Robert Meachem

Gaither

 

 

When it comes to researching article topics, I tend to go back through the archives of my website and look at ideas that I have had in years past. This morning, at 2:00 am, I ran across a scathing article I wrote about the laziness of former Charger offensive tackle Jared Gaither.  I then remembered that he is still being paid by the Bolts in 2014.

He is not the only one.

Dead money contracts are those that count against the team’s salary cap despite the fact that the players are no longer on the squad.  When I list the players that are still getting paid, I guarantee your blood will boil when you look at some of the names.  The amounts of their pay will elevate that level of frustration, as well.

For the sake of this article, I am only going to include the players that are being paid over $100,000 without providing any services to the Chargers at all at this time.  They are no longer with the team; in fact, a couple haven’t been on the team for over a year or two.

Let’s start at the bottom — lowest paid non-Chargers — and work our way up to the top, the highest paid.

 

DL – Lawrence Guy  $100,588

WR – Vincent Brown  $146,517

S – Brandon Taylor  $168,469

CB – Brandon Ghee  $185,000

RB – Shaun Draughn  $201,176

LB – Jonas Mouton  $218,340

DB – Richard Marshall  $570,000

FB – Le’Ron McClain  $833,334

LB – Larry English  $865,000

WR – Robert Meachem  $ 3,750,000

CB – Derek Cox  $3,900,000

OT – Jared Gaither  $4,000,000

 

Total amount of dead money from the aforementioned NON-CHARGERS:  $14,938,424

Go ahead and let that sink in as you look at a Charger team that has been decimated by injuries.  The same organization that was completely unable to make any moves prior to the trade deadline to supplement a beat-up roster.  Thanks a lot, that one guy who used to be the GM here.

The total amount of dead money, including players that are not listed above, is $15,436,212.

When it comes to getting rid of and cutting poor performers or bad contracts, it’s a very difficult decision.  But when a player is unable to contribute at a serviceable or acceptable level, the time to cut ties is necessary.  Three of the top-four highest paid non-Bolts have played for other teams in 2014; Meachem, Cox and English.  Robert Meachem is the only one that is currently on an NFL roster of those four.

Talk about a kick in the pants.

The last General Manager left Tom Telesco in a rough spot when it comes to navigating the roster and its lack of cap space.  The 2015 season brings Telesco a much better opportunity to make some moves and re-sign some of his marquee players to long-term extensions; namely Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.

Every team in the NFL has to deal with matters such as what is listed above.  But it goes without saying that the Chargers were forced to make some tough decisions when cutting the players listed.  But, perhaps, cutting non-performing players like Gaither, Cox, Meachem and English were actually simple decisions that came at a heavy price.  At least a few of the players noted actually played for San Diego in 2014.  The same can’t be said for some of the bums that made the list.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.  Which of these players frustrated you the most due to the money they made without having contributed to the cause in 2014?  Let me know by leaving your thoughts below in the comment section.

 

Booga Peters

 

Gaither

 

 

We all rave about the acquisitions made by Tom Telesco in his 18 or so months as Chargers’ GM. Picking up guys like Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown were popular moves among many fans. Draft picks like D.J. Fluker, Keenan Allen, Jason Verrett and Jerry Attaochu had fans applauding.

But what about the departures? The players Telesco let go are probably just as noteworthy as the players he signed as free agents or drafted. Here are my top five releases/non-signings over the past year and a half:

Top spot has to be Derek Cox. Cox was benched by Mike McCoy almost more than he saw playing time. He was awful, he was horrible. He got burned, embarrassed, humiliated, caught flat-footed and out of position so much you’d think he was a pee wee leaguer. Personally, I hated Derek Cox more than I hate the cable company bearing the same name.

Next up, none other than the “Big Lazy”, Jared Gaither. Yeah, he came in during the 2011 season and pulled enough wool over A.J. Smith’s eyes as a savior at left tackle to get a stupid contract. Surprisingly, he spent more of 2012 “hurt” than he did suiting up. Apparently, the meeting Telesco had with Gaither before training camp went so well, Telesco decided cutting Gaither was worth the cap pain that would inflict.

