As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:
His Draft Classes
***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.
2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson
DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6
Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5
Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9
Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3
Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1
Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0
2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese
Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8
Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5
Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3
Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5
Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0
Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0
2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon
Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2
Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7
Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3
Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4
Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3
Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F
His free agent signings (major ones only)
***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers
2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips
Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9
King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8
Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2
Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4
John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4
2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes
Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3
Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8
Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6
David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3
2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson
Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0
Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3
Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6
Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7
Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2
Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F
His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)
2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown
Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8
Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7
2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall
Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0
Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6
Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3
Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3
2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers
King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4
Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2
Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F
Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F
Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.
We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.
Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!
The Charger running game has been missing in action since another Ryan Mathews’ injury. His inability to make an impact on the offense when not on the field does not allow it to function to the highest of its capabilities. He is sorely missed; pun intended?
A backfield consisting of Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and Ronnie Brown has not produced a ground attack that has put any fear into opposing defenses. The Chargers currently have the 29th ranked rushing game in the NFL. That clearly is not good enough, especially when it comes to offensive success in January and beyond.
In comes Philip Rivers and his receiving targets to help save the day.
Rivers, despite 3 interceptions in San Francisco, helped ensure that the week 17 contest against the Chiefs was a meaningful game. With 355 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, his ability to find open targets and complete passes carried them to the victory last week on the road. Those numbers, and his gritty performance, earned Rivers the FedEx Air Player of the Week award in the overtime win in Santa Clara.
More of the same will be needed in Kansas City. The problem is that the Chiefs have the second-rated passing defense in the league. Much of that production has to do with a stout front-seven, but the receiving options must find a way to create separation and allow Philip to get the ball out of his hand quickly. There won’t be a lot of time to get rid of the ball with players like Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey looking to feast on a depleted Charger offensive line.
Though he is listed as doubtful on the injury report, Keenan Allen is not playing on Sunday. With a fractured clavicle and an ankle injury, he may as well have been listed as out for Sunday’s tilt.
Eddie Royal has been a recipient of a good number of passes from Rivers. He has been called upon in the clutch as was seen versus San Francisco. A game-winning touchdown reception on a screen play against Baltimore provides further evidence of the trust the team has in him.
Some of the biggest receptions of the year, yard-wise, have gone to Malcom Floyd. The acrobatic receiver has a team-high 59-yard reception. He has multiple catches over 40 yards in 2014. His six touchdown snags are third on the team behind Royal with seven and Antonio Gates with twelve.
Ah, yes. Gates.
Prior to the 2014 season, many people had given up on Antonio and stated the need to make Ladarius Green take over as the main tight end in the Charger offense.
Not this guy. Not for a second.
Green has a bright future with the Bolts, but Gates is clearly the better option as of now. And he’s proving it. His 12 touchdown receptions are the second-most in his career. He remains a safety valve for Rivers and the two have the utmost trust in each other. Last week marked the fourth time this season that he hauled in multiple touchdowns in a game. Not too shabby. With several milestones on the line for Rivers and Gates, don’t be surprised if the two look to connect early and often.
An unlikely hero emerged in the absence of wideout Allen last Saturday. Former CFL product, Dontrelle Inman, played a big role in the San Diego passing attack. In his first NFL start, he had 7 catches for 79 yards; including a huge 4th down grab that helped keep the Bolts breathing and giving them the opportunity to continue fighting. He’ll be asked to replicate his week 16 performance and make an impact that lends itself to a Charger win.
After mentioning Ladarius Green above, the best play of his career came against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. He had a 60-yard scoring catch that proved to be huge in helping the Bolts eventually get the W on the road. He has not been a big part of the offense in ’14, but he did start to play a bigger role last year once in the playoffs. He might be the secret weapon this week and he could be used to exploit a linebacker or safety that doesn’t have his kind of speed or size.
One can only hope that the running backs and offensive line find a way to get churning on all cylinders. But if that isn’t the case, Rivers has multiple weapons to sling the ball to in his receivers, tight ends and running backs. It would be nice to see some screen plays incorporated into the playcalling to keep the front-seven honest and on their heels.
Win and you’re in. Lose and it’s all over for the 2014 San Diego Chargers. Now is the time. No more excuses. They now control this next week of what is their playoff destiny. Sunday cannot get here quickly enough.
Thanks a lot for reading.
