New York Jets
On Thursday, multiple media outlets announced the decision of former Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to join the broadcast booth for FOX Sports. Cutler was released by the Bears and after rumored less-than-fruitful talks with the New York Jets and Houston Texans, opted to make the jump to television.
This news comes a few weeks after Ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo decided to retire and go into the broadcast booth for CBS Sports. Ironically, both quarterbacks came into the league at the same time in 2006 and appear to be leaving together as well.
The plan is for Cutler to work in a three-man booth with Charles Davis and Kevin Burkhardt. The difference with Cutler is that he is (as of right now) not retired. No papers have been filed and he hasn’t stated he’s retired. The closest he came on the subject was a quote made to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington:
“I don’t know if retirement is the right word. I don’t feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL. You are either forced to leave, or you lose the desire to do what’s required to keep going. I’m in between those situations at this point in my life.” Cutler said.
He’s still a free agent and there is an out clause in his contract releasing him from his broadcast job if a quarterback vacancy is offered to him.
Personally, this comes as an ironic end to this tale. We’re talking about the quarterback who hasn’t cracked a smile since he was drafted. His own teammates have said they wish they could punch him in the face. He’s always been salty and tight-lipped with the media and now he is one of them. Did anyone tell him part of the job is being personable?
I’d do it quickly before the ink dries on that contract…
Hot on the heels of the monumental Thursday morning announcement of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers moving up the I-5 to Los Angeles, a new head coach was announced to spearhead the new Los Angeles Chargers.
On Friday, the now Los Angeles Chargers officially announced former Buffalo Bills’ interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their successor to Mike McCoy. Lynn was a running back in the NFL for six seasons from 1993-1999. He was initially signed as an undrafted free agent running back by the Denver Broncos. He played a season in San Francisco (1995-’96) before finishing his career in Denver from 1997 to 1999. Lynn has two Super Bowl rings as part of the John Elway-led team that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998.
Since retiring from playing the game in 2000, Lynn has worked his way up the coaching ranks. After two seasons in Denver as a special teams coach, he was brought in as a running backs coach for Jacksonville, Dallas, Cleveland and New York Jets before landing in Buffalo in 2015. Lynn served as running backs coach until week three of the 2016 season. Bills OC Greg Roman was fired after week two and Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the week 17 interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired in week 16.
Lynn is a low-profile, safe choice for the Chargers. Not much will be expected of him or the team given their recent history. The Chargers have finished in the cellar the last two seasons, only winning a combined nine games. They made the playoffs once in the four years of the Mike McCoy era.
Despite the fact he has no head coaching experience at any level of football, he is expected to keep Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator and various media outlets are reporting he wants to hire former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to replace John Pagano as defensive coordinator. If the Bradley hire happens, that places two experienced head coaches to accelerate his learning curve.
Lynn becomes the first minority head coach in the history of the Chargers franchise. He is widely respected around the league as a running game mastermind. From 2009-13 his Jets led the league in rushing. Each season in Buffalo, the Bills have led the NFL in rushing. If he can do that with a past his prime veteran like LeSean McCoy, imagine what he will be able to do with a young, budding superstar like Melvin Gordon.
Lynn inherits a roster with many budding stars yet to hit their prime and if they can stay healthy, could make the playoffs as soon as next season. So far, the Chargers have led the league in players sent to injured reserve over the past few seasons. Staying healthy and offensive line stability has been their biggest downfall.
All things considered, there is no place to go but up for Lynn and the Chargers. The stadium drama is over and players now know in which city their future lies. That has to be good for something. Now everyone can focus on getting healthy and just playing football, which may be exactly what this team needs.
What do you think? Good signing? Bad signing? Too soon to care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Follow me on Twitter @LordOfTheGregs
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
A football season is 16 games long. If a team is lucky, it can prolong the time of clearing out lockers and getting bodies healthy for at least four weeks beyond the regular season.
For Melvin Ingram, that would be a total of 64 games in which he could have played every September to December of the last four years. Instead, the thorn in his side has been injuries which cost him 19 games; the equivalent of an entire season!
