Hey, kids. I took some time off, and had surgery and other stuff going on, but I never stopped being a fan of, or paying attention to, our Chargers. This article started out to be about the Chargers, but I found it to take a turn toward something I would like to address.
They (you know who “they” are) say that during the NFL season the average percentage of domestic violence goes up. I can see how the football season can affect some people who don’t have much self-control. In light of the latest controversy dealing with, but not exclusive to, Ray Rice, the domestic violence issue has been a huge deal, as it should be. I don’t know if you noticed but one thing stood out to me that doesn’t seem to be mentioned is that after Rice punched his then fiance’ square in the face, he seemed to be very calm as he picked up her limp body and dragged her out of the elevator as if this was a common occurrence for him.
I just wonder what goes through a man’s mind when he does something like that. The other controversy is that how the league seemingly is trying to downplay the incident. Really? I understand trying to protect the players, but not when it comes to domestic violence. Leave the hitting for the field.
Say goodbye to your multi-million dollar career, not to mention all the money you could have made in endorsement deals. Now you’re going to be viewed as a villain. I’m sure Ray Rice is probably a great guy but when you hit, punch, sock, whatever you want to call it, a woman it is so sad and pathetic. I myself have encountered the same and I WALKED AWAY. It’s a sad situation that it takes something like this to be reactive.
Mr. Goodell..let’s be proactive instead.
A month ago, it appeared that the Chargers had too much of a good thing with five running backs and only four positions available. As of this writing, the team now has four running back slots with two available running backs and two running backs injured (one, Danny Woodhead, out for the season).
One possible addition, Marion Grice, was taken from the practice squad and signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
So, what’s a general manager going to do to address this need?
I imagine Tom Telesco is doing one of three things:
1. He’s working the phones for available free agents.
2. He receiving calls from agents who represent available free agents.
Then there’s the gutsy, but unlikely, third possibility that Telesco may stand pat and play with what is currently on the roster.
The Chargers are heading into what maybe the softest part of their schedule. Homes games against the Jaguars, Jets, and Chiefs. Roads games against the Raiders and Broncos (remember, maybe).
Ryan Mathews may be back by the time the Chargers head north to face their nemesis, the Raiders. So, Telesco has a decision to make in regards to signing a short-term solution until Mathews’ return. However, exactly who is available?
Here’s a short list of who is still available, according to Spotrac.com: Ray Rice is suspended indefinitely, so not available. Rashard Mendenhall has retired and will probably stay retired. A few big names whose productive years are behind them are Michael Bush and Willis McGahee. A lot of the names are third stringers who probably held onto their jobs by their fingernails. One name who would make things interesting against the Raiders is George Atkinson III. His dad, George, is a former Raiders safety.
If we follow Arizona’s playbook, Telesco could sign Damien Thigpen. A former UCLA running back, Thigpen would be in a similar position to Grice, minus the practice squad membership.
If anything, the current unrestricted free agent running back class is filled with players who have bounced from practice squad to practice squad. Many backs available are under six feet and 200 lbs. The Chargers already have a running back of that stature: Brandon Oliver who rushed for 11 total yards last Sunday against Buffalo. Hopefully, he will see more carries in the upcoming games against Jacksonville.
One possibility I will discuss here briefly is the availability of three running backs who may have not reached their potential with the teams they were playing for. LaMichael James, a University of Oregon product going into his third season before his requested release from San Francisco, is a small back about Woodhead’s size. Speculation is that James would be playing with a chip on his shoulder considering he felt he was more than just a kick returner. Although he may not be around when the Chargers pay a visit to Levi’s Stadium later in the year, that attitude may just the ticket for the team.
Kahlil Bell, who last played for the Green Bay Packers, is a little bigger at six feet and 219 pounds with a 4.74 40 yard dash. His stat sheet at ESPN shows that Bell can not only run, but he can catch the ball which makes a possible dump-off receiver for Philip Rivers. Although he wouldn’t be a featured back, his size and ability to do different things for the team will help provide relief for Donald Brown.
Finally, Ben-Jarvis Green Ellis, who last played for Cincinnati, is another big back who could spell Brown when needed. Having a 4.6 40 yard dash, Green Ellis has done something other backs on this list haven’t done. And that is score touchdowns. He has 42 TDs to his credit (a career-high 13 TDs in 2010). Green Ellis’ release provided cap relief to Cincinnati after he was scheduled to make $2.3 million this season.
