20 Questions – Chargers Training Camp

Posted by on July 30th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

The San Diego Chargers have opened their preseason camp, in what many fear will be the final season they stay in San Diego.

20-Questions worth pondering about the 2015-Chargers.

1..CAPTAIN-MY-CAPTAIN…

Philip Rivers is healthy and in the final year of his contract. The 16M deal this season will likely escalate to 20M per year if he gets a three year extension. The bigger question, does he want to stay with the team, if it is moving to Los Angeles next year? Would the Chargers franchise-tag him at 20M on a 1-year extension? Why haven’t they gotten a deal done in advance with the face-heart-soul-leader of the team? Could this year a 5,000-yard season with all the roster upgrades to the offense?

2..ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT…

Everyone loved the drafting of Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin. Those were big time stats he put up in a big time Wisconsin program. The only questions will be his fumbles with the Badgers, and ability to catch balls out of the backfield. He won’t have to be an every down back with the diversity the team has at running back. Different strokes for different folks working with Danny Woodhead-Brandon Oliver-Donald Brown.

3..NEW FACES-NEW PLACES…

An excellent off season with the acquisition of three starting offensive linemen from other teams via free-agency. Orlando Franklin was a steal from a division rival-Denver, and he can play guard and tackle. Chris Hairston came from Buffalo and Joe Barksdale from the Rams, and are former starters and good insurance policy veteran players.

4.. MAKE A STATEMENT SEASON…

Stevie Johnson had so much productivity early in his career with Buffalo, he gets a do-over chance here, replacing Eddie Royal. He causes a different type of slot matchup problem, but he has to hold on the ball and become consistent again. Being with Rivers will be huge. CFL-import Donnie Inman played really well at the end of the season, and will be given a chance to play in sub-packages this season. They may have found a gem there. Which won steps up and makes plays each Sunday to compliment Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd?

5..TAKING OVER AT TIGHT END…

I might be the only one forgiving Antonio Gates for trying a new supplement without checking it out with the Union and doctors. But missing four games early might mean he has more gas in the tank later in the season. Time for Ladarius Green to make week to week impact, catching passes, getting chunk plays, and blocking down field. Everyone thought he could be the next guy after Gates goes. Time to prove it.

6..BRINGING IT BACK…

They haven’t had one in a long time, a real dangerous kick return guy, not since the dispatching of Darren Sproles. Jacoby Jones, coming from the Ravens, can make plays, but can he stay healthy, and will he hold onto the football?

7..WHERE’S THE BEEF…

The team did little to bolster a physically weak defensive front around DE-Corey Luiget. They gave up 4.5YPC to opposing running backs. They generated little push upfront. Sometimes it takes time to grow players in the trenches. They saw flashes in DT-Ricardo Mathews during the season, and late season with Ryan Carrethers. It took Jamal Williams 5-years to become a great nose-tackle. They need one, do they have one?

8..WHERE’S THE PASS RUSH…

In a pass-happy NFL, they didn’t have many quarterback sacks (28) last year, and now two guys are gone via retirement and free agency. Melvin Ingram shows bursts, but has an injury track record. Jerry Attaochu looks the role, but is so very young. This group looks even less talented than last year?

9..IS TE’O THE MAN…

They think the ex-Notre Damer can be a star, but Mantei Te’o looks like just a guy. He doesn’t make plays, doesn’t get off blocks, gets blown out of holes he is trying to plug. Granted he is bigger and more physical now than his first two years. He has to stay healthy, as does running mate Donnie Butler.

10..SHAKY SECONDARY…

Brandon Flowers, the old one, Jason Verrett the young one, and that is the extent of talent at cornerback. Both have had health issues. They gave Flowers a 3-year extension, but I didn’t see the quality play they must have. I did see something special in Verrett, but he has had surgery on both labrums. Healthy he could be spectacular, hurt they could be in trouble.

