Roger Staubach once said, “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry.”
General Manager Tom Telesco drafted rookies and signed veterans in free agency who have ties to each other. If he did not do this on purpose, then he got very lucky. Players who already have chemistry might be the best thing Telesco has done in the offseason.
The Chargers drafted Joey Bosa of Ohio State with the 3rd overall pick of the draft. As the NFL world was discussing this shocking pick, the Chargers drafted Joshua Perry with the 102nd overall pick. Perry, a 6-foot-4, 254-pound linebacker, was also a Buckeye. Bosa and Perry already have chemistry from playing defense together at Ohio State. This should help them both transition into the Chargers’ defense.
During free agency, the Chargers signed wide receiver Travis Benjamin from the Cleveland Browns. With the 175th overall pick, the Chargers drafted OLB Jatavis Brown from Akron. This pick will not only boost the Chargers’ defense, but also reunite childhood neighbors. Although Benjamin is four years older than Brown, they knew each other because they lived only two houses away from each other in Belle Glade, Florida. Not surprisingly, Brown looked up to Benjamin and he became his idol. Benjamin, in turn, had followed Brown’s high school and college career, becoming one of his biggest cheerleaders. The 2016 Chargers’ offseason brought these two together to play on the same team and they couldn’t be happier about it. This is chemistry that is rarely found in the NFL.
Last year, the Chargers shocked the fans by letting kicker Nick Novak go, replacing him with undrafted rookie Josh Lambo from Texas A&M. This year, the Chargers shook up the special teams again with the release of punter Mike Scifres.
Scifres will go down as the best punter in Chargers’ history! The replacement for Scifres, Drew Kaser, was drafted with the 179th overall pick. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound punter also played for Texas A&M. Kaser will have big shoes to fill, much like Lambo did last year. Lambo, already having a relationship with Kaser, will be able to help him get acclimated to the NFL during his rookie year, as Lambo can share his experience being the new guy replacing the “really good old” guy!
Last year’s first-round pick, Melvin Gordon, had a less than stellar rookie year. Gordon never reached the endzone and was benched a couple of times after multiple fumbles. Many would argue that Gordon would play better during his rookie campaign, and much like he did in college, with the addition of a fullback. Not only did the Chargers draft a fullback, but they drafted Gordon’s fullback from the University of Wisconsin. With the 198th overall selection, the Bolts selected 6-foot-2, 236-pound fullback Derek Watt. This will be the best pick regarding “chemistry” of the 2016 draft. Watt, although a rookie, will bring motivation to Gordon, who is probably still feeling defeated following the 2015 season. Gordon is a workhorse and will do whatever it takes to have a better season. Having Watt as his fullback will lessen some of the load. This fullback-running-back combo is one to watch this season.
Staubach was right about consistency and chemistry being the ingredients to building a great team. Consistency, though, is the key to achieving that chemistry on a team.
The Chargers have added some new unique chemistry via free agency and the draft. The football gods just need to show the Bolts some mercy and allow the team to have a season without the plethora of constant injuries.
Telesco is a smart man. These ties to other players do not seem to be a coincidence. He definitely thought about the impact of having players that already have some chemistry to help individual transition into the NFL.
Let’s hope this science experience, of sorts, helps turn around the 2015 4-12 team in the 2016 season.
As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:
His Draft Classes
***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.
2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson
DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6
Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5
Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9
Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3
Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1
Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0
2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese
Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8
Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5
Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3
Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5
Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0
Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0
2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon
Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2
Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7
Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3
Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4
Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3
Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F
His free agent signings (major ones only)
***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers
2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips
Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9
King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8
Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2
Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4
John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4
2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes
Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3
Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8
Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6
David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3
2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson
Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0
Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3
Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6
Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7
Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2
Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F
His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)
2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown
Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8
Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7
2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall
Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0
Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6
Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3
Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3
2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers
King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4
Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2
Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F
Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F
Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.
We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.
Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!
In what was a surprising move to many fans and media pundits, the Chargers released kicker Nick Novak in favor of undrafted free agent Josh Lambo.
What a web they weave.
Despite Novak being the second-most accurate kicker in Chargers’ history, he has been replaced by an unproven rookie that has yet to kick in a game that matters.
What does this mean for the Chargers?
From the looks of things, the team fell in love with Lambo’s ability to crush the ball on kickoffs. His ability to make clutch kicks in the Arizona game certainly helped his case.
Novak was Mr. Consistency with the Bolts, making 74 of 83 field-goal attempts; good for a mark of 89.2 percent. Novak also connected on all 115 extra-point attempts with the Bolts.
