Nick Dzubnar

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

(Credit: Getty Images/Harry How) Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers recovers a fumble stripping Jordan Taylor #87 of the Denver Broncos of the ball during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 13, 2016 in San Diego.

 

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!

Cheryl White

#practicesquadnomore

#boltnup

 

*Featured image credit: AP – Denis Poroy

Verrett6

 

Going into Week 13, the San Diego Chargers practically have a full team on injured reserve, placing 18 players on the season-ending list!

I am sure the Chargers can say there is not enough room on the airplane for the players on IR this season and actually mean it.

Here are the players on IR and the date they were placed on it.

May 16th: Brock Hekking (OLB): Charger fans have yet to see what talent this second-year linebacker has to offer. He missed all of 2015 with a foot injury and was placed on IR in 2016 with an undisclosed injury suffered early in training camp.

August 15th: Stevie Johnson (WR) Johnson suffered a torn MCL during practice on July 31st. The nine-year veteran signed with the Chargers in 2015 and had 497 yards with three touchdowns.

August 15th: Sean Lissemore (NT) Lissemore was hoping to come back in 2016 after hurting his shoulder at the end of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, he was not able to recover from the injury and was placed on IR.

August 22nd: Jeff Cumberland (TE) Cumberland had signed a one-year deal with the Chargers after playing six years with the Jets.  The tight end suffered an ACL injury in the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

August 30th: Zamir Carlis (DT) The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rookie out of Stillman College suffered an ankle injury during practice. The severity of the injury is undisclosed.

August 30th: Donavon Clark (G) The 2016 seventh-round pick from Michigan State suffered a torn ACL injury against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason.

August 30th: Tyler Johnstone (T) The rookie from Oregon suffered an undisclosed injury during training camp.

August 30th: Branden Oliver (RB) Most of us watched Oliver tear his Achilles tendon in the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. Chargers were hoping to have the hard-hitting Oliver back after he missed half of 2015 with a toe injury.

August 31st: Javontee Herndon (WR/KR) The wide receiver suffered a knee injury on July 30th. He played eight games in 2015 and had 195 yards receiving. Herndon also was used in return duties.

September 12th: Keenan Allen (WR) After missing most of the 2015 season, the Chargers were excited to get top-ranked receiver KA13 back on the field. Then, much to the chagrin of Chargers fans and fantasy football players, he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the regular season. Six offensive plays into the 2016 season and your No. 1 target is gone for the entire year.

September 19th: Danny Woodhead (RB) After Chargers fans saw Keenan Allen go down in Week 1, they saw Woodhead go down in Week 2. The mighty back also suffered a torn ACL.

September 28th: Manti Te’o (ILB) Hoping to finally play a full season after suffering injuries in his first three years, Te’o only made it to the third game of the regular season. The team captain suffered a torn Achilles in the loss against the Indianapolis Colts.

October 7th: Jason Verrett (CB): Verrett suffered a partially torn ACL injury and was placed on IR after the fourth game against the Saints. Verrett was not able to pinpoint when the actual injury happened and therefore most likely continued to play despite the injury.

October 10th: Nick Dzubnar (ILB) The second-year undrafted linebacker from Cal Poly SLO also tore his ACL in week six against the New Orleans Saints. He had six tackles before his season-ending injury.

October 25th: Caraun Reid (DT) Reid tore his ACL in Week 7 against Atlanta. Reid was signed this year after his first two years with the Detroit Lions.

November 5th: Dexter McCluster (RB) If it wasn’t bad enough that so many players were going down on the field of play, McCluster got injured off the field.  The running back, signed due to injuries, broke his arm at his home carrying furniture.

November 22nd: Brandon Mebane (NT) The veteran nose tackle, who played nine years with the Seattle Seahawks, made a huge impact on the defense. Sadly, he tore his biceps muscle in the hard-fought loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 10.

November 29th: Jerry Attaochu (OLB): Attaochu broke his foot against the Houston Texans in Week 12. The third-year linebacker had six sacks last year and two this year.

Here is a very scary thought: Nine out of the 18 players on the injured-reserve list have knee injuries, while six of them suffered ACL tears.

Injuries should never be used as an excuse for losing in the NFL but having 18 players out for the year is excessive, to say the least.

