The San Diego Chargers have begun making roster moves and training camp isn’t set to begin until Saturday. On Friday, the Chargers waived center Trevor Robinson. Part of the carousel at the center position, Robinson had 14 starts at center over the last two seasons.
Also included in the recent mix of Chargers centers since 2013 are Chris Watt, Nick Hardwick, Doug Legursky and Rich Ohrnberger.
The free agent signing of former-Chicago Bears offensive lineman Matt Slauson is expected to stop the revolving door at center while 2016 NFL Draft third-round pick Max Tuerk is groomed to be the center of the future. Slauson is an eight-year veteran who will be looked to provide leadership and serve as a mentor to Tuerk and the young offensive linemen.
The release of Robinson frees $2.3-million in cap space.
The free roster spot was filled with the signing of offensive lineman Marcel Jones. Listed at 6’7″-inches tall and 320 pounds, Jones was a seventh-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is listed as a guard/tackle. Now entering his fourth season as a pro, Jones has been limited to playing on the practice squad for the Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Training camp is heating up and the first pass hasn’t been thrown yet. What will the Chargers do next? Are you excited for the 2016 edition of the San Diego Chargers so far? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
Let me get right to the point: Mike McCoy should be on the hot seat this year.
The 2016 campaign begins his fourth year as the Chargers’ head coach and the team has steadily gone backwards under his watch. I really thought he was the antithesis of his predecessor, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
In 2013 (his rookie year as a head coach), we saw the Chargers (barely) make the postseason with a 9-7 record. They beat Cincinnati in the Wild Card round before falling to the Broncos in the Divisional Round. Frankly, the team exceeded my expectations.
Conversely, the Bolts failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. The 2014 season saw the Chargers mimic their 9-7 record. In 2015, the wheels fell off the bus and the Bolts finished with a pathetic 4-12 record.
A lot of people have given McCoy multiple passes. The destruction of the offensive lines because of injury. Every team sustains injuries. Nick Hardwick’s injury in ’14 was devastating, but good teams overcome those injuries. Add to that the fragility of Ryan Mathews and injuries to Jason Verrett, Jeromey Clary, and a host of other offensive linemen, Philip Rivers was running for his very life. The running game was largely ignored by the predictable and unimaginative play calling of Frank Reich. Even Norv Turner had a better imagination than Reich.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that Reich was let go after the 2015 campaign where the Chargers finished 4-12. The blame doesn’t rest there.
McCoy is a terrible clock manager. Several times during his three-year tenure, he has left points on the board by failing to properly manage the clock at the end of the first half. Normally, when confronted with his failure to use timeouts (you can’t bank ’em), his response was a cliché of some babble about doing what was in the team’s best interests.
Not scoring is in a team’s best interests?
And not overruling Reich on his play calling? Draw on third-and-18, anyone?
Yeah, yeah. Philip Rivers could have called out of said stupid play selection. That’s assuming you have a personnel package you can change out of a play with.
After the 2014 season, which many consider to be a renaissance for Philip Rivers, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was hired away from the Chargers to be the Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans. Guess what, kids? The Whiz is back as the Chargers OC, so I look for improvement in many facets of the Bolts’ game. I also take this as a sign from heaven. McCoys days are numbered. Why else would they bring Whiz back after being dealt the short straw in Nashville?
If the Chargers falter, if McCoy continues his, dare I say, Belichickian arrogance and cliché-ridden, no-answer answers with the media, they have his replacement waiting in the wings. Mike McCoy should be feeling the heat this year. The last thing the Chargers need is a crappy team while they’re trying to rally support for a downtown stadium.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments!
San Diego Chargers fans should welcome the signing of former Bears’ offensive lineman Matt Slauson.
The offensive line has been more down than up the last couple of years. In 2015, San Diego was the only team in the league to start five different players at the center spot. Last year may have only seen three but the changes may have been just one part of why Melvin Gordon did not perform well his rookie year of professional football.
