Archive for the ‘San Diego Chargers’ Category


Only a few can get by without a consistent, bruising and chain-moving running game. In this pass-heavy league, your quarterback must be able to handle all of the responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, including checking into and out of good and bad plays, and then make the necessary throws to keep drives moving. Only a few can reliably do that.

Andy Dalton is not one of the few. That’s why the Bengals’ lack of rushing production over the last few weeks, even the entire year, is a bit troubling going into this weekend’s bout with the Chargers. In combination, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard averaged 3.75 yards per carry during the season, well below the accepted average. They’ve picked up yards in chunks at times, however, especially Bernard, and they’ll have to rely on that once again.

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larry english2

The signs were there. He played in the weak MAC conference. He was one dimensional. He was callow. He had stretches of production-less play. Worst of all, he was prone to the trainer’s table.┬áBut the Chargers still selected Larry English with their 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, thinking they’d just acquired a top-flight pass-rusher that they could team with Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips.

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It doesn’t take much to recognize Keenan Allen. Not only was he the only one of the Chargers’ receivers lined up wearing long blue sleeves last weekend, but he was also one of the sharpest route runners. He glides on the field. Creased at the elbows, his arms sway back and forth at his sides in a perfectly straight motion. His shoulders are squared and his chest is high. His feet are active and keep him running in a straight line. It’s like he’s pacing on a treadmill. And then he makes a quick break and you quickly realize that this is not just a workout, this is how he runs routes.

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Resurrecting the career of a soon-to-be 32-year-old is going to be difficult, but that’s the job that Mike McCoy has been tasked with. The freshly hired San Diego Chargers head coach’s latest project will be working with Philip Rivers, a fallen star in desperate need of coaching.

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Name all the Chargers players that have to be owned in every fantasy league, regardless of the format, or number of teams. That list is (arguably…I guess) three names long, which is a pretty haunting contrast to yesterday’s fantasy forecasting, especially at the top.

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As the sands of time fall, so do the scheduled yearly NFL conversations of the day. Is it April? Draft stocks are rising, and players are being left entirely off draft boards. Is it early February? Someone said something absurd during Super Bowl Media Day. Engage.

When that chatter machine keeps churning and we reach the beginning of training camp in late July and early August, often the conversation turns to preseason injuries. Inevitably, there are a few notable and potentially crushing ones, so we wonder how those can be avoided, and how we can stop important players from ripping muscles in non-competitive environments.

We can’t, of course, because there’s always an injury risk any time a football player is on a football field, which even applies during spring OTAs. This past spring Michael Crabtree and Melvin Ingram went down, and a year ago it was Terrell Suggs. All we can do is brace for the chaos, and schedule all fantasy drafts as late as possible.

But this year seems different due to the concentration of crumbling at one specific position.

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Antonio Gates will again be a difficult guy to project next year. Is he old? By football standards, maybe. He’ll turn 33 next month. But Jason Witten isn’t too far behind, as he just celebrated his 31st birthday, and the everlasting Tony Gonzalez is 37. Both of those guys were pretty good last year, combining for 1,969 receiving yards.

Merely saying Gates is old becomes an exercise of reaching for the lowest possible branch on the fantasy football tree o’ scare tactics. The reasons for his plummeting stock over the past few years go beyond that.

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