Sean Lissemore

Weddle6

 

The Chargers have announced their weekly injury report for this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Although things on the injury front seem to be improving numbers-wise, the team will be without marquee starters at multiple positions.

 

OUT:

  • LG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
  • ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
  • FS – Eric Weddle (Groin)
  • OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)

 

DOUBTFUL:

  • ILB – Denzel Perryman (Biceps)

 

QUESTIONABLE:

  • TE – Antonio Gates (Knee)
  • NT – Sean Lissemore (Hamstring)
  • CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)

 

PROBABLE:

  • RB – Melvin Gordon (Ankle)
  • C – Chris Watt (Groin)

 

The Chargers’ offensive line will once again be without left guard Orlando Franklin, but it will be getting back center Chris Watt this week. Reserve center Trevor Robinson played well in Watt’s absence, and he could possibly force the Bolts to keep Watt on the shelf for one more game in order to ensure he gets back to full health.

Also on the offensive side of the ball, Philip Rivers could be without his favorite target, Antonio Gates, for the sixth game in 2015. Gates tweaked his knee on the final drive of the team’s loss to the Packers in Week 6. Should the future Hall of Famer miss the game on Sunday, Ladarius Green will once again be called upon to start at tight end.

Green, 25, has already set career-highs in receptions (26) and touchdowns (4), adding 304 yards receiving. The fourth-year veteran is only 73 yards away from his career-high in receiving yards, too.

While the offense is slowly getting healthier, the defensive side of the ball is not so lucky.

The Chargers’ defense will be missing inside linebacker Manti Te’o and free safety Eric Weddle for the second consecutive week. Te’o was one tackle behind Weddle for the team-lead prior to the two starters becoming injured. Weddle, nursing a groin injury, is missing consecutive games for the first since 2009.

Te’o’s replacement, Denzel Perryman, is listed as doubtful for the game on Sunday, forcing back-up linebacker Kavell Conner into the starting lineup.

Conner was signed as a free agent from Indianapolis two years ago.

Though he won’t play against the Ravens, outside linebacker Tourek Williams returned to practice this week for the first time since August. Upon his return, he will be a welcome addition to the anemic pass rush in San Diego. He is also a prime performer on special teams.

This week’s game is a must-win for the Chargers. It is up to the players and coaches to get this thing turned around starting Sunday.

Should the team lose to the Ravens on the road, they can basically kiss goodbye to any opportunity to make the playoffs this year.

 

Booga Peters

 

Verrett5

 

There are a lot of candidates for the Chargers to have a breakout season. Narrowing it down to just five guys is a very tough project. But here are my choices for the five that will most likely breakout.

Quick note: I am not putting Ingram in this, although I do believe he will breakout. I wrote about that separately. You can read it here.

5.) Center, Chris Watt
Chris Watt has been selected by the Chargers’ coaching staff to be the heir apparent to Nick Hardwick. He played in a few games there last season (as did 4 other centers) before ending his season with an injury. From all the reports I have read, it seems like the former Notre Dame guard is picking up the center position very quickly and looks to be a very solid replacement.

4.) Nose Tackle, Ryan Carrethers
Ryan Carrethers, a fifth-round draft selection in 2014, is a very big and athletic nose tackle. He was starting to understand the pro game last season, coming into his own before his season ended with a dislocated elbow in the week 11 game versus the Raiders. I think he eventually takes over the starting NT job from Sean Lissemore, and has a very nice impact on stopping the run on defense.

3.) Inside linebacker, Manti Te’o
With the addition of linebackers coach Mike Nolan, you could really add any LB here. I went with Te’o because he seemed to improve his played late during the 2014 campaign. He was having a really nice year last year after coming back off a foot injury. If he can stay healthy this season, expect him to continue to hone his skills and become a solid force for years to come.

2.) Wide Receiver, Stevie Johnson
Stevie Johnson had really fallen off the map after his three best seasons in Buffalo. Those strong years were followed by two sub-par seasons; one with Buffalo, and one with San Francisco. Stevie Johnson signed a three-year deal with San Diego in the offseason. Philip Rivers and Johnson have built a strong rapport in the few months they have been working together. Look for a huge season from SJ11.

