popular. San Diego Chargers
La ciudad de San Diego, California ha sido anfitrión y casa para los Chargers desde sus primeros años en la Liga Americana de Fútbol (AFL: American Football League), y ha establecido una afición masiva, que ha estado en los momentos buenos y malos de la escuadra relámpago, durante 5 décadas.
Sin embargo, se ha visto durante los años, el deterioro en la estructura e inmobiliario del Estadio Qualcomm, lugar que ha sido casa de los Chargers desde 1967, cuando se inauguró esa instalación con el nombre “Estadio de San Diego”.
Actualmente, preguntas han sido lanzadas, en la administración de los Chargers y en la “Ciudad Más Fina de América”, sobre el futuro del equipo en la zona. Rumores y planeaciones para un nuevo estadio han estado en la prensa desde los comienzos del nuevo milenio, después de que el Estadio Qualcomm haya sido anfitrión al Super Tazón XXXVII en el año 2003. Estas propuestas incluyen construir un nuevo estado que varía en ubicación, desde el mismo lugar del actual anfitrión (Qualcomm), hasta en el centro de San Diego, junto a Petco Park, hogar de los Padres de San Diego.
Incluso, se ha dado el particular rumor de un cambio de ciudad, enfocado todavía en el Sur de California, pero en una ciudad más al norte de San Diego:
Así es, la zona metropolitana más poblada de la zona oeste de los Estados Unidos ha tenido, desde ya un par de años, el proyecto de traer a un equipo de la NFL a “Lalaland”. Recientemente, la NFL expresó interés en tener un equipo de fútbol americano en la ciudad de las estrellas entre los años 2015 y 2016. Particularmente, se nombraron a tres equipos posibles: los Raiders de Oakland, los Rams de San Luis, y nuestros queridos Chargers.
Los tres equipos tienen una historia con la ciudad de Los Ángeles: ¿Dónde entra la escuadra relámpago en este cuento? Pues, ellos comenzaron su trayectoria en Los Ángeles. En el año 1960, los “Chargers de Los Ángeles” jugaban en el “Los Ángeles Memorial Coliseum”, en el cual solo jugaron por una temporada.
¿La razón dada? No había aficionados.
La asistencia en los encuentros era baja, tan baja que en varias ocasiones, el PA (Public Address System) no anunciaba al equipo: los jugadores salían al campo y saludaban a la gente antes y después de cada partido. Buscando una afición más extensa, se sabía que la ciudad de San Diego estaba interesada en abrirle las puertas a un equipo, y así fue que el año siguiente, en 1961, los Chargers se movieron a San Diego para jugar en el Estadio Balboa, lugar que fue casa del equipo hasta en 1967, cuando el Estadio Qualcomm se inauguró.
Sabiendo que los Chargers han establecido una afición en la zona suroeste de California por más de 50 años, la idea de cambiarlos de ciudad suele ser para varios un simple rumor. El detalle es: ¿Qué sucede si se vuelve realidad? El Estadio Qualcomm actualmente es uno de los estadios más viejos de la NFL, y a pesar de todavía tener vida y ser algo que distingue al equipo, se sabe que puede haber mejores instalaciones, no sólo para la administración y los jugadores, sino también para los aficionados que partido a partido apoyan con el alma a los Chargers.
Compartiendo mi opinión, yo no pienso que los Bolts se irán de San Diego, y menos hacia Los Ángeles, por el simple motivo de que en Hollywood…..no hay afición, o si la hay, es muy pequeña. Cuando tu escuchas “Chargers”, piensas en San Diego, piensas en la gran afición, en el gran clima, y en el Estadio Qualcomm.
Además, siendo sinceros, los Raiders tienen más oportunidad de irse a Los Ángeles. Hace unas semanas fui a los Estudios Universales en Hollywood, y en la plaza de CityWalk hay una tienda oficial de los Raiders. Eso te da una idea de la afición que hay en esa zona, y a qué equipo le conviene mas moverse, si es que llega a moverse.
Será muy interesante ver qué sucede en el resto de la temporada y los siguientes 12-24 meses. En conclusión, parece ser que la única cosa que detiene a que los Chargers tengan un nuevo estadio, es que ganen un Súper Tazón.
