The San Diego Chargers have begun making roster moves and training camp isn’t set to begin until Saturday. On Friday, the Chargers waived center Trevor Robinson. Part of the carousel at the center position, Robinson had 14 starts at center over the last two seasons.
Also included in the recent mix of Chargers centers since 2013 are Chris Watt, Nick Hardwick, Doug Legursky and Rich Ohrnberger.
The free agent signing of former-Chicago Bears offensive lineman Matt Slauson is expected to stop the revolving door at center while 2016 NFL Draft third-round pick Max Tuerk is groomed to be the center of the future. Slauson is an eight-year veteran who will be looked to provide leadership and serve as a mentor to Tuerk and the young offensive linemen.
The release of Robinson frees $2.3-million in cap space.
The free roster spot was filled with the signing of offensive lineman Marcel Jones. Listed at 6’7″-inches tall and 320 pounds, Jones was a seventh-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is listed as a guard/tackle. Now entering his fourth season as a pro, Jones has been limited to playing on the practice squad for the Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Training camp is heating up and the first pass hasn’t been thrown yet. What will the Chargers do next? Are you excited for the 2016 edition of the San Diego Chargers so far? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
There’s a different aroma in the air around the neatly cut grass and white-painted lines of the practice field off of Murphy Canyon road.
The newly acquired rookies of the San Diego Chargers’ 2016 NFL draft class run around flashing their brilliance alongside some 50 other undrafted free agents the team has brought in to try to fulfill their life-long dream of playing professional football.
In the earliest of reports, the first- and second-round picks appear to be men among boys; as they should be practicing among guys who will most likely never wear an NFL jersey on game days in September.
On paper, the Chargers have improved leaps and bounds from a team that was decimated by injuries and lacked enough quality depth to be competitive in an ever-evolving AFC West. The starting offensive line played two games together throughout the course of the 2015 season. The defensive line wasn’t much better even when they were on the field, giving up nearly five yards per carry on the ground.
Fast forward to this year and there’s a completely new picture to look at.
The defensive line has been transformed by the pick up of true nose tackle Brandon Mebane, and the drafting of defensive lineman Joey Bosa. Mebane and Bosa are going to come in and immediately improve the run defense of this team. Mebane is going to clog up the middle of the defense, freeing up the linebacking corps, allowing them to fly in and stop ball carriers before they get through the line. Bosa is as technically sound as it gets for a rookie. He has violent hands, and good strength that allows him to bully offensive linemen and attack the football.
The improvements of the defensive line are going to make everyone else’s job on the defense much easier. Let’s not forget the addition of Casey Hayward who will team up with Jason Verrett as the teams No. 1 and 2 corners.
Telesco has also replaced Donald Butler with two young, hungry linebackers in Joshua Perry and Jatavis Brown. These two young men are going to come in and make the special teams better the second they step on the field. Don’t be surprised if you see Perry and Brown also push Manti Te’o for some playing time on defense.
Speaking of the linebackers, fifth-year pro Melvin Ingram easily had the best season of his career in 2015 by totaling 10.5 sacks. As you well know, that was all without the aid of a Mebane or Bosa on the team’s defensive unit. Opposite of Ingram, Jerry Attaochu also made the best of his opportunities last season, setting a career-high with six sacks of his own.
The offensive line has also been fortified with center/guard Matt Slauson formerly of the Chicago Bears, and third-round pick Max Tuerk of USC. The pick up of Matt Slauson has a huge impact on the identity of this line. Slauson is durable, intelligent and plays with a nasty mean streak. This also allows Max Tuerk to take his time to recover from a knee injury, move Chris Watt back to his natural position of guard, while hopefully eliminating the dead weight that is Trevor Robinson.
Not only has Tom Telesco improved the offensive and defensive lines, but he’s also brought in a couple of new weapons for Philip Rivers to throw to in the speedster Travis Benjamin and the sure-handed rookie tight end Hunter Henry.
Philip Rivers has gone on record saying that Travis Benjamin is the fastest guy he’s ever thrown the ball to. Benjamin is going to come in and take the top off of the defense and allow guys like Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to tear up the middle of the field.
This is the best offseason of Tom Telesco’s tenure as the Chargers’ general manager because he addressed almost every need that was bleeding the team last year.
The national media is sleeping on the Chargers and that’s fine, but don’t be surprised if this team changes that perception as soon as they strap on the helmets and pads come September.
According to Eric Williams of ESPN.com, the Chargers waived center/guard Michael Huey on Thursday.
