Showing posts from November, 2017

Casey Hayward named AFC defensive player of the month

Casey Hayward was announced this morning as the November AFC defensive player of the month. He's the first Chargers defensive back to win the award since Antonio Cromartie all the way back in 2007.

Hayward has been lights out in coverage this year, earning Pro Football Focus' highest grade among all cornerbacks. This November he has three interceptions, eight tackles, and seven pass breakups, all while rarely seeing the ball thrown his way because of his shutdown coverage.

On Thanksgiving, Hayward was targeted seven times while guarding Dez Bryant, allowing just three catches for 22 yards while intercepting Dak Prescott. The week prior, he intercepted two passes against the Bills and only allowed one catch on eight targets. Hayward led the NFL in interceptions last year with seven and was selected to the pro-bowl.

Hayward's award comes just a month after defensive end Melvin Ingram received the same award last month. Hayward's play has been a large part of the Charger…

Chargers sign kicker to practice squad, Nick Novak's status for Sunday uncertain

The Chargers announced the signing of kicker Travis Coons to their practice squad. Nick Novak's status for Sunday's game against the Browns is uncertain after he injured his back during the Thanksgiving day victory over the Cowboys.

Coons is a 2014 UDFA who has bounced around the league over the past couple seasons. His only experience in the regular season was when he spent all of 2015 as the Browns' kicker. He hit 28 of 32 attempts but was beat out prior to the 2016 season by Patrick Murray and released. He spent time with the Rams in training camp this year.

After being signed to replace Younghoe Koo, Novak hasn't been very effective. The Chargers are currently dead last in the NFL in field goal percentage at 63.2%. The league average this year is 84.1%. If the Chargers' field goal percentage holds for the rest of the year, it would be the first time a team was below 65% since 2012.

Whoever the kicker is Sunday, the kicking situation can't get much worse th…

AFC playoff picture: what the Chargers need to happen in week 12

With the Thanksgiving day victory over the Cowboys, the Chargers are right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. They're firmly in the hunt for the division as well as for the wildcard, currently competing with the Titans, Bills, Ravens, and a slew of 4-6 teams for two spots. Here's what Charger fans should be rooting for in the games this week:



The Chiefs are currently in free-fall as they attempt to hold off the Chargers for the AFC West lead. After starting out 5-0, they've lost four of five and are now just 6-4 and a game and a half ahead of the Chargers. Since the Chargers still have one game left against the Chiefs, if they win that they'll need to make-up just a half more game the rest of the season.

The Chiefs host the Bills this week and are heavy favorites, currently favored by about ten points in Vegas. Although the Chargers are technically competing with the Bills for a wildcard spot, the Bills are clearly giving up on the seaso…

Thanksgiving Recap: Chargers stifle the Cowboys

The game initially went the way just about every Chargers game this year has: a frustrating start defined by an inability to capitalize on golden opportunities that was capped off by kicker Nick Novak injuring himself on an early field goal miss.

After the sluggish first half in which the Chargers defense was lights out and the offense moved the ball up and down the field but scored just three points, they came out on fire in the second half. Philip Rivers silenced any remaining critics from early in the season with a dominant performance, throwing for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Keenan Allen erupted for 172 yards and a touchdown and the defense had an all around dominant effort in the Chargers' first Thanksgiving game in nearly 50 years.

Dak Prescott was shut down just a few days after he made his comments about how the Chargers defensive front wasn't "the most talented" and the Cowboys scored just 6 points. Rookie cornerback Desmond King recorded his first car…

Chris McCain snaps back at Dak Prescott for disrespecting the Chargers after Thanksgiving beatdown: "Tell em watch his mouth #bum"

said two days ago it was a very bad idea for Dak Prescott to give the Chargers' D-line any extra motivation before the game. As soon as Prescott called the Chargers defensive front "not the most talented we'll play" it was clear it was going to become bulletin board material.

Prescott's comments flew under the radar and they didn't really become a national story, but the Chargers clearly noticed them. After the game, in which the defense intercepted him twice and sacked him twice while holding him to just 179 yards, defensive end Chris Mccain took to twitter to throw some shade at Prescott.

"@Dak looked like he was playing on pro and everyone else was on all madden. @nflnetwork tell em watch his mouth when dogs up next #bum" the tweet read.

Wow. It's a direct shot at Prescott and Charger fans must love it. Somebody followed up by asking Mccain if Prescott had been "talking ****" before the game to which Mccain replied "this wee…

Thanksgiving Preview: Breaking Down The Cowboys

In what will be the Chargers' first ever Thanksgiving game as part of the NFL, the Bolts will travel south to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The last time the Chargers played on Thanksgiving was in 1969 when they were still in the AFL. They'll face a Cowboys team that's found themselves in free-fall since the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. It's another instance of the Chargers catching a team at the right time, something that's happened over and over again this season. That being said, the Chargers certainly can't take them lightly. Here's what they can expect on both sides of the ball.