Ingram’s 2013 campaign was supposed to see his statistics spike; after all, free agency saw Shaun Phillips move on to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos while Antwan Barnes joined the New York Jets. That left the second-year outside linebacker to learn from wily veterans such as Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Both Freeney and Johnson were known for their work ethic and hard-nosed play. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was over before it had even begun.
Ingram suffered an ACL tear on May 14 during OTA’s. The expectation was that Ingram would be lost for the year and in August he was placed on the Reserve/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Fans were elated to see number 54 back on the field in December and ecstatic to have him force a fumble while sacking Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. Two weeks later in Cincinnati, he intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the AFC Championship game.
“SupaMelvin” was BACK!! Or was he?
Ingram appeared to make it through the 2014 OTA’s, minicamp and preseason unscathed. That all changed after the September 14 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The weekend arrived and brought with it another stint on the Reserve/Designated to Return list. Eight weeks later he was back sporting his blue and gold. It was a deja vu moment – two years with back-to-back injuries and who does he suit against? Both games were at home against none other than those pesky Raiders. San Diego won both contests.
In April of 2015, the Chargers exercised the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. His salary for the 2016 season is $7.751 million, per Spotrac. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Ingram appeared in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season, collecting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and six passes defensed (PD). His career numbers in 45 outings are 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 13 PD with three forced fumbles.
The Bolts’ defense needs Ingram to step it up. Adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at the nose tackle position is a start. Drafting Joey Bosa, projected to be the bookend on the defensive line opposite Corey Liuget, was a boon. Having third-year man Jerry Attaochu in the mix along with thumper Denzel Perryman provides defensive coordinator John Pagano with chess pieces that he hasn’t had in years.
Ingram has only logged two games with more than a single sack, both coming last year. One was the preseason game against Seattle last year (2) and another 2.5 collected in the win over Miami. Expect that to change.
Should the starting group on the field complement one another as anticipated, I can see this defense lighting up wide receivers and tight ends, stuffing the run and pushing back opposing linemen.
For Ingram to be successful, he must start strong and stay strong. He has to be a leader on defense this season. He needs to set the tone.
Does Ingram outperform his 2015 numbers? I anticipate that he will. Could he get to 14.5? It could be a real possibility given he should be a bit more free to roam with Mebane in the middle at nose.
These guys don’t wear lightning bolts for show. That electricity HAS to find its way into each and every game and I hope that “SupaMelvin” leads the charge.
Thanks for reading!
It might be a difficult thing to imagine. The reality of not seeing a blue or white jersey with the No. 85 stitched on the back, running out on to the field. That day is contractually expected to happen a couple of years from now, so let’s not get depressed about it yet.
Not one of the four tight ends who backed-up Antonio Gates in the 2015 campaign are with the team now. The most experienced of the players behind him now is 28-year-old Jeff Cumberland, formerly of the New York Jets. The question now is if general manager Tom Telesco can find a guy in the draft that Gates can groom to be his replacement. Or, maybe that person could end up mirroring the All-Pro tight end. After all, back in 2003, the only team that Gatesy had a tryout with was the Chargers. They signed the undrafted former Kent State Golden Flash player and the rest is history.
It’s possible that TT can find that nugget of gold in Ohio State’s Nick Vannett.
Weight: 260 pounds
40 Yard Dash: 4.85 seconds*
Vertical Jump: 30 1/2″*
Broad Jump: 9’3″*
Arm Size: 34 1/4″**
Hand Size: 10″**
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.20 seconds** (Top Performer)
Has the size, length and hand size that every scout looks for. Aggressive blocker who recognizes his assignments and makes accurate reads when identifying his man. Playing at Ohio State means lining up all over the formation and while there may not be much film to review, Vannett provides positional versatility to an offense. Has athleticism and ability to go up and make the tough catch in order to bail out his quarterback. Plucks the ball from the air and will use his body to shade defenders and keep them out of contention over the middle.
A forgotten man too often in the Buckeyes offense, Vannett’s lack of use is not a knock on his talent, just the scheme he played in. Though he has mitts for hands and a body like Gronkowski, Vannett has to learn to shake safeties and use his length to create separation from tight coverage.