San Diego is locked and loaded after resting through their bye week. League-mandated days off allowed them to travel or just stay home and rest. Because it was the bye week, I began to think about the current team and who would remain in 2015. I figured I would check out who was in the last year of their contract and who was extended beyond the 2015 season.
The list of players in the final year of their contracts, otherwise known as their contract year, was a bit longer than I had anticipated. Below is a list of those players.
WR – Seyi Ajirotutu
RB – Ronnie Brown
OT – King Dunlap
CB – Brandon Flowers
OLB – Dwight Freeney
ILB – Andrew Gachkar
CB – Marcus Gilchrist
C – Nick Hardwick
OLB – Cordarro Law
C/G – Doug Legursky
DL – Ricardo Mathews
C/G – Rich Ohrnberger
WR – Eddie Royal
CB – Shareece Wright
RB – Ryan Mathews
There are some major players on this list that would leave major holes in the team if they were not re-signed.
Brandon Flowers was one of the best free agent signings in the entire NFL after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs. He has made a huge impact in the secondary for John Pagano’s defense. I would imagine that Tom Telesco would make a serious effort to sign him to a contract once the time comes in 2015.
King Dunlap has been playing pretty darn well at left tackle. The only problem with keeping him is that he may be looking to be rewarded with a big contract due to his performance since coming to San Diego. Telesco will have the most money he’s had since accepting the role of General Manager when the 2015 offseason begins. If Dunlap keeps playing at a high level, there’s a good chance that he will remain a Charger.
Can you imagine the special teams units without Seyi Ajirotutu and Andrew Gachkar? Darrell Stuckey may be the captain of the third phase of the game, but both Tutu and Gachkar are key cogs in the coverage phases of special teams. Andrew has seen a big increase in playing time at inside linebacker due to the fractured foot of Manti Te’o. He has been playing his heart out.
The sorting out of the center position next year is very interesting. With Nick Hardwick on injured-reserve, Rich Ohrnberger fighting back problems, Chris Watt has seen some time at center. Both Nick and Rich will be free agents at the beginning of the 2015 league year. Hardwick has already contemplated retirement in years past. It is hard to say if we have seen the last of him in lightning bolts. Or maybe it isn’t. Many people do not expect him to come back. Watt may be the future at either center or right guard. The center spot will be something to keep an eye on following 2014.
Eddie Royal has proven to be a playmaker and solid weapon for Philip Rivers. He also sees a lot of time as the team’s punt returner. He has a solid relationship with Rivers and he helped in the recruiting of Flowers to the Bolts. He is good in the slot and he provides a contrasting style to that of starting wideouts Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd. I have a feeling that he may be re-signed.
Marcus Gilchrist is currently San Diego’s starting strong safety. After moving from cornerback to his current position, Gilchrist has made some plays but he isn’t necessarily irreplaceable. Some media members expected him to be a possible cut during the 2014 offseason. If the play of Jahleel Addae continues on the upswing, and he gets fully healthy, the chances of Marcus being re-signed may decrease exponentially.
While examining the corner situation, Shareece Wright is another starter that is in his contract year. He has improved quite a bit since coming into the league. If the Chargers are unable to keep Brandon Flowers, Wright is almost guaranteed to remain a Charger in 2015 and beyond. But if both Flowers and Jason Verrett are other available options, I’m not so sure that Shareece stays in America’s finest city. I hope that he does as I enjoy watching his physicality in the running game and his coverage skills continue to get better as he becomes more experienced in the NFL.
This next one is the toughest one for me. I don’t even like writing about this subject when it comes to this player.
Let me begin by saying that I hope Ryan Mathews remains a Charger for life. He is, without a doubt, the best back on the current roster and his hard-charging, physical running style makes the San Diego offense better. He had a fantastic 2013 year in which he finished seventh in the league in rushing yardage. His MCL sprain in week 2 against Seattle has really affected the Charger offense. He is about to return and do everything in his power to help earn a future contract with the Bolts. He is a threat as a receiving option out of the backfield and he has improved as a pass blocker when called upon to do so in effort to keep Rivers clean and safe while in the pocket.
There are a lot of questions surrounding which players will be re-signed for 2015 and beyond. It goes without saying that the extra cap space Telesco will have should help in retaining the guys that he believes deserve to stay. The question is, who does he want to keep? He has quite some time to think this over. But there are going to be a lot of difficult decisions.
Thanks a lot for reading.
