The League announced today that Vincent Jackson will be suspended for the first three games of a season that he is saying he will sit out anyhow. So far Jackson wants more than the Chargers are willing to offer, and his second DUI and subsequent suspension isn't going to help his cause. How many guys with off the field problems like this get the long term deal they want, especially from the Chargers?

I am in the camp that thinks Jackson is a product of his accurate, strong armed QB. He is a very good receiver, with good hands, a long body, and the ability to go up and catch those passes that are put in a spot that only he can catch it. That is Rivers's way. However, doesn't Malcolm Floyd fit that same description? Would the Chargers' offense really miss Jackson with Floyd waiting in the wings? I don't think they would miss him THAT much. They would miss him, but I think a stronger running game, and some more depth behind Floyd could make up for it. Really, Antionio Gates is our number one receiver, and Jackson is a number 2; in this offense and any other he decides to settle down.

Chargers Announce Undrafted Free Agents

Posted by Claytoris | 4/26/2010 01:09:00 PM | | 0 comments »

The San Diego Chargers signed 20 undrafted free agents to the roster for camp. Lots of OTs and WRs on here.

Player Position School
Seyi Ajirotutu WR Fresno State
Brady Bond T Oklahoma State
Richard Brockel TE Boise State
Dajleon Farr TE Memphis
Richard Goodman WR Florida State
Jeff Hansen C-G Montana State
Cory Jackson FB Maryland
Jordyn Jackson WR Eastern Oregon
Justin Jeffries T Kentucky
Cort Johnson P West Texas A&M
Brandon Lang LB Troy State
Shawnbrey McNealRB Southern Methodist
Ryan Otterson T Wyoming
Stephan Richmond T Minnesota
Traye Simmons CB Minnesota
Ernest Smith WR Baylor
Marcel Thompson WR Lindenwood (Mo.)
Bryan Walters WR Cornell
Jeremy Williams WR Tulane
Kion Wilson LB South Florida

I think by now we all know about the Chargers first round theatrics, but what about the rest? They drafted a linebacker next, followed by a safety, a defensive tackle, a qb and a tight end. It looks like we filled the hole at third string QB. I can't say I am thrilled, but how can you be with picks in rounds 3-7? You can't really know until you see them play, and that is often where the magic is made. Here are the insider breakdowns of each pick.

Donald Butler (ILB) Washington
There isn't any Insider info, but he ran a 4.84 40, and did the bench press 35 times, more than any other ILB at the combine.

Darrell Stucky (S) Kansas

Overall Football Traits

Production12005: Redshirted 2006: (7/4) 32 total tackles, 1TFL, 3 PBU 2007: (13/13) 72 total tackles, 2 TFL, 2 INT, 6 PBU 2008: (13/13) 98 total tackles, 4.5 TFL, 5 INT, 7 PBU
Height-Weight-Speed3Shorter than the ideal but has a sturdy build and above average top-end speed for the position.
Durability3Missed the first five games of 2006 with a lower-leg injury but has played in all 33 games since (2006-08).
Intangibles1A team player and defensive leader. Big 12 Community of Champions Member in 2008. Hard worker on and off the field. Keeps in excellent physical condition. Tries to model his game after Bob Sanders.
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

Safety Specific Traits

Instincts/Mental Toughness2Quick to react. Shows very good diagnostic skills in zone coverage. Typically the first defender in space to react to the play. Confident and can bounce back from a mistake.
Run Support3Fills hard. Not afraid to throw his body around. Diagnoses the run in a hurry and flies up the field, but his angles are a bit inconsistent and he doesn't always finish with authority. Needs to become a more consistent tackler. Lowers his head prior to contact and will occasionally fail to wrap up as a result.
Fluidity3Plays with excellent body control and balance. Shows quick feet and burst out of his pedal. Can change directions laterally very well but shows some stiffness when he has to make a 180-degree turn. Has some trouble adjusting to the deep ball if he doesn't make the proper initial read. Will have some limitations in man coverage. Can get to the sideline in deep-half coverage but might be limited as the high-point safety in a man-free or Cover 3 scheme.
Closing Burst2Very good closing burst. Shows the ability to make up ground when the ball is in the air. At his best diagnosing the play in front of him and then exploding forward to the ball carrier.
Ball Skills1Ball skills are good but not elite. Generally gets in good position and gets a solid jump on the ball. His hands are adequate and he notched seven combined picks in 2007-08. However, he occasionally bats down a ball he should pick off or goes for the receiver's body when he should attack the ball.

