A few weeks ago newly appointed Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich announced a more attacking offensive philosophy. Big deal. All offensive coordinators say that. What he said next IS a big deal, and it has been a statement which seems to have been ignored by the rest of the league. The Chargers are going to run a no-huddle offense similar to the one Peyton Manning ran in Indianapolis during his rise to quarterbacking Godhood.
THIS. IS. HUGE.
We already know Rivers is a top-ten quarterback in the NFL, his laundry list of accolades and NFL records prove that point. What this means is Rivers will have on-the-field playcalling control. The Chargers thrived in a short pass, timing, ball-control offense that put the Chargers fifth in the league in yards per game (393) and first in time of possession (33:35). San Diego will be leaving the conventional style offense for one that is more explosive.
Who better to install this offense than Frank Reich? No one. Reich was Manning’s quarterback coach in Indianapolis. He knows the intricacies of that offense. During Peyton’s time in Indianapolis, he only missed the playoffs twice, in 1998 and 2001. The Colts averaged 11 wins a season and were at or near the top of the league in total offense annually. Reich was an assistant coach on the Colts from 2008-11. While Frank was Manning’s quarterback coach, horseface won the league MVP award in back-to-back years, 2008 and 2009. The Colts also landed in the Super Bowl in 2009, although they would lose to former Charger signal caller Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
During his playing days, Reich served as the backup to Hall of Famer Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills. He played in the famed K-Gun offense that would send the Bills to four straight Super Bowls. Although his starts were sporadic, when he came in the game he proved to be very capable. There’s no better evidence of this point than the 35-point second half comeback he engineered against the Houston Oilers in the 1993 playoffs. That win was key in getting the Bills to Super Bowl XXVII. That comeback is still the largest comeback in NFL history to this day.
Frank Reich knows offense. Giving the keys to these prolific offenses in a no-huddle format to Rivers will produce similar results. Manning was able to use the quick tempo to exploit matchups and take advantage of a defense that tired chasing fleet-of-foot backs and receivers for four quarters. Kelly and Manning were able to manipulate the defense by adjusting plays at the line of scrimmage without the defense being able to substitute.
Why doesn’t every team do this? Honestly, every team can’t. Only the most cerebral of quarterbacks have the ability and the personnel to be able to orchestrate such an offense. These quarterbacks have to know every single page of the playbook backwards and forwards. They have to be mentally quick enough to see and react to the defensive formations multiple times pre-snap and adjust to an advantageous play. They have to be able to process the accelerated pace for an entire game for an entire season.
We all know Philip Rivers has those qualities. With the added freedom of making his own calls, he will be even better than we’ve already seen. I have observed quite a few games last season where Rivers spotted the weak link on the defense and exploited it over and over.
In the preseason game against Arizona, he found a cornerback matchup he liked, and kept attacking that player until the Cardinals took him out of the game. Against the Chiefs, he exploited safety Eric Berry trying to cover Antonio Gates one-on-one and kept hitting Gates for completions until the Chiefs decided to take Berry off of Gates and double cover him for the rest of the game. In the playoffs against Denver, once Bronco cornerback Chris Harris was injured, Quentin Jammer took over the duty of covering Keenan Allen. Rivers attacked Bailey him away and Allen had two touchdowns in the fourth quarter after being nearly invisible for the first three quarters.
It doesn’t matter if they’re Pro Bowl players like Bailey and Berry, or a rookie corner, once Rivers sees a weakness he will attack it until the other team adjusts. With the defense being unable to substitute without sacrificing timeouts, Philip will find more flaws in the defense and the offense will look like the juggernaut we saw on the ’90’s era Bills and 2000-10 era Colts teams that dominated the AFC. Both teams were annual playoff entrants and made multiple Super Bowls. That makes me, and it should make all the Charger faithful, extremely happy.
This offense will be great for Rivers and the Chargers, and terrible for the rest of the league. Fans should not be bothered by the loss of former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to the Tennessee Titans. Rivers has been on record, via multiple media outlets, stating that he loves the fact that Reich is a former NFL quarterback and he brings an insight to the gameplan that only a former QB can. It appears as though the offense is moving full speed ahead and will continue to run a fast-paced playbook that will constantly keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Look out for the 2014 San Diego Chargers. Don’t be surprised if they play in Glendale twice this year. Is it our year? Leave me your thoughts below.
