On April 18th, the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders announced they have cut nose tackle Dan Williams. The release comes two seasons after picking him up as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals. The L.A. Chargers should be interested in this development as they sorely need depth along the defensive line, particularly at nose tackle. Williams would be a solid backup to starter to Brandon Mebane and give the Chargers two legitimate veteran run stoppers in the middle of the line.
Williams is currently listed at 6’2″, 330-pounds. In Arizona, he was a cornerstone of their defense, consistently occupying two blockers and plugging running lanes. As a result, pass rushers such as Karlos Dansby, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Bertrand Berry and Daryl Washington feasted on quarterbacks. With the uprising of young, hungry pass rushers and linebackers on defense, having wily veterans like Mebane and Williams is just the type of anchor needed to make the defensive line unstoppable.
Bringing in Williams also finally rectifies an egregious mistake that is seven years old.
I take you back to the 2010 NFL Draft.
The San Diego Chargers had closed a 13-3 season with a humiliating loss in the divisional round to the New York Jets. All-Everything running back Ladainian Tomlinson asked for and was granted a release. Seated at the 28th spot in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Chargers sacrificed their first- and second-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up 16 spots and select…
Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews…(insert rim shot here)….
The heir apparent to Tomlinson, like a bottle rocket, had a few flashes…and fizzled out. In five seasons, he had 24 touchdowns and 15 fumbles lost. Mathews missed 25% of the teams’ regular season games with injuries (20 out of 80). Mathews has logged a full 16-game season only once in his career (2013). That includes his current stint in Philadelphia.
And the injuries….soooo many injuries. Hamstring. Quadriceps. Groin. Thumb. Both collarbones. Concussion. Both ankles. And on and on and on….
Back to the 2010 NFL Draft. With the 26th pick in the draft the Arizona Cardinals selected Dan Williams and he became their keystone nose tackle. Aside from a broken arm in 2011 in which he missed the last six games he has only missed four games his entire career. Williams hasn’t missed a game in the last three seasons. The only reason he’s a free agent now is because of his salary cap number. Cutting Williams took $4.5-million off the Raiders’ ledger.
Perhaps the Chargers thought Mathews was the only worthy replacement in the draft. Jahvid Best, Dexter McCluster and Ben Tate were all selected after the Chargers’ original draft slot. Brain Westbrook, Thomas Jones, Willie Parker, Jamal Lewis and Pierre Thomas were all available in free agency.
What other names were missed in the first round? There was Safety Earl Thomas with the 14th pick. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (15), G Mike Iupati (17), C Maurkice Pouncey (18), WR’s Demaryius Thomas (22), Dez Bryant (24) and CB Devin McCourty (28).
As far as that second round pick goes, that was the year Rob Gronkowski was drafted. What’s Gronkowski up to these days? Dude has so much game he’s bodychecking pro wrestlers at Wrestlemania and cutting in on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during an official press conference!
And that’s only this month…
Take a moment and envision a two-tight end set of Antonio Gates and Gronk! The Chargers wouldn’t have needed wide receivers and Philip Rivers would’ve been smashing passing records. DT Linval Joseph (46), LB Daryl Washington (47), DE Carlos Dunlap (54), LB Sean Lee (55) and WR Golden Tate (60) all heard their names called that round.
As much as that day in 2010 will live in infamy for me and many other Chargers fans, bringing Williams into the fold will add some salve to the wound. It makes sense and there’s history there. While Williams was in Arizona his head coach was current Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Don’t be surprised if a visit isn’t already in the works.
Moral of the story is do your homework. Stick to your board. Don’t let one great year of college football eclipse a checkered injury history coming into the draft. In short…
Don’t Mathews it up!
The Greg One
Below is my mock draft on behalf of all of the SAN DIEGO Chargers fans.
1st Rd. – Fuck you, Dean Spanos
2nd Rd. – Fuck you, Dean Spanos
Turd Rd. – Fuck you, Dean Spanos
Whoreth Rd. (Mike Pisciotta Round) – Fuck you, Dean Spanos
5th Rd. – Fuck you, Dean Spanus
6th Rd. – Up yours, Dean Spanos
7th Rd. – Fuck you, Dean Spanos
The San Diego Chargers had been in my life since my birth. Like me, my children wore Chargers gear home from the hospital after being born.
