Philip Rivers is probably sitting back at his house with his 7 kids, and his beautiful wife, just beaming about the amount of wide receiver talent that will be at his disposal this year. Tom Telesco has done a great job leaving no stone unturned in his search for outstanding talent with an emphasis on great character. Right now we are going to take a look at all of the weapons at the wide receiver position that we can look forward to seeing suit up for the San Diego Chargers during the 2014 NFL season. Before I get into this evaluation, I only expect there to be 5 wide receivers on the Bolts this year.
Eddie Royal jumped out to a very fast start in the 2013 season by scoring 5+ touchdowns in the first handful of games last year. He used his great physical tools to make catches and create yards after said receptions. Additionally, he displayed a gritty toughness despite missing practice most of the year with a foot injury and still managed to play in 15 of the 16 regular season games. Look for a healthy Royal to continue to make an impact on this offense.
Malcom Floyd is an imposing figure at the WR position standing 6’5″. As most of the diehard Charger fans know, Malcom missed 14 of the 16 regular season games after suffering a horrific neck injury that left most fans fearing that we had seen the last of M-80 in a Chargers uniform. For the record, I was an advocate of his comeback from the very beginning. I had no doubt that he was going to rehab harder than anyone could imagine to get back on the field and go out of the game of football on his terms. Unfortunately for M-80, health has been a major concern for his entire career; only playing a full 16 games 1 time in his 11 year career. There is no denying his ability when he is on the football field. He can out-jump most defensive backs. Floyd is a true deep threat. I’m hoping that he will stay healthy all season long and terrorize defenses until they have trouble sleeping at night.
After almost quitting the NFL, an injury gave Allen the chance that he needed and he took the opportunity and ran with it. Keenan outperformed every single receiver that was taken in the NFL draft last year leaving the other general managers not named Tom Telesco in a state of self-evaluation. Keenan quickly formed a great rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers and became his favorite target throughout the course of the 2013 season. This offseason, Keenan dedicated his time to improving his speed, which adds another element to his all-around game. Allen is the number 1 receiver on this team. Fans should look for big numbers from him this year.
The reason that Seyi Ajirotutu is going to be on this ball club this year is because he has more than one facet of his game to offer to this team. Not only is he great friends with Philip Rivers, he also is a stand out performer on special teams. Most of you will remember the fantastic touchdown catch that Ajirotutu made last year in the 4th quarter to win the game against the Chiefs. That ended up being one of the highlight reel plays for the Chargers last season. I don’t foresee him on the field too often as a receiver this season, but more of a special teamer.
Dontrelle Inman is going to be on this football team. He’s gone out there in training camp and earned his position. A CFL football player last season, signed by Tom Telesco after an open tryout last December, Inman has worked his tail off during this offseason and his work has been noticed by the coaches. I expect him to make an impact for this team this year. He has the prototypical wide receiver body at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.
I like Vincent Brown a lot. I thought he had a lot of talent but health never allowed him to put it all together. As of now, he seems to be headed towards the PUP (Physically unable to perform) list alongside guard Jeromey Clary. I liked what I’ve seen out of Javonte Herndon in the preseason, seems to have good speed and good hands a potential practice squad member. I also believe that Rookie 7th round pick Tevin Reese is headed for the practice squad. He started off training camp on a good note, but has since declined showing a lack of knowledge of the routes and unreliable hands. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my very first article for Boltblitz.com and I hope you enjoyed it.
Four turnovers in the first half? Please say it ain’t so!
The Chargers lost their second preseason game. Ok, so what. I can hear the collective “here we go again” among bandwagon Charger fans. Is that a loud squeak I hear from the bandwagon getting lighter?!
Good. Jump off and don’t jump back on! Weed out the part-time Charger fans. We know who you are. You’re the ones that start talking crap about everyone on the team and how the Chargers are going to suck this year, after only the second preseason game.
Wow. How can you call yourself a fan if you don’t know a damn thing about why there is a preseason?
Preseason, exhibition season whatever you want to call it, for all intents and purposes, is evaluation season. Period.
Marc Trestman was asked yesterday how he thought his team was progressing so far. He said he didn’t know because their weaknesses haven’t been identified yet. As a coach, I think I would want to find out my team’s weaknesses and areas that needed work as soon as possible, wouldn’t you? Don’t get me wrong, the Bears looked fairly dominant over the Chargers, sad to say. I’m hoping and praying that we don’t look as bad during the regular season. There were some bright spots but I’ll leave that for other writers do cover, if they haven’t already.
Well, buck up little Charger campers. I’m here to tell you some good news.
An online 9 year study has shown that teams with only 2 preseason wins did quite well during the regular season. With teams that had only 2 preseason wins, in 86 cases, 32 teams had a 10+ season win record. Comparably, teams that had won all 4 preseason games, only 27 had won 9 or more games during the regular season.
Just a little tidbit of information I thought I would pass along.
If you read Booga’s article earlier today, “Charger fans: Step away from the ledge”, I would like to add to that a little and give you my take on last night’s game against the Seahawks.
