Thursday, May 31, 2012

San Diego Chargers Roster Breakdown: Quarterbacks

Continuing our look at the Chargers depth at the moment, we move on to quarterbacks.

Losses: Billy Volek

Signed: Charlie Whitehurst, Jarrett Lee

Returning: Philip Rivers

Projected Starter; Philip Rivers

The Chargers will once again be helmed by Philip Rivers. Yes, he had a down year last year, but he should bounce back fine. He has proven before that he can create chemistry quickly with receivers, which he will need to do given the new look the receiving corps will have. Rivers is a deep ball quarterback, and new addition Robert Meachem, while not a Vincent Jackson, should see plenty of deep passes.

Charlie Whitehurst is back on the sidelines as the backup after his Seattle experiment. He should do ok, but losing Billy Volek hurts. It was a move that made sense, but Volek was one of the best backups in the league. Whitehurst won't be able to do everything that Rivers can do, but he should be able to step in for a game or two and play decent football. Who knows, maybe the Chargers can trade him again.

The last member of this list is former LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee. I really don't expect much out of him. He couldn't ever really keep the starting job at LSU, so it will only be harder in the NFL. I expect him to stay on the roster until the end of the pre-season, but unless he really wows the coaches, expect him to be cut.

Monday, May 21, 2012

San Diego Chargers Roster Breakdown: Running Backs

Is Ryan Mathews on the verge of a
breakout season?
Charger Madness will be featuring position breakdowns for the entire team over the next several posts. Today we will be breaking down the running backs.

Losses: Mike Tolbert

Additions: Le'Ron McClain, Edwin Baker, Michael Hayes, Mohamed Marah

Returning: Ryan Mathews, Jacob Hester, Curtis Brinkley

Projected Starters: Ryan Mathews (HB), Le'Ron McClain (FB)

By and large, the Chargers will have a good ground game this year. Perhaps one of the most underrated acquisitions for the Chargers in free agency was Le'Ron McClain. Here is a player by player breakdown of the Chargers running backs as they now stand.

Ryan Mathews: Mathews is a player who seems to be right on the edge of doing some great things. He does have injury issues, but he has potential to be great. With the departure of Mike Tolbert, Mathews is going to have more of a lone wolf role this year. I expect McClain, Hester, and company to all get some carries, but the team will be asking for more from Mathews. He enters the season as the firm starter for the Chargers. A 1200 yard season sounds reasonable. Throw in around 40-50 catches again, and he should be a serious threat for the Chargers.

Le'Ron McClain: McClain is set to be the starting fullback for the Chargers and will be blasting holes for Mathews to run through. McClain can hold his own carrying the ball and will most likely see more carries the closer the team gets to the goal line.

Jacob Hester: Hester is a true team player that came back at a reduced price and role to stay a Charger. He will still see some carries but will be most valuable on special teams. He will be the backup to McClain at fullback and can contribute on the ground in a pinch.

Curtis Brinkley: At the moment, Brinkley is the backup to Mathews. He did well last year during limited carries, but he is clearly the backup. I look for him to have a chance to once again step in for a game or two due to Mathews propensity to get injured. All in all, he is a decent backup for the team.

Edwin Baker: Baker was the final pick for the Chargers in the 2012 NFL Draft. He excelled in pass blocking and is a tough and hard runner. While he doesn't have the best top end speed, he can contribute in  a number of ways. He may be a special teamer this year, but he has a chance to knck Brinkley down the depth charts.

Mohamed Marah: Marah is most likey a camp body at this point. The team is already set at fullback, so there seems to be little need to keep him around. The thing about Marah that may keep him around is his defensive experience, which could translate well into a solid special teams performer. He played fullback his first two years of college before switching to defensive end. He is a versatile player. Players like him are always a question mark. It really just depends on his potential and how the Chargers use it.

