San Diego Union Tribune
Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!
That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.
Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.
That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.
Fast forward to 2016.
The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.
During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.
He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.
Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.
Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.
Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.
The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.
He hasn’t looked back since.
So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.
When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”
From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.
Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.
The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”
They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.
So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.
Melvin Ingram stated that he had things to show this year.
All the time he has spent studying film, all the hard work and sweat have coalesced into an opportunity he might have briefly thought about: defensive captain. On Wednesday, the Chargers named Ingram as the player who would wear the big “C” on his jersey in place of Manti Te’o, who was recently placed on IR (Achilles’ tear). The other defensive captain is nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
“I ain’t showed nothing,” Ingram told U-T San Diego back in June. “I have so much to show…It ain’t even started. You ain’t even seen what I got going on…When the season starts, everyone is going to see. It’s fixing to get real.”
The fifth-year pro appears to still carry a chip on his shoulder as a result of having missed 25 games in a little more than a year due to injuries. The 2015 campaign was his first full 16-game season since his 2012 rookie year. First there was the torn ACL which occurred May 14, 2013, during OTAs. He did not return to action until early December. Next came the hip injury sustained in a 2014 game against the Seahawks that caused him to miss seven weeks of playing time.
I think after all that adversity I’d be frustrated too!
Through the first three games of 2016, the former South Carolina Gamecock has pretty much matched the statistics of his initial year. Already, No. 54 has collected a combined eight tackles with seven of those being individual efforts. Additionally, Ingram has totaled two sacks, a forced fumble (FF) and a lone defended pass. In his first four career games, he was well on is way to being a force with seven solo tackles and an assist, three PDs and one FF.
In April of 2015, Tom Telesco and the Chargers chose to exercise the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. It is worth $7.751 million, per Spotrac.com. It includes a guarantee for injury and becomes fully guaranteed should the stud linebacker be on the roster come Day 1 of the 2017 League Year.
The 2016 season is indeed a year in which “SupaMelvin” will be showcasing his worth from now until December. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017, so he is also playing for the future. Whether that career remains in San Diego or continues elsewhere is unknown.
Fellow teammate Jeremiah Attaochu said it best to Ricky Henne of Chargers.com: “He is a leader first and foremost. And he does it all by example with the way he comes out there each day and plays. He is motivating to all of us with the way he does that. We need that right now as a defense with Manti going down. When Melvin speaks, everyone listens.”
The future is now for Ingram, and if he can get back to the level of play he was on the last nine games of 2015, he’ll receive a large contract and, most likely, remain with the Chargers for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for reading!
The hype surrounding Manti Te’o prior to the San Diego Chargers selecting him in the 2013 draft was mountainous, to say the least. Then first-year general manager Tom Telesco moved up seven slots (from 45th to 38th) to take the former Fighting Irish linebacker.
After all, Te’o had received a plethora of awards and trophies at the end of the 2012 collegiate season: The Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Trophy (the nation’s most outstanding football player), the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and a two-time winner of The Butkus Award (once in high school and then again in 2012 with Notre Dame). There was also this one other little thing – Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Those are ALL spectacular acknowledgements. In 51 games at Notre Dame, he amassed a total of 437 tackles (212 solo/34 for loss), 12 quarterback hits, 8.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 10 pass break ups, 17 passes defensed with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Te’o has the distinction of being only the second linebacker of Polynesian descent drafted by the Bolts, the first, of course, being Junior Seau. Te’o was also the highest selected Fighting Irish linebacker drafted since Demetrius DuBose in 1993.
At this juncture in his young career, Te’o’s pro stats look like this through 35 games: 202 tackles with 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He has missed 13 games due to injuries to both feet dating back to his rookie season.
Here is the list of his various ailments since entering the NFL:
August 8, 2013: Sprains his foot in a game against the Seattle Seahawks. He is seen in a walking boot two days later and ends up missing the next five games. Ultimately has surgery in the offseason to repair a bone in his right foot.
August 15, 2014: Another preseason game versus the Seahawks has Te’o injuring his left foot. He sits out the next two weeks and is back in action for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
September 21, 2014: In the road game versus the Buffalo Bills, he injures his right foot. It’s bad news for the Bolts when it is announced that Te’o suffered a fracture. He doesn’t take the field again until after the Week 10 bye when San Diego faced the Oakland Raiders.
