Seyi Ajirotutu

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As reported earlier by Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Chargers could possibly make a run at wide receiver Randall Cobb. The veteran would be an immediate upgrade over Malcolm Floyd, who at this point in his career is only really a jump ball receiver, and would be a nice complimentary piece to Keenan Allen.

Cobb has been one of the key contributors for the Packers over the last couple seasons and had a stat line of: 91 catches, 1,287 yards and 12 Touchdowns. Nobody on the Chargers eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark, and no other wide receiver topped the 10 TD mark.

So what does this mean? How much cap space will it eat up? Well, they have reportedly $26 million in cap space. Cobb is currently one of the top two receivers on the open market (Jeremy Maclin being the other). It’s likely he will request top dollar. Chargers have more than enough to pull it off if they want to. Is it the best fit? Possibly. He’s a deep threat, which is something the Bolts have been lacking dearly. Notably, he has worked really well on his route running, granting him a go-to target label. Adding Cobb would take the attention off Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates, leaving them on many possible one-on-one matchups.

Where does he fit with a crowded receiving corps? With the signing of Jacoby Jones yesterday, that leaves us with Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd, Seyi Ajirotutu, Dontrelle Inman, Austin Pettis and Jacoby Jones on the current roster. Ultimately, Tom Telesco will make room for a player like Cobb. He currently has the cap room to do it.

What do you think? Do the Chargers land Cobb or is he too much money? Let us know in the comments!

 

Zak Darman

Heading into the 2014 season, the San Diego Chargers looked incredibly promising; even with one of the most difficult schedules in the league. General Manager, Tom Telesco, worked extremely hard in the offseason in order to add depth to the roster; even with an extremely small salary cap. To be specific, Telesco only had roughly $625,000 left in cap space after paying the offensive, defensive, and special teams’ salaries; the dead money hit alone was $16,335,000. Even under those circumstances, Telesco was able to beef up the backfield with multiple running backs, regain some game changing defensive players, and added a very talented draft class to the roster. Yet, the season didn’t play out as most expected when the pandemic of injuries hit the Chargers team. At that point, the motto “next man up” was adopted.

The next man up is a phrase that most professional teams technically want to reframe from using; it essentially indicates the starter is unable to play and another player has to fill in. Yet, the Chargers have embraced it since week one. Pro Bowler center, Nick Hardwick, was placed on injured reserve after the Arizona match-up, granting center Rich Ohrnberger the starting role. However, Ohrnberger struggled with injuries, forcing the Chargers to sign guard, Doug Legursky. Not even a month later, Legursky was placed on injured reserve, leaving an ailing Ohrnberger and rookie guard Chris Watt as the next men up. It doesn’t stop there, Ohrnberger was added to the growing injured reserve roster and Watt held the starting role at center. Who would have thought that Watt would then leave the Baltimore Ravens game with a calf injury; leaving the Chargers with their fifth center to play, Trevor Robinson.

The center position wasn’t the only one to face heartache. During the second week against the Seattle Seahawks, star running back Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL and was expected to miss a significant amount of time. If you ever think that lighting doesn’t strike twice, think again. The follow week, running back Danny Woodhead was placed on injured reserve due to a season ending leg injury. The originally stacked backfield wasn’t looking so stacked anymore and the Chargers soon expected undrafted rookie running back, Branden Oliver “Bo”, to fill in. Not only did he fill in, he impressed the entire league with over 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns in week’s five and six; awarding him with Pepsi’s Rookie of the Week in week 5. To add depth, Telesco brought back veteran running back Ronnie Brown who spent last year on the Chargers active roster.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Third year linebacker, Melvin Ingram, was placed on the Reserve-Injured list with the designation to return after suffering a hip injury in week two. The next week, second year linebacker Manti Te’o suffered a fractured foot which sidelined him until week eleven. Already missing two starting linebackers, rookie linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu was ailing a hamstring injury which limited his productivity and playing time. Again, next man up, fourth year linebacker Andrew Gachkar filled in for his injured teammates. Not only did he bring passion and fire to the field, he was able to accumulate 7 stuffs, 21 total tackles, and a fumble recovery.