The second spot was really a toss-up between Gaither and Robert Meacham. Wow, epic bust. He was a #3 or #4 on the New Orleans depth chart, brought in to be #2 behind Malcolm Floyd. Nobody ever will mistake Meacham for Vincent Jackson. He was such a bust, he even found himself in Norv Turner’s dog house and hardly saw playing time the second half of the season.

In this spot, Clipboard Jesus. A.J. lets this guy go to Seattle to try and be a starter, which failed miserably. So what does he do? Bring him back again to carry Philip Rivers’ water bottle and jock strap. In Charlie’s defense, why would he turn down the contract A.J. offered? Dude made some good money to stay clean, wear a baseball cap and hold a clipboard.

Lastly, we have Takeo Spikes. I liked this guy. He played hard, he worked hard, he was a leader and a mentor for the younger guys, but he’d lost a couple of steps. Defense had to get younger, and Takeo, having seen better days, needed to be released.

There are others, of course, but these are the most notable non-moves/releases from where I sit.

 

 

Mike Pisciotta

Gaither

When I first decided to do this post, I had planned on writing my thoughts on the former Chargers that are listed below and what they are doing now.  I have since changed my mind due to reading those names below and becoming incredibly angry at that money being paid to players that are no longer on the team.  So instead, I’m just going to leave this chart here ( credit to overcap.com ) and go look at some of the free agents that were signed by other teams.

 

Dead Money

Name Cap
Number
TOTAL $12,543,317
Jared Gaither $4,000,000
Derek Cox $3,900,000
Robert Meachem $3,750,000
Le’Ron McClain $833,334
David Molk $27,976
Nick Becton $5,000
Randy Richards $3,334
Dan Molls $3,334
Marcus Cromartie $3,334
Michael Hill $3,334
Devan Walker $2,000
Josh Johnson $2,000
Greg Brown $1,667
Brandon Moore $1,334
Ben Cotton $1,334
Chibuikem Okoro $1,334
Luke Tasker $667
David Rolf $667
Jamarkus McFarland $667
Richard Kent $667
Mike Hermann $667
Frank Beltre

 

Every team, every year, has dead money on the books from players that have been released, waived or cut.  But when you look at a team that overachieved in 2013, to think about being able to add a few key free agents would have been a great momentum-builder going into May’s draft.

I am not, by any means, suggesting that the Chargers should have gone on a spending spree.  I am ecstatic with what Tom Telesco has done with so little room under the salary cap.

I am not sure that we will see much more activity in free agency, but I do know that I have complete faith in what Telesco is doing. I also know that I am certainly looking forward to watching it all unfold.

 

 

Booga Peters

QJ

 

 

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.

 

Darren Sproles  RB   New Orleans  ( *traded to PHI for 5th rd pick )Sproles

Shaun Phillips   OLB   Denver

Quentin Jammer   CB   Denver

Korey Sperry   TE   Arizona

Scott Chandler   TE   Buffalo

Drayton Florence   CB   Carolina

Jarius Wynn   DE   Dallas

Michael Spurlock   WR/KR   DetroitOsgood

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.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

Some may say they saw the contract restructure coming, but it sure is late in the off-season game to do so.   To say this is a non-story is overseeing what this is at it’s core.  While Rivers doesn’t lose any money on the contract, this move potentially allows the team to improve in both the short and long term.

Rivers has taken a lot of heat for his performance over the past couple years and a good portion of that has been deserved.  But I have yet to hear from a couch GM that has a better game plan or quarterback that could lead this team to a better record.  Rivers hasn’t even played a regular season down yet under the new staff.  While the draft class this year has yet to play any real games as well, let’s be serious…not a lot of guys considered to be franchise quarterbacks in the bunch.  The class of 2014 is looking much better.  The team has holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball and needs to establish a healthy consistent ground game.  I digress on the topic of Rivers, but really this team needs a couple years to fill the holes it has and lockup the core players it has to be elite again.

The bottom line is that this restructure opens up potential for moves to be made this year and after eating the Meachem salary, it was a necessary move.  With injury prone running backs and wide receivers, the team may need to address those positions, and this gives them more flexibility to do so.

