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The 2014 San Diego Chargers posted by Chargers Fan

The San Diego Chargers were able to sneak in the postseason with a 9-7 record last year. Quarterback Philip Rivers looked like a goner before the start of the 2013 season as he had a career-low 6.8 YPA while surrendering 16 interceptions. But he was able to turn things around with the improved offensive line of the Chargers.

The Chargers have baffled many by their poor blocking in years. With the signing of King Dunlap last year as well as the drafting of D.J. Fluker, the Chargers were able to improve their offensive line. Fluker played well in his rookie year while Dunlap was a key acquisition surrendering only three sacks the past year.

The Chargers also boast of two solid interior linemen in Chad Rinehart and Nick Hardwick. Pedestrian Jeromey Clary will be challenged by rookie Chris Watt at right guard, and this would only improve the offense of the Chargers.

Rivers will also be looking to throw to sophomore Keenan Allen who compiled 71 receptions, eight touchdowns and 1,046 yards in his rookie season.  But Allen is pretty much what the Chargers have at receiver as Malcom Floyd is coming off an injury and Vincent Brown remains a project.

The Chargers defense has a lot of holes to be filled. The team was 23rd in the league in yards allowed, 29th in pass defense, and 27th in rush defense. But the defense should improve this year with the return of Melvin Ingram. The best pass-rusher in the team, Ingram was out for the first part of the season with a torn ACL.

But the Chargers’ defensive front and linebackers will also need to perform well if the team hopes to book a second straight playoff appearance.

Continue reading "The 2014 San Diego Chargers"

Joe Anello

Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday was billed to be one of the worst/busiest in the NFL’s history, and it certainly lived up to that hype on the eve of the New Year. A whopping seven head coaches were fired on Monday, with a few fates to be possibly determined at a later date. Included in the dismissals were a number of general managers. Let’s wrap around the league!

Philadelphia Eagles fire HC Andy Reid

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made a difficult decision in letting go his franchise’s winningest head coach, but it was the right one. Reid’s message had been lost in the later of his 14 years on the job. He’s still a fantastic head coach, but it was time for everyone to move. Reid could land somewhere like Arizona, but we’ve already heard that San Diego won’t be interested. Philly sounds like its leaning towards a coach with legitimate experience that can come in and quickly turn things around. This firing was probably a year too late, to be fair.

Chicago Bears fire HC Lovie Smith

Check back for an in-depth analysis of this coaching move. 

San Diego Chargers fire GM A.J. Smith and HC Norv Turner

Speaking of firings a year too late, this pair of “winners” shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the San Diego staff for 2012. Turner’s already being mentioned as a possible OC for a number of openings, the most notable of which is in NY for the Jets. But he’s likely rebuffed them already, per the Jets’ usual. Smith was a volatile front office guy, something that should have gotten him canned years ago. He let most of this team’s “immense talent” fall by the wayside or leave via free agency.

Continue reading "Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 in the NFL season has arrived! With two weeks left in the season, I don’t need to tell you how important these games are for those teams still in the hunt. It’s time to get into all the storylines in The Opening Drive!

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons at

(4-10) Detroit Lions

Saturday night football has arrived! And it’s… relatively meaningless. The Falcons are very close to locking down their one seed (only need one win) and the Lions could be another embarrassing loss away from blowing things up. This could be an entertaining (but non-competitive) contest to open the week.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints at

(8-6) Dallas Cowboys

I’ve already seen a LOT of coverage for this game, which only features one possible playoff participant. The Cowboys can win the division if they win their final two games, and that starts with an interesting match-up against the Saints. Drew Brees won’t take it light on a Dallas secondary that has been hit-or-miss this year. But I think the Saint defense won’t play as well as it appeared to last week versus the Bucs.

(5-9) San Diego Chargers at

(6-8) New York Jets

Wait. There has to be a reason I put this game on the list. THE GREG MCELROY ERA HAS BEGUN! But honestly, I don’t know if any of the Jets’ quarterbacks will be on the roster next season. And the Chargers? They’re a train wreck. AND I LOVE IT.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

With Thanksgiving taking up time with travel, family, and friends, I decided to forgo the now-typical Thursday posting of The Opening Drive. But don’t worry, week 12 in the NFL still has a few games worth checking out this weekend!