Signing Slauson provides the current group with another veteran presence in the ranks. Having played in a similar offensive scheme as part of the Chicago Bears, Slauson could easily become the man snapping the ball to Philip Rivers come September. That serves a dual purpose: he will be a tremendous help to Rivers as he may feel less pressure to direct his linemen as has been the case of late, and it also gives rookie Max Tuerk time to fully rehab his knee from last October’s knee injury.
Slauson is a big, tough monster and having him in the trenches will provide one element along the offensive line that has been missing since Nick Hardwick retired: nastiness. He also brings leadership, versatility and durability with a locker room presence that may have also waned in Hardwick’s absence. A fierce competitor, he is also good with both run and pass blocking, another area of gameplay that San Diego had to address.
One of his best games came on October 4, 2015. Bears’ starter Will Montgomery snapped his fibula during the game against the Oakland Raiders, Slauson stepped up. Mind you, prior to that he had participated in limited reps at the center position throughout all of the team activities (OTA’s, minicamp and preseason).
It was just officially announced that Slauson has signed a two-year deal with the Bolts, though terms were not made available.
Dave DeGuglielmo, just signed in January as the Chargers’ assistant offensive line coach, was Slauson’s line coach when both were with the New York Jets in 2012. That relationship may have been one of the deciding factors for Slauson to sign here. Continuity and familiarity go a long way toward success.
Now that Slauson is on board, be prepared to see change on the field and in the lineup. Possible players who may be affected are third-year man Chris Watt and fifth-year veteran Trevor Robinson. Both took turns at center and could be relegated to just positional depth. Were Robinson to be released, it would be a $75,000 hit against the cap.
I am happy to see that GM Tom Telesco is continuing to add depth along the line by creating competition scenarios ahead of minicamp. Who stays and who goes may be figured out before then, but right now I’m feeling pretty good about the continued activity post-draft.
Thanks for reading!
It’s officially here.
The 2015-2016 NFL season will officially be over. Today, hope springs eternal once again. The new league year has begun and free agents are fair game to every team in the league.
The weeks leading up to free agency are filled with teams jockeying to free up enough money to fill gaps in their roster. Experienced veterans will be cut not because they are not producing but because they make too much money. Decisions on franchise and transition tags will be made and trade possibilities will be discussed.
To that end, a story that sent shockwaves through the league just a week ago can greatly change the fortunes of the downtrodden San Diego Chargers.
Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack voided the last three years of his contract, making him a free agent. Mack is a little known name to the casual NFL fan but his name undoubtedly got General Managers around the league drooling like Pavlov’s dogs.
For the uninitiated, here’s all you need to know about Alex Mack:
Standing at 6’4″, 311 lbs., Mack is a seven-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl in two of the last three seasons. He is considered the best center in the NFL, and is set to sign the biggest contract for a center in the NFL with whomever he decided to play for next season.
Mack is 30 and has made the Pro Bowl in three of his seven seasons (2010, ’13, 15). The only reason he didn’t make it in 2014 was due to a broken leg he suffered five games into the season. Until the injury, Mack has not missed a single game at center. He returned to his Pro Bowl form immediately upon returning last season and is set to be an annual participant for the duration of his career.
San Diego needs to make Mack their top priority. The offensive line has been a major downfall for the team for many seasons. Signing a time-tested All-Pro veteran like Mack will be huge in solidifying the turnstile on the offensive line. The Chargers have not had a great center since Nick Hardwick retired in 2014. The position has been unstable with Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson sharing the duties since then. The two are servicable centers but neither are the long term answer.
This is the time for the San Diego front office to show their commitment to winning after a miserable 2015 campaign and the whole stadium fiasco on the shelf at least for this year. The window on Rivers’ career is closing. Keeping him upright by adding championship-caliber players will produce a championship-caliber team.