His numbers may not be what is expected of a college prospect entering the pros (53 games/55 receptions for 585 yards/six touchdowns) but the talent is there. With Gates as a mentor to help him develop his craft while putting in reps on special teams, Vannett could be a prospect worth pulling the trigger on.
Thanks for reading!
It wouldn’t be a San Diego Chargers free agency if former Colts GM Tom Telesco didn’t sign a Colt to the roster. For the fourth consecutive year, the trend continues. The Chargers GM has just added ex-Colts safety Dwight Lowery to their roster, filling the void left by Eric Weddle.
Lowery, 30, has agreed to a three-year contract. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. An eight-year veteran, Lowery is 5’11”, 212 lbs. The Chargers will be the fifth team he’s played on. Originally drafted by the New York Jets in 2008, he spent three years in New York, three years in Jacksonville and one season each in Atlanta and Indianapolis.
Although his career trajectory was hampered by injury in the 2012 and ’13 seasons, Lowery has rebounded and played every game the last two seasons. Over the course of his career, he has 335 tackles, 5 sacks, 59 passes defensed, 16 interceptions and theee defensive touchdowns.
Another solid free agent addition by Telesco. What do you think of the signing. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The now 2-6 San Diego Chargers are living out the meaning of the old cliché “backs against the wall”. This week alone, star receiver Keenan Allen, Branden Oliver and Tourek Williams were all placed on season-ending injured reserve. Corey Liuget and Ladarius Green left Baltimore in walking boots after Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. Thirteen players were injured during the Ravens game alone. Only 46 are allowed to play on Sundays. The Chargers literally lost over 25% of their active team on Sunday.
The offensive line is in shambles. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been sacked 19 times. Now the league’s top passer is down his best receiver, an emerging tight end (Green) and a running back that gained eight yards per reception in Oliver.
The defense is not faring much better. Team Captain Eric Weddle and Manti Te’o have missed multiple weeks. Both were entrusted with the ‘green dot’ helmet that receives the play transmission for the defense. Now that helmet resides in the locker of linebacker Donald Butler. Recent losses include rookie Denzel Perryman (biceps) and now Liuget. Unable to get pressure on the quarterback, the Bolts have only managed 15 sacks and four interceptions. To make matters worse, they’re allowing 28.4 points per game.
Coming into San Diego for a Monday Night Football showdown will be Jay Cutler and the 2-5 Chicago Bears. Like San Diego, the Bears lost their greatest weapon last week when Matt Forte was lost for the game and will miss time with a knee injury. On paper, the Chargers are more talented and should beat the lowly Bears rather easily.
The same thing was said when they went to the east coast to face the then 1-6 Ravens.
If the Bolts win, that will put them at 3-6 with a slim but still possible chance of challenging for a wild card spot in the playoffs. A loss makes a third straight 9-7 season nearly out of reach and a .500 season a daunting task. That being said…
Is it time to start tanking for a high draft pick?
We all want to see the Chargers go on a long winning streak that finishes in the playoffs. Realistically, they are five games behind the still undefeated Denver Broncos. The Broncos have been woeful offensively but their defense has been unstoppable and the main reason they have been able to stay undefeated. The fact that they have played weak opponents all the way up to last week’s impressive win over the then undefeated Green Bay Packers didn’t hurt either. The AFC West title is effectively out of reach barring Peyton Manning going down with injury.
By the way, the Chargers play the Broncos twice in the last five weeks.
That leaves the possible wild card. As of today, San Diego finds themselves two games behind the 4-3 Oakland Raiders, the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 4-3 New York Jets. They have already lost to both Pittsburgh and Oakland and it would take massive collapses by those teams to give San Diego a chance of getting one of those two wild card spots.
At this point, it’s time to empty the playbook. It’s time to use every untested player, dust off every odd formation, gadget play and blitz strategy in hopes of getting a spark that will carry into next season. Unfortunately, the Chargers are playing for pride. They have dug a hole too deep to extract themselves from. I want them to go on a 8-0 run to finish the season in the playoffs like the rest of you. In the part of our brain that is responsible for rational thought, we know it isn’t going to happen.
