The day of January 15, 2017 is almost here. That day is the date in which the Chargers need to either use the option to move the team to Los Angeles or to stay in San Diego, attempting to work out a mutually beneficial stadium agreement for the Chargers organization and the city of San Diego. Of course, there is also the option that they could ask to extend the option to Los Angeles, adding the much-needed time to keep the Bolts in America’s finest city. The move to Los Angeles would be a costly one, but it also would be a very, very, stupid decision on the part of Chargers management.
This season it was reported that most of the ticket sales for the Chargers-Raiders game in San Diego were from L.A. county, so much so that the Chargers had to practice the silent count in order to deal with the crowd. However, when the game was played, it was not a bunch of Chargers fans, it was a ton of Raiders fans. That game should have been physical proof that the Chargers will not be welcome in Los Angeles.
“So they will re-brand and become more profitable.”
This is a false statement because Los Angeles already has two established fan bases: the Rams and the Raiders. Trying to build a completely new franchise would be next to impossible. Then the money that would be involved in such a re-brand.
First they would have to pay for a firm to conduct the survey about naming the team, then they would have to take the name to digital designers, after that they would have to create the merchandise. Keep in mind, that is not the merchandise that is sold to the general public. Think about the amount of logos you see of a team in any given stadium in any sport. The concourses have logos, the cups, the golf carts, the uniforms, the field of play, the jumbotrons and so on and so forth.
First, imagine the cost of all of that, then add the $500 million dollar relocation fee to the NFL. So, right now it is safe to say moving to Los Angeles will be a costly decision, I mean, it’s only a couple of billion dollars. All spent on the chance they might make a profit due to the larger audience. Personally, that seems like too much money to me to be spent on a “possibility”. If they were to re-brand, as an original team in Los Angeles, history shows that all the teams who have already done that, have eventually moved away from Los Angeles.
With the history of the Spanos family that we have seen in San Diego, we know two things: they are not big spenders and they do not seem to make sound football decisions, they make business decisions. If someone wanted to move a business, why leave all the loyal customers, spend a couple of billion dollars, just purely on the possibility that you might actually turn a profit. In other words, there is a very small chance the Spanos’ clan will be successful in Los Angeles.
Recently the City and County of San Diego, along with San Diego State University, unveiled a new downtown stadium plan. Read about it in this link ( http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/columnists/kevin-acee/sd-sp-charupdate-0103-story.html).
The headline reads that it would be up to the rest of the league to allow Spanos to move the team. I do not think that the owners are going to give up a ninth home game in San Diego. Not to mention, losing one of America’s largest tourist destinations would hurt the NFL’s bottom line in multiple ways.
After the Rams experiment in Los Angeles, the owners are probably very weary of the fans in Los Angeles. This seasons ratings for the Los Angeles Rams were actually LOWER than the tv ratings while the team was in St Louis. (Source: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/12/st-louis-los-angeles-rams-television-ratings-nfl)
That proves, in my mind, that even though they will be moving to a more populated area, that does guarantee that the team will make money. Even after all the money the Rams spent, they are (so far) not better off in Los Angeles.
In closing, the Chargers will not move to Los Angeles because of the necessary costs of the move and the results of the Los Angeles Rams’ experiment prematurely seeming to be a bad plan.
Not to mention, in the last game, there was a sign that was posted outside of the Q that said,” keeping the tradition in San Diego.” This means either they are staying, or they are keeping the name “Chargers” in San Diego.
Thanks a lot for reading.
When the average football fan thinks about the best quarterbacks currently in the league, they acknowledge Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as the best in the NFL, and understandably so. But why does Philip Rivers continue to get overlooked? Why can’t he be considered a top-5 or even top-3 signal caller?
Or can he?
It goes without saying that the quarterback position is the most important position in football. Rarely do you see teams succeed without quality quarterback play.
Take the Broncos and Manning last season as an example. The Broncos’ defense was great. Statistically, Peyton had the worst season of his career and had a below average playoffs. But his leadership qualities and his football-genius mind was enough to lead the Broncos to a title (which still haunts me). If you were to put any other QB that had that kind of season that wasn’t Peyton, the Broncos don’t have a Championship right now. Having a quarterback who can take full command of the offense and be trusted day-in and day-out to lead your team to a victory no matter what the scenario is, should be treasured.