The other thought is that this paves the way for a Donald Butler extension.  Let’s face it, we all want this and a move like that helps to solidify the current strength of the team for the longer term.  Locking up Butler and Liuget to go with Weddle, Cox and Reyes gives us a really solid foundation on defense for the long term.

The piece that people are glossing over is Rivers didn’t HAVE to do this.  Sure, the team could give an ultimatum of sorts but my guess is with Rivers it didn’t even come to that.  Rivers is a guy who doesn’t ever throw a teammate under the bus.  We heard him say on the Mighty 1090 with Darren Smith, that he (Rivers) dropped too deep in the pocket on the sack that Max Starks gave up in the 3rd game of the preseason.  May be true, but Starks got beat.  Even with the recently departed Meachem, Rivers took the stance that THEY, not just Meachem couldn’t get it going.  That’s just who Rivers is.

There are so many instances of athletes (in all sports) not taking a pay cut to help the team out.  Sure every athlete deserves to be paid what they are worth, but guys like Rivers don’t come around often.  Both from what we’ve seen talent wise in the good years and also the loyalty to the team and putting others first.  I realize Rivers didn’t lose money as a result of the deal as it moves his base into a signing bonus, but the willingness of a player to help the team out in anyway possible is refreshing.

I’m a big Rivers fan, and I as many hope he turns it around this year.  It’s a business and a what have you done for me lately one at that and in most cases that can even be game to game.  With a new coaching staff and a couple new weapons, let’s let Rivers play a few games and see if those trends continue.  The one thing I kept thinking while watching the LaDainian Tomlinson “A Football Life” on the NFL Network was that I thought I appreciated him when he was a Charger; but the fact is, I didn’t appreciate him nearly as much as I do now that he’s gone.  The same could be said for Rivers, so be careful what you wish for.  Meanwhile, I’ve got faith in Tom Telesco and all that he’s doing.  Just nice to see a guy who puts the team first and not himself.

Justin Holmerud

What a difference a year makes.  In what has become one of the worst free agent classes in San Diego Chargers history, Robert Meachem is perhaps the epitome of a free agent flop.

Meachem’s contribution during his time in San Diego, of lack thereof, certainly did not come close to matching the contract that was signed by the former New Orleans Saint.  In 2012, he signed a four-year contract worth $25 million with $14 million in guaranteed money.

As you all know by now, Meachem has been cut by the Chargers despite carrying a $5 million hit against the 2013 salary cap.  The aforementioned contract and final outcome are eerily reminiscent of the David Boston debacle.  The big difference is Boston but up 700 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns after being signed by the Chargers.  Meachem’s paltry numbers include 14 receptions for 207 and 2 touchdowns.  Both of his scores were against his former team.

As far as the 2013 campaign and Robert Meachem are concerned, this is money for nothing in its purest form.  Ironically enough, his impact on this season will be much more significant than last year while he was actually on the team.

 

 

There are plenty of theories surrounding Meachem’s inability to contribute in America’s finest city.  The reasons range from him being a product of the Drew Brees-led New Orleans offense to him not having the capability of running anything more than a nine route. Perhaps it might just boil down to a guy that got paid and then just gave up on trying.

Regardless of why it didn’t work out, he definitely had many of us fooled into buying the idea that he could be a portion of the faction that filled the void left by Vincent Jackson signing with Tampa Bay.  Although I didn’t expect him to be a Pro bowl player at the wideout position, I had hoped that he would find a place in the starting lineup.  Not only did he fall out of favor under the Norv Turner regime last year, Meachem didn’t even start in the team’s final preseason game versus the San Francisco 49ers this past Thursday.  This was a game that not even one starter on offense or defense saw the field.  Yet Robert was not even able to earn the starting nod there either.

By all known accounts, I have never heard a bad comment about Robert Meachem the person.  He seems quiet and unassuming in all of the interviews that I have seen him do.  He doesn’t necessarily comes across as very charismatic, but that isn’t overly important in the grand scheme of things.  It’s about what he does to help the team win football games.  Well, it is now clear, without a doubt, that no one within the decision-making ranks at Chargers Park believes that he can help the team win anything.

