The NFL and the Chargers may be in the offseason right now, but being a part of exciting, charitable events has no season.
This Friday at 6:00 pm at the Westin San Diego the Barking Beast runway show will take place. The hotel is located at 400 West Broadway in downtown San Diego. Tania Milberg reached out and asked if I would like BoltBlitz.com to be one of the sponsors for the event. I, of course, accepted.
For those that would like to attend or donate you can begin the process by donating $20.00 on their donation page at this link here. The donations go to the San Diego Humane Society and the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
Not only does that donation go to great causes, it also affords you complimentary buffet and beverages at the event. If you would rather pay your $20.00 donation in cash at the door, that is also an option.
The show will feature various dogs and models involved on the runway. DJ Lux will be performing a special DJ set and Chris Cote is the Master of ceremonies.
One of the highlights of the show happens to be the celebrity judges of the runway show. Former San Diego Charger linebacker, Thomas Keiser, will be in attendance. Keiser is a huge animal lover and he’s very excited to be a part of the event as a judge.
Other celebrity judges include Mike Costa of XTRA 1360 Fox Sports, Maria Arcega-Dunn of Fox-5, Geena the Latina of Channel 93.3 and Frankie V of Channel 93.3.
Did I mention that Thomas Keiser will be there? Just checking.
This is a great opportunity to help out a great cause and spend a fabulous evening among good people and great times. With all of the awesome celebrity judges you won’t want to miss out.
For any and all additional information regarding this event, please go to BarkingBeast.com . You can also contact Tania via twitter @BoltsandBeasts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: BoltBlitz.com launched on February 26th of 2013. The two weeks prior to the launch were spent building the site and getting things in order to begin what I had hoped would be a successful blog. The website had a ton of success in its first year. I brought over Greg Williams with me from a site that we used to write for in the past. Jarvis Royall has been a part of my team for the majority of its existence. Williams and Royall are ranked number two and three, respectively, in number of articles written on BoltBlitz.com.
Little did I know, it would be working together with Thomas Powell to take this thing to a high level at a very rapid pace. Take a look at all we were a part of in 2014. It is quite humbling when you see it all written down. We were clearly blessed last year.
The 2014 Charger season began with Booga in North Carolina while I was here in San Diego. We had just started to team together to make BoltBlitz.com the biggest fan site for Charger news and information. We also wanted to unite Charger fans from Facebook and Twitter. Then Booga landed a radio show on 107.9 fm Mountain Country here in San Diego, BoltBlitzLIVE. So he, at a great sacrifice to himself, left North Carolina and moved in and the framework for our plans began to unfold. He had been covering the team from across the country and we could communicate better in achieving our goals with him here in San Diego.
So with BoltBlitzLive set to air in June of 2014, Booga arrived in April. We planned our goals and what we both wanted to achieve. Then he left for New York and attended the NFL Draft a few weeks later. But before he left, the plan was set in motion to unite Charger fans: A BoltBlitz Meetup. The date was set for May 31st at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley. While he was gone I promoted the meetup and when he returned we went like a steam train putting the news out there.
While pushing and promoting the meetup, we had many questions about its success. One of the main concerns was whether or not fans would show up in the middle of May to talk Charger football. I mean, it was the offseason. Booga and I worked on the players and the media to get them to attend. Nothing this big had ever been done before, but we were determined to make this a very special event for the fans. Booga was set to raffle off over $4,000 dollars in Charger gear he had obtained over the years. The many hours of planning for this were, at times, overwhelming. But we knew it was worth it. Even the Chargers front office got wind of the event as people were getting excited and sharing the news all over Facebook and Twitter. Booga and I were hoping for between 50 or 70 people for this event.
As May 31st came, we learned for the first time to not ever underestimate Charger fans and their devotion to the team. People were arriving 2 hours before the event took place. By the time it started an astounding 225 people packed the Kilt from the front to the back. Charger offensive linemen Craig Watts and Jeremiah Sirles showed up for autographs and pictures with the fans. Our good friend Jesse Arroyo of www.arroyophotos.com took pictures of the fans smiling and laughing together and the group picture. Derek Togerson of NBCSanDiego came with his video camera to broadcast it on the 6:30 pm newscast that night. Fans were making friends and exchanging numbers. Laughter and smiles filled the room. Everyone had one thing in common that night, a deep devotion to the Chargers. A team that loves a team! The next morning Facebook was flooded for hours with fans sharing their pictures of the event on social media. The meetup was a smashing success. That morning we started planning the next meetup.
But first was the debut of BoltBlitzLive. Booga did the very first show live by himself. Then he was joined by Jamie Hoyle our staff writer at the time. I joined them a couple of weeks later to create a 3-man booth. We interviewed Craig Watts, Marion Grice, Alden Darby, Thomas Keiser, Adam Rank of NFL Network, Steve Adler and Eddie Brown UT Staff draft writer. We had Antonio Garay, Derek Togerson, and Fernando Ramirez of SportsSpeak (who covers the Chargers) live in studio. We took calls from fans from all across the country including Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Delaware, New York, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Michigan and, of course, San Diego among other places in California. It was a great time but now the 2nd meetup was ready to go!
The 2nd BoltBlitz meetup was at the Tilted Kilt on July 12th. The excitement was building through social media for another event. Most of our staff writers were there. So were CS Keys, Dan McLellan formerly of CBSSports, Eddie Brown of the UT and Tricia Mathews (Ryan Mathews’ mother). She was there to support their charity the Door of Hope Chest to help single mothers gets the necessities of life. She came all the way from Bakersfield. She took pictures with the fans and donated a pair Ryan Mathews autographed cleats. One fan came all the way from Seattle just to attend the meetup. It was such an honor for us to have him there and introduce him. The turnout was an astounding 250 people. The night ended with Booga and I in dresses posing for pictures. Fans exploded with laughter. It was another huge success that night.
