“Chargers–QB Vacancy Coming Soon”
It happened once, and it was bad.
It happened again and it was worse.
The Chargers cannot allow it to happen a third time.
It’s about the future at the most important position in the modern day NFL, the quarterback slot.
History cannot be repeated.
Dan Fouts, the triggerman during the Air Coryell era, saw the team grow old and fall apart around him. His spirit was always there, but the talent level around him had vacated.
The era of Wes Chandler, John Jefferson, Charley Joiner, Kellen Winslow, Chuck Muncie, James Brooks, Lionel James, ended very quickly.
All that was left behind was an aging Dan Fouts, and no way to get better.
He retired after the 1987-season, where a 6-game losing streak knocked the team out of the playoffs. He retired shortly there after.
I remember is courage, toughness, blood on his uniform, trying to play with calf injuries those final Sundays, getting pounded as the team lost and lost.
The Chargers went thru 17-quarterbacks from that point on, drafting them, signing free agents, picking guys up off waivers.
Finally Stan Humphries arrived and became the triggerman of the team that wound up going to the Super Bowl.
But it ended too quickly for him. His Super Bowl team, decimated by injuries, could not protect him. 1-play, 1-sack, 1-bad concussion, and he walked away with symptoms that would linger for a year. He got hurt in 1997, retired right after that.
I’ll never forget the sight of doctors sitting with Humphries on the team plane coming off from Cincinnati, hours after the fatal concussion. Two black eyes and a pounding headache.
The damage to his franchise would last forever. It took another 17-quarterbacks under contract over some really bad years, before the team turned the corner.
The litany of names who started games for the Chargers in the post-Fouts era was staggering. Mark Vlasic, Tom Flick, Billy Joe Tolliver and so many others. It was fruitless.
The cavalcade of replacements following Humphries was embarrassing. Sean Salisbury, Bob Gagliano, Craig Whelihan, utterly hopeless..
Bad seasons followed bad seasons. Even high draft picks washed out, as evidence by the disaster that Ryan Leaf turned into.
If you lived and breathed with this team, you know how horrible it was, post Dan and after Stan.
You never forget 7-interceptions games, a (1-15) passing performance, a (33-0) blowout.
They had a chance at Michael Vick but flipped draft picks with Atlanta and Arizona.
They finally found a bright light talent, who bloomed into a star coming out of Purdue.
Drew Brees competitive spirit stopped the bleeding. Philip Rivers enormous talent has brought the franchise back.
But now Tom Telesco faces the same set of issues that past GMs, Steve Ortmeyer and Bobby Beathard faced. How do you replace Hall of Famer?
The Chargers have a unique opportunity in a couple of weeks. They probably won’t have the chance to draft a future star QB because they are so far back in the first round.
But because of the potential of QB-Kyler Murray at the top of the draft board, and the dynamics of Dwayne Haskins talents in an ever-changing NFL playbook, a young quarterback has come available.
Arizona, with the top pick, is enamored the Oklahoma sensation Kyler Murray. So much so, they are shopping last year’s 1st round draft pick, the ex-UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
Flashy, abrasive, strong of arm, and a free spirit leader,, he was amazingly productive at UCLA, with a not-so good cast around him.
Discount everything about his rookie season with the Cardinals, where the offensive line was a mess, most of the skill players deficient, and the coaching staff worse. Incoming coach Cliff Kingsbury has a choice, install a new offense and use your picks to put people around Rosen, or trade Rosen, take Murray and add draft picks.
Interesting to see what Telesco’s metrics on Rosen might be. Big, strong, athletic and fiery, a bunch of the traits Rivers developed in San Diego and has shown in two years in Los Angeles.
Would you trade your late 2nd round pick for Rosen in a straight up deal?.
Knowing you need more help at defense, are you better served to draft from the truckload of defensive lineman and linebackers in a defense heavy draft in rounds one and two?
I won’t say the Bolts are living on borrowed time. Rivers has had one surgery in a decade and a half star-studded career. He’s taken tons of hits, is tough as an old oak tree, but you know age, and propensity of hurts when the odometer hits 200,000-miles or age 35. But he has been lucky.
Of course, so has Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, staying away from catastrophic hurts. The wear and tear world catches up to quarterbacks.
The Chargers have been living on borrowed time in one sense. If they ever had to live a season with Geno Smith, Cardale Jones, Kellen Clements, or even newly acquired Tyrod Taylor, things would change in Boltville.
Good luck thinking you could get to the playoffs with any of them.
Time for Tom Terrific to take a serious look at this potential trade. If they had him ranked high coming out of UCLA, then maybe time to trade for Rosen, groom him for the next couple of years working with Rivers, and then give him the keys to the franchise.
Anything is better than going thru the 17-different QBs fans had to look at post-Danny Boy….or the 17-who came and tried to play after Humphries left.
Vacancy coming soon at the Bolts most important position. Might be a good opportunity to address it now, rather than face a real crisis later.
Josh Rosen, better than any of the alternatives out there right now.