Teams are now able to start contacting the agents of free agents to make deals. Bolts GM Tom Telesco should have Macks’ agent on speed dial with offers from the word go. It will take the largest contract the Chargers have given to a non-quarterback in a long while, but you get what you pay for. Quality.
The Greg One
The problems the Chargers have on offense reach well beyond a banged-up offensive line. Granted, Philip Rivers deserves to be anointed for sainthood having to play behind such a hot mess.
Let’s be real, kids. The offense is a complete mess and here’s why:
• Tom Telesco drafts kids who do not fit in this offensive “scheme”.
• Mike McCoy and Frank Reich refuse to change their “scheme” to fit the personnel Tom Telesco has given them.
• Frank Reich is clueless and predictable at the same time.
The first and second points go hand in hand. I give you Melvin Gordon as case in point. Melvin is a 21 or 22 personnel grouping back. This means two running backs, a tight end and two wide receivers (21 personnel) or two RBS, two TEs and a WR (22 personnel). He is not, nor ever has been, a spread formation back. He ran primarily out of 21, 22 or 12 personnel groupings (single setback two TEs on the line, not in pass formation). Sure, Melvin ran effectively out of other personnel groupings, but his strength is as an I-formation back.
When you move up in the draft to get the player you covet, you don’t make him fit your scheme. You adjust your scheme to his skill set. The Chargers don’t even possess a legitimate fullback on the roster. The closest thing to a fullback they have is tight end David Johnson. The last real fullback this team had was Lorenzo Neal. Once AJ Smith and Norv Turner kicked him to the curb, the fullback position has been an afterthought and the running game began its decline.
Gordon’s lack of production isn’t his fault alone. He doesn’t fit the scheme, rather the scheme doesn’t fit him. Blocking has been horrific, that’s on personnel and coaching. Injuries to D.J. Fluker, Orlando Franklin, King Dunlap and others hasn’t helped. Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris has to do a better job coaching up this line. Chris Watt gets destroyed on a regular basis at center. Move him to guard and he gets pushed back into Rivers’ face.
Make no mistake, the 2015 Chargers’ offensive front will never be mistaken for Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick, Mike Goff and Shane Olivea. They just aren’t that good overall. I like the Orlando Franklin acquisition, but he’s hurt. Dunlap is solid and his return will help Rivers sleep a little easier. Moving Fluker inside was a positive and, by far, an upgrade over Johnnie Troutman. Barksdale at right tackle is an upgrade over Fluker playing the position. I said it before, but it bears repeating: Watt is horrible. Telesco and McCoy have failed miserably to assemble a line that is worth its salt.
Apparently, Dean Spanos needs to hire Bill Polian so that Telesco can be good again. He’s looking like the classic example of the master making the apprentice look better and smarter than he really is.
Nobody will ever mistake Frank Reich for Ken Wisenhunt — or even Cam Cameron. His idea of attempting to run the ball is give it to Melvin from the shotgun, up the gut behind the aforementioned Watt and the one-legged Fluker. In D.J.’s defense, on one leg he’s still better than Troutman. That run nets two yards, so it’s back to pass, pass, pass behind an O-line that can’t protect a ham sandwich, let alone an immobile Rivers.
I realize this is a pass-first league. To that, I say “so what?”
Newsflash, Frankie-boy, this line is not your Buffalo K-Gun line. This line couldn’t pass protect against a pee wee football team! You and Mike McNorv talk about balance, so do it! Don’t continue to be an idiot. All that will do is get you charged with murder when Philip finally can’t get up after being hit while trying to throw the ball.
There are a lot of candidates for the Chargers to have a breakout season. Narrowing it down to just five guys is a very tough project. But here are my choices for the five that will most likely breakout.
Quick note: I am not putting Ingram in this, although I do believe he will breakout. I wrote about that separately. You can read it here.
5.) Center, Chris Watt
Chris Watt has been selected by the Chargers’ coaching staff to be the heir apparent to Nick Hardwick. He played in a few games there last season (as did 4 other centers) before ending his season with an injury. From all the reports I have read, it seems like the former Notre Dame guard is picking up the center position very quickly and looks to be a very solid replacement.