Philip Rivers is the embodiment of leadership.
In 2004, the Chargers selected Eli Manning with their 1st overall pick in the draft. However, Eli made it clear he did not want to play for the Chargers. Three picks later, the Giants picked Philip with the 4th pick and the teams managed to come to an agreement that included the Giants getting Eli and, in exchange, the Chargers got Rivers, a 2005 first-rounder which turned into Shawne Merriman, and a 2005 fifth-round pick in which the Chargers traded to Tampa for offensive tackle Roman Oben.
The Chargers were then stuck with a tough decision following the 2005 season: should they go with Drew Brees or Rivers as the team’s quarterback. The choice was obvious in Rivers, as Brees had injury concerns due to a shoulder ailment suffered at the end of the previous season.
In 2006, Rivers’ first full season as the starter under center, he took full advantage of the promotion, throwing 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions and 3,388 yards. Impressive, right? What’s more impressive is the 14-2 record the Chargers produced. Now, of course they benefitted from a historic year from LaDainian Tomlinson, but that is still quite a welcoming to the league for him.
Philip has had a great career in San Diego. There can be endless arguments made as to whether or not quarterbacks like Big Ben, Brady, Rodgers, et cetera are to be considered better than No. 17, having more successful careers even though some of them have benefitted from having great defenses, numerous groupings of clutch players and, most importantly, great coaching.
Philip also has a trait that only he and Eli stand up atop the list among active QBs for… DURABILITY. Including the playoffs, Rivers has started 169 consecutive games. That’s 10 full seasons and nine games of another. When you put into perspective that he tore his ACL against the Colts in the 2007 playoffs and came back in the AFC championship after surgery to play, it tells you a lot about the toughness and leadership he wields.
Another gritty performance that is framed in my mind is in 2014 in the latter half of the year. Philip was dealing with back spasms against the 49ers. He led a furious comeback win in overtime despite having a bum back. Health or off-the-field issues have never been a problem for Rivers.
It goes without saying that Rivers isn’t the best QB in terms of rings or playoff wins. Now that being said, he brings one quality that next to nobody can match, and that is competitiveness. It doesn’t matter if you’re a punter, water boy or 330-pound defensive lineman, Philip will always be in your face. Even if he’s having an off-game, his mouth is always running. The heart and devotion he pours into the Chargers isn’t comparable to any others. The energy Rivers brings to the team is both fierce and contagious. He’s able to develop chemistry with his players exceptionally well,which is evidenced in his relationships with players such as Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen and, obviously, Antonio Gates.
In 2013 against the Denver Broncos on TNF, the Chargers took the 11-2 Broncos down at Mile High. This performance had to have been my favorite; not only because of what proved to be a very crucial game in an improbable Chargers’ playoff run, but because Rivers handled it like it was just another day at the office. He was out there as competitive as ever, having a good time.
Being a huge fan of Brady, a fan of Brees since the SD days, liking Rodgers cause he’s a surgeon while slinging the rock, I still feel confident in saying that none of the aforementioned signal callers can match Philip’s intensity. That is a really good thing going into this season, because this is a sneaky good team on both sides of the ball.
If Philip can get these young rookies’ heads on straight quickly, this team can be very scary. I truly stand by my opinion when I say the resurgence of Melvin Gordon and the O-Line staying healthy will give Rivers the opportunity to cement his status as a top-3 QB this year. As long as this roster continues to gel and get better, he should have multiple shots at championships, and that might be the only thing separating him from being thrown into the mix with everyone else’s favorite quarterbacks.
Rivers is currently 14th all-time on the passing list with 41,447 yards, and can move into 7th or 8th with a 4,500-yard-plus campaign. He also has 281 passing TDs, which is ranked 11th in NFL history; having as little as 20-25 touchdowns this could move him up three or four spots. All of this is incredible when you realize that he didn’t start for the first two years of his career.