1.) Cornerback, Jason Verrett
Jason Verrett is going to have a monster season….. if he stays healthy. He has all the ability and talent to become a legitimate No. 1, lockdown cornerback. The one big flaw to his game is he needs to cut down on the big hits and keep himself healthy, a thing that has hurt him his senior year at TCU and his rookie season in the NFL. I do think Verrett has learned from his past injuries and now will focus on staying healthy. He will have the biggest impact on this Chargers team in 2015. He will lead a unit that comes in with big expectations (from me), and I believe they will live up to those.

Honorable mentions: LB Donald Butler, OLB Kyle Emanuel, S Jahleel Addae, WR Keenan Allen

Who do you think will breakout this season? Let me know below!

Zak Darman

knighton

Let’s speculate that Terrance Knighton, defensive tackle for the bane in the backsides of San Diego’s Chargers, the Denver Broncos, comes to town for a visit.  Wouldn’t it be great to nab a player from one of the Bolts’ AFC West rivals? Yes, I know we have Sean Lissemore and Ryan Carrethers. But, truth be told, that position in the middle of the line, nose tackle, hasn’t been the same since big ol’ Jamal Williams (one of my favorites!) was released in 2010.

So, what would the Chargers get if they could sign Knighton? 200 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles over his six years in the league. A proven leader. Someone that helps solidify the defensive front.  And one other thing? Let’s not forget one all-important fact: DURABILITY. The man has only been injured three (that’s right, 3) times over the course of his career.  The best part?

That nasty attitude in the defensive line is sorely lacking! As Nick Hardwick said shortly before he retired, “We’ve got to bring some bad, bad dudes in here”. Though he was referencing former players Steve Foley and Randall Godfrey, (and they were fearsome!), the fact remains that there really isn’t much nasty to the Chargers defense.  They need the talent of Suh without all the other baggage.  Jarret Johnson retired and Dwight Freeney’s status with the Bolts is unknown. Knighton gives the Chargers a veteran presence that will be needed to fill that void. I think his mean, tough,  “you gotta go through me” attitude would bolster the young guys to play a little more aggressively. Knighton is 28, not much older than the rest of the defensive line. Can you imagine what Corey Liuget (6’2, 300 pounds) and Kendall Reyes (6’4, 300 pounds) could be like with Knighton, who is 6’3 and 335 pounds, between them?! Add Ingram and Attachou, plus that guy who is all over the place – Weddle – and their collective hard-hitting moxy – all I can say is, that sounds like a bunch of “bad dudes” to me!!

In comparison, Lissemore has been in the league since 2010 and traded by Dallas to San Diego in 2013. Overall stats: 119 tackles (53 in SD), 6.5 sacks (3/SD), 1 interception (returned for touchdown), and 1 fumble recovery. Carrethers will be entering his second year and while he didn’t play much, he had nine tackles.

The only downside I’ve been able to find on him is in relation to his weight. Denver has fined him several times, to the tune of $300,000, for not adhering to weight markers.  Knighton has slimmed down, changed his eating habits, and feels that he will be able to maintain an ideal weight going forward.

Sure, Knighton said he’d take a hometown discount to stay in Denver.  However, they may not have the money to do it after all the spending Elway did last offseason in free agency. His contract, when he signed there in 2013, was a two-year, $4.5 million deal that gave him a $500,000 signing bonus with $500,000 guaranteed. Salary was $2.25 million, plus a million dollar roster bonus for 2014. So, why not offer him the same deal to play in San Diego?

Personally, I like the possibility of Knighton wearing lightning bolts as opposed to either an orange-maned horse or silver “pirate” with swords through his head.  Really appealing if it can be accomplished at a cap-friendly number.  How about you?

Thanks for reading!

Cheryl A. White

help

 

“Games are won and lost in the trenches.” How many times have we heard that from coaches and commentators alike? I think the 2014 Charger season proved that out.

A patchwork offensive line was tasked with protecting Philip Rivers, was not consistently effective.  Too many times we saw #17 running for his proverbial life. The run game was terrible as well. The Chargers lost their anchor, Nick Hardwick early in the season and now for good with his expected retirement.  A total of five men played at the center position.  Johnny Troutman was awful.  DJ Fluker’s inexperience at the professional level was exposed in his Sophomore season.  Truth be told, I felt King Dunlap was the only bright spot along the front five.