4.) Nose Tackle, Ryan Carrethers
Ryan Carrethers, a fifth-round draft selection in 2014, is a very big and athletic nose tackle. He was starting to understand the pro game last season, coming into his own before his season ended with a dislocated elbow in the week 11 game versus the Raiders. I think he eventually takes over the starting NT job from Sean Lissemore, and has a very nice impact on stopping the run on defense.
3.) Inside linebacker, Manti Te’o
With the addition of linebackers coach Mike Nolan, you could really add any LB here. I went with Te’o because he seemed to improve his played late during the 2014 campaign. He was having a really nice year last year after coming back off a foot injury. If he can stay healthy this season, expect him to continue to hone his skills and become a solid force for years to come.
2.) Wide Receiver, Stevie Johnson
Stevie Johnson had really fallen off the map after his three best seasons in Buffalo. Those strong years were followed by two sub-par seasons; one with Buffalo, and one with San Francisco. Stevie Johnson signed a three-year deal with San Diego in the offseason. Philip Rivers and Johnson have built a strong rapport in the few months they have been working together. Look for a huge season from SJ11.
1.) Cornerback, Jason Verrett
Jason Verrett is going to have a monster season….. if he stays healthy. He has all the ability and talent to become a legitimate No. 1, lockdown cornerback. The one big flaw to his game is he needs to cut down on the big hits and keep himself healthy, a thing that has hurt him his senior year at TCU and his rookie season in the NFL. I do think Verrett has learned from his past injuries and now will focus on staying healthy. He will have the biggest impact on this Chargers team in 2015. He will lead a unit that comes in with big expectations (from me), and I believe they will live up to those.
Honorable mentions: LB Donald Butler, OLB Kyle Emanuel, S Jahleel Addae, WR Keenan Allen
Who do you think will breakout this season? Let me know below!
With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.
Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.
Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.
Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.
Rd Player Position College
1 D.J. Fluker OL Alabama
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)
Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.
2 Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)
Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.
3 Keenan Allan WR California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)
Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.
5 Steve Williams DB California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)
Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.
6 Tourek Williams DE Florida International
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.
7 Brad Sorenson QB Southern Utah
Still on Team: Yes (PS) Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.
Rd Player Position College
1 Jason Verrett DB TCU
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)
Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.
2 Jeremiah Attaochu LB Georgia Tech
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)
Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.
3 Chris Watt OL Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.
5 Ryan Carrethers DT Arkansas State
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.
6 Marion Grice RB Arizona State
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.
7 Tevin Reese WR Baylor
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.
So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.
How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.
After Tom Telesco was brought in as the new general manager in 2013, one of his priorities was to improve the offensive line. That year he drafted right tackle, D.J. Fluker out of Alabama. Although it partially aided the right side, the addition wasn’t enough.
In 2014, injuries plagued the offensive unit into oblivion. Philip Rivers went without veteran center and longtime teammate, Nick Hardwick, after he spent almost the entire season on injured reserve. By the end of the year, Rivers was on his fifth center. According to Pro Football Focus, San Diego ranked 27th in pass blocking, and 26th in run blocking at the end of last season. If things are going to change in 2015, Telesco needs to make ascendant transactions.
As the team made its way into the offseason, Bolt fans questioned how the Chargers will find the talent needed to fix the offensive line. Telesco started off by re-signing left tackle, King Dunlap, this year’s respectively best free agent in his position. Shortly after locking up Rivers’ stud blocker, the young general made great strides by signing former Denver Bronco’s guard, Orlando Franklin to the roster. In addition to securing Dunlap and Franklin, Telesco also re-signed center Trevor Robinson. These transactions alone have brought the Chargers’ very mediocre line to a contending unit.