In comparing him to another Chargers great, Dan Fouts, let’s take a look on how their stats match up.
Fouts had a 14-year career in San Diego ranging from 1973-1987. Philip has been in the league for 12 years now, so their stats should match up similarly, right? Well, in terms of durability, they’re both as reliable as super glue for a school project. Fouts played in 181 games in his career and started 171, while Philip has played in 164 and started 160.
A lot of people consider accuracy to be the main ingredient in selecting a QB. While Fouts does have roughly 2,000 more career passing yards — 43,040– than Rivers — 41,447 — while his accuracy is far worse. In fact, Philip makes Fouts look little league when I researched each of their completion percentages.
Rivers boasts a 281-135 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while as Fouts holds a 254-242 ratio. Rivers’ career completion percentage of 64.8 is exactly 6% points higher than that of Fouts (58.8%). Total QBR — Quarterback rating — is another stat in which Philip takes a dominant lead on Fouts. Philip clocks in with a whopping 95.5 QBR compared to Fouts’ number of 80.2.
In terms of records, Philip also grabs the crown. Rivers has piled up a 92-68 record and Fouts had 86-84-1 record. Fouts does have an MVP award and one more Pro-Bowl nod than Rivers, six to five, respectively.
In 1993, Fouts was elected to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Rivers still has a couple of years or so to grab every possible passing statistic in Chargers history and, furthermore, climb up the NFL’s all-time passing ranks. So in that theory, I very much expect Philip to be a sure-lock for the Hall Of Fame.
Now, lets take a look and compare his stats to his fellow 2004 draftees, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
While you can easily say that both of them have the easy edge over Rivers by having 2 rings, that doesn’t define one player as a whole. I did some research and noted that both Ben and Eli started the year they were drafted. Philip did not start a game until the 2006 season. But what shocks me most is that Philip isn’t too far behind in stats and, in fact, had the same kind of seasons, if not better seasons, the years Ben and Eli won their respective rings.
We can look at Eli’s numbers first. In 2007, the year the Giants made history and took down the Patriots, Eli’s stat-line finished with 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 3,336 yards and a 56.1 completion percentage. Philip had almost identical numbers that season with 21 touchdowns 15 interceptions, 3,152 yards and a 60.1 completion percentage. You could even make a case that had Philip not torn his ACL those playoffs, that Chargers-Patriots game would have finished with a different victor.
Next, let’s touch base on Big Ben’s 2008 championship season.
Roethlisberger’s stat-line for that year included 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 3,301 yards and a 59.9 completion percentage. Now, at the end of the day, he won a ring, but Philip’s 2008 season was far superior. In fact, that could’ve been Philip’s best year stat-wise, despite the Bolts finishing 8-8. He produced 34 touchdowns to just 11 Interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.5, boasting an outstanding QB rating of 105.5.
Has Philip had the success both Eli and Ben have had in terms of winning rings? No. Has he put his team on his back more and given his teammates more opportunities to win? Certainly.
Philip currently ranks behind both of them on the all-time leaderboards for passing. Rivers is ranked 14th behind Ben by about 1,500 yards, and is behind Eli — 11th — by roughly 3,000.
In my honest opinion, I believe when it’s all said and done, he’ll be above both of them. Additionally, he’s 11th on the passing TDs leaderboard — in front of Ben by nine touchdowns and behind Eli by 13.
Taking these facts and stats into consideration, the rings weigh a huge amount in terms of Philip not getting the credit he deserves.
So, while there might a small strain of bias on my part, I ensure you that Philip is everything I have made him out to be in this article, and everything he’s proven via the numbers provided above. He’s a franchise QB, a positive role model on and off the field and a rare leader, competitor and talent that you won’t come across very often. It is also worth noting, he’s a damn good dresser. You can never go wrong with rattlesnake-skin boots and a bolo tie.
I encourage you all to tune into some Chargers games this season and check him out and let me know what you think.
Where does Philip rank on your list? Let me know in the comment section below.
The San Diego Chargers (2-4) head into this Week 7 matchup coming off yet another close loss, this time to the Green Bay Packers. Here are my keys to winning this week’s matchup against the hated ones, the Oakland Raiders (2-3).
