Saturday, May 18, 2013

Say Hello to Dwight Freeney

The San Diego Chargers have officially signed free agent Dwight Freeney to a two year contract. Freeney will join the team at a very critical time. Shaun Phillips left for the Broncos in free agency and Melvin Ingram is out for the season with a torn ACL. Antwan Barnes also left for the Jets. Freeney spent 11 years with the Colts, where he became the franchise leader in sacks with 107.5. Freeney's role with the team is still yet to be defined, but he should play a major part on third downs at minimum. He will be a factor in a revamped defense featuring 2nd round pick Manti Te'o.  Freeney will finally get his chance to sack long-time teammate Peyton Manning this season.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

San Diego Chargers 2013 Schedule

Here is the official 2013 schedule for the Chargers.

August 8th: vs Seattle
August 15th: at Chicago  ESPN
August 24th: at Arizona
August 29: vs San Francisco

Regular Season
September 9th: vs Houston  ESPN
September 15th: at Philadelphia  CBS
September 22th: at Tennessee   CBS
September 29th: vs Dallas  FOX
October 6th: at Oakland  CBS
October 14th: vs Indianapolis  ESPN
October 20th: at Jacksonville  CBS
November 3rd: at Washington  CBS
November 10th: vs Denver  CBS
November 17th: at Miami  CBS
November 24th: at Kansas City  CBS
December 1st: vs Cincinnati  CBS
December 8th: vs Giants  FOX
December 12th: at Denver  NFL NETWORK
December 22nd: vs Oakland  CBS
December 29th: vs Kansas City  CBS 

LB Melvin Ingram Tears ACL

San Diego is already having to deal with the injury bug this season. It has been reported that last year's first round selection, Melvin Ingram,  has torn his ACL in OTAs. Ingram is already expected to miss the entire season. This was to be Ingram's sophomore campaign, one which hopefully would have seen him develop into an elite pass rusher. Instead, he will spend this season on the sideline. San Diego has been linked to former Indianapolis Colt Dwight Freeney. Freeney could provide a veteran option at rush linebacker for the Chargers. Freeney was one of the most dominant 4-3 ends in football over the last decade. When the Colts switched to a new 3-4 defense, Freeney switched to outside linebacker. OTAs are scheduled to finish this afternoon and resume on May 20th.

Monday, May 13, 2013

How Does Te'o Fit for the Chargers?

Many draft pundits were critical of Te'o following his rather poor showing at the combine. His 40 time was worse than expected and he didn't put up anywhere near impressive numbers in the bench press. That performance, coupled with the obvious headache that will follow him because of his fake girlfriend saga, caused many teams to shy away from Te'o. The Chargers made out like bandits when they traded up to get him in the second
round. In essence, they gave up a fourth round pick to make the trade. Te'o fits the Chargers for several reasons.

1) He won't have to blitz. Te'o is going to be penciled in as the day one starter at weakside inside linebacker. This means he isn't going to be called on to provide pressure on most plays. Te'o will get to sit back and use his greatest advantage, his instincts, to its fullest potential. Te'o showed just how soundly he understands the game time after time in college, especially during his senior season. Just look at the number of big impact plays Te'o made last season.

2) He doesn't have to worry about picking up a guard at the next level. Teams are still going to run the ball, so Te'o will deal with this from time to time, but once again, his position will allow him to sit back and make plays. He doesn't have the strength of most linebackers, so this will be a blessing. Te'o is a hard worker, so I look for this to be an area he really focuses on improving.

3) He can step into a leadership role. The Chargers unquestioned leader on offense is quarterback Philip Rivers. He commands respect from everyone in the huddle. The defense really seems to lack that. Sure, there are some great veteran players, but some leadership just seems to be missing. Te'o is a fiery guy who gets behind his teammates and pushes them to succeed. He will have to earn the respect of the team first, but I don't see that being an issue. His play on the field will allow for that to happen. Through rookie mini-camp, Te'o has already shown that he is ready to step up and lead. Guys who have that natural ability are always an asset to a team.

4) His heritage suits him well as a player in San Diego. Te'o couldn't have landed in a better spot than San Diego. His Polynesian roots will help him gain local fan support in a heartbeat. Being so close to his family will also be a big plus. He will have plenty of support from home during his time in san Diego. Let's not forget that perhaps the most famous defensive player for the Chargers was also of Polynesian heritage. This is not to say that Te'o will come close to being the kind of player that legend Junior Seau was, but he will be filling a gap that the team has had for years.