Should the Chargers tank the season? No.
Should the Chargers play fast, loose and with a nothing-to-lose mentality for the rest of the season? Yes.
Go for it on every fourth-and-one. Mix up the play calling. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment with Gordon (Get the man a fullback). Experiment with the passing game (Green at WR? Yes, please). Experiment with movement. Boots, waggles, and bubble screens to get Gordon in space would be a nice start. Replace all those inside handoffs with toss sweeps to get the backs to the edge quicker. Go deep more. A LOT more. If you’re gonna go down, go down swinging.
At this point, the game with the Bears is the season. If the Bolts win, they maintain course as long as they continue to win. If they lose, time to blow up the formula, wing it and play for draft position. Get a top blue-chip prospect who can help the team immediately before Rivers’ window is closed forever. The top-ten picks are where game-changing, franchise-changing players can be found.
Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, Oakland’s Amari Cooper, St. Louis’ Todd Gurley all have their respective teams on a trajectory to finish with a higher win total than last season. All were top-ten picks. The Chargers hope to have found the same fortune with Gordon but they had to trade up to 15th to get him, sacrificing a needed draft pick along the way. The jury is still out on Gordon, seeing as he only surpassed 100 carries for the season in the Ravens game.
San Diego needs a change of fortune and philosophy to get this uber-talented team over the top. As sad as it sounds, it’s going to take a step back, a change in coaching philosophy and a wise top-ten pick to finally move forward.
What do you think? Should the Chargers tank for a high-draft seeding? Leave your comments below.
The Greg One
It has taken a few days to get over this last loss. As I sat there and cleaned my house after the Monday night game, I had categorized my emotions into one word: numb.
As Chargers fans, we’ve seen this before. We’ve seen it entirely too often.
Blown leads, missed field goals, late touchdowns and more. Chargers fans have experienced some excruciating losses outside of the most recent loss to Pittsburgh.
Let me caveat this by saying this, it’s not one play that loses the game for the team. There are usually several things that build up to losses like the one on Monday. For instance, the crossing route to Keenan Allen that would’ve been a walk-in touchdown that saw the pass from Philip Rivers batted down at the line.
That being said, I wanted to look back at a painful history of losses that happened either on the last play or that led to a direct sequence that caused the Chargers to lose.
They say misery loves company, so join me on this miserable look back at some painful losses.
September 7th, 2008 – Chargers vs. Panthers
This one, to me, was the most similar to the game against the Steelers. The Chargers went up by five with just over two minutes left in the game. The Panthers drive down the field and with two seconds left, the ball at the 14-yard line, Jake Delhomme finds Dante Rosario in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.
September 15th, 2008 – Chargers vs. Broncos
Just eight days after the first loss listed in this piece, another painful loss the Chargers fans still haven’t gotten over. Quite frankly, I’m sure Ed Hochuli hasn’t forgotten this game. I guarantee that Chargers fans still remember it. Here’s the sequence of events:
- Cutler drops back and fumbles as he tries to throw the ball
- Ball is recovered by Tim Dobbins as Hochuli blows the whistle and signals incomplete pass
- Hochuli admits it should’ve been a fumble but by rule is incomplete
- Broncos score on the next play a touchdown to Eddie Royal and go for two to win the game (also complete to Royal)
- Chargers lose 39-38
An interesting note here, both Rosario and Royal went on to play for the Chargers after these game winners. Let’s also not forget Brandon Marshall had 18 catches in this game and was unstoppable.
January 17th, 2010 – Chargers vs. Jets – Playoffs
This one hurts. It’s where Nate Kaeding truly started to earn his nickname of wide right. THREE. MISSED. FIELD GOALS. If he makes one of those the game would’ve been tied. Two of them, and the Chargers have a lead. Brutal loss 17-14. This wasn’t a last second loss, but it was brutal. I remember covering my eyes after the first miss and it didn’t get any better on the next two tries.
There’s a reason we hate Mondays – Should we be surprised?
Monday night hasn’t been kind to the Chargers of late. There was the Texans game in 2013 (up 28-7 at one point) and the Broncos in 2012 (up 24-0 at halftime). These both hurt, as it looked like the Chargers were in cruise control only to be beaten late.
