When it comes to researching article topics, I tend to go back through the archives of my website and look at ideas that I have had in years past. This morning, at 2:00 am, I ran across a scathing article I wrote about the laziness of former Charger offensive tackle Jared Gaither. I then remembered that he is still being paid by the Bolts in 2014.
He is not the only one.
Dead money contracts are those that count against the team’s salary cap despite the fact that the players are no longer on the squad. When I list the players that are still getting paid, I guarantee your blood will boil when you look at some of the names. The amounts of their pay will elevate that level of frustration, as well.
For the sake of this article, I am only going to include the players that are being paid over $100,000 without providing any services to the Chargers at all at this time. They are no longer with the team; in fact, a couple haven’t been on the team for over a year or two.
Let’s start at the bottom — lowest paid non-Chargers — and work our way up to the top, the highest paid.
DL – Lawrence Guy $100,588
WR – Vincent Brown $146,517
S – Brandon Taylor $168,469
CB – Brandon Ghee $185,000
RB – Shaun Draughn $201,176
LB – Jonas Mouton $218,340
DB – Richard Marshall $570,000
FB – Le’Ron McClain $833,334
LB – Larry English $865,000
WR – Robert Meachem $ 3,750,000
CB – Derek Cox $3,900,000
OT – Jared Gaither $4,000,000
Total amount of dead money from the aforementioned NON-CHARGERS: $14,938,424
Go ahead and let that sink in as you look at a Charger team that has been decimated by injuries. The same organization that was completely unable to make any moves prior to the trade deadline to supplement a beat-up roster. Thanks a lot, that one guy who used to be the GM here.
The total amount of dead money, including players that are not listed above, is $15,436,212.
When it comes to getting rid of and cutting poor performers or bad contracts, it’s a very difficult decision. But when a player is unable to contribute at a serviceable or acceptable level, the time to cut ties is necessary. Three of the top-four highest paid non-Bolts have played for other teams in 2014; Meachem, Cox and English. Robert Meachem is the only one that is currently on an NFL roster of those four.
Talk about a kick in the pants.
The last General Manager left Tom Telesco in a rough spot when it comes to navigating the roster and its lack of cap space. The 2015 season brings Telesco a much better opportunity to make some moves and re-sign some of his marquee players to long-term extensions; namely Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.
Every team in the NFL has to deal with matters such as what is listed above. But it goes without saying that the Chargers were forced to make some tough decisions when cutting the players listed. But, perhaps, cutting non-performing players like Gaither, Cox, Meachem and English were actually simple decisions that came at a heavy price. At least a few of the players noted actually played for San Diego in 2014. The same can’t be said for some of the bums that made the list.
Thanks a lot for reading. Which of these players frustrated you the most due to the money they made without having contributed to the cause in 2014? Let me know by leaving your thoughts below in the comment section.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
My first plate appearance in college was as a junior transfer during an inter-squad game. With two runners on, and a 2-1 count against me, I tattooed the slider over the left field fence. With limited playing time, due to a senior ahead of me at my position, I batted .289 with a few dingers and a good OBP. My GPA for my freshman year was a nice 3.45 and the college life seemed perfect. Then I hit the “Sophomore Slump,” and never really recovered – athletically or educationally.
When people talk about going through the slump, it can range anywhere from movies to music, and from sports to education. Some examples include that of the band The Strokes – their first album “Is This It” was followed up by a sub-par “Room On Fire.” The movie “Ocean’s 11” was a great reproduction of the original; however it was followed up by a porous “Ocean’s 12.” Of course the clichéd term is often used to us sports fanatics as a stellar rookie year, very high expectations for next year and then being let down.
Whether you are talking about sports or education, the second year is a phase of developmental confusion. It’s a time of uncertainty and a realization that hard work is up ahead. During the second year we look for growth, all the while struggling with achieving competence, establishing an identity and desiring autonomy. I decided to take a look and compare Mike McCoy and Keenan Allen to well-known people in their jobs in the organization to, perhaps, get a glance of what we might see in the upcoming season. Now, I understand that there are many circumstances involved, so I went with basics for my assessment.