On a side note, I respect the fact that Tom Telesco was willing to cut ties with Meachem.  It shows that, despite the money owed, a player that is not contributing will not be kept around to take up a roster spot.  As difficult as the decision may have been, it was done in the best interest of the team.  This is just one more step in the right direction under the new regime in San Diego.  The team has a long journey ahead to right the ship.  But this move shows that there is a commitment to getting things right sooner rather than later.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

 

Chargers got their first win in the preseason, let’s look how they answered some of the key questions below.

Coaching and GM

  • This should be the week we see a little more game planning as it could be seen as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. I don’t know about you, but I liked the WR screens and Danny Woohead wheel routes that I saw.  Definitely looked like they were trying some things out with the first unit.  The quick inside handoffs for Mathews were really effective too.
  • Depth continues to be a big question mark for this team.  Injuries have really emphasized that lack of depth.  Will Richard Marshall see the field as the latest addition to replace Steve Williams.  Marshall didn’t see the field, but the DBs got another injury when Patrick went down with a concussion (his 2nd in 2 weeks).  Chargers will need him healthy moving forward.  Overall, depth looked better last night with some decent performances from the 2nd and 3rd string.
  • While Mike McCoy has said that they aren’t playing the starters on special teams, the unit has been a nightmare.  Well that philosophy changed and we saw guys like Weddle and Stuckey making plays on special teams.  Stuckey was a man on a mission.  Kwame Geathers is a big man and that was an amazing field goal block.

Defense

  • The first unit was again very impressive with Liuget on the field.  This group needs to prove it can be dominant without him.  Cam Thomas and Freeney looked really good.  Reyes played a decent game, but there were some holes in the run defense early that need to be shored up.  Larry English made an incredible read and tackle on a sweep with Patrick Peterson.
  • It looks like Te’o may not be back until the regular season, Bront Bird and DJ Smith appear to be separating themselves from the rest.  Bront Bird is active but looks lost at times.  DJ Smith had a nice assist on the Gachkar interception.
  • Cox has started to make some plays in practice, hoping to see this translate to the field tonight.  Fitzgerald will prove to be another challenge for this unit after facing Marshall last week.  Not a bad job by Wright and Cox.  Fitzgerald had some catches, but Cox was physical without getting penalized.  The TD catch by Floyd looked to be on the safety.  I’ll have to re-watch but it looked like Gatson had looked back and asked for help over the top.
  • Gilchrist was somewhat invisible last week, which was both good and bad.  Would love to see him make a couple plays.  He looked good in run support, but Taylor was flying around the field making plays.  I would imagine Gilchrist doesn’t hold the spot down for long, especially if Patrick is down for any length of time.
  • We saw two sacks on the first 3 plays last week, would love to see more consistent pressure throughout the game.  Dwight.  Freeney.  Man was a beast.  He was a step away for most of the night and in and around Palmer on a lot of plays.  Finaly put Brown through the spin cycle and knocked him backwards before getting the sack.

Offense

  • No Alexander, Floyd or Royal.  We may be looking at Allen and Brown as the starters.  Thought the play calling was great, getting Allen involved early.  Brown drew a couple of penalties on Powers and looked impressive with the routes.
  • The wide receivers didn’t catch a pass until the 2nd quarter last week, need to get them involved earlier in the game.  See above.  Group was much more active early.  Still would like to see more receptions from the group as the starters only combined for 3.
  • Where’s Woodhead?  We thought we might see him last week, hoping he’s a go this week.  What could’ve been on that wheel route to Woodhead.  Man this guy is so quick.  I can’t wait to see what variation they run off that wheel.  Could run a V route or something similar to play off of it.
  • Keenan Allen has been a trusted target of Rivers, seems to be getting stronger every week.  Can he continue that trend?  Had two catches on a similar play.  But still was a target Rivers trusted.
  • Rivers bailed out Starks on 1090 this week about the sack saying he went too deep in the pocket, Dunlap still seems to be the more consistent option.  Does that trend continue?  A collective gasp when Dunlap went down.  He returned and all was right in the world.  Dunlap, appears to be the starter.
  • The protection last week wasn’t very good.  Needs to be much better and provide Rivers more time.  Fluker looked really good in the running game.  Excited to see if he can improve week to week in the passing game.  Decent pockets at times for Rivers, others forcing him to step up with pressure in his face.  But not a bad night for the group. 
  • Ryan Mathews…so good so far I took him in my fantasy league.  He’s running hard and looking very strong.  Another great game for Mathews up until that fumble.  Has to know that the defense is going to be looking for that after he attempted it a few times.
  • How busy is Mike Scifres?  Hopefully the offense finds consistency and establishes a nice rhythm early.  4 punts between both guys.  Not bad and the offense had a 13 play nearly 7 minute drive on their second possession that ended in a touchdown.  Good rhythm.
  • Ladarius Green has been a bright spot catching touchdowns from both backups.  Does he get some time with Rivers this week?  He’s going to force his way onto the field.  Another great catch and run.  
  • Mike Willie had a great week, consistency is key for him to ensure he makes this team.  Just one catch tonight and not a lot of production out of the WRs overall.
  • Robert Meachem – even with the injuries, he’s still a question mark.  Had 1 catch last week late.  Pretty sure Meachem will be cut as he is seeing limited playing time.  Although, he looked pretty good last night.
  • Second string O-Line – Troutman may not make this team.  Will be interested to see who takes snaps at center and guard.  Troutman was back in with the 2’s and seemed to fair better this time around.  Will be interesting to see what decisions are made for backups.