The Greg One
In an effort to unite as many Charger fans as possible, and promote the debut of BoltBlitz Live on 107.9 The Mountain beginning on June 4th at 7:00 pm pst, I am happy to announce that we are throwing a BIG meetup at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley on May 31st at 4:00 pm pst.
There will be lots of raffle items including autographed jerseys ( Rivers and Seau), photos, non-autographed jerseys ( Lance Alworth, Melvin Ingram and LaDainian Tomlinson) and much more. We are also lucky enough to be having former-Charger Quentin Jammer making an appearance. Multiple members of the San Diego media will be in attendance as well. We are still working with 2 current players and 2 more former players to attend as well.
This is a great opportunity for us all to meet up and have a great time. For you Charger trivia buffs, we’ll be giving away some items that I did not list above by asking the fans some Charger trivia questions. Bring your A-game, because I’m making the questions. I won’t be lobbing any of them out there.
I really hope to see as many of you there as possible. We have the entire back of the bar area reserved for our group. It’s going to be a great time and I look forward to sharing that time with you.
If you’re reading this on Facebook, please share this post on your timeline and in the Charger fan groups that you are a part of at this time. If we all do a good job getting the word out, the better chance we have of meeting as many Charger fans as possible! More details of the event will be released as we get closer to the date.
We are now on day 2 of free agency. I have little doubt that many of you have been doing your homework, trying to find that next great addition to your San Diego Chargers. While doing so, I would imagine that you’re coming across many names that are very familiar to Charger fans.
This year’s free agency crop has a ton of former Chargers that almost all fans will recognize. Some of those players are probably being beckoned by fans that are hoping for them to return to America’s finest city. Although revisionist history may say that the loss of some of these players was detrimental to the team, the majority of these guys are multiple years removed from San Diego. Meaning, they are not the player that they were when they were Chargers.
To beat some of you to the punch, there is only one former Bolt that I believe could truly help San Diego; you don’t want to know who it is.
Here’s a look at the list of players that used to don lightning bolts.
Shaun Phillips OLB Denver
Quentin Jammer CB Denver
Korey Sperry TE Arizona
Scott Chandler TE Buffalo
Drayton Florence CB Carolina
Jarius Wynn DE Dallas
Steve Gregory S New England
Robert Meachem WR New Orleans
Antonio Cromartie CB New York Jets
Kassim Osgood WR/ST San Francisco
Bryan Walters WR Seattle
Thanks a lot for reading. Be sure to leave a comment below with your opinions on the next destination for these former Chargers. I wish them nothing but the best and hope their careers continue in the NFL.
Going into the 2014 offseason it’s clear that the Chargers have some work to do at the cornerback position. Whether they address that need during free agency or the draft is the question. It wouldn’t be out of the question for them to add cornerbacks via both of those avenues.
For the sake of this poll, we’ll focus on the free agency piece. This is a good year to be in the market for a cornerback. There are some solid names that will be available to the highest bidders. Players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Denver Broncos and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner are intriguing names while the class may be highlighted by the likes of former Dolphin Brent Grimes or ex-Patriot Aquib Talib. Former Packer Sam Shields is a player that I would love to see in lightning bolts. Free agent cornerback Vontae Davis was brought over to the Colts from the Dolphins in a move that occurred while Tom Telesco was still in Indianapolis; the familiarity is there and perhaps he would be another option.
As mentioned above, the need at the position is there for the Bolts. Although I am really high on 2013 5th round pick Steve Williams and I look forward to seeing him healthy in regular season action, it might be worth adding multiple corners to the roster. It is still too early to know which corners from last year will still be on the team. Thus, we aren’t quite sure how many vacancies there will be at the cornerback spot.
Below is a poll with some of the top names available in free agency at cornerback. Most of you know the drill. Place your vote and then leave your comment supporting why you voted who you voted for in this post. Thanks in advance for reading and voting!
Last season, Tom Telesco took the reins of an Indianapolis Colts franchise that had finished last in the league in 2011. Telesco was named Vice President of Football Operations in 2012. Telesco used his newfound power to overhaul the Colts roster. The Colts had gone 2-14 in 2011. Telesco dismantled the team, jettisoning long standing players such as Gary Brackett, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark and Dwight Freeney. That year, Peyton Manning was also allowed to leave after missing the season with a neck injury followed by multiple surgeries.
By the time the 2012 season rolled around, there were 36 new faces on the roster. Telesco learned from one of the master executives in NFL history in longtime Colts General Manager Bill Polian. Telesco was able to be in on the scouting and player analysis aspect in the Colts war room, having input on what players to bring in. Coincidentally, his first season was also Manning’s first season in Indianapolis.