As the season approached we attended the Chargers MCAS Miramar practice with press passes. It was a practice with the Military, their family members and the Charger players. We were able to take pictures and talk to several players and members of the organization afterwards including Philip Rivers, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy. The preseason kicked off with Booga in the press box for the Dallas game and quite a few regular season games. I was able to attend practice on Wednesday covering the team as they prepared for Oakland. We were both very appreciative of the access the Chargers allowed us. We owe a big thank you to Bill Johnston for those opportunities.
As our 3rd meetup approached at the Fox Sports Grill in Downtown. LaDarius Green showed up for a meet and greet. Many of the fans were now not only friends but family. The view over the bay was gorgeous and Jesse Arroyo handled the group photo again. The management there was kind enough to donate five $50.00 gift cards for our raffle. We realized at this one to put an emphasis on incorporating the kids in our events. We had a few of the youngsters hop on the microphone and announce some of the raffle winners. Lesson learned.
The Bolts started the season off strong and all was good in Charger land. So a celebration was in store during the bye week. An intimate evening for the fans: A bonfire at Fiesta Island under the stars. I have to admit this was one of my favorite events. Everyone – about 80 fans – standing near the fire under the night sky smiling and laughing again. But this one was special because we met so many of you for the first time. There were so many new faces at this event. Everyone who attended has become very close friends with Booga and I. They have joined the family and have done so much for us. Future bonfires will happen. The amount of people were smaller than the meetups, but the interaction was so much more personal. It was a great night for all of us.
Through the exposures of these events we were contacted by Paddy Pickford of Evolution Lighthouse to help hold an event downtown where Eric Weddle would sell his jewelry to help stop domestic violence against women. It was held at Taste and Thirst in downtown. It was quite personal as a lot of our guests shared their experiences of what they have gone through. The event raised more money than any other charity in their history. Again, don’t ever underestimate Charger fans, folks.
Our focus of uniting Charger fans and supporting the Bolts continued as we planned 4 viewing parties for the away games. We gathered at La Bella’s in Chula Vista. Fans gathered to be with their fellow family members to watch the games together. It was a good time and San Diego went 3-1 at La Bella’s when the BoltBlitz family got together there.
This brings me to the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We were welcomed to the Bolt Pride tailgate in P4 at the Qualcomm stadium parking lot. We are simply boys among men with these guys. When you are passionate about something in your life, you want to share it with people who share that passion among others; the ones who feel the same way you do. The atmosphere there is amazing. It is a close-knit family sharing the same experience. It is what Booga and I envisioned yet they had already achieved. The music and the dancing was legendary. Bolt Pride, we thank you all so much for the experience. Truly a heartfelt thank you goes out to Rafael Alvarez, Josh Casillas and Johnny BoltPride. You are Charger fan legends and we thank you all. Much respect to all of the BoltPride members and we love your group and all that you do.
Thanks to Joe Allen again, we were asked to cover the 2nd Annual Ryan Mathews Golf Tournament. It was a great day as we hung out with Mathews, Seyi Ajirotutu, Ronnie Brown and their friends at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and golf course. All three Chargers were really cool and each had a great sense of humor. I won’t get into their golfing abilities.
I am an administrator on several Charger pages on Facebook. While cleaning up one of these pages I came across a 3-year-old with terminal brain cancer. I stared at his picture for 10 seconds and he had me. Something about his mother’s post just got to me. It’s not like we don’t see these posts all the time, but this was like love at first sight. Killy’s mother, Amanda Sardelis, stated he was a Ryan Mathews fan. They were contacted by Joe Allen from Strikes for Kids and got Killy a signed football and autograph. But the boy stayed on my mind. At work, at home, and while sleeping he was on my mind. Maybe because my kids just moved away. I don’t know, but he was my obsession. He wasn’t looked upon as a son, exactly. Nephew? Nah. Brother? Nah? But he was mine. I fell in love with him immediately.
My father died of cancer, as did my grandfather. You took them but you’re NOT taking him, PERIOD! This was so personal to me. ALL I cared about was a boy named Killy. Cancer talks to so many today. We all know someone. But a 3-year-old? Seriously? Come on? NO! You won’t take him, not him, NO! Love overcomes all and people will love him.
I had no idea the impact that Killy would have on others as he did on me. I went to Booga and shared his story. We decided we’re going to do something for him. We talked and due to having many media contacts and influence among the fans, we wanted to reach out to as many people as possible. The fans have taught us many things. Most importantly, we’re family!
When a family member gets sick, what does family do? They come running in like the cavalry. And you certainly did come blazing in. We shared his story on Facebook and Twitter and you fell in love with him too. We all were going to make this boy’s Christmas the best of any child on earth. The family was assembled and the family responded in such a way that brings me to tears. We can get 40-50 fans together to bring him Christmas presents. YES, that is it. We’ll meet him and bring him presents.
We then asked our Facebook friends to change their profile picture to him 2 weeks before the event on Dec 13th. HA! The next morning everyone changed their picture to the little boy in a Charger Santa hat. I thought maybe 30-40 people would change their profile picture. Over 400 people (could be more we don’t know the exact numbers) changed their pics. Killy was EVERYWHERE! Mess with family but don’t mess with Charger Family!
When people call San Diego a bandwagon city, tell them to go Google Killy. Even Matthew T. Hall of the UT ran a story about the movement. Killy actually proved if we unite in a cause it can be overwhelming. Nancy Castro of Telemundo, Derek Togerson, Dan McLellan and Annie Heilbrunn all changed their profile pictures to Killy. Presents were sent in from Twitter and Facebook from all across the country. Even Thomas Keiser sent Killy a gift. #KillyStrong and #KillysArmy were hashtagged everywhere on Facebook and Twitter. But would the fans respond? Would they show up to an event to meet our little celebrity on December 13th twelve days before Christmas? YES, YOU DID! Around 80 people showed with presents at Chargers Complex on December 13th to meet Killy. Then we all hopped in our vehicles and headed out to the Q, cars honking to party with Killy and show him what a tailgate is like.