So why did Lambo win the job?
Confidence and a long leg.
Lambo has shown during the offseason and preseason that he has the leg to drive kicks with optimal power. The majority of his kickoffs during the offseason have been deep into the end zone. His clutch kicks under pressure, apparently, showed the organization that he was the man for the job.
Yes, I am surprised by the release of Novak. I am not alone in that thinking.
Gambling on Josh Lambo will be a point of contention among fans for the upcoming season. Novak is a fan favorite.
Will the gamble pay off?
Only time will tell.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The end of the 2015 NFL Draft saw general manager Tom Telesco pick up an undrafted kicker in Josh Lambo. Current placekicker Nick Novak re-signed with the team in 2013 on a four-year, $6.6 million deal. Yet, I wondered, why a kicker?
We all know that Novak is one of the top players at his position. The only place it appears his game is lacking is on kickoffs. So then I decided to do some quick research on kickers and/or touchback specialists who are close to Novak in age and entered the league around the same time.
Here is what I found:
Novak, 34, has four place-kicking rivals, and they are all great at what they do. Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears, age 33), Shaun Suisham (Pittsburgh Steelers, age 34) and Mike Nugent (Cincinnati Bengals, age 33) are from the 2005 draft class. Rounding out the list is Josh Scobee (Jacksonville, age 32). Only two were drafted – Scobee in the fifth round of 2004 and Nugent was chosen in the second round of the ’05 class. As of right now, Gould and Suisham are among the most accurate top-20 kickers on a list that also has six other active individuals in a minimum of five years. Mike Vanderjagt is the number one all-time, and former-Charger Nate Kaeding appears as the third. Kaeding and Gould could generally be found in the top-three during the regular season in terms of accuracy.
Looking at field goals, Novak is 120/147 and 81.6%. Gould: 243/284/85.5%; Suisham: 231/275/84%; Nugent: 190/235/80.8. Scobee (80.7%) has made the most attempts with 291, but has missed 56 of them.
When it comes to touchbacks, though, the competition is clearly different. For 2014, Nugent and Scobee both had 37; Suisham 32; Gould 21 (through 12 games) and Novak only had 10. In 2013, they were well ahead of him by 18, almost 2 to 1. While in 2012, they were all about the same and only Gould was over 30.
One other comparison I looked at was there were eight placekickers added after the 2015 draft. Four of those actually went on to sign with an NFL team: Justin Manton (rated number one) to the Baltimore Ravens, Kyle Brindzia (108 career touchbacks and who broke John Carney’s single-season scoring record at Notre Dame) with the Detroit Lions, Ty Long chosen by the Washington Redskins, and Lambo.
So let’s get back to that guy that Telesco signed as an undrafted free agent..
Lambo is 24 years old, 6’0″ and 220 pounds. He was a walk-on at Texas A & M, playing just two years for the Aggies. During his tenure there, he was their most accurate kicker going 111/112 extra points and 21/25 field goals, giving him a career field goal percentage of 84% (a new record for Texas A & M). In 2014, he nailed all 59 of his field goal attempts. However, Lambo’s kicking duties were strictly extra point/field goal attempts, as he only kicked off twice.
While at the Combine, Lambo was 11 of 15 on field goals and showed great distance and hang time. He can be become a dangerous kicker from 40+ yards at the NFL level. The fact that he is a former MLS goalkeeper (FC Dallas from 2008-2011), as well as former US Under 17 and Under 20 soccer player with what sounds like a big leg, might be why he caught Telesco’s eye. Or, he could just be a camp body.
Time will tell.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles had one kicker for kickoffs and another for field goals. It’s not likely that the Chargers go that route. I believe, overall, they are happy with Novak’s performance. Lambo has looked impressive on kickoffs during training camp and in the team’s first preseason contest. But can Lambo’s strong leg force the Chargers to carry two kickers on the 53-man roster?
What are your thoughts on this choice of Telesco’s? Please share your them below.
Thanks for reading and Bolt Up!!
The San Diego Chargers played their first preseason game Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys. In front of their home crowd the bolts won the contest 17-7. As we all know, the score is immaterial. The important thing is how did the team look? There are a lot of players fighting for a roster spot. Who is giving maximum effort and who is not? How big is the talent differential when the second and third units come in compared to the unit before them? These are the key things to watch in a preseason game. Here are my takeaways from the first game.