A major decision has to be made at Chargers Park. Both James and Green Ellis are getting looks from other teams. Injuries have been hitting other teams and not just the Chargers. In my opinion, the team cannot strictly rely on Rivers’ arm until Mathews’ return later this season. Like any faithful Charger fan, I’m sure Telesco knows what is best for the team going forward.
Either that or maybe the team tries talking Mendenhall out of retirement. It worked for Pittsburgh, who is re-signing James Harrison after he retired earlier this year.
So, if you were the Charger general manager, who would you like to see running the ball after Brown and Oliver?
The Chargers have shown a ton of promise in the first three weeks of the season. The game against the Bills was a test for the Mike McCoy system. Many of the Charger fans were worried how the offensive system would work without Ryan Mathews. The system was as built around Rhino as much it was around Rivers. Short bruising runs that wear down the D-line and set up 3rd and short is the offense San Diego runs now.
When Mathews was carted off against Seattle, many of us thanked Tom Telesco for his foresight to pay big money for Donald Brown. Brown has always been a back up, but he made big plays for the horseshoe in Indy.
Before the year, started the three-headed monster of Brown, Mathews, and Woodhead was nicknamed BMW by many fans. While the Bolts smartly activated undrafted rookie Brandon Oliver this week. It was expected that Brown and Woodhead would split the carries.
Yeah, I was cursing the football gods just like you when Woodhead twisted his ankle on his only touch of the game. BMW seems cursed with some bad luck right now. I realize this is a serious problem for a team that is suddenly looking like it could challenge Denver for the division. Establishing the running game is, of course, crucial.
Remember when the final 53-man roster was released and all the pundits with Facebook accounts thought Tom Telesco was crazy for having 5 running backs? If we have learned anything in the Telesco era it is this…Trust the man.
When Woodhead was waving from the cart, we had two running backs in uniform (which I believe is more than Panthers had by the end of Sunday night Football). McCoy and Reich didn’t show a lot of faith in Oliver despite having one nice run for a first down. I realize it is not sustainable to have Donald Brown involved in more than 60% of the offensive plays including 31 carries. Coach McCoy even said the man didn’t want to come out. I know his average was low, but he was mostly draining clock in garbage time and Buffalo does have a monster front seven.
We got the win. I even saw people driving around town blasting the disco fight song…so what soured my mood?
I was shocked yesterday afternoon while I was still enjoying the road victory over Buffalo that a few fans have taken to the internet to suggest some truly ridiculous solutions to our running back situation. Not Activate Grice, or run David Johnson at fullback some. Not get more touches to Oliver.
WE SHOULD PICK UP THE WIFE ABUSING RAY RICE!
HOW ABOUT THE CHILD ABUSING ADRIAN PETERSON?
Are you people serious? Forget for a moment that Mathews is not done for the season, however that is important. When teams that have contracts for these really talented people who they are treating like they have the black plague you are thinking – Hey, just what our team needs????
Just two weeks ago I posted an article on this site pointing out the Chargers low rate of arrests and the strength of character the team has shown. Picking up those players is a PR nightmare, one any intelligent GM or owner wouldn’t even consider. It would be like going out and trying to get cancer. The thing about public relation nightmares is that you DO NOT WANT THEM. YOU DO NOT SEEK THEM OUT. You avoid them if you are smart.
I read someone comment on twitter that signing Peterson guaranteed us a Super bowl. Besides the fact that nothing can promise a team that, not to mention the Vikings have not released him. Or that the NFL would likely not let him play before his court date after the Super bowl. Let’s picture for a moment that we did sign Peterson.
Sunday night football against the Patriots later in the season… What is the story line for the game? Not how great the Chargers have been playing. It is look at what the Chargers did to win. They would show bloody photos of his beaten kid throughout the game. I was dreading re-living the 4th and 29 play when we play the Ravens but this is something no team wants.
Look, it doesn’t matter. All of you GM’s with a Facebook password need to just stop it with this topic. It is a waste of all our energy. It would be one thing if you were talking realistic free agent running backs like Ben Jarvis Green Ellis or LaMicheal James.
Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy and Dean Spanos have made this team a family. They include the families. They bring their kids on the field. You think Mike McCoy wants to try to explain to his daughter why Ray Rice is on his team? You think Tom Telesco would do that? You are out of your mind. Booga Peters has a better chance of being on this roster than Ray Rice and Peterson.
Winning is what we want, sure. Sometimes the price is too high. We can and should win a Super bowl by being smart. I want to remain proud of our team. So do me a favor and drop the subject. Pretty please.
In front of a white-hot sellout crowd at Qualcomm Stadium, the San Diego Chargers defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, 30-21.
However, that wasn’t the entire story of the game.
Questionable calls by the officiating crew along with the return to All-Pro form by Tight End Antonio Gates seemed to be the highlights in this man’s opinion. After the Chargers took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter, Perch Harvin received a pitch from Russell Wilson and ran along the sidelines for a 51 yard touchdown. Replays showed that Harvin clearly stepped out-of-bounds. The side judge on the play also pointed to where he stepped out-of-bounds. The Fox television broadcasters even brought in Mike Pereira, referee turned analyst, to explain how the review process works. Yet, the play was confirmed.
Since the play was allowed to stand as called, the Seahawks gained the lead, 7-3.
In a future possession, Rivers, who isn’t known for his mobility, ran out-of-bounds and was pushed by Seahawk Linebacker Bobby Wagner. Rivers, livid at the late, unnecessary contact by Wagner, confronted the defender. No penalty was called.
On a later drive, as the Chargers had the ball in the red zone, a questionable holding call was given to tight end John Phillips that took away a touchdown run by Ryan Mathews. Gates eventually scored a touchdown to put the Chargers ahead, 10-7.
Officials tried to make amends by calling a personal foul late hit penalty on Seahawk linebacker Bruce Irvin which lead to Antonio Gates’ second touchdown and a lead for the Chargers 20-7.
As I sat and watched the game from the comfort of my home, I couldn’t help but feel that the officials didn’t seem to want the Bolts to win. The blown call on Harvin’s run was merely the beginning. Non-calls on obvious penalties and flags on questionable calls (that went against the Chargers) and it felt as if the San Diego was battling two opponents: the Seahawks and the officials.
Seriously, how can officials who monitor the games in New York miss such an easy call? The National Football League is in full crisis mode with off the field incidents involving Ray Rice and Adrian Petersen. The Chargers-Seahawks game was also a nationally televised game. The game showed a sizable audience that the league is constantly making mistakes. Granted, mistakes happen. I get that. Yet considering the pains the league has made to get calls right, the NFL can’t afford any more blows to its reputation.
At end of the day, the Chargers overcame a lot this Sunday. The infamous “12th Man” of Seattle were mostly held in check. Although I was appalled at a brief “Seahawks” chant I heard in the third quarter. Gametime temperatures on the field reached 120 degrees and the team overcame that. Richard Sherman, famed Seahawk cornerback, claimed he was the best in the league. Philip Rivers threw the ball in Sherman’s direction on multiple occasions and Sherman wasn’t a factor.
Yes, that was one tall mountain that San Diego climbed on Sunday. Not many experts gave the team a chance (the preseason game earlier didn’t help), but the Chargers controlled the ball, pressured Russell Wilson, and looked good against a team that was perceived to be unbeatable.
I, for one, hope there’s still more of what Gates showed fans on Sunday. I hope the Mathews injury isn’t serious. Additionally, I hope Qualcomm Stadium will continue to host sellout games and host loud, loyal Chargers fans.
I’m wondering now if the organization would consider “persevere” as a team motto.
Photo Credit: James Ebo and Raymond Broome
The tedious summer is gone. Fall is here and with it we have made it through the offseason hullabaloo. The NFL Draft, free agency, training camp, OTA’s and most importantly, preseason games and final cuts are OVER! It is time for some live action, these games count FOOTBALL!!
I did get to watch all four of the Chargers preseason games and was mostly impressed with what I saw. GM Tom Telesco has shown a deft touch at finding talent that can make an impact. Donald Brown is going to be a great insurance policy for Ryan Mathews. The few games he had in Indianapolis as the feature back showed he has the ability to carry the load of a number one running back. Brown is a great depth add. He will make his mark before the season is over.