11..PROVE IT PEOPLE…

They went free agent to get Patrick Robinson, the former lst round pick of the Saints, and Jimmy Wilson, the former Dolphin. Both will get the chance to rescue their careers, and both will have to play well. But they didn’t excel when they were starters elsewhere, what makes you think they will be different in San Diego?

12..DRAFT DAY…

It was interesting, and I am not talking about the Kevin Costner movie. Miami Hurricane linebacker Denzel Perryman is a hitter, undersized, not so fast, but a gamer. He might be a London Fletcher type, and maybe a special teams standout. Fellow linebacker Kyle Emanuel had a great career, but is moving to a new position at strong side backer, and by the way this isn’t North Dakota State anymore.

13..LOSING LEADERSHIP…

You say goodbye to talent like Jarrett Johnson and Dwight Freeney, and you say goodbye to the intangibles too. Smartness on the field, in the huddle, in the film room. The guile they brought to the game and the locker-room will be missed greatly. Leadership, veteran leadership, is really important. Another reason to be concerned about the defense?

14..WITHER WEDDLE…

A good-bye season for S-Eric Weddle, in the midst of a nasty contract-personality clash issue. Doesn’t matter. Job to be done, playing for the next contract, a proud player, who will have a good send-off season, then sign somewhere else. Bigger issue, who is his running mate? I don’t give bonus points for hits made after the opponent caught the ball or ran to the second level. Jahleel Addae needs to bring it to break up plays, not make tackles after he gets beat on plays.

15..SURPRISE SEASON…

Which of the street free agents out there will be the next find? Is there a rookie draft pick to keep an eye on? Take a look at big WRs Titus Davis-Central Michigan and Tyrell Williams-Western Oregon. Maybe there is a place for hyper-active young DE-Darius Philon-Arkansas.

16..LA DISTRACTION…

Doesn’t matter what Coach Mike McCoy says, this San Diego-to-LA story isn’t going away. Oh it won’t impact game preparation, but it will be on the mind of players, and their families, as the season progresses, especially if the season does not go well.

17..ALL ABOUT THE MONEY…

The ugly negotiations with the City won’t end soon. In this complex mosaic of stadium designs, EIR reports, financial plans, there is the reality, the Spanos Family, and all the NFL owners, are all about the money. How much they can get, how little they have to give up.

18..NEW LEADERSHIP…

I thought it was a smart move by Dean Spanos to hire Carmen Policy to represent him as Point Man on the Stadium issues, but sadly it was on the LA Stadium package, not San Diego. He should be driving the deal to help San Diego get thru the Stadium quagmire it is in.

19..QUESTIONABLE LEADERSHIP…

So they promote AG Spanos, the owner’s son, to be the day to day operator of the franchise. On his twitter account, it had said ‘in charge of all business operations’ of the team thru the last group of years. If that’s the case, is he to be blamed for the team going from 15th in gross revenue to 28th, and how come he got a promotion?

20..JUST ASKING…

Since assuming leadership of the team in the mid 1990’s, Dean Spanos’ franchise has had some tremendous seasons, the Super Bowl run with Bobby Beathard-Bobby Ross, the outstanding years under Marty Schottenheimer, and the early successes of GMs AJ-Smith and John Butler. They have also had horrible decisions too, Spanos failure to solve the Beathard-Ross divorce; taking the wrong side in the AJ-Martyball feud; Norv Turner; the ticket guarantee; the Ryan Leaf disgrace, and now this, the importation of Mark Fabiani. Spanos has done so much for charities in this town. Does he realize he is creating “credibility suicide” by allowing Fabiani to try a scorched-earth policy with everything the city is trying to do on his behalf with this new Stadium? Does Spanos know he is creating an absolutely ugly atmosphere at Qualcomm for home games this season, in what may be a lame-duck campaign? Does he know he will be horribly booed at home games this year, if the season does not go well?

Welcome to 2015, a new season, sadly fearing a last season in San Diego.

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