 1: @Kansas City Chiefs
2015 Record: 11-5, 2nd AFC West
Offense: 27th overall
Defense: 7th overall
The Chiefs started 2015 slow, losing five straight games. They ended the season winning 10 straight and won their first playoff game in 20 years. The running game should be solid for the Chiefs in 2016. Jamaal Charles is coming back from an ACL injury. Along with his fellow running backs, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, KC sports one of the best backfields in the NFL.
Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Record: 5-11, 3rd AFC South
Offense: 18th overall
Defense: 24th overall
The Jaguars had a less than stellar season, placing third in the worst division in the NFL in 2015. Jacksonville only won one road game last year. The Jags took to the draft to help beef up their defense by signing defensive players with their first five picks, including DB Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and LB Myles Jack from UCLA.
Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts
2015 Record: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 28th overall
Defense: 26th overall
The Colts had a 3-5 record in the first half of the 2015 season, losing starting quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 8. Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and journeyman signal caller Josh Freeman went 5-3 in the second half, but it still was not enough to win the division. If Andrew Luck can stay healthy in 2016, the Colts could make improvements on offense. They drafted a much-needed center, Ryan Kelly from Alabama, with the 18th pick overall.
Week 4: New Orleans Saints
2015 Record: 7-9, 3rd NFC South
Offense: 2nd overall
Defense: 31st overall
The Saints were a very lopsided team in 2015. Their offense averaged 403.8 yards and 25.5 points per game, but their defense allowed an average of 413.8 yards and 29.8 points per game. That is clearly not a recipe for success. The Saints should continue to have a stellar offense with veteran Drew Brees at quarterback.
Week 5: @Oakland Raiders
2015 Season: 7-9, 3rd AFC West
Offense: 24th overall
Defense: 22nd overall
The Raiders made some improvements last year in an attempt to have their first winning season since losing the Super Bowl in 2003, but fell short, again. Their 7-9 record was an improvement considering they have averaged only 4.9 wins a season in the last 13 years. The Raiders will probably continue to improve in 2016. They have a young team lead by third-year quarterback Derek Carr. Don’t sleep on the Raiders in 2016.
Week 6: Denver Broncos
2015 Season: 12-4, 1st AFC West
Offense: 16th overall
Defense: 1st overall
The Broncos won the division — again — for the fifth consecutive season and went on to win Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning had his worst season, finishing with only nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 10 games. The stellar Broncos’ defense allowed an average of only 283.1 yards and 18.5 points per game. The Broncos are bringing back pretty much the same defense in 2016. The retirement of Manning brings veteran Mark Sanchez, back-up quarterback Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch fighting for the starting position. Rumor has it that Sanchez and Siemian are neck-and-neck in the fight to win the job.
Week 7: @Atlanta Falcons
2015 Season: 8-8, 2nd AFC South
Offense: 7th overall
Defense: 16th overall
The Falcons started out the 2015 season hot, winning six of their first eight games. The second half was the exact opposite, as they went 2-6. One of the two wins in the second half was against their division rival, and eventual Super Bowl runner-up, the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons drafted strong safety Keanu Neal from Florida with the 17th overall pick to boost their struggling defense.
Week 8: @Denver Broncos
See week six.
Week 9: Tennessee Titans
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC South
Offense: 30th overall
Defense: 12th overall
The Titans looked like a sleeper team in Week 1 of the 2015 season, when they won 42-14 against the Tampa Bay Bucs, led by 2nd overall pick, Marcus Mariota, who had 209 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Despite Mariota’s success in Week 1, the Titans ended up with the worst record in 2015, averaging only 311.8 yards and 18.7 points per game. It will be hard to do much worse in 2016, but anything is possible.
Week 10: Miami Dolphins
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th AFC East
Offense: 26th overall
Defense: 25th overall
The Dolphins were led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who averaged 263 passing yards per game and had 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. While those numbers aren’t terrible, his offensive line could not keep him standing up, as he was sacked 45 times. The Titans could fare better in 2016 when it comes to sacks with the signing of offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @Houston Texans
2015 Season: 9-7, 1st AFC South
Offense: 19th overall
Defense: 3rd overall
The Texans started the season off rocky, going 3-5 in the first half of the season but turned it around in the second half, only losing two games. The third ranked defense allowed only an average of 19.6 points for game and even had five games where their opponent only scored six points. The Texans liked what they saw when Brock Osweiler took over the quarterback duties for the Broncos and signed him to be their starter in 2016. This move could either make them or break them.
Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2015 Season: 6-10, 4th NFC South
Offense: 5th overall
Defense: 10th overall
The Buccaneers should have had a better record in 2015 since they had a top-10 overall offense and defense. Stats don’t always show the big picture, especially considering their offense averaged 375.9 yards per game, but only 21.4 points per game. The defense allowed an average of 340.4 yards per and 26.4 points per game. The Bucs took to their coaching staff to bring change, naming Dirk Koetter as the new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith, along with Mike Smith as the new defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator.
Week 14: @Carolina Panthers
2015 Season: 15-1, 1st NFC South
Offense: 11th overall
Defense: 6th overall
The Panthers had an explosive offense in 2015, leading the league with 500 total points and an average of 31.3 points per game. Their offense, lead by quarterback Cam Newton, was not able to fare well against the best defense in the league and lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos, scoring only 10 points. The Panthers will be without DB Charles Tillman, who recently announced his retirement after 13 years in the league. They signed former Chargers punter Mike Scifres to a one-year deal.
Week 15: Oakland Raiders
See week five.
Week 16: @ Cleveland Browns
2015 Season: 3-13, 4th AFC North
Offense: 25th overall
Defense: 27th overall
For the fourth straight year, the Browns were in last place in their division. The quarterback situation in Cleveland was their biggest downfall in 2015. The off-field antics of quarterback Johnny Manziel had the Browns switching the starting positions between the former first-round draft pick and Josh McCown. The Browns lost their best wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, to the Chargers during free agency. They went to the draft in hopes of replacing him, drafting five wide receivers, including Corey Coleman from Baylor with the 15th overall pick.
Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs
See week one.
The Chargers only face four teams with a winning record last year, but two of the four of those teams are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face two teams with a .500 season and seven teams with a losing season in 2015, including the Oakland Raiders.
The schedule seems pretty easy — on paper — and I predict that they will definitely win more than four games this season. The Chargers play in a tough division and will need to win some of those games to be contenders in 2016.
Thanks for reading!
The San Diego Chargers secured the future of the tight end position with their selection of Arkansas Razorbacks All-American, John Mackey Award-winning stud Hunter Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry is tabbed as the heir apparent to Hall-of-Fame bound Antonio Gates. As we all know, injuries are a very real thing in pro football. The Chargers have been decimated by injuries season after season. Unfortunately, not all high draft picks pan out.
One can never be too prepared.
With the first two slots on the depth chart filled, the challenge of finding a solid third tight end will be an interesting camp battle to watch. Stepping up to the challenge are:
1. Asante Cleveland, a second-year pro out of the University of Miami.
2. Jeff Cumberland, a seventh-year pro who spent his first six seasons with the New York Jets.
3. Sean McGrath, a second-year pro out of Henderson State.
4. Matt Weiser, an undrafted free agent rookie out of the University of Buffalo.
One of the biggest long shots in the field is literally the biggest of the entire group. While the aforementioned four players all average a stout 6’5″, 250-pounds, Tim Semisch stands 6’8″, 267-pounds.
Semischs’ pro career began with the Miami Dolphins where he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015. After toiling away on the Dolphins’ practice squad he was released in November and signed to the Chargers’ practice squad in December.
Semisch signed a futures contract in January 2016 and will be competing for a spot on the 53-man roster. Semisch played his college ball at Northern Illinois University. While he’s not fast (ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 at NIU’s pro day), his height, length and versatility will be features that make him a viable candidate as a possible third tight end or special teams.
In a pre-draft interview, Semisch explained that at NIU he was able to take advantage of his size advantage, be a good pass catcher or blocker, can rush the passer if needed and he also became a good long snapper. He stated his desire to play wherever is necessary to make the team.
While he was used primarily as a blocker he did show the ability to make big plays in the passing game, as evidenced in the video clip below. In three seasons he caught a grand total of ten passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. If he makes the 53-man roster with Rivers throwing him the ball, he’s likely to eclipse those numbers in one game.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TDSemisch82
Here’s to rooting for the underdog and unearthing more diamonds in the rough! Good luck Mr. Semisch.
The Greg One