Special Teams

  • If this is the dress rehearsal, do we see some of the potential starters play on this unit.  Richard Marshall may be one of those guys.  We did and they responded.  While Marshall didn’t play, quite a few others did and they played well.  Good to see coaching come into play here to correct what had been a mistake prone unit.

Look forward to recapping the game on Sunday.

Go Bolts!

Justin Holmerud

Game 3.

Widely viewed as the dress rehearsal and the game in which the starters play the longest.  With a new coach, we don’t really know.  How long will the starters play?  Can they generate some consistency on offense and create turnovers on defense?  More story lines developing this week as we head towards some critical roster decisions.  Roster will drop down to 75 players this week.  Here’s what to watch for tonight.

 

Coaching and GM

  • This should be the week we see a little more game planning as it could be seen as the dress rehearsal for the regular season
  • Depth continues to be a big question mark for this team.  Injuries have really emphasized that lack of depth.  Will Richard Marshall see the field as the latest addition to replace Steve Williams
  • While Mike McCoy has said that they aren’t playing the starters on special teams, the unit has been a nightmare

Defense

  • The first unit was again very impressive with Liuget on the field.  This group needs to prove it can be dominant without him
  • It looks like Te’o may not be back until the regular season, Bront Bird and DJ Smith appear to be separating themselves from the rest
  • Cox has started to make some plays in practice, hoping to see this translate to the field tonight.  Fitzgerald will prove to be another challenge for this unit after facing Marshall last year.
  • Gilchrist was somewhat invisible last week, which was both good and bad.  Would love to see him make a couple plays.
  • We saw two sacks on the first 3 plays last week, would love to see more consistent pressure throughout the game.

Offense

  • No Alexander, Floyd or Royal.  We may be looking at Allen and Brown as the starters.
  • The wide receivers didn’t catch a pass until the 2nd quarter last week, need to get them involved earlier in the game.
  • Where’s Woodhead?  We thought we might see him last week, hoping he’s a go this week.
  • Keenan Allen has been a trusted target of Rivers, seems to be getting stronger every week.  Can he continue that trend?
  • Rivers bailed out Starks on 1090 this week about the sack saying he went too deep in the pocket, Dunlap still seems to be the more consistent option.  Does that trend continue?
  • The protection last week wasn’t very good.  Needs to be much better and provide Rivers more time.  Fluker looked really good in the running game.  Excited to see if he can improve this week-to-week in the passing game.
  • Ryan Mathews…so good so far I took him in my fantasy league.  He’s running hard and looking very strong.
  • How busy is Mike Scifres?  Hopefully the offense finds consistency and establishes a nice rhythm early.
  • Ladarius Green has been a bright spot catching touchdowns from both backups.  Does he get some time with Rivers this week?
  • Mike Willie had a great week, consistency is key for him to ensure he makes this team.
  • Robert Meachem – even with the injuries, he’s still a question mark.  Had 1 catch last week late.
  • Second string O-Line – Troutman may not make this team.  Will be interested to see who takes snaps at center and guard.