– José “Joe” Martinez
Among the throngs of Chargers fans, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has anything negative to say about Tom Telesco. The General Manager, now heading into his second year as the team’s front office leader, has done an amazing job with very little cap space.
Telesco hit a grand slam in his first draft last season, netting offensive tackle DJ Fluker, linebacker Mantei Te’o and wide receiver Keenan Allen got the Chargers an A grade. More importantly, on the field Fluker and Allen proved themselves as starters and Te’o played well despite playing the entire season with a broken foot. I will still say Allen was robbed of the NFL Rookie Of The Year award.
Telesco’s approach of overhauling the roster, dumping overpriced and underperforming veterans in favor of younger, hungrier albeit less experienced players worked. His approach worked with the his previous team, the Indianapolis Colts. In conjunction with the drafting of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts went from worst to first in the AFC South. Telesco did the same thing in San Diego and last season the Chargers saw their four-year playoff drought end.
By forcing draft picks and unproven talent to step up and prove themselves on the field, Telesco has created something they haven’t had since they were the team that ruled the AFC West from 2000 to 2007, depth. The Chargers will be a force to be reckoned with on defense with the full strength returns of defensive end Dwight Freeney, last year’s fifth round draft pick in cornerback Steve Williams, outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, a finally healthy and full speed Manti Te’o and wide receiver Malcom Floyd. Add newly signed corner Brandon Flowers to what had been a weak secondary and the team is set to make another splash in the NFL postseason.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Chargers 2014 draft class in that equation…
The first two seasons have been about fixing the holes on the offensive line and improving the quality of the defense which has ranked in the bottom of the league the past few years. Now the defense is as stacked as its ever been. Barring injuries, the Chargers should have a defense in the top ten of the league. The offensive line has depth and as we saw last season, with time to throw Philip Rivers is a top five quarterback in the league. That’s not hyperbole, Rivers finished fifth in the NFL last season with 4478 yards passing and 32 touchdowns.
With the matters of depth and stability on both lines in hand, time to look forward to what aspect Telesco will tackle next. The bad contracts from the previous administration finally come off the books this season and in the next offseason the team will find themselves with more cap space than they have had since the turn of the century. The Chargers will have over 30 million to spend in free agency. The reins will be off and Telesco will finally be released from shopping in the bargain basement and now he’ll have the ability to shop in Beverly Hills.
One position which will be in desperate need of new blood will be wide receiver. Floyd, 32, is on the last year of his deal and even if he stays he will be a depth play, not a starter. This will be Floyd’s 11th season. I expect Floyd to retire after this season. Vincent Brown is at the end of his injury-marred rookie contract. Brown had a disappointing 2013 given his opportunity to step up and fill Floyd’s shoes after Floyd went down with a severe neck injury. Another lackluster season will have Brown looking for work elsewhere. Eddie Royal and Seyi Ajirotutu will also be a free agents after this season. That’s four expiring contracts at the same position. That would leave Keenan Allen and a couple of roster fillers at a critical position. Telesco has proven himself adept at filling positions of need. Here’s a look at the top free agent wide receivers in 2015:
None of these players have signed extensions. Aside from Welker, these are legitimate deep threats that will allow the Chargers to stretch the field vertically. Add in some older talents who would not require top dollar like Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, Jeremy Maclin, Sidney Rice, Kenny Britt, Josh Morgan and you have a great field of talent to choose from. Adding two players from these names would give the Chargers one of the top receiving corps in the league. It’s not unfathomable to see Thomas and Bryant both in lightning bolts. Telesco covets speed and those two have it in spades. However, that’s also two big contracts. More likely one of the two (Bryant or Thomas) coupled with Smith, Shorts, Welker or another vet on the list would be more like it. San Diego will have the resources to make that happen.
Adding two of those names along side Keenan Allen would give defensive coordinators nightmares, would extend Philip Rivers’ shelf life with an improved offensive line AND legitimate deep threats on both sides of the field (less rushing the passer) and amount to deep playoff runs. The Chargers are an up and coming franchise and with a great front office in place, money to spend and they’re already a playoff team.