As a result of Telesco’s overhaul, the 2012 edition of the Colts led by top draft pick quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts went 11-5 and into the playoffs. The Colts won their division again in 2013 and are prime for a long run as mainstays on the playoff landscape. Telesco’s eye for bringing in fresh talent took the Colts from worst to first in the AFC South. The Chargers noticed and in the 2013 offseason signed Telesco to become the new General Manager of the San Diego Chargers.
Right away, Telesco used the same blueprint he used in Indianapolis. Longtime Chargers were seen out the door. Among them, Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips, Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, Antonio Garay, Takeo Spikes and Antwan Barnes were among many to find themselves exiled from Chargers Park. In their place, Telesco filled their slots with young, mostly unproven role players who were capable of playing multiple positions. Players like Thomas Keiser, Sean Lissemore, Chad Rinehart, Rich Orhnberger, Derek Cox and Dunlap are all Telesco signings who have had great impact in their first season on the team.
The draft got the Chargers off and running at the 2013 NFL Draft with Telesco at the controls. The first round pick, DJ Fluker, has been a stabilizing force at right tackle. When left tackle King Dunlap missed games with a concussion, Fluker moved to the left side of the line and played great there as well. In the second round, Telesco moved up to select Mantei Teo out of Notre Dame and got California wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round.
Telesco was hailed for the picks. All were seen as first round talents. Teo unexpectedly dropped into the second round on the heels of the fake girlfriend scandal. Allen’s stock dropped because he participated in the NFL draft combine injured. Teo’s play has gotten better as the season wears on after missing almost all preseason and a quarter of the regular season with a foot injury. Allen is the odds on favorite for Offensive Rookie Of The Year after being pressed into service following an injury to Malcolm Floyd. Sixth round pick Tourek Williams has has substantial playing time in the wake of numerous injuries on the defensive line and has played above expectations.
Telesco also spearheaded the search for a new head coach, nabbing the hottest name on the market in Denver’s Mike McCoy. McCoy’s reputation with quarterbacks is well known, as all he has coached have had career seasons under his guidance.
The Chargers have missed the playoffs three years straight. Last season they had their first losing season since 2003, finishing 7-9. On the way out the door former coach Norv Turner was quoted as saying the Chargers are a few years from being a playoff team. Telesco’s vision and eye for talent has again gotten the Chargers back into the playoffs after only one season. The Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in a thriller at home 27-24 to claim the last playoff spot in the AFC.
Telesco’s magic has worked again. One season on the job, he has taken a team with a losing record and given them the personnel that got them into the playoffs the very next season. Similar to the Colts situation, the Chargers are being restocked with younger, faster players and a solid young core to build around with Fluker, Allen and Teo as the cornerstones of the new Telesco/McCoy era.
The Chargers will have cap flexibility this offseason, unlike the dire financial straits they found themselves in last offseason. Telesco reworked contracts and used the limited funds available to sign the likes of Cox, Freeney, Johnny Patrick and Danny Woodhead among others. This offseason, the Chargers have cap flexibility. The Chargers faithful finally have reason to believe with Telesco making deals and picking winners on draft day that this team is finally ready to take the next step to being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Telesco magic is working.
The Greg One
With training camp rapidly approaching, I began thinking about the story lines that will be intriguing at the start of camp, through the pre-season and heading into the regular season. I’m going to omit the new coaches and GM but obviously what they are able to do during the season is of huge intrigue. If you are a glass half full person (like me) these will excite you. In no particular order, I give you the stories to watch:
- Can Philip Rivers get his swagger back (a story featured on BoltBlitz on this topic)?
- Will Dwight Freeney resemble the potential future HOF player he was with the Colts?
- To that point, how many 4-3 looks will we see this year?
- Vincent Brown showed great promise last year before the ankle injury, can he pick up where he left off?
- Who are the best 5 to start on the O-Line?
- What do we have in Johnnie Troutman?
- Can Max Starks lock down the left side?
- Will Clary transition well to guard?
- Fluker…experts think he’s better suited for Guard…prove ’em wrong big man.
- How will Te’o and Butler mesh?
- Can Wright and Cox replace Jammer and Cason?
- Who will be the starting nickel?
- Who will start next to Eric Weddle?
- Liuget and Reyes both broke out last year, will they continue their rise to greatness?