The team has yet to confirm the move as of yet.
Per NFL transaction report the Chargers waived C-G Michael Huey.
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) May 12, 2016
Huey, a former three-time Arena League champion with the Arizona Rattlers was picked up last year as a project along the offensive line. He has yet to play in an NFL game.
The Chargers recently signed offensive lineman Matt Slauson to a two-year contract, making Huey expendable in the eyes of the team.
I know, I know, Chargers fans.
“Why in the heck didn’t they release Trevor Robinson?”
Quite frankly, they must not feel comfortable about third-round draft choice Max Tuerk getting 100% healthy prior to the start of the 2016 regular season.
Robinson graded out as the worst center in all of the NFL in 2015, per Profootballfocus.com; further prompting fans to ask why he is still on the roster.
The Bolts may still cut ties with Robinson before the season begins. If they were to do so, the team would save $2.3 million in salary cap space.
Thanks a lot for reading.
After being released by the Chicago Bears on Monday, free agent offensive lineman Matt Slauson has a visit planned with the San Diego Chargers, according to ESPN.com.
Slauson, 30, is entering his eighth season in the NFL. Over his tenure in the league, Slauson has spent time with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears.
Per the report on ESPN, Tom Telesco has extended an invitation to Slauson to visit the team in an effort to add more competition to the center spot.
Despite drafting former USC Trojan Max Tuerk in the third round of this year’s draft, Telesco is doing his due diligence to fortify the position.
This is music to the ears of everyone that has watched the poor play and revolving door at the center spot, as the team has suffered greatly at center since the retirement of Nick Hardwick.
Man, I REALLY miss him being out on the field.
The fact that Tuerk and seventh-round selection Donavan Clark out of Michigan State were the only offensive linemen drafted says a lot about the team’s hopes for the health of the expected starting offensive line unit.
Additionally, the Bolts pursuing a veteran that is versatile and capable of playing center provides credence to the possibility that Telesco has moved on from the experiment that was Chris Watt at center.
Slauson also has a visit scheduled with the Buffalo Bills, per the same report.
In his seven years in the league, Slauson has started 85 out of 88 games, missing his only starts while entering the league as a rookie.
Whether or not the Chargers sign Slauson remains to be seen. But, the fact that the organization is going above and beyond to protect the team’s ambassador and best player, Philip Rivers, speaks volumes to where this club is heading into the future.
It’s about damn time.
Thanks for reading.
It’s officially here.
The 2015-2016 NFL season will officially be over. Today, hope springs eternal once again. The new league year has begun and free agents are fair game to every team in the league.
The weeks leading up to free agency are filled with teams jockeying to free up enough money to fill gaps in their roster. Experienced veterans will be cut not because they are not producing but because they make too much money. Decisions on franchise and transition tags will be made and trade possibilities will be discussed.
To that end, a story that sent shockwaves through the league just a week ago can greatly change the fortunes of the downtrodden San Diego Chargers.
Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack voided the last three years of his contract, making him a free agent. Mack is a little known name to the casual NFL fan but his name undoubtedly got General Managers around the league drooling like Pavlov’s dogs.
For the uninitiated, here’s all you need to know about Alex Mack:
Standing at 6’4″, 311 lbs., Mack is a seven-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl in two of the last three seasons. He is considered the best center in the NFL, and is set to sign the biggest contract for a center in the NFL with whomever he decided to play for next season.
Mack is 30 and has made the Pro Bowl in three of his seven seasons (2010, ’13, 15). The only reason he didn’t make it in 2014 was due to a broken leg he suffered five games into the season. Until the injury, Mack has not missed a single game at center. He returned to his Pro Bowl form immediately upon returning last season and is set to be an annual participant for the duration of his career.
San Diego needs to make Mack their top priority. The offensive line has been a major downfall for the team for many seasons. Signing a time-tested All-Pro veteran like Mack will be huge in solidifying the turnstile on the offensive line. The Chargers have not had a great center since Nick Hardwick retired in 2014. The position has been unstable with Chris Watt and Trevor Robinson sharing the duties since then. The two are servicable centers but neither are the long term answer.
This is the time for the San Diego front office to show their commitment to winning after a miserable 2015 campaign and the whole stadium fiasco on the shelf at least for this year. The window on Rivers’ career is closing. Keeping him upright by adding championship-caliber players will produce a championship-caliber team.
