An identity crisis happens to many athletes, at every level. After Sunday’s meltdown in Miami, the Chargers find themselves in desperate need of some serious soul-searching and identity realization. Many things went wrong; even the Coaches were outperformed. However, if you looked close enough, it was obvious that one Charger player still gave his all…as if he was wearing his heart on his sleeve. Believe it or not, that player was Seyi Ajirotutu (TuTu).
It’s hard to imagine just one player, out of an entire team, giving everything he has. After seeing the Chargers embarrass themselves Sunday, you would understand that this did indeed happen. Almost all Chargers fans sat on their couches, bar stools and lawn chairs with their jaws on the floor in complete disbelief and even fury! Unfortunately, the entire nation saw the car wreck, too. Even with everything going wrong for the Chargers, combined with poor play, TuTu was playing as if it were the last game of his career.
He’s not one of those “well-known” players or even the face of the Chargers organization, but he certainly deserved the game ball, and here’s why. He plays with grit, passion and takes every play and yard personally…the reason, I suspect, is his NFL story.
TuTu was an undrafted rookie in 2010 signed by the San Diego Chargers. After an average rookie season, he was waived. In 2012, he spent some time with the Carolina Panthers before being cut. Bouncing back to San Diego, he replaced Richard Goodman, but unfortunately spent the rest of his 2012 season on injured reserve. He received another chance when the Chargers re-signed him in 2013. He then proved his value by catching the game-winning touchdown pass, with 24 seconds left in regulation, against the Kansas City Chiefs. With that track record, TuTu plays as if he will never step onto the field again; fighting to the very end. However, that fight cost him Sunday afternoon.
During regulation, TuTu was involved in a couple scuffles with Miami players. But late in the third quarter, he was ejected for making contact with an official. Prior to that, TuTu was frequently double teamed on special teams; yet still provided crucial blocks which contributed to Chris Davis’ punt return success. Doing your job during an extremely disgraceful and embarrassing game is hard when overall morale is down, but TuTu still managed to go all out.
If more players had his mindset and vitality Sunday, the outcome may have been different…and just maybe, players could have found it within themselves to play from their heart instead of their “you know whats”. The Chargers identity was lost, kind of like the Warner Bros. movie Space Jam; talents and spirits stripped away by the evil Miami space monsters. It will take a lot during this bye week to regain the momentum they had during the first six games of the season. Yet, if every player can acknowledge TuTu’s grit and hunger for the game, maybe the season will end as it did last year; winning the last four contests and clinching a wild card ticket into the playoffs.
It was just announced via the Chargers Twitter account that Richard Goodman has been released to make room for the signing of newly acquired Inside Linebacker Reggie Walker.
Goodman was a solid Special Teams contributor but will be missed more as a Gunner than as a Kick Returner. It was easy to appreciate his hard running, full speed style. But the fact that he has never met a kick return he didn’t like, coupled with his penchant for running into the backs of his blockers and blocking wedges that makes his release understandable.
I wish him nothing but the best of luck and I have little doubt that he will catch on with another team in the same capacity he filled for the Chargers.
After a busy day yesterday, it comes as no surprise that the team has already started shuffling pieces around this morning.
The fan in me is making this a difficult piece to write. The football realist in me sees an opportunity to get something in return for a player that might be in jeopardy of losing his starting spot to an up-and-coming player.
The Chargers have quite the situation at the Wide Receiver position in 2013. The emergence of Danario Alexander ( in limited time during the 2012 season ) has solidified him as the number one receiver in the Charger offense. Tight End Antonio Gates may be the number one option in the passing game, but DX is slated to be the number one Wide Receiver.
After that, it would seem as though everything is up in the air. And that goes for the positioning of the entire receiving corp after #84. It might be assumed by some that Malcom Floyd is guaranteed to start opposite Alexander. But when you listen to any of the talking heads out at Chargers Park, Vincent Brown’s name is constantly being brought up as one of the most impressive players at any position on the field.
The question then becomes, should the Bolts be finding every way possible to get Brown as many opportunities to get the ball in his hands? Starting him would obviously be the best way to do that.
So where does that leave Floyd?
Malcom Floyd has wowed Charger fans for years with his acrobatic catches. He has built a very strong rapport with San Diego’s signal caller. Philip Rivers’ first career touchdown pass was to M-80 back when Floyd wore the number 13. He had yet to even earn the moniker M-80. On a sour note, Floyd has only managed to stay healthy for 16 games in a season once in his career.