The defensive front seven wasn’t a whole heck of a lot better.  Donald Butler was invisible.  The nose tackle by committee was a failure.  Kendall Reyes seemed to regress.  Pressure from the outside linebackers (pass rush specialists in a 3-4) weren’t helped by their teammates.  Corey Liuget was the only consistent performer on the defensive side.

With the Free Agency period beginning on March 10, I’ve been going over the list of pending free agents and have compiled a wish list of whom I’d like to see Tom Telesco pursue.  Also, I will look at who the casual fan clamors for and why I don’t see them in lightning bolts in 2015.  This, of course, is without considering salary restraints.

On Defense, nose tackle is of particular concern to me.  You may say that John Pagano ran a base 3-4 less than half the time.  Perhaps because NT was a weak link?  Sean Lissemore didn’t impress at all.  Ryan Carrethers showed potential until he got hurt, but he needs seasoning.  Ricardo Mathews is a serviceable sub, but the Chargers haven’t had a stud nose tackle since Jamal Williams.  Personally, I think this is one position Tom Telesco needs to look over the free agent crop.  Chargers can ill afford to have the front seven compromised by the nose being the weak link.

Should Denver not retain Terrence Knighton, he tops my list.  He’s big, he’s quick and he’s strong.  He can take on multiple blockers, which is what your NT needs to do.  He’s durable, having started 16 games in four of his six NFL seasons.  Dan Williams of the Arizona Cardinals is another.  While his numbers (tackles and assists) don’t stack up to Knighton’s, he’s been a force in the middle of the Arizona defensive front.  I don’t see Ndamukong Suh in lightning bolts at all.  He’s a 4-3 defensive tackle, and I’m not convinced he can make the transition to a 3-4 NT.  His inability to control of his temper concerns me as well.

A stud in the middle of the 3-4 has a ripple effect on the rest of the front seven as well, so this position is critical to the success of the Charger defense.  Washington’s Danny Shelton looks impressive if they wait for the draft to fill the need at NT.  Kid’s got a motor.  If Tom Telesco doesn’t want a NT, then perhaps he, Mike McCoy and John Pagano should abandon the 3-4.

On the offensive side of the trenches, signing King Dunlap to a new deal was huge (no pun intended).  He was rock solid protecting Philip Rivers’ blind side.  As for the interior of the line, I’m really worried.  Mike Iupati tops mosts lists.  He’s a solid guard, he’s quick and he’s been durable for San Francisco.  Denver’s Orlando Franklin is another solid possibility.  Again, he’s durable and we all know that Denver’s line has been great in protecting Peyton Manning the last few years.

Depth can be filled in through the draft.  The Bolts need to draft and groom for the future.  Chris Watt will be better this year, having been forced into service with as a rookie.  Fluker needs to improve his footwork and quickness if he’s going to continue to play right tackle.  I focused on guards through free agency because all indications seem to point to Fluker staying at RT.

That’s my take on the trenches on both sides of the ball.  Next, I’ll look at linebackers and running backs.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what your thoughts are!

Mike Pisciotta

dockett 2

 

 

In a surprise move here in Phoenix, the Arizona Cardinals have decided to part ways with defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. Dockett, 33, is 6’4 and 290 pounds. The first pick in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Dockett has been a model of consistency for the Cardinals. In ten seasons from 2004 to 2013, Dockett only missed two games. In that amount of time Dockett has amassed 462 tackles,  40.5 sacks for 271 yards lost, four interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 18 passes defensed.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Dockett quickly established himself as a team leader and has been a difference maker on defense. He has been a team captain for many seasons and disruptive force from the nose tackle position.

So why did the Cardinals cut him?

Dockett suffered a torn ACL that caused him to miss the 2014 season. He will be 34 when the season starts and probably most importantly, cutting Dockett frees 7.5 million in cap space for the Cardinals. After resigning Larry Fitzgerald to a 2-year/22 million deal, the Cardinals could use that space to sign other free agents.

Should the San Diego consider signing Dockett?

The Chargers could do a lot worse than Dockett. The responsibility of the nose tackle is to be a run-stuffer first and foremost. Being able to generate 41 sacks from that position is very impressive and a testament to his athleticism. The ACL injury is very worrisome. Will he return at 100%? Will he be as effective coming off his first major injury and rehab?