James Jett – October 11th, 1998
I still remember listening to this call on the radio. The Chargers had the lead 6-0 in the 4th quarter. Sure, this was a losing team and they weren’t going anywhere, but this one hurt. James Jett goes 68 yards for a touchdown with just under a minute and a half left in the game for the win. That was just one of two long touchdowns Jett scored on us that year. The other a 45-yard grab in a December rematch.
Chargers vs. Patriots 2007 – Playoffs
Let’s just call this what it is…the Marlon McCree game. This was probably the best shot the Chargers had to win a championship and bring it to San Diego. This team finished the year winning 6th straight to go 11-5 and had the talent to go all the way. Then it happened. McCree makes a great read and picks the ball off and instead of falling begins to run with it, is stripped by Troy Brown and the Patriots throw a touchdown to Reche Caldwell and end up winning the game. Sure, a lot happened after the McCree fumble, but it feels like that would’ve sealed it for the Bolts.
Now, there are other games that come to mind, like the Redskins game in 2013 after the Chargers couldn’t punch it in from the one-yard line. I’m sure I’ve missed some games that are equally if not more painful, as well. But these are the ones that stuck out for me.
Comment below on any other games you remember that were excruciatingly painful.
Thanks for commiserating.
Danny Woodhead is ready for the 2015 season. The running back suffered a high-ankle sprain with a fractured fibula last year. The injury occurred on the 1st possession of week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. The injury required surgery and he was put on injured reserve. He is healthy and it showed on the field in the team’s week 1 win over the Lions.
A decade ago, it was rarity to see running backs under 5-foot-10. At 5-foot-8, 200 pounds, Woodhead isn’t even the shortest running back on the team. Branden Oliver, entering his second year, is 5-foot-7 and 208 pounds. Rookie Melvin Gordon is 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds. This trio of running backs is a three-headed monster, giving the Chargers many options in the running game.
Woodhead went to Chadron State College, a NCAA Division II team, in his home State of Nebraska. He was the first person to receive a full-ride athletic scholarship from Chadron State College. He broke the all-division single rushing record with 2,740 yards in 2006. He also had 3,159 all-purpose yards that year, which is the second most by a college running back behind the great Barry Sanders. After four years, he had racked up 7,962 rushing yards and 109 touchdowns. He is also the second athlete to have over 100 touchdowns in collegiate history.
Despite Woodhead’s success in college, he was not asked to join the NFL Scouting Combine. The New York Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He spent his first two years with the Jets but had to sit out his rookie year on injured reserve. He was released by the Jets in 2010, and the New England Patriots picked him up. Woody had three successful years with the Patriots, rushing for 1,099 yards with ten rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns.
The Chargers signed Woodhead in 2013. He had 429 rushing yards, 605 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns. He quickly became a fan favorite. Many fans felt that he had brought back that missing piece of the offense that Darren Sproles had filled during his tenure with the Chargers. He was a smaller, fast running back, like Sproles, that could also be used in both running and receiving duties.
Woodhead spent the offseason recovering from his injury and updating his look. He ditched his surfer-boy look with a short haircut and a beard. His fun-filled spirit and enthusiasm are still there, especially with his new best friend, Branden Oliver. Entering his 8th season, he will not disappoint as he takes on the roll of mentor to both Oliver and Gordon.
After week 1, it looks like the Chargers’ running game will excel with it’s three-headed monster. The taller Gordon will be the first running back. The team seems to be using him to gain first downs within the first 60 yards. The Bolts will utilize Woodhead within the red zone and on third downs. Oliver will also take on some of same duties as Woodhead. Against the Lions, Woodhead had 62 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. These three running backs will force defenses to have a hard time coming up with a plan of attack.
If Woodhead can stay healthy this year, Phillip Rivers will again have a go-to safety valve in the passing game. He will be able to rely on Woodhead and the running game to take pressure off of him to get the job done in the air. Woodhead’s work on the field was a big reason why the Chargers were able to rally back against the Lions.
We sure missed you, No. 39!