Despite the fact that I would hate to see him go, now might be the best time to try to obtain a solid draft pick in return for the 10 year veteran.
After losing linebackers Melvin Ingram and Jonas Mouton to torn ACL’s, the Bolts are very familiar with this time of the year being accompanied by injuries. As you look around the NFL, there are teams that have suffered losses to their wide receiving groups. The Philadelphia Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin for the year. Shortly after that they had his replacement,Riley Cooper, commit what I consider to be an offense that would lead to him being removed from the team if I were the General Manager. They have an obvious need at the position.
If you look at the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego’s first preseason opponent, they just found out that they will be without newly acquired Percy Harvin for the next 3 to 4 months. The two teams worked together to send Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego to Seattle a few years back. We all know how that turned out. Seattle is another team that would benefit from a move that involved Malcom Floyd.
One can also see a team like the Baltimore Ravens being interested in acquiring Floyd. The Ravens have hopes that Super bowl standout, Jacoby Jones, could fill their need as the starting Wide Receiver opposite Torrey Smith. Jones failed his conditioning test this offseason and has already shown as a Houston Texan that he is more of a special-teams player. But perhaps this is his time to shine on offense. I would tend to lean toward them looking to upgrade the position.
With the NFL having morphed into this high-flying, passing league, even teams that you believe to be set at the Wide Receiver spot could be willing to kick the tires on a trade to bring in an established receiver.
Is the time ripe for the picking to attempt to move one of Philip’s favorite weapons?
The logjam at Wide Receiver at Chargers Park is a good problem to have in a lot of ways. When you look at the depth chart – Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Robert Meachem, Richard Goodman, Dan DePalma, Mike Willie, Deon Butler and Luke Tasker – there are quite a few options in putting together a unit that can find success in 2013 and beyond.
But then there is the frightening question mark regarding Vincent Brown. Is he injury-prone? As of right now, Brown has missed three straight practices sandwiched around an off day. We are all familiar with the broken ankle he suffered during the August 18th preseason game versus Dallas last year. He has been hampered by hamstring injuries in the past as well.
I only bring all of this up to provide the other side to argument. Perhaps, despite all of the potential that Vincent Brown has, this conversation about him breaking out is a bit premature.
So, this is where you come in. Below is a poll that allows you to voice your opinion on the matter. Make sure to place your vote and then tell us why you voted the way you did by leaving a comment below.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.
I would like to start by saying that I like the way the receiving corp has been put together. There is a nice blend of youth and experience. If given the proper time by the Offensive linemen, Philip Rivers could be back to topping the 4,000 yards passing plateau in 2013.
That being said, due to the number of options Rivers will have in the passing game, I find it difficult to envision a player with 1,000 yards receiving. If I had to guess, I would say that the team will featured multiple guys, possibly even 3 or more, that top 750 yards through the air.
The safest bet to have 1,000 yards receiving would have to be Danario Alexander. After being signed during the 2012 season, Alexander burst onto the scene for the Bolts while only playing in 10 games. The fact that he was able to build a rapport so quickly with Rivers bodes well for this season’s numbers. Especially when you take into consideration that he’ll have a full offseason to get in rhythm with San Diego’s signal caller.
I suppose that Antonio Gates and Vincent Brown have small chances, respectively, to flirt with the 1,000 yard mark but I do not see that happening. Perhaps even Malcom Floyd, if he remains healthy for 16 games, could sneak up on 1,000 yards.
So that leaves the question to you. Do you think the Chargers will have a receiver eclipse 1,000 yards receiving? Place your vote in the poll below and feel free to tell us why you voted the way that you did in the comment section.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting. Be sure to leave a comment at the bottom.
When looking at the current state of the Charger roster, it is easy to see that the team is not lacking in options at the Wide Receiver position. The Bolts are currently equipped with 11 players to snag balls from Philip Rivers and the other Quarterbacks in camp. This turns out to be the deepest group on the entire ball club.
It is common knowledge that all 11 players will not remain on the team by the time the season rolls around. Let’s start by taking a look at them.
Danario Alexander – A lock for the roster. He will be the team’s number one Wide Receiver. Lots of excitement surrounding what he can do with a full offseason with Rivers. Not to mention a full slate of 16 games. Needs to stay healthy.