Let’s look on the bright side: despite a 5-6 record, the team has been in every contest this year. Each of their six losses have been by eight points or less. That says a lot about a team with so many key players on IR.

It will not be easy, but the playoffs are not out of reach for the Bolts… yet. I just hope they can stay healthy for the last five games, giving them a shot to earn an invite to the postseason.

Thanks for reading!

Go Bolts!

 

Laura Leech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 25, 2016: San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid (91) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

September 25, 2016: San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid (91) returns a fumble for a touchdown during the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

News out of Chargers Park is that ANOTHER player is lost for the year due to injury.

Monday we learned it is defensive end Caraun Reid. And as has been the sickening norm for this team, it was an ACL tear to the big end’s left knee.

Reid sustained his injury in the first quarter of the Atlanta game after being hit in his lower leg as he planted his foot. Linebacker Denzel Perryman was heading for the pile and just caught Reid’s knee.

Claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions roster, the 6’2, 302-pounder (Princeton, round five of 2014 draft) has been with the Chargers for about six weeks. Filling in while Joey Bosa (2016 draft first round #3) nursed his sore hamstring, Reid has been a contributor on the defense. In 103 snaps he collected five combined tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

That notable highlight occurred in the week three game at Indianapolis. Rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown strip-sacked Andrew Luck and Reid scooped up the ball, taking it to the house 61 yards and tying the game at 13 all.

While announcing Reid’s situation, McCoy said “Caraun came in on the very first day and did an outstanding job. He’s a smart player that picked our system up in a hurry and made some big plays for us.”

If anyone is counting, including Reid, that makes TEN – yes, I said TEN – players lost to season-ending injuries. Five of those ten are to the knee and have occurred in the last seven weeks. Here’s the long and incomprehensible list:

Keenan Allen – torn right ACL, week one vs the Chiefs
Danny Woodhead – torn right ACL, week two vs the Jaguars
Jason Verrett – torn left ACL possibly sustained in the Jaguars game
Nick Dzubnar – torn right ACL, week four vs the Saints
And of course, Caraun Reid from yesterday.

Though it was not his ACL, the Bolts lost Manti Te’o to a torn left Achilles’ tendon early in the Colts game.

On top of those, what about the non-contact injuries that besieged the team before the 2016 campaign even began:

wide-out Stevie Johnson tore his meniscus in training camp
tight end Jeff Cumberland was lost to a torn Achilles’ during the pre-season game against Arizona
rookie guard Donavon Clark tore his right ACL in the Arizona contest
change of pace back Branden Oliver had his right Achilles’ snap during the Minnesota game

It is ONLY Week 7 and that list is scary!! I don’t know if there is any other NFL team playing right now that has had the upheaval to their roster that San Diego has endured. There are still nine weeks to go to the end of the season.

I shudder to think what the “football gods” have in store for this group of men and the accursed injury phenomena as time rolls by. Every time a man goes down, I cringe and pray it is just a minor hiccup and they’ll be back quickly.

Time for the CBA to be re-evaluated. Some teams don’t lose any players, some one or two. But to have TEN is like looking at an emergency room full of wheelchairs!

Sorry to see your name added to that list, Caraun Reid. Your presence on defense will be sorely missed.

Cheryl White

#IRclaimsAnother

#VoteYesonCandD

#BoltnUp

helmet3

 

After suffering their third loss of the season, another game in which the Chargers should have come out victorious, the Bolts enter their Week 5 contest against the Oakland Raiders very banged up.

But what’s new?

The team announced its practice participation report for Wednesday’s practice.

 

Did not participate:

  • SS – Jahleel Addae    Clavicle
  • LB – Nick Dzubnar    Knee
  • CB – Brandon Flowers    Concussion
  • CB – Jason Verrett    Knee (It was announced on Wednesday that he has a partially torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2016 season)

 

Limited participation:

  • OT – Joe Barksdale    Foot
  • OT – King Dunlap    Illness
  • OG – Orlando Franklin    Knee
  • TE – Antonio Gates    Hamstring
  • OT – Chris Hairston    Groin
  • ILB – Joshua Perry    Knee
  • ILB – Denzel Perryman    Shoulder

 

Full participation:

  • DL – Joey Bosa    Hamstring

 

The Good:

Well, I’ll be damned! Joey Bosa may play in his first NFL game since being drafted by the Chargers with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Though the team will remain cautious regarding the hamstring ailment that the rookie has been dealing with since signing his rookie contract, Bosa may be added to the mix as a situational pass rusher come Sunday.