Te’o stayed injury-free for the remainder of the 2014 season, compiling an additional 40 tackles over the last seven games. In that stretch, he managed to get his first NFL interception in a Sunday Night game against the New England Patriots on the Chargers’ own turf. The pass was intended for Rob Gronkowski. Two weeks later, he collected the first sack of his pro career, on 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
October 12, 2015: The Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for a Monday Night matchup. Unfortunately, the guy wearing No. 50 had to leave the game for a few snaps to get his ankle taped. While he did return to the contest, and finish with seven tackles, he again is out for over a month trying to get it strong once more.
The Chargers are in a bit of a pickle here. Right now the team is loaded at linebacker with the likes of Te’o (who will be calling the defensive plays), Melvin Ingram, Jeremiah Attaochu and sophomore Denzel Perryman most likely the starters. Joining the mix are second-year men Kyle Emanuel and Nick Dzubnar; plus rookies Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown and Dexter McCoil. There is also fourth-year player Tourek Williams, who returns after a limited 2015 due to breaking his foot in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Needless to say, linebackers coach Bob Babich and defensive coordinator John Pagano are going to be putting in plenty of observation and film study over the next couple of months to determine who potentially makes the roster, moves to the practice squad or ends up being released.
Whether Manti Te’o remains a Charger for the entirety of his career remains to be seen. However, Te’o staying injury-free might solidify his spot. The Chargers have always liked him for his leadership ability, strong work ethic, perseverance and instincts. He is an extremely smart player. His only downfall has been an inability to play an entire 16-game season.
Now, I know that there are many people out there who are not fans of Te’o for whatever reason(s). No, he doesn’t always wrap up and tackle his target. Yes, sometimes he runs a bit slow. He is, however, starting to become the tackling machine that had him landing on several top-ten college recruiting lists before he began his senior year of high school.
Te’o himself said it best in a December 2014 interview with Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’ve always been one to keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding, keep grinding. I’m going to continue to get better because I’m going to continue to work.”
Yet the question remains, is Te’o going to be part of San Diego’s plans beyond the ’16 campaign? When all is said and done, this is a business. There is going to be stiff competition at the inside linebacker spot next month from the rookie Perry. We could very well see a repeat of Butler versus Te’o, and that might not end well for Manti. He’s been put on notice. As much as I like No. 50, I don’t think he will be sporting blue and gold come the 2017 season.
I’m pulling for him to stay with the team and pick up where he left off in 2015.
What do you think? Share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
In a bombshell that was reported by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune Monday, the San Diego Chargers informed safety and defensive captain Eric Weddle they will not pursue a contract extension with him this season. Weddle had made his displeasure known this offseason by stating he would not show up for voluntary team workouts as his form of protest for not getting a new deal. Penalties do not start accruing until mandatory minicamp beginning June 16.
Unless he decides to dig in and holdout, Weddle is expected to be in camp for all mandatory camp activities. He has expressed his desire to retire a Charger, but did state he feels ‘highly, highly disrespected’ for not getting an extension by now. Always the professional, the three-time Pro Bowler will play like his hair is on fire and leave it all on the field, then enjoy being courted by every team with cap space in the league next offseason.
There’s no doubt that if he’s not the top safety in the league, he is definitely in the top five. Weddle is the fourth-highest paid safety in the league and will collect $7.5 million in this final season of his contract. If you averaged the salaries of the top-ten safeties in the league, it comes out to approximately $8 million per season. Weddle is actually making below the market average, so what don’t we know? Is his camp asking for more? Given what he has meant to this team and the San Diego community, maybe they are. They would be justified to ask.
By not working out an extension now, GM Tom Telesco is making his biggest gamble. When Weddle hits the free agent market, teams will break the bank for his services. He will definitely make more than $8 million a year at the end of the day.
The bottom line is, if Weddle ends up a Charger past this season, it will come at a higher price tag than it would if they were to get a deal done while they have exclusive rights to him. Don’t expect Weddle to give Telesco a hometown discount after all that has transpired to this point.
In the very real possibility that Weddle is not a Charger in 2016, what is the backup plan?
The Chargers have a maturing group of safeties and a couple of contenders playing on their rookie contracts. They just signed Jimmy Wilson to a two-year deal in March. The former Dolphin is expected to push Jahleel Addae for the starting strong safety spot opposite Weddle. The veteran will be entering his fifth season and is coming off his best year as a pro, totaling 59 tackles, two passes defensed and one interception.