Teams are now able to start contacting the agents of free agents to make deals. Bolts GM Tom Telesco should have Macks’ agent on speed dial with offers from the word go. It will take the largest contract the Chargers have given to a non-quarterback in a long while, but you get what you pay for. Quality.
The Greg One
After Tuesday turned out to be an extremely eventful day as far as transactions are concerned for the Chargers, the team is back at practice Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Chicago Bears at home on Monday night.
The Bolts have completed the first half of the 2015 regular season by going 2-6, losing four games on the final drive, minute or play.
Losers of four in a row and five of their last six, it is hard to justify this team winning too many more games going forward. That being said, do you believe in miracles? Because that is what it will take for the Chargers to find a way to finish this season strong, perhaps even squeaking into the playoffs.
Stranger things have happened.
Despite the fact that the team is entering the “softer” side of their schedule, San Diego has not shown that they can win even when they are expected to do so. The struggles of this team have been widely documented on this site.
I would like to skip right past the fluff and get right to the question in the title.
You know the drill. Place your vote on the poll and leave a comment below justifying why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for voting and commenting.
Due to the litany of injuries suffered along the Chargers’ offensive line, the team will re-sign center J.D. Walton to a one-year deal, according to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
C J.D. Walton at Chargers facility this morning, will re-sign 1-year deal. Chris Watt (shoulder) exited Sunday. OL has other injuries, too.
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) November 3, 2015
Walton, 28, played in one game for the Chargers this season. Playing in his sixth season in the NFL, Walton has spent time with the Broncos, Redskins and Giants prior to 2015, starting 52 games over his career.
Center Trevor Robinson will remain the starter and Walton will serve as his back up until Watt is healthy enough to take the field again.
The Chargers have not announced a return time for Watt, nor have they officially listed him as injured, as the team does not have to list their first injury report of the week until Wednesday.
Running back Melvin Gordon has had a very disappointing first half of 2015.
The rookie has had trouble transitioning to the NFL game, struggling to get things going on the ground with little help from his blockers.
In Gordon’s defense, the offensive line has had several different starting combinations through eight games, losing players left and right to various ailments. Not having a cohesive unit in front of him is partly why the running back has had trouble establishing himself.
In Sunday’s 29-26 loss to the Ravens, the former Badger received his most touches in a single game this season, carrying the ball 18 times for 54 yards and hauling in five receptions for only seven yards, totaling 23 touches for 61 yards.
For the eighth consecutive game, the rookie ball carrier was unable to reach the end zone.
The fact that the Chargers stuck with keeping him involved in the running game was admirable, but Gordon was ineffective for the most part. The offensive line was not much help, struggling to open up sufficient holes.
The 2015 first-round selection is not racking up the yards like he would hope, but he did avoid fumbling on Sunday. Gordon was benched partially due to his inability to protect the rock, but saw his most significant amount of game action on Sunday. He has fumbled four times, losing three.
On the season, Melvin has carried the ball 103 times for 382 yards. Through the air, he has registered 18 receptions for 93 yards.
Gordon is on pace to finish the season with 764 rushing yards and 186 receiving yards.
That is not exactly what you want out of a first-round back that you traded up for, but hopefully he can turn it on in the second half of the year.
When setting his goals for his rookie campaign, one can guarantee that this is not what the 22-year-old had in mind.
With the Bolts stumbling to a 2-6 record, the team will most likely continue to get the ball to Gordon, giving him more and more confidence as the year wears on. As long as he is able to protect the ball, and the Chargers don’t get too far behind early in games, expect the offense to continue to keep Gordon heavily involved in the game plan.
His next shot at improving his game and scoring his first NFL touchdown will be Monday night against the Chicago Bears. They currently rank as the 10th overall defense in yards given up, coming in at 29th at stopping the run (allowing 128 rushing yards a game).
This opportunity will be the fifth time in 2015 that Gordon and the Chargers’ offense will face an opposing defense ranked in the bottom 10 of the league against the run.
There is still plenty of time for Gordon to put it all together and have that signature performance, shutting up his critics in the process. But it would be nice for his confidence if that effort would come sooner rather than later.
After coming from behind to secure a 33-28 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions, San Diego received the news that right guard DJ Fluker suffered a high-ankle sprain. Fluker is expected to be out four to six weeks.
After seeing the cart come out onto the field in the third quarter, it appeared that the injury incurred by Fluker could be much more serious than the diagnosis he received the following day.
Fans held their collective breaths; the stadium went silent.