Again, the team has not decided whether or not he will indeed make his NFL debut, but it is nice to see that he is getting closer to suiting up in a regular season game for the Bolts.

 

The Bad:

Both starting offensive tackles (Joe Barksdale and King Dunlap) and the team’s starting left guard (Orlando Franklin) were all limited participants on Wednesday. Joining the injury-laden linemen is swing-tackle Chris Hairston.

After using 26 different offensive line combinations during the 2015 season, the Chargers are already having to mix and match their options along the offensive front.

In addition to the offensive line, the team’s inside linebacking corps is banged up (Dzubnar, Perry and Perryman all were limited), too. When you add in the loss of Manti Te’o for the season, a once promising group has been reduced to shambles. Hopefully the shoulder injury to Perryman is not too serious, and he’ll play on Sunday at close to 100 percent.

The only positive that comes from the maladies suffered by the inside linebackers is it forces the team to get rookie backer Jatavis Brown more involved on the defensive side of the ball.

 

The Ugly:

Despite the fact that the defense was without cornerback Brandon Flowers this past Sunday, and he did not practice on Wednesday, that is not the worst news regarding the secondary this week. Stud cornerback Jason Verrett has been lost for the year due to a partially torn ACL.

Recovering from the loss of your best defensive player is never a small task.

The secondary has already been without starting strong safety Jahleel Addae, as he suffered a clavicle injury and is expected to miss more time.

As it stands right now, the cornerback group is down to Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Pierre Desir and the recently re-signed Stevie Williams; that is, of course, if Flowers struggles to pass the concussion protocol tests as we approach Sunday.

 

Just like any other year in recent memory for Chargers fans, the team has been bombarded with injuries, forcing the club to play individuals that even some Chargers fans are not familiar with the names on the backs of their jerseys.

I mean, this was supposed to be “our year,” right, guys? (Every year is supposed to be our year, as long as the team stays healthy and the coaches find a way to remove their heads from their asses…..)

The injury report leading up to this week’s game is certainly something worth keeping your eyes on, folks.

 

Dave Booga Peters

Tulloch1

There are countless past (and some present) NFL stars still floating in the abyss known as free agency. Some are available because they have outlived their usefulness. Some make too much money for their team to afford to keep them. Some are the last to know their days are over and they hold press conferences while doing shirtless sit-ups in their driveway.

One recent addition to the free agent whirlpool shouldn’t still be there.

Former Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is still in search of a new team. The Lions cut Tulloch on July 5th and almost three weeks later, he hasn’t visited another team. According to the Detroit Free Press, Tulloch had offseason arthroscopic ankle surgery and didn’t pass a physical until the day he was released.

Media reports out of Detroit and different NFL sites speculate the Lions didn’t bring Tulloch back amid concerns of his age, declining lateral quickness and inability to play in coverage.

This is also coming from a team that recently fired most of their front office and has a brand new General Manager calling the shots. One could question the decisions coming out of the front office if they didn’t consider trying to get something for him before the draft if they knew he wasn’t part of the future in Detroit.

There are too many reasons why San Diego should sign this man.

Veteran leadership: Tulloch is 5’11”, 245-pounds and turned 31 on January 1st. A ten-year veteran of the NFL, Tulloch played the first five years of his career in Tennessee before signing on with the Lions. He would be an outstanding mentor to the budding young linebacker corps in San Diego while showing them how it’s done on the field. (i.e. Dwight Freeney).

Durability: The man is beyond durable for his position. Outside of his 2014 season where he suffered a torn ACL in game three, Tulloch has not missed a single NFL game.

Productivity: Tulloch is a tackling machine. Last season, he led Detroit in tackles with 107 combined tackles (74 solo). In six of the last seven seasons, Tulloch has recorded over 100 combined tackles. In his career to date he has 942 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 27 passes defensed and five interceptions.

By comparison, no member of the current Chargers’ roster has had a 100-tackle season. The last ones to do it were Eric Weddle, Takeo Spikes and Stephen Cooper.

Fit: Tulloch would move into a rotation that at the moment lists Manti Te’o, Denzel Perryman, Joshua Perry and Nick Dzubnar as the current middle linebackers. Tulloch would form a great two-down, run-stuffing linebacker. He would form an excellent tandem with the Bolts’ free agent acquisition, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.