1.) Air it out
Throw the ball. Whether it be another 65 times or less, sling the rock. The Raiders currently sit as the worst passing defense in football and Chargers currently have the best passing offense in football. Much like last week, the Chargers need to use their strength on offense, and continue to use it until the Raiders can (if they can) stop it. If Reich and Rivers both stick to this, the Chargers should come away with their third victory of the season.
2.) Defense, time to eat
What I mean by this, is time to make plays and force turnovers. The Chargers’ defense has only forced seven turnovers in 2015, tying them for fifth worst in football. They need to force turnovers, give the offense a short field and maybe even score points defensively. Either way, they need to get Derek Carr moving his feet, forcing him to chuck up passes and the Chargers’ defense needs to convert those into INTs.
3.) Play smart
You’re at home, play mistake-free. The less mistakes you have, the more of an opportunity you have to win. It’s that simple. Win the penalty column (by committing less than the opposition) and you should be going into Week 8 one game closer to .500.
Do you guys agree or disagree with my keys? Lets me know below and go Bolts!
There are some that would love to see the San Diego Chargers move to Los Angeles – mostly those involved in the business aspect. There are even a few that would root for the club if they became the L.A Chargers. I, on the other hand, feel absolutely sick to my stomach even at the thought of it, and here’s why.
I was born and raised in San Diego and currently reside in Arizona. I have many fond memories of my hometown and visit fairly often. My memories include such things as jet skiing in the bay, bonfires on the beach and hanging out at Horton Plaza mall. Even my late father’s ashes lay in the frigid water of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Coronado. Yet, my most favorite recollections are watching the San Diego Chargers on TV. Supporting the Chargers is what keeps me close to home, and keeps those memories alive and vivid in my mind. For the past few years, there have been multiple articles written and many discussions articulating the possibility of the Chargers moving to L.A. That being said, I could never root for the L.A Chargers.
I do not like L.A. It could be the traffic, the vanity of everyone that lives there or even the annoyance of how everything feels so rushed. There has always been an undisclosed tension between the people of San Diego and Los Angeles, but I don’t think anything compares to the football pressure. Yes, the Chargers spent a year in L.A, but left in 1961 for one reason…no fans! Most recently, many were left bitter when the Rams left there and headed east to St. Louis after the 1994 season. Since then, the city has been searching for a team to wake up the city’s sleepy football community. Here’s where I will say, with my heart on my sleeve, “Look somewhere else because it can’t be the San Diego Chargers”.
San Diego is a city everyone loves. Have you ever heard someone utter “meh, I really don’t like San Diego”? I have so much love for where I’m from and for the Chargers! I sometimes blab on about how Philip Rivers, even without a Super Bowl ring, is a top-five quarterback, or that the team is extremely underrated, or even going as far as wearing a shirt with Manning’s name and an inappropriate symbol embossed on it. I love San Diego and I love the San Diego Chargers. Hell, I even love that Father Time stadium we call the Q. I couldn’t possibly see it any other way. Envisioning “The Los Angeles Chargers” makes me cringe and snarl. But more importantly, I feel a heavy heart with even the possibility of a move; a heaviness that cannot ever be mended. The San Diego Chargers are one of the last things to give me solace in the city I live that isn’t considered home.
One of San Diego’s greatest athletes was born in Los Angeles, the late Tony Gwynn, but spent his entire baseball career in the nation’s finest city playing his entire career with the Padres. For many reasons, Gwynn migrated to San Diego and remained there. Even his final resting place is in Poway. In addition, Junior Seau spent his beginning and remaining years in San Diego. With such a rich history, there’s absolutely every reason to be a fan of any San Diego professional sport.
I despise Los Angeles, and the fact that the city was once home to the Raiders gives me an even more burning hatred. I want the Chargers to forever claim San Diego as their finest city, and having the best fans in the NFL. I couldn’t see it any other way. Fans like me will agree it wouldn’t be the same and, personally, the loss would perpetually scar my football heart. It might be that the Chargers have a very special fan base or that they continue to have an underdog reputation and never get the credit they deserve. But I wouldn’t want it to be any different. The San Diego Chargers are imprinted on me, like a scalding brand to a calf’s hindquarter. I cannot, and will never, support a team called the L.A Chargers.