I feel I have earned the right to say and feel what I want regarding all of the bullshit surrounding the Chargers and their move to Los Angeles.
If you don’t think I have earned the right to do as I mentioned above, maybe I’ll draft you next year.
I am still working through some feels and butt-hurt on this subject, so I’ll use our website to “write through it,” so to speak.
(I really am as bitter and immature as this makes me look; I own it. I am 38 years young.)
It appears that the Los Angeles Chargers will have to wait until at least Week 2 to play their first regular season game at home in the intimate confines of the StubHub Center.
The Bolts will travel to Denver for a Monday Night contest against the Broncos in Week 1, according to Mike Klis of 9News.com.
League Network source: Broncos to open 2017 season at home vs LA Chargers on Monday night. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) April 20, 2017
The Chargers are no strangers to opening up the regular season on Monday Night Football, as they have begun their season in such a manner multiple times in the last decade.
The biggest news about this is the Chargers will not have to travel to Colorado during the winter, where the cold weather and snowy conditions always play a part in the outcome of the game.
It goes without saying, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon showed vast improvement during his sophomore campaign in the NFL compared to the disappointment that was his rookie year.
The former Badger was unable to reach the endzone at all during his first season with the Bolts, but he made that seem like a figment of the fans’ imagination during Year 2 of his young career, finding the endzone 10 times in 2016.
Returning for another season to rejoin Gordon in the backfield is third-year ball carrier Branden Oliver.
Despite a switch from No. 43 to No. 32 — long-time number of former Chargers and current Baltimore Ravens free safety Eric Weddle — fans should expect more of the same from the former collegiate stud from Buffalo, who led the team in rushing in 2014.
A new addition to the running-back stable is former Oregon Ducks ball carrier Kenjon Barner. The 27-year-old entered the NFL with the Carolina Panthers before spending time with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was signed by the Bolts this offseason after the team lost Danny Woodhead to the aforementioned Ravens.
A speedster as both a running back and returner, Barner brings an added element to the position in the form of his versatility and possible game-breaking ability. Though he has never started a game since joining the league in 2013, the underused talent has played in 32 NFL games.
With Gordon, Oliver and Barner figuring to fill the top three spots on the ball-carrier depth chart, the team also has the following running backs fighting to prove that they belong on the squad: Kenneth Farrow, Andre Williams, Ronnie Hillman and Dexter McCluster.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has already been on record this offseason stating that he would like to add an X-factor similar to that of Kansas City’s dynamic Tyreek Hill. With speed to burn in bunches, Hill makes plays as a runner, receiver and a returner. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field, every time he touches the ball
Do the Chargers and Telesco already have that answer on the roster? That X-factor that changes games in the blink of an eye?
I am not so sure that they do.
Though I believe the organization has more than enough options to fulfill their running-back needs for the 2017 campaign, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they took a look at the rising draft prospect out of Ohio State University, Curtis Samuel.
Samuel seems to provide the most comparable playmaking ability in this year’s draft class to what Hill does for the Chiefs, also seeing time at running back, wide receiver and as a return-threat.
Telesco and company may believe that drafting Samuel or a player of the similar ilk as of higher importance in comparison to other pressing needs on the roster that can or should be available in the draft. Or he may go ahead and ignore the position altogether due to enough capable bodies already being on the club.
The good news for fans?
You won’t have to wait much longer to find out, as the draft begins in 10 days on April 27 in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. And, per usual, the BoltBlitz.com staff will be represented by myself and Greg Williams at this year’s selection show at its new venue for ’17.
My take: I don’t necessarily see the need to add a back as the reason the team should or will. But if it comes around to any of their picks following the first round, and they have one rated as the best player available, then pull the trigger and go out and get said player — especially if that BPA is that fast guy from the Buckeye State.
Another name to keep an eye on is running back Joe Mixon of Oklahoma. Should he slip to Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft, that is a name you could see the team take a HUGE chance on by drafting. A player with off-the-field issues like Mixon may watch his draft position plummet, allowing teams in later rounds to snag the man who is possibly the best ball carrier available. Though that doesn’t sound like a Telesco-type selection, pressure is mounting on the entire organization now that there’s an exponentially more powerful microscope in their new home in Los Angeles, as opposed to their former laid-back confines of America’s finest city, San Diego.