Speaking of Mathews, he had a great 2013 season. For the first time in his pro career he played in all sixteen games. Considering it was his third season before he accomplished the feat doesn’t sway me. Those who have read my columns for any length of time know I am not a fan of 24, but I do applaud his effort last season. Mathews’ hard running spearheaded the Chargers second half surge into the playoffs. This is his contract year and a subpar showing will have him looking for employment elsewhere. For the Chargers sake, I hope he can repeat his success from last season. My dream scenario is Mathews mirrors last season’s production, the Chargers win the Super Bowl in the process and Mathews leaves willingly as he overvalues himself and goes to the highest bidder in the offseason.
I am encouraged by the wide receiver group for the first time in a long time. It’s great to see Malcom Floyd back on the field and looking good in the preseason games. Keenan Allen spent the offseason working on his speed. He looked plenty fast last season but he was working his way back from a knee injury that dropped his draft stock into the third round where the Chargers scooped him up as the steal of the draft. If he’s actually increased his speed running on a now fully healed knee, the Chargers will feature two legitimate vertical threats and a quarterback that is one of the top deep ball passers in the league.
Speaking of deep threats, Dontrelle Inman has been very impressive in the preseason and has gotten raves in camp. Inman has been sure handed, looks good running routes and has also shown the ability to get down the field in a hurry. I’m excited to see Inman on the field with Rivers putting the ball on him in stride. Add Eddie Royal and a stable of fast, uber-athletic tight ends and the field will be littered with great targets for Rivers. There is enough speed on the offense to make Chip Kelly jealous. No one is talking about the Chargers.
I also like the defensive back depth. They are unproven commodities but last year’s fifth round draft pick Steve Williams will be making plays on the field. Williams may have missed his entire rookie year but he now knows the defense and all there is left to do is apply what he knows to the field in real game action. First rounder Jason Verrett will see plenty of playing time. Brandon Flowers was in the Pro Bowl last season, and that was coming off what was statistically his worst season of his NFL career! There are a lot of plays and game impact that can’t be quantified by numbers.
Add to the mix the incumbents Wright, Gilchrist and Marshall (although he’s being converted to safety) and the Chargers now have something they’ve lacked for a long time, a playmaking secondary. My biggest gripe about the defense is they don’t get interceptions. There are quite a few dropped interceptions but the Chargers defensive backs have seemed allergic to interceptions. Usually there’s a defensive lineman who has as many interceptions as anyone in the secondary. Last season the Chargers had a paltry 11 interceptions. Defensive backs had five led by Gilchrist with 2, while defensive linemen had 4. Two picks came from Weddle at the safety position.
My other concern is run defense. Not to put too much stock in the preseason but the Seahawks ran all over the Chargers first team. Conversely, the 49ers couldn’t run against the Chargers defense at all. The best backdrop to use is recent history. Last season San Diego allowed 107 yards per game on the ground. Blame injuries and instability at nose tackle but it needs to be fixed if the Chargers are going to make the playoffs. This season they face great running backs like Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Zac Stacy, CJ Spiller and Ray Rice (lest we forget 4th and 29). Stopping these running backs are key to making the playoffs.
As I wrote in a recent column, no one is more excited to see Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich hand Philip Rivers a shiny new toy called the no-huddle offense. This is the same system Peyton Manning used in Indianapolis during the height of his powers. This offense also has aspects of the K-Gun offense run by the Buffalo Bills during their run of four straight Super Bowls in the early 90’s. Reich was Manning’s quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis during his run and Reich was Jim Kelly’s backup quarterback in Buffalo. Now Rivers gets to run an updated version of the same offense.
There are few quarterbacks in the league as cerebral as Rivers. There’s not a page of the playbook he doesn’t know upside down and inside out. There’s not a defense he hasn’t seen, no situation he hasn’t been in. With the defense unable to substitute regularly inbetween plays Rivers will have time to find the weak link in the defense and exploit it. To boot, he has the offensive personnel needed to make it successful. This could be the last wrinkle to the Chargers becoming a Super Bowl winning team in the near future. This team is going to take the league by surprise and by the time they show up on everyone’s radar, it will already be too late.
The Greg One