SportsBlogNet.com Launches into Beta

We just wanted to let our readers know that we are apart of a new Sports Blog Network at SportsBlogNet.com. SportsBlogNet.com is a site that feeds in over 50 great sports blogs and links back out to all of them. They drive traffic to our site and also sell ads for all the blogs in the network.

At SportsBlogNet.com you can:

Currently SportsBlogNet.com has approximately 56 blogs in the network with a reach of approximately 200,000 unique visitors per month which is growing daily. Check it out. They are interested in hearing your feedback.

Great Little Piece by Kevin Acee

Posted by Tosten Burks | 8/12/2008 05:24:00 PM | 0 comments »

Is AJ Smith the best General Manager in all of sports? He seems to find more unknown talent than any other front office guy in any other front office in any other sporting institution.

Antonio Gates, undrafted. Nick Hardwick, 3rd round. Jamal Williams, supplemental draft. Kassim Osgood, undrafted free agent. Shaun Phillips, 4th round.

I could go on. The dude is just a football loving Diddy. He finds diamonds in the rough like Jafar.

Kevin Acee had a very interesting article today about another young, budding, future star Jyles Tucker, an UFA who had 3.5 sacks in 6 games during his rookie season last year.

Will he develop into another stud outside linebacker for the already outstanding Chargers corps? Who knows, maybe the reason Shawne Merriman hasn't gotten a contract extension yet and draft classmate Luis Castillo has is because the Bolts know they have a guy in Tucker who can replace him in 2010 when his contract runs out...

Bolts and Briefs From The Second Day of Training Camp

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/26/2008 10:12:00 PM | 0 comments »

I checked out the Chargers today, watched some training camp and all that jazz. Because, you know, the second day of camp is supposed to be the most important practice of the whole off season. Seriously. So you know I had to be there.

First off, let me say that Antonio Cromartie is the best athlete on the team. The entire team. He's tall, lean, and ripped. Guy ran down Darren Sproles from like 10 yards back in about two strides during one play today. Sproles himself runs a 4.4 40! Randy Moss, you better brace yourself for a week 6 pummeling.

Second off, let me say that Marcus McNeil is one big man. He's like four Darren Sproles. Plus a foot. Both directions.

Thirdly, one Chargers linebacker, I believe it was Tim Dobbins, got nailed in the head by a pass when he messed up on a drill. I don't know how to tie that to anything, but I just had to mention that somehow.

Overall, the team looked great. Energy was high, chemistry seemed strong, and physically, guys looked solid. There's no way you could leave that practice and not be excited. And to get you on the train too...

Bolts and Briefs

Jamal Williams was on the field, in jersey, but didn't practice. He didn't wear cleats or a helmet. It's a good sign that he didn't start camp on the PUP list, but it seems that he's still not fully recovered from the two knee surgeries he had this offseason.

Ryon Bingham took Jamal's place on the first team squad the whole time during full team offense vs defense practice.

Antonio Gates was in street clothes, along with Nick Hardwick, Andrew Pinnock, and Anthony Waters, all of whom were Active-PUP.

Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, and Buster Davis were the only three wideouts to line up for the first team during practice. Chambers was always split out wide, while Jackson and Davis both had some snaps in the slot and on the other side of Chambers. It should be interesting to see who steps up and takes over the possession WR gap left by Eric Parker and an injured Gates.

Legedu Naanee was nowhere to be found. I didn't see him in a jersey at all today, and I don't know what he looks like so I couldn't tell you if he was even at practice. I wasn't able to grab a coach to find out what was up, but there may be some off field or injury issue that's being covered up. That's bad for Naanee, who supposedly will have a bigger role this season, possibly being that missing possession, slot wide receiver. He needs to be practicing with the team as much as possible.

Kassim Osgood: Special Teams Stud/Playing Time Complainer was moved around quite a bit. He took snaps with the second and third teams during practice today, getting time in with both Volek and Whitehurst. He's always wanting more opportunities at wide receiver, but he's going to have to prove himself. Kassim didn't do anything special today.

Supposed soon-to-be middle linebacker stud Brandon Siler wasn't lined up with the first team on defense at all today. Wilhelm and Cooper were the only guys to play in the middle for the top squad. If the Chargers positivity is genuine about him, that will change down the road this training camp, especially as Cooper's four game suspension looms closer.

Now-safety Paul Oliver was targeted a ton today. He played on the second and third squads at different parts of the practice, and it seems that the coaches are trying to work him as much as possible to quicken the learning curve for his position change. Presumably he'll easily be a second string safety, but he'll have to work a bit to lock up the 4th cornerback spot over Cletis Gordon. For the record, Gordon looked better than Oliver today.