The Chargers owe it to themselves to give the man a workout and see for themselves what he still has in the tank. Living in Phoenix, i’ve seen a lot of Dockett and endorse his transition into lightning bolts if his health checks out. He was an emotional leader for the Cardinals and his experience will be useful to the up and coming defensive linemen like Attaochu, Ingram and Te’o.

Nose tackle has been a turnstile since Antonio Garay left town. The addition of Dockett provides a proven, solid, consistent playmaker at the position and allows depth as well. Sean Lissemore was a decent player at the position and we’re still waiting to see what Ryan Carrethers will be able to do once he returns from injury.  The Chargers could also draft and have time to groom a blue chip nose tackle with Dockett in place anchoring the middle.

Keep in mind the Chargers finished 26th against the run last season. In the last five seasons the Chargers have finished in the top 20 against the rush once. The Cardinals finished in the top 20 four times, twice in the top 5 with Dockett manning the middle.  Shoring up the nose tackle position goes a long way to achieving a stronger, run-stuffing defensive unit. In my view, Telesco should give Dockett an incentive rich two-year deal similar to what he gave Dwight Freeney. The deal would be cap friendly and allow the Chargers even more cap flexibility.

What do you think? Should the Chargers sign Darnell Dockett?

 

 

Bolt Up!!

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

#TelescoMagic

 

 

goldman

 

 

With so many holes to fill on the team, there have been many debates already on what direction the Chargers should go in the draft.  The one glaring need is at the Nose Tackle position.  Currently Sean Lissemore, who was brought in from Dallas in 2013, and Ryan Carrethers were taking turns at this spot.  There does not seem to be a lot of depth at this position, and Lissemore can be perhaps better suited on the end of the line.  San Diego needs someone who can take on two and perhaps three players; freeing up Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes to get into the backfield.  With a long list of solid OL in this year’s draft, a desperate need of course, perhaps going after a high ranked D-Lineman would be the way to go with the 17th overall pick.  The Bolts ranked 4th to last in sacks last year and opposing running backs seemed to find holes through the middle; just watch both games last year against Kansas City.  A man who would look great in lightning bolt gear that could improve the defense promptly could be Eddie Goldman out of Florida State University.

 

 

Measurables*: 

Height:   6’4”

Weight:  320

Projected 40-yard dash:  4.8

*All pre-Combine unofficial estimations

 

Analysis:

As a junior in 2014, Eddie Goldman racked up 35 tackles with 8 tackles for loss and four sacks.  Since arriving in Tallahassee in 2012, Eddie has played both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle; playing the tackle position last season.  He played DT in 10 games as a true freshman, then moved to DE his sophomore year.  His collegiate career stats equate to 62 tackles and 6 sacks.

Goldman’s measurables are deceiving as the weight/muscles distribution is even throughout his big frame.  He plays low and is quick at the snap.  He has the ability to beat his man quick in the middle and be on the quarterback before he’s done making his drop.  With Eddie’s size and strength, he can easily be used at times to just be a cog – taking on a double team allowing the edge rushers and linebackers to burst through the line.  Goldman has quick hands and gets them into the opposing man’s chest in a hurry – allowing his strength to push them back as if they were on skates.  On the flip-side he was very rarely pushed back on his heels.  With those speedy hands he is able to also either slap hands away or put a quick swim move on an opposing lineman.  The biggest strength with Goldman is his ability to locate the ball quickly.  With that talent, he is able to latch on to ball carriers as they attempt to run past him.  When you add in his length and strong arms he can pull them down or pop the ball out.

 

Summary:

I love this guy’s motor for a man his size, which was on display in the Rose Bowl against Oregon’s no-huddle offense. Eddie’s ability to play in any scheme and any position on the defensive line makes him very versatile.  Even though he is more talented and known for his ability to stop the run than as a pass rusher, he does possess the strong leg drive to bull rush any interior lineman deep into the pocket; surprising Quarterbacks with his close-out quickness. The Seminoles have had a pretty stingy defense the last few years and ESPN’s Todd McShay was asked about Goldman.  He stated, “He is dominant against the run and might be the best player on the FSU defense.”  With his direct influence of any game, using his quickness, power and ball awareness, Eddie Goldman can be an immediate impact player on a line so desperate to improve.

 

As you can see in the highlight video below, he’s one of the most athletic men in the league at his size.  If coached right, he could be a nightmare for opposing lineman.