Coach McCoy during his rookie year as a head coach posted a solid 9-7 record and went on to play in the Divisional round of the playoffs. In doing research on five of the top 20 greatest coaches (NFL.com), one glaring point that I want to share is that Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells or Jimmy Johnson had a winning record in their first year. Gibbs was the closest with an 8-8 clip. The most notable trend is that all of them improved their record and their offensive and defensive rankings in their sophomore season. The biggest improvement was the Parcells’ hire with the New York Giants. In 1983, the Giants’ record was a dismal 3-12-1, while their 1984 record was 9-7. They played all the way through to the Divisional round of the playoffs. Some of you might argue that Joe Gibbs had the best second year due to winning the Super Bowl. As impressive as that is, and I am not taking that away from him, it was the strike-shortened season of 1982. I believe through polls and Twitter questions, most Charger fans are predicting at least a 10-win season and going deep into the playoffs. This would continue the trend as relating to these other great coaches.
Keenan Allen was very close to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year last year. Expectations are going to be huge for all of the San Diego fans, as well as fantasy football players. Keenan, during his rookie campaign, amassed 71 catches for 1,046 yards and 8 touchdowns. In reviewing five wide receivers, Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Larry Fitzgerald and no one on that list had a better first year than Keenan. In addition, they all improved vastly during their second season. Fitzgerald made the biggest jump with adding 45 catches, 629 yards and 2 touchdowns compared to his rookie season numbers.
Are you getting excited yet? Are you feeling that with a healthy Floyd and a resurgent Vincent Brown that this could be one of the most explosive WR corps in the NFL? We all should be. However, I did stumble across a statistical graph at rookies winning honors and comparing it to their sophomore season. In the results it appears that the WR who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year made a dip, especially in yard differential, in all categories: victory differential, receptions and touchdowns. Are we now glad Allen didn’t win Offensive ROY? Nah, I would argue that he should have won the award last season.
So, does this jinx, an old wives’ tale, prove to be fictitious? According to my research, I see nothing but improvements for our sophomores of McCoy, Allen and others; Fluker, Addae and Te’o. Perhaps those that define the “Sophomore Slump” do not realize what they can do to overcome this demon. I thought of a few things that could be beneficial for the Bolt sophomores, especially the players.
- Get involved in extra-curricular activities such as community service or fund-raising events. When you immerse yourself into helping others, you gain a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, increases your self-confidence, combats depression and defeats isolation.
- Swallow your pride and seek out a counselor, and/or coaches, that you can open up to. Talking openly and becoming vulnerable can help you get “unstuck” when things aren’t going the way you expect them to go. After all, just because the first year was so successful, the professional opposition is now aware of what you did and will try to defend it. That is unless you make a change. Opening up to others also develops insight and increases self-awareness by understanding your behaviors and the issues or events that motivate you or bring you down.
- Attach yourself to a veteran. They have gone through what you are currently experiencing. Sure, there are certain circumstances that might have changed, but the basis and certain scenarios are the same.
I believe that the great players overcome and conquer the potential downfall by staying humble and work their butts off. I have no doubt that McCoy, Allen and the others, have the intellect and the resources to assist them during this transition. Only time will tell. But I have a good feeling that our sophomores will be just fine. Let me put it on you, Charger fans, which Sophomore will have continue the trend and explode. Who do you feel will buck the trend and implode? State your answer and reasons why below. Let’s get some good conversation going!
LET ME HEAR YA, BOLTFAMILY!!
“PEACE….and Boltness forever” – BWK
The 2014 NFL regular season is fast approaching and it is time to get revved up about the team General Manager Tom Telesco is assembling in America’s Finest City. Head Coach Mike McCoy and the rest of his coaching staff turned a team with a below average roster (thanks A.J. Smith!) into a playoff team in his rookie year at the helm. Now that Telesco and McCoy have had another offseason to bolster the roster (Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu, Donald Brown and others) and cut loose some dead weight (Derek Cox, Le’Ron McClain, Johnny Patrick and others), the team is beginning to take the shape envisioned by the current Bolts brass. It is a very exciting time to be a San Diego Chargers fan! That being said, I humbly submit my 2014 season record prediction. I present it in a week by week format and include a thought or two regarding the pick. Enjoy!