- Ryan Mathews…I’m a believer…but now’s the time
- How will Danny Woodhead fit in with the offense…can he have a Sproles like impact (blocking too)?
- Can Danario and Rivers continue the magic?
- Meachem and Royal…Royal and Meachem
- Keenan Allen felt like a steal in the draft…how much of a steal…let’s see
- Tony Gonzalez has perfected the 10 yard hook…is it time to stop having Gates run down the field like a receiver?
- Ladarius Green…I saw you with that smooth catch and run last year?
- Cam Thomas…time to shine.
- But who will provide depth at the nose?
- Injuries have bitten us a bit the last few years…with new training staff and doctors, will that change?
Think I missed any? Leave a comment below with your story to watch this summer.
Going into the 2013 offseason the Chargers, and their fans, knew that they had to address the vacant starting cornerback positions. The decision had been made to allow both of the starting corners, Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer, to walk out of town without signing them to new contracts. The former Bolts landed in Arizona and Denver, respectively. Neither of the two will be missed much for their play on the field.
The team’s first attempt to address the need at corner was to sign free agent Derek Cox. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has proven to be more than capable when healthy. He is very solid against the run and has a good stat line versus the pass as well. As you’ll notice from the numbers below, the issue with Cox is his inability to stay healthy.
At 6’1″ 195 pounds with a 4.39 second 40 yard dash time out of William & Mary, Cox has the size and speed to man up on the opposing team’s number one wide receiver. He’s only 26 years old and entering the fifth year of his career. His best football is in front of him and it’s up to the coaching staff to put him in the best position to make plays. Look for Cox to play the left cornerback spot.
So what would the Chargers do to fill the void at the other spot opposite Cox? Who would they bring in? The answer is no one. The Bolts would find their answer in house.
Shareece Wright, a 5’11” 182 pound Colton, California product, is getting the reps at the right cornerback position and the sky is the limit for the former USC Trojan. Wright is also 26 years old and has shown solid promise during his first two years in the league.
Despite very limited regular season action – he has yet to start a game in the NFL – Wright has shown a tenacity and physicality that any team would love to have out at corner. Couple that with his speed and ball skills and you certainly have something to work with. Wright was off to a fantastic start while having a great 2012 preseason. He saw his season derailed on the opening kickoff of the regular season on a tackle versus the hated Oakland Raiders. Shareece came back and showed a lot of promise during the latter weeks of last year. In weeks 11-13 he notched a total of 12 tackles and a forced fumble. He has some footwork issues to clean up but shows a lot potential to be a difference maker if given a starting opportunity.
Both players are former third round picks and share the same age. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing at all. But what we can hope they share is success in 2013 and beyond. If the front seven of the Charger defense, with the help of some aggressive play calling from John Pagano, can get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks then I expect the duo to more than hold their own.
Only time will tell if either of the two are answers for the Chargers. The team could surely use an upgrade at both spots from previous years. I can’t recall a time where the Chargers truly did have solid corner play on both sides. Perhaps the time begins now.
Thanks a lot for reading.
After watching a Tom Telesco interview on Chargers.com, I walked away impressed with his confidence, and blunt honesty, in regards to this team. I also loved how he verbally smacked down Hacksaw Hamilton on multiple occasions. But that’s not what this article is about.
In the video Telesco was asked whether or not the door was closed on bringing back some of the free agents that were Chargers in 2012. He made it clear that the door was not closed.
Of course, there is no way to be certain of whom he was talking about specifically. I do, however, feel it’s safe to assume that Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips are most likely in that conversation.
Both Jammer and Phillips were drafted by the Chargers and have spent their entire NFL careers in lightning bolts.
Quentin Jammer was San Diego’s first round draft choice out of Texas in 2002. The former Longhorn cornerback has put in his time for the Chargers. During that time, he showed he was a serious force at the position against the run game and had a run of 3 years where he was solid in coverage. Jammer’s best years are far behind him at this point. His speed has diminished enough that keeping up with the speedy receivers of the NFL is an issue. Which brings us to this.
There are many people that believe Jammer possesses the skill set to make the transition from cornerback to strong safety. It is not an easy one, by any means. If the Chargers decide to bring him back in that capacity, I would not be opposed to that move seeing as it frees up another need in this year’s draft.
Now let’s talk about Shaun Phillips. He was picked up in the fourth round of the 2004 draft as a defensive end out of Purdue. At this point in free agency, it would make sense to re-sign him to a low salaried, short-term contract. Phillips has showed problems against the run and has lost a step in recent years. Despite racking up 9.5 sacks last year, he is best used in a complimentary role at this stage of his career.