Dan McLellan dressed up as Santa Clause and Elmo, per a referral from the Make A Wish Foundation, came. Animals for Children came as well. Every fan lined up to meet Killy personally and hand him a present. To everyone who attended, you’re forever in my heart. I love you so much. To Amanda,Valerie and Jimmy we support you and love you. To Killy, you know how we feel about you. You are incredibly special!
Our last event of 2014 was our final viewing party at La Bella’s. We were all shocked and heartbroken by the week 17 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. We accepted that the loss, as heartbreaking as it seemed, was just a loss. Now back to family. Amanda brought Killy down to spend time with the BoltBlitz family. We laughed and shared memories with him after the game. Why? Because that is what family does! So many of you are our family. I can’t tell you enough how much we love you all. For those who have welcomed us into your homes, we thank you. For those of you who have been in our home, we thank you and you appreciate you being in our lives. To Bolt Pride, the media, and the fans, we LOVE you!
By uniting we all showed what can happen when we come together. Now, let’s go fight for our stadium and Keep Our Bolts in San Diego! You’ve proven that anything can happen. We have two exciting events coming up in the last week of February that we’ll be making announcements about in the coming days. Let’s make 2015 smash 2014.
Leave a comment on the website in the section below. Not on FB or Twitter, but below. Let us know we met you and at what event. That would be great information to help us all share in the amazing memories. And, of course, always stay #KILLYSTRONG!
Thank you all for your support.
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.
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.
Most teams which finish a season with a playoff exit have something good going for the future. You don’t make it through an entire NFL season and partial postseason without significant moments from depth players on the roster. Although these guys are backups, it’s said that after week one or two, no team is truly “healthy”.
Players in the NFL play injured in some way, shape or form for large portions of their careers. Even now, lawsuits are being filed and settled from decade old injuries which linger. Every team needs depth to succeed, which is why the game of football is the ultimate team sport, and why the 53 lucky individuals to make the roster are so vital.
Commonly, teams seek to find an identity. Identity, on either side of the ball, or as a whole, can come in many ways. Sometimes it’s a single player with a transcendent personality and ability, and sometimes it’s just the plain dominance of a system. The Chargers’ defense seeks an identity in 2014.
The Chargers have been operating in a base 3-4 defense for some time now. It’s part of their current identity. The San Diego franchise, as we know it, was shaped ten years ago when Eli Manning refused to play for them after being drafted number one overall in 2004. Philip Rivers is our guy, not New York’s. Something else came in that fateful draft day trade which, for better or worse, played a major part in where we find the Charger defense today.
One of the picks gained in the trade to the Giants was used to select Maryland linebacker Shawne Merriman. He quickly became the perfect guy for the San Diego defense and suddenly the Chargers had a dominant player to add to the defense’s identity once again. Although Merriman’s career in San Diego was much more brief than anyone would’ve liked, losing his talent and potential left a void entering the 2010 season. The void was more than the loss of a good linebacker, it was a loss of identity.
The defense, now run by former linebacker coach John Pagano, has struggled to replace Merriman, and the San Diego defense has struggled to replace their identity.
San Diego had hoped that former OLB Shaun Phillips would carry the torch, but he never seemed overly invested, and eventually took an easy opportunity to leave town.
A lot of guys have filled the position since Merriman, but former General Manager ( blank ) could never quite capture the magic again. His reign over the defense was mostly downhill from there, and could be summed up by a couple of the last nails in the coffin to describe the defensive trajectory: Larry English and Greg Manusky.
Sure, there were good defensive seasons with “that one GM” at the helm, but ultimately, they were few and far between. Those times have come and gone, and with the peaks and valleys of an NFL franchise, it would appear, at least, that the incline is now true.
The team has more depth than it has had in years. The defense has depth, and the outside linebacker position, well, almost has too much depth.
The outside linebacker position is a mixture of Super Bowl champions from year’s past and unproven youthful talent. As Charger fans, we want all of these fantastic parts to work in perfect harmony. But they need to play sixteen games, and they need to produce at a high level.
Wanting Dwight Freeney to return to form following a lost season is a no brainer. Wanting Jarrett Johnson to continue his productive run as leader and mentor is clear. Unfortunately, what we want isn’t always what we need.
Cutting Larry English was a breath of fresh air, and Charger fans can feel great about knowing what the move likely says of Melvin Ingram’s health and progress. Without English around, the bottom of the depth chart at the position now includes 2013 saving graces like Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams. Jerry Attaochu is a rookie, and will get his opportunity, and Reggie Walker has made a career out of great special teams play.
It is possible there are enough roster spots for everyone, but if that were the case, then the void filling desire for the position may be less stable than it seems. Granted, while the talent is clear, there are a lot of question marks with even the best options. A list of injury scares, age versus productivity questions, and outright lack of regular season experience means that nothing is certain.
So where do we go from here? It would appear that the San Diego defense has a “good problem”, being rich at the position, and will have to willingly cut a productive and well liked player.
The most surprising of cuts would be the guys who have locked down spots. Ingram is there, barring the unforeseen, Attaochu will have a spot, and Walker is seemingly too valuable to let loose. We have to conclude that the rest are fair game.
So what will the Chargers’ defensive identity become? Veteran guys leading a younger front seven, or younger, lesser knowns meeting at opposing quarterbacks? This question will be answered over the next three weeks.
Charger fans should be watching this battle closely, as this defensive identity will be heavily anchored to the decisions made around these few roster spots.