Malcom Floyd – Despite the thoughts of some “experts,” he isn’t going anywhere this season. He is splitting some starting reps. Floyd has only played 16 games once in his 10 year career.
Vincent Brown – He is the one sharing starting reps with Floyd. A healthy Brown is a huge addition to the Charger wide receiving corps. His route running and ability to attack the ball make him a serious weapon for the new Charger offense.
Keenan Allen – The third round pick out of Cal is expected to be a Charger for a long time. He’ll contribute, even as a rookie.
Robert Meachem – We all know why he’s here and will definitely be a Charger in 2013. Let’s hope he can make a few plays. Being that I was at the game in Cleveland last year, even typing his name makes me sick to my stomach.
Eddie Royal – This is the part where skepticism starts to wander into the equation. He could be cut due to numbers at the position. He has been starting in the slot. Royal is capable in both kick and punt return duties. Those traits could save his job.
Richard Goodman – He’s a solid Kick Returner and but return punts. His play as a Gunner on special teams might keep him hanging around. But the fact that he has been unable to play at Wide Receiver will not help his status on the team.
Mike Willie – He still has some practice squad eligibility. There is a chance he sticks for that reason. He has the build of a Rivers’ kind of target.
Deon Butler – The former Seahawk can fly. But it might be safe to assume that he is a training camp body. Probably will be cut at some point.
Dan DePalma – He is an interesting guy. When with the New York Giants, the team used him to simulate Wes Welker in their preparation for the Super bowl against the New England Patriots. The question is whether or not he has any practice squad eligibilty left. He was picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2011 by the New York Jets. I don’t think he was ever on either team’s 53 man roster. That would mean he would have a third year of eligibility on a practice squad. ( I am waiting to hear back from Kevin Acee regarding his eligibility for practice squad.) Having Wes Welker in the division would make DePalma a nice piece to keep on the PS seeing as how he has studied Welker extensively.
Luke Tasker – He is the son of one of my favorite non-Chargers of all time, Steve Tasker. If he is even half of the special teamer that his father was then I expect him to stick on the PS. Not sure how much work he’ll have at wide out, if any at all.
The Wide receiver group will be an interesting one to keep an eye on. The four major contributors seem set in Alexander, Floyd, Brown and Allen. Additionally, as mentioned above, the team will see what they can get out of Meachem. But after that it’s all up for grabs. The team has less than a half-a-million in salary cap space. It is safe to say this group will be evaluated closely to see where some savings could be had.
How many weapons at the Wide Receiver spot should the team keep? Who do you think will get the almighty axe and be cut prior to the season?
Let us know in the comment section below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
As we’ve talked about all offseason, the holes on San Diego’s roster are all over the place. There is little debate as to where the Chargers need help. The disagreements come in when you talk about when these needs should be addressed in the NFL draft.
Although the Bolts will not be able to fill all of their holes via the draft, they can take care of a good number of them then supplement them with players that are still available in free agency. Not to mention, there will be a number of cuts made after the draft as well. This will replenish the pool of free agents with some solid veterans that can either provide depth or come in and fight for a spot on the 53 man roster.
In this piece I’ll list the positions on the roster that the team could look to address in the draft. Again, they won’t be able to look at all of them. Keep in mind that these are groups that they could add depth to also. If a position is listed, it doesn’t mean I think it has the potential to be addressed in the first 3 rounds. There is no particular order to my list.
Offensive Tackle– The Chargers presently have King Dunlap, Jeromey Clary, Mike Harris, Kevin Haslam, and Stephen Schilling. Although one can not give a ringing endorsement to this group as a whole, the overall quality could change, for the better, if the team brought in Bryant McKinnie or Eric Winston.
The majority of people think that the team should find a way to secure one of the top 3 tackles. I suppose that would place me in the minority.
Offensive Guard– The Chargers list these players as there Guards at the current time: Chad Rinehart, Rich Orhnberger and Johnnie Troutman. David Molk is capable of playing Guard too.
Opening holes up the middle in the running game, and keeping pressure out of the face of Philip Rivers are crucial to this offense’s success. But, let me remind you, the Ken Whisenhunt offense will have Rivers getting the ball out much quicker than the overload of 7 step drops in Norv Turner’s offense.
Drafting a guard too early would be a mistake.
The Chargers have also brought in Joe D’Alessandris from Buffalo to run the offensive line. The Chargers will be employing a zone blocking scheme, along with the power scheme.