Week 1: Chargers at Cardinals
WIN … The Cardinals are an improving team with nice talent in spots, but I believe that our Bolts are deeper and more explosive at this point. We’ll get the season off to a good start in Phoenix.
Week 2: Seahawks at Chargers (1-0)
LOSS … This game will be a nice measuring stick for us. How well do we match up against the elite teams in the league? Well, the answer for now at least, will be not well enough.
Week 3: Chargers (1-1) at Bills
WIN … We’ll squeak out a win in Buffalo in a knock-down, drag-out street-fight type of game. Bills LB Kiko Alonso is a beast and will give us fits. Should be a nail-biter…
Week 4: Jaguars at Chargers (2-1)
WIN … This will be fun. Jaguar rookie QB Blake Bortles will get acquainted with Dwight Freeney early and often. This one shouldn’t be close.
Week 5: Jets at Chargers (3-1)
WIN … Historically, the Jets usually provide a tough matchup for us. It’ll be close for a half, but the Bolts pull away in the 3rd quarter and don’t look back.
Week 6: Chargers (4-1) at Raiders
WIN … The winning streak continues at the dreaded Black Hole. Looking to avenge our loss in Oakland last season, Rivers will torch the silver & black for over 400 yards! Let’s hope D.J. Fluker choke slams at least one Raider before the game ends.
Week 7: Chiefs at Chargers (5-1)
WIN … In a back and forth slugfest, having he home field advantage get the Bolts over the top. This one goes down to the wire as Nick Novak hits a long field goal in the final minute to seal the victory.
Week 8: Chargers (6-1) at Broncos
LOSS … Despite a valiant effort by Philip Rivers, the Broncos have just too much firepower to overcome. Oh, and the fact that the Bronco CBs can basically mug our WRs without ever getting flagged for it…
Week 9: Chargers (6-2) at Dolphins
WIN … Mike McCoy regroups his squad and the Bolts bounce back with a surprisingly easy win in Miami. They head into the bye week with a solid 7-2 record! Nice!!
Week 10: bye.
Week 11: Raiders at Chargers (7-2)
WIN … The Chargers complete the season sweep of the hated Raiders, albeit in close fashion, with a 7 point victory. Great way to get going after the bye week!
Week 12: Rams at Chargers (8-2)
LOSS … This is the definition of a trap game. Coming off an emotional win over a despised rival, the Bolts have the Ravens, Patriots, Broncos and Niners lying immediately ahead of them. The chances of looking past St. Louis are high. The Rams will be a much improved team this season. They get caught napping and drop a game they should’ve won.
Week 13: Chargers (8-3) at Ravens
LOSS … Still stinging from the Rams defeat, the Bolts come out flat on the road. Rivers presses, trying to get the Bolts back in it, and throws multiple picks. Bad day.
Week 13: Patriots at Chargers (8-4)
LOSS … The Bolts are always hyped for this matchup. Lots of bad blood between the two teams. I expect the Chargers to come out like gangbusters and jump out to a big lead…only to watch the game slip away in the second half. My blood boils. That’s three losses in a row.
Week 14: Broncos at Chargers (8-5)
WIN … McCoy’s familiarity with the Bronco offense comes in very handy once again as the Bolts make Peyton Manning’s life difficult in sunny San Diego. Manning is sacked multiple times and throws a couple picks- one of which is returned for 6 by rookie Jason Verrett! The stadium has a playoff like atmosphere that Rivers later credits for the win.