 

 

Thanks for reading.  Come back to BoltBlitz for more draft player profiles!!

(Thanks to tallahassee.com and galleryhip.com for the pictures)

 

– BWK

Danny-Shelton-vs-EWU

 

 

Ever since the Chargers let Jamal Williams go, they have been lacking at one vital position in their 3-4 defense: Nose Tackle (NT). Yes, Antonio Garay stepped in for a while and performed adequately, but he soon put on too much weight and began to get a steady flow of injuries. Now, NT is one of their most glaring weaknesses. With only Sean Lissemore and Ryan Carrethers getting snaps at NT, opposing offenses have been running wild against the Bolts.

San Diego fans often complain about the offense running up the middle too much. Well, it sure seems to work for the other teams. Second and five or worse is all too common as the middle of the Chargers defensive line gets pushed around.

So what can be done about it? Answer: Danny Shelton: Washington – NT

Measurables*

Height: 6’ 2”

Weight: 339 lbs.

Projected 40-Yard Dash: 5.1 Sec.

*All pre-combine unofficial estimations

Analysis

Danny Shelton, AKA “Feast Mode”, often looked like a man amongst boys in his senior year at the University of Washington. The big man is a two gap plug that forces runners to look elsewhere to gain their yards. For a big man, he is extremely athletic and agile. He is able to control his blocker and quickly shed the block to make tackles. In fact, he recorded 88 tackles and nine sacks in 2014. His great strength, size, superior quickness, and speed enable him to get to quarterbacks as well as running backs.

Although comparisons are often unfair to young athletes, NFL.com has Vince Wilfork as the best comparison in the NFL for Shelton. A young Wilfork would fit in quite nicely in the Chargers’ defense, don’t you think?

Summary:

I project Shelton to be a first round talent. He would be an outstanding pick for the Chargers at 17, but there is a good chance he will be gone long before as Chicago is switching to a 3-4 defense and would love a solid NT to build around.

Thanks for reading! Keep your eye out for many more Player Profiles on BoltBlitz.com!

(Thanks to sportsmockery.com and pigskinnerd.com for the pics)

Lissemore2

 

 

Here we go again.  As I have mentioned before, I hate writing these because the team has been beaten up and battered for most of the season. This time we have some good and bad news.

I will get right to the game status of each player listed, and then I’ll add my two cents.

 

OUT:

CB  – Jason Verrett  ( His has now been placed on injured-reserve with a torn labrum )

 

DOUBTFUL:

NT – Sean Lissemore  ( Quad )

 

QUESTIONABLE:

S – Jahleel Addae  ( Concussion )

 

PROBABLE:

WR – Seyi Ajirotutu

OLB – Jerry Attaochu  ( Hamstring )

OLB – Dwight Freeney

RB – Ryan Mathews  ( Knee )

C/G – Rich Ohrnberger  ( Back )

ILB – Manti Te’o  ( Foot )

 

 ACTIVATED:

OLB – Melvin Ingram  ( He is ready to play on Sunday after being activated )

 

Today the Chargers were dealt a crushing blow as rookie cornerback Jason Verrett will have season-ending surgery.  He has now been placed on injured-reserve.  Losing Verrett stinks.  But on another note, a more positive one, Melvin Ingram is back and so is Jerry Attaochu.  This certainly enhances the defense’s ability to get after the quarterback and help a secondary that just lost Verrett for the season.

On offense, the much-awaited return of running back Ryan Mathews is here.  He is ready to go and the fans should expect him to have a major impact in getting the Charger offense back on track.  The team has relied on Branden Oliver to shoulder most of the load in the running game and he has faltered as of late.  That being said, as you all know, the offensive line has not been opening up too many running lanes for the undrafted free agent and the other backs.

The injury report for San Diego has been awfully depressing in 2014.  But, it should be said that it is getting better.  Key cogs on offense and defense are coming back and they will, without a doubt, help this team overcome what is a three-game losing streak.

It stinks to lose Jason Verrett for the year.  He was ranked as the seventh best cornerback in the entire league according to ProFootballTalk.com. But, as I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, “Next man up.”

 

Booga Peters

 

ChargerHuddle

 

 

 

Editor’s Note:  In this piece Peter Silberberger breaks down the defensive battles per position.  Due to injuries along the defensive line, other spots on the defense may suffer cuts in order to supplement needs up front.