As it is, it would appear that Dwight Freeney has a spot sewn up, but again, nothing is certain. Thomas Keiser is off to a good start including a strip sack against the Cowboys last week, but carries the unfortunate label of the single Charger to create off-field distractions during the offseason. Whether we the fans, or the loyal players like it or not, guys like Keiser, Jarrett Johnson, and Tourek Williams are fighting for their roster lives.
Throughout the years of the last regime, Charger fans grew accustomed to watching a GM operate with the “whatever I want” mentality. In Tom Telesco’s second year, it would seem that “whatever the team needs” is the new mantra. As this defense continues to build an identity through players like Eric Weddle, Donald Butler, and Corey Liuget, the outside linebackers looking to stick on this roster will have to find way to separate and solidify themselves as not only what the fans want, but what the team needs.
Next opportunity, at Seattle on Friday evening.
The day that Charger fans had been waiting for has finally come and gone. In the words of Mike McCoy during last night’s postgame press conference, ” There were some negative things and some positive things that can be taken from the game. But, it is the first preseason game.”
I would like to reiterate the last portion of his statement. It was only the first preseason game.
Before you induct Branden Oliver into the Hall of Fame, and before you act as though Kellen Clemens is the next savior at signal caller for the Charger offense, please take heed of the fact that there is very little that can be drawn from the first preseason game of the year.
I asked McCoy during the same press conference about playing against a team other than your own and he basically said that is what we were wanting to do as a staff, team and organization. Everyone was excited and glad to be lining up against a team wearing different helmets.
There were certainly some highlights last night that had several players deserving kudos. Below I am listing my takeaways from the victory of the Dallas Cowboys last night at Qualcomm stadium.
– In an effort to get it out-of-the-way, Branden Oliver looked solid. He racked up 64 yards on only 7 carries and managed to find the endzone on an impressive 14-yard run where he carried the last defender 4 yards with him in for the score. Additionally, and this needs to be said, he is not, I repeat, not Darren Sproles. I believe he is about 20 pounds heavier. He has quick feet – similar to Sproles, but not as quick – and he is a bit more physical. He runs with a very low center of gravity and his cuts are impressive. But, his foot-quickness is not on the same level as that of Sproles made popular. He’s looked good in camp and he also looked good last night.
– Dontrelle Inman continues to impress. Despite a fantastic showing of surprising speed on that 70-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Clemens, he beat a guy that was just signed by Dallas that had yet to practice with the team. He is another player that has impressed throughout the offseason. He has a big frame and capable hands. Inman is, without a doubt, going to continue to make a strong push for a spot on the 53-man roster.
– The Charger quarterbacks were very accurate. When looking at the trio of Philip Rivers, Clemens and Brad Sorensen, only two incompletions were thrown all night. Both of those were by Sorensen as both Rivers and Clemens finished with 100% completion percentage on the night.
The fact of the matter that remains, as it did prior to the game, if Rivers goes down it’s all over but the crying. If you want to crown the backup quarterbacks as capable starters, then crown their asses. <— Dennis Green voice
– Jerry Attaochu is fast. Really fast. Even though he lost contain due to biting on a play-action rollout, he was still able to turn and make the tackle after a minimal gain. His speed will be an asset to John Pagano’s defense and the quicker he learns the defensive scheme the sooner he’ll be making plays on a consistent basis.
– Ryan Mathews is fine and I would rather him lose a ball in the first preseason game than in any of the games that truly count. The man had only two fumbles last year after having over 300 touches. I have an article coming out this afternoon stating why I believe he’ll have the best year of his career in 2014. So, keep calm and realize the talent this man has. Do not forget, last year he ran as physically as any running back in the NFL and was a key cog to a successful Charger offense.
– Lawrence Guy suffered a shoulder injury after the devastating hit he put on Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden. To add insult to injury, Weeden managed to throw a touchdown pass on the very same play. At this time, I am not sure of the severity of the injury. I saw Guy in the locker room speaking to Coach McCoy while wearing a sling. He provides valuable depth on the defensive line and it could mean trouble for San Diego if he is out for an extended amount of time.
– Knowing this is the preseason, and the playcalling on defense will remain vanilla until the regular season, I wasn’t too surprised by the first-team defense’s inability to impose their will on the Dallas offense. The team did finish with three total sacks as both Thomas Keiser and Colton Underwood each had a sack while Reggie Walker and Cordarro Law shared a sack to end the game with a half a sack a piece. It is paramount that the team is able to generate a pass rush seeing that they play in a division with Peyton Manning. The lack of of a pass rush in 2013 must be remedied this year if the team wishes to contend in a tough AFC West.
– Darrell Stuckey for the Pro bowl will be something that I am going to begin lobbying for very early in the season. He’s a beast and he made a couple of plays that should remind fans of why he is so valuable on special teams.
– Craig Watts Jr. looked good and it is obvious the game is slowing down for him. While playing on both the offensive line, and some of the special teams units, he was impressive. He has improved each and every time that I have watched him. There is a steep learning curve going from West Texas A&M to the NFL. But with Craig’s intelligence and very strong work ethic, I stand by my prediction that he will be a San Diego Charger in 2014 and beyond.
– Marion Grice racked up 35 yards on 14 carries. If you take away his 18-yard run, he had a tough night. It’s not realistic to take out a play that happened, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. He also added a 4-yard reception as well.
– Both the kick and punt return games were pedestrian on limited opportunities. The three returns netted a total of 19 yards. The Chargers have not had a threat in the return game since the days of the Lightning Bug.
– The redzone offense is still a work in progress. This was also touched on by McCoy. It is too early to be concerned but when the regular season begins, I have no doubt that everyone will be paying close attention to how the teams performs inside the 20.