Free agents will go to San Diego, as we have already seen. We all know wide receivers are divas. The key things are who’s throwing them the ball, is it a contending team and money. There’s not a receiver in the league who wouldn’t love to catch balls from Philip Rivers. The Bolts can afford to pay and they’re already pushing Denver for the top of the AFC West and making the playoffs. The team already averages 24 points per game without marquee wideouts (aside from Allen). Imagine what they will be able to do with them!
Who would you like to see the Chargers sign next season?
The Greg One
Everyone and their dog has a mock draft out these days. The Greg One is not one to be left out of the fun, so here it is, people. I’ll be adding one more to the ever growing list of seven-round educated (and not-so educated) guesses called a mock draft. I have been keeping an eye on prospects and listening to the talking heads on tv and radio for some perspective. Mind you, these are the same pundits who predicted the Chargers would finish at the bottom of the AFC West last season while your friend The Greg One correctly predicted the Chargers record within one game (my guess was 10-6) and the Chargers making the playoffs when none of the ‘experts’ would. Sometimes the best information comes from someone close, passionate about their team but also sees their team realistically. Suck on that ESPN!
Also keep in mind that in my 2013 Chargers mock draft I was one pick away from being dead on. I had the Chargers choosing Alabama guard Chance Warmack as the Chargers selection and he was chosen one pick before the Chargers selected, going to Tennessee with the 10th pick right before the Chargers picked at 11. The Chargers took Alabama right tackle DJ Fluker and had a great season. Still, I had the position (offensive line) and even the school (Alabama) correct, which is more than Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay did. Now that I’ve built my pundit resume to impossible, only a dead on pick will do kind of level, here is my Chargers seven round mock draft!
Round One: Louis Nix III, DT Notre Dame. The Chargers have a gaping hole at defensive tackle after the departure of Cam Thomas this offseason. The Chargers are left with Sean Lissemore and the injured Kwame Geathers as the only nose tackles on the roster. There is no one of note left on the free agent market which makes this the biggest priority to fill through the draft, slightly ahead of the secondary. CB’s Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard and Bradley Roby will be long gone as will safeties Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Calvin Pryor. Nix is the best pure nose tackle in the draft and will be reunited with teammate Manti Te’o, easing his transition to the team. Renewing the chemistry they had in college will be an added benefit on the field.
Round Two: Kyle Van Noy DE/OLB BYU. The Chargers are keeping a close eye on Van Noy, who has had a visit with the team and has said he would love to play for the Chargers. Van Noy is a high motor, disruptive force blitzing from the edge. His specialty is rushing the passer but drops into coverage very well and is solid against the run. Van Noy will be a great addition from a depth standpoint and has outstanding veterans around him to learn from. Even with offenses designing plays to go away from him, Van Noy logged 68 tackles with 17.5 for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and seven batted balls.
Round Three: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama. Kouandjio stock is dropping after a sub-par showing at the combine including a failed physical. His surgically repaired knee has received a clean bill of health from the esteemed Dr. James Andrews. The Chargers will most likely trade up, sacrificing a late round pick (6 or 7) to get high enough in the order to make the selection, but taking advantage of another first round grade talent will be too impossible to ignore. The Chargers again reunite teammates as Kouandjio becomes the bookend on the left side to D.J. Fluker on the right side of the offensive line.
Round Four: The Chargers trade their pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the rights to wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The troubled wide receiver was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft after two seasons as an All-American receiver for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Blackmon is currently suspended following his second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and was recently cited for a one-car incident when he ran his SUV into a guard rail and landed in a ditch last month. Fortunately, there was no alcohol involved which would’ve lengthened his suspension. Blackmon can apply to be reinstated before the start of the 2014 season but chances are the Jaguars may be looking to rid the locker room of his presence.
A change of scenery and a fresh start with a new, contending team can be the perfect scenario for the 24-year old Blackmon. A bona fide deep threat, he will provide the perfect complement to Keenan Allen. Blackmon was only making 1.2 million so a new contract will be easy for GM Tom Telesco to negotiate. If the opportunity is there, Telesco should make the deal.