As I have mentioned in previous articles and posts on Facebook and Twitter, when BoltBlitz.com was asked to cover the 2nd Annual Ryan Mathews golf tournament on October 28th and it was an easy incredibly easy decision to make.
I had senior writers, Thomas Powell and Briana Soltis, lined up to help in providing the necessary coverage of the event. Truth be told, we took a ton of pictures and hung out with Ryan, Seyi Ajirotutu and Ronnie Brown. There were a lot of laughs and a great time was had by all. It was great to interact with the Charger players and see them off the football field and having a good time. That’s not to say that they don’t have fun while playing, but it was a unique experience watching them hang out and just play some golf.
The event was put in place to help aid the Trish and Ryan Mathews Door of Hope Chest. It is a charity that helps provide assistance to single mothers that were in need of help getting into their own places, and providing them with household items that many of us may take for granted.
Talk about a great cause. We were extremely proud to have been asked to cover the event, and it meant the world to us that we were able to chill with three of the coolest Chargers.
I am going to add a bunch of pictures below that were taken by Briana and myself. I hope you enjoy checking them out. There are some great shots.
After spending a great day with the Charger players in attendance, we left with a sense of joy that allowed us to have been a part of a great day. My staff members, Thomas and Briana, were ecstatic to have been there and I was as well. We truly appreciate the invite and the chance to see the players in their own element. As for the performance on the course at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, you ask? That will not be reported about and it will stay that way.
I hope you all enjoy the photos.
Thanks a lot for checking this out and for reading. Stop by the site often today as I have 5 articles ready to go.
I was given the opportunity to attend and observe the Second Annual Ryan Mathews Golf Tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Inn this last Tuesday. I flew out for the day from Phoenix, Arizona to San Diego in order to participate in such an incredible event. The proceeds from the event benefit Trish and Ryan Mathews’s Door of Hope Chest, a non-profit charitable foundation overseen by the Salvation Army. After multiple encounters from the most well-known San Diego Chargers, with all respect, some players are awful – awfully humble that is.
Walking onto the Rancho Bernardo Golf premises, seeing all the supporters and fans of Ryan Mathews, I couldn’t help but think how incredibly awesome it was to be there. To be at an event that supports and helps homeless women and their children get back on their feet was the focus, but to have met Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu “Tu-Tu” was the icing on the cake. Meeting them wasn’t just what it implies. I’m talking about being able to discuss and interact with them; something many people, especially fans, are unable to do.
Ronnie Brown, current running back for the Chargers, was one of the first players to arrive. However, you would have never known it was him by his casual demeanor and undisturbed attitude. Yes, Tuesday’s are off days for players, which means that any Charger may not want to be disturbed, but Ronnie didn’t seem bothered at all. In fact, he welcomed those around him and engaged in conversation. I had mentioned that I was in from Phoenix for the tournament and he eagerly replied, “Oh great! I used to train in Phoenix.” We briefly discussed how I am familiar with the training facility that he is referring to and how many NFL athletes train there as well. I even brought up the bye week and asked if he had any plans to go to an Auburn football game – considering he played at Auburn. He said, “Yes, I plan to go to the Auburn vs. Texas A&M game” and we eventually ended the conversation of how great of a SEC matchup it will be. The whole time I thought, “Oh my god, Ronnie is the chillest player I have met and doesn’t seem irritated by our interaction.”
Ronnie wasn’t the only player at the tournament. Of course Ryan Mathews was there with Seyi Ajirotutu accompanying him. Many do not know this but the two played at Fresno State together and are actually great friends outside of football – they even train with each other in the off-season. Even though Ryan was being pulling in different directions as he arrived, I still managed to talk briefly with him. Growing up, I played club soccer in various cities across Southern California – Bakersfield and Tehachapi to name a few. Well, Ryan is from Bakersfield and when I brought up that I used to play soccer there, he instantly became intrigued. He said, “I used to play football all over Bakersfield. We probably even played on the same fields.” Ryan and I are very similar in age and his statement very well could be true. Again, he didn’t feel bothered to chit-chat and made me feel welcomed to his charity benefit.