Gachkar wasn’t the only one to step in, outside linebacker Cordarro Law has stepped up when given the green light. An undrafted free agent in 2012, Law signed with the Chargers in February of 2014. Spending much of his time on the practice squad, Law continues to get the job done. With veteran outside linebacker Dwight Freeney becoming a free agent after this season, there’s a no question that Law can earn a 53-man active roster spot if he continues the hard work he puts in.

Starting at cornerback was the Chargers first round draft pick, Jason Verrett. Impressively, he was making a contending run for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year by week 9. However, just after the bye week, Verrett was placed on injured reserve due to a torn labrum. At this point, you might be asking, “How does an NFL survive all these injures?” and the answer again is simply, next man up.

Not only has the offense and defense suffered from the injury bug, but the special teams took a big blow a few weeks ago. One of the league’s top punters, Mike Scifres, broke his clavicle during the New England Patriot Game; forcing Nick Novak, who had not punted a ball since high school, to take on the punting duties for the remainder of the game. Much can be said about a player filling in for a position they have no training on, but Novak impressed with what little he was given. Shortly after, Pro Bowl punter, Mat McBriar, was signed to replace Scifres. McBriar was a mentor to Darren Bennett, the Chargers longtime punter who preceded Scifres. He brings to the punting unit an average of 45.1 yards per attempt with 201 landing inside the 20.

The next man up saying isn’t exclusive to sidelining injuries, rather those playing through the bumps and bruises; quarterback Philip Rivers is a prime example. It’s no secret that El Capitan has been playing through some bruised ribs and a sore back. Along with Rivers, brute defensive end Corey Liuget is also playing through injuries. Just the other day, Liuget was seen sporting a walking boot; most commonly used to keep the player mobile as much as possible, yet still protecting the injured structure. Although these top Charger players give us a heart attack when we don’t see them at practice, they still show up on game day ready to get the win.

Heading into week 16, the Chargers are faced with more anguish. Veteran linebacker Donald Butler was placed on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated elbow against the Denver Broncos last week. A day later, it was announced that second year wide receiver, Keenan Allen, suffered a broken collarbone and ankle injury. With San Diego fighting for their lives to earn a spot into the post-season, the next man up motto is being used more than ever. In the much-needed win against the San Francisco 49ers, expected to be active is tight end Ladarius Green, wide receiver Seyi Ajurotutu, and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Let’s not forget the impact Branden Oliver and Donald Brown need to make against the stealthy 49ers defense as Mathews recovers from an ankle injury suffered in week 14.

Many would think that it’s impossible that a team could possibly have an 8-6 record with all the injures the Chargers have accrued this year. With nine players on injured reserve and a few other active roster injuries, any team would have faulted and given up hopes by now. Yet, these are the San Diego Super Chargers; the underdog, the dark horse, and let’s not forget the team that no one ever expects much from. It’s alright, the Chargers still have a chance at the post-season and the opportunity to prove that anything can be done. The next man up motto has been the staple of the organization all year, but why stop now? The season isn’t even close to being over…

 

Briana Soltis

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

 

Hardwick

 

 

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.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

BoogaMathews

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

Booga Peters

Tutu1

 

 

An identity crisis happens to many athletes, at every level. After Sunday’s meltdown in Miami, the Chargers find themselves in desperate need of some serious soul-searching and identity realization. Many things went wrong; even the Coaches were outperformed. However, if you looked close enough, it was obvious that one Charger player still gave his all…as if he was wearing his heart on his sleeve. Believe it or not, that player was Seyi Ajirotutu (TuTu).

It’s hard to imagine just one player, out of an entire team, giving everything he has. After seeing the Chargers embarrass themselves Sunday, you would understand that this did indeed happen. Almost all Chargers fans sat on their couches, bar stools and lawn chairs with their jaws on the floor in complete disbelief and even fury! Unfortunately, the entire nation saw the car wreck, too. Even with everything going wrong for the Chargers, combined with poor play, TuTu was playing as if it were the last game of his career.

He’s not one of those “well-known” players or even the face of the Chargers organization, but he certainly deserved the game ball, and here’s why. He plays with grit, passion and takes every play and yard personally…the reason, I suspect, is his NFL story.