Round Five: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon. Telesco wants to improve team speed and you won’t find many in this draft faster than De’Anthony Thomas. At Oregon’s pro day Thomas posted a 4.34 and 4.35 40 yard dash times. Thomas is electric in the return game as he had four return touchdowns for Oregon in his three-year career. Thomas was a standout member of Oregon’s track and field team anchoring the 4×100 relay for the team that made it to the 2012 NCAA Championships. Thomas is a great 10-15 carries per game running back but does not have the body to be an every down back. He can be a specialty back in the vein of Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead as he is a great receiver out of the backfield and operates best in space. Speaking of whom, Woodhead is on the second year of his two-year contract with the Chargers. Thomas would be a great insurance policy/heir apparent if Woodhead gets injured or leaves in free agency next season.
Round Six: Terrance Mitchell, DB Oregon. Mitchell’s stock dropped at the draft combine when he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash time. Mitchell is a little undersized at 5’11 but makes up for it with impressive ball skills and instincts. Mitchell stared 38 games for the Ducks and played in high-profile games against the best receivers the Pac-12 had to offer. Mitchell had five interceptions last season as a season-long starter. Mitchell’s excels in press coverage and knows how to use his hands and body in coverage. Mitchell is a playmaker who will also be a valuable contributor on special teams.
Round Seven: Michael Sam, DE Missouri. Sam was the story of the day for about a week when he came out, making him the first openly gay player to take the field in the NFL. However, the story didn’t do anything to his draft stock and he has been forgotten amidst all the draft hoopla. Sam would be a fantastic bargain here as the Chargers are woefully thin all across the defensive line. Like Te’o the year before him, San Diego will provide shelter from the harsh media scrutiny of other NFL cities and allow Sam to thrive.
The Chargers most likely won’t have a seventh round pick. I expect the seventh round pick to be used in a trade up scenario or in the Blackmon trade. Similarly, a team like the Ravens or Steelers will take Sam in an earlier round. However, he will be a late day three pick if he gets chosen at all. If he’s there the Chargers will take him but if he’s gone and the pick is not traded the Chargers will more than likely stash a quarterback like they did last season with Brad Sorensen.
I only took one defensive back because the Chargers will also gain the services of defensive back Stevie Williams, who was chosen with a fifth round pick in last season’s draft. Williams missed all season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The (mostly) unintentional coupling of past teammates will only serve to improve team chemistry and provide a mentor-like relationship in the cases of Fluker and Kouandjio; Te’o and Nix. The team adds valued speed with Blackmon and Thomas and the defense gets much-needed depth with a handful of blue chip prospects.
What do you think Boltfam?
The Greg One
As we wait for free agency to begin there’s not much news that matters going on right now. The most entertainment we have is filtering through the scores of mock drafts out now. The Greg One thought to go back through his 2013 Chargers season predictions and see what grade I deserve. For those wishing to see the original, see it again on boltblitz.com in a piece entitled Clip And Save: The Greg One’s Fearless Chargers Predictions. Here they are in order:
Record: 10-6. Chargers finished 9-7. Win.
Will throw for 30 touchdowns and 3700 yards: Rivers topped my projections on both fronts by throwing for 4478 yards and 32 touchdowns. Win.
Will not throw an interception in the first four games: He had one interception in the first game and one in the fourth. Tipped balls still count as picks so that was a losing proposition.
Will have less than 10 interceptions: Close, he had 11 for the year. Win.
The number of sacks on Philip Rivers will be halved: The Chargers allowed 49 last season and allowed 30 this season. Its not exactly half but pretty close. I was within 5, i’ll take it.
Ryan Mathews will run for 1100 yards, gain 400 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns: Mathews ran for 1255 yards, had 189 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns for the year. Mathews was fifth in the NFL in rushing, far exceeding my projection which seemed very lofty at the beginning of the year given Mathews’ history, got almost half the receiving yards I forecast and I had touchdowns within two. I’m calling that a win.
Keenan Allen will be top 5 in return yards and average: Of course I made this projection based on the Chargers using Allen mostly on special teams, seeing as they had a full compliment of receivers at the time of the first writing. We all know what happened next. Allen only had 15 returns all season. I’ll take an incomplete on that one.