So, have the Bolts done enough to fix the offensive line? The answer is almost. According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Tom Telesco stated that Johnnie Troutman, as of right now, is the team’s starting right guard. Considering Troutman has been far from impressive, that’s extremely alarming. WalterFootball.com reported that Johnnie Troutman and Chad Reinhart were the worst guard duo in the league in 2014. Franklin replaces Rinehart, but that still leaves a frightening breach at right guard.
There has been a lot of talk about shifting Fluker from tackle to guard this offseason. He has no experience in the position. Not in high school, and not in college. Yet, let’s say he is moved, it still leaves a gap in the tackle position. A potentially effective way to address the matter would be to swing Fluker to the inside, and find a tackle in this year’s draft. Even though San Diego needs a running back after the departure of Ryan Mathews, this year’s draft class is loaded with talented running backs. It’s not an outrageous option to think about taking a offensive lineman like Ereck Flowers in the first round.
A solid offensive line has proven fruitful for some clubs in the NFL. Since 2011, the Dallas Cowboys have drafted three offensive linemen in the first-round: Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. The other two, Ronald Leary and Doug Free, were undrafted free agents. Last season, the Cowboys finished with the 4th best pass blocking, and the 2nd best run blocking in the league. If the Chargers want those type of results, it would have to be from following Dallas’ blueprint.
As of today, the line lists as follows: LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG Johnnie Troutman, and RT D.J. Fluker. Not bad, but not stellar. If the Bolts plan to contend for a playoff appearance in 2015, they will need a comprehensive offensive line. An upgraded line will upsurge Rivers’ productivity, plus adding some life to the lackluster run game. With less than five weeks left until the 2015 NFL Draft, fans will have to continue to wait and see what the Chargers organization plan to do with their six picks.
Should the Chargers draft a offensive lineman in the first round? Vote your opinion below:
Alright, Chargers fans, everyone take a deep breath, in through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. Now, repeat those steps as many times as it takes to get you to a relaxed state. That exercise will do you, and all of us who read your social media rants a lot of good.
Yes, I’m talking to those Chargers fans that after four days of free agency have already lit their torches, sharpened their pitchforks, and began the trek to Chargers Park and Tom Telesco’s (TT) office. Take a breath, people! Let the man do his job. Let’s be honest. If you or I know more about running a professional football franchise than the team’s General Manager (GM), the team is in worse trouble than we knew!
I read all the complaints about how TT is letting Bolt fans down and he is not going after top-notch players. If these fans had their way, Telesco would have signed DeMarco Murray, Ndamukong Suh, Dwayne Bowe, Terrance Knighton, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Darrelle Revis, and so on down the line of big names to contracts that would still have left us room under the cap! Well here are a couple simple facts for all fans to remember:
- There is a salary cap in the NFL. Teams can only spend up to the cap, whether they have more needs or not. If you spend a large chunk of your cap space on one player, you may not be able to fill other holes that you have. I’m sorry, but the Chargers have many holes to fill.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Okay, that is a little cliché, but it fits. Tom Telesco and the Chargers staff have been trying to dig out of the hole that former GM A.J. Smith left them in ever since they took over a couple years ago. The team was a mess. There were some key guys to build around, for example, Rivers, Gates, Weddle, and Hardwick, but not very many quality supporting players. Telesco has brought in some quality players via the draft, trades, and free agency, but it takes time to build a football team from (almost) scratch.
On the flipside, I understand that we live in a win now, must win society. No one likes to go to work on Monday morning and hear about how their team lost, or didn’t make the playoffs. There is nothing worse than listening to your co-worker brag about how his team has three rings and your team has none (you know who I’m referring too). So, you are mad as hell and you aren’t going to take it anymore? Well, unless you are going to jump on another team’s bandwagon, you don’t have much choice.