Of course I can’t forget Tu-Tu. Not only was he humble, but a real comical guy. His laid back personality fit the theme which others adopted. I didn’t get to talk much to him, but I can say he has a mean golf swing that slices through the air like soft butter – even if it went in the complete opposite of the intended direction. To see all the players and attendees of the event having so much fun was completely satisfying. All three of them even signed some items I had with no hesitation whatsoever. After this experience, I can say that the Chargers are some of the most down to earth guys in the NFL. I’m not too sure if it’s the cool San Diego air, beautiful beaches, or relaxed persona that they have embraced, but I’m happy to continue to call myself a Charger fan after this incredible experience.
A NFL team is typically comprised of players from all over the nation; including various countries. When it comes down to traveling back to their hometown, players can’t help but feel emotional to be able to play in the city they grew up; often in front of friends and family. For five current San Diego Chargers, heading back to Miami is more than just a homecoming engagement; it’s redemption.
The Chargers are currently headed east to prepare for Sunday’s matchup against the Dolphins; a game that hasn’t been won in over 33 years. Players Corey Liuget, Tourek Williams, Brandon Flowers, Branden Oliver, and the former Dolphin Ronnie Brown all head back to a place they made so many memories in. I will bet that the song, Coming Home by American rapper Diddy, is blaring in almost all of these five players’ headphones on the trip there; reminding them that this is one of the most important games they will play this season.
Last year’s game against Miami didn’t end pretty. The Chargers lost by only four points, but don’t let the game score fool you; it wasn’t the teams’ better performances. Miami held San Diego to a single touchdown and without any in the final three quarters of the game. Miami’s terribly ranked rushing game, 26th of 32 teams, was able to rack up over 100 rushing yards against the Chargers. If that didn’t sound ugly enough, the Chargers team had ten penalties for a total of seventy-six yards and went 1 for 3 in the red zone. However, this was last year and the Chargers know how vital this win is for the team.
Have I mentioned that this game is extremely important? It paves the AFC playoff picture and a chance to abolish the 33 year slump. For these five players, going home to mommy and daddy isn’t on their mind; defeating the Dolphins is strictly all business. For Ronnie Brown, losing is not an option; he spent the first six season’s in the NFL with Miami before leaving to Philadelphia via Free Agency. Now a Charger, he is seeking revenge the second time around. You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”; you can guarantee that Ronnie will not be fooled this time around.
The stout rookie Branden Oliver looks to also make a splash in South Beach. After an unproductive game against the Denver Broncos last week, BO is determined to start back where he left off after the New York Jets game. With Donald Brown back in the lineup, the run game should show a significant improvement from previous weeks.
Corey Liuget is also heading back to his hometown with vengeance. After a poor performance in last year’s game, he too is looking for payback. Last year, Liuget totaled 5.5 sacks for the year with 42 tackles combined; in the Miami game he had zero sacks and only three tackles. Numbers like these do not impress Liuget, and he now looks to improve from last year. This game not only adds to a rich history with the Dolphins, it fuels the fire for these five men and their teammates.
“Any given Sunday” is commonly said by many football fans and enthusiasts, but the Chargers are seeking more than that. This isn’t just a regular Sunday, but a homecoming to remember for years to come.
It is getting pretty depressing writing about the Charger’s injury report. The team has been banged up from the start of the 2014 season and its backups have been forced into starting roles at an alarming frequency.
Next man up.
Tom Telesco has done a solid job adding depth in his first two years as general manager of the San Diego Chargers. That depth has been tested early and often. Reserves like Branden Oliver have been thrust into key roles and he has been a strong contributor to the Charger running game. No one expected to see Andrew Gachkar play so many snaps on defense as he has been splitting time with another reserve, Kavell Conner.
The defensive secondary has been reshuffled as well. Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett and Shareece Wright have all missed time due to injuries. Eric Weddle is a constant on the back-end, but it is difficult for him to quarterback the defense with so many different combinations of players on his side of the ball.
The San Diego offensive line has been marred by injuries. The center position has seen 4 different starters in the early portion of this year. That is not exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to building cohesion among the hogs upfront. The right guard spot has seen turnover too. Both Johnnie Troutman and rookie Chris Watt have played the position.
It is no secret that the running backs have been hit incredibly hard by the injury bug. Danny Woodhead is out for the year with a broken fibula while Ryan Mathews is still nursing an MCL sprain. The severity of Donald Brown’s concussion is unknown, but due to missing the last three weeks, the concern is mounting that he might not even make it back onto the field in 2014. Heck, Ronnie Brown has even returned to the Chargers to help supplement the mash unit that is the San Diego ball carrier group.
