Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Chargers’

Can the Raiders take down the Chargers this Sunday?

Derek Carr

In Week 7 of the NFL season, the Oakland Raiders travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in the latest installment of this AFC West battle. In terms of record, little separates the two squads in 2015. In terms of expectations though, there seems to be a rather large gulf building

In Week 7 of the NFL season, the Oakland Raiders travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in the latest installment of this AFC West battle. In terms of record, little separates the two squads in 2015. In terms of expectations though, there seems to be a rather large gulf building between Oakland and San Diego.

The Chargers have been an AFC playoff contender for years now. Over the past decade, they have finished above .500 a remarkable eight times, never finishing with a record worse than 7-9. Not since the Drew Brees era in 2003 have the Chargers won fewer than seven games in a season. That run has brought with it six playoff berths, a trip to the conference title and six major award winners, the most important being LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2006 NFL MVP.

Over that same time span, the Raiders have finished above .500 zero times, made the playoffs zero times and won a major award zero times. Not since a Super Bowl loss way back in 2002 have the Raiders found any type of success on the field. The team is also just 1-6 in its last seven matchups against the Chargers, with the lone win coming at home in Week 5 of the 2013 season with Terrelle Pryor playing quarterback.

This dichotomy within the AFC West brought with it obvious expectations for each squad. San Diego is expected to be pretty good every year while Oakland has nothing much expected of it at all. That’s what makes the 2015 matchup so intriguing. The tides appear to be shifting in Oakland’s favor.

With two wins apiece, both squads trail first-place Denver by a considerable margin not even halfway through the 2015 season. But one team’s 2-3 record (Oakland) looks much better than the other’s 2-4 record (San Diego). Gambling win total over-unders don’t capture the entire picture of a team’s outlook preseason, but they give a pretty good representation of how the public feels about each team. Prior to the year, these two teams’ over-unders were placed at 5.5 games (Raiders) and 8.0 games (Chargers) respectively. Now it becomes clearer why two similar records mean different things.

Digging deeper, Oakland has had the better defense and has the superior point differential heading into Week 7. San Diego has yet to play a divisional game but is winless on the road and has the fourth-worst differential in the conference. The former also seems to have bright young talents on the way up while the latter is treading water (or drowning, as it were) with older players on the outs.

The folks over at Football Outsiders have a number of great stats that boil down rankings into easily digestible bits. In the quarterback matchup, one would assume San Diego has the gigantic advantage with Philip Rivers behind center. Rivers does rank highly in both DYAR and DVOA, two Football Outsiders metrics that measure value in the aggregate and value per play respectively. Rivers comes in fourth in the NFL in the aggregate and seventh on a per-play basis. But not far behind is Oakland’s Derek Carr. Don’t let his poor quarterback rating fool you. Carr ranks a very solid eighth in both DYAR and DVOA. Few would tab him as a top-10 quarterback in just his second pro season, but here we are.

On the other side of the ball, the Raiders have cut the difference and actually surpassed what the Chargers offer. Neither club has been great, but Oakland has had the decided advantage on defense thus far in 2015. Outside rusher Khalil Mack actually ranks as Pro Football Focus’ number-one overall edge defender this season, helping to prop up the entire defense at large.

And of course special teams, the unit folks often forget to consider because it’s harder to quantify, shows the Raiders as the much better team. F.O.’s special-teams DVOA takes into account five aspects: kicks, kickoffs, punts, kick returns and punt returns. After crunching the numbers, the Raiders have the 8th-best special teams unit while the Chargers wallow all the way down at 29th thanks to poor groups in four out of the five categories.

Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom for San Diego these days. Antonio Gates is still working himself back into game shape after being suspended for the first four weeks of the season. Third-year wide receiver Keenan Allen is having a stupendous season after a sophomore slump blinded people to his special first season. He is currently on pace to smash his rookie numbers across the board.

Statistics can’t tell the whole story, which is why the numbers get updated as teams play more games and we find out more information. Just because Oakland ranks out higher doesn’t mean it will surely win on the field. This Week 7 game will go a long way towards determining who actually holds the upper hand in the rivalry… at least until the Week 16 rematch later this year.

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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3 Rookies Everyone Should Be Excited to See

Melvin Gordon

Now that the OTAs are in full swing, teams are starting to get a look at how their rookies play. By no means does this compare to what an actual game will be like, but it does give them a taste of what they can expect from their long-term investments. There are several rookies in

Now that the OTAs are in full swing, teams are starting to get a look at how their rookies play. By no means does this compare to what an actual game will be like, but it does give them a taste of what they can expect from their long-term investments. There are several rookies in this year’s draft class that everyone who is in love with football, should be anxious to see.