Preseason or not, it was great to see that it didn’t take long before the team got their first takeaway. The first team defense recovered a snap that went over the head of Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden. Donald Butler crashed the backfield and eliminated the quarterback from the play, kicking the ball upfield in the process. The ball was then recovered by an offseason acquisition, cornerback Patrick Robinson. The Chargers would force and recover a second fumble in the half. The Chargers only had 18 takeaways all last season. That stat needs to improve if they’re going to be a serious playoff contender.
The running game looked sharp. Last season the running game was out-of-sync all season with the exception of the emergence of Branden Oliver. After Danny Woodhead went down in week three and Mathews resumed his usual spot at the trainer’s table the Chargers running game died. Woodhead looked great in his return from a broken leg, rushing for an eight-yard touchdown on his first carry. Oliver also ran with power and Barry Sanders-like shiftiness, posting 53 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. Melvin Gordon gained 11 yards on six carries. He will gain more carries and confidence now that the first game jitters are out of the way. We all expect Gordon to be in contention for Rookie of the Year at season’s end but let’s temper our expectations. With rookies come growing pains.
The special teams looked better than they have in previous seasons. Undrafted kicker Josh Lambo provided a welcome sight in sending kickoffs through the end zone. Kicker Nick Novak booted a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that looked like it would have been good from another ten yards back. Punter Mike Scifres looked like his old self after finishing last season on injured reserve with a broken collarbone. Scifres’ first punt pinned the Cowboys inside their own five yard line. Reserve cornerback Chris Davis had a couple exciting kick returns and Javontee Herndon looked great finding holes on punt returns. Paired with Jacoby Jones, this may be the best group of returners the Chargers have had in a long while.
The first team defense showed the ability to get a good pass rush against what is considered to be the best offensive line in the league. Second round draft pick Denzel Perryman showed his nose for the ball with five tackles, a pass defensed and got close on a couple of potential sacks. Manti Te’o disrupted plays. Fifth round draft pick Kyle Emanuel had a great showing with three solo tackles including a sack and tackle for loss. It was also good to see nose tackle Ryan Carrethers finally off the injured reserve list and on the field. Carrethers was double-teamed on every snap he played and still managed to get two tackles.
As always, there are things to work on. The run defense, while only allowing 70 yards on the night could have had an even better output were it not for a lot of missed tackles. On the Cowboys lone score, running back Gus Johnson dragged several Chargers defenders into the end zone for the score.
Special teams did a good job in containment but there were also some tackles left on the field that could have put the Cowboys deep into their own territory. Tackling is an ailment that is usual during the first preseason games because there isn’t much tackling going on in training camp. Expect the tackling to improve as these exhibition games pass.
The biggest downside were the injuries. Offensive lineman Johnnie Troutman worked hard to get on the field after a leg injury only to break his arm during the game. Outside linebacker Tourek Williams was having a great game pressuring the quarterback and running down ball carriers until he broke his foot in the third quarter. Williams underwent surgery on Friday and the timetable on his return is unknown at the moment. While the two weren’t starters they are key depth positions.
All in all, it’s the preseason. There will be plenty of game tape with enough mistakes that there will be no shortage of things to work on this week. San Diego should feel confident in the collection of players on their sideline. This is a team fans should feel proud to come out and support. This is a team (if they can stay healthy) that can overtake the Broncos for the AFC West title. If this is their last season in the 619 area code, they will be going out with a bang.
What did you think of the season opener? Post your comments below.
The Greg One
Well, I think it has finally sunk in that what we all watched on Saturday actually happened. After being down by 21 points twice, and giving up 355 yards rushing, the Chargers did indeed leave San Francisco with a win over the 49ers.
Their hopes for the playoffs were kept alive and they now control their own destiny in the week 17 contest at Kansas City against the Chiefs.
But back to the game at Levi’s stadium.
In game that had a ridiculous amount of lows, the highs proved to be the deciding factor this past Saturday. For the fans that were ready to give up, I can’t really say I blame you. There were so many moments where it appeared as though the game would end in a loss for the Bolts.
After the game both, Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers stated the obvious that the first half was about as bad as it gets.
Going into the second half down 28-7, the Chargers were able to score two unanswered touchdowns. And then came another one of the lows. As Colin Kaepernick dropped back, he saw a running lane from the pocket. That running lane would lead him 90 yards down the field for a touchdown. Both Kaepernick and Frank Gore ran all over the San Diego defense.