Below is the week 7 injury report for the Bolts.
RB – Donald Brown ( Concussion )
CB – Brandon Flowers ( Concussion )
RB – Ryan Mathews ( Knee )
ILB – Manti Te’o ( Foot )
OLB – Jerry Attaochu ( Hamstring )
CB – Jason Verrett ( Shoulder )
CB – Steve Williams ( Groin )
ILB – Kavell Conner ( Ankle )
RT – DJ Fluker ( Ankle )
OLB – Dwight Freeney ( Knee )
C/G – Rich Ohrnberger ( Back )
Mike McCoy and the coaching staff are going to have to find ways to put the players that are healthy into positions that accentuate their strengths. Having so many backups in can change the gameplan to a degree, but I would expect there to not be too much deviation from what the team does on offense and defense.
The Chargers are heading into Denver tomorrow to take on the Broncos. No one in the Denver organization feels sorry for the Bolts about their long injury list. It is up to San Diego to rise up and overcome this adversity and escape Mile High with a win. It will not be an easy task, but it can be done. The lead in the AFC West is up for grabs and this could be a huge statement game for the Chargers.
Regardless of all of the injuries, I cannot wait for tomorrow’s game.
Thanks a lot for reading.
From the late 60’s to the early 70’s the Mod squad was a huge hit television series. Three troubled teens were placed together by Captain Adam Greer to work undercover. All members came from different backgrounds, lived in different areas of California and were facing jail time. If it weren’t for Captain Greer’s unorthodox creativity, the Mod squad would never had existed and the characters would never have formed into what they were. In 2014, Captain Telesco and Lieutenant McCoy now have the M.O.B. squad in beautiful San Diego; anchoring the running game of the Chargers as they fight opponents on their way to the Lombardi Trophy. Who is the M.O.B Squad you ask?
Brown, Donald & Ronnie
As it currently stands with injuries to Ryan and Donald, Oliver is the starting running back. It didn’t hurt that Bo ran all over the #1 run defense in the NFL last week. As this is being written, Ryan should be back no later than Week 8 against Denver and there is no report yet on Donald’s concussion status. Ronnie is welcomed back to San Diego to support the injury plagued Bolts. The entire football nation was incredibly impressed with Oliver’s ability against the Jets. Most have stated that it was only one game and that the crown should not be passed on just yet. As much as that statement might be true, it was more than just a game against an NFL team. It was against the best rushing defense, and Oliver made them look like, well…the Oakland Raiders. I want to discuss what happens when #24 rises from the injured list and puts on the pads and his helmet.
Clearly, the starting running back will be Ryan Mathews. He has proven himself to be a tough and shifty runner. How should the Chargers split carries between Mathews and Oliver? My prediction is that McCoy will be rotating series between the two and going with the hot hand. Having Oliver utilized as Woodhead’s replacement is also a strong possibility. In the passing game last season, Woodhead ranked 3rd in targets (88), 2nd in receptions (76) and 4th in receiving yards (605) on the team. For the last two games, Oliver has emerged as a sure handed receiver who finds the open space. I would not be surprised if McCoy and Reich deploy Oliver in the role Danny thrived in. On the other hand, I believe using Bo in that capacity would place a cap on his abilities. Backs like Chicago’s Matt Forte is what I see in Oliver. A smaller version, of course, but effective and talented nonetheless.
Another theory that is possible is using Oliver as a change-of-pace back. Typically those style of running backs run more quick-hitting plays, like screens or sweeps. They tend to showcase their speed and quickness. A featured back is a powerful back who runs up the middle, between the tackles and is a solid receiver. Branden Oliver is an anomaly of sorts. Against a very stout defense last week, Bo ran like a powerful featured back and ran sweeps and screens.
The running game in a balanced offensive attack is crucial. Telesco has been a strong and smart Captain as he employs good players while adding much-needed depth. Donald and Ronnie are veteran backs that are well equipped to fill those roles. Mathews has earned first-team snaps and we need his services to enhance the running game. The Chargers need him to man the backfield on this glorious run that they are having. Credit is given where credit is due and I cannot wait until Ryan is back in the starting lineup. With that being said, Oliver has shown the world that he can be a featured back. Something this writer has known all along.
What are your thoughts Charger fans? How do you think the Chargers should utilize the special talent of Oliver? Reply below and let the debate begin!!