Cam Thomas (DT) North Carolina

Overall Football Traits

Production32005: Redshirts. 2006: (12/0) 18 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack. 2007: (8/3) 8 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF. 2008: (13/13) 34 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack. 2009: (13/13) 23 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 BK.
Height-Weight-Speed2Prototypical height and bulk for a two-gap DT/NT. Decent speed for his size but speed is of little value to his position/role.
Durability3Played in all 26 games during his final two seasons. Missed five games in 2007 due to a lingering sprained ankle injury. Keeping weight in check will always be a challenge during pro career.
Intangibles3No off the field issues to our knowledge. Showed he will battle through injuries throughout his career.
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

Defensive Tackle Specific Traits

Strength/Toughness2Lacks explosive power. But he's big, thick and has good overall strength for a wide-body DT. Plays hard when he isn't gassed. Decent condition for a 330-pound DT.
Quickness(hands/feet)3Initial quickness is adequate at best. Comes out of stance low and has a decent first step for such a big DT. Will rarely penetrate and make plays in the backfield. Wins with power not quickness. Hand quickness is above average for a two-gap DT, though.
Versus the Run1Comes out of his stance with great leverage. Does not have explosive initial pop but he keeps pad level and rarely gives up ground. He does a good job of locking out arms and driving the lineman back into the backfield. Shows great awareness in locating the ball and frequently will disengage in time to get involved in pursuit versus the inside run.
Pass Rush Skills4Offers very little in terms of sack production. Occasionally will collapse the pocket up the middle and force the quarterback to sidestep rush, but typically fails to make an impact. Lacks explosive power to effectively bull rush stronger interior offensive linemen. Gets worn down quickly when asked to chase the QB too much. Also gets fooled easily on the screen pass.

Bill Williamson, the AFC West blogger for ESPN just made me feel a lot better about the Chargers pick. I was looking forward to having the 40th overall pick, which was upgraded from the 60th pick when the Chargers traded their third string QB to Seattle. In the big picture, it looks like the Chargers traded Charlie Whitehurst, and the 60th pick in the draft, for a third round pick, and got the guy they wanted. Could he have still been there at 28? Possibly, but they traded a second rounder and a QB that never would have played for a third rounder and they guy they really wanted.

AJ Smith has never been known as a draft day dunce, so there is no reason to think of him as one now. My main concern is with the defense. I love the Nathan Vasher pickup, but we need someone to fill the middle. The Chargers defense has been subpar ever since Jamal Williams stopped being Jamal Williams. Vaughne Martin may be the answer, and that could be the trick up his sleeve, but he didn't look ready last year, so its hard to imagine he will be an impact player this year.

Check out Bill Williamson raving about AJ Smith's genius.

My theory? I think that the Chargers and Seahawks made a deal a long time ago. When they came to terms about the trade of Charlie Whitehurst and picks, it looked incredibly lopsided. I think that wasn't the whole deal. I think they agreed to this draft day trade, back then. Seattle didn't want the salary, and they found a way to get the guy they wanted in the draft, a backup QB, and upgraded a third round pick for a second round pick. When you look at the two trades as one, it actually makes sense.

The Chargers must have really wanted Ryan Matthews, because they moved from 28 all the way down to the 12th pick to get him. Most analysts thought he would still be there at 28, but something made the Chargers move, and they made sure they got the guy they wanted.