Note: Before I begin I want to add that this is an opinion article, also known as an editorial
March 27, 2017: the day that 31 NFL owners voted to uproot the Oakland Raiders, and allow the team to find a new home in Las Vegas. Sure, for the Raiders it may be a good option. They are moving to a territory that they would not have to share with anyone except an NHL team. One thing about the business of sports is that, yes, there is a massive business aspect to it; but it is not the same as any other industry. The difference is the fans. Sure, in other industries there are consumers and customers, but that is still different than fan bases in sports.
Fans are practically owners of the teams. Most of the revenue comes from things that fans do such as buy merchandise, food, tickets, etc… Over the past two years there have been three teams that have left the cities that they have played in (some for 50-plus years) in order to go someplace with a bigger market. Now if this were a restaurant or store, it makes sense. More population equals more potential clients/customers. However these are not stores, these are teams with history. These are teams that integrate into the communities and make a personal and lasting impact on each and every fan. There is a reason that fan bases become family and it is that shared bond and experiences of being a fan of a team.
When teams move, they do not realize they are hurting both the image of the organization as well as their fans. Imagine a business that would abandon its largest stakeholder instead of trying to please said stakeholder. The company’s brand may go up in value, but what is the point of an increase of the brand if there is no loyalty to said brand?
Moving away from a large source of money based upon the “chance” that you could double the current revenue is one of the most greedy business decisions a team could make. The only thing that an increase in brand will help is the cost of selling said franchise.
The NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, and NBA are a fan run industry. The reason that the sports industry is worth several hundred billion dollars, is mostly because of the amount of fans it draws. Being a fan is more than just liking this or liking that, being a fan is being a part of a community and supporting the team by spending money on gameday and on different things with the teams logo on it.
Why in the world ruin a good thing? Teams seem to think the way to earn more money is just to move to a bigger market. Maybe they are right in the short-term because since the Chargers moved they increased the value of the brand. However, they still have to play at a stadium that is meant for soccer with a low amount of seats. So even though the brand increased and the potential is there, the teams need to win a Super Bowl to make a “fan base” in Los Angeles. However, the owner doesn’t seem to care about championships.
In short, the NFL is going to feel the repercussions. It is hard to support teams that have a history of leaving. Maybe to begin with they will see an increase because of new markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. However, they will not see consistent revenue from the teams. With all of the rule changes and everything else, it is soon to be the NTFL (National Touch Football League) instead of the NFL, which would piss off a major target market in sports.
To the Indoor Football League we go!!! Go Rattlers.
When it comes to discussing elite talent at wide receiver in the NFL, there is no doubt that Los Angeles Chargers wideout Keenan Allen belongs in each and every discussion on the topic.
As obvious as it is that Allen can be a star in this league, though, is the fact that he has trouble staying healthy. Whether it be bad luck or some other uncontrollable factor, the former Cal Bear missed all but one game in 2016 after playing in only eight games during the 2015 campaign.
Additionally, the fifth-year pro fell to the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft due to teams having concerns about a knee ailment which saw him miss time during his final year of college.
But don’t let all of that fool you into thinking he might not have been worth drafting.
When healthy, the soon-to-be 25-year-old is one of the best route runners in the entire NFL, possessing great size, hands and above-average speed.
None of this is lost on the youngster, and neither is his confidence despite having a tough time staying on the field thus far throughout his career.
“I’m just trying to be the best,” Allen told the team’s official website. “I’m trying to come back and get right back to where I left off. I’m trying to be top five (in the league) or whatever it is. I’m just trying to be the best.”
In the same interview, No. 13 went on to reassure fans that he is feeling great, but also mentioned how difficult it was to have to watch his teammates go out there and compete without him.
“I feel amazing. I’m trying to keep up with Tyrell (Williams) because he keeps pushing the pace,” Allen continued. “I’m trying to keep up with the guys and stay with it. I’m feeling good….The toughest part (last year) was just watching them play every Sunday and not being able to do a thing about it. It was tough. I love being on the field. I love making plays. So just to get back out there with them is going to be fun.”
Keenan Allen has the playmaking ability to be a top-five wide receiver in the NFL. But none of that ability matters unless he can find a way to avoid injury bug.