Thanks for reading
A familiar name is now again with the San Diego Chargers. Ronnie Brown was signed today after recently being released by the Houston Texans. The running back situation has been in flux due to injuries to Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. Woodhead is out for the year and Mathews should be returning in the next couple of weeks. ( Fingers crossed )
In comes Brown.
The team knows Brown and he knows most of the nuances of the offense. Ronnie is a former number two overall draft pick by the Miami Dolphins out of Auburn. He is not a burner but he is a reliable ball carrier that won’t turn it over.
The Charger backfield, for the time being, looks like this: Branden Oliver, Shaun Draughn and Ronnie Brown.
In a corresponding move the Chargers released the recently signed Kevin Reddick. He wasn’t with the team long but he became expendable as the running back spot needed an addition to its ranks.
As mentioned the other day, the team also signed center Trevor Robinson from Cincinnati’s practice squad. This move was made due to Doug Legursky being placed on reserve-injured. The center position has now lost both Nick Hardwick and Legursky for the year. Rich Ohrnberger has been battling back issues for almost a month. It appears that rookie Chris Watt will be manning the center position for the Oakland game.
DJ Adams was placed on practice squad-injured. San Diego brought back safety Adrian Phillips for the third time to fill the empty spot on the practice squad.
In what was expected to be a quiet day at Chargers Park, six roster moves were made. Tom Telesco is always looking for ways to improve his team. Supplementing for injuries has become an often occurrence for the second-year general manager. We can only hope that this rash of injuries will no longer continue.
Despite the litany of banged up players, the Chargers head to play the Raiders in week six on a 4-game winning streak. The team is riding high with a 4-1 record and a lot of momentum. Depending on the website, the Bolts are currently holding the first, third or fourth spot in national power rankings.
There are many reasons to be excited about the 2014 edition of the San Diego Chargers. The first, and most obvious, is that they should build upon the successes of the 2013 campaign.
Going into Tom Telesco’s and Mike McCoy’s second year at the helm, the team has improved in critical areas. Somehow fitting Brandon Flowers within the tight cap space might be the steal of the century! Bolts drafted well again this year, picking up Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu and Chris Watt. The team is deeper and stronger going into camp than it was last year.
Here’s what I’ll be looking for in 2014:
Ryan Mathews. He silenced a lot of critics with his play and his toughness last year. He ran harder and with more purpose than in previous years. Most importantly, he held on to the football and he kept playing once he got out of Mike McCoy’s dog house early in the season.
Malcom Floyd. He sustained that frightening neck injury last year in Philly, but is saying he’s ready to play and he’s been cleared by the doctors. When healthy, he’s a solid #2 WR. A big body, physical guy who can also stretch the field. If he can stay healthy, look for trouble in coverage with he and Keenan Allen.
Speaking of Keenan Allen. Came out of nowhere last year. Our third round draft pick was slated to be brought along slowly until the injury bug bit. Can he duplicate and build on his rookie success? Rest assured he’ll get more secondary attention this year in addition to getting more attention from Philip Rivers.
Ladarius Green. I expect to see him on the field more as the heir-apparent to Antonio Gates. Gatsey isn’t what he used to be, and his skills have diminished with age. I think Green will play more and begin to take his place as Antonio’s future replacement.
Cornerback position. I was excited about Steve Williams last year until he tore his pectoral muscle early on. Telesco was high on him as well. With a CB corps of Flowers, Williams, Verrett, Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall, we’re definitely in better shape than we were last year.
Offensive line. Who’d have thunk? King Dunlap may have been the most underrated player of 2013. An area everyone was concerned about turned out to be one of the more stable units on the 2013 squad. Look for draft pick Chris Watt to see time at guard and at center, spelling Nick Hardwick as his playing days are winding down.
There’s a lot to be excited about this coming year. Telesco made a lot of upgrades considering the salary cap restraints he had to work with. Donald Brown is an upgrade over Ronnie Brown. Flowers is, without question, an upgrade over Derek Cox. Health is always the question mark. Can M80 stay healthy? Dwight Freeney? Can Philip Rivers build on his successes with Mike McCoy’s offense? Can Ryan Mathews be the stud RB he showed last year he can be? Will Mantei Te’o improve over a pedestrian rookie campaign where he learned on the job after missing training camp with foot issues?
I believe the Chargers are poised to make another run at the post season, and maybe deeper into the post season than last year. Time will tell.