Here is what Insider says about him:

Overall Football Traits

Production12007: (11/1) 145 carries, 866 yards (6.0 avg.), 14 TD. 2008: (8/4) 113 carries, 606 yards (5.4 avg.), 6 TD; 8 rec., 146 yards (18.3 avg.), 2 TD. 2009: Led the FBS with 150.7 rushing yards per game; 276 carries, 1,808 yards (6.6 avg.), 19 TD; 11 catches, 122 yards.
Height-Weight-Speed1Prototypical height and bulk to go along with very good top-end speed.
Durability32007: Misses Humanitarian Bowl with torn muscle near his collarbone. 2008: Misses five games and is limited in three others with knee and foot injuries. 2009: Sustains mild concussion during Nevada game and misses Louisiana Tech game the following week.
Intangibles22009: Voted team MVP. No off-the-field issues to our knowledge. A tough competitor with maturity to succeed early in NFL career.
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal

Running Back Specific Traits

Competitiveness2Runs a bit high but explodes into defenders and almost always falls forward. Runs through arm tackles and uses free hand to slap over pursuing defenders aside. Puts hand on the ground in an effort to regain balance when stumbles and to launch himself a few more yards at the end of runs. Powerful stiff arm. Needs to be far more aggressive when asked to help out in pass protection.
Vision/Patience2Shows a good natural feel as a runner. Reads and uses fullbacks well but appears most comfortable in a one-back set. At his best when he can find the crease, plant and fire downfield.
Inside Runner2Downhill one-cut runner that doesn't waste much motion in the backfield and shows good burst through the hole. Runs a bit too high at times but still is a strong runner that will break arm tackles and bounce off of weak attempts by defenders. Strong and can push the pile in short-yardage/goal line situations. Above-average lateral agility for size. Can make defender miss in the hole and cutback against the grain.
Outside Runner2Quick enough to turn the corner and has enough speed to run away from defenders when he catches daylight. Lacks ideal elusiveness but shows enough wiggle to make the first defender miss and is tough to bring down when gets into space.
Passing Game3Did not play a prominent role in Fresno State's passing game. He has room to improve as a blocker (particularly technique and awareness) and he certainly needs more reps as a receiver. However, he shows the potential to develop into a difference maker in both areas. He is big and strong enough to hold up at the point of attack in pass pro. He also flashes soft hands and the ability to create after the catch.

Schedules Are Released

Posted by Claytoris | 4/20/2010 03:20:00 PM | | 0 comments »

The 2010 NFL Schedules we sort of released today, and I say sort of because the NFL loves making news on as many different days as possible during the off season, so they release information in pieces. The home and road matchups were released for each team, and the Chargers have the 29th most difficult schedule (based on 2009 records). How a team coming off a 13-3 season gets the 3rd easiest schedule, I don't know, and I don't care.

Here are the home/road games:

Home: Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, New England, Arizona, San Francisco

Away: Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Houston, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Seattle

I guess records don't tell the whole story, because St Louis and Seattle look like the only weak out of conference opponents. I guess being in the AFC West helps.

Chargers Draft Board

Posted by Claytoris | 4/16/2010 07:24:00 AM | | 0 comments »

Here is what Kiper thinks about the Chargers draft. I like his thinking for Ryan Matthews, and it all seems to make sense. We need depth in the secondary and at WR, and need talent in the backfield and at Nose Tackle. To me, our biggest need is NT, because our offense will find ways to score whether we have a running game or not, but our defense can't get stops without someone plugging up the middle. The Chargers defense has been mediocre at best since Jamal Williams stopped being effective, which mostly came down to not playing.

San Diego Chargers
Top needs: NT, RB, RT, CB, WR
First round (28): RB Ryan Mathews
Second round (40): DT Cam Thomas
Third round (91): WR Carlton Mitchell
Fourth round (126): S Reshad Jones
Summary: Early in the draft process, Mathews was considered a physical, between-the-tackles runner. Then he ran in the low- to mid-4.4 range, and you looked at his tape and saw him breaking tackles ... and then running away from everybody. In other words, he's the perfect complement to Darren Sproles in the Chargers' offense. He can carry the load and provide some explosiveness but also give way when the team utilizes Sproles. Thomas is a guy who can work along the interior in the 3-4, which is why he goes here and a guy like Brian Price doesn't. The Chargers also address depth needs at WR with Mitchell and Jones in the secondary.