Week 15: Chargers (9-5) at 49ers
LOSS … The Bolts inability to establish any kind of running game sets up Rivers to struggle. The Niners take advantage of the plethora of known passing situations to frustrate Rivers, causing him to post his lowest QB rating of the season. It’ll be best to just put this one out of our memory and gear up for the season finale against Kansas City…
Week 16: Chargers (9-6) at Chiefs
WIN … Just like last season, the Bolts will need this win to secure a post-season berth. Just like last season, they will beat the Chiefs to make the playoffs! This time, however, they’ll beat the Kansas City starters…
Final record: 10-6
The Chargers earn a Wildcard berth and enter the playoffs as the team that all the “experts” say don’t stand a chance to make it to the Super Bowl. (I guess some things will never change.) Upon arriving back in San Diego after their flight from Kansas City, the Chargers are greeted by thousands of adoring fans. A reporter stops Rivers and asks, “How does this feel right now?” Philip coyly smiles and replies, “We love our fans for being there for us. It feels great every single time. But honestly, we still got work to do. Ask me how it feels after we get back from winning the Super Bowl.” Reporter Booga Peters replies, “I will.”
Five weeks later, he does.
– Coach Rogers
To act as though Eddie Royal didn’t have a solid season with the Chargers in 2013 is a mistake. His eight touchdowns came in bunches, so to speak. But when looking back on the impact he had, despite not practicing as often as the organization would have preferred last year, he managed to remain a main cog in the San Diego offense. Can you say sleeper in 2014?
I’m not here to convince you that Royal is a long-term solution for the Bolts going forward into the future. But I feel confident saying that he is a guy that does have the potential to have an even better year in 2014. So much of my assumption depends on his health.
Perhaps it is more of a prediction than an assumption. But when watching the extensive tape, I see the makings of a breakout player in 2014; he scored eight touchdowns despite little practice time, people. His ability to make plays were certainly seen during last season.
Now that we’ve seen an injury-riddled Royal produce, is it time to assume he’ll take the next step regarding his inability to stay healthy? Nah, maybe not. His 91 receptions as a rookie seem to add to my point, but those are past numbers. The same goes for his scoring production in 2013. Non-Charger fans were picking him up left and right in fantasy football due to a momentous early season spike.
Despite an unexpected “box-score success” with the Bolts in 2013, Royal has to stay healthy and there’s a need for him to be far more consistent. He’s clearly a playmaker. It’s more a matter of him being physically capable of making said plays. Take a look at the rapport that Eddie and Philip had in 2013. It showed a true trust. I expect solid things from the Royal to Philip connection.
Here’s where you chime in. Does Eddie Royal prove to replicate the success that he had as a rookie while in Denver? Or does he continue to miss practice time due to one ailment or another? My take? He finds a way to exceed all expectations and becomes a solid fantasy football option due to said health being in order. He’ll be worth looking at as a wide receiver three in fantasy leagues. Book it.
Thanks a lot for reading.
To say that the 2013 season was a disappointment for Vincent Brown might be an understatement. Or was it? After being selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, Brown has had a tough time making his mark. Despite flashing great ability, on a team that has hoped he would be a major contributor, Brown has yet to make a major impact in the NFL. And without sounding like I am piling on the former Aztec, he had a few issues on route progressions as well. It has appeared, at times, that he is not on the same page with San Diego’s favorite son, Philip Rivers.
When Brown was selected by AJ Smith I must admit that I was stoked. He came into the league as a solid route runner with great hands and an ability to high point the ball and attack it with his hands. Brown’s route running more than makes up for his lack of blazing speed. The question remains whether or not Brown can be a consistent and effective number two wideout in the league.
As much as I would like to continue to believe in his potential, I must be honest and cognizant of the fact that the “P” word will get your ass sent out of the league in a hurry.
That being said, I expect Vincent Brown to have a breakout year in 2014…… Say what?!?!?!
I have expressed my opinion regarding the need for Brown to step it up, and I expect him to do just that.
“Wait a second, Booga. You have made it clear by taking a wide receiver in the first round of your mock draft that wide receiver is a huge need??”
Yup, it is. But who the hell am I? I still have hope that Brown will be the PERFECT compliment to the 76th pick in last year’s draft. But how much stock should I put into my own beliefs? I tend to think that I have a decent grasp on the NFL and its workings.