That is what I saw during last night’s game. I am curious to hear what you took away from the game. Let me know by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The roster bubble is a constantly moving boundary. What little we do know about General Manager Tom Telesco’s methodology includes his noticeably “anti-that last GM that was in San Diego” style of tinkering up until the day the season starts. Late offseason additions of players like Reggie Walker and Lawrence Guy, as they were released by their respective squads, paid huge dividends for the Bolts’ roster in 2013. Telesco likes to keep a few rotational roster spots on the back-end and wait for final cuts to come throughout the league. Cut down day can become a day for wins as well as losses for an opportunistic GM.
Getting the roster to 75 in August isn’t terribly difficult as many of the camp bodies are easy to identify and likely knew their time would be a struggle and simply a learning experience for future endeavors. Getting down to the final 53 is a bit trickier.
Looking over the current Charger roster, it’s clear that the depth is stronger than it has been in quite some time. Keeping in mind that Telesco will more than likely seek to snag a couple of strong releases from various teams in the twelfth hour, that leaves about 50 or so roster spots guaranteed. Again, looking over the current roster, this process begins to show the difficulty of some of these decisions.
Once the team is down to 53, here are some thoughts on the last five current Chargers to stay on the back-end of the roster, and the last five difficult guys that could be cut before the 2014 campaign officially begins.
Potential Last Few In:
DT Tenny Palepoi or Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe:
It’s clear that after last season John Pagano needs space eaters in the middle of his 3-4 defense. Sean Lissemore does a nice job getting pressure on passing downs, and in this pass-happy league, he was able to make a noticeable impact. What became obvious toward the end of the season, is that as winter and playoffs set in, the Chargers couldn’t stuff the run when it really counted. The addition of Ryan Carrethers shows a step in the right direction, but rotation and competition will be necessary. One of these two undrafted behemoths (6’1″ 298, 6’2″ 309 respectively) will likely find a spot on the bench and possibly on the field.
WR Dontrelle Inman:
Tevin Reese looks to be a nice surprise for a late round pick, but he’s another smaller guy in the receiving corps. The Chargers will be on the look out for affordable targets for Philip Rivers for several years to come. Vincent Brown hasn’t yet panned out, and most of the rest of the gang are average to small route runners moving the chains. Along with Malcolm Floyd (and the tight ends of course) look for the Bolts to hang on to a couple of other receivers to both fill out the roster and potentially make a special teams impact. Inman is 6’3″, making him one of the three tallest receivers on the roster. Improvement in the red zone is an offseason focus for coaches McCoy and Reich, if Inman’s hands are good enough, his size could be enough reason to keep him around.
LB Cordarro Law:
A CFL pass rush standout last year, Law looks to follow in the footsteps of Cameron Wake and make an impact in the NFL. With his skill set and experience, Law shouldn’t have a difficult time making the roster, but the position is now stacked. With Telesco guys like Tourek Williams and Reggie Walker already in the fold, Law will have to work to maintain a spot. Jarrett Johnson is on the decline, and until second round pick Jerry Attaochu or future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney can prove accountable all season, Law should be kept on for talent sake.
CB Chris Davis:
The Chargers have a rich history of talented undrafted free agents. Davis was brought in along with many others in order to solidify a glaring area of need at cornerback. Now that Brandon Flowers has signed and Jason Verrett is cleared for practice, the depth is starting to show. Lucky for Davis, he’s known in the football world for one thing, and it happens to be another area of need for San Diego, the return game. Davis figures to be a near perfect special teamer. He’s played in plenty of big time situations, he is a stout hitter, and played starting corner at Auburn. Those skills mixed with the now fabled ability to return kicks, may land him a comfortable spot on the roster as a depth defensive back and Swiss Army knife special teams guy.
OT Nick Becton:
Another undrafted player Becton joined the Chargers out of Virginia Tech and spent 2013 on the practice squad. With Mike Harris nursing injuries, and the pure tackle position being thin, Nick could turn into a nice option for coach Joe D. At 6’6″ 323, Becton has hung around with the team long enough to say that he has something they like. Probably size and some athletic ability. King Dunlap is the only true left tackle to block the blind side from a year ago, and he certainly had his struggles with concision problems. Harris and Fluker both tried their hands on the left and both looked overmatched. Giving him more time with the line coaches this offseason, there may be a jump in production. He’s young and fits the size part well and could make his way into the future grooming role behind Dunlap.
Potential Last Few Out:
CB Marcus Cromartie:
The corner position is currently a crowded one. Aside from the clear top four, there’s Brandon Ghee and Steve Williams seeking nickel duties as well. Chris Davis may have an edge if he can be a contributor on special teams, and Crezdon Butler got to play some actual minutes last season, recording a very memorable goal line forced fumble against the Cowboys. Although talented and well liked by the team, it’ll be an uphill battle for Cromartie to make the final 53.
DT Kwame Geathers:
With his 6’6″ 335 frame and athleticism, any football fan would inherently want Kwame Geathers to work out for their team. Fact is, Geathers’ abilities never quite fit into Pagano’s scheme. Built like a young Albert Haynesworth doesn’t necessarily mean that he would have to play best as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but after seeing what he’s brought to the Chargers this far, it would appear that he may be better suited for it. The other DTs picked up this far in the Telesco era show a trend where Geathers doesn’t quite fit. Low to the ground and wide. Space eaters. Run stuffers. After drafting Ryan Carrethers out of Arkansas State and bringing in three others for a shot at the active roster, it would appear that Geathers is a man without a natural place on the line. If only he would be open to trying left tackle.
TE John Phillips:
Phillips is the perfect football player to have somewhere on your team. Well, he was. Having been injured most of last season, the mostly blocking tight end now has some competition for his spot. Veteran fullback Le’Ron McClain was let free in exchange for David Johnson, who can also be effective at tight end. Having the pleasure of choosing between Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green on any given down puts Phillips into a full-time backup role as it is. A versatile player like Johnson and some buzz around a young Michael Flacco could spell the impending end for an occasionally banged up veteran like Phillips.