(6-4) Seattle Seahawks at

(4-6) Miami Dolphins

Wait, am I liking Seattle on the road? That’s a switch. Miami’s been disappointing in its last few outings, so another loss essentially eliminates them from the postseason picture. If Seattle can pound on Miami’s front seven with Marshawn Lynch, Russell will likely see his receivers in single coverage on the outside against lesser corners. That’s a recipe for success.

(9-1) Atlanta Falcons at

(6-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game of the day. Tampa Bay’s offense has been nearly dominant as of late, and they’re matching up against an Atlanta defense that can’t halt the run with any regularity. Doug Martin could be in line for a ridiculously awesome fantasy stat line today. Get him in your starting line-up. I really like the Bucs are home here.

(8-2) Baltimore Ravens at

(4-6) San Diego Chargers

I appreciate everyone thinking the Ravens are weak enough that they could travel across the country to San Diego... after a Sunday night game… against the always physical Steelers… and lose. Wait, I may have just talked myself into taking the Chargers. Wait, I’m taking the Chargers? Screw that noise. They’re terrible.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week eight in the NFL brought disaster upon several supposed contenders and cleared up the divisional pictures.  A few days late or not, we can’t have a week go by without an edition of The Final Drive!

(3-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36

(5-3) Minnesota Vikings 17

I guess the Vikings aren’t ready to be contenders just yet. Falling at home against a team on short rest and traveling for a Thursday night game? Thursday nights are built for the home team to get a win, but the Vikings failed to produce points. I put most of that on Christian Ponder, who honestly just looked terrible. Credit the Buccaneers for never taking their foot off the gas in this one, especially when there were several opportunities to lose the momentum.

(2-6) Cleveland Browns 7

(3-4) San Diego Chargers 6

Wow. San Diego only managed to put up two field goals against a team that has severe scoring issues. So yeah, I’d say Norv Turner’s job is in trouble. But where have I heard that before? Anyways, Cleveland really looks like a team that could be a legitimate contender in a few years if they stay on this track. Good for them.

(3-4) Detroit Lions 28

(4-4) Seattle Seahawks 24

Somehow Seattle’s defense took Calvin Johnson completely out of the game but let Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew wreck them. The fact that those two pass-catchers stepped-up like they did gives more weight toward their possible development. Matthew Stafford had an outstanding game through the air, even managing to outshine Russell Wilson’s best game of the year. While the offensive signs should be encouraging for Seattle fans, the loss is still painful.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012"

Joe Anello

Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really? posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday came and went, but the coaching news continued on Tuesday with releases in Chicago and major retentions in San Diego and Philly. Were they the right moves? Let’s break ‘em down!


San Diego Chargers retain General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner

OH COME ON!!! I was finally ready to break-up the Turner/Philips romance. However, you can chalk up this stay of execution to a few select reasons. First, key players (i.e. Rivers) probably bitched enough to convince management that it would cause chemistry issues to change coaches. Second, who were they going to get that was even marginally better? Turner’s still got swagger when it comes to his offense, so I’m not sure who was out there (that would come to San Diego) that would be a marked improvement. Maybe Cowher or Gruden if they got extraordinarily lucky, but I’m sure they were rejected outright on those fronts. Finally, it’s the AFC West. A couple plays would have made the difference in getting the Chargers to the playoffs, so they don’t need to improve much to get there next year.

Right Call?

Fudge no. I’m sure team President Dean Spanos thought it’d easier to improve with continuity than an overhaul. I don’t care. I still think both of these guys needed to be put down. I’m still shocked they have their jobs. You let me down Dean.


Continue reading "Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really?"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12 posted by Joe Anello

The 2011 NFL regular season ended with a bang with some great finishes and superb drama on Sunday. Records were set by a back-up QB, a team captain was benched for “quitting” and a fat-handed QB lost missed out on the post-season. The Final Drive must begin!