Needless to say, the Cowboys offense has been in disarray since Elliott left. In the two games they've played without him so far, they mustered a combined 16 points. Dak Prescott has regressed mightily, throwing for just 321 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions across those two games. He's also taken 12 sacks over that stretch. Prescott has nev…

Dak Prescott disrespects Chargers defensive line: "Up front, they might not be the most talented team we play"

Few people would think it's wise to disrespect Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Joey Bosa is setting NFL records with his sack rates and Melvin Ingram is leading the league in quarterback pressures. But Dak Prescott, perhaps unintentionally, did exactly that by saying "Up front, they might not be the most talented team we play"about the Chargers defense ahead of Thursday's game, according to the LA Daily News' Jack Wang.

The Chargers' blistering pass rush is third in the league in sacks with 30, and get the Cowboys on Thanksgiving at a time when they've been struggling to protect Prescott. He's taken 12 sacks over the past two weeks since they lost Ezekiel Elliot and Bosa and Ingram must be licking their chops for this matchup.

Bosa and Ingram are by far the best pass-rushing duo of edge rushers in the league, so it's mind-boggling why Prescott would make this comment even if he was trying to say something else. Bosa and Ingram already play with extr…

Opposition Research: Breaking Down the Bills

The Chargers enter week 11 at 3-6. Due to the decline of the AFC across the board this year, they are still very much alive in the wildcard race. To sneak into the playoffs they will have to pass a bunch of teams that are separated by just a game or two. One of those teams is the Bills, who are 5-4, who they will take on this Sunday. Here's what they can expect from the Bills on both sides of the ball:


The Chargers get Buffalo at seemingly a very opportune time. It's the first game in a transition period for the Bills as the Nathan Peterman-era officially begins with the fifth round rookie from Pitt taking over for a benched Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Taylor hasn't been terrible (although he's been worse than his numbers suggest), but the new regime in Buffalo clearly doesn't think he's the future so it makes sense for them to see what they have in Peterman before considering whether to draft a quarterback early in April.

It is an interesting move co…

Chargers Injury Report: Philip Rivers upgraded to full practice on Thursday

The Chargers got some great injury news Thursday as it was announced that Philip Rivers had returned to a full practice. He was limited yesterday.

Charger fans were filled with a collective sense of dread when it was announced earlier this week that Rivers had entered the concussion protocol. At the time it seemed like Rivers' 185 games started streak was in serious jeopardy and that there was a good chance Kellen Clemens would be making his first ever start for the Chargers. That no longer seems to be the case as the full practice Thursday means that Rivers is virtually certain to start against the Bills on Sunday.

Needless to say, it's an upgrade to the entire Chargers offense in what is a must-win game against Buffalo. The Chargers are 3-6 but still very much alive in the playoff race due the AFC being very weak this year. 9-7 or maybe even 8-8 may be good enough for a wildcard spot. The game against the Bills seems like a prime get-right spot for the team as Buffalo will …

Philip Rivers in concussion protocol

More bad news for the Chargers. Just when it seemed they couldn't get anymore unlucky after yesterday's devastating loss in overtime to the Jaguars, Philip Rivers is now in the league's concussion protocol.

It's unclear when he may have suffered an injury, but he reported symptoms following the game. It's possible he concussed himself while making a tackle on A.J. Bouye as he was running back an interception in overtime. It's a still-muddled situation that should be updated shortly. If Rivers were forced to miss this week's game against the Bills, longtime backup Kellen Clemens would get the nod.

If he can't clear the concussion protocol by Sunday, it would snap a streak of 194 consecutive starts for Rivers. He's started every game for the Chargers since 2006. He's been remarkably durable like few others before him, and it would be a sad sight to see the streak have to be broken.

Same Old, Same Old: Chargers lose yet another heartbreaker

The field goal was blocked cleanly. But in a sign of what type of day it was for the Chargers, it deflected in anyway and they fell to the Jaguars 20-17 in overtime.

A 50-yard fake punt touchdown allowed was the lowlight of the first half and there were a number of crucial mistakes made in the final minute. First, Tre Boston seemed to think he had sealed the game when he picked off Blake Bortles with just over a minute left. He started celebrating and walked out of bounds with the ball raised high in the air. The game was far from over as Jacksonville had all three of their timeouts left, but Boston didn't try and return the interception. If Boston had tried to return it he likely would've gotten a decent amount of yards and the field position would've been much improved.

With the better field position, Drew Kaser's punt would've gone a lot further and the Jaguars wouldn't have started their game-tying drive around mid-field.

The next critical error was Joey B…

Opposition Research: This Jaguars Team Is Not The Doormat of Years Past

The Chargers return from their bye week to head southeast to take on the ascendant Jacksonville Jaguars. They're getting healthier, with a couple key pieces set to return. Sunday will mark the return of linebacker Denzel Perryman, a two-down thumper inside who will help with the run defense. That help will be much needed as the Jaguars like to run just about as much as any team in the league. Starting right tackle Joe Barksdale also seems likely to return.