Special Teams

  • If this is the dress rehearsal, do we see some of the potential starters play on this unit.

Look forward to recapping the game on Sunday.

Go Bolts!

Justin Holmerud

It’s easy to go straight to negative town after last night’s game, but let’s all take a deep breath and remember it’s PRE-SEASON.  Sure, this is when things are fine tuned and tested out for the regular season, but let’s not get too high or low on performances from week to week.  That being said, let’s examine what we saw last night.  It’s not all doom and gloom, there were some bright spots last night (Mathews, Fluker run blocking, Green, Whitehurst, Mike Willie, backup OLine, Frank Beltre had some good playsetc.)

Key positions to watch tonight:

Left Tackle – King Dunlap seemed to really solidify his hold on the starter spot.  Max Starks looked pretty bad on that sack/fumble and it wasn’t against a Julius Peppers.  Starks is much more used to a mobile Ben Roethlisberger and Rivers is definitely not that.  Big adjustment there for the LT.  Interesting that Dunlap blocked for Vick and looks to be more suited for a pocket passer.
Safety – This one may go on into the season as Brandon Taylor gets healthier.  
2nd string O-Line – A better performance this week that saw Rich Ohrnberger taking snaps at center and guard with Molk rotating at guard/center as well.
Special Teams – It was mentioned by Trent Dilfer that Mike McCoy wasn’t going to risk players by having them play special teams in the preseason.  So let’s just assume he’s throwing rookies and young guys out there to see if anyone rises to the top.  Will be tough to find in the game tape.  Keenan Allen with a fumble, Richard Goodman with a near turnover in the endzone and Jahleel Addae missed a block that led to the blocked punt.  They also gave up big returns on both kickoffs and punts including a 100 yard return right after the Chargers pulled closer.  A bit incomplete until we see starters there, but this also speaks to depth and the need to coach the young players up.
Wide Receiver – Zero catches until the second quarter.  Mike Willie was a bright spot and even Robert Meachem caught a pass against 3rd stringers when he was wide open.

Coaching and GM

  • Mike McCoy was praised for his adjustments from Orton to Tebow.  Without his top two WR’s, what adjustments are made with this shorter group of receivers.  Still incomplete.  The running game was strong but the pass protection wasn’t good and didn’t allow Rivers to get into a groove.
  • Depth was a big question mark after the first team came out last week.  Seems the camp performances didn’t translate to the field. Look for the second and third units to be shifted around from last week.  Almost a reverse from last week, where the backups performed better than the starters.

Defense

  • The first unit was impressive last week, getting off the field twice against a potent Seahawks offense.  Can they repeat that success?  Corey Liuget is the key to this defense.  With him on the field that front was dominant.  As soon as he left, the game changed.  
  • Bront Bird (starting for Te’o) got some starts last year towards the end of the season, can he show he’s an improved player?  An ok performance.  Got blocked on the big run by Forte, but it was also away from him.
  • Wright looked solid last week, especially against the run.  Cox had a breakup, but wasn’t looking for the ball and was playing the man.  Need these guys to continue to take steps forward.  Wright looked good again.  He was knocked down on the big run by Forte but recovered to actually make the tackle.  Coverage on the Marshall touchdown was almost as good as it could be (without breaking up the pass)
  • Gilchrist, let’s see what you got Nothing too special about it although no big mistakes either.  Got caught up in the box on the big run and stuck behind Larry English which prevented him from going with the play, but again the run was away from him.
  • Not one turnover in the game last week.  That has to change.  Hello, Donald Butler.  A great pick on a bad throw by Cutler.  Also liked the forced fumble on special teams.
  • Great pressure last week by the front, with a less mobile quarterback this week, can we see a sack or two?  Ask and you shall receive.  Two sacks on the first series for the Bears.  That defensive line hinges on the health of Liuget.
  • Couple of miscommunications last week, can they clean that up?  For the most part, nothing that stood out as a MAJOR miscommunication, but that long run wasn’t good.