 

Defensive Backs:

Tom Telesco has not ignored the need for help at the cornerback position. In fact, depending on health, it may now be a strength for the Chargers. While we haven’t seen any glaring dominance, what we have seen is how teams and players are reacting to San Diego’s rotating defensive back units.

A few things stand out. Richard Marshall was given snaps at safety during the San Francisco game. This action likely speaks to some final roster thoughts. Carrying any more than three full time safeties would cut into the other needs of depth for the team. Addae, Stuckey, and Weddle are all locks, and having part-time corner Marcus Gilchrist and a veteran like Marshall able to fill in occasionally makes the defensive backfield strong and flexible.

Teams seem more than willing to throw at Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall, but not so much toward Verrett or Flowers. Granted, the two starters from last year’s squad are labeled poorly when it comes to 2013 pass defense rankings, but with the two new faces around, it looks as though John Pagano will have plenty of options. It should also be noted that neither Flowers or Verrett have seen much playing time as of yet, but their reputation and speed respectively seem to affect the number of attempts thrown their way.

Steve Williams and Crezdon Butler have both had a rough go with actual game speed and play calling. Chris Davis, however, has been all over the place throughout training camp and on game tape. If today was 53-man cut down day, Davis would be getting the nod over both other reserves.

Brandon Ghee had seemingly disappeared completely during preseason, and found himself on the chopping block during first cuts, which finalized Tuesday. Marcus Cromartie was sent to injured reserve on Tuesday, as well.

These moves leave the door open for either Steve Williams or Chris Davis, but likely not both with Gilchrist around. The team will likely total seven cornerbacks, including Gilchrist, which is a lot already. Don’t expect there to be eight.

Defensive Line/ Outside Linebackers:

At first glance, it appears that Pagano’s traditional 3-4 defense has some definite holes to fill in prototypical positions. The defensive tackle position is shaky at best, and the end depth is thin. Questions of how and where Dwight Freeney will be best utilized are still relevant, and there’s a lot of unproven talent walking around.

The team released reserve DE Damik Scafe and lost rookie prospect DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe for the year to an ACL tear. Telesco, doing what he does, pulled in two cuts from around the league in Doug Worthington and Joe Kruger. Worthington projects as a 4-3 lineman and Kruger mostly the same, although a more athletic frame may allow him to dabble in a standing position.

All of this maneuvering seems to overlap with the theme of this roster build, and its versatility. It would appear that Mike McCoy’s nature of playing the schemes which best fit his personnel has caught on with his coordinators. That being said, any personnel being brought in this late will have to be adaptable. Guys like Worthington, Kruger, and other roster hopeful Cordarro Law will have to be able to fit into multiple positions in order to make the team. This could, perhaps, be unfortunate news for a guy like Thomas Keiser.

Although noticeably productive, Keiser is viewed as a bit of a one-trick pony. It’s not that the Bolts don’t need pass rushing outside ‘backers, it’s that they already have those guys for those specific sets. Ingram, Attaochu, Johnson, Tourek Williams, and even Reggie Walker can all fill that role easily. If guys like Worthington, Kruger, or Law make this roster over Keiser, it will be because of their ability to play in multiple defensive sets, as well as contribute on special teams.

The defensive tackle position is a different story entirely. Kwame Geathers and Sean Lissemore have been at the top of the depth chart for some time. That being said, Lissemore is battling an injury and Geathers was sent to injured reserve on Tuesday, ending his season. Enter rookies Ryan Carrethers and Tenny Palepoi. Both have the prototypical build to anchor the traditional 3-4 line, but both are very young. They’ll collectively get all the snaps they can handle, which is great for their growth process. Suddenly, however, the team lacks playable veteran mentors at the position.

One thing most know about Tom Telesco is that he is never without options. The opportunistic GM will be closely watching the waiver wire as teams trim rosters to 75 this week. If he sees a bargain, he’ll certainly grab it.

Another option is long time NFL veteran free agent Ryan Pickett. The ex-Packer lives in San Diego and has expressed interest. The good there is clearly the wealth of experience and ability to teach, as he once did for Packers DT B.J. Raji. Pickett would almost certainly have to see veteran minimum salary as a must in this situation, which is also team friendly. The bad is likely his 34 year-old physique may not be what the Bolts are looking for.