Philip Rivers, as everyone knows, is playing with a bulging disc in his back. Not a bulging…. nevermind. Despite 3 interceptions on the night, he managed to tough it out, play through the pain and finished with four passing touchdowns; two of which were to his favorite target, Antonio Gates. There is no doubting the toughness of Rivers. The concern was whether the line could keep him upright due to another game with moving pieces in front of the man who rocks the bolo tie.
Chris Watt, rookie guard that has been forced to the center position due to injuries, went down in the game and in comes free agent pickup Trevor Robinson. He would mark the 5th center in 2014 that Rivers would play with this season. As if that wasn’t enough, Johnnie Troutman gets hurt and in comes undrafted free agent rookie Jeremiah Sirles. He is the third player to man the right guard position this year. Sirles actually played pretty darn well.
Danny Woodhead was placed on injured reserve in the week 2 victory over Buffalo. The running back ahead of him on the depth chart, Ryan Mathews, has missed significant time this year and neither played versus the 9ers. The theme of ‘Next Man up’ in 2014 is getting put to the test, to say the least. The reserve Charger ball carriers, Branden Oliver, Ronnie Brown and Donald Brown, managed to grind out 98 yards rushing as a group. This softened up the defense enough to where Rivers was able to atone for a poor first half and finish the day 356 yards passing.
After fighting through an ankle injury and broken collarbone against Denver, Keenan Allen expectedly missed the San Francisco game. As mentioned above, two of Philip’s touchdown strikes were to Gates. But Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd accounted for the other two scores. Royal came up huge with 10 receptions for 94 yards including a phenomenal catch on fourth down to keep the drive alive late in the fourth quarter. Floyd — 4 catches for 50 yards –had the game-tying score that would take the game into overtime. Talk about two receivers stepping up in the absence of Allen.
As Nick Novak kicked the game-winning field goal, the euphoria that initially started as lost hope and a sea of emotions took over. We were at La Bella’s in Chula Vista with a group of about 100 Charger fans. As I’m sure it did every single place where fans were watching the game, the room erupted and stayed loud for quite some time.
It goes without saying that this year’s Chargers have faced a ton of adversity. Though the injuries have piled up to insane numbers, they have found a way to get it done and now they control their own destiny when they travel to Arrowhead stadium.
This is all a team and NFL organization can hope for when going into a season. Earn a chance at the playoffs and then see what happens once you get there.
The journey continues this Sunday because of the collective effort of men that refused to give up last week despite all of the odds.
“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” – Seneca
Thanks a lot for reading.
Una noche triste para la escuadra relámpago, ya que la “época más feliz del año” no inicia bien para ellos, con un mal resultado contra los Patriotas de New England. Después de un juego extraordinario contra Baltimore, este juego se caracterizó, entre muchas cosas, por una línea ofensiva deficiente, una línea defensiva que trató de quitar puntos, y una unidad de equipos especiales que sufrió una pérdida muy fuerte. A pesar de que había de esperanzas de una victoria en la primera mitad, los Chargers no pudieron resistir a la escuadra de Tom Brady, y sufrieron un juego perdido, 23-14.
Retomando un poco de datos (como en cada partido):
No Se Puede Culpar, Completamente, a Philip Rivers
Un quarterback no puede hacer su trabajo bien si la línea ofensiva no lo protege. Se debe aclarar eso. La línea ofensiva se veía descontrolada, dando la oportunidad a la defensa de los Patriotas para poder saquear al capitán, lo cual ocurrió en 4 ocasiones. Sin embargo, Rivers no tuvo un buen día, en general, con 189 yardas, 20 intentos completados de 33, 1 touchdown y 1 intercepción. Hubo un par de momentos célebres para los Chargers, como la espectacular atrapada de Malcolm Floyd, resultando en el primer touchdown de la noche (Y cabe mencionar que fue la atrapada #1 en el ranking de las mejores atrapadas de la semana, según NFL.com) .
La Defensiva Hizo Un Buen Papel
Le tengo que dar un aplauso a la defensiva, porque hicieron bien su trabajo. Se vio una unión estable y consistencia durante la mayoría del encuentro, y vimos unas participaciones espectaculares de Jahleel Addae, quien forzó un fumble, recuperado por Darrell Stuckey quien lo llevó hasta la zona de touchdown para sumarle 6 puntos más a la escuadra relámpago. Podemos mencionar además a Melvin Ingram quien tuvo una buena noche, saqueando a Tom Brady en el primer cuarto para evitar un touchdown, y Manti Te’o que interceptó el balón al final del 2do cuarto, un gran acontecimiento para el #50. Si, todavía hay un poco de detalles, como el caso de los castigos; sin embargo, el esfuerzo y la mejoría de una semana a otra se ve.