Offense

  • Two words: Vincent Brown  Was more excited to see him on the field and get a catch.  It’s been almost a year since he played a game.
  • Check downs – Rivers threw a few of them last week and he’s got the ultimate check down in Danny Woodhead this week.  Woodhead didn’t play this week, sounds like he will next week.
  • Keenan Allen is getting the chance to prove he belongs again.  The rookie looked good again (minus the muffed punt).  The catch that wasn’t because of a questionable no call.  I’ve watched it over and over and can understand the non-call, but I also thought the defender made a play on the ball very early (ball was almost 10 yards away when he made his move to cut in)
  • Left tackle should see some rotations for Starks and Dunlap.  Who has the better night?  Starks looked awful on that sack.  Dunlap did his job, so I think this job is pretty much his.
  • 12 snaps last week and a good pocket.  I don’t expect perfection again, but hope to see at least a drive or two with good protection.  Well this was the exact opposite from last week.  The protection was inconsistent and sacks were given up by Fluker, Clary and Starks.  Finally provided a good pocket for Whitehurst, but that was against the Bears backups.  Need more consistency.  Maybe now that the decision should be made on Dunlap, that will help.  Man can Fluker run block.  On one run he moved his man all the way across the field and on the touchdown run by Fozzy he blocked two guys.  Really good.
  • Ryan Mathews looked good.  Need to keep it going.  Zone blocking seems to suit him.  One of the other bright spots in the game.  He ran hard, finished his runs and held onto the ball.  He looks comfortable and fast.
  • Can the offense establish a rhythm early and even score points on the first drive?  Same as last week.  Absolutely no rhythm.  Out of sink and too much pressure to get into a rhythm.
  • Can Rivers keep a clean sheet (last year in week 1 he had an interception and a fumble)?  Well, had both last night.  But with only 2.7 seconds (according to Darren Smith on Twitter) I challenge anyone (including Trent Dilfer) to hang onto that ball 9 times out of 10.  I mentioned the interception already, Allen was tripped up with the ball about 10 yards away from him.
  • Ladarius Green had a TD last week, can he make it 2 for 2.  He made it 2 for 2 and was a yard away from having 3 touchdowns in 2 weeks.  At times his routes are very reminiscent of Gates, but let’s not get crazy and say he’s the second coming just yet.  He finished with 5 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
  • Dan DePalma had a great showing last week.  With another solid performance, he may be pushing for a roster spot.  Another solid performance by DePalma but not as flashy.  Had 2 catches for 27 yards, and one that setup a touchdown.  However, Mike Willie (a favorite of BoltBlitz readers) was the star with 3 catches and 2 touchdowns.
  • Robert Meachem – it seems all he’s needed to do is bounce back in his time in San Diego.  Time may be running out with another poor performance.  He had 1 catch for 40 yards and it was against probably the 3rd string for the Bears.  He was also wide open after the DB looked like he tripped.  But, did his job on the one reception.  Still on the bubble.
  • Second string O-Line – I expect some different combinations as Troutman and Molk struggled big time.  Does Colin Baxter get a chance with the 2’s?   Molk and Ohrnberger swapped center/guard duties on the 2nd and 3rd string.  Schilling got a lot of time as well.  Dunlap also played later into the game with the 2’s.  Troutman may be in trouble as Ohrnberger and Molk at C/G proved to be a good combo all night.  Much more consistency on the 2nd and 3rd line.

Special Teams

  • Gave up a sizeable punt return last week, need to bring more speed and sure tackling across the board.  I’ll reference this again that Dilfer noted during his interview with McCoy that he wouldn’t risk injuries by putting his week 1 starters on special teams in preseason.  Time will tell if this approach is smart, but the performance last night was abysmal at best.  Bears kickoff returners (Ford, Golden and Hester) averaged 53, 22 and 45 yards respectively.
  • Looking for stability and consistency from this unit.  Lack of stability last night.  Turnovers, bad coverage and the only positive was a forced fumble.
  • Who starts on kickoff coverage, this could indicate which players are on the bubble for the roster.  Addae who is pushing for a roster spot, whiffed on a block that led to the blocked punt.  Backup ILB DJ Smith had the forced fumble.  

Based on this week, we have a lot more to watch next week.  See you then!

Go Bolts!

Justin Holmerud

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