Oct 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco attends the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Well, the Chargers used a lot of smoke and mirrors this season. They put lipstick on a pig more times than I can count. They got outcoached, outplayed, and overwhelmed all day. It is unfortunate that the Chiefs knocked us out of the playoffs today, but I really have to hand it to their defensive line. They DESTROYED us, and Justin Houston did it almost single-handedly. They had seven sacks today, and Rivers has a bulging disc, and broken ribs. That should tell you where the Chargers will be looking in Free Agency & the draft. The offensive and defensive lines need to be addressed. I don’t want to hear anyone talking about drafting a wide receiver. Sign a wide receiver in Free Agency, if you are going to do that.
I was a BIG advocate of drafting a center this last draft… a pure center… a high round center. The retirement of Nick Hardwick was imminent, and his health was in question at the end of the 2013 season. The Chargers spent a 3rd rounder on Chris Watt, who I think will be a great left guard for us. However, I believe they are trying to fit a circle into a square by trying to make him the center. He is best suited to play left guard, but was never ONCE asked to play that position. Even as Rinehart got blown up all year, they kept him in there. Of all the offensive linemen that went down to injury this season, Rinehart managed to stay healthy, and play extremely poorly. It’s disappointing, as he appeared to have done well enough in 2013 to be a solid piece on this line for years to come. He is a back-up, at best, until we get someone like Nick Hardwick back at center…. Most of the oline are back-ups without a Hardwick-type center. You saw how much pressure was created up the middle today. It doesn’t matter if it’s Legursky, Ohrnberger, Watt, Robinson… they all struggled, and are not the answer. Robinson might be the best option, as he has actually played center, and is young.
Then you have the nose tackle position. I was pounding the pavement for this position too. Most of us were. The Chargers went with Lissemore, and they got what they deserved. He’s not a starting nose tackle. Neither is Carrethers. Carrethers is a back up. Reyes needs to be replaced asap, and probably will, as he is one of the last AJ picks on the roster. He didn’t exceed expectations, so you will probably see them drafting a DE this season. There were too many times this year when the line couldn’t generate enough pressure up the middle, or just let running backs barrel up the middle for 5-7 yards. I don’t care who they get, but he needs to draw double-teams.
The strong safety position needs to be addressed immediately, and has for a long time. Gilchrist should be gone, and Addae… as much as I like the kid’s moxie… is not the starter. If he is put in there as the starter, you will continue to waste the potential of this defense. They should get someone tall, nasty, and hard-hitting… but, who has the build not to get a concussion every time he makes a tackle. No more 5’ 10” DB’s…. get some height in that backfield… guys that are tall, and can cover. Verrett and Flowers are awesome, and will be great players for this backfield. But, get someone taller than 5’ 11”. Shareece Wright MUST be let walk. The drop off between Davis, Williams, and Wright is not very noticeable. I’d rather give the new guys a chance to prove themselves, or not. Wright has already proven he is grabby, and can’t cover well. It’s time to move on, and I hope the Chargers do.
The return game is such an obvious area of concern. I have seen them bring in tons of players to compete for this job, but we somehow end up fielding Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Chris Davis, and the occasional running back… you might even see Weddle back there, which is ludicrous. I just don’t think they are bringing in the right players to compete. We need to get a returner. We need a player who has SOME shot of taking the ball past the 50 yard line. We don’t have that, and continue to operate out of our own end on every single drive. Chris Davis is OK, but is not the solution. We need speed!!!!!!
Now, it’s time for the elephant in the room. What do you do with Ryan Mathews? I have been the biggest supporter of Mathews over the years. I don’t think he ever really got a fair shake. But, the truth is that the new coaching staff won’t even use him when he’s healthy. They don’t want him here, and it was glaringly obvious this season. To top it off, Mathews went out and hurt himself trying to recover one of his own fumbles, and never recovered. Ryan Mathews would have had a contract in 2015 if that play never happened. But, it did, and the Chargers will most likely move on. The problem is that running backs don’t grow on trees. Ryan is talented, when on the field. They might be able to sign or draft a replacement that will come in and produce. But, there will most likely be a lot of growing pains. Having said that, if they get someone else…. get someone you feel comfortable using between the 20’s. They are completely ridiculous with that.
Coaches will be speculated about. I know that everyone wants to hate on Frank Reich right now, including me. But, it’s the guy’s first year, so I don’t see them moving on. It’s fair to give the guy another year to “right the ship”. If you thought this team was going to win the Superbowl after that shutout in Miami, you were probably smokin’. It would have been nice to get into the playoffs, but I’m not sure I wanted Rivers getting sacked like he did today throughout the playoffs. Dude has a bulging disc, and broken ribs. Let the man heal. We will get guys like Woodhead, and Clary back… Keenan will be a third year WR.. Ingram is finally coming on strong… Te’O finished out well… Verrett will be back… the pieces are there, but we need more of them. Pagano had too many “good moments” to be replaced, unless McCoy thinks Dennis Allen is the answer. Spanos, and the players, like Pagano. I expect he’ll be back.
Aside from fixing Rivers, the offensive line was supposed to be fixed when TT got here. I think they got a little happy about it last season, when it performed well. I’m not saying “they should have known”, except for the center position. They need to finish fixing the offensive line though. I think they have some good back-up choices with starting experience. Whoever doesn’t command a starting position somewhere else should be kept on as a back-up. They need to sign a center, and a right guard, no matter if Clary & Watt are on the roster.
So, there you have it. That’s my draft & free agency wish list. Nose tackle, Center, Running Back, Right Guard, Wide Receiver / returner, Defensive End, Cornerback, pass rush specialist. I’ll stop there, and not get greedy. I actually had this team going 7-9 this season, and making the playoffs next year. They fought hard, and got to 9-7, which is a nice surprise for me. But, this team is a year or two away from contending with the Pats, Broncos, Packers and Seahawks for a title. It IS coming though. Let’s hope that McCoy finally has the time to watch the tape that got Norv Turner fired… because, I don’t think he’s watched it yet. And, if he hasn’t… he should… because we are seeing the same patterns of mediocrity, and questionable coaching.
And, can we please get someone to cancel “Charger’s Insider”? What a horrible, boring, and predictable show. I thought it was bad with Billy Ray & John Howard… it has gotten exponentially worse since then, which is almost unbelievable. Can someone PLEASE tell them that we don’t care about John Spanos’ game insight? The cheerleaders are cute, but it is done in a manner that is so typically cheesy & Gaslamp-ish, that it makes you want to throw up. Can we cut out Pagano, McCoy, and Reich fumbling over endless plays & clichés, and show more of the players. It’s SO boring, I swear. Hire me to do it, if you are going to air that abomination of a show. I’ll put a show out there that folks will tune into every week. That stuff is down-right corny.
Anyway, enjoy the playoffs, regardless of the Charger’s presence. It was a rough year with injuries, and I want to personally thank every Charger player & coach for putting their all into this season. We may not have always agreed with your decisions, but we support this team, and always will. Just make sure to take some of our advice from time-to-time. We would love for you to ditch that draw play up the middle FYI ; )
Much Love, and Thanks for following Bolt Beat! We really appreciate our readers, and love talking football with you.