TuTu was an undrafted rookie in 2010 signed by the San Diego Chargers. After an average rookie season, he was waived. In 2012, he spent some time with the Carolina Panthers before being cut. Bouncing back to San Diego, he replaced Richard Goodman, but unfortunately spent the rest of his 2012 season on injured reserve. He received another chance when the Chargers re-signed him in 2013. He then proved his value by catching the game-winning touchdown pass, with 24 seconds left in regulation, against the Kansas City Chiefs. With that track record, TuTu plays as if he will never step onto the field again; fighting to the very end. However, that fight cost him Sunday afternoon.

During regulation, TuTu was involved in a couple scuffles with Miami players. But late in the third quarter, he was ejected for making contact with an official. Prior to that, TuTu was frequently double teamed on special teams; yet still provided crucial blocks which contributed to Chris Davis’ punt return success. Doing your job during an extremely disgraceful and embarrassing game is hard when overall morale is down, but TuTu still managed to go all out.

If more players had his mindset and vitality Sunday, the outcome may have been different…and just maybe, players could have found it within themselves to play from their heart instead of their “you know whats”. The Chargers identity was lost, kind of like the Warner Bros. movie Space Jam; talents and spirits stripped away by the evil Miami space monsters. It will take a lot during this bye week to regain the momentum they had during the first six games of the season. Yet, if every player can acknowledge TuTu’s grit and hunger for the game, maybe the season will end as it did last year; winning the last four contests and clinching a wild card ticket into the playoffs.

 

Briana Soltis

tourney

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.

 

Briana Soltis

Malcom Floyd

 

 

Philip Rivers is probably sitting back at his house with his 7 kids, and his beautiful wife, just beaming about the amount of wide receiver talent that will be at his disposal this year. Tom Telesco has done a great job leaving no stone unturned in his search for outstanding talent with an emphasis on great character.  Right now we are going to take a look at all of the weapons at the wide receiver position that we can look forward to seeing suit up for the San Diego Chargers during the 2014 NFL season.  Before I get into this evaluation, I only expect there to be 5 wide receivers on the Bolts this year.

 

Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal jumped out to a very fast start in the 2013 season by scoring 5+ touchdowns in the first handful of games last year. He used his great physical tools to make catches and create yards after said receptions. Additionally, he displayed a gritty toughness despite missing practice most of the year with a foot injury and still managed to play in 15 of the 16 regular season games. Look for a healthy Royal to continue to make an impact on this offense.

 

Malcom Floyd

Malcom Floyd is an imposing figure at the WR position standing 6’5″. As most of the diehard Charger fans know, Malcom missed 14 of the 16 regular season games after suffering a horrific neck injury that left most fans fearing that we had seen the last of M-80 in a Chargers uniform.  For the record, I was an advocate of his comeback from the very beginning. I had no doubt that he was going to rehab harder than anyone could imagine to get back on the field and go out of the game of football on his terms. Unfortunately for M-80, health has been a major concern for his entire career; only playing a full 16 games 1 time in his 11 year career. There is no denying his ability when he is on the football field. He can out-jump most defensive backs. Floyd is a true deep threat. I’m hoping that he will stay healthy all season long and terrorize defenses until they have trouble sleeping at night.

 

Keenan Allen

 

After almost quitting the NFL, an injury gave Allen the chance that he needed and he took the opportunity and ran with it. Keenan outperformed every single receiver that was taken in the NFL draft last year leaving the other general managers not named Tom Telesco in a state of self-evaluation. Keenan quickly formed a great rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers and became his favorite target throughout the course of the 2013 season. This offseason, Keenan dedicated his time to improving his speed, which adds another element to his all-around game. Allen is the number 1 receiver on this team. Fans should look for big numbers from him this year.

 

Seyi Ajirotutu

 

The reason that Seyi Ajirotutu is going to be on this ball club this year is because he has more than one facet of his game to offer to this team. Not only is he great friends with Philip Rivers, he also is a stand out performer on special teams. Most of you will remember the fantastic touchdown catch that Ajirotutu made last year in the 4th quarter to win the game against the Chiefs. That ended up being one of the highlight reel plays for the Chargers last season. I don’t foresee  him on the field too often as a receiver this season, but more of a special teamer.

 

Dontrelle Inman

 

Dontrelle Inman is going to be on this football team. He’s gone out there in training camp and earned his position. A CFL football player last season, signed by Tom Telesco after an open tryout last December, Inman has worked his tail off during this offseason and his work has been noticed by the coaches. I expect him to make an impact for this team this year. He has the prototypical wide receiver body at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.