I’ll have to agree with Booga in that as I watched the game and commented back and forth to many Charger fans on Facebook, they were very upset. I had to remind everyone that it’s only preseason. I also went on to tell fans that the Chargers can’t fix the weak areas unless they know what they are. In addition, I reminded folks that the Patriots and the Packers went 0-4 during preseason and went on to win a Super bowl during those same year. That’s not to say the Chargers will win a Super bowl this season however, it is to say that preseason means absolutely NOTHING other than to evaluate players.
I saw some bright spots as well as weaknesses last night. I’ll go through what I saw and you guys feel free to comment.
The first team offense marched right down the field on our first drive which I think could have been a touchdown had McCoy gone for a second 4th and 1 on said drive. Instead he went for the field goal. Ryan Mathews looked great on that drive. Antonio Gates and John Phillips both had big receptions as well. We also saw Eddie Royal with a couple of touches and even Keenan Allen had a reception to help the drive. Chad Rinehart did a nice job for the O-line opening up holes for the running backs. And last but not least, Philip Rivers looked sharp. You can forget what the naysayers are saying about him.
Our first team defense looked pretty good as well, stalling Seattle’s first drive. You can forget what the naysayers are saying about Dwight Freeney too. I saw him completely dominate Seattle’s offensive tackle, Breno Giacomini. No spin moves or fancy dancing, he just bull rushed Giacomini several times. I was impressed. Jarret Johnson did a nice job setting the edges to contain the Seahawks running game as well.
A lot of the second teamers and Rookies looked impressive as well. I liked the way Fozzy Whitaker was running the ball. I knew he would bust one loose (a run) after watching his first couple of touches. He’s quick and decisive.
David Molk did a nice job although he has to work on mental mistakes.
Steve Williams also did a nice job on coverage for the most part, although he did get burned for two touchdowns. You have to admit, those passes would have been difficult for any Cornerback to defend.
Areas that need work:
Here we go again with Robert Meachem. He didn’t drop any passes but he was running his routes incorrectly. Seems the coaching staff is trying to find a spot for him, using him for kickoff returns. At least Eddie Royal is showing more promise. Meachum still looks like a bust.
Josh Johnson, the rookie cornerback that was assigned punt return duties last night. Yikes. He better put some stickum on those hands or something (illegal, I know). He muffed his first attempt which almost resulted in disaster. His second attempt was almost disastrous as well. He’s lucky the ball didn’t touch him, otherwise the score would have been 38-10! Yikes!
I think the most glaring thing that stood out to me, and other fans, was Charlie Whitehurst.
My opinion of him is not good. He held the ball too long and couldn’t find his receivers. I was willing to give him somewhat of the benefit of the doubt at first, but it was the same thing I saw him doing in training camp. Then after I saw what Brad Sorensen did when coach finally put him in, no more benefit. Whiteworst out, Sorensen in. Period.
There were a lot of mental mistakes that resulted in penalties which drive coaches crazy. If these players keep making these mistakes, NFL will mean “not for long” for these guys.
Don’t fret Charger fans and like BoogaP said, step away from the ledge!! It’s only preseason. There are a lot of good things to look forward to.
Over the next month and a half the coaches and front offices of all 32 teams in the NFL have numerous decisions to make with their rosters. The Chargers will have, at a minimum, 45 decisions to make.
San Diego currently has 90 players signed to their roster, according to chargers.com. By 4pm EST on the 27th of August, 48 days from now, clubs must be down to 75 players. This gives the Chargers training camp and 3 preseason games to decide the fate of 15 players.
Then the real work begins. Just 4 days later, by 6pm EST on August 31st, the Chargers must shed another 22 players and start compiling the list for the 8 player practice squad who can be signed starting 6 hours later.
This means that over the next 52 days Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco have to evaluate 90 players and identify 37 players that will not help the Chargers this year on the 53 man roster. Then at the same time, find 8 players that would not be helpful enough for the active roster, but are too valuable to let go completely and place them on the practice squad.
This short amount of time to make decisions on these young men’s careers shows you just how important training camp and preseason games are. When you take into account that the starters play usually 1 full half in game 2 and possibly more in game 3, most of the players only have 4 halves of football to try to get on the field and show what they can do in a game.
So, who is going to be asked to clean out their locker between now and August 31st? Let’s start to limit it down by listing the “locks” to make the team.
Philip Rivers – QB, Ryan Mathews – RB, Antonio Gates – TE, Malcolm Floyd – WR, Denario Alexander – WR, Keenan Allen – WR, Max Starks – T, Nick Hardwick – C, D.J. Fluker – T, Jeromey Clary – T, Kendall Reyes – DE, Corey Liuget – DE, Cam Thomas – DT, Jarret Johnson – OLB, Dwight Freeny – OLB/DE, Donald Butler – MLB, Manti Te’o – MLB, Derrick Cox – CB, Shareece Wright – CB, Marcus Gilchrist – DB, Eric Weddle – FS, Brandon Taylor – SS, Nick Novak – K, Mike Scifres – P, Mike Windt – LS
That is 25 players that, in my opinion, already are written in ink on the final 53 man roster. Which means there are 65 players competing for the remaining 28 roster spots. Check back soon for my prediction of how that competition will play out.
Follow me on twitter @boltfanindenver for updates and latest articles or just to say hey because I’m in Afghanistan and have plenty of free time! #Boltup!