I’ll leave the question to you. Do you think Vincent Brown will rebound in 2014? Let me know by voting and supporting your vote while leaving a comment below.
While free agency isn’t over, the draft is rapidly approaching. I wanted to analyze what is the biggest needs the Chargers have and whether they address them in free agency or the draft.
- Keenan Allen is a player to build around
- Hoping Vincent Brown can get back to the player that looked on the verge of a breakout in preseason 2012
- Malcom Floyd isn’t a guarantee to return
- Eddie Royal was strong last year but we need more help
Overall this is a big need and given that offense is our strength, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team go after a player early. However, the 2015 free agent class is ridiculous right now at the wide receiver position. I expect some of those big names to be locked up by then, but the Chargers could really add a big weapon next year.
- Fluker and Dunlap were huge at the tackles (literally and figuratively)
- Rinehart was a nice addition and played well
- Beyond excited to have Hardwick back but we need to also groom for the future here
- Clary is Clary…they missed him when he was out in the playoffs but they could definitely upgrade
Overall, there is a need for depth here if they are committed to Clary in 2014. Fluker is the key here and he’s one to be really excited about.
- Sean Lissemore is there and played well towards the end of last year
- Cam Thomas is in Pittsburgh
- Kwame Geathers is incredibly raw
Overall, this is a definite need. The current free agents are definitely on the older side (Franklin or Sopoaga) and I don’t think you can use a first round pick on a NT unless you know he’s going to be an impact guy. Could the Chargers think about moving Corey Liuget inside to DT or maybe just run more 4 D-line sets?
- Shareece Wright is the one that you are hoping continues to build on the last couple years.
- Steve Williams gives you hope at the slot
- Maybe with the emergence of Addae you can move Gilchrist back into the mix at corner
Overall, they have some players but a lot riding on some young players to step up. Marshall gives them a veteran presence but I expect this position group to be a HUGE battle in camp with all spots up for grabs.
- Melvin Ingram showed some flashes coming back from his knee injury. Gives me hope that fully healthy he can make impact plays.
- Larry English has 11 sacks in 5 years
- Dwight Freeney is coming off a major injury and is up there
- Tourek Williams played in 13 games last year, mostly due to injury
- Jarret Johnson is still a solid player but needs others around him to step up
Overall, they have a lot of players here. But this group was exposed because of injuries last year. They definitely need depth, but they also need some luck on their side.
Which positions do you hope the Chargers address in free agency or the draft? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Word has gotten out that the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to trade their best wide receiver, Desean Jackson. The Eagles asking price is a third round draft pick. Teams like San Francisco, Cleveland, Carolina and Seattle are believed to be in the mix for the 5’10 speedster as well as the New York Jets, who just acquired Jackson’s former teammate Michael Vick to be their new quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers are in need of depth at wide receiver. The playing careers of wide receivers Malcolm Floyd and Danario Alexander are yet to be determined. They both suffered career-threatening injuries lasts season and it remains to be seen if they play at all, much less in a Chargers uniform, which also is no certainty. Keenan Allen burst into the lead wide receiver role as a rookie and was a close runner up for offensive rookie of the year. The Chargers are desperately in need of a number one quality threat opposite Allen. In a perfect world, Jackson would be a perfect fit.
But we don’t live in a perfect world do we?
Among many of the problems hampering the possibility of Jackson coming to San Diego is his salary. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is dealing with being cash-strapped for a second straight year, forced to sign platoon players off the second teams of other organizations and resigning his own talent. Over ten million dollars is tied up in dead money from Jared Gaither, Derek Cox and Robert Meachem make up over ten million of the 12 million in dead money that will be off the books by the end of this season.
Desean Jackson is scheduled to make 10.5 million this season and according to the New York Daily News, he is unwilling to restructure his deal. The big money is limiting the Eagles ability to trade him and they may be forced to release him outright rather than keep him in town for one more season.