Telesco has also said that this team is trying to get younger and faster. Neither of these two players fit the bill of those characteristics. But for the right price, it could make sense to give them one more shot at getting the job done in San Diego.
Thanks a lot for reading.
It has been made very obvious that the Chargers are doing what they can to get younger as a football team. It can also be said that they made a conscious effort to get younger at both the general manager and head coach positions as well.
Tom Telesco has already started to leave his mark on the 2013 Chargers. He has done so by either releasing veteran players or not re-signing some players that have been wearing lightning bolts for quite some time.
For those of you that had the opportunity to watch the interview between myself and Jerome Watson, @SkinnyDuzIt on Twitter, you already know how I feel about the departing veterans.
As fans, we tend to admire and love the players’ personalities more than we respect, or understand, their ability to continue to play the game at a high level. It is almost as though fan favorites can be placed into two separate categories.
Those two categories are:
Guys who are still competing at the highest level in comparison to their peers around the league.
Guys that are leaders on the field and in the community and have been around for a long time, or guys that have great personalities, outrageous hairdos, funny cars, or all of the above. (This group has two major things in common. Older and no longer producing at a high level.)
Players like Quentin Jammer, Takeo Spikes, Antonio Garay, Randy McMichael, and Shaun Phillips are gone. I do not see any chance that even one of them are coming back. Garay is already a New York Jet. I suppose there is a slight chance that Jammer could return as a strong safety but I do not think that will occur.
Although not as seasoned as the aforementioned former Chargers, Antoine Cason and Louis Vasquez are also no longer on the team. Neither are older players but it does add to the fact that Telesco has a plan and it does not include either player.
It is always difficult to watch your favorite players be cut or released. Sometimes it’s even more difficult once you see them wearing another team’s jersey. But, the fact of the matter is this is a business. And, quite honestly, they will be replaced by younger, cheaper players that can perform as well, if not better, than the guys who are no longer in San Diego.
I wish them all the best. They all have made various contributions both on the field and off of it. It is both of those things that will be missed by some. The latter will be what the more serious, fact/stat based fans will miss.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The Chargers have certainly had a relatively quiet, yet productive, free agency period thus far. With additions on the offensive line in King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart, also bringing in Derek Cox at the cornerback position, we have certainly filled some of the gaping holes in our roster. Danny Woodhead was a pleasant surprise signing and should prove to be a difference make for Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
My biggest question at this point is what are we going to do about the strong safety position? Atari Bigby struggled to solidify himself as a good counterpart to Eric Weddle during the 2012-2013 season, which consequently led to his release from the roster. With the newly vacated strong safety position, the question of what direction to take next arises. The Chargers can look to within the current depth chart or they can look to some of the veteran free agents who remain unsigned.
The market for safeties this year has been fairly strong. Safeties are certainly coming at a high price tag. Some of the stronger free agent options still available on the market are Bernard Pollard, Michael Huff, Kerry Rhodes, and Tom Zbikowski. In addition, bringing back a fan favorite in Quentin Jammer and moving him to the safety position is certainly a short term option that could prove to be effective.
Brandon Taylor, who was taken in the third round of last year’s draft, appears to me to be a very promising player for the future, but it is imperative that he continues to be mentored and developed by veterans of the NFL. The other internal option is Darrell Stuckey III. Stuckey has been an exceptional special teams player for the past couple of years and evidently gives it his all on the field. We as fans should not forget that Stuckey, who came out of the University of Kansas, was considered a very proficient collegiate safety. He racked up over 90 tackles in each of his last two years at Kansas and had 8 career interceptions. Statistically, Stuckey was a better safety in college than Brandon Taylor and should be given the chance to play the position in the NFL. If he is indeed given the opportunity to compete for the starting job, which seems to be the sentiment, I would be shocked if he didn’t excel.
All in all, it is very important that our secondary improves in all aspects of the game this coming season. Whether Tom Telesco and the coaching staff seek a veteran free agent like in years past, or give Taylor or Stuckey the chance to prove themselves, is going to be something to watch in these coming months.
In my opinion, I say spend the money elsewhere and give Stuckey the chance to develop and play along side Weddle.
That being said, what is your opinion? Below I have included a poll for you to have your voice be heard. If you do vote, please leave a comment explain why you voted the way that you did.