Now, every year we run into this kind of drama, but this year seems to be worse than normal. Why do Bolt fans seem so desperate? I have two reasons for their panic:
- The new stadium. Let’s face it; this could be the last season for the San Diego Chargers. Fans want to see their team win a championship for their city, not Los Angeles or Carson, or anywhere else. How did Los Angeles Rams fans feel when the Rams took off to St. Louis and then almost immediately win a ring? That had to sting. No one wants that in San Diego. Not to mention, if the Chargers could win the Super Bowl this season, the odds on obtaining the necessary votes to build a new stadium would greatly increase.
- The Padres. This may be a little more of a stretch, but perhaps watching the Padres spend money and seemingly sign whomever they wanted in the offseason got the emotional Bolt fan worked up. “Why can’t we sign guys like the Padres did?” Well I’ll tell you why; because of the salary cap. A.J. Preller, the GM of the Padres, was given permission to spend and spend a lot. He worked his magic and brought more talent at one time than any San Diego franchise has ever been able to bring in. But let’s face it; the Chargers do not have the ability to spend as much as they want on players. They are limited by rules that do not apply in Major League Baseball.
So do yourself a favor and sit back, relax and enjoy the process. Don’t expect more than is possible to deliver. Tom Telesco is trying to build an entire team. Remember, it takes two to Tango. You may have heard that he was the highest bidder to court Andre Johnson and Johnson decided to take less money to play in Indy. That is not Telesco’s fault. These things happen and he has to move on to the next guy on the wish list.
One last thing to remember, when building a team, the GM has free agency, the draft, and camp signings that are often after week 3 of preseason. The team you see today is not the finished product. Give Telesco a chance to prove he knows more than we do. Keep the faith! Go Bolts!
So how do you feel about the job Tom Telesco is doing so far? Is there any certain player you want him to sign? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.
Wow, what a shot in the arm the San Diego Chargers and offensive line just received!
The signing of Orlando Franklin, scooped up from the Denver Broncos, is the second free agent pick up by Tom Telesco in less than a week. Obviously, changes needed to be made to the offensive line after the debacle in the 2014 season.
The biggest upside to having Franklin on board is the additional protection that he will provide for Philip Rivers. Franklin stands at 6’7 and weighs 320 pounds. Should he start at left guard alongside King Dunlap (6’9, 330 pounds), the veteran quarterback ought to have plenty of time to pass the ball to his receivers. In 2012, Franklin allowed the fewest sacks (3.5) in the NFL among starting tackles in all 16 regular games. Additionally, his presence gives the Chargers another body that can be plugged in anywhere on the line. He can also run-block, which is another area that needed to be addressed.
The newest Charger began his career at right tackle, under then offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He’s only missed one game since he was drafted in 2011. There will be some nastiness to the offensive line that has been missing when Nick Hardwick was placed on injured reserve last season.
Here are the offensive line statistics for the Chargers, under McCoy (2013/2014) and the previous coach’s last year with the team (2012):
2014: points (17); yards (18); first downs (15); net yards/pass (8); rushing yards (30); yards per carry (31)*
2013: points (12); yards (5); first downs (3); net yards/pass (2); rushing yards (13); yards per carry (21)
2012: points (20); yards(31)( first downs (23); net yards/pass (19); rushing yards (27); yards per carry (31)*
* second time in three years that San Diego has finished the season almost dead last in yards per carry
Franklin stated his reasons for choosing the Chargers rather than the Jets, who offered him more money, “I know Mike, I know the Chargers”, and “…San Diego is beautiful. This deal, it’s a dream come true”. Lastly, he stated the importance of wearing the no.74 jersey: “My number is important to me. I’ve worn 74 for the last 10 years (Jets player Nick Mangold has worn that number for 10 years)”. One other tidbit, Franklin and Brandon Flowers went to the same high school, Atlantic Community High School in Del Ray Beach, Florida.
I can’t speak for everyone out there in San Diego, but I’m personally stoked. Tom Telesco is making great strides by addressing the offensive line. I am even happier that Orlando Franklin joins the Chargers from division rival the Denver Broncos!