Shane Ray, EDGE, Denver Broncos

Shane Ray made the headlines prior to the NFL Draft after being busted for possession of pot, plus there was some concern for a turf toe injury he suffered late last season which took longer than expected to heal. Ray was never really liked by most draft-niks because of his smaller build. When scouting Ray, I was never concerned with his size, because I felt he played bigger than what his measurements said. Ray is an extremely quick and powerful edge rusher; I was consistently impressed with his play game after game. If you need a sack on third down, he is going to be the one who you can expect a sack to come from. The only issue I have with Ray is his poor run defense; that is where the smaller size bites him in the butt. It is hard for him to penetrate through the inside of the O-Line and get to the ball carrier. I like the group that Ray is surrounded with at Denver. He will be trained and helped along by one of the best EDGE/D-Linemen to play the game, Demarcus Ware, and a talented pass rusher by the name of Von Miller. In Denver, Ray is set up for success and I can see him being the eventual replacement for the aging Ware.

Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

Melvin Gordon is one of the most accomplished RBs to come out of Wisconsin University. Setting records last season, he was arguably one of the best backs to go in the Draft. I loved watching Gordon in my time scouting him. He was very quick and he had the home run potential on every single handoff. The main downgrade I gave him was I didn’t feel, in college, that he caught the ball enough. So that is something he will need to get used to in his transition to the pros. I feel Gordon will do very well in his rookie season. He is set up with some veteran help. Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown have both been in the league for some time now and can give him some help. He also has a decent O-Line blocking for him and some guy named Philip Rivers, a five time Pro-Bowler, leading the offense. I have to wonder with Gordon coming from a team known for using their running backs a great deal, if he is a short term answer to a problem in San Diego.

Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Until the Combine, no one had really heard of a guy named Phillip Dorsett out of Miami (FL). Then, he ran the 40 yard dash and his Draft stock started rising. Dorsett was a very fast player at Miami who was known for out-running defenses on the deep ball and getting excellent yards after the catch, particularly on screen plays. There is some issue with his size, seeing as he is only 5”9” (5’10” if you round up) and 185 pounds, and there are problems with too many dropped passes. As of right now, it seems that Dorsett will not be a starting WR the first week. Instead, it looks as if his main role will be the number one punt return and kickoff return man. It is a smart move by the Colts to give him some time to develop until there is a spot for him as backup receiver. As of now, Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, and Donte Moncrief are the main receivers for the Colts and will be for several more seasons. In the meantime, Dorsett will have a chance to learn from veterans Johnson and Hilton (who is slowly turning into a top notch receiver himself). To me, nothing is more exciting than watching a game where an extremely fast return man is about to work his magic. Seeing guys like Devin Hester, Patrick Peterson, and Tavon Austin do their stuff is a thrill to watch and they bring excitement back into the usually boring and drab Special Teams. I expect to see a few returns by Dorsett to be on the highlight reels on Sunday and Monday nights.

Austin Morris is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at amorris3585@scc.stanly.edu

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Team preview: San Diego Chargers

<p> There weren’t a whole lot of people who expected much from the 2013 San Diego Chargers, as the Bolts were coming off a 7-9 season and had hired a new head coach in Mike McCoy and a new general manager in Tom Telesco. When the team was 5-7 through 12 games, very few were