Check out some highlights of Matthews.

Nate Kaeding, You Are Fired

Posted by Claytoris | 1/18/2010 07:50:00 AM | | 0 comments »

Three years ago, Marty Shottenheimer led the Chargers to a 14-2 regular season, only to put up a stink bomb in the divisional playoff game at home against the New England Patriots. That offseason he was fired. Really, a coach was fired after a 14-2 season. I was one of the supports, in fact, because he had proven time after time that he could not get it done in the playoffs. This Chargers team was poised for deep playoff runs. So we moved on.

Yesterday, Nate Kaeding carried in a run of 63 straight field goals made of 40 yards or less, and he missed two straight from that distance. From 63 in a row, to two straight misses, not to mention another miss of over 50. The Chargers lost by three, needing only one of those three for at least a tie.

Can we ever trust Kaeding again? His rookie year, he missed a game winner in the same stadium against the same team, and then missed another against the Patriots in Shottenheimer's last game, however this was 54 yards with the clock running. It was a prayer to begin with. The truth of the matter, is Nate Kaeding has yet to make a clutch field goal in the playoffs, and he singularely, could have helped the Chargers win yesterday.

To say the team deserved to win, would not be fair, but they still could have, and that is hard to live with. I really like Nate Kaeding, he seems like a quality person on and off the field. He has been a great kicker year after year, but can he help us get to our goal? I don't know. I also don't know what the alternative is, but that was a sad performance by a very good kicker.

Lets Do The Math

Posted by Claytoris | 1/13/2010 08:26:00 AM | | 0 comments »

I was charged with writing a post about the most intriguing stat for this week’s upcoming Divisional Playoff game. However, that just doesn’t satisfy my appetite, and probably not yours, so I decided to stretch that out. I thought about the Union Tribune and their “By the Numbers” column they do every day and thought I would work with that and my CPA side. Today we are going to be doing the math on the Chargers vs Jets matchup.

1 – This is the number of players Darrel Revis can cover on any given play. That may be enough to shut down some passing teams, but not the Chargers. If he is covering Vincent Jackson as everyone expects, that still leaves the deep threat in Malcolm Floyd, and Antonio Gates in the middle of the field.

13.3 – Chargers yards per catch, which is the best in the NFL. Granted, the Jets have the top pass defense in the NFL, but they do this with constant blitzing with the support of Revis shutting down the top receiver on each team. The Chargers meanwhile, have done a tremendous job of picking up blitzes, and the best way to beat a blitzing team is to go deep, or hit the screen. The Chargers not only boast the best yards per catch in the league, but they have Darren Sproles and Ladanian Tomlinson who excel at screen plays.

10 – Chargers turnover differential, also top in the AFC.

-2 – The jets turnover differential, and no matter how good Mark Sanchez looked last week with his 15 pass attempts, he will be asked to do more this week. I am impressed with his performance in his first playoff game, but the odds are against him to do it again.

41.1 – The difference between the Charger’s passer rating (103.1) and the Jets (62). The Jets have the 31st ranked passing attack in the NFL. That equals one dimensional offense, which is not the name of the game anymore. The creed used to be, defense and a run game wins in the playoffs, but now it is balanced offense. The Chargers run defense has been less than stellar, but it hasn’t been the one dimensional offenses that beat the Chargers. They will make sure the Jets won’t be in a position to win if Sanchez only throws the ball 15 times.

-35 – The number of sacks the Chargers defense recorded, 10th in the NFL. That includes 32 over the last 13 games.

That all adds up to 28.4, which is the Chargers average points per game. I don’t know if they get there this week, but they will have enough offense to beat a Jets team that can struggle to put points on the board.