Nonetheless, Chris Hairston came into the game and filled in admirably for the former first-round choice out of Alabama. It appears that will be how the team handles the loss of Fluker until he is healed up and ready to return to the starting lineup.
Prior to the 2015 offseason, Fluker had never played a down at the right guard position. Spending his entire collegiate career at right tackle, and playing his first two years with the Chargers at the same spot, the 24-year-old was kicked inside to right guard during training camp.
Fluker has proven over and over again throughout his life that he can overcome adversity. This setback pales in comparison to the struggles he’s conquered on his way to the NFL, including homelessness and Hurricane Katrina.
It is safe to expect “Big Fluke” to rebound from this and work even harder than he did prior to being injured.
For the time being, the offensive line has already lost one of its key members. Cohesion on the offensive line is crucial to the success of any team’s offense. Coach Joe D’Alessandris preaches in the offseason that each lineman will learn multiple spots along the offensive front. Clearly, when you lose a starter, decision like that will benefit the team as a whole. It will be interesting to see what the team does moving forward.
Will they stick with Hairston? Could they decide to slide Chris Watt over to right guard and bring in Trevor Robinson at the center position?
Whatever they end up doing, as long as the offensive line protects San Diego’s favorite son, Philip Rivers, the Chargers should continue to win ball games and make the city proud in what could be the team’s last year in San Diego.
Thanks a lot for reading.
On Saturday night, quarterback Philip Rivers agreed to a four-year contract extension with the San Diego Chargers that will keep him in lightning bolts through the year 2019. The deal is between $84-85 million dollars and comes with $65 million guaranteed dollars per NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport who broke the story. Rivers will sign the extension on Monday.
The Chargers front office has taken a lot of fire this offseason for how they have handled player contracts this offseason. They stepped up to the plate and guaranteed Rivers will be a Charger for life as GM Tom Telesco has said in countless interviews. The exclamation point is the guaranteed money. The $65 million is the largest guaranteed dollar amount given to a player in NFL history. The deal surpasses the $61.5 million that was guaranteed to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson just a month ago.
This is a lightning bolt of great news that has energized the San Diego fan base if you peruse social media. Despite what happens in the relocation scenario, the elephant in the room was Rivers, who was in the last year of his current contract this season. The subject of trade speculation in the weeks leading up to the draft, Rivers spoke hesitantly about his willingness to resign if the Chargers move to Los Angeles. Thankfully, that game is over and the franchise quarterback will stay put until the day he decides to hang up his cleats.
Though it remains to be seen how the new members of the offensive line perform, Rivers had to be impressed in the guys the front office brought in to protect him. Orlando Franklin (6’7″, 320 lb) is a left guard the Chargers signed away from the rival Denver Broncos. Joe Barksdale (6’5″, 326 lb) is a right tackle signed away from St. Louis. The pair of 27-year old studs solidify weak spots on both sides of the line.
The signings of reserve center Trevor Robinson (6’5″, 300 lb), guard Michael Huey (6’4″, 317 lb) and tackle Chris Hairston (6’6″, 330 lb) provide quality depth to a line that resembles a turnstile last season. This group will be tasked with keeping Rivers clean and opening holes for the running backs. At first look, they look very capable of doing so.
With Rivers solidly back in the fold, they are primed to overtake the Denver Broncos and reclaim their former dominance at the top of the AFC West. They’re bound to experience growing pains with new workhorse running back Melvin Gordon. Much is expected of the Chargers 2015 first round draft pick but his transition to the pro game will be a little easier with a stable of veterans to lean on. A healthy Danny Woodhead and human bowling ball Branden Oliver will also take pressure off as they will share the backfield load, turning the running back position into a three-headed monster.
This deal was inevitable. Rivers is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the team. He is the undisputed leader and face of the franchise. Rivers’ intelligence, toughness and passing proficiency is unquestioned. At this moment, Rivers is the sixth highest rated passer in NFL history. By the end of his career, Rivers will own every significant Chargers passing record.
Will San Diego win the West this year? If they stay healthy (big if), they can absolutely overtake the Broncos. At the very least the race for the top spot should go down to the wire. I expect at least ten wins this season which puts them in the playoff picture. Rivers has his best collection of offensive talent top to bottom since the Tomlinson years.
Peyton Manning is already declining and will most likely retire at the end of this or next season. Rivers still has plenty of life left in his arm and we long suffering bolts fans can finally realistically expect deep postseason runs culminating with a long overdue Super Bowl ring(s) for our MVP!
Congratulations Philip from all of us in Bolt Nation!
The Greg One