<p> There weren’t a whole lot of people who expected much from the 2013 San Diego Chargers, as the Bolts were coming off a 7-9 season and had hired a new head coach in Mike McCoy and a new general manager in Tom Telesco. When the team was 5-7 through 12 games, very few were surprised.</p> <p> But then the Chargers flipped the script by winning their last four games and earning a wild card playoff spot. Not only did San Diego qualify for the postseason, they beat Cincinnati in a wild card game before losing to eventual AFC Champion Denver. In that game, the Chargers gave the Broncos all they could handle.</p> <p> Coming off the success of 2013, much more is expected this season. Does San Diego have enough to overtake Denver? Let’s take a look.</p> <p> <strong>Quarterback</strong></p> <p class=”co_image co_image_right inline_right”> <img alt=”Philip Rivers” src=”http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/rivers6.jpg” />Rives bounced back in a big way last season. But can he maintain?</p> <p> In Philip Rivers, the Chargers have a very good NFL quarterback. He isn’t one of the four true “franchise” quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers), but Rivers is in the group at the next level. If there is a problem, it’s that I feel Rivers has already played his best football. With this being his 12th season in the NFL, I don’t see him getting any better than he already is. Still, his play is good enough to lead the Chargers to the playoffs. I just don’t see him as a Super Bowl-type quarterback.</p> <p> Behind Rivers the Chargers brought in former Rams backup Kellen Clemons. While Clemens isn’t quite good enough to be an NFL starter, he is a quality backup who can win some games if Rivers gets injured. Second-year man Brad Sorenson is still developing and not yet ready to assume the backup role.</p> <p> <strong>Running back</strong></p> <p> Ryan Mathews is a quality starting back. This being his fifth season, he still has some good years left. He has the size and power to run inside and the burst to turn the corner. Mathews is also a reliable receiver.</p> <p> In Danny Woodhead, who just recently received a two-year contract extension, the Chargers have a quality backup with a style that is complementary to Mathews’. During free agency, the Chargers signed Donald Brown away from the Colts. Brown has talent, but has never lived up to his first-round draft status.</p> <p> <strong>Receivers and tight ends</strong></p> <p> Being injured at the combine and not running well during pre-draft workouts hurt Keenan Allen’s draft status. That turned into a huge win for the Chargers. Allen, who was a first-round talent, fell to the third round, but he played like a first-rounder. He finished his rookie season with 71 receptions for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. The sky is the limit as to how good he can become. Most receivers begin to break out during their second year. The good news for San Diego is that’s already happened with Allen.</p> <p> Opposite Allen should be fourth-year man Vincent Brown, who needs to have a good season if he expects to stay a Charger. The slot receiver will be Eddie Royal, who is coming off his best season since his time in Denver.</p> <p> It will be interesting to see how well Malcom Floyd comes back from a neck injury. If he is back in top form, he brings quality depth to the position. A rookie to keep an eye on is seventh-round pick Tevin Reese from Baylor. The speedster has looked good early in camp.</p> <p> The tight end is old reliable Antonio Gates, who seems like he has been around forever. While Gates isn’t what he was five or six years ago, he is still a quality receiver. The other tight end is third-year man Ladarius Green, who started to come on last year. He figures to keep improving.</p> <p> <strong>Offensive line</strong></p> <p> The Chargers didn’t lose any of their offensive line starters from last year and that should help the cohesiveness of this unit.</p> <p> The tackles are veteran King Dunlap on the left side and D.J. Fluker on the right. Dunlap played well last year, but has a history of inconsistent play. Fluker is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. He could be a future Pro Bowler.</p> <p> At the guard spots are Chad Rinehart, who is a tough brawler, and Jeromey Clay. Rinehart got a new contract after his play last year and Clay looked good inside after previously being a tackle. Rookie Chris Watt from Notre Dame will challenge for playing time. He is tough, strong and athletic and can play either guard or center.</p> <p> The San Diego center is Nick Hardwick, now in his 11th season. He is an excellent technician and still plays at a high level.</p> <p> <strong>Defensive line</strong></p> <p> The Chargers would have liked better play from their defensive line last year, but you have to factor in that Corey Liuget was playing hurt. He is healthy now and has Pro Bowl-level talent. The other end is Kendall Reyes, who came on in his second year. He should keep getting better.</p> <p> At the nose will be Sean Lissemore, who surged during the second half of last year, and rookie Ryan Carrethers. If Carrethers plays as expected, the Chargers could have an ideal rotation at the nose.</p> <p> The main backup at the end position will be Guy Lawrence, who played well when called upon in 2013. Don’t be surprised if the Chargers look for some veteran depth during training camp.</p> <p> <strong>Linebackers</strong></p> <p class=”co_image co_image_right inline_right”> <img alt=”Eric Weddle” src=”http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/weddle.jpg” />Weddle has notched 12 interceptions over the last three seasons.</p> <p> If the linebacker unit can stay healthy, the Chargers have a strong group here. The leader is inside backer Donald Butler, who was re-signed in the off-season and is capable of making a lot of plays. 2013 second-round pick Manti Te’o played inured much of last year, but is now fully recovered. Now that he is healthy, Te’o should be much improved.</p> <p> Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was not fully recovered from ACL surgery a year ago. He too is now completely healthy and that means the pass rush will improve. The other outside linebacker is 12-year vet Jarrett Johnson. While he still has some gas left in the tank, I fell rookie Jeremiah Attaochu will challenge him for playing time. Attaochu is an excellent pass rusher coming off the edge.</p> <p> <strong>Secondary</strong></p> <p> The Chargers need to get improved secondary play in 2014. First-round draft pick Jason Verrett should help. If Verrett had been an inch taller, he would have been a top-15 pick in the draft. He is a tenacious cover guy and will support the run.</p> <p> Going into camp, the starters at corner on paper are Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall. They will be pushed by Verrett and last year’s fifth-round pick Steve Williams, who missed his rookie year with an injury. The two youngsters provide much needed speed and talent to the position.</p> <p> Eric Weddle is in his eighth year and is the leader of the secondary at free safety. He lines everyone up and on top of that plays excellent football. Marcus Gilchrist moved to strong safety a year ago and his play was inconsistent. The hope is that in his second year at the position, he will begin to come on strong. If not, Jahleel Addae, who is a second-year man from Central Michigan, needs to show that he is ready to contribute. Having seen him in college, I know what a big hitter he is.</p> <p> <strong>Outlook</strong></p> <p> On paper, the Chargers are a better team than a year ago. This is their second year in McCoy’s system and everyone should feel more comfortable.</p> <p> Still, the Chargers play in the AFC West, which produced three playoff teams a year ago. Denver is still strong and Kansas City is improved. I doubt we will see three teams from this division make it back to the playoffs.</p> <p> Going into the season, Denver has to be the favorite with San Diego and Kansas City fighting it out for second and maybe a wildcard berth.</p> <p> <strong>Follow Greg on Twitter:</strong> @<a href=”http://www.twitter.com/greggabe” target=”_blank”>greggabe</a></p>