Last season, Jackson caught 82 balls for 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is one of the fastest players in the league and is only 27 years old. Entering his seventh season as a pro, Jackson is entering his prime. Yet, in an Eagles offense led by new head coach Chip Kelly, they are letting Jackson go. Is it about the money or the player? At Oregon, Jackson collected the nation’s fastest players and racked up an obscene won-loss record outscoring opponents by ridiculous margins. Something doesn’t add up.
All wide receivers are known to be divas. Jackson however, has a reputation as one of the top diva receivers in the league. He has been known to pout and call out his quarterbacks, teammates and coaches in the media when he feels he is not getting the ball enough. Jackson also infamously shut himself down a couple season ago as the Eagles season spiraled downhill, gathering losses along the way. When Jackson is on, he is among the best receivers in the league, but when he feels disrespected he pouts and shuts down making a nuisance of himself in and out of the locker room.
Would the Chargers take that chance?
Assume for a minute that Tom Telesco could get Jackson to agree to restructure his deal making it a possibility to sign him. It would be an excellent fit. San Diego is a perfect spot for the troubled wideout. Jackson is from nearby Long Beach. He would be able to play near family and friends. San Diego fans would shower Jackson in love and the media glare would be considerably, noticeably less searing than it is in Philadelphia. All Jackson would have to do is show up, catch balls from a Pro Bowl quarterback and go on a Super Bowl run with a team on the rise.
What Telesco would have to consider is Jackson’s history. Would he be a distraction? Would he be up to the same shenanigans he was up to in Philadelphia? Could he be a good example to the stable of young wideouts on the Chargers roster? Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu are still in their NFL infancy. With Floyd and Alexander out, Jackson and Eddie Royal would be the veterans of the Chargers receiving corps. Would Jackson accept his role as leader of that group?
What Jackson needs is a change of scenery. Philadelphia has been an underachieving disaster of a team for the amount of talent on their roster. Jackson’s outbursts are a result of frustration over losing, the intense media and fan pressure and a front office resembling a rudderless ship. Jackson is a ultra-competitive, passionate player who seems unable to keep his feelings in check. Sound like another Charger we all know so well doesn’t it?
I still contend Jackson would make San Diego the most lethal offense in the league opposite Keenan Allen. With Brown and Royal in the slot, tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green working the middle of the field and Danny Woodhead lining up anywhere, Philip Rivers would have a field day finding open receivers. Jackson’s speed takes the lid off the secondary’s coverage, leaving the middle of the field vulnerable to the run and the pass.
Telesco has already made a run at another undersized, disgruntled wide receiver when he offered a contract to former Carolina Panther Steve Smith. That play alone shows he’s not afraid of a ‘diva’ wide receiver if he produces on the field. Attitude issues resolve themselves in the right locker room with the right leadership. Smith and Jackson are cut from the same cloth. Both are blazing fast deep ball threats, cocky, showboats, durable faces of their franchises. Both have been consistent veterans of multiple Pro Bowls. It would be foolish for Telesco not to make a play for Jackson based solely on what he can do on the field. Telesco mentioned team speed as an area he wants the team to upgrade and Jackson definitely addresses that area.
Is a third round pick too much?
In a word, no. Look what last year’s third round pick yielded, Keenan Allen. If this year’s third round pick lands a top five NFL wide receiver who is young and also a special teams solution, that’s getting your money’s worth. As it stands, Telesco may be able to get Jackson and keep his third rounder as it looks like no team wants to pony up that pick knowing the Eagles are on the cusp of having to release him anyway. Even diva veteran receivers know a good thing when they see one. The Chargers are a stock a player would want to buy before it gets too high.
It’s time to come home to sunny San Diego Desean.
The Greg One
As we wait for free agency to begin there’s not much news that matters going on right now. The most entertainment we have is filtering through the scores of mock drafts out now. The Greg One thought to go back through his 2013 Chargers season predictions and see what grade I deserve. For those wishing to see the original, see it again on boltblitz.com in a piece entitled Clip And Save: The Greg One’s Fearless Chargers Predictions. Here they are in order:
Record: 10-6. Chargers finished 9-7. Win.