(15-1) Green Bay Packers 45
(10-6) Detroit Lions 41

This makes me beyond furious. Mike McCarthy takes out his MVP quarterback and starts a fourth year back-up with one career start in Matt Flynn, and f*cking records are broken. Six touchdowns? 480 yards? Who wouldn’t want to be Matt Flynn right now? That guy is about to make BANK as a free agent. Blow me Green Bay. Take your awesome quarterback development and blow me.


(6-10) Miami Dolphins 19
(8-8) New York Jets 17
Mark Sanchez: 3 interceptions. Santonio Holmes: benched and called out as a whiny quitter by his teammates.  (Seriously. Worst team captain ever.) Bart Scott: flips off a photographer and refuses to talk to the media (For once). Finally seeing theses loathsome Jets miss the playoffs is SO satisfying to me. Take it Rex Ryan. Take it hard.

(8-8) Philadelphia Eagles 34
(5-11) Washington Redskins 10

I don’t give a crap about the result of this game. What I do care about is DeSean Jackson deciding to actually play like he means it and be remorseful for his completely idiotic actions this season in the last game of the year. I’d be surprised (not stunned though) if the Eagles kept Jackson around. Maybe franchise him and get him on a one-year deal, but you would have thought he’d have been on better behavior once he showed up to 2011.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 16, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

It was a Christmas Eve of meaningful NFL action as all the remaining playoff spots were nearly filled and draft orders are beginning to finalize. Miss any of the action? No need to worry, because the Final Drive starts right now!

(2-13) Indianapolis Colts 19
(10-5) Houston Texans 16

Indy… what are you doing??? After all the speculation, you could single-handedly win yourself out of a franchise quarterback. Knock it off. (Or play more scrubs.) To Houston, I say congratulations. You’re in the playoffs. Now get ready to go home before anyone else.

(6-9) Buffalo Bills 40
(8-7) Denver Broncos 14

This was about as disappointing a loss as you could find on Sunday. For a division-leader that could have locked up their playoff berth to lay down to a team that had nothing to play for is unacceptable. The Teebs magic was all used up apparently as Timmy tossed four interceptions, two of which were boomerangs. I wish I had been able to watch this one. It would have felt SO good.

(12-3) New England Patriots 27
(5-10) Miami Dolphins 24

It was looking awkward when the ‘Phins were up 17-0 at halftime, but Brady rallied and made sure his team clinched a first-round bye. I’m expecting the Patriots to take the number one seed in the AFC, but I don’t feel very confident about their postseason chances.

(8-7) New York Giants 29
(8-7) New York Jets 14

PFFT. I’m glad this turned out to be less of a game, because if it had been overly dramatic I wouldn’t stop hearing about it all week. And the rumors that the Jets aren’t completely sold on Sanchez for next year? Frosting on the cake baby. And this picture of Jacobs and Ryan jawing afterward? Weird.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 16, 2011"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

Christmas Eve or not, there’s no way I’d let a schedule of great NFL action slip past my nets! The playoff positioning is settling in, but there’s some unresolved business in the NFC East with two pivotal games on Saturday. There’s plenty to talk about in week 16, so let’s get right to it!

(7-7) Arizona Cardinals at
(8-6) Cincinnati Bengals

John Skelton gets another chance to prove how little publicity the Cardinals can garner, despite his Tebowian winning ways. They travel to Cincy to take on the Bengals, who are desperate to climb back into the playoffs after stumbling the past few weeks. (I mean, they didn’t exactly blow out St. Louis.)

(7-7) New York Giants at
(8-6) New York Jets

Can a game between a 7-7 and 8-6 team be any more unnecessarily hyped? I know there’s playoff hopes on the line and it’s between the two New York squads, but please, can we settle down slightly? The Jets defense has been utterly mediocre and Mark Sanchez has regressed. Give me Eli and the inconsistent Giants in this one.

(2-12) St. Louis Rams at
(10-4) Pittsburgh Steelers

This one would be almost not worth writing about except for Big Ben’s injury. Instead, the ancient Charlie Batch will get the start against the lowly Rams, a team that is now in the running for the first pick in April’s draft. I’m picking the Steeler defense in this match-up… because not much else excites me.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2011"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

I’m not sure what else you could have wanted from week 15 in the NFL. Two impressive streaks ended, the “Trap of the Week” proved to be true once again and one win never mattered as much as it did for Indianapolis. (And Candlestick Park was sans light… for a few second before auxiliary lighting come on. Not as much drama.) Many a-loser won on this day. Oddsmakers be damned! Get ready for The Final Drive!