There’s only one logical reason this addition hasn’t happened yet. Money.

Tulloch was in the final year of a five-year, 25.5-million deal he signed in 2012. The base for Tulloch for 2016 was to be 5.5-million. The Lions paid him a 500,000 roster bonus in March. Paying him in the new league year allows them only take a 1.3-million cap hit for releasing him. The Lions free themselves of that contract and Tulloch is officially a free agent.

Any team could sign him for the veterans’ minimum. of course, he’ll want more than that but if they wanted, the Chargers could have him in lightning bolts before training camp begins on the 30th. There’s nothing wrong with competition and bringing in Tulloch would push Te’o and Dzubnar to step up their game or be replaced.

Defense wins championships. This signing would make the defense even more formidable and advance the development of the Chargers’ young nucleus even more. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

The Greg One

 

#signthisman

 

Manti8

 

The hype surrounding Manti Te’o prior to the San Diego Chargers selecting him in the 2013 draft was mountainous, to say the least. Then first-year general manager Tom Telesco moved up seven slots (from 45th to 38th) to take the former Fighting Irish linebacker.

After all, Te’o had received a plethora of awards and trophies at the end of the 2012 collegiate season: The Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Trophy (the nation’s most outstanding football player), the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and a two-time winner of The Butkus Award (once in high school and then again in 2012 with Notre Dame). There was also this one other little thing – Heisman Trophy runner-up.

Those are ALL spectacular acknowledgements. In 51 games at Notre Dame, he amassed a total of 437 tackles (212 solo/34 for loss), 12 quarterback hits, 8.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 10 pass break ups, 17 passes defensed with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Te’o has the distinction of being only the second linebacker of Polynesian descent drafted by the Bolts, the first, of course, being Junior Seau. Te’o was also the highest selected Fighting Irish linebacker drafted since Demetrius DuBose in 1993.

At this juncture in his young career, Te’o’s pro stats look like this through 35 games: 202 tackles with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He has missed 13 games due to injuries to both feet dating back to his rookie season.

Here is the list of his various ailments since entering the NFL:

August 8, 2013: Sprains his foot in a game against the Seattle Seahawks. He is seen in a walking boot two days later and ends up missing the next five games. Ultimately has surgery in the offseason to repair a bone in his right foot.

August 15, 2014:  Another preseason game versus the Seahawks has Te’o injuring his left foot. He sits out the next two weeks and is back in action for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

September 21, 2014: In the road game versus the Buffalo Bills, he injures his right foot. It’s bad news for the Bolts when it is announced that Te’o suffered a fracture. He doesn’t take the field again until after the Week 10 bye when San Diego faced the Oakland Raiders.

Te’o stayed injury-free for the remainder of the 2014 season, compiling an additional 40 tackles over the last seven games. In that stretch, he managed to get his first NFL interception in a Sunday Night game against the New England Patriots on the Chargers’ own turf. The pass was intended for Rob Gronkowski. Two weeks later, he collected the first sack of his pro career, on 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

October 12, 2015: The Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for a Monday Night matchup. Unfortunately, the guy wearing No. 50 had to leave the game for a few snaps to get his ankle taped. While he did return to the contest, and finish with seven tackles, he again is out for over a month trying to get it strong once more.

The Chargers are in a bit of a pickle here. Right now the team is loaded at linebacker with the likes of Te’o (who will be calling the defensive plays), Melvin Ingram, Jeremiah Attaochu and sophomore Denzel Perryman most likely the starters. Joining the mix are second-year men Kyle Emanuel and Nick Dzubnar; plus rookies Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown and Dexter McCoil. There is also fourth-year player Tourek Williams, who returns after a limited 2015 due to breaking his foot in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Needless to say, linebackers coach Bob Babich and defensive coordinator John Pagano are going to be putting in plenty of observation and film study over the next couple of months to determine who potentially makes the roster, moves to the practice squad or ends up being released.

Whether Manti Te’o remains a Charger for the entirety of his career remains to be seen. However, Te’o staying injury-free might solidify his spot. The Chargers have always liked him for his leadership ability, strong work ethic, perseverance and instincts. He is an extremely smart player. His only downfall has been an inability to play an entire 16-game season.