Finally, today's Zeus Award for the biggest and best Bolt (I just made that up, but I like it) goes to Marco Thomas. Second year player out of Western Illinois. Signed this offseason. Got shuffled around from the Giants to the Raiders to the Jets during his rookie year and earlier in 2008. I didn't know any of that until I googled his name. Don't feel bad, I had no idea who he was either. But he had two awesome catches today. The first one was a tip toe over the head bomb down the sideline during a qb's-wr's drill that he caught in stride and the second play was a diving snag underneath and through two or three cornerbacks during 7 on 7 work. Here's to hoping he gets to stick around long enough to give spectators more highlights like today.

I'll be going back to the training camp practices as much as possible to keep you in the know. If you have any feedback, comments, or experienced/know someone who has experienced a Legedu Naanee sighting, email me at ChargersBeatBlog@gmail.com.

Luis Castillo is now the sixth highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL. According to nfl.com junkie Adam Schefter, Castillo signed a 5 year contract extension that will pay him up to 43 million dollars with 17.5 million guaranteed. This will keep him in San Diego until 2014. That's all good and dandy, but I think there's a lot of interest stuff possibly behind this signing.

Castillo got a new contract before Shawne Merriman. Does that seem odd to you? They both were from the same draft class and both have become studs, but Merriman, possibly the best player on the whole team, is still on his rookie deal while Castillo is getting paid 40 million bucks. Why would the front office choose to update Castillo's contract before Merriman's? It's not like Castillo was demanding a pay increase.

I have a feeling that the Bolts see the end coming for Jamal Williams and want to make sure they will have Castillo in town for a while to anchor that defensive line when Jamal is gone. Maybe Williams's knee injury isn't coming along like they hoped. Maybe he's wearing down; I wouldn't be surprised, he's a 350 pound man who's played 10 seasons in this league. His whole rehab situation has been a bit hush hush all off season although that could be attributed to Gates, Rivers, and Tomlinson being three bigger names coming off injuries as well. Whatever the reason, Castillo's signing makes me a little nervous about Jamal Williams's future.

Rookies reported to training camp on Monday and Antoine Cason was a no-show. AJ Smith is optimistic, saying, "Talks have been great; (the) relationship is great," but he indicated that the current offer proposed by the organization is the team's final one. Smith supposedly drafted Cason specifically to stop Wes Welker in a move to satisfy AJ's alleged obsession with beating the Patriots, so I don't doubt that a deal will get done soon.

Norv Turner thinks Antonio Gates has a good chance of playing in week one. Oh wait, he also considers Gates a possible option to start the year on the PUP list. Why so mysterious Norv? Yesterday, Turner was quoted as being optimistic about Gates's health, saying that he's right on schedule, yet today he thinks he could start the season Physically Unable to Perform. What I think? Norv Turner has no clue. When a doctor or a trainer comes out and says something about Antonio's situation I'll listen up. Turner though, is just spurting things that sound good to the media and in reality, Gates's toe is still untested and up in the air.

Other Bolts Briefs:
Eric Parker didn't show up to camp. So basically he just did nothing on his banged up calf at home rather than doing nothing on his banged up calf at practice.
Nick Hardwick is expected to miss at least the first month. I know realize that the "super" in Super Chargers means super unhealthy.
Charlie Whitehurst will not be traded, says AJ Smith. Why? You just re-signed Billy Volek. Do you just like Charlie's last name? Ok, that's valid.

For Those Who Slept Through The Past Few Days

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/16/2008 12:50:00 PM | 0 comments »

Just in case you spent the past couple days watching hours upon hours of All Star non-action, I'm here to fill you in on what has happened lately in Chargers nation.

The Browns Think Eric Parker Is Too Short
Browns beat writer Tony Grossi says the team would prefer to acquire a receiver bigger than Eric Parker as insurance behind Joe Jurevicius.

Parker is only 6'0/180. Grossi believes cornerback is a more pressing issue for the Browns and speculates that Anthony Henry could be had if Dallas makes it through camp unscathed. The Cowboys have at least six CBs worthy of a roster spot, so trading an aging one with a relatively pricey contract who's about to lose his job could easily happen.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sounds like speculation to me. Especially the part where Grossi "believes" and "speculates" rather than "reports." Regardless of whether the Browns need a cornerback more than a wide receiver, they still want a possession wide receiver to take the place of the injured Jurevicius. Eric Parker is the only guy on the market. This is probably just a negotiation attempt to get the Bolts to lower their asking price.

Cromartie Moves On To a Bigger and Better Agent
Antonio Cromartie says he hired a new agent, Gary Wichard, because he "wanted to go with a guy who had experience with bigger contracts."
Wichard represents Dwight Freeney, who was made the NFL's highest paid DE in 2007. Cromartie has played only two years and started only half a season, but has a shot to be the league's richest CB by 2010 if he stays healthy.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
Here are some of the guys that Wichard represents: JP Losman, Brandon Jackson, Dusty Dvoracek, Teddy Lehman, Jeremy Bloom, Stephen Alexander, Tebucky Jones (BEST NAME EVER), Eric Hicks, and Brian Jennings. Oh ya, definitely experienced with representing the big names and their big deals. Good choice Antonio.

