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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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Chargers cornerback Verrett out indefinitely (Yahoo Sports)

The San Diego Chargers will lose rookie cornerback Jason Verrett for at least one game and probably longer with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Verrett originally hurt his shoulder in a victory at Oakland on Oct. 12 - which he sealed with a last-minute interception - and aggravated it in a loss at Denver last Thursday night. The first-round draft pick will miss the game at Miami on Sunday, when the Chargers (5-3) will try to snap a two-game losing streak. The Chargers then have their bye. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Broncos are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings (The Associated Press)

Going into Sunday's highly anticipated matchup against the New England Patriots, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are the unanimous choice as the NFL's top team. Denver received all 12 first-place votes Tuesday for the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a media panel that regularly covers the league. The Broncos are 6-1 and coming off a 35-21 win over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday. ''Everything's working on Peyton's offense, but now the Broncos have the defense to match. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Touchdown vacuums Gronkowski, Julius Thomas need some love, too (Shutdown Corner)

It's Brady-Manning Week! Yes, again. But we need to highlight the other standout players for the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots as they get set to face off in Sunday's marquee matchup in Foxboro in Week 9. The tight ends are not a bad place to start. [ Join's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid ] On Sunday, we saw evidence that Rob Gronkowski has returned to prime form , nearly a year removed from last season's ACL injury, in Sunday's Patriots blowout of the Chicago Bears. Gronk was everywhere to the tune of nine catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns —uncoverable by by linebacker or safety the Bears tried to trot out there. And Julius Thomas, no slouch himself, is a key mismatch piece for Peyton Manning. You can (try to) cover Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and that's fine and all. But that's when Julius Thomas beats you with an athletic move, and sometimes it's just so easy for him to score. Or so he says. We know Gronk likes touchdowns —with his three scores Sunday, that's now seven this season in eight games, and 49 in 58 regular-season games in his career. But look, too, at Thomas: He has nine touchdowns this season, with multi-TD games against the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets; in his past 21 games, Thomas has 21 scores. The closer these players get to the end zone, the more they eat. Tom Brady and Manning are more than happy to feed these beasts. Look, if you're strictly arguing who the better player is —and even who is more valuable to their respective team's success —it's Gronkowski. When healthy, he is a devastating in-line blocker and dangerous receiver who can win with speed, power and competitiveness. No knock against Thomas, whose athleticism is off the charts, but he's just not the all-around player Gronk is. But could we see a scenario where Thomas is the better statistical performer in Sunday's game? No doubt. The Patriots have lost Jerod Mayo at linebacker and might not want to ask second-year linebacker Jamie Collins to match Thomas stride for stride. Might we see 6-4 cornerback Brandon Browner earn that assignment? After all, he was matched up with Bears tight end Martellus Bennett at times Sunday and could reprise that TE-coverage role again vs. the Broncos. That would leave Darrelle Revis on Demaryius Thomas, and either Logan Ryan or Alfonzo Dennard on Sanders. It'll be fascinating to watch. As for Denver, how do they deal with Gronk? The Broncos used safeties last Thursday to shadow San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, and they had middling success with that. Although Gates only had five catches (on eight targets) for 54 yards, he did score two touchdowns, catch a 31-yard pass on 3rd and 20 to set up another score and also drew a key pass interference call. Ward has been targeted in coverage a number of times this season and certainly will be someone Brady seeks to go after. Might the Broncos ask ascending linebacker Brandon Marshall, who has been strong on the strong side, to get physical with Gronkowski at times? Perhaps. There is no one ideal matchup for the Broncos on him, so expect safety assistance no matter what. We've seen just how much these players mean not only for their respective teams but also against Sunday's opponent. The Patriots came back to win in overtime last season in Foxboro in a game Thomas missed but struggled to contain him (team-high eight catches for 81 yards) in the AFC title game as Manning hit him on several key passes, including a 37-yarder, their longest play of the game, midway through the fourth quarter as the Broncos started pulling away. Meanwhile, Gronkowski was a thorn in the Broncos' sides in the Patriots regular-season win, catching seven passes (on 10 targets) for 90 yards and a touchdown near the end of the third quarter to help fuel the amazing comeback. But he missed the playoff game with the knee injury, and the Patriots were forced to jam the ball into Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen and Austin Collins (yikes) way too often. Pick your position. Both are special players, and they'll be on display for sure on Sunday. They might not upstage the Manning-Brady show, but they might make it that much more electric. - - - - - - - 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