RB Kerwynn Williams, Marion Grice, Branden Oliver:
One of these guys will stick, and the one that does will be well above the rest. The name of the game in this crowded backfield is versatility. Pass blocking, receiving, special teams, possibly returning, and oh yeah, running the ball. There will be a healthy competition until the last day for this fourth back roster spot, but it’ll likely go to the guy who can do the most to help the team in a variety of ways. All these guys are hard workers and show flashes, which is why I say they’ll be tougher to let go. But it looks like, in the end, Grice will likely fit the bill.
Honorable mention stiff competition:
Tourek Williams versus Thomas Keiser versus Jarrett Johnson
The team could feasibly hold all of these linebackers, as they did last year. All showed value on the field in 2013, and youth is certainly on the side of Williams and Keiser. Johnson is a valued team leader and mentor, but with Freeney healthy, Attaochu brought in, and Ingram eyeing a full season, the need for utility outside backers has hopefully gone down. Williams was drafted by Telesco which gives him a bit of an advantage, Keiser had off the field issues, and Johnson’s salary could be saved nicely. Johnson would be a surprise last out, but it could happen.
Looking over this roster, it’s difficult to want to envision releasing any further prospective Chargers. Due to Tom Telesco’s concept of how to build a roster, it must be stated that it will take quality work to stay on the back-end of this roster going into 2014. Here’s a sampling of roster bubble guys from around the league who could fit the bill on the bargain hunt:
WR Brandon Tate, Cincinnati Bengals:
Brandon has been in the league since 2009, and spent his first two years with the Patriots. He came out of North Carolina in a pair with fellow Tarheel Hakeem Nicks, although hasn’t had nearly the success. Tate has been a kick returner for the Bengals in recent years an is 6’1, 210 pounds. His experience in the league and special teams focus should net him a roster spot somewhere in the league in 2014.
WR Kenny Britt, St Louis Rams:
Britt has had a troubled NFL career after being selected in the first round of the ’09 draft by the Titans. A mix of behavior, attitude, and lack of elite play has him simply looking for a team to prove himself to these days. Britt has struggled through quarterback issues with Tennessee, and now is trying to stick with an up and down Sam Bradford. It’s possible that bringing him into a roster with a solidified quarterback and a well oiled offense could be a chance for him to finally shine. At 6’3″ 223, he has always had the physical tools.
G Cyril Richardson, Buffalo Bills:
Apparently this guy is not what he was thought to be coming out of college. Listed as one of the highest first round possibilities along the offensive line early in the draft process, he ended up being drafted in the fifth round, having been passed over by Telesco several times in an area of need. He’s big, as in huge (6’5″, 329) for a guard. If he doesn’t make the cut for some reason in Buffalo, Tom and Joe D may want to take a flier on the massive prospect.
When running a 3-4 defense the ability of your outside linebackers is paramount. Although pressure and disruption is needed from the entire front-seven, and occasionally a blitzing member of the secondary, the OLBs provide your best opportunity to cause mayhem.
After a 2013 season that saw quite a bit of rotation due to injuries to starting outside backers Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney, the Chargers have a significant number of playmakers at the position heading into 2014.
In addition to Ingram and Freeney, the Bolts are loaded at outside linebacker. After drafting Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round of this year’s draft, and having veteran edge-setter Jarret Johnson in the fold, the team has four quality members that are able to make plays. Additionally, San Diego has depth players such as Thomas Keiser, Reggie Walker, Larry English ( for now ), Cordarro Law ( although he’s listed as a defensive end ), undrafted free agent Colton Underwood and Tourek Williams.
In this article, we’ll take a look at these players and what their production could be this year. Having so many players at one position is a great problem to have, so to speak. To have that much competition will help bring out the best at the outside linebacker spot. Let’s also not pretend that the pass rush, or lack thereof, last year was anything more than anemic at best.
Prior to analyzing the players, it goes without saying that John Pagano must be more creative in his defensive playcalling. Although he was masterful with his gameplan against Indianapolis last year, he tends to be very passive and predictable more often than not. In Pagano’s defense, his side of the ball has been riddled by injuries and some low-level talent. But it’s clear to me that he must find a way to be less predictable and find what his players do best and put them into a position to do so.
Let’s get right to looking at each outside linebacker that is currently on the roster.
Before the acquisition of Freeney was made by Tom Telesco, I lobbied in a serious way here on BoltBlitz.com. I was met with a lot of negativity regarding the possibility of him signing with San Diego. Well, here we are now are losing the dynamic pass rusher for most of the 2013 season due to injury. Though he is still not 100% the expectation is that he will be by the start of the preseason. My guess would be that he will see very little time in the preseason in an effort to keep him fresh and healthy for the regular season.
When focusing on the regular season regarding Freeney, I also believe there will be an emphasis on keeping him healthy. Meaning, I do not expect him to see much time in the Charger base defense, which the Bolts hardly run anyway. Look for Dwight to be employed on pass rushing downs and third down situations. I’d be willing to put the over/under on his sack totals at 6, barring injury, I would call it a push.
The leader in “almost plays,” Ingram is primed to have a breakout season. But, like Freeney, his contribution is based on remaining healthy. After miraculously coming back from an ACL injury he suffered on the first day of OTAs in 2013, Melvin made his impact felt despite it not showing up in the sack column. His disruption in the backfield and pestering of opposing team’s quarterbacks made a definite impact when returning from injury. He was constantly on the other side of the line of scrimmage creating havoc.
After Ingram fell in the 2012 draft I was ecstatic that he landed in San Diego. The hopes for him to be an immediate contributor were extremely high. After finishing his rookie campaign with two half sacks, the belief that his T-Rex arms were a factor in him falling were widespread. I actually lost a $50.00 bet regarding the sack numbers he would put up during his first year. Though he is not on the hot seat, by any means, he is now in a position to be held accountable for his production. Heck, he was already there considering a poor first season stat-wise.