Allen will have two return touchdowns and miss a couple more by a handful of yards: See above.
Antonio Gates will catch 80 passes for 950 yards and ten touchdowns: Gates finished with 77 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Gotta admit that’s pretty spot on aside from the touchdown total. Win.
Vincent Brown will be a 1000 yard receiver: Not even close. Brown had 41 catches for 472 yards. Fail.
Danny Woodhead will catch 55 passes, have 600 yards receiving and 500 yards rushing: Woodhead caught 76 passes for 605 yards and rushed for 429 yards. WIN.
Fozzy Whitaker will become #2 running back, run for 400 yards and three touchdowns: Fozzy was cut and scooped up by Norv in Cleveland. Fail.
Dwight Freeney will have 10 sacks: Now way to account for injury. Freeney was lost for the season in week four with a torn quad.
As a result of Freeney’s presence. Donald Butler will have have 13 sacks, Liuget 9: Miss all around. Butler didn’t rush the passer much, only accumulatimg a half sack. Liuget had 5.5. I still think it would have been higher if Freeney had played all year.
Shareece Wright will have five interceptions: Wishful thinking. Wright had one interception. Fail.
Mantei Teo will have 70 solo and 20 assisted tackles: Teo had 41 tackles and 20 assisted tackles. Considering the time he missed due to injury, I think this number would have been very accurate.
Eric Weddle will have a Pro Bowl season: Weddle did make the Pro Bowl as a starter. Win.
Marcus Cromartie will be starter at cornerback by the end of the season: Cromartie was activated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster for the last three games of the season but he did not make it onto the field. Fail.
Melvin Ingram will return for the playoff push around week 13 and the Chargers will go 4-1 in December: Ingram returned from his ACL injury in week 13 and the Chargers went 4-1 in December. Spot on win.
The Chargers defense:
Will finish in the top 10: The Chargers were 4th in the league in passing defense, first in the AFC. However, they were 21st in passing defense and ranked 23rd in overall defense.
Will collect between 40-50 sacks: The Chargers had 35 sacks on the season. Close but no cigar.
Allow 16 points per game: The Chargers allowed 21 points per game.
Denver will go 12-4: They were 13-3. Win.
The Chargers will not win the West but they will win in the wild card round: Of course, I based that off the fact the Chargers would be 10-6 but a win is a win.
If the Chargers finish 9-7, they will miss the playoffs by a game: Guess I had that the wrong way around. They slipped in at 9-7.
So you see, forget all the paid talking heads on TV. For a column on predictions that were written even before the first preseason games were played I was very accurate. If it weren’t for injuries, more of my projections would have come true. There will be a new predictions column after the draft and free agency has come to a close. Most likely after Chargers fanfest (which I will be attending). It just goes to show, no one knows the Chargers like their own faithful fans.
Here’s to an even better season and longer playoff run in 2014!
The Greg One
We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.
The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.
We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.
There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.
Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.
We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.
Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.
The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.
All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.
A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.
The Greg One
What’s up Charger fans?
A little about me: I was born in Rochester, New York. Spent the first ten years of my young life there and thank God my Dad got a transfer from there to Colorado; otherwise I would probably have ended up a Giants, Jets or, more likely, a Bills fan!
In Colorado, yes folks I admit, I became a Broncos fan, but that was before I really knew anything about football. Eventually we ended up moving from Colorado to Arizona, where I finished high school. Fortunately, the Cardinals weren’t in town yet or I may have been a Cardinals fan too! (whew!) That was where I became a Charger fan and a Dallas Cowboy hater. Every weekend I would hope to see a Charger game, they would broadcast a Dallas game every single Sunday. Ugghh!
Well, after high school, I spent another long, hot five years there until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I visited San Diego and knew from then on that I would eventually be a California boy. Been a Charger fan since about 1980. Been working in the construction field for the last 28 years.
Can’t wait for the season to start!! #GO CHARGERS #BOLTUP!!
Editor’s note: Be sure to follow Randy on Twitter @ynot377.