 As for the Jaguars, here's what the Chargers can expect on both sides of the ball:


The story of this Jaguars team is their defense. It's the reason they've gone from the bottom of the AFC south last year to a 5-3 team that's the favorite to win a division title this year.The defense as a whole is very strong and the pass defense is elite.

They've given up by far the fewest passing yards in the league, nearly 200 fewer than the next closest team. They're allowing just 5.8 yards per pass attempt, a…

The Chargers officially have a new franchise player: Joey Bosa is on a record setting pace

Franchise players are a necessity for every NFL team, and they don't come around often. They require a rare combination of on field skill and persona/marketability to make them household names. The Chargers have had at least two for the past decade, with Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers being team staples since the early 2000's. Gates is 37 and almost certainly playing his final season and Rivers is 35, so the need for a new young player to step up and become a face of the franchise has been clear for a while.

The Chargers look like they successfully found that player last April when they selected Joey Bosa with the number three overall pick. The summer of 2016 was a headache, as the Chargers decided to play hardball and struggled to get him signed, but Bosa has been a force on the field and a great representative of the team ever since he debuted.

Bosa finished his rookie year with 10.5 sacks in just 12 games and recently became the first player in NFL history to have 19 sack…

Chargers getting healthier: Week 10 LAC @ JAX Injury report

The bye week seemingly did wonders for the Chargers as it allowed them to heal up and they will now be getting at least a couple of key contributors back.

As you probably know by now, linebacker Denzel Perryman will make his much anticipated 2017 debut. Perryman was required to miss the first eight games of the season after being placed on injured reserve due to an injury he suffered during the preseason. Perryman's return will be a huge boost to the linebacking corp which until now was the main weak spot on the defense and his presence will be an immediate upgrade defending the run.

Joe Barksdale still seems likely to return but his status has been thrown into doubt due to a setback with his foot injury. Barksdale was all set to play but apparently aggravated his turf toe during Thursday's practice, causing him to miss Friday's practice. While midweek setbacks are never a good sign, coach Anthony Lynn said "I do expect him to be available, but you never know." …

Chargers make several transactions, including officially activating Denzel Perryman and signing TE Jeff Cumberland

The Chargers announced they made several moves on Tuesday coming out of the bye week. The transaction most important to Charger fans was the activation of Denzel Perryman of injured reserve. The move means Perryman will officially return to the field in week 10 against Jacksonville, as has been expected the past couple of weeks. Perryman's return should be a huge boost to a run defense that has struggled at times without him.

The team also announced two new signings, tight end Jeff Cumberland to the active roster and guard/center Cole Toner to the practice squad. They waived linebacker Josh Keyes and offensive tackle Tyler Marz to make room for Perryman and Cumberland.

Marz was signed of the Titans' practice squad just over a month ago but was inactive for all six games he was on the Chargers' roster. Keyes was signed in mid-October and appeared in two games as a special teamer.

Cumberland, an un-drafted free agent out of Illinois in 2009, spent the first six years of his…

Link roundup: Chargers bye week reading

With the Chargers on bye this week, things have been relatively quiet. The team will take the time to heal up before an absolutely critical week 10 game against the Jaguars. Thankfully for the Chargers, they'll have linebacker Denzel Perryman back for that game after he was required to sit out the first eight. Here's the rest of the news from this week that relates to the Chargers:

A couple of fines were dealt out by the NFL after last week's Patriots-Chargers game. Patriots guard Joe Thuney was fined $9,115 for clipping on a Chargers player and Chargers linebacker Hayes Pullard was fined $9,115 for a facemask penalty.

Anthony Lynn had a few notable quotes from his Monday press conference, blasting the officials for their controversial offensive pass interference call that wiped out a Charger touchdown during the Patriots game. You can read a recap of his presser here.

The Chargers are helping out a charity called L.A Kitchen to pass out 30,000 meals to people in need at a…

Chargers LG Dan Feeney is Pro Football Focus' #1 rated guard in NFL week 8

As I laid out earlier, the drop-off was never going to be very steep from Matt Slauson to Dan Feeney. But just about nobody could've foreseen exactly how well Feeney would play against the Patriots in what was his first career NFL start.

When it was announced that Slauson would miss the season with a biceps injury, many Chargers fans were worried about the prospect of a third round rookie stepping in to start for an already shaky offensive line.

Instead of flopping like some feared, Feeney instead turned in an excellent performance in which he allowed zero pressures on 35 dropbacks for Philip Rivers. He even earned strong praise from coach Anthony Lynn in his next-day press conference.

The Indiana product's debut was so impressive that Pro Football Focus ranked him as the top rated guard across the entire slate of games in week eight. Granted, he was going up against a New England defensive front that often struggles to generate pressure, but the performance was still undeniab…