Now, I know that there are many people out there who are not fans of Te’o for whatever reason(s). No, he doesn’t always wrap up and tackle his target. Yes, sometimes he runs a bit slow. He is, however, starting to become the tackling machine that had him landing on several top-ten college recruiting lists before he began his senior year of high school.

Te’o himself said it best in a December 2014 interview with Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’ve always been one to keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding. I’m going to continue to get better because I’m going to continue to work.”

Yet the question remains, is Te’o going to be part of San Diego’s plans beyond the ’16 campaign? When all is said and done, this is a business. There is going to be stiff competition at the inside linebacker spot next month from the rookie Perry. We could very well see a repeat of Butler versus Te’o, and that might not end well for Manti. He’s been put on notice. As much as I like No. 50, I don’t think he will be sporting blue and gold come the 2017 season.

I’m pulling for him to stay with the team and pick up where he left off in 2015.

What do you think? Share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Cheryl White

#healthandhardwork

Manti8

 

Prior to the acquisition of inside linebacker Joe Mays, the Chargers had three healthy players at the position on the 53-man roster (Donald Butler, Kavell Conner and Nick Dzubnar).

Third-year backer Manti Te’o has missed two consecutive games nursing an ankle injury, opening the door for this offseason’s second-round draft pick, Denzel Perryman.

The former Hurricane had started two games in place of Te’o, only to exit Sunday’s loss with a strained pectoral muscle.

It is being said that the team is taking it day-to-day with his injury status.

Initially, it was feared to be much worse than a strain for Perryman.

Trailing only free safety Eric Weddle for the team lead in tackles, the loss of Te’o is additionally significant due to the fact that he was wearing the defense’s “communicator,” the green-dot helmet, relaying calls to his teammates.

In Te’o’s first game missed, Weddle resumed the distinction after being the only safety in the NFL to do so in 2014.

Lo and behold, Weddle would suffer a groin injury in the fourth quarter of the Chargers’ loss to the Packers and miss Week 7, forcing John Pagano’s unit to hand over the defensive signal relay to Donald Butler.

To say that the former third-round selection, Butler, has been a disappointment this year is an understatement.

Despite all of the total tackles that Manti has accumulated during his time on the field in 2015, his missed tackles and poor angles in pursuit are what is being talked about by the masses. Though he seems to be in proper position to make a play more often than not, he has struggled to wrap up and stop ball carriers in their tracks, giving up more yards after contact than any other player on the team.

With no timetable for return truly set for either Te’o or Perryman, the signing of Mays makes sense. The team needs bodies at the position, and the former Jet, Chief, Texan, Bronco and Eagle can do just that.

Mays had an opportunity to sign with the Chargers this offseason but decided to take a chance with the Jets, who cut him prior to the beginning of the 2015 regular season. The 30-year-old was unable to make it past the Jets’ final cuts.

The contract for Mays will certainly be team-friendly. But it also shows that the club might be concerned about how long Te’o and Perryman may be out.

Sitting at a 2-5 record and in last place of the AFC West division, the time to put up or shut up is officially here.

Mays may not see much time on defense, but he does have experience on special teams, which the team will need in the absence of Perryman, who has excelled in the third phase of the game as a rookie.

That injury bug should go ahead and beat the Bolts to Los Angeles, because I am sick of it chilling out and setting up shop in America’s finest city.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

Perryman2

 

San Diego Chargers fans had mixed emotions when the name of the team’s second-round draft pick (#48 overall) was announced this past May. General manager Tom Telesco had submitted the name of Miami linebacking standout Denzel Perryman. Many felt that Telesco should have exercised that choice for additional help along the D-line. It was the third consecutive draft year that TT had chosen a linebacker (Manti Te’o in 2013 at No.38 and Jerry Attaochu in 2014 at No. 50) in that round.

Post-draft via Chargers.com, here is what Telesco offered on the selection of Perryman:

“He’s an explosive, extremely instinctive inside linebacker,” said Telesco. “He plays with a lot of energy. As far as we’re concerned, and obviously it’s just one team’s opinion, as far as inside linebackers go, he has the best instincts in the draft, the best tackling, and he is the most explosive. When he hits people, they go backwards. He’s got some coverage skills too which is going to help him in this league. We’re really excited about getting him in here.”

