In 1981, both Fred Dean and John Jefferson held out with Dean being traded to the San Francisco 49ers and Jefferson ending up with the Green Bay Packers. The Bolts were coming off an AFC championship appearance and if both of those players had been retained, I’m convinced the Chargers would have had home-field advantage and not played in that great game in Miami to say nothing of losing the true Ice Bowl in Cincinnati.
It’s true that Wes Chandler came in and did a fantastic job, but we did have to give up a first-round draft pick for him. Who knows what could have happened down the road if we had kept both players and a first. It was such a shame. So much talent gone as the Bolts were on the cusp of a truly great run. The drafts of the previous 5-6 years had been outstanding ,leading to some real quality on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
With Dean rushing, what happens to the rest of the D? That was always thought to be the Achilles heel of the Chargers, but with a great pass-rusher things change. Every team had to scheme for Dean: blocking assignments changed, QB releases had to be quicker and DB’s generally didn’t have to cover as long. He had a motor that wouldn’t quit and his pain threshold was through the roof as evidenced by his bike ride earlier in his career with an injured ankle.
Jefferson? All I remember is when he left for Green Bay, Fouts wouldn’t speak to the press for days. Anyway, losing both players the same year? The Bolts were never quite the same.
Back to this year. I really like Darius Philon as a player. Big, strong kid with a great desire to improve. Everything I’ve read indicates he worked very hard during the offseason and is having a very solid camp, but I don’t see him as another Fred Dean. I do see Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget as potentially the best front three we’ve had since Jamal Williams, Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky. With Philon, Ryan Carrethers and a few others as backups – maybe a better group. What about the effect on Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu? While Philon may be a great help against the run, Bosa may be that guy we need against the pass.
I look at our roster and see some real progress. I just hate to see that progress stalled due to what appears to be some fairly minor technical details. Getting the remainder of approximately $17 million 3-4 months later…really??? Offset language that only comes into effect if Bosa is cut over a four-year term and signs with another team? Split the difference guys, take one and not the other, that seems to be what most high draft picks are doing.
We really can’t afford this with a critical election coming up in November unless the Chargers really don’t want to stay in San Diego and have found the perfect way to lose the bond issue. I sure hope that’s not the case.