It’s more in Telesco’s nature to find a second or third year guy who couldn’t squeeze onto a roster somewhere else in the league. In order to keep the talent level high, Telesco will likely wait and watch the final week with the guys already around. This will serve two purposes. One, it will give every snap available to the two rookies for invaluable experience in real-time. Two, it will allow for Telesco to wait for the perfect guy to add when final 53s are announced by Friday. There are tough decisions being made all over the league this week, and teams such as the Patriots and Broncos could be cutting some serious talent on the defensive line.

By the end of this week, Lissemore and Carrethers will be Chargers for sure, but don’t be surprised if Palepoi is challenged by a Telesco find. If that were the case, the battle for the roster spot could take place during the final preseason game. If not, and Tenny struggles, he may very well lose his spot to a more trusted veteran come Friday.

With the versatility of guys like Reggie Walker and Marcus Gilchrist, the inside linebacker and safety positions seem to be sewn up. So, while watching Thursday’s game, it’s D-Line, outside linebacker, and cornerback where the 2014 San Diego Chargers will be focused on finalizing the roster.

Can Chris Davis keep his momentum going in his duel with Steve Williams? Will newly added athletes in the front seven push Thomas Keiser out? Will there be another addition to the defensive tackle position by Wednesday afternoon? The final game of the pre season is supposed to be practically unwatchable to the average football fan. Good thing Charger fans are anything but that.

 

 

Peter Silberberger

Palepoi

It is no secret that the Charger defensive line is banged up.  Fan favorite Corey Liuget has been in and out of boot for the last week or more while Sean Lissemore suffered an injury in the meaningless loss against the Seattle Seahawks last week.  Lawrence Guy left the field during the first preseason game against the Cowboys after a devastating hit on Dallas quarterback Brandon Weeden. It might be worth mentioning that Weeden threw a touchdown pass on that very same play.

When looking at the competition at multiple positions throughout the Charger roster, the defensive line is a group that was already a bit thin, depth-wise, even prior to the aforementioned injuries.  The nose tackle spot might have still been a question mark before Lissemore went down. Many are concerned that Sean may not have the size to man the middle of John Pagano’s 3-4 defense.  May I remind those that are of that belief that the Bolts were in their base defense right around 40% of the time 2013.  This was confirmed two nights ago on BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9 by San Diego outside linebacker Thomas Keiser.

That being said, the worry of the fans is easily understood knowing that losing even one starter within the defensive line group would be a serious reason for concern.

In comes Tenny Palepoi.

Palepoi happens to be one of the players that has been making an impact during the 2014 offseason.  His name has been uttered by many San Diego media pundits as a man who could be pushing for a spot on the 53-man roster.

I couldn’t agree more.

In his senior year at Utah, Palepoi earned the distinction of second-team All-Pac-12.  Coming in at 6’1″ and 298 pounds, Tenny seems to be best suited to play defensive end for the Chargers during base sets, and then slide inside in some nickel and dime formations.

As mentioned above, even the likes of Kevin Acee and Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego continue to mention that his chances of earning his way onto this team keep increasing as the offseason carries on.  Eric D. Williams of ESPN has had his eye on him as well.

He’s very strong at the point of attack and is working to improve against the run.  For those of you that have watched the first two preseason games – Preseason? We talking ’bout preseason? Preseason? – there must be an improvement when defending the running game for this team to be able to stop opposing offenses.

Before you come at me, I am fully aware that it is the preseason.  Additionally, I don’t really find much to take away from the 4 games that are basically in place to evaluate young talent and see if they can make a push in an effort to make an NFL team.

Palepoi has a genuine shot to earn his way onto the 2014 Chargers.  His bull rush is effective and he does an adequate job of holding his ground and occupying blockers when called upon to do so.  For a man his size, Palepoi is very athletic and has proven to be disruptive when attacking quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield while in college.  Those same results have been seen thus far during training camp and the preseason.

Tenny Palepoi has yet to become a household name.  Many of you might even be wondering how to pronounce his name.  Breaking it down phonetically, it is pronounced pal-uh-poy.

All of the Charger undrafted free agents have an uphill battle to ensure their place on the 2014 squad.  But, don’t be surprised if you hear Palepoi’s name announced when it’s all said and done on August 30th.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

Booga Peters

 

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