Jahleel Addae has done nothing but improve with each passing season. The 2013 undrafted free agent hit the ground running as a special teams standout and situational safety. Last season, he was the starting strong safety in five games, playing in eleven games. Although he missed five contests (two to hamstring, three to concussion), Addae had a better statistical season than his rookie year when he played in all 16 games. Granted, he wasn’t thrown into the defensive rotation until midway through the season, but he’s shown a natural aptitude for the position.
Darrell Stuckey is the undisputed leader of the special teams unit and is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection at the special teams position. Stuckey saw lots of action on defense with the litany of injuries the Chargers suffered in the secondary. He is the eldest safety on the roster after Weddle, entering his sixth season. The rest of the field consists of rookies and pros entering their second season. If they are the backup plan, it is not a good backup plan.
No two of those players equal one Eric Weddle.
Even if you add in the top safety prospect in next year’s draft, Florida State junior Jalen Ramsey, it’s going to take time to cultivate that talent. With a formidable cornerback group anchored by Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett, the Chargers have a potential top-five secondary if all stay healthy. That’s never been a problem for Weddle, who hasn’t missed a game in five years and only missed four games his entire career. According to Pro Football Focus, Weddle was the best safety in the league and 22nd-ranked player in the league regardless of position.
Yes, he’s 30. Yes, he’s reached that magical number where player performance starts to decline. We know Tom Telesco favors youth over grizzled veterans. That is likely the thinking in taking the wait-and-see approach. However, when you have the best player at his position, you should pay him as such.
We’ve seen what happens when a locker room is too young. Look no further than the Browns, Jets and Bills to see what happens to a team that doesn’t have the veteran infrastructure needed to keep the younger inmates from running the asylum. The Chargers have that veteran infrastructure.
As long as Telesco doesn’t let them all walk away.
The Greg One
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com interviews punter Mike Scifres.
Matthew Pagels of profootballspot.com asks the question of whether or not Darius Philon will take over at defensive end for Kendall Reyes.
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune talks about how the young players on the Chargers must step up.
Derek Togerson of NBC7 San Diego writes about Philip Rivers focusing on his footwork.
John Clayton of ESPN.com believes that it is unlikely that Rivers leaves the Chargers.
Stay tuned in the next few days as we’ll be announcing our next meetup.
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com writes about Melvin Gordon’s first OTA performance.
Derek Togerson of NBC7 San Diego has a post where Philip Rivers talks about this offseason and contract talks.
Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune penned a piece about Melvin Ingram’s weight loss.
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune explains how Jason Verrett stood out at the team’s first OTA.
Don Muret of Sportingnews.com writes that Mick Jagger is the newest person to support the Chargers staying in San Diego.
In what may have been a surprise to all but the San Diego Chargers, Dr. Christopher Wahl, the current head team physician, is resigning. He has been providing care to the players since early 2013 after he was hired to fill the vacancy left by Dr. David Chao. Dr. Wahl cited personal reasons and the ongoing stadium issue as reasons for his departure. The team is in search of his replacement. This will be the third team doctor in three years. It is anticipated that Wahl would be with the Bolts through the upcoming April 30-May 2 draft. As Chao did with him two years ago, Wahl will transition his successor through the spring workouts.
Dr. Wahl was also Associate Professor and Chief of Sports Medicine at UCSD during his tenure with the Bolts. Because of a two-year non-compete clause (imposed by the University of Washington) which prevented his joining a medical group providing care for the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, Wahl and his wife came to San Diego. The present stadium situation here is like opportunity knocking at the door. If the Chargers move; the likelihood of them looking for another physician is possible. Dr. Wahl stated his wife would support him no matter what but “in her heart of hearts I know she would really like to be back in Seattle”.
Thank you, Dr. Wahl, for the time you spent in San Diego, giving the Chargers’ players the care they required. Best of luck in Seattle!
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is not certain where he’ll be playing in 2016 and not just because of the team’s shaky stadium situation in San Diego.
In case you missed it, Rivers talked with the U-T San Diego about his future with the team.
Basically said he’s committed to playing out his contract with the Bolts, which expires after the 2015 season, but is unsure whether he’ll sign a new contract or try to work out an extension before training camp starts in July.
One of the reasons is, of course, family. Philip and his wife Tiffany have built a family in San Diego and if a move is necessary they will likely try to make it back South (both are from Alabama) instead of Los Angeles.
Add that revelation to the fact the Chargers are bringing in Oregon QB Marcus Mariota for a workout in April, and all of a sudden you have grounds for some serious speculation on a major overhaul of the Chargers offense.