(1-13) Indianapolis Colts 27
(7-7) Tennessee Titans 13

Oh Tennessee. How could you? You somehow managed to give their first lowly Colts a victory whilst in the midst of your own playoff hunt. For shame. While it’s nice to get a win (I’m sure), Jim Caldwell should still get effing fired.

(6-8) Kansas City Chiefs 19
(13-1) Green Bay Packers 14

Another streak brought to a necessary conclusion! Honestly, as much as we generally thought the Packers COULD do it, it’s probably better that they didn’t. Injuries to their offensive line killed them yesterday against the Chief pass rush, just one facet of a defense that made it difficult on Aaron Rodgers. Well done Romeo Crennel. Oh yeah, and the Chiefs can somehow still get into the playoffs.

(5-9) Washington Redskins 23
(7-7) New York Giants 10

BOOM! You got TRAPPED Eli! This was such an obvious upset to pick, even in a day that ended up with a metric ton of stunning results. How the Giants could come out and lay an egg like this when they had a chance to put some distance in front of the Cowboys is appalling. (And hilarious.)

(9-5) Detroit Lions 28
Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011"

San Diego Chargers News

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Don't count out Chiefs, who might have saved their season with huge win (Shutdown Corner)

The Kansas City Chiefs stared into the abyss in Week 7. Luckily for them, the abyss didn't stare back. The Chiefs scored a potentially season-saving victory over the San Diego Chargers, who had won five straight coming in, with a late-second victory on the road. A loss would have put them four back of the Chargers in the win column, but now they are 3-3 with two games (home against the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets) that should be quite winnable. The Chiefs now have wins over the Chargers, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins — combined record: 13-7) and respectable losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. (Throw out that inexcusable Week 1 loss to the Tennessee Titans for just a moment, will you?) For a team many expected to take a step back, the Chiefs are playing at a pretty high level. Alex Smith continues to make big throws. Jamaal Charles has rallied from an early-season injury. Travis Kelce has turned into a pivotal playmaker. And the much-maligned offensive line is developing more than anyone could have expected. Sunday's victory came in a highly charged atmosphere with big AFC West ramifications. Overcoming a slew of injuries and dropped passes, the Chiefs are in good shape now and would be in terrific shape at 5-3 at the turn if they can get to that point, all things considered. They've run through a gauntlet of a schedule so far and have held up fairly well. There were unexpected contributors all around in this game. Cairo Santos came from nowhere to win the kicking job, beating out incumbent Ryan Succop, and he hit three key field goals in the win, including the 48-yarder in the waning moments.  A shorthanded defense kept Chargers QB Philip Rivers, a league MVP candidate, in check with 205 passing yards on 31 attempts, none going for longer than 27 yards. Fullback Anthony Sherman did his usual dirty-work blocking with aplomb but also added a stunning 11-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, he made a great tackle in coverage. Castoff safety Kurt Coleman, who has been on three NFL teams since February, had the game-clinching interception.  The Chiefs' three leading tacklers — Jamell Fleming, Husain Abdullah and Josh Mauga — are all role players and ones that other NFL teams didn't want. Andy Reid will take them. Oh sure, he still hasn't figured out how to use timeouts properly. But he has his Chiefs back in the playoff picture and just how he likes it: When the rest of the league doubts a Reid-coached team, that's often when he's at his most dangerous. Don't forget about these Chiefs. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Geno Smith: Jets' issues have been 'miscommunicated' by media (Shutdown Corner)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Things aren't going that bad with the New York Jets, quarterback Geno Smith said. It's just the media that wants you to believe that, he said.  One day after he threw an interception in a game for the 18th time in his NFL career (he has 28 career interceptions in 22 starts), Smith said this season hasn't been as bad as reports would indicate. The Jets are 1-5. Smith was asked about the ups and downs of this his second year in the NFL  during a conference call with the New England Patriots media, ahead of the Jets game at Foxboro on Thursday, and he pointed out what has increasingly become a contentious relationship with the New York media as being the source for the bad perception around this year. He was asked if this year has been "topsy-turvy," because that's what it seemed like from afar. [ Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid ] “ For me, it hasn’t been. I think, obviously with everything that goes on with the media, a lot of things are, I would say, miscommunicated, and then it just gets misprinted and then misunderstood,” Smith said on the conference call.  “ I don’t have any quarrels with anything. The main thing is that we just have to find a way to get a win. The hardest part about it all is losing. With the effort, the time that we put in, the preparation that we put in throughout the week, coming up with game plans – we always have a really good game plan going in – and then obviously we haven’t executed as well as we’d like. Those things are tougher than I guess what can be said and what is portrayed out there in the media.” Maybe Smith really doesn't think anything is going bad, even though the team is on a five-game losing streak and has a tough game against New England coming up on Thursday. It wouldn't be the first time his judgment has been questioned. In Week 4 following a home loss to the Detroit Lions, Smith cursed out fans as he left the field. Then three days later, he poorly handled a media session where he openly bristled at questions. Then on the Saturday before a Week 5 game at the San Diego Chargers, he missed the start of a meeting at the team hotel because he went to a movie and forgot about the time change on the West Coast. Apparently, he reads his watch as well as he can read defenses. The Jets had hoped that their second-round selection in last year's NFL draft would become their franchise quarterback, even as reports have indicated that there were question marks about his selection in the Jets war room. Smith, never short on confidence, said on Monday's conference call that he sees improvement in his game this year. He might be the only one. Hehas more interceptions than touchdowns and his completion percentage is barely up. “ Just learning and understanding the offense, going through my reads and being more precise with my accuracy. There is still tons of room for improvement,” Smith said. “ I’ve got to do a better job in the pocket and just being more decisive. There were a few times in the previous week [when] I felt like I had some opportunities to step up and run the ball, and I may have hung in the pocket a little bit too long. A lot of those things that I’ve got to learn to work through as a player [are] coming along for me. There is a steady improvement, but there is still tons of room to improve.” [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Top 5 Must-See NFL Plays from Week 6 (Video) (Shutdown Corner)