Look for SupaMelvin to have a big year and rack up anywhere between 7 and 10 sacks in 2014.
Talk about the consummate professional. JJ, as known around the locker room and organization, is one of the best edge-setters in all of the league at outside linebacker. He is a great leader and allows his plays to do the talking for him. After being acquired in free agency by he who will not be named on this site, he came in and made his mark on the Charger defense. Despite sacks not being his forte, his instincts and ability to read offenses are a true asset to the Bolts.
Another Charger that suffered, and played, through injuries in 2013, Johnson is reliable when on the field. Don’t expect many sacks from the veteran but his presence will be felt on the San Diego defense.
When Tom Telesco sees a player that he covets, he does what it takes to get him. Telesco traded a fourth round selection in this year’s draft to move up and nab Jerry. When Attaochu left Georgia Tech he did so as the school’s all-time leading sacker with 31.5. He finished his career leaving college as a playmaking backer that made sure that opposing offensive coordinators were cognizant of where he was lined up on the football field.
Though he is a rookie at a crowded position, the team is not afraid to thrust him into the spotlight and give him playing time. Again, there are three quality starters ahead of him heading into the 2014 campaign, but it’s up to Pagano to find ways to incorporate him into the defensive scheme. A premature over/under for his sack totals as a rookie could be set at 3.5.
Where do I begin with Larry English. He may struggle to find a spot on this season’s roster due to the fact that he was a draft choice of the prior regime. English has all of the potential in the world. But the “P-word,” potential, is what gets coaches fired and players released if they are not able to live up to their billing. A former first-round pick out of Northern Illinois, Larry has flashed, at times, a tenacity to aggravate opposing offensive lineman and make a play here and there. But that’s part of the problem. He has yet to do anything to warrant his selection as a first-round pick.
I hold out hopes for English in that he can prove all of the doubters wrong, myself included. But he is facing a steep climb to even make this team at this point.
I can’t say enough about how pleased I was with the Walker signing by the organization. This guy has a no quit mentality and his ability to play multiple positions is highly admirable. As I’ve talked about on BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9, Reggie makes plays down the field and has a certain tenacity that any squad would be lucky to have in its ranks.
Walker’s versatility to play both inside and outside have him as a valuable member that gives depth to a unit that needs it in a sense of the need of having non-stop motor individuals that can make plays when called upon.
After being thrust into action due to injuries at the outside linebacker spot, Keiser made plays despite an uncertainty regarding his true ability to contribute. He not only made plays, Thomas was in the right place at the right time often. Though some people would point to his recent off the field incident as a question mark, the Chargers have made it seem as though he has a place on this team for the immediate future by not cutting him.
We all remember the game-sealing interception against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. But he added a few sacks to his numbers as well. Keiser is an athletic specimen that has the build of a comic book hero. If the organization is truly at peace with his recent “issue,” then look for him to provide quality depth to a strong unit. I don NOT expect to see him removed from the Bolts. I feel confident setting his over/under sack total at 3.5.
A monster in the CFL, it’s still hard to find a place on the current roster for Law. If he is able to replicate his CFL success in the NFL, then the fans have a lot to be excited about. It boils down to his ability to impress Pagano and the defensive coaching staff to determine whether or not he has a place on the 2014 Chargers.
I know nothing about him and his only hope in being a part of this team is via the practice squad.
Despite being a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft, Williams was forced to start a few games due to injuries. Is there a tone to this piece? Lots of guys that weren’t brought in to start that the defense needed due to injury. Playing as a defensive end at FIU, Tourek came out and made a handful of plays. But, moving forward, he is not a player that the Bolts can rely on moving forward as a starter.
Williams may, eventually, develop into a solid contributor, but I wouldn’t bet on it. BoltBlitz.com was fortunate enough to earn his first interview as a pro. I wish him nothing but the best.
There you have it. There’s my position outlook concerning the outside linebacker spot. It’s a unit that should be a strength on the Chargers defense. But so much of their success depends on the health of the veteran players. If the younger guys are pushed into playing, it could be a long year for the San Diego defense.
Thanks a lot for reading.
While working on a post about the Chargers being deep at outside linebacker, I started to think about who would lead the Chargers in sacks in 2014. I then decided that I would ask the fans what they thought on the subject.
San Diego’s pass rush, or lack thereof, was quite pathetic in 2013. Injuries and poor play in the secondary certainly aided in the defense allowing opposing quarterbacks to take their sweet time in delivering the ball. I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that John Pagano’s scheme, more often than not, was bland and unimaginative.
When looking at the defense for the upcoming season, I feel like the health of that side of the ball could be the key to the team’s success going forward. Melvin Ingram was hurt on the very first day of OTAs in 2013. Although he miraculously came back near the end of the season, he’ll certainly benefit from being further removed from the torn ACL he suffered.
Another huge defensive loss for the Bolts was Dwight Freeney. After losing Freeney in week 4 of last year, unproven players like Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams were forced into starting roles on defense. Clearly, that is not the ideal situation. It is said that Freeney is healthy and ready to contribute. Although I don’t expect to see much of Dwight on running downs, he will be utilized on passing downs.
To say that it was difficult to lose both of your starting outside linebackers is an immense understatement. The team drafted some insurance in the form of Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round of this year’s draft. It’s hard to say what kind of impact he’ll have as a rookie, but look for Pagano to ease him into the lineup and send him after opposing team’s signal callers.
Last year our leading sacker was an injured Corey Liuget. He had a paltry 5.5 sacks while playing through a torn labrum. Finishing a half a sack behind Liuget was Kendall Reyes with 5. The entire Charger defense only accounted for 35 sacks in 2013. That is a number that must improve for this season to be a success defensively.