So, let’s remove the emotion from the situation and sort some of it out logically.
First and foremost, the Chargers want to keep Rivers in place. General Manager Tom Telesco came from Indianapolis. His first year there was 1998, when the Colts drafted Peyton Manning. His last year there was 2012, when they took Andrew Luck. If anybody understands the importance of having a franchise quarterback in place, it’s Telesco (You can hear for yourself how Tom feels about Rivers in the video attached to this story, which was recorded December 31, 2014).
Telesco says he thinks Rivers has a number of good years left in him. The recent signings of Stevie Johnson and Orlando Franklin would suggest the Bolts still consider Rivers the key to their offense. For now, at least. Telesco also said he’s committed to Rivers retiring as a Charger.
But, what if Rivers is not? Then what do the Chargers do?
Bolts fans don’t have to think too far back to see what happened the last time the team let a QB walk out of town while getting nothing in return. In about 10 years they’ll see it on the bust of Drew Brees in Canton, OH. Rivers blossoming into a star eased the pain of Brees’ success, but the odds of having three Pro Bowl (and possibly Hall of Fame) caliber passers in a row are astronomical.
Here’s where Mariota enters the mix.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is going to have a private workout for the Bolts’ brass. Mariota’s athletic skill set could not be more different than Rivers, but having him learn for a year under #17 (who has already spent time coaching the youngster before the NFL Combine) would not be a bad thing.
If Telesco gets the vibe he’s not going to be able to retain Rivers long-term, he needs to be looking out for his franchise, and he could certainly do worse than adding someone as talented as Mariota.
Of course, that opens the question of … how would the Chargers get their hands on Mariota? He’s projected to be long gone before the Bolts make their selection in this year’s Draft (and no, the irony of that pick being #17 has not been lost). So, the Chargers would have to make a trade up.
Assuming Tampa Bay selects Jameis Winston first overall (which they’ve said publicly they’re leaning towards), the next team up also has serious QB issues: Tennessee. The Titans are quite the interesting possibility.
Ken Whisenhunt is their head coach. In 2013, he had a tremendous relationship with Rivers while serving as San Diego’s offensive coordinator. He would love to get his hands on Philip. However, sources close to the Titans tell me they’d be “shocked” if Tennessee traded the second overall pick for Rivers.
The Titans have a bunch of holes to fill. They are not one QB away from being true contenders. So, if they do deal the number two pick, it will be to stockpile other picks, and the Chargers are not likely to make that kind of gamble when they have as many issues to address as they do (o-line, d-line, running back, linebacker, etc.).
Looking at the rest of the NFL Draft order, there aren’t many teams who will use a pick on a quarterback:
3) Jacksonville – took Blake Bortles last year
4) Oakland – took Derek Carr last year
5) Washington – still don’t know what to do with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy
6) NY Jets – ABSOLUTELY NEED A QB
7) Chicago – Possibility here. Jay Cutler could be released in another year
8) Atlanta – Matt Ryan
9) NY Giants – Eli Manning
10) St. Louis – just traded for Nick Foles but still a possibility
11) Minnesota – took Teddy Bridgewater last year
12) Cleveland – took Johnny Manziel last year
13) New Orleans – Drew Brees
14) Miami – Ryan Tannehill, although it’s possible they’re not 100% sold on him
15) San Francisco – Colin Kaepernick, basically the same style as Mariota
16) Houston – definitely in the market for a QB
So, the Chargers might not have to deal Rivers to get their hands on Mariota. If he falls far enough in the first round, they could conceivably move up just a couple of spots and not sacrifice too much (of course, the Eagles are lurking at #20 and, despite what Chip Kelly says about Sam Bradford, he’d make a more for his former recruit).
So you see there are a lot of moving pieces in play that would have to line up for Marcus Mariota to land in San Diego.
The other part of this whole scenario is this: The Chargers offense is built around Philip Rivers. If he is shockingly dealt before this year, or allowed to leave after the 2015 season, a whole lot of guys will go with him.
Antonio Gates, also a free agent, will leave. Eric Weddle, also a free agent, will leave. Those guys are not going to wait around for a rebuild; they’ve been through enough already. The entire identity of the Chargers, the franchise as we know it, will cease to exist. It will signal a complete personality change for the franchise.
Now, you can crack your jokes about that being perfect for a team playing in a new city, but the fact is this is a defining moment in Chargers history, not just off the field, but on it, as well.