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell upheld his four game suspension of New England Patriots Tom Brady for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal. There wasn’t a talking head on any network who thought Brady’s appeal of the initial ruling wouldn’t result in a reduction of games. In a move to be applauded, Gooddell forsook the man other NFL owners call the “assistant commish”, Robert Kraft, and stuck to his guns on his decision.
We’ve all been waiting to see if the league held its golden boy Brady to the same standard as all others when it comes to discipline. It’s ludicrous to think that Patriots equipment personnel deflate footballs of their own free will. The fact Brady destroyed the phone containing potentially damning evidence was all the Commish needed in upholding his suspension. No special treatment. No favors for his bestie Robert Kraft. Justice is served.
Of course, Brady will take the matter to federal court to try to clear his name and eliminate his four game ban. First, he has to get an injunction passed by a judge, putting the ban on hold until after the court process plays out. Of course he does. Instead of accepting defeat and taking his suspension like a man, he will surround himself with high priced lawyers and look for loopholes. Thankfully, getting an injunction isn’t as easy as it sounds. Brady has to prove he has a winnable case and the preceding adjudicator (Gooddell) missed key evidence that would’ve cleared his name. If he has such evidence, you’d think it would’ve been revealed by now.
The NFL is on solid footing. They have the Collective Bargaining Agreement, agreed to by the owners and players, giving the Commissioner the power to discipline and rule over these same cases. They have the Wells report, a 243-page investigation on the matter. Ted Wells is one of the nation’s best white collar trial lawyers and his findings were critical in the Richie Incognito bullying scandal of two years ago.
Karma is finally catching up with the Patriots but what does this have to do with the Chargers?
It has everything to do with the Chargers. San Diego will be looking to supplant the Denver Broncos and win the AFC West. If they can do so they will likely be competing with the Patriots for a potential first round bye. Even if the bolts don’t win the west, this season the team looks deeper than they have in years. If they can eliminate the distractions with contracts, relocation and keep injuries to a minimum they will post a double digit win total.
In their first four weeks, New England faces the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys. Pittsburgh and Dallas are playoff-caliber teams and the Bills improved significantly over the offseason. That could be two losses that will be tough to make up for when fighting for a top seed in the playoffs.
San Diego faces the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals in their first four games. That stretch of games could easily favor the Chargers given the advantage they have behind center. That leads to the question no one seems to be asking but everyone is wondering…
What if Brady’s replacement, Jimmy Garoppolo, stinks out loud?
Garoppolo has thrown for 182 yards and one touchdown in his NFL career. His only playing time is when the game is out of hand and the opposition is already demoralized. Defenses are going to throw every disguise and Madden-esque blitz package they can think of at the second-year pro. What’s more, New England lost a lot of key components on defense. All-Pro cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandown Browner left for the Jets and Saints, respectively. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork found a new home with the Houston Texans. This is a team that will have to win by scoring lots of points because their defense will give up plenty of points.
Every team in the AFC East got better while the Patriots took a step back. Buffalo added one of the league’s leading rushers in trading for LeSean McCoy and signed wide receiver Percy Harvin, tight end Charles Clay and the aforementioned Richie Incognito to their offense. Miami signed the biggest name on the free agent market in nose tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins also added tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Greg Jennings to add punch to the offense.
Even the lowly New York Jets pulled Revis out of Belichick’s clutches, then added corners Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine. They signed Brandon Marshall, and running backs Zac Stacy and Stevan Ridley to completely overhaul the offense. Offensive coordinator mastermind Chan Gailey will spearhead a revamped Jets attack who’s only glaring weakness is the quarterback.
The sledding was going to be rough for the Patriots if they had Brady for all 16 games. Now, the task becomes incrementally more daunting with a new quarterback for 25% of the season. Fending off the young guns is getting tougher by the year to the point where a team other than New England winning the AFC East isn’t laughable anymore. It’s closer to reality than we all think and my prediction is the Patriots will make the playoffs but as a wild card.
And that is a very good thing for the Chargers.
What do you think? Are the Patriots still the team to beat in the AFC or does time (and all the cheating) catch up to them this year? What do you think Bolt Nation?
The Greg One