Michael Hayes: This is another intriguing prospect brought in for the Chargers. Hayes had great success while at Houston, but some wonder how much of that was from the passing game being so dangerous. I tend to think that he is a good player, at least collegiately, but he is not a hot commodity in camp. He will have to fight his way onto the roster, but he may end up as a practice squad player.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Slow Content

First off, thanks to those of you who visit Charger Madness. You may have noticed that content has been slow lately. I apologize for that. During the summer, I work as a server at a restaurant back home. At the moment, we are understaffed, so for the next week or two, I am working everyday. Once we get a few more servers trained, things should start to pick back up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why is Don Coryell Not in the Hall of Fame?

The NFL Hall of Fame is where the league places those individuals who have achieved a superior level of greatness at their position or have revolutionized the game. It is a way to honor the achievements and success of these people while acknowledging what they have meant to the NFL. When looking at the members of the Hall of Fame, one can't help but feel amazed and in awe. Yet when examining the list of coaches in the Hall of Fame, one name seems to be missing. It makes no real sense as to why it wouldn't be there. Don Coryell is not in the Hall of Fame.

Coryell was an inovative genius. While not the creator of the I formation, Coryell was a pioneer of it, helping John McKay run the offense at USC in 1960. He is given credit for developing the vertical passing game into what it has become today, with the likes of Joe Gibbs, Mike Martz, and Ernie Zampese winning Super Bowls employing similar systems. He also tutored Al Saunders, Jim Hanifan, and Rod Dowhower. Even further down the line comes Norv Turner and Dan Henning, who tutored under Zampese and Gibbs respectively. John Madden was a student of Coryell while he coached at San Diego State and considered Don to be one of the biggest influences on him as a coach.

Coryell's Chargers were one of the most successful offensive teams that the NFL has ever seen. Quarterback Dan Fouts spearheaded Coryell's devastating passing attack with the likes of Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner. All three are in the Hall of Fame today in part because of the system that Coryell brought to the team. Winslow revolutionized the tight end position to what we are seeing today with the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.

The simple fact that Coryell is not in the Hall of Fame is unfathomable. We are talking about a man who revolutionized the game of football not once, but twice. As Dan Fouts stated, "He influenced offiensive and defensive football because if you were going to have three or four receivers out there, you better have an answer for it on the other side of the ball". The system that Coryell created forced teams to devlop new ways to handle the situations presented by the Chargers offense. Fouts brought up a great point by asking who had really heard of a nickel or dime defensive package before Air Coryell?

Some will argue that Coryell doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because of his 3-6 playoff record and the way his defenses performed, but those are things that can be overlooked. I know that there are players who deserve to get in that have been waiting for some time now, but Coryell deserves a spot for all of the ideas and concepts that he contributed to the NFL that make it so successful today. His influence as a coach cannot be ignored anymore. The man was far to successful to not be in the Hall of Fame. The best news was that he finally did make the final 15 cut in 2010, but he has yet to advance farther than that. Former coaches and players like Madden, Gibbs, and Fouts will continue to lobby for his placement in the Hall of Fame.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Seau's 55 to be Retired

The San Diego Chargers have announced that Junior Seau's number 55 will be retired. Seau, who tragically ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, is the most accomplished and decorated defensive player in Charger history. Seau, who was drafted 5th overall in the 1990 NFL Draft, played for the Chargers until 2003. Seau had an outstanding 20 year career and ranks only behind Clay Matthews at the linebacker position for most career games. He is a sure fired first ballot lock for the Hall of Fame. Seau went to 12 straight Pro Bowls as a Charger. Seau joins Lance Alworth and Dan Fouts as the only Chargers to have their numbers retired. Fouts wore 14 while Alworth wore 19. Seau's number will be retired September 16th.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ladarius Green Signs 4 Year Contract with the San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers are wasting no time signing the 7 draft picks from the 2012 draft class. The latest member of the class to sign is Louisiana-Lafayette TE Ladarius Green. Green, who stands at an imposing 6' 6'', is a powerful player who has great body control and is likely to be groomed as a replacement for Antonio Gates. Green should see time on special teams and in the red zone. It will be interesting to see how the Chargers get him onto the field. He can split out wide just like Gates and could really stand out through camp. The only members of the 2012 draft class yet to sign are Edwin Baker, Brandon Taylor, and Johnnie Troutman.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

San Diego Chargers Sign 3 Draft Picks

The San Diego Chargers have offically signed three of their draft picks to contracts. Melvin Ingram is joined by second round pick Kendall Reyes and seventh rounder David Molk, both of whom also signed. Ingram was the 1st round pick of the Chargers. He played defensive end while at South Carolina and is expected to be a pass rushing 3-4 outside linebacker for the Chargers. Reyes has the size to move inside in nickel formations but will primarily be a rotational defensive end this year for the team. Both of these two should make an immediate impact for the Chargers on defense. Reyes signed a 4 year contract while Ingram signed a 4 year deal with an optional 5th year.