All of these factors combine to give Te'o and the Chargers a wonderful pairing. I look for Te'o to produce well in his first season and to become a vocal leader on this defense.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spanos Sets Chargers Up Well for the Future

To say that the Chargers have been a disappointment as of late would be an understatement to say the least. This is a team that was contending for the right to represent the AFC in the Superbowl just a few short years ago. After three terrible season by fan and team standards in a row, a change was needed. GM A.J. Smith, once regarded as one of the best in the business, was fired. Joining him on the curb was offensive genius Norv Turner, who has never truly had success as a head coach. The Chargers brought in young blood with Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy. The decision to bring them in, especially McCoy, was a fundamentally sound move by the Chargers. Both are young guys with a lot to prove in this league. McCoy has never been a head coach at the NFL level and steps in at a crucial time for the Chargers.

Telesco may have been an even more critical hire for the Chargers. A.J. Smith ran several successful drafts, netting star players for several seasons. As of late though, he had succeeded only in railroading the team. He was too aggressive in his trade philosophy and to set in his ways. Telesco is all business. That stood out no better than his decision to trade up in the second round to grab Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. Telesco inherited a team that has almost no offensive line, poor depth at running back and receiver  and no true leader on defense. We won't even mention that the clock is ticking for many of the players on the roster. Guys like Rivers and Weddle are certainly not getting any younger. Telesco has the difficult task of bringing in talent for McCoy's system for the long haul while still producing a winning team right away. The fans won't stand for another season watching the playoffs from the outside looking in. 

What perhaps nobody really wants to think about with these hires is this. Each is a newcomer. This means that they have no record to evaluate on when it comes to their current job. The team can afford to trust these two for the following reasons. First, the talent window for the Chargers began shutting years ago. This is a team that is maybe a year or two away from having some serious rebuilding pains if things don't go right. Knowing this, why not put two guys with everything to prove in the situation. In a few years, we will certainly know if these two can perform their jobs well. If they are successful, then the team will be successful and competing for Super Bowls again. If not, it will just make it that much easier to start completely over. Charger fans should be looking forward to the coming season. By all looks, these two should be great. Perhaps the best thing Spanos has done is hire these two. Time will tell. Look for some growing pains, but I for one expect at least 8 wins out of the team and a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Year one is all about getting things right. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chargers Draft Prospects: Jordan Poyer

Name: Jordan Poyer
School: Oregon State
Position: CB
Height: 5' 11''
Weight: 182 lbs.

The San Diego Chargers are facing some very tough decisions this off-season in regards to their secondary. Atari Bigby has already been let go, and CB's Jammer and Cason are entering free agency. This could potentially leave San Diego very thin at corner. With that in mind, the Chargers may very well be looking to take a corner early in the draft. One prospect that has stood out to me this year is Oregon State corner Jordan Poyer.

Pros: Poyer is the type of player who brings a lot to the table. He seems to have a good understanding of the game and uses his instincts to put himself in a position to make the play. While he doesn't have elite speed, he does have enough to keep up with most receivers. Poyer would fit well in a zone coverage scheme. He has drawn comparisons to Dre Bly. Bly was the kind of player who used his smarts to be a very productive corner in the NFL. He did manage to turn in a 4.46 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. He should fit in well as a nickel corner to start while also contributing heavily on special teams.

Cons: While he can get around the field quick enough, Poyer doesn't have the speed to stay with some of the speedier receivers in the NFL. He struggles with his consistency in man coverage. His athleticism isn't a particular strong suit for him. He could stand to add some weight through an NFL conditioning program, but that should come with time.

Poyer is projected as a 2nd to 4th round prospect. He has the ball skills to compete at the next level.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chargers Head Coaching Update

The San Diego Chargers are going to wait until they have named a GM until they name a head coach. While this is a generally smart move, one has to wonder if the Chargers are going to drag their feet on this. If they do, they may be out of the running for some of the more promising candidates. With that in mind, here are 3 head coaching prospects and how they would fit with the Chargers.

Lovie Smith: Smith is the kind of coach that has players running through brick walls for him. They love to play for this guy and he certainly has a great defensive mind. Smith coached the Chicago Bears for 9 seasons, taking them to Super Bowl XLI. He amassed a record of 81-63 as a head coach.

Lovie Smith; Chargers Head Coach or not?
Unfortunately, I don't see Lovie being a great fit for the Chargers. He helped Tony Dungy develop the Tampa 2 defense and has been a major proponent of it. Smith would also be keeping defensive coordinator John Pagano (unless he is offered another position). That could make the Chargers an unappealing job for Smith.

On offense, Smith would need to improve the offensive line and bolster the running game. The line for the Chargers has let just about every team in the league get away with murder. Rivers has been beaten and battered the last two years. It shows in the way that he plays. Even though it can't really be placed on Lovie, the line in Chicago was horrendous (just ask Jay Cutler).