The sorest spot of the Bolts’ 2014 campaign was the offensive line. Today, Tom Telesco has started to restore it by signing former Denver Bronco’s offensive tackle Orlando Franklin.
It was reported just a few days ago that Franklin planned to sign with San Diego, according to multiple sources. The signing has finally been made official. He reunites with head coach Mike McCoy, who was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator during his first two seasons.
Franklin (27) brings an incredible amount of talent to a diminished offensive line. He played right tackle his first three seasons with the Broncos, but was shifted to guard last year in order to adjust to recent team changes. Standing at 6,7” and weighing 320 pounds, he has the physical features needed to protect Philip Rivers. Franklin’s pass blocking efficiency rating was 98.6 which was 2nd highest of all guards in 2014. Furthermore, his abilities will also be utilized in the attempt to mend the run game.
In 2012, Franklin allowed the fewest sacks (3.5) in the NFL along with his 16-game starts. He has only missed one game of his four years in the league. It’s only right that he was brought in considering the Bolts are in desperate need of some consistency on the offensive front.
The exact contract details are unknown yet, but according to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune, Franklin’s contract is reported to be a 5-year, $20 million guaranteed deal. The longevity of the offensive line just vastly increased.
Franklin is originally from Kingston, Jamaica. When he was three he moved to Canada, but then moved to Florida during his junior year of high school. He attended and played football at the University of Miami where he obtained a few accolades including: 2010 UMiami Sports Hall of Fame Unsung Hero Award and 2010 All-ACC Second team.
If this is what Tom Telesco can do in free agency with spending capability, all I can say is “wow”. Let’s not forget that Peyton Manning may need a new pair of pants after finding out he no longer has his stud pass protector. Let’s welcome Orlando Franklin to the San Diego Chargers.
With free agency officially set to open tomorrow, Tuesday March 10th at 4 p.m. ET. exactly, NFL teams are preparing to sign some heavy hitters. Since last week, rumors and predictions have circulated as fans eagerly wait for what is set to unfold. As of right now, everything is all speculation which leaves Tom Telesco and the Chargers still in the hunt for big name players. Let’s stop there because the Bolts don’t sign big names.
It was nice to ponder the thought of free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh coming to a team with a tremendous need for a nose tackle, but it was all a fictional. An array of fans flooded social media when it was announced by NFL Media insider’s Ian Rapoport that Suh is being considered by the Chargers. What a tease. Bolt fans had to have known that names like his don’t ever come to San Diego. It is already looking like this year’s free agency signees won’t be anything like what A.J. Preller did in the Padres’ offseason. I would love to eat my words on that.
Well, wait a second. The previous back office has been gone for a few seasons now and this is the first year Telesco has had cap breathing room. Fans have been unable to determine what the young general manager is capable of, but most importantly, willing to do in order to build a Super Bowl contending team.
We all know what happened in recent years with some semi big name signings. Jared Gaither and Derek Cox are just a couple that did not live up to their contracts, to say the least. Is it the money or just the uncertainly that the back office feels the need to justify not snagging a big hitter via free agency? Either way, I believe starting tomorrow things may start to change.
There has to be some reasoning as to why big name players should not be chased. For example, it’s reported that Suh will sign with the Miami Dolphins for a 5-year, $114 million dollar contract, but should the Chargers spend a quarterback’s salary on a defensive tackle? It’s debatable, but not wise when the roster has many gaps yet to fill. Yes, Telesco finally has money to spend, but it shouldn’t be spent on a single big name guy.
In the most positive news yet to transpire, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune, free agent guard/tackle Orlando Franklin is set to join the Chargers. Seems as if strides are being made for big names. According to NFL Trade Rumors, Franklin is ranked 19th of 100 free agents in 2015 which gives him a presumable headliner label.
Last week, the Bolts added an explosive kick returner, Jacoby Jones, to the roster. In addition to him, Telesco then solidified the secondary by re-signing cornerback Brandon Flowers. These players may not be big names per say, but they add much-needed value to the organization.
It’s always been a stigma that the Chargers don’t sign heavy hitters via free agency. This offseason seems to be different, and things are progressing forward with player talent, rather regressing. Bolt fans should be hopeful with the leadership of Tom Telesco and company. In the next few weeks, his true colors will be exposed. I’m hopeful for bright and exuberant colors, opposed to the gloomy grays.