AJ Is Obsessed With Stopping New England
The Chargers' decision to draft Antoine Cason 27th overall was aimed at neutralizing Patriots slot receiver Wes Welker, according to SI.com's Don Banks.
Banks speaks of an "obsession" Bolts GM A.J. Smith has with the Pats and says Antonio Cromartie will be used in man coverage against Randy Moss when the teams square off in Week 6, and potentially in the playoffs. Cromartie is good and all, but Moss in single coverage against anyone would be a favorable matchup.
Source: SI.com
I don't know whether to be excited about this story or completely scared out of my mind. Either way, I think that Quentin Jammer is the guy who should be the happiest with this. A-Cro draws Moss and the rookie gets to cover Wes Welker, while the veteran Jammer is lined up across from Jabar stinking Gaffney.

Another Star Linebacker In San Diego
The Chargers are convinced that second-year LB Brandon Siler is "bound for stardom," according to SI.com's Don Banks.
Siler fell to the seventh round in 2007 over attitude concerns, but made a big impact on special teams as a rookie. His role could expand on defense as a sophomore with ILB Stephen Cooper suspended the first four games.
Source: SI.com
Now this is a story I know that I'm excited about, although the rest of the AFC teams may be completely scared out of their mind.

More Espning About Eric Parker

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/08/2008 06:00:00 PM | 0 comments »

No new news (that was clever wasn't it) about Eric Parker's future today, so I'll espn about some of the places he could end up this offseason.

The first, and most likely landing spot is Cleveland. Eric Parker is a solid slot, possession type wide out when healthy, and the Browns are currently without their slot guy Joe Jurevicius. Cleveland's offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, knows Eric Parker from the three years he spent as San Diego's tight ends coach. The rumors are that it would only take a late round draft pick to snag Parker from San Diego, and Cleveland has the picks to do so. If Parker ends up being released, the Browns have the money to sign him. You don't have to stretch your mind too much to see this scenario playing out.

Another possible team that could acquire Parker is the Chicago Bears. The Bolts know that Eric Parker is effective when healthy, they know he has value. Ideally, they would trade him to an NFC team so he doesn't turn around and hurt them. The Bears have one of the weakest group of receivers in the league, so Parker would only help. Devin Hester is looking to be the only pass catching weapon in the offense, and a solid possession guy like Parker would offset him nicely.

The Seattle Seahawks are another team that could be in the running to get Eric Parker. With Branch unlikely to be ready for the beginning of the season, Nate Burleson and Bobby Engram are looking like the players who will start at receiver. Yes, Engram is a short yardage, slot receiver like Parker, but he's 35. He's been in the NFL for 13 seasons. And last year isn't his normal production; the 94 catches gave him 70+ receptions for the first time since 1999. You know the end of his career is in sight, and the 29 year old Parker would be a solid replacement in a Seattle offense that features and utilizes possession receivers.

Other teams that may be in the running, and the reasons why I didn't waste my time talking about them:
Atlanta - They are a rebuilding franchise. I don't see them wanting to give up draft picks at this point in time.
Tennessee - AJ Smith isn't going to trade an impact guy like Parker to a conference rival that they could be competing for a playoff spot with.

The Issue That I Will Espn All Week

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/07/2008 06:44:00 PM | 0 comments »

Whoa. That doesn't make any sense to you does it? New daily feature, new terminology, everything about the headline is making you feel either old or stupid or both. Don't worry. I'm prepared to explain.

Espn is not a noun. It's a verb. It is defined as the action, "To over cover and over hype a story and talk about it for about four days more than anyone actually cares about said issue." It is never capitalized in a sentence. It is so named because of the well known sports media company that made the tactic famous. And if it works for the guys in Bristol, it should work for chargersbeat.com.

So what am I going to espn on and on and on about this week? The only actual news story in San Diego right now: Eric Parker.

Ya remember him? He was on the Chargers in 2006, and apparently he's still on the roster. He had a toe injury that put him on the couch all last year. Then he hurt his calf. He's still injured. He's probably not going to be ready for training camp. But allegedly there are teams out there who are lacking in couch loungers and thus Parker is on the trading block and has been a part of numerous trade rumors lately.

The most likely place he'll end up is Cleveland, who's possession receiver Joe Jurevicius has a bum knee and will probably be out for a while. Supposedly they want to replace Jurevicius with a another injured wide out, i.e. Eric Parker. Now why they would rather have a bum slot wr with a boring name over a bum slot wr with an awesome name is beyond me, but it's being reported that Parker to the Browns has a very strong possibility of happening.

I will be espning more on this topic tomorrow. And wednesday. And thursday. And friday.