With the draft now creeping to within two weeks, the first skirmishes with Raider fans are on the horizon. We know Raider fans. Myopic. Simple. Masters of revisionist history. Ready to fight. Fresh out of prison. The usual.
All of us at some point will face down Raider fans, most of the time they’ll be in an alcoholic haze and repeat the same argument through slurred words. For those rare sober occasions, here’s all you need to know for that confrontation.
1. Al Davis. Now that Mr. Raider himself has passed on, Raider fans will regard him like he’s the Patron Saint of football. It is hard to believe Davis got his start with the L.A./San Diego Chargers from 1960-62. That fact alone may make some heads explode. Oakland’s vertical offense was an idea Davis took from then Chargers coach Sid Gilman. Davis went from American Football League Commissioner to head coach/owner of the Raiders after the AFL/NFL merger. Right out of the blocks, Davis was stealing from the Chargers!
2. The Raiders teams. When the Raiders were actually good from 1967-85, 90-93 and 200-2003, the Raiders were the textbook example of a dirty team. Listen to the NFL Films recordings of guys like Howie Long, Ronnie Lott and Bill Romanowski. The Raiders tried to win through intimidation, late hits and flat out cheating. Davis’ ‘Just Win Baby’ was the mantra the Raiders lived by and the did everything they could to live up to that motto. A Raider broke Joe Namath’s jaw. The Raiders victimized the Chargers with the infamous ‘Holy Roller’ play where Raiders purposely fumbled the ball forward in order to score the winning touchdown. It was the Raiders Jack Tatum that permanently paralyzed Patriots receiver Daryl Stingley with a brutal hit in a 1978 PRESEASON game. There’s dirty, then there are the Raiders.
3. Raider Nation. A by-product of a sadist team and their evil owner, Raiders fans get out on furlough long enough to go to the game then back to their cell blocks afterwards. No other fan base is more reviled and known for their propensity for violence than Raiders fans. Countless stories of gang beatings of fans of other teams can be found everywhere. They come dressed in black, in spiked shoulder pads, adorned in silver and black face paint and Darth Vader masks. No matter how terrible the Raiders are, Raiders fan will speak through their delusion as if their team had just won the Super Bowl. As a public service to Chargers fans, here is a Point/Counterpoint to that inevitable conversation.
*The Chargers have swept the Raiders eight of the last nine seasons. They are 15-2 in their last 17 games.
* Since their last Super Bowl appearance in the 2002-03 season, the Raiders are 49-107.
*The Raiders have not won the division or finished higher than third place in the AFC West since 2002.
At this point, Raiders fan will automatically launch into, ‘How many Super Bowls have you won?!’ The correct answer is ‘The last time the Raiders were in the Super Bowl, they LOST by 27 points to TAMPA BAY!! The last Super Bowl the Raiders actually WON was in 1983.’ Add in a ‘Were you even BORN yet?’ If this is a younger Raider fan on the other end of this conversation. (Most likely it will be!)
The Raiders front office is clueless and you need look no further than their first round draft picks since the turn of the century.
2000- Sebastian Janikowski. What idiot chooses to spend a first round pick on a KICKER? You don’t even do that in FANTASY football!
2001- Defensive Back Derrick Gibson. Five years and out of football.
2002- Running Back Napoleon Harris. Traded in 2005. Returned in 2009. Cut five days later. Defensive Back Philip Buchanon. Traded in 2005.
2003- Defensive End Tyler Brayton. Ran for the hills in 2007. Defensive Back Nnamdi Asomugha. Best pick of the decade, became elite cover corner. However, Davis left a clause in his contract that rendered the third year of his deal null and void if the Raiders didn’t pay him the average of the top five cornerbacks in the league or 16.875 million, whichever was higher. The contract language also prohibited the Raiders from using the franchise tag on him! Nnamdi walked away and signed with the Eagles as a free agent in 2011 and the Raiders got nothing in return. BAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!