Molk, who was an All-American center for the Michigan Wolverines also signed a 4 year deal. This still leaves Johnnie Troutman, Brandon Taylor, Ladarius Green, and Edwin Baker unsigned. The team will hold a rookie only mini camp from May 11-13.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AFC West Quarterback Rankings

Chargers fans get to see this matchup twice a year now.
No position can be as big of a game changer as quarterback. How well a quarterback plays often determines who wins and loses. Here is the breakdown on the starting quarterback situations for each AFC West team.

1) San Diego Chargers

There is no doubt that Rivers is the cream of the crop in the AFC West. I know that Peyton Manning has been added, but until we know for sure how he throws in a game situation, Rivers is still the best. Last season was a rough one for Rivers, but it happens. He may have the best supporting cast in the AFC West around him too. The offensive line will return all of the pieces that protected him so well at the end of last season. Better yet, they added quality depth to the line. Look for Rivers to have 2 great duals against new Bronco Peyton Manning and return to form.

2) Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning is the guy that Elway wanted. Tebow got thrown under the bus and now Peyton is in charge. If he fully recovers from the neck surgeries, look out. He may not have the best supporting cast around him, but he will have control of the offense like he had in Indy. With young developing players like Eric Decker and Demaryious Thomas to work with, Manning isn't in a talent vacuum.

3) Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer is a real unknown. What does he even have left? He was all over the place last year, so a full off-season with the team can certainly help. His supporting cast is not very strong at all, especially at tight end, but he is a veteran with good experience. It will be interesting to see how this pans out with a full season. It is critical that Mcfadden stays healthy all year.

4) Kansas City Chiefs

How many more chances is Cassel going to get? He has been hit and miss the last few years, and is most likely on a short leash. He does have great talent around him with Baldwin, Bowe, and company. Cassel has to show that he can be the franchise quarterback he was thought to be. Expect the pressure to be on him from the get go.

Monday, May 7, 2012

San Diego Chargers Cut Travis Laboy

Travis Laboy was brought in last season to help Manusky set up the defense the way that he wanted to run it. He was to be a rotational player behind Larry English and Shaun Philips. That was the plan at least, but injuries pretty much erased that. Laboy saw more snaps at linebacker than any other Charger last year, but the team saw him as an expendable piece to say the least. With the drafting of Melvin Ingram and the signing of Jarret Johnson, there just really wasn't any room for Laboy. Everette Brown was also let go early in the off-season. All in all, Laboy did what a backup was supposed to do. He ended the season with a stat line of 38 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. By cutting him this early, San Diego has made it clear that Larry English is going to get one more shot to stay on the team. This move still leaves Philips, Johnson, Ingram, English, and Barnes at outside linebacker for the Chargers. Laboy will now have all summer to try and latch on somewhere else. Laboy did a commendable job stepping in and we here at Charger Madness wish him well wherever he ends up.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chargers Depth on Defensive Line is a Big Plus

The San Diego Chargers struggled defensively last year. The team failed to generate much of a pass rush at all, with the only real noteworthy performance belonging to Antwan Barnes, who recorded 11 sacks. The team did a good job adding quality players through the draft to help the defense, but there are still lots of questions that remain about the unit as a whole. Perhaps the biggest bright spot for the defense is the depth and talent of the defensive line. The unit features good starters and depth. Here is a more in depth look at the 2012 Chargers defensive line.

Defensive End
This may be the better part of the unit.