A Midsummer Night's Countdown: 22 Days

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/03/2008 09:13:00 PM | 1 comments »

The middle of the baseball season is unbelievably boring. Especially when your team, in my case the Padres, sucks. I end up sitting around watching, I'm ashamed to admit, Arena Football. What can I say, as a Padres fan, seeing teams actually score a lot is a refreshing change.

But for all those not buying into to the AFL, I'm going to antagonize you and count down down every single, long day until the (real) football season starts. With every day, I'll pair the number of days left until training camp (or the actual season, or a preseason game, not every number will work, so there will be some reaches) starts with a stat or an analysis that has to do with the Chargers.

And awaaay we go

Sorry for not counting down another long day until the season starts yesterday. I was gone preventing global warming. Won't happen again, you readers are my first priority. But now I'm back. And without further ado...

22 days until training camp

22 is the number of Mr. Jacob Hester, San Diego's certified slow, white guy. He's also one of the most important keys to San Diego's success this year. Listen. Tomlinson isn't getting any younger. As the years roll by, he's not going to be able to handle the same huge workloads. Guys are going to need to help out by taking on some of the touches. Now that Michael Turner is in Atlanta, and LDT is older than ever, the job falls to Jacob Hester, with his task being more important than ever. Even though he's a rookie, he's going to be counted on to come off the bench and be a spark, to be a relief, and to make a quick, immediate impact in games. He's no Michael Turner, and no one should expect him to be, but it's essential to the Chargers that he picks up in games where Ladainian leaves off. As Turner proved this past postseason when he was called upon to fill in for an injured LT, without a solid backup, the Bolts aren't going anywhere.


A Midsummer Night's Countdown: 24 Days

Posted by Tosten Burks | 7/01/2008 06:14:00 PM | 0 comments »

The middle of the baseball season is unbelievably boring. Especially when your team, in my case the Padres, sucks. I end up sitting around watching, I'm ashamed to admit, Arena Football. What can I say, as a Padres fan, seeing teams actually score a lot is a refreshing change.

But for all those not buying into to the AFL, I'm going to antagonize you and count down down every single, long day until the (real) football season starts. With every day, I'll pair the number of days left until training camp (or the actual season, or a preseason game, not every number will work, so there will be some reaches) starts with a stat or an analysis that has to do with the Chargers.

And awaaay we go.


24 days until training camp

24 is the number of sacks given up by the Chargers offensive line in the regular season last year. That was good for 7th in the league.

For the Chargers to make a super bowl run, the offensive line must continue to succeed against the pass rush. The O-line anchors the offense, and for Rivers to develop into a star even with Gates possibly being out at the beginning of the season, it must continue to protect the quarterback, especially with blocking fullback Lorenzo Neal gone.

A Midsummer Night's Countdown: 25 Days

Posted by Tosten Burks | 6/30/2008 04:16:00 PM | 0 comments »

The middle of the baseball season is unbelievably boring. Especially when your team, in my case the Padres, sucks. I end up sitting around watching, I'm ashamed to admit, Arena Football. What can I say, as a Padres fan, seeing teams actually score a lot is a refreshing change.

But for all those not buying into to the AFL, I'm going to antagonize you and count down down every single, long day until the (real) football season starts. With every day, I'll pair the number of days left until training camp (or the actual season, or a preseason game, not every number will work, so there will be some reaches) starts with a stat or an analysis that has to do with the Chargers.

And awaaay we go.


25 days until the start of training camp.

25 is the ripe age of Vincent Jackson, who is possibly the player most needed by the Chargers to step up their game for this 2008 season.

VJax finally played like the stud the Bolts expected him to be last year in the playoffs, and for San Diego to continue to improve their passing game, Jackson will need to maintain that high level. Rivers, who still seems like he could blossom but hasn't broken out yet as hoped, needs all the weapons he can get, especially if Gates's injury prevents him from being able to play at the start of the season.

The offense gelled at the end of last year, partly because Chris Chambers continued to acclimate to the new system, but also because Vincent developed into a solid option who can go deep and come across the middle. If he can be a solid #2 receiving option good for 800 yards and 6 or 7 scores, Rivers will be more comfortable, Chambers will be open more, defenses won't be able to key in on LDT and the running game as much, and San Diego's offense will stand as one of the best in the league. That might be important if they're going to make a Super Bowl run.

ChargersBeat.com The House that LDT Built

Posted by Tosten Burks | 6/28/2008 11:13:00 PM | 0 comments »

Welcome to chargersbeat.com, the self proclaimed best source on the internet for San Diego Chargers news, analysis, and humor. I'm Tosten Burks, and I'll be your server. I live in the great San Diego county, so in my spare time between beach visits and eating tacos, I'll do my best to constantly bombard you with Chargers updates.

Hope you enjoy the site.