2004- Offensive Tackle Robert ‘The Undertaker’ Gallery. Dud.
2005- Defensive Back Fabian Washington. Traded in 2008.
2006- Safety Michael Huff. Signed with Baltimore this ofseason.
2007- Quarterback Jamarcus Russell. Biggest first round bust ever. Thanks for taking that designation from Ryan Leaf and putting it back where it belongs, in the Raider organization.
2008- Running Back Darren Mcfadden. May be a decent back if he can stay on the field long enough.
2009- Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. In his rookie season he had more games played (11) than catches (9). Signed with Indianapolis this offseason.
2010- Linebacker Rolando McClain. Signed with Baltimore this offseason.
No first round picks in 2011 or 2012.
Now we arrive in the glory days of this rivalry (for the Chargers). The Charger faithful can take heart in the fact that there is a team we outdraft on the regular. The Raiders have made colossal bungles. They drafted Heyward-Bey on a blazing 40 time alone, bypassing Michael Crabtree, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin and Kenny Britt in the process. In 2009, Davis gave Janikowski NINE MILLION guaranteed as part of a 4-year 16 million dollar deal.
In 2001 Davis became and remains as the only GM to trade his HEAD COACH to another team, sending Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay and replacing Gruden with Bill Callahan. Callahan got the Raiders to the Super Bowl (with Gruden’s players) and in an amazing twist of fate was beaten by Gruden’s Buccaneers by 27 points. That’s what you call KARMA.
Lest we forget Jamarcus Russell. Davis refused to admit defeat and rolled Russell out there for three seasons. The Raiders went 13-34 in the Russell era. A couple years ago Russell was in the news for an arrest for the possession of ‘purple drank’ aka codeine syrup. Russell’s life coach QUIT on him. Not only was Russell so far down the D-list that he couldn’t even score good drugs, the man he PAID (presumably) to take an interest and help him turn his life around saw no hope and abandoned ship! Now talk has risen this offseason of Russell attempting a comeback and I think the Raiders should give him a second chance!!
The Raiders are simply bad reality TV. They’re so horrible you feel better about your own life. The Greg One does hope this romp through Raiders epic fails and the failures they call fans have lifted your spirits. Just lose baby!
Now Charger fans, take this ammunition and use it to blow holes in Raider fan’s skulls!
The Greg One
Per multiple sources, including both NFL Network and ESPN.com, the Oakland Raiders have agreed to acquire Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks. The trade agreement is said to include a 2014 draft selection and a 2015 conditional choice.
Although the Raiders are at least a couple of years from being a serious threat in the AFC West, you better believe that they just got better at the quarterback position.
The acquisition of Flynn shows that Carson Palmer is indeed on his way out the door. ESPN.com also reported that Oakland is close to shipping Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals for “minimal compensation.”
The trades of both Flynn and Palmer will affect the Chargers. It is now going to be assumed that the Raiders and Cardinals, both of which have draft picks before the Chargers are on the clock at number 11, and have been connected to rumors of selecting a quarterback with their respective first round choices, will forgo selecting a signal caller at picks 3 and 7. This very well could mean that the top 3 offensive tackles will be off of the board when the Bolts are ready to make their pick.
I had already come to grips with the fact that the Raiders would most likely trade for Matt Flynn. Hearing now that the speculation about Palmer to Arizona is a strong possibility leads me to believe that I am justified in my thinking that the Chargers should trade down and acquire more picks in the upcoming draft.
We will find out soon enough. Greg Williams, staff writer here at BoltBLitz.com, and I will be there live to provide you as much coverage of the draft as possible. We are going to be flying out to New York City to attend the 2013 NFL draft live at Radio City Music Hall.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com for all of your Charger and draft needs.
Thanks a lot for reading.
A lot of big name free agents are finding their new homes in the AFC West. Our beloved San Diego Chargers are standing pat, preferring to add depth and build through the draft. Its hard to look at the names settling into Kansas City and Denver and not be concerned about the Chargers strategy.