Running Back– The current crew of running backs are Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Brown, Edwin Baker, and Foswhitt Whittaker. It’s hard to say if either Baker or Whittaker will make it past training camp. If the Chargers do decide to add a running back late in the draft, one or both of them could be cut.
Mathews is on his last leg with the Chargers. He has to put up, or shut up in 2013. The new regime has zero ties to the injury prone, yet talented, running back.
Woodhead was a solid addition. However, it’s difficult to say if he is the long term answer at the position. He will be lining up all over the field, causing defenses fits trying to scheme for what he’ll be doing.
Ronnie Brown helped invent the forward pass in the NFL. I kid. Brown is old but very effective as a receiver out of the backfield and solid in pass protection out of the backfield.
Wide Receiver- The wide receivers are Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Robert Meachem, Richard Goodman, Dan DePalma, Deon Butler, and Mike Willie. In quantity, this group seems more than fine. In quality, that is another issue altogether.
Having weapons in the passing game for Rivers is crucial. Alexander and Floyd on the outside, with Brown in the slot sounds good to me. Royal might not make it to training camp this year. The team could decide to cut his $1.5 million salary due to multiple reasons. Meachem is a Charger for at least the 2013 season. He is owed far too much money to cut him.
The rest of the group consists of camp bodies/practice squad players. I don’t mean to sell short what Goodman provides as a gunner and kick returner on special teams. But he is not a threat at wideout.
Don’t be surprised if the team adds a wideout to compete with this group.
Quarterback- Calm down. Rivers is my favorite Charger. I am not saying to replace him. Carry on. Joining Rivers on the roster at this time is Charlie Whitehurst. Some people believe that now is the time to groom a replacement for Rivers. That isn’t the worst idea if the right guy falls and fits what the Chargers are doing. It’s a scenario like the one with Brees/Rivers, or Rodgers/Favre, in that having a signal caller learn behind a high quality starter can be an intelligent move. It may not pay immediate dividends, but in the long run it can certainly do just that.
The bigger question at QB for me is, do you feel comfortable having a Barry Gibb look alike, Whitehurst, as the Bolts’ backup? What are the chances of the Chargers staying alive in the case that Rivers went down? It makes me cringe, on so many levels, to even consider that happening.
If the Chargers do draft a guy to groom, and Rivers starts to put up quality numbers again, then you ship the newby off to a quarterback hungry team for a high draft pick.
Fullback- I am not going to make a lot of friends with this one. That is perfectly fine. The NFL has been phasing out the position for the last half a decade or more. Le’Ron McClain leaves a lot to be desired. McClain is another one of AJ Smith’s free agent extravaganza from 2012. You don’t have to draft a fullback. But you can pick up a guy as an undrafted free agent. And, by the way, I still have no idea what #sweater means that he constantly tweets out.
I didn’t list Tight End or Center on this list. The Chargers are now loaded at Tight End. Nick Hardwick is our best offensive lineman and Molk will be a solid replacement in the future if need be.
There you have it. Those are the offensive positions the Chargers could look to improve during the draft. We’ll address the defensive positions either later today or tomorrow.
Feel free to leave a comment below about what you think the Chargers should do offensively in the draft.
Thanks a lot for reading.
After signing his exclusive-rights free agent tender on March 13th, Richard Goodman will continue to be the starting kick returner for the 2013 season.
Goodman has an impressive career kick return average of 27.5 yards. Many of you remember his kickoff return for a touchdown in week 17 of the 2011 season against the hated Raiders. He was able to take that kick back to the house for 105 yards and a touchdown.
It is fair to say that Goodman’s ability is primarily suited for special teams. One thing that is not known by the casual fan, Goodman is a solid player on all of the special teams units that he is a part of for the Bolts. He is not strictly a returner. He also plays on kickoff coverage and as gunner on punt return coverage.
Some people were either upset or surprised that the Chargers wanted Goodman back for another year. I wasn’t surprised because it is difficult to find a guy that plays on the majority of the squad’s special teams units effectively.
Although I do believe the Chargers will feel the loss of Rich Bisaccia, having solid special teamers, like Goodman, will ease the transition that much more.
I look forward to Richard Goodman returning as the starting kick returner for the Bolts. I also expect him to take two kickoffs all the way for six during the 2013 season.
Thanks a lot for reading.