 

Final thoughts

 

I like Vincent Brown a lot. I thought he had a lot of talent but health never allowed him to put it all together. As of now, he seems to be headed towards the PUP (Physically unable to perform) list alongside guard Jeromey Clary. I liked what I’ve seen out of Javonte Herndon in the preseason, seems to have good speed and good hands a potential practice squad member. I also believe that Rookie 7th round pick Tevin Reese is headed for the practice squad. He started off training camp on a good note, but has since declined showing a lack of knowledge of the routes and unreliable hands. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my very first article for Boltblitz.com and I hope you enjoyed it.

 

David Droegemeier

Philip Rivers amassed nearly 4,500 yards through the air in 2013.  This couldn’t have been accomplished without good pass blocking and, of course, solid pass catchers.  The Bolts had an unexpected dose of both last season.  We’ll take a closer look at the offensive line in a future article.  Today, we’ll be looking at the Chargers’ stable of receivers and examining how each fits (or doesn’t fit) into the team plans heading into next season.  Injuries early in the season forced General Manager Tom Telesco to add some new faces and some old friends, and challenged one highly-touted rookie to elevate his play much sooner than expected.  In the end, there were lots of ups and a few downs along the way.  The aforementioned injuries will impact Telesco’s off-season plan when addressing team needs.  This position was considered a strength heading into the 2013 season, but now big question marks remain about the health of the receiving corps.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Keenan Allen

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Keenan Allen

Coming into the 2013 season, the Chargers third round pick in last year’s draft was expected to see occasional time at the slot position.  Playing behind Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander was supposed to afford Allen a chance to get used to playing football at NFL speed.  Even so, there was a prevailing feeling that he may be able to chip in some big plays within his limited role.  He had a fantastic career at Cal and many draft “experts” felt Telesco had the steal of the draft after Keenan slid to the third round due to concerns over a knee injury suffered in college.  Potentially career-ending injuries to Alexander in preseason and Floyd in week two thrust Allen into the spotlight early.  It took a few games for Keenan to really take off, but when it clicked, it was something special to behold.  Allen’s style is not that of a speed demon threatening to get behind the defense quickly, but rather a quick, agile route-runner that can turn a 7 yard crossing pass into a 40 yard gain with his running ability.  This rookie shouldered the burden as the Bolts #1 wide receiver and flourished.  He displayed a confidence rarely seen in rookie receivers and a flair for the big play.  He finished the season with 1,046 yards on 71 receptions, scoring 8 touchdowns.  His efforts landed him the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year award and the respect of players and coaches throughout the league.  We’ll all continue to expect big things in the future and I am confident that he will deliver.

Danario Alexander

2013 was cruel to Danario.  Coming off a solid 2012 campaign, expectations were through the roof.  Many felt like this would finally be the season that Alexander would become the elite wide receiver the Chargers hoped he could be.  The issue dogging Danario was repeated knee problems that have plagued him since the Senior Bowl in college.  He has all the physical tools to be a superstar, but his knee kept failing him.  Then on August 6th of last year, Alexander suffered a torn right ACL to the same knee during practice.  His entire season was lost.  It was made public earlier this week, that Danario has undergone a 2nd surgery on the knee.  Despite the high hopes heading into last season, it looks like it may have been his last with the Chargers.  The odds of him returning are incredibly low and I for one do not expect him to be on our roster next fall.  Heartbreaking.

Malcom Floyd

Malcom Floyd

Malcom Floyd

The man known as “M80” in San Diego had really come into his own.  Having signed a four year, $13 million contract in September of 2012, Malcom had finally made it to the top of the ladder.  Watching this young man go from distant back-up to starting wide receiver over the years has been especially gratifying for me.  It harkened back to the old adage “work hard and great things will come of it”- a belief my parents instilled in me as a child.  Malcom isn’t particularly fast, but he is very tall (6’5″) and has truly magical hands.  He’s made some of the greatest circus-style catches I’ve seen in San Diego since the great John Jefferson and Wes Chandler donned lightning bolts.  The team was counting on him to provide the security blanket that Philip Rivers needs on critical 3rd downs.  Unfortunately, a blow to the top of his head on a crossing route against the Eagles ended Malcom’s season in just the second week of action.  The scene was very scary as the trainers carefully removed Floyd’s face mask from his helmet and strapped his entire body to a board.  Everyone watching knew that this was a bad situation.  The resulting neck injury, thankfully, didn’t result in a life-long injury- but it did sideline M80 for the remainder of the season.  Now Tom Telesco and company will need to take a very close look at Floyd’s future with the team.  If doctors clear Floyd to return (which is still in question), the cost versus reward equation may come into play.   Malcom is 32 years of age and scheduled to earn $2.75 million for the upcoming season. There is little doubt that a healthy Malcom Floyd is a solid player and can help the team for at least one more season.  The real question revolves around his ability to stay healthy.  Do we roll the dice or look at getting younger?  Being the M80 fan I am, I’m hoping they give him another chance.

Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal had a very solid season.  He caught 47 balls for 631 yards and scored 8 touchdowns.  He started opposite Keenan Allen after the injuries to Alexander and Floyd.  Eddie was on fire early in the season, scoring twice in the season opener against the Texans and then three more times the following week against the Eagles.  What started out looking like a monster year for Royal soon faded away as his impact was felt less and less as the season moved on.  The harsh reality of Eddie’s contract situation is that he is due $4.5 million dollars this year.  Will Telesco and McCoy feel that Royal is simply too expensive for what he provides the team?  Royal is only 27 years old and did show the potential to be a game changer.  It’s a tough call for Telesco.  My gut tells me that Eddie will likely be a cap casualty.

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown

Vincent returned this season from an ankle injury suffered during the preseason in 2012 and had a moderately successful season- all things considered.  Hauling in 41 balls for 472 yards and 1 touchdown may seem like a poor season to some, but for a youngster trying to return to form after a severely broken ankle, it provides hope.  Like Alexander, Brown has shown flashes of greatness at times.  These glimpses of what he could be have elevated expectations to levels that are going to be difficult to attain.  He doesn’t show the same explosiveness out of breaks that he once had.  His jumping ability appears to have taken a hit as well.  The good news for Vincent is that he is under contract, he’s young and he’s relatively inexpensive- earning $645 thousand for the upcoming season.  I believe his roster spot is safe.  Here’s hoping that he can find a role within Frank Reich’s offense that he can grow into.

Seyi Ajirotutu, Lavelle Hawkins, Dontrelle Inman, Tobais Palmer

General Manager Tom Telesco was forced to bring in a number of receivers to fill out the depth chart as the season progressed.  He brought back Seyi Ajirotutu midway through the season, a move that paid huge dividends when Seyi hauled in a last minute game winner against the Chiefs in Kansas City.  Tutu finished the year with only 64 yards, but had a gaudy 21.3 yards per catch average.  Hawkins was brought in to provide some depth in the kick return game.  He averaged 22 yards per return, but wasn’t much of a factor in the grand scheme of things.  Telesco really likes his potential however.  Both of these players were “band-aid” type signings and both are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this spring.  Dontrelle Inman and Tobais Palmer spent the season on the practice squad and both will be given a shot to prove themselves next preseason.  Inman is a big receiver at 6’3″ and 203 pounds, while Palmer is more of an Eddie Royal type of receiver at 5’11” and 178 pounds.  Keep an eye out for these two next August!

 

Thanks again for reading!  Continue coming to BoltBlitz for all of your Chargers information needs!!  If you enjoyed the piece, please like and share.  As always, your comments are welcomed below…

Keep Believin’!!

– Coach

TutuNaanee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a report by Adam Caplan, former Charger wide receivers Legedu Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu are in Cleveland for the Brown’s mini camp.

Due to the obvious familiarity with both Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski, it is likely that one, or both, will earn a chance to make the squad.  The Browns have a need at the wideout position opposite of Josh Gordon.

Both players spent time with Chudzinski in Carolina as well.

Gordon is a player that is on the rise.  Although Naanee or Tutu would provide nothing more than depth in Cleveland, if the Browns were able to find a solid weapon, it would mean that Gordon would be that more dangerous.

Being a long time NFL fan, in additon to being a Charger fan just as long, it would be nice to see the Browns return to having a bit of a solid team.  For you younger fans out there, if it wasn’t for “The Drive” or “The Fumble,” we could be talking about the two-time Supernowl Champion Browns.

But that is neother here, nor there.

 

Thanks a lot for reading.

 

BoltUP!!!

 

BoogaP

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