Like most players in professional sports, your best ability is your availability, Keenan. Now, go out there, find a way to stay healthy and prosper, young fella.
In 38 games played, the acrobatic Allen has tallied 221 receptions for 2,617 yards and 16 touchdowns.
With less than three weeks until the 2017 NFL Draft, all 32 teams in the league have been notified of their preseason opposition and in which week they will face each of their preseason opponents.
Though the schedule-makers must still determine the specific dates of each contest (with the exception of a few games), teams now know which of their preseason tilts are at home or on the road along with in which week they face each opponent.
Oddly enough, the Chargers will not leave the state of California during the 2017 preseason.
Week 1 – Seattle Seahawks
The Chargers and Seahawks have been facing off in the preseason for quite some time, dating all the way back to when the teams were divisional foes decades ago in the five-team AFC West.
After a brief and unimpressive stint as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach, new Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will face an opponent who he has much familiarity, seeing as he used to man the head defensive spot for the ‘Hawks prior to his time in Florida.
Editor’s Note: I miss the days when this game was the “Somehow Charlie Whitehurst got paid after leaving San Diego” Bowl.
Week 2 – New Orleans Saints
Speaking of familiar faces, former San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees is back to face his former team, but this time it’s in Los Angeles. The signal caller down in the bayou won a Super Bowl after leaving America’s finest city.
Week 3 – @ Los Angeles Rams
Ah, yes… just what the NFL wants: the fight for L.A.
Though the teams will eventually share a stadium, the Chargers will face the Rams as the road opponent for this match-up at the Coliseum. As you all know, the Bolts will play their home contests at the StubHub Center, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.
Week 4 – @ San Francisco 49ers
There are few teams in the NFL who have struggled as much as the Chargers have in recent years. The 49ers happen to be one of those lucky organizations.
These two teams traditionally face-off during the preseason.
The Los Angeles Chargers have all but ensured that they are done adding players to their tight-end room. The team announced on Wednesday that they re-signed veteran tight end Jeff Cumberland to a one-year deal.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed at the time this article was published.
This transaction gives the Chargers six tight ends as the roster sits now, as Cumberland will rejoin familiar faces like Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, while also reuniting with Sean McGrath, Asante Cleveland and Jake McGee — McGee is the only tight end of the group to not be activated at some point during the 2016 season.
Cumberland, 29, spent six years with the New York Jets before signing with the Bolts during the 2016 offseason. The eight-year veteran tore his Achilles during the preseason shortly after signing with the club, missing all of the regular season.
Though both Gates and Henry remain an impressive two-headed monster as the team’s starters, Cumberland provides a steady option as a reserve at the position. The next regular-season reception Cumberland snags with the Chargers will be his first, but the vet has hauled in 86 passes for 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns over his career.
In a report by NFL Media Insider Adam Caplan, the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers has re-signed running back Branden Oliver.
**As of the publishing of this article, the terms of the contract had yet to be disclosed.
#Chargers re-signed RB Branden Oliver.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 23, 2017
The former University of Buffalo product has struggled in the stat column recently due to injury and, in my opinion, not being properly utilized by the offensive decision-makers.
After the loss of fan-favorite Danny Woodhead, the Chargers, perhaps, were in a position to strongly consider adding a ball carrier in the draft. With the re-signing of Oliver, the team’s leading rusher from only two season ago, the Chargers’ offense has retained a viable option in both the running and passing games — it is worth noting that despite his short stature, Oliver is more than adequate as a pass-blocker out of the backfield, something he worked on with the coaching staff and Woodhead a lot during their time in San Diego.
I can speak with the utmost confidence on behalf of the entire BoltBlitz.com staff that we are beyond happy for this young man.
My only issue is that he was re-signed by a team that no longer plays its home games in San Diego… but that’s a story for another day.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Articles from Chargers.com:
- NFL to implement major changes to commercial breaks
- Chargers to hold training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa
- Five things about Kenjon Barner
Articles from NFL.com:
Chargers finalize deal for training camp location
Free agency round-up: Manti Te’o signs with Saints
Articles from ESPN.com:
- Chargers hold private workout with Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
- JuJu Smith-Schuster shines at USC pro day, wouldn’t mind staying in L.A.