Here are the top five must-see plays from Week 6 in the NFL: Tyms time On the New England Patriots' first series of the third quarter in a 13-7 game against the Buffalo Bills, Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson committed a false start on a key third down. The Patriots would convert the next play, but they had replaced Dobson with Brian Tyms, fresh off his four-game suspension to start the season. Tom Brady decided to try him out deep, and it resulted in a fantastic 43-yard touchdown reception to put the Patriots ahead for good. Sick pick How's this for a first career interception? Oakland Raiders quarterback David Carr had been dissecting the San Diego Chargers all day and had a chance to win with the ball in his hands in the final minutes of the game. But when Carr took a deep shot down the left sideline for receiver Brice Butler, rookie cornerback Jason Verrett saved the day for the Chargers. He stepped in and made this acrobatic interception, his first in the NFL.   Puttin' on the Fitz The Arizona Cardinals found themselves down 10-7 as the first half of Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins was drawing to a close, so the Cards went to their old reliable to make a play. Carson Palmer, who was back in the lineup after missing three games with a shoulder injury, found Larry Fitzgerald and let him do the rest of the work. Think Fitz is washed up? Think again — this 24-yard score should convince you of that.   Superman effort Cam Newton did just about everything he could Sunday in the Carolina Panthers' tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, incluing use his legs, which he hadn't done much this season with a sore ankle. Watch Newton take the designed run, pick his way through the Bengals' defense and finish with power for a key score.   Incredible toe tapper Play of the day? Play of the year? Maybe both? Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo escaped pressure amazingly, and wide receiver Terrance Williams showed his rare athleticism, as they connected for an incredible 23-yard catch on the sideline with a little less than five minutes left in the Cowboys' shocking upset over the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks challenged the play, it was upheld, and the lost timeout ended up hurting them at game's end. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Vick draws kudos from Ryan for critical comments (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Redskins add cornerback from SD practice squad (The Associated Press)

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- The Washington Redskins have signed cornerback Greg Ducre from the San Diego Chargers' practice squad. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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