Will throw for 30 touchdowns and 3700 yards: Rivers topped my projections on both fronts by throwing for 4478 yards and 32 touchdowns. Win.
Will not throw an interception in the first four games: He had one interception in the first game and one in the fourth. Tipped balls still count as picks so that was a losing proposition.
Will have less than 10 interceptions: Close, he had 11 for the year. Win.
The number of sacks on Philip Rivers will be halved: The Chargers allowed 49 last season and allowed 30 this season. Its not exactly half but pretty close. I was within 5, i’ll take it.
Ryan Mathews will run for 1100 yards, gain 400 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns: Mathews ran for 1255 yards, had 189 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns for the year. Mathews was fifth in the NFL in rushing, far exceeding my projection which seemed very lofty at the beginning of the year given Mathews’ history, got almost half the receiving yards I forecast and I had touchdowns within two. I’m calling that a win.
Keenan Allen will be top 5 in return yards and average: Of course I made this projection based on the Chargers using Allen mostly on special teams, seeing as they had a full compliment of receivers at the time of the first writing. We all know what happened next. Allen only had 15 returns all season. I’ll take an incomplete on that one.
Allen will have two return touchdowns and miss a couple more by a handful of yards: See above.
Antonio Gates will catch 80 passes for 950 yards and ten touchdowns: Gates finished with 77 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Gotta admit that’s pretty spot on aside from the touchdown total. Win.
Vincent Brown will be a 1000 yard receiver: Not even close. Brown had 41 catches for 472 yards. Fail.
Danny Woodhead will catch 55 passes, have 600 yards receiving and 500 yards rushing: Woodhead caught 76 passes for 605 yards and rushed for 429 yards. WIN.
Fozzy Whitaker will become #2 running back, run for 400 yards and three touchdowns: Fozzy was cut and scooped up by Norv in Cleveland. Fail.
Dwight Freeney will have 10 sacks: Now way to account for injury. Freeney was lost for the season in week four with a torn quad.
As a result of Freeney’s presence. Donald Butler will have have 13 sacks, Liuget 9: Miss all around. Butler didn’t rush the passer much, only accumulatimg a half sack. Liuget had 5.5. I still think it would have been higher if Freeney had played all year.
Shareece Wright will have five interceptions: Wishful thinking. Wright had one interception. Fail.
Mantei Teo will have 70 solo and 20 assisted tackles: Teo had 41 tackles and 20 assisted tackles. Considering the time he missed due to injury, I think this number would have been very accurate.
Eric Weddle will have a Pro Bowl season: Weddle did make the Pro Bowl as a starter. Win.
Marcus Cromartie will be starter at cornerback by the end of the season: Cromartie was activated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster for the last three games of the season but he did not make it onto the field. Fail.
Melvin Ingram will return for the playoff push around week 13 and the Chargers will go 4-1 in December: Ingram returned from his ACL injury in week 13 and the Chargers went 4-1 in December. Spot on win.
The Chargers defense:
Will finish in the top 10: The Chargers were 4th in the league in passing defense, first in the AFC. However, they were 21st in passing defense and ranked 23rd in overall defense.
Will collect between 40-50 sacks: The Chargers had 35 sacks on the season. Close but no cigar.
Allow 16 points per game: The Chargers allowed 21 points per game.
Denver will go 12-4: They were 13-3. Win.
The Chargers will not win the West but they will win in the wild card round: Of course, I based that off the fact the Chargers would be 10-6 but a win is a win.
If the Chargers finish 9-7, they will miss the playoffs by a game: Guess I had that the wrong way around. They slipped in at 9-7.
So you see, forget all the paid talking heads on TV. For a column on predictions that were written even before the first preseason games were played I was very accurate. If it weren’t for injuries, more of my projections would have come true. There will be a new predictions column after the draft and free agency has come to a close. Most likely after Chargers fanfest (which I will be attending). It just goes to show, no one knows the Chargers like their own faithful fans.
Here’s to an even better season and longer playoff run in 2014!
The Greg One
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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!
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