Patriots prepare for biggest test against Broncos (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NFL against the spread picks:Looking at the updated Super Bowl odds (Shutdown Corner)

Since the NFL is already carving "Denver Broncos" into this season's Lombardi Trophy, there's probably no use in checking the Super Bowl odds almost halfway through the season. But let's do so anyway, for kicks. It's hard to figure out who the second-best team in the NFL is. Which means that there should be value in the Super Bowl odds, just in case the Broncos blow it in the playoffs again (I know, hard to imagine). Here are the odds for every semi-legitimate contender (the Raiders are 3000-to-1, if you feel like setting your money on fire), from Bovada via , before Thursday's game:  Denver Broncos, 3-to-1 Again, this was before Thursday's game. It's not good value to take any team in Week 8 at 3-to-1 to win the Super Bowl, no matter how far Denver is ahead of the rest of the NFL. Green Bay Packers, 8-to-1 Interesting that the Packers are the second favorite. Considering that if the season ended today, they wouldn't even be NFC North champs. Dallas Cowboys, 9-to-1 I do believe the Cowboys are good. I do also believe you're never getting good odds on anything relating to the Cowboys. I don't know if they're America's Team, but they are Las Vegas' Team. Seattle Seahawks, 9-to-1 Hmm. Two weeks ago, you'd have jumped all over this. And i think by the end of the year this will look like a steal. Indianapolis Colts, 12-to-1 Our second AFC favorite. With that easy schedule, could they steal the No. 1 seed? Maybe. Could Andrew Luck pull off a colossal upset even if it's in Denver? Sure. If you believe Peyton Manning will choke in January, this looks pretty good. New England Patriots, 12-to-1 Injuries piling up, but I wouldn't blame you if you liked this. San Diego Chargers 12-to-1 I like the Chargers well enough but I'm not feeling it. Not sure how they get past the other three AFC teams already listed. San Francisco 49ers, 14-to-1 The argument for it: Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis will all be back soon. Philadelphia Eagles, 16-to-1 If you're asking me who the second-best team in the NFL is right now, the Eagles are my answer . So yeah, I like this. Baltimore Ravens, 18-to-1 Pass. Arizona Cardinals, 20-to-1 Nah. Detroit Lions, 28-to-1 They're technically in first in the NFC North, thanks to the tiebreaker (for now) against the Packers. They've gotten almost nothing out of Calvin Johnson yet. the defense is pretty nasty. Yeah, it's still the Lions, but 28-to-1? That'll go down, and soon. After the Eagles, this seems like the best number on the board. Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints, 33-to-1 We'll lump them both together because this is the cutoff for making any remote case for a Super Bowl contender. And right now it's a stretch for the Bengals. But consider that the Saints are 2-4. First place in the NFC South is 3-3-1 Carolina. It's not like they're dead. And I'm not saying the Saints are gonna roll through the playoffs if they get in, but I do know you wouldn't want to face Drew Brees in January either. Who do you like out of that group? While you decide about the game on Feb. 1, we'll look at some picks for Week 8: Broncos (-8.5) over Chargers ( picked Thursday ): They're really good right now . Lions (-3.5) over Falcons: Call the oddsmakers, there's a misprint! This should be -13.5 and not -3.5, right? Bengals (+1) over Ravens: I can't justify it based on how the Bengals have played the last three weeks. But I still think there's a good team in there somewhere. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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