Even during his high school years, the 5-foot-10, 240-pound Perryman had a reputation as a “thumper,” a force to be reckoned with. The former Hurricane was a tackling machine despite missing the first nine games of his sophomore year due to a high ankle sprain. He amassed 218 tackles (14.5 for loss), three sacks, three forced fumbles, broke up eight passes plus one interception return for a touchdown during his junior and senior years. Those gaudy 2013-14 numbers garnered him a nomination and finalist for the Butkus Award.

This past Sunday on the not-yet-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, we all had an opportunity to judge for ourselves the wisdom of that pick when the rookie ran out onto the field for his first career start.

Earlier in the week, San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano was asked about Perryman playing against the Packers: “It’s about trust,” he said. “It’s about us as coaches trusting him, but also him doing the things that he needs to do with the players out there on the field, that they trust him. So you just go from there. There’s going to be growing pains. All rookies end up making mistakes here and there, but if his time is called upon this week, we need him to step up. We’ll wait and see on that.”

 

Perryman1

 

There was little disappointment in his performance last Sunday. He was in on 28 snaps, led the team with eight tackles (7 solo) and forced Eddie Lacy to fumble; not easy considering the bulk of man who is the Pack’s lead running back. Subbing at inside linebacker due to a bad ankle for Te’o, the day became an awesome showcase of Perryman’s abilities and points out why his presence can no longer be ignored.

For comparison, here are what the other inside linebackers (Manti Te’o, Donald Butler, and Kavell Conner) have done in their initial starts: Te’o had three solo tackles versus Dallas on September 29, 2013. Conner (2010 Colts/7th round/#240) had five total/four solo against the Giants on September 10, 2010. And the guy that it seems everyone loves to find fault with lately, the oft-maligned Butler? His rookie season (2010) was derailed by a torn left Achilles sustained in training camp. He returned September 11, 2011 and made six tackles against Minnesota.

Still the question hangs in the air unanswered: if he plays so well, why is the 21-year-old rookie still logging time on special teams when Butler is struggling? Chargers fans may speculate about the future make-up of that unit. Perhaps the future is now, at least short-term – it looks like there may be a roster change as Te’o has not practiced all week.

I hope the young linebacker gets the nod to start in the match-up against Oakland on Sunday. His motor revs high and he doesn’t quit.

I think that challenges the rest to play better.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Cheryl White

Grant

 

Due to having only five draft picks this year, the Chargers added 20 undrafted free agents to bring their roster total to the 90-man maximum (It was 21 but the team released Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt when they signed Chase Rettig). Historically, they have had great success finding key contributors in undrafted free agent rookies. Names like Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Kris Dielman immediately stand out. You can even throw in players like Jahleel Addae and Branden Oliver. Both are younger players, but they have been key contributors in their short careers.

In part one of this two-part look at the undrafted free agents signed by the Bolts, there is a list of the 20 undrafted rookie free agents acquired by the team. The second part will highlight some of the signees that will have a good shot at making the team as a member of the practice squad or the 53-man roster.

 

• Central Michigan wide receiver Titus Davis

• Western Oregon wide receiver Tyrell Williams

• Arkansas wide receiver Demetrius Wilson

• Albany tight end Brian Parker

• Marshall tight end Eric Frohnapfel

• Ball State running back Jahwan Edwards

• West Virginia running back Dreamius Smith

• Mississippi State guard Ben Beckwith

• Cincinnati offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell

• Western Kentucky offensive tackle Cameron Clemmons

• Minnesota defensive end Cameron Botticelli

• Nevada outside linebacker Brock Hekking

• Kansas State outside linebacker Ryan Mueller

• Northwestern inside linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo

• Ohio State inside linebacker Curtis Grant

• Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo inside linebacker Nick Dzubnar

• Iowa safety Johnny Lowdermilk

• Sacred Heart safety Gordon Hill

• Boston College cornerback Manny Asprilla

• Texas A&M kicker Josh Lambo

With the roster set for the most part, all of these undrafted rookies will have their work cut out for them when it comes to seizing a spot. That being said, due to the expansion of the practice squad to 10 players, there are some legitimate opportunities to earn said spots with the Chargers.

Without breaking down each individual undrafted rookie in this portion, I am going to focus on several players that I believe will push themselves forward through the field and earn a spot in the second part of this article. Part two will be posted later today or early tomorrow.

Booga Peters

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