Peyton Manning cruised into Denver this past season and propelled the Broncos into the number one seed in the AFC West, highlighted by a ten game winning streak to finish the season. In the offseason, the Broncos continue to add weapons. The major coup is the acquisition of slot receiver Wes Welker from New England. They also added DT Terrance Knighton from Jacksonville and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in addition to swiping OG Louis Vasquez from the Chargers. The Broncos have added big names to offense and defense in addition to weakening a division rival in a primary need area. The Broncos are also currently in the mix to bring in DE Dwight Freeney from Indianapolis.
Kansas City inexplicably went 2-14 last season, a season that looked promising with the return of feature back Jamaal Charles, TE Tony Moeaki, and S Eric Berry; all of whom missed the season before with devastating injuries. The Chiefs failed to live up to their potential despite sending six players to the Pro Bowl last season. In the offseason the Chiefs decided quarterback Matt Cassel was not the answer and signed free agent QB Alex Smith of the 49ers, expendable after the meteoric rise of Colin Kaepernick. The Chiefs have also added CB Sean Smith, TE Anthony Fasano, DB Dunta Robinson, WR Donnie Avery and QB Chase Daniel.
The Oakland Raiders…remain the Oakland Raiders. Their biggest free agent signing has been OLB Kevin Burnett. They have been busy letting their few good players go. CB Michael Huff, WR Darius Heyward-Bey, P Shane Lechler have all been shown the door and quarterback Carson Palmer is on his way out as well. The punchline is the Raiders are kicking the tires on the return of…Vince Young?
So, for at least two of the other three teams in the division, lots of heavy hitters and impact players are signing up while the Chargers are content with CB Derek Cox as the only sure fire starter signing. Are the Chargers right to follow this path? Consider these observations.
The Raiders deserve no consideration. The Chargers have beaten the Raiders 15 out of their last 17 games with the only aberration being a Raiders sweep in 2011. The beatings will continue. Vince Young. Nuff said.
Even with the return of their injured Pro Bowlers, Kansas City was an abject failure, unable to execute in any facet of the game. Cassel was terrible, eventually losing his job to Brady Quinn. Charles has a nice comeback season but was missing in the box score some games. The Chiefs were swept by the Chargers by a total combined score of 68-33. The Chiefs have to overhaul their team and they’re starting by signing every free agent who will get on a plane. To Kansas City, San Diego is the Joneses. Forget Denver, KC must revamp the lineup just to keep up with the Chargers!
In Denver, the rich get richer. Peyton Manning is gifted the most dangerous slot receiver in Welker. Manning had the most completions to the slot receiver of any quarterback in the league which could make Welker even more lethal than he was in New England. Cromartie and Knighton were once bigger names than they are now but they are names fans know. Freeney’s best days are behind him but Manning wants him in Denver and usually what Peyton wants, Peyton gets. Signing Vasquez had the dual purpose of adding even more protection to an already sturdy Broncos offensive line while weakening the Chargers even more at their most vulnerable position.
Denver has ascended to the top of the division and are the team to beat. Lots of flashy names are rolling by but the Chargers are still the team to challenge them for the division. Even with their many shortcomings, the Chargers were one dropped pass, one failed 4th and 29 stop and one helmet to helmet hit from being a ten win team last season. That’s not considering the Monday Night meltdown in San Diego against the Broncos. The Chargers dominated the Broncos to the tune of 24-0 at halftime before the wheels fell off and Denver ran off five unanswered touchdowns in the second half. The Broncos only won the second game by a touchdown. More importantly, losing DE Elvis Dumervil and OLB DJ Williams can have an adverse effect on the defense that allowed the Chargers 23.5 points against them last season.
The point in this diatribe is do not be distracted by all the flashy cars passing us on the highway headed to Denver and Kansas City. The Chargers are taking the right approach. The Chargers are still the second best team in the AFC West. General Manager Tom Telesco is plodding along and adding solid, versatile players undaunted by the high volume of signings in the division. Beware the “Dream Team” style rash of big name signings going to one team ala the 2011 Eagles. This could be one more example of the tortoise (Telesco) catching the hare (Elway).