There are a few candidates that stand out to me as being capable of leading the team in sacks, but I’ll make the list long so that people are able to choose whomever they believe will be tops in the category.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting.
This is the time of year all the prognosticators and talking heads start rolling out their mock drafts. Opinions on where the Chargers should draft will vary from fan to fan, from pundit to pundit. Would love to get some discussion going here on your thoughts on where Tom Telesco should focus.
Should he draft a Corner Back? A good argument could be made. Returning we have Shareece Wright, who I think has a bright future. Also returning are Richard Marshall, Marcus Gilchrist (who split time between CB and SS), Marcus Cromartie and Crezdon Butler. Steve Williams, who missed his rookie season should compete for a starting spot. The team was very high on him going into the draft last year. If you look at headcount and talent, the talent is there barring injury.
What about the front three? NT is by far the weak link on the defensive side. Recently departed Cam Thomas got thrown around like a rag doll, giving opposing OL clean shots at Donald Butler and Mantei Te’o. Sean Lissemore did an adequate job, but the Chargers haven’t had a legitimate, space eating NT since Jamal Williams.
At OLB, Melvin Ingram came back from injury with a vengeance. Look for him to be a force in 2014. Dwight Freeney and Larry English are coming back from season-ending injuries, so there’s no way to know at this point how effective they’ll be. Jarret Johnson is a run stuffer by trade. His impact as a pass rusher was minimal. Thomas Keiser, Reggie Walker and Tourek Williams round out the OLB depth chart.
Personally, I think the front seven is where Telesco should focus. A space eating NT is a must. He can free up Butler and Te’o, along with DEs like Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget to bring inside pressure. The benefit to the inside pressure is that it frees up the pass rushing OLBs. An impact player at NT will make the entire front seven better. The pass rush will automatically improve. The secondary will immediately improve if the opposing quarterback has less time to find the open receiver.
If I were Tom Telesco, NT is where I’d look in the first round of the draft next month. Where would you look?
Last season, Tom Telesco took the reins of an Indianapolis Colts franchise that had finished last in the league in 2011. Telesco was named Vice President of Football Operations in 2012. Telesco used his newfound power to overhaul the Colts roster. The Colts had gone 2-14 in 2011. Telesco dismantled the team, jettisoning long standing players such as Gary Brackett, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark and Dwight Freeney. That year, Peyton Manning was also allowed to leave after missing the season with a neck injury followed by multiple surgeries.
By the time the 2012 season rolled around, there were 36 new faces on the roster. Telesco learned from one of the master executives in NFL history in longtime Colts General Manager Bill Polian. Telesco was able to be in on the scouting and player analysis aspect in the Colts war room, having input on what players to bring in. Coincidentally, his first season was also Manning’s first season in Indianapolis.
As a result of Telesco’s overhaul, the 2012 edition of the Colts led by top draft pick quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts went 11-5 and into the playoffs. The Colts won their division again in 2013 and are prime for a long run as mainstays on the playoff landscape. Telesco’s eye for bringing in fresh talent took the Colts from worst to first in the AFC South. The Chargers noticed and in the 2013 offseason signed Telesco to become the new General Manager of the San Diego Chargers.
Right away, Telesco used the same blueprint he used in Indianapolis. Longtime Chargers were seen out the door. Among them, Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips, Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, Antonio Garay, Takeo Spikes and Antwan Barnes were among many to find themselves exiled from Chargers Park. In their place, Telesco filled their slots with young, mostly unproven role players who were capable of playing multiple positions. Players like Thomas Keiser, Sean Lissemore, Chad Rinehart, Rich Orhnberger, Derek Cox and Dunlap are all Telesco signings who have had great impact in their first season on the team.
The draft got the Chargers off and running at the 2013 NFL Draft with Telesco at the controls. The first round pick, DJ Fluker, has been a stabilizing force at right tackle. When left tackle King Dunlap missed games with a concussion, Fluker moved to the left side of the line and played great there as well. In the second round, Telesco moved up to select Mantei Teo out of Notre Dame and got California wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round.
Telesco was hailed for the picks. All were seen as first round talents. Teo unexpectedly dropped into the second round on the heels of the fake girlfriend scandal. Allen’s stock dropped because he participated in the NFL draft combine injured. Teo’s play has gotten better as the season wears on after missing almost all preseason and a quarter of the regular season with a foot injury. Allen is the odds on favorite for Offensive Rookie Of The Year after being pressed into service following an injury to Malcolm Floyd. Sixth round pick Tourek Williams has has substantial playing time in the wake of numerous injuries on the defensive line and has played above expectations.
Telesco also spearheaded the search for a new head coach, nabbing the hottest name on the market in Denver’s Mike McCoy. McCoy’s reputation with quarterbacks is well known, as all he has coached have had career seasons under his guidance.
The Chargers have missed the playoffs three years straight. Last season they had their first losing season since 2003, finishing 7-9. On the way out the door former coach Norv Turner was quoted as saying the Chargers are a few years from being a playoff team. Telesco’s vision and eye for talent has again gotten the Chargers back into the playoffs after only one season. The Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in a thriller at home 27-24 to claim the last playoff spot in the AFC.
Telesco’s magic has worked again. One season on the job, he has taken a team with a losing record and given them the personnel that got them into the playoffs the very next season. Similar to the Colts situation, the Chargers are being restocked with younger, faster players and a solid young core to build around with Fluker, Allen and Teo as the cornerstones of the new Telesco/McCoy era.
The Chargers will have cap flexibility this offseason, unlike the dire financial straits they found themselves in last offseason. Telesco reworked contracts and used the limited funds available to sign the likes of Cox, Freeney, Johnny Patrick and Danny Woodhead among others. This offseason, the Chargers have cap flexibility. The Chargers faithful finally have reason to believe with Telesco making deals and picking winners on draft day that this team is finally ready to take the next step to being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Telesco magic is working.
The Greg One