 Luis Castillo is back from the broken leg he suffered last season and should play at a high level again. He has been a consistent player for the Chargers. The one year contract that he has been signed to benefits the Chargers in the fact that they are getting a one year test run with Castillo for a minimal investment. Cesaire is another quality veteran lineman for the Chargers. With Cory Liuget coming off of his rookie year and new addition Kedall Reyes, this unit will feature a deep rotation with a good mix of youth and veteran experience.

Defensive Tackle
Still a very strong unit.

Antonio Garay will be back to anchor the line for another season, but he will have some serious competition and help from up and comer Cam Thomas. Thomas, a 5th round pick from 2010, has turned into a very capable lineman who should work his way into the starting role very soon. Thomas also was the leading sack man for the defensive line with 4 sacks last season. Add Vaughn Martin into that group and you have a very deep and talented rotation at nose tackle.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Remembering Seau

The death of Junior Seau is nothing but tragic, regardless of how you look at it. A man gone in the prime of his life. Seau will be remembered for his tough play but kind and compassionate heart. His charity involvement has impacted the lives of many. He became a fan favorite wherever he went, wether that be San Diego, Miami, or New England.

There is no way to know yet if Seau suffered brain injuries due to football that may have contributed to his suicide. It is a question that has been weighing heavily on everyone as of late, and rightfully so. Brain injuries are having a terrible effect on former players. Just stop and think how many lawsuits the NFL is facing due to the issues associated with these brain injuries. The league waited far to long to act on information and is now paying a price for it. I do have to commend them for stepping things up now, but the damage has already been done. Countless players are going to have to face very tough times as they cope with these injuries. It is very likely that Seau had issues that we didn't know about. He was a tough and fierce competitor. Until the facts are in though, we know very little as to what happened.

Yet even with all of the uncertainty, all of the confusion, we still don't know the truth yet. For the time being, let us focus on the memory of Seau and let the data come to us. Remember the man who helped so many in the San Diego area. Remember the man who played football for 20 years, who everyday approched the game with a love and a passion that most of us only wish we could have for our job. This is a time to grieve and a time to reflect. You will be missed Junior.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Things may be a bit slow for the next day or two as I move out of my apartment. Expect something by Saturday at the latest.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chargers Legend Junior Seau Found Dead

Former Charger, Dolphin, and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau was found dead Wednesday morning in what appears to be a suicide. He was found by a housekeeper with a gunshot wound to the chest, which is very similar to how former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson committed suicide. Duerson shot himself in the chest so as to preserve his brain and allow it to be studied. Seau is now the 8th member of the Chargers 1994 Super Bowl team to pass away.

Seau was a standout linebacker at USC and wore the famed 55 as part of the famed Club 55 while at USC. He is part of a long legacy of talented linebackers to come out of USC, with names such as Jack Del Rio, Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne among others. Seau was a first team All-American in 1989. Seau was drafted 5th overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Seau played with the Chargers until he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2003. While with the Chargers, Seau was named to the Pro Bowl 12 times while a Charger in one of the most dominant stretches at any position. Seau went to the Pro Bowl every year from 1991 through 2002. Seau was also a 10 time All-Pro. He was a key member of the Chargers 1994 Super Bowl run that saw them lose to the San Francisco 49ers. Seau finished his career with the New England Patriots before retiring in 2010. Seau played in the 2007 Super Bowl loss for the New England Patriots. Seau was voted to the Chargers all 1990's team and is enshrined in the Chargers Hall of Fame. Seau's name will one day be in Canton.

Seau will be remembered as a fan favorite who wowed with his superb play. He leaves behind a lasting legacy in the Junior Seau Foundation, which is a charity designed to empower and educate young people caught in a variety of circumstances. He also worked within the Samoan community in San Diego. Seau was 43 years old. Seau leaves behind 3 children and a legacy of excellence. Seau will be missed by fans and people all over the country.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

San Diego Active with Undrafted Free Agents

The Chargers are wasting no time getting undrafted rookies. With the offseason roster expanded from 80 to 90 players, teams are adding more than they ever have before. The Chargers have reportedly brought in a total of 21 undrafted free agents. Check out the link at the bottom of the page for a full list of the signings. Most of these guys won't really make the team, but it will be interesting to see who does. Welcome to the NFL, your journey starts now.