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Chargers move on from Larry English

<p> The San Diego Chargers have officially moved on, cutting former first-round draft pick Larry English.</p> <p> The outside linebacker was released today. The Chargers drafted him in 2009 out of Northern Illinois.</p> <p> English was limited to 52 games in five seasons due to injuries. He recorded 82 tackles and 11 sacks.</p> <p>  </p>

<p> The San Diego Chargers have officially moved on, cutting former first-round draft pick Larry English.</p> <p> The outside linebacker was released today. The Chargers drafted him in 2009 out of Northern Illinois.</p> <p> English was limited to 52 games in five seasons due to injuries. He recorded 82 tackles and 11 sacks.</p> <p>  </p> <p> “We’d like to thank Larry for his five years of dedicated service to the Chargers,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “Larry always gave us everything he had on the field while making significant contributions to many deserving organizations in the San Diego community.”</p> <p>  </p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/RavensInsider”>@RavensInsider</a></p> <p> Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun</p> <p> <br />  </p>

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he’s a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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Chargers sign Danny Woodhead to extension

<p> The San Diego Chargers rewarded versatile rulling back Danny Woodhead with a two-year contract extension following a breakthrough season.</p> <p> Woodhead is now under contract through the 2016 season.</p> <p> “Danny is an integral part of our offense,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “His work ethic and on-field production were key elements last

<p> The San Diego Chargers rewarded versatile rulling back Danny Woodhead with a two-year contract extension following a breakthrough season.</p> <p> Woodhead is now under contract through the 2016 season.</p> <p> “Danny is an integral part of our offense,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “His work ethic and on-field production were key elements last year. We look forward to having him be a part of the Chargers organization into the future.”</p> <p> Woodhead caught 76 passes for 605 yards and six touchdowns last season. He ranked first in touchdown catches among running backs, second in catches and receiving yards.</p> <p> He rushed for 429 rushing yards for a total of 1,034 yards from scrimmage and twoo rushing touchdowns for a total of eight. With 262 kickoff return yards, he set another career-high with 1,296 all-purpose yards.</p> <p> Meanwhile, the Chargers signed outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton and center Khalil Wilkes.</p> <p> Hamilton played most recently for the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie in 2012. He played in two games for the Ravens, recording one tackle on special teams. Hamilton went to training camp with Dallas in 2012 before being signed to the Ravens’ practice squad in September. He was elevated to the active roster for the Ravens’ stretch run toward a Super Bowl championship, although he was inactive throughout the postseason. Hamilton missed the entire 2013 season due to a wrist injury and was released last month</p> <p> Hamilton recorded 108 tackles, 26 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss during two seasons at Prairie View A&M. He led the nation with 20.5 sacks as a senior, breaking Robert Mathis’ Southwestern Atlantic Conference single-season record.</p> <p> Wilkes is an undrafted rookie who was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior at Stanford last year He was invited to participate on a tryout basis at the Chargers’ rookie minicamp in May.</p> <p> Wilkes played four seasons at Stanford, appearing in 38 total games as both a left guard and center.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/RavensInsider”>@RavensInsider</a></p> <p> Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun<br /> <br />  </p>

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he’s a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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