Houston! Tenemos Problemas En Las Patadas!
Si bien creían que la peor pesadilla para los Chargers era perder el partido en “Sunday Night”, están equivocados. La unidad de equipos especiales sufrió una pérdida muy fuerte y esencial para el equipo, cuando Mike Scifres se lesionó después de despejar el balón, que fue bloqueado. Scifres, como he mencionado, es un jugador superestrella que se ha lucido durante varias temporadas como Chargers. Sin embargo, su lesión es una pérdida muy importante, probablemente la más importante para la escuadra. Scifres tendrá que ser operado y por consecuencia no terminará la temporada. Vimos a Nick Novak tomar cargo de las patadas por el resto de la noche, y a pesar de estar un poco nervioso al principio, tuvo un buen desempeño. Digo, no podemos comparar un pateador con el otro, pero la ausencia de Scifres se notó.
Para los Chargers, como cualquier temporada, este ha sido una intensa montaña rusa; sin embargo, esta se ha caracterizado por el alto número de lesiones, y un alto número de castigos durante el juego. Quedan 3 juegos en la temporada regular, y la escuadra se encuentra peleando en una carrera competitiva en la AFC. Su último juego en casa será el próximo domingo contra los Broncos de Denver, y si los Chargers quieren cerrar con broche de oro su récord local, deben tomar cartas en el asunto y empezar a jugar como si fueran los Playoffs o más allá.
– José “Joe” Martínez
Vaya que nos gusta sufrir, pero vale la pena después de ser testigos de un partido entretenido, cardiaco e intenso. Una combinación de gran estrategia, buen control del reloj, concentración y un buen espíritu de “Nunca Rendirse”, hizo que los Chargers lograran obtener una espectacular victoria de 34-33 contra Baltimore.
La escuadra relámpago se veía totalmente determinada a ganar. Claro, hubo varios detalles durante el juego (detalles que vamos a comentar a continuación) que afectaron al equipo. Sin embargo, lograron seguir adelante, y tomaron ventaja de situaciones cuando era necesario para llevarse la victoria.
Estos son los puntos importantes del encuentro:
“El Capitán” Toma Cargo Otra Vez
Philip Rivers tuvo un desempeño estelar el domingo pasado. A pesar de una intercepción en su primera jugada, el resto del partido tomó control e hizo un buen trabajo. Puedo decir que es una de las mejores participaciones de nuestro quarterback en la temporada 2014. Con un total de 383 yardas, 34 intentos completados de 45, 3 touchdowns y 1 intercepción y un rating de 113.5, su mejor rating desde la semana 6 contra Oakland. Sin duda alguna, Rivers se lució, y vimos ese espíritu luchador que caracteriza a nuestro quarterback.
Ofensiva Lucida = Grandes Resultados
La ofensiva se merece un aplauso. Tuvieron un buen enfoque y concentración durante todo el encuentro, y cuando querían hacer jugadas, lograban hacerlas. Un gran reconocimiento es que lograron convertir 3er downs un total de nueve veces, de un total de once intentos. Además vimos 4 touchdowns: 2 de Keenan Allen, 1 de Ryan Mathews, y el último que selló la victoria de Eddie Royal. El juego aéreo se lució nuevamente, con Keenan Allen llegando a 121 yardas en 11 atrapadas. Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates y Eddie Royal llegaron a 85, 83 y 81 yardas respectivamente, el primer jugador logrando atrapar un pase de 59 yardas. Hubo un pequeño detalle, el cual fue la lesión del centro Chris Watt en medio partido; sin embargo, entró Trevor Robinson y se vio con una mentalidad de trabajo estupenda y estaba listo para ayudar al equipo.
Equipos Especiales Con Pequeños Detalles
La unidad de equipos especiales normalmente hace un trabajo espectacular, y ha sido un área que ha permanecido constante durante la mayoría de la temporada. Sin embargo, todavía hay un poco de detalles. Baltimore tomó ventaja de los errores de esta unidad para poder correr el balón a un buen punto de inicio. Un ejemplo es durante el último cuarto, cuando Jacoby Jones, jugador de Baltimore, corrió el balón 72 yardas, jugada que culminó por un gol de campo. Se deben de hacer ajustes para el juego del domingo contra los Patriots. Nick Novak se lució nuevamente con un gol de campo de 52 yardas, que simplemente perfecto. Mientras que Mike Scifres solo despejó el balón en una ocasión durante el partido con un total de 52 yardas.
Castigos Afectan El Juego!!
Parece que los Chargers han tenido un serio problema durante toda la temporada, hablando de castigos y banderas, particularmente en la defensa. El alto número de interferencias afectó a la escuadra relámpago contra Baltimore, dando jugadas de primera y diez y touchdowns en una vajilla de porcelana. Se debe de dar un “Reality Check” a los jugadores para que se eviten estos castigos, mas que nada porque faltan 4 encuentros pesados en el itinerario de los Chargers.
Después de una buena racha de 3 partidos ganados, los siguientes cuatro juegos serán una buena muestra para saber que tan determinado está este equipo de llegar a los Playoffs. El próximo Domingo es un juego muy importante, ya que será transmitido en la mayoría de las televisiones americanas y del mundo como “Sunday Night Football de NBC”. Es una gran oportunidad para la escuadra relámpago para demostrarles a los demás que no son solo “un equipo más de la NFL”.
– José “Joe” Martinez
Para un equipo de fútbol americano, la unidad de equipos especiales es esencial cada vez que se va a patear el balón, ya sea por despeje, gol de campo o punto extra. Aunque algunos jugadores de esta unidad también participan en la línea defensiva y la línea ofensiva, dos jugadores en particular son especializados en esta área: Los pateadores. Para los Chargers, podemos saber quienes son estos dos jugadores simplemente diciendo sus números de playera: 9 y 5.
Mike Scifres y Nick Novak se encuentran actualmente en su cuarta temporada juntos, y podemos decir que durante todo ese tiempo, se ha visto un trabajo en harmonía en ambas partes. Este dúo a logrado que la unidad de equipos especiales se haya convertido, para muchos aficionados, en un punto clave para el éxito de la escuadra relámpago.
Scifres, pateador de despeje, se ha lucido desde que se convirtió en un Charger en la temporada 2003, hace ya 11 años. Desde ese tiempo, ha hecho un total de 682 patadas de despeje, por un total de 30,791 yardas, y un promedio de 45.1 yardas por patada. La más larga ha sido de 72 yardas, la cual fue durante esta temporada, en la Semana 3 contra Búfalo. Es un jugador estelar, que muestra concentración y eficiencia durante cada juego; se reconoce su gran trabajo ya que es el pateador de despeje mejor pagado de la liga
Novak, por su parte, lleva menos tiempo como Charger, desde el 2011. Sin embargo, eso no lo hace menos importante. Otro jugador estelar de los Chargers, ha pateado en temporada regular en más de 100 ocasiones, con un porcentaje de 89%, y su patada más larga para un gol de campo ha sido de 53 yardas. Novak también tiene un reconocimiento muy estelar, como el récord por el mayor número de goles de campo exitosos consecutivos, con un total de 32.
9 + 5 es la suma de una gran combinación en la escuadra de los Chargers. Bueno, literalmente suma 14, pero metafóricamente gente es el resultado de la suma de un gran dúo de pateadores, que son una clave esencial para el éxito de la escuadra de San Diego.
– José “Joe” Martínez
@JoeLovesMusic24 en Twitter
¿Qué se puede decir? Casi nos da un ataque! Un partido que estuvo muy reñido y donde se vio que ambos equipos tenían esperanzas de llevarse la victoria. Es exactamente lo que se vio el domingo pasado en el Estadio Qualcomm, en la hermosa ciudad de San Diego, donde mas de 66,000 aficionados apreciaron un partido que, simplemente, se puede describir en una sola palabra: Cardiaco.
Desde el primer minuto se veía que iba a ser un encuentro que iba a dar mucho de que platicar, y mucho de que disfrutar. La escuadra relámpago se veía con mucha energía, mucho espíritu y seguridad como equipo en general, algo que no se había visto en los encuentros contra Miami y Oakland. Y a pesar de grandes errores que hubo en varios momentos del juego, los Chargers, con trabajo en equipo, buenas estrategias y un buen de suerte, lograron llevarse la victoria 27-24 contra San Luis.
Ahora a recapitular, como en cada semana, algunas notas importantes sobre el juego:
Ryan Mathews Está De Vuelta!
Vaya que se nota como un jugador lesionado afecta el juego terrestre. La ausencia de Ryan Mathews se vio por varias semanas, y ahora con su regreso, parece ser que está en sus mejores momentos. Tuvo un total de 102 yardas, un promedio de 8.8 yardas por carrera, la más larga de 32 yardas, la cuál culminó en un touchdown. El #24 esta de vuelta y con muchas ganas de dar su todo durante el juego, solo esperemos que no se vuelva a lesionar.
“El Capitán” Mostró Vida Durante Todo el Juego
Excluyendo la decepcionante intercepción por parte de Janoris Jenkins de los Rams, Philip Rivers estuvo espectacular durante el encuentro. Mostraba energía, utilizó una buena estrategia durante el juego, y tuvo control de los pases que quería hacer (otra vez, excluyendo la intercepción) Con un total de 35 intentos, de esos, 29 completados, 291 yardas y un rating de 98.9, nuestro capitán no mostraba ninguna señal de demora o lesión.
¿Problemas Al Recibir Balones Pateados?
A la mejor estoy exagerando, pero creo que los Chargers son el único equipo en la NFL ahorita que no puede correr el balón después de recibirlo, ya sea por despeje o después de una anotación del otro equipo. Un total de 3 touchbacks durante el partido, incluyendo varias capturas libres. La única esperanza de posibles corridas fue por parte de Chris Davis, quien intentó correr el balón en 2 ocasiones, y en ambas logró más de 20 yardas. Sin embargo, Davis fue participe de un grave error, al chocar con Keenan Allen en el recibimiento del balón, y dejando que los Rams recuperaran el balón. El error se corrigió por parte de Allen jugadas después con un touchdown, sin embargo, son errores que pudieron haber modificado el resultado del juego de forma drástica.
Mike Scifres y Nick Novak = Estelar!
Ya hemos comentado en varias ocasiones que el dúo dinámico de Scifres y Novak, a quien yo llamo por buen gusto “S&N”, son dos jugadores clave de la escuadra relámpago. Scifres hizo cuatro patadas de despeje, por un total de 197 yardas, un promedio de 38.3 yardas por patada, y la más larga de 55. Novak, por su parte, demostró otra vez que el toma ventaja de cada momento para patear, con dos goles de campo exitosos, uno de 23 yardas, y el segundo 48 para cerrar la primera mitad. Interesante como la diferencia en el resultado final fue un gol de campo (3 puntos), entonces debemos agradecer que tenemos un pateador estelar como Novak.
Un Mejor Desempeño Por Parte de La Defensiva
Sigue habiendo detalles como en cualquier línea defensiva, pero se debe aplaudir la estupenda participación y desempeño de los jugadores. Aprovecharon cada oportunidad dada para hacer una jugada, y vaya que dieron varios momentos de alegría para la afición relámpago. Brandon Flowers se lució nuevamente con una gran intercepción en el primer cuarto, a pesar de perder el balón, que fue recuperado por Melvin Ingram. Otra gran jugada fue por parte Corey Liuget que forzó un fumble, recuperado por Andrew Gachkar, quien corrió para sumar 6 puntos al marcador de los Chargers. Darrell Stuckey también tomó ventaja al bloquear un gol de campo por parte de los Rams. Pero sin embargo, la jugada más inesperada, y una que dejó a casi, si no a todo aficionado con la boca abierta, fue la intercepción por parte de Marcus Gilchrist, a un minuto de terminar el juego. Sin duda se vio un buen trabajo en equipo por parte de la defensiva.
Sin duda un partido cardiaco, pero deja las esperanzas de que nuestro gran equipo logre llegar a los Playoffs, o como le decimos acá en México, la “liguilla de la NFL”…quiero pensar que si le dicen así.
Bueno, en conclusión, para mi percepción fue un partido muy intenso, pero entretenido. La adrenalina estuvo a todo dar por parte de ambos equipos y ambas aficiones, y los Chargers lograron la victoria. Considerando que mi cumpleaños fue el día siguiente del partido, fue un buen regalo de cumpleaños. Ahora los Chargers se enfrentan el próximo domingo contra Baltimore, lo que será un encuentro muy interesante y contra un fuerte rival, sin embargo, en el juego